To Number My Days

Though we think it long,

Life is really brief,

Whether it be bitter or sweet.

Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, ...

Then after our lives,

An eternity we’ll live

And our blessed Creator we’ll meet.

*

Teach me, O God,

To number my days

As I walk before Your sight.

English: A clock made in Revolutionary France,...

That from their brief span

I may learn to be wise;

Teach me to count them up right.

*

I only have a short time

To live on this world

And tell others of You and Your ways.

Calendar

Teach me, O God,

Not to put Your will off,

But to obey You as long as it’s “today.”

*

Help me, O God,

As I walk along,

To live in your grace and truth,

Youth Society

That I may become

Wise in Your ways,

And let You renew my strength to a youth’s.

*

I pray, O my God,

That should I fall,

You’d prompt me to quickly repent.

And I pray that You’ll help me

Dante And Virgil In Hell by William-Adolphe Bo...

Turn others to You,

So it’s not straight to Hell that they’re sent.

Living Among The 8 F’s

On TEAM LIFE, we are taught about the 8 F’s.  These are

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Finances                                       
  • Fitness
  • Freedom
  • Friendship
  • Following
  • Fun

Sunday, my husband Bob and I spent some time among 4 of the 8 F’s, Faith, Family, Friends and Fun.  That day started, as our Sundays always do, in the Faith F, with personal quiet devotional times, followed by preparing for and attending the 11:00 am service at our church. It was our turn, along with our son David, to read the appointed Scripture lessons for the day.  In addition, it was Bob’s turn to serve Communion, and David’s to usher.  We love attending a church where we can be fed from God’s Word and serve, too.

After church, we got together with my mother and one of my sisters, Suzanne, who was visiting from her home in The Netherlands.  Mom and Suzanne had also been at church, but had not sat with us.  Mom announced she wanted to go to lunch before going back to her assisted living facility.  We knew this would be our only opportunity to visit with Suzanne for any length, so Bob, David and I jumped at the opportunity to spend some time with the Family F.   .

We had a nice lunch with Suzanne and Mom, though Suzanne complained about the slow service.  Bob and I were able to share with them about TEAM LIFE and how much we get from the materials we get from our subscriptions and system tools.  Suzanne told us of her work and family.  It was a nice time to catch up.

After lunch, Suzanne had to go to another commitment,.  So Bob and I dropped David off for his shift at work, and brought my mother home.  By the time we got her settled back into her room and got back home, it was 4:30, over 3 1/2 hours after we got out of church.

When we arrived home, Bob and I started working on projects we needed to do before attending the TEAM LIFE major conference soon.  Then, noticing the time, we came to a stopping place in our chores and made a light dinner.  After dinner, Bob decided we should go back to church, where some Friends, who are professional musicians, were performing in a benefit concert for the school our church supports.

It was a lovely concert.  The school’s cafeteria was set up cabaret-style, with cloths and candles on the tables, and school children acting as waiters and waitresses.  They were offering coffee, tea and home-baked goodies for a nominal fee.  The music was wonderful,highlighting women composers and lyricists, primarily from the Great American Songbook.  Bob and I had a great deal of Fun.  Afterward, we came home to our regular Sunday evening conference call with our part of TEAM LIFE.

So Sunday was for us a great day, filled with 4 of the 8 F’s, Faith, Family, Friends and Fun.  We got to enjoy life in 4 of them in one day.  It is not often we get to have days like that, and we treasure them.

How do you do?  How is your life among TEAM LIFE‘s 8 F’s?  I hope, like ours, it is rewarding, interesting and full of joy.

Parenting Versus Grandparenting — A Nana’s Perspective

This is me, with our granddaughter Ariel.

We have had our oldest grandchild, Keyna, with us this weekend.  Keyna is 3, old enough to begin to know right from wrong, and be able to communicate her wishes and million questions.  Keyna has a little sister Ariel, age 13 months, who also spent some time with us yesterday. while Mommy (our daughter Beth) and Daddy (our son-in-law Tom) went out to lunch together. Keyna and Ariel are expecting a baby brother, Tommy, sometime in late May.

As we have been with Keyna and Ariel and interacted with them over the last few years, we have noticed some definite differences between being someone’s parent and being their grandparent.  And frankly, as the old saying goes, if we had known being grandparents was so much, we would have gone straight to it, and skipped the parent thing!

