Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Rant on Black Friday and the Total Nonsense of the Concept!!!!!

The photo above was one I quickly snagged randomly from a Google search, there were many others that basically show the same thing, Pure Insanity!
I don't 'do' black Friday, simply because we have never been big on buying from major stores and we definitely do not go crazy with shopping from any stores or shops.  We live by a very strict budget that does not allow throwing away money on non essentials.  If we purchase gifts they must be: high quality so they will not break tomorrow; well thought out and researched; and something that we 'know' that person will absolutely love.  We don't buy just to spend money, and the last thing any of us needs is more stuff to fill up our already overflowing homes.  I particularly don't do black Friday because most of our shopping is done well in advance, that way we can spread out the purchases and stay within budget.
I must admit that the allure of freebies or saving a lot of money on things is a big selling factor, we all love free and a good deal, so black Friday is going to pull in the majority of people.  Initially it was a cute concept some years ago, people lined up early in the morning and the news people had fun showing the chipper shoppers getting their good deals.  
As with most things that are good and fun, this has turned from a fun day into a day of violence, anger, hatred and total selfishness.  You'd think that we could be happy for that other shopper that they got a good deal, remember that 'do unto others' thing?  Yeah, that.  Be happy for them, they'll be happy for you, everybody comes out a winner.  You know....that GROWNUP thing!
The idea of being kind, generous, joyful, calm, peaceful, caring, loving, giving, unselfish, trusting, lending a hand, showing generosity seems to have gone out the door.  Our world is becoming a me, me, me laden society full of greed and jealousy.  Crowds of folks cannot even get together anymore without total chaos ensuing.  Folks can't stand for others to have something they cannot have so they will go to any means to get it, theivery, violence, even murder....all for 'stuff'.  We spend Thanksgiving day being thankful with family, thanking God for our many the next day we can turn into a selfish, money hungry monster!!!  You know it's true!
You want to know the true irony in all this?  Truly who is winning in this 'snag the best deal'?  Is it you?  Is it me?  Is it the consumer in general?  The answer is a big, fat, enormous, huge, NO!  What we are doing through this spending frenzy is fattening up the pockets of the corporate world!  Not the little guy that works at Wal-Mart at the checkout, or the guy in the electronic department of Best Buy, he's going to get his same paycheck whether we purchase or not.  The money that we are shoving at them for their 'stuff' is going into the pockets of the big guys in the corporate offices and the share holders will come out pretty good too when their profits skyrocket because we are shoving our hard earned money down their throats.  
Once again, that little guy that works at Wal-Mart as a greeter, is he pocketing any extra money because of our rash purchases....NO!!!!!!  He has this job because he has to feed his family, his salary is low so of course he owns no stock in the company, he barely gets by with his measly paycheck.  On that same subject, how much are we spending that we actually should not be spending?  Where does your Christmas spending money come from?  Do you have to cut back on groceries or not pay your electric bill because of the spending and then the after affects when the season is over?  
I am a small business owner so it's important to me that folks shop small businesses.  Are we shopping at the small shops in our towns?  Do you bypass that cute little country shop to buy the mass produced items at Wal-Mart that we made in China?  Every time we make a grocery purchase at Wal-Mart we are contributing to the decline of the small farms, the mom and pop stores, the carpenter that works for weeks on that perfect piece of furniture made from solid wood.  Their items are more expensive but that quality and craftsmanship will outlive our children's children, we can hand down good quality items to the next generation.
Take a look around your home, is it full of 'stuff' you just had to get at Wal-Mart?  Plastic is not something to hand down to the next generation.  
We need to think these things through.  I've seen way too many families that end up just throwing everything from a loved one away because it is literally, all junk!  That's nothing to leave behind!  Let's start thinking about what we're surrounded by in our homes and make it a point in the new year to de-clutter the junk and don't bring in anymore!   More to come........

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nipping the Seeds of Anger and Frustration in the Bud

Oh how quickly our peace and joy can become littered with seeds of anger and frustration.  Those moments of complete peace are sometimes so fleeting that we can't remember them at all.  Life is moving to fast and we can't seem to stay caught up with the pace of it all.  Suddenly the little seeds start sprouting, slowly at first and then quickly until our thoughts are moving in such a fast speed that it seems impossible to find a moment to breathe and pray.
Thankfully, God is right there.  He is there today, tomorrow and will be there for us in every moment.  The fault of course lies with us, we forget that He is just a breath away or maybe we like feeling this anger and feel that it's only fair that we sulk for awhile.  After all, life is difficult and others are seemingly always finding a way to slither in and water those seeds until they've grown so big it's impossible to overcome them, so why not go ahead and shout in anger at anything and everything in your path??  
This was my life years ago, I would actually pick a fight with my husband because I was sooooo angry.  No, I wasn't angry with him, I was....well, truth be told I was probably having a bit of the old PMS, but I sure wouldn't have admitted it back then! LOL  Anyway, just my luck, I married a guy that won't fight, won't argue, it's just not in him to do and he wouldn't waste the time doing it.  He wakes up in a good mood and goes to bed in a good mood, always has, it's just him.
So, what would I do, well usually I would storm out the door, get in my car and drive.  He wouldn't come after me because he knew the drill, a bit of time alone with my thoughts and I would come back home very apologetic.  This worked great until we had our first child, then your not quite as mobile and slamming the door with baby, diaper bag, car seat, etc. just doesn't have the desired effect!!!

I found myself facing this situation today, though.  I had just felt so good and life was great, suddenly an outside force stormed in and stole my joy, someones attitude affected me in such a way that I couldn't find that peace I had just a few moments earlier, this person was miles away but the anger was there and real.
As I type this I've finally breathed slowly, prayed and changed my way of looking at the situation, I cannot change this person so why should I try.  I prayed for them and I prayed for me to forgive and let it go, they don't want forgiveness, they want my anger but I know that I have forgiven and I'm back nuzzled under the wonderful peace that only our Saviour Jesus Christ can give.

