Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Path in the Wilderness

The other day I came across an interesting article on parent's advice for their children. This got me thinking about where I'm at in my life. What experiences that have molded me into the character I've become. And what advice could I pass down to future generations. I remember when I was a young bride standing next to my handsome husband at our wedding reception. Everyone around the room gave a tid bit of advice as the microphone was passed across the room to relatives, friends, and associates. I heard, "never go to bed angry," "always say you love each other before you leave the house," and "treat each other with respect." I almost think its a little cliche if you ask me. Half the individuals don't even practice their own advice in their own marriages. It's as if people are programed to say certain things to be socially accepted. But as the Lord says, You will be known by the fruit you bare.
I suppose you could say I was starting to examine my own fruit. Then it hit me. Every decision I've made up to now has set me on a course for my future. I've made some really bad decisions but I've made good ones too. I believe the best advice I've ever received is from an elderly man. He told me, "your twenties dictate the path of your future. What you decide to do in your twenties will set your foundation for the rest of your life." It's true if you think about it. That's when you get your education, get married, most have children, start a career, etc.. My twenties have come and gone but I thought about my own piece of advice for my future children.

When you become a young adult you will have many decisions you have to make. There are three classifications of people in the life.

The first group are blessed to have wise council. This group of individuals are given a map to the path of success. They are not only shown the location of the path but given advice of where and when to be cautious on the journey.

The second group are truly blessed. They weren't given a guided tour of the path or told the location of the path. However, they searched it out and found it on their own. And without any advice they stumbled a few times on their journey. However, they become very acquainted with this path (knowing every twist and turn). Before long they could guide anyone blind folded because of their will and determination to press on, even during the pot holes, canyons, and peaks. They become the most experienced hikers of them all.

Then their is the third group who are plain lost. They don't even know that they should be looking for a path. They are still in the wilderness sitting in the sticks. They aren't doing much of anything. They are bored and depressed because they have nothing to do.

In life you have to make a decision. Some, like the first group, are granted a lot of great advantages. They know nothing but the path of success. But for most of us their comes a time when you have to decide if you are willing to do the work to find the path of success. If you decide to travel that path you will meet up with other hikers. They will be positive, encouraging, optimistic, and hard workers. However, if you decide to stay in the forest you'll be surrounded by laziness, depression, discouragement, criticizing, and oppression. One way or another the decision is made.

Some don't even know that they have already made the decision. If you decide not to do anything at all you've made your decision. That's why it's important to examine the fruit of others. Their works, what they have produced in their lives. Don't listen to words but look for evidence. If the people you are surrounded by have rotten fruit you need to begin to search for the path. And if you've been on the path and all of sudden you see fruit flies you'll know that you need to turn around in a hurry.

This is the advice I'll be handing down to my children. This is what I've learned so far in life. Success isn't so much about material possessions, self gratification, or spiritual pride. It's about relationships that you surround yourself with. What you do for others and what others do for you. You have decisions that are made every single day of your life. What type of character will you be today? Will you encourage or discourage others? Will you follow the path or sit in the wilderness? It's wise to make decisions for your life rather than life making the decisions for you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Power of Sweet Tea

Yesterday afternoon I found a block of time where I actually had everything on my daily "to do list" accomplished. Yes, I was actually ahead of schedule. Normally I would want to go for a walk on the greenbelts near our house but it was pouring down rain. I decided to flip through the channels and landed on a lovely old classic movie (black & white). The woman had invited a group of ladies over for tea and scones. That got me thinking about our society today. We don't spend time visiting anymore or building strong relationships with friends, neighbors, and family. It's as if everyone is too busy these days to take interest in anyone else.

Living in the deep South it wasn't uncommon to sit on the porch swing sipping a nice cold glass of sweet tea with your family. Offering a cool glass of tea was extending love to your neighbor, friend, etc. Especially during those hot humid summer months. The fan would be slicing through that thick humid air and you could feel the sweat dripping from your face to your legs. It was too hot to move, ha. On a day like that a cold glass of tea would refresh other's spirits. You would offer a glass, sit, and catch up.

My husband and I were at dinner and I couldn't help notice the table next to us. A family sitting in absolute silence, two teenagers were texting, the youngest child playing with a video game, and the parents starring into nothingness not saying a word. I thought to myself, how sad. I suppose you could call me and my husband old fashioned. See, I believe in spending time discussing the daily events, the blessings of God, and focusing on the hope and dreams of the future. If you sit next to me I'll want to hear your life story, your future dreams, and what God has done for you. That's where encouragement, support, and love come from, spending time with others. Not sitting in silence but really visiting with each other.

You'd be surprise what a pitcher of sweet tea could make. I'm a firm believer that sweet tea could change the world.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Cold January Day

Today is a cold January morning. I have the heater on, my cozy warm socks, and a sweater. I'm about to prepare a warm pot of Earl Grey tea before I start the day. With a glance I can see the grey morning peeking through my plantation shutters as to tell me that a new day has begun. It's drab and cold, nothing is alive, all my flowers are dead. It's easy to find the long dark winter months as a bit depressing. That is unless you really understand what this season is all about.

January is a month of new beginnings. Almost like a rebirth to another year. It is a time to work on getting your house in order. What we do today we will reap the rewards of tomorrow. Sort of reminds me of the scripture "God will not be mocked; what you reap you will sow"- Galatians 6:7.
So, as I look into the cold wintry morning I can see this as a new exciting day. I begin to concentrate on the things around the house that need attending to. Perhaps cleaning the closets, pantry, organizing books. It's time to prepare for my harvest for rewards. What I do today I will see the fruits of my labor this Spring.

Isn't it exciting to look out across the horizon and know that you have the ability to start a fresh new year? It's like a clean slate. You can work harder this year, you can achieve your goals this year, you can have blessings this year. It's all up to you and what you are willing to do for yourself. I envision a boat, some will not even place it in the water, some are just floating without a destination, and others will direct that boat into their future. I see my boat and I'm ready to place it in the water to set sail for a future of great blessings. I can't wait to see where 2010 is going to take me.