Parenting is diapers, duty, daily grind, consistent discipline and sometimes drudgery.  The day-to-day, especially with 2 (soon 3!)  children under 4 can be tough.   And there is

Our daughter Beth & husband Tom

always the knowledge you are putting in foundations for their whole lives.  There are, of course, moments of pure  joy, like when a toddler overcomes her  fears of something long enough to find she likes it, as Keyna did last summer with the slides at the park  Or moments when the kids are quiet, playing together cooperatively and not fighting.  Or when you find a child, cuddled up to her bear, looking at a book you have read and reread to her, and she is looking at the oh-so-familiar pictures and “reading” it to the stuffed animal.  It’s moments like these that  make parenting the best job on earth.

On the other hand, grand parenting is usually a ball!  Of course, when they are in your care, you have to exercise discipline and control, and sometimes rules at your house might be different than at home.  There also will be home rules you reinforce, just to keep consistency.  But the rest of the time is pure fun time!

We took Keyna grocery shopping with us on both Saturday and Sunday.  She got to eat at any sample booth she wanted, even the one with cheesecake.  We had to go both days, because we bought strawberries on Saturday, but did not get enough to feed her appetite for them, her favorite food (mine, too) and our favorite bribery tool!  That tiny 1 pound of berries was just not enough, so we had to get more the next day.  I bought some raisins and mixed nuts to make a snack mix for me, and of course as I mixed it, Keyna had to

This is me, with our granddaughter, Keyna.

sample every color of raisin (there were 3) and every kind of nut . . .

Grandparents bend the rules.  At church, instead of taking her to the nursery, we asked if she could be good in the service if her favorite bear came.  She said she could, and while she didn’t sit like a miniature adult (and we had realistically not expected it of her), Keyna was quiet and well-behaved  through the entire 2 hour service.

Kids get lots from grandparents they don’t get from their parents.  Like bears, as in the one I wrote about before.  (Check my archives.)  Grandparents often have time and energy to do things parents can’t.  Take today, for instance.  Keyna walked in on me when I was using the bathroom.  (We have to work more on privacy!)  She noticed my belly button, and asked me what it was.  I told her.  She asked if she had one, and I said yes.  The questions of everyone in her life having one followed, and I was able to say yes, everyone does, even the cats on her list, somewhere under their fur.  She left, and I finished, going to my bedroom to do some chores there.

A few minutes later, Keyna walked in,carrying her bears that had come with her for the weekend.  “Do my bears have belly buttons?” she asked.  No, they were not born, they were made.  Keyna was so sad, I asked if she wanted me to give her bears belly buttons.  She said yes, so instead of doing my chores, I spent the next 45 minutes embroidering belly buttons on 2 stuffed bears. Because that is what grandparents do.  Grandparents get to do the fun stuff.

Historical Leaders and Rascals 2 — A Family Rascal

My mother’s family is full of Rascals. The earliest one we know of is her great-grandfather, an Irish sea-captain. His daughter, my mother’s grandmother, was a famous painter of her day, in a time when women were expected to keep house and care for their families, and not carry out anything beyond that. But it was her grandson, my mother’s own father, who stands out head and shoulders above the crowd in his Rascalinity among them. His Rascalinity is so legendary, Hollywood even made a movie about it!

He was born in New England, to an Irish-descended family that had emigrated sometime before from Canada. He had hazel green eyes, rose-gold hair and fair skin, and my mother’s family says I am the only one of my siblings to carry resemblance to him in my eyes and my coloring.

He was intelligent, and clever. He did well in school, and was well-known in the area for his pranks both in and out of it. Nothing he did ever had evil purpose, so far as anyone could tell. He just showed a strong contrary streak and mischievousness early and often.

However, somehow he managed to graduate high school, at or nearly at the top of his class. Entry into VMI, the Virginia Military Institute, a prestigious college, followed. It was

, Lexington, .

there his high spirits, Rascalinity and mischievous pranks reached their full flower and legendary greatness.

My grandfather managed to graduate VMI with what stands even today as the highest combination of grade point average and demerits for behavior possible.He was constantly running afoul of the established hierarchy there, whether through deliberate pranks or

English: The Cadet Regimental Commander gives ...

unthinking transgressions of the strict disciplinary code.