For now, I have peace.  For now, I have just enough.  That's truly all I need, just enough.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Do We Need to Have Joy?

What could make you feel absolute joy?  Would the joy last or would it be fleeting?  Is it possible to go an entire 24 hours feeling that joy without letting anything else come in to upset it?
It may sound like a simple thing, but we all know it's not.  As soon as we find that something that gives us a feeling of great joy and throws something at us that takes it all away.  We all have had those moments when life was perfect...maybe when our babies are born, is there anything that makes you feel more 'complete' and content than holding a little baby for the first time, whether you've birthed it or are receiving it through adoption, that feeling of love and content is totally overwhelming!  Of course then the baby cries, and won't stop, and you're tired and they're tired and 'whoosh', turmoil invades the peace!

We could say 'that's just human nature', but I disagree.  Peace and Joy can be found in any given moment, all we need to do is be looking for it.  My grandparents were farmers, life was probably difficult for them every single day.  You didn't go to the grocery store to get what you needed, you raised a cow, chickens, gardens, fruit trees, horses for labor, etc.  The day began very early for them, you were up with the cows, because they had to be milked and you needed the milk for breakfast.  There were chickens to be fed, eggs to be gathered, bread baking to begin and all of this had to be done before breakfast.  The chores were never ending, the work was brutal, the weather a constant battle, etc.  Of course there were the predators that needed to be kept at bay, your farm animals were not pets, they your livelihood, your food, your bartering items, so losing them to prey was not an option.

My grandfather was a Minister and was a very peaceful man.  My grandmother was the one that kept things in check around the house and the farm, particularly while grandpa was traveling as a pastor.  Grandma had many, many things to worry and fret about, the least of which were of course the nine children they were raising.  I know there were many worries, WWI, then WWII took two of her sons away from the farm and life changed drastically waiting every day for word, letters were sparse and I remember my mom saying she hated going home after checking the mail if there were no letters from the boys, because it was such a scary time for them all and letters kept them going.  Both of my uncles came home from the war without any battle wounds.

I know that grandma found the joy, at the end of the long hard days when her family was there in bed all safe and sound.  Her concerns were not 'what would she wear tomorrow?', 'were her kids content with their toys?'.  Her concerns became heartfelt prayers to the Lord for the safety and health of her family.  If they had that, they had 'just enough' for that day.  Grandma knew loss, she lost a daughter that was a newlywed, there was a fire and she died from the wounds from the fire.  I don't believe my Grandma was ever the same after that, I know most parents say they are never the same after losing a child.  The pain is always there.

But, my grandma knew the Lord.  She knew that only through Him could she find that peace and joy that we crave so intently.  I pray that you know my Jesus, He is the only way.  

Life is very hard, but it is short, the most important decision we can ever make is to follow Christ.  If we know Him and have Him in our heart, we know that after our time is done here on earth, we can be with Him in eternity.  It is written in the Scriptures, so it is indeed truth.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Is Anyone Ever Really Content?

I find that everyone has a favorite time of year, don't they?  My hubby adores heat, the hotter the better.  Seriously, he would be happy to live in an area that is in the 90's all year.  He works outside, on the ramp, at the airport so it gets very hot but he loves it, he says the sweatier he gets the better he likes it.  I'm sure that's healthy for him and he certainly does work hard.
Most folk seem to hate the heat, hate the cold, hate the rain, hate the snow....see the pattern here?  I know that the weather is always a fine conversation starter because we all have a strong opinion about it and are not shy about throwing in that opinion!
What bothers me is that it just seems to give us one more thing to complain about, do you know what I mean?  I know some folk that never complain about anything and there a very few of them, generally we're all guilty of over-complaining.  It's a constant with people these days, I hate that it gets dark earlier/later, I hate the rain/snow/cloudy weather/chilly weather, etc.  Hate is just one of those words that we've come to use everyday in conversation because most idle chit chat turns into a complaining session.
What's really kinda sad is that we all have seemingly stopped looking for joy in the day to day.  You know folks that say 'Oh, when we finally get our house, things will settle down and we'll be fine' or 'If we could just get ahead, I'd be content' or 'If life would just slow down, we could get a moment of peace'.  Sadly, these folks will be saying this about the next issue in their lives also because we live in a fallen world and we are sinners.  We are not and never will be perfect, which therefore dictates that life will not be perfect either.  Just ain't gonna happen!
In my over 50 years on this earth I've discovered that life is basically a day to day struggle.  Bad things will happen, they always have.  I hear people say, 'Oh, this must be the end times because of all the bad things that are happening'!  I remember living through many, many, many bad things that have happened in this world, we've been through racial tension, global tension, political tensions within our country, all of this has been going on for the many decades I've lived and I know there were horrible things before then.  The Holocaust, Civil War, Great Depression, WWI, WWII, the list is truly endless.
But there is good news!  We can make today a joyous day!  The secret?  Just smile and be content.  Be happy in the now, right this minute look to the sky and appreciate God's beauty that he put there just for us!  Whether you're looking at the night sky, dusk (as I am) or bright daylight, the sky is just amazingly beautiful!!!  Look up!  Kinda neat that you're looking at the same sky I'm looking at!  I love that!

Lastly, I'm not making light of the fact that there is sickness, death, financial issues, etc.  I know those problems well.  But, we have to make the very best out of every situation and your smile may be the only one someone else will see today and what they're going through could be 100 times worse than what you are.  Let others see Christ through you, that inner peace is only a breath and a prayer away!