The Art of Making Decisions

Personality plays an enormous role in whether it is easy or difficult to make decisions. However, there are some tried and true ways to become a little more decisive. I want to share these because I happen to be of a personality type that finds it rather easy to make decisions. Why? It is how God made me. I have many friends who find it difficult. Here is what I know. Before making a decision about something major in your life (or even a minor thing if you wish), always pray. Prayer opens your heart to be humble and admit you need God’s help. This is the attitude you need to start the process. Prayer works. You can get alone for a while and pray, play music and pray, pray on the fly in the middle of a crowd. The beauty of prayer is that it can happen anywhere, the more secret the better. Secondly, after praying, you make a list of pros and cons, why one answer would be great and why the same answer would be horrible. In what ways? And this is not a list where the majority wins because the most meaningful is the winner. If there is one pro and fifteen cons, that pro can still overpower. So, this is a list with priorities based on your moral standards and the importance of that benefit in your life. Thirdly, pray again. I tell ya, it never ever hurts. Fourthly, read some Psalms. Why? To distract you. Obviously this has occupied your thoughts for some time and focus for as much of it and you need to be a little looking at something that is truth but that has nothing to do with your decision. Seems strange, but it works. We tend when we have problems to work out and decide on to focus on ourselves, maybe even becoming too self-involved for a bit and our perspective when we focus on ourselves is probably biased by what others say who may or may not know the whole picture and are not God so do not know what is best for you. So, reading some truth gets you into hopefully a more objective, honest seeking frame of mind, especially truth God wrote, as He knows the best answer for you. Fifthly, re-evaluate the list of pros and cons. Look at it again with new eyes, maybe even wait a few days between steps four and five. Patience pays dividends. Sixthly, if an answer is still not forthcoming, choose extremely carefully someone you trust who is capable of being objective and demonstrates wisdom and a common love of God and seek counsel. Lay enough information there to be fair to the process of seeing counsel and objectivity and see what is said. Pray together or ask them to pray and think it over and get back to you if a deep subject with layers. Listen, but always listen knowing that discernment must be taken and allowances made that that person is a human with their own biases and opinions that may or may not be perfect for the job, but you get another opinion and that matters. Next, pray again that God reveals to you whether to trust that opinion and again what your decision should be. And lastly, make the best decision you can with the tools here and trust that decision followed due process, and LET YOUR FAITH GROW by sticking to the decision. A wavering flower that opens and closes at a whim is not as beautiful as that which stays open to show the world its beauty. If you have made the best decision you can, live there, embrace it, keep it, love it, accept it. Then you will follow this process more easily and readily the next time. Taking your time to make a decision is never wrong, it is not about speed. Some make it quickly, some take their time, but if you follow these steps, you are much more apt to make a correct decision and feel really good about it and yourself for making it. And I am very proud of you if you make a decision and stick with it. Courage is revealed through this. It is beautiful and blessed by God. Peace be with you!!!

Crafty for Dummies

Okay, so I have a few friends who know that I homeschool. They know that we are artsy and crafty in this house. And some of them wonder how it happens. And I assure you it is entirely not an accident. And if you wondered, as I have been asked a lot, how it can be done in your home with your kids, please read on. Otherwise, probably started the wrong article. lol So, the secret to crafting success is to try new things. That is the philosophy behind it- exploration. So following this theme with a distinctive and necessary lack of laziness and embracing of the new or different, you have a winning combination for becoming a crafty family. Other tools of the trade are much more practical. Thinking outside the box and thinking craft is imperitive. I save little glass jars, cardboard, egg cartons, thread spools, newspapers, screws, beads, string, whatever you are about to throw away, look at it and see if there might be a use. If not, please throw it away or recycle. If, however, you had a sudden inspiration to make said item into an amazing paper flower vase or paper mache template, keep it and put it in a craft closet/drawer/section in the closet. Then use it to make your idea a reality when you have assembled all the ingredients. Treat it like a recipe and making a cake, also fun to make with paper. Sometimes we take a hike and a bucket with us and collect interesting mosses, rocks (for painting of course), twigs, feathers, leaves, wildflowers, whatever we find and assemble it into an object, like a bird or hot glue onto a wood or foam board in the shape of a ship or the woods you hiked through, whatever. The only end to a project is your imagination. And supplies. So be sure to keep a supply of paint, brushes, paper towels, water cup, glue, scissors, hot glue, tape, construction paper, qtips, cotton balls, whatever is usually needed when inspiration arises. Be proactive in seeking out projects. There are also a lot of ideas on Pinterest, the internet, book stores if you can still find one, magazines, the library, wherever to show you other people’s ideas to get you started or kits you can buy at craft or hobby stores. But we found the funnest crafts were ones the kids thought up in their heads and we did it. It gives them a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of seeing their idea turn up in reality, built by their own hands. Boosts their brain cells and grows their ability and sense of pride in work. So it is well worth the effort. And last idea is use what you find where you are. We recently went to the beach, so we brought back some shells, some of which are painted already. Others will be glued onto a picture frame which will house a pic of our trip. So many options if you keep your imagination