The movie they made of him was due to his career at VMI. It was made in 1938, and his name was changed in it to protect his reputation, as he matured from there to become an entrepreneur in Upstate New York. It starred Wayne Morris, Eddie Albert, Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman (it was the movie that introduced them to each other). Eddie Albert played “‘Bing Edwards,'” the character on whom my grandfather was based; the title character of “Brother Rat“, and the child who was to be secretly soon to be born was my mother. It was so popular, Hollywood also made a sequel, that was not at all based on his life, “Brother Rat and Baby“. His real name was Augustus Lambe, and I am proud to call this famously legendary Rascal my grandfather.

A Cute Marketing Ploy

I like good advertising and marketing.  I appreciate it when a company goes to great

Advertising advertising

lengths to get our attention, and prompt us to buy their product or sign up for their service.

For example, Time Warner Cable was running a series of advertisements in our region about their new “Whole House DVR” system.  They show people moving from room to room in their homes, getting snacks, moving to another television, and some action movie they are watching follows them from room to room, pausing only when a room change is

English: Time Warner Cable Arena

made.

That’s clever.  It gets your attention and holds it.  It shows the features and benefits, without a lot of voice-over to explain what it is trying to say.  It is also one other thing truly good marketing and advertising must be — memorable.  Once you see it, you can’t forget  it.

The advertising that has caught my attention most recently, however, is even better.  It belongs to a local health club chain, and is a billboard I must pass on the interstate every morning on my way to work.

Billboards are a much tougher media to work with to grab and hold attention than commercials.    For one thing, there’s no action, animation or video to grab you and lure you in.  Yes, I know, some of them scroll from ad to ad, but that’s not really animation, if we are  honest with ourselves.  Furthermore, like most of its kind, it is stationary, while most of

A billboard advert from easyJet seen here in C...

the time we are flying past  (hopefully doing the speed limits!), concentrating on getting where we are going  on time.  So for a billboard to survive these challenges and be worthy of note has to make it memorable, indeed.

This billboard is about the New Year’s specials at this particular health club chain.  Their  offer didn’t catch my attention.  It can’t.  We already have memberships at a competitor.  What they said below it did.  They say,

WTF

My kids are 26, 30 and 35.  I also work with people younger than myself, so I know what those initials mean in popular culture.   But the story doesn’t end there,  Because below that it reads,

(Wow.  That’s Fantastic!)

I cannot help to admire such memorable cleverness . . .

Success or Learned Helplessness? Whose Choice?

Why do some people sail along in life from success to success, while others careen along from failure to failure?

Perhaps it is because of something called Learned Helplessness.  In a recent article on the subject called  Leaders Break the Cycle of Learned Helplessness, leadership guru Orrin Woodward talked in depth about it .

Orrin Woodward

Scientist have discovered that cats, fish, dogs, rats, cockroaches, mice, and people all are capable of acquiring this trait. Learned helplessness is simply internalizing the belief that what you do does not matter, sapping one’s sense of control.” When a person believes that he cannot change his situation, he won’t even try, becoming hopeless because he believes he is helpless. On the other hand, people can change nearly anything with the right knowledge applied consistently and persistently. Learned helplessness, because it destroys this hope for change, must be exposed for the lie that it is, teaching one’s self and others that change is possible only when a person believes that he can change. Indeed, leaders must rid themselves and their teams from Learned Helplessness as its acid is fatal to all personal growth.

Another compromise that leads to failure and despair is an improper response to the pain inherent in the process of growth.  There are actually two types of pain: one comes from the inside due to the change process; the other comes from the outside due to criticism from those unwilling to make the same changes. Hope is the only fuel capable of burning through both types of pain.  Without hope, either of the pain versions will trump one’s willingness to endure, instead choosing to stop the pain by quitting the journey.  Author Robert Grudin writes, “One might reply that most people who surrender simply lack the ability to get very far.  But it is more accurate to say that ability and intelligence, rightly understood, include a readiness to face pain, while those characteristics which we loosely term ‘inadequacy’ and ‘ignorance’ are typically associated with the avoidance of pain.” When the pain reaches a certain threshold, everything inside of a person screams for relief, but champions, people with high AQ, persevere. Pain is overcome through the continuous focus on one’s purpose. Moreover, achieving greatness will require a faith that can move mountains, an AQ to endure the rising pain in the process, eventually reaching levels of success that more timid souls refuse to believe possible.

Wow, what awesome stuff, if you can get your mind around it!  When I read it, I was

Orrin Woodward

reminded of one of Orrin‘s favorite sayings. “When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, you will change!

Our challenge lies in realizing the pain is not what is to be avoided.  To surmount adversity and succeed, we need to understand pain is part of the process, accept it in that role and seek to find the lessons it is teaching us, so we can grow beyond it.  Welcome to the journey called success!

Cathy

Shepherd-less Days

(For Zechariah, who understood)

 In the lovely days before,

The flock had all it wanted, and more.

Shepherd

With someone to care and pleasures galore,

In those days before shepherd-less days.

*

Then suddenly times were no longer fun.

They looked for their shepherd, but he was gone.

The flock no longer had what made them one.

Those days were their shepherd-less days.

*

There was no protector to keep wolves at bay.

For lions and bears, this flock became prey.

Two German Shepherd Dogs.

Some fled straight into danger as they ran away

Because of fear in these shepherd-less days.

*

Then one day a man suddenly came near.

The flock prayed he was the end to all their fear.

But as he worked among them, his motives became clear:

He was a hireling, for the shepherd-less days.

*

The man sold the best sheep the flock could produce.

He lured in the rest, but it was only a ruse.

Kazakh shepherd with dogs and horse

He chewed upon some; for the rest he had no use,

In the horror of those shepherd-less days.

*

Finally the hireling wandered away.

Some best sheep were gone, others scattered away.

The remainder wondered, would there ever be a way

Out of the misery of shepherd-less days?

*

To the flock, another man came.

Was this one different, or was he the same?

Was he another hireling to play the game

Of herding sheep in shepherd-less days?

*

The man first began to care for the lost.

To help them he suffered much personal cost.

For them, he was savior and the end of the worst

Of the times known as shepherd-less days.

*                                                                                                                                  High sheeps

 The youth were next, and for them he did seek.

He gently guided the young and the weak.

They came to see the gentleness in his heart that was meek

As a shepherd’s, ending shepherd-less days.

*

He loved all the wounded, and did carefully bind

All the hurts he could see, and didn’t seem to mind

If, thinking he was done, more wounds he would find.

His love was healing their shepherd-less days.

A boy herding sheep in India.

*

He fed up the healthy, making them grow quite strong.

And every ewe, lamb and ram was made to belong.

And all rejoiced as their fears about him were wrong:

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

He was their shepherd, ending shepherd-less days.

The Disguised Prince — A Fable of Success

What happens when an average person attains sudden wealth, success or fame?  Are they able to handle it as they are, or will they need to change to keep it?

* * * * * * * * * * *

Deutsch: Heinrich der Jüngere (laut Quelle) En...

A long time ago, in a country far away, there lived a king and queen.  They ruled wisely and well, and were happy in every`way but one — they had no child.  In the course of time, the queen finally had a child.   When he was still a small baby, an evil witch stole him.  She wanted only to bring unhappiness to the kingdom, so she gave him to peasants to rear, who did not know who he was.  As the boy was raised, he learned what the other children around him learned, which was a tiny fraction of what he would have learned as a prince.

The king and queen had regularly sent out searchers to look for their child, but none met with success.  Over the years, the stress and grief aged the king and queen far beyond their years.  No one found hm, until the day one happened on a secluded valley.  By this time, the prince was a young man, an apprentice.  The searcher recognized his father in him, and brought the young man back to the palace.

There was great rejoicing, but in the midst of everyone’s joy, tragedy struck yet again.  The years of grief caught up with the king and queen..  They grew suddenly ill and quickly died.

English: Henry the Young King

The young man was immediately crowned the new king, and the people were happy.

The new king was not so happy.  Oh, he liked his new home in the palace well enough, when he wasn’t getting lost in it.  He liked having servants at his beck and call, yet chafed at the loss of his privacy and freedom.  Most importantly, he knew he was not properly educated or equipped for his new role.  He began to make mistakes in policy and diplomacy, and soon the kingdom was again not a happy place.

Finally, he called together the council of his father’s advisers, and told the how he felt.  These men were relieved, because they’d been thinking the same things about him.  Finally, a wise old man spoke up and said his father had previously arranged for the council to rule, until a new king could be found.  The young king proposed the council do that, keeping him advised on what was going on, while he learned what he needed to know from tutors, and from their mentor ship.

It took some time, perhaps a few years, but eventually the young king began to understand what he needed to know, and began to gradually take back the rule of his kingdom.  He continued on his path of education all his life, and encouraged his whole kingdom to do the same.  He always said if it could raise him from peasant to king, it could do the same for anyone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You and I, dear reader, are that young man.  Born and bred to a life of success and happiness, the world takes us away and we do not learn what we need to know.  Just like that young man, we also can learn, we can grow up into who we were truly born to be.  The products of LIFE can be our tutors.  The leaders of TEAM can be our mentors.  Come and join the journey to the royal life you were born to live!

Taming The Money Monster – TEAM LIFE Leader Tells All

Why do so many people have a hard time with managing money? 

Chris Brady

TEAM LIFE leader Chris Brady offers a unique perspective in the recent article Money View.

“World View” is a term recently popularized by philosophers and media pundits who debate spiritual and political matters.  It refers to the lens through which people see (and therefore interpret) the world around them.  All information and observations must pass through this lens and be colored by one’s World View.

Similarly, there is another “View” I would like to propose for consideration, and I’m calling this the “Money View.”  In my nearly two decades of dealing with people and their finances I have slowly awakened to the fact that how people are doing financially is often a direct result of their “Money View.” Just as with World Views, there are several very different Money Views, each with its own ramifications. These include, but are probably not limited to, the following:

1.  Money as a Mystery – in which people seem to have no clue how money is made (or retained) and therefore think that others who are successful financially are somehow “lucky”

2. Money as a Master– in which one’s entire life is lived out

Money

in bondage to the need for more money, or at least the drudgery of scraping by. This is often accompanied by terms such as, “I have to go to work,” or “Another day, another dollar.”

3. Money as a Monster – this is the condition whereby financial pressures become so large they dominate a person’s thoughts and affect him emotionally. Often at this stage relationships are damaged and health is compromised.

4. Money as a Major – in which a person applies most of his focus and fascination on how to acquire more. In this situation money is an idol.

5. Money as a Motivator – this is the condition whereby money is used to push one to higher achievement and greater contribution. This can be for both selfish or selfless reasons. Beware.

6. Money as a Manipulator – whereby a person uses his or her money to get what he or she wants out of other people. It is here where phrases such as “Money is Power” apply.

With a little help from my friends...

7. Money as a Minimizer – the condition in which the presence of money diminishes one’s ambition. This is where complacency and mediocrity reside.

8. Money as a Maximizer – where one is driven to utilize his or her money to make a greater contribution and maximize his or her potential. This is usually much more selfless and altruistic than #5 above.

9. Money as a Monument – where money is used as a status symbol, to build a reputation, or as an attempt to establish an immortal family legacy.

10. Money as a Menace – wherein the money one has is a destructive force in one’s life, either by feeding addictions or by causing fights or by dominating one’s time and energy with the care and maintenance required to sustain it.

Svenska: Forex's lilla kasse som man kan förva...

In considering this list, it may be helpful to ask yourself some questions, such as:

1. Which “Money View” best represents where you are right now?

2. Which of these “Money Views” have you encountered previoulsy in your life?

3. Notice that several of these “Money Views” are quite negative. What are you doing to make sure you are living under a positive and productive one? Which one would you choose?

4. What are you doing to grow in your financial understanding and education?

In each of the above views we see that money is always used as a Means. The key question in money matters is therefore, “As a means for what?” This is why the Bible again and again treats money as a heart issue. Money in itself is not evil, but the heart is desperately wicked, who can know it? Money becomes a dangerous or productive tool, depending upon the heart that wields it.

Make sure you choose your “Money View” deliberately and intentionally, don’t simply let it choose you. Pursue some financial education to enable you to be in charge of money instead of it being in charge of you. And guard your heart when it comes to money, in plenty or in want.

That’s my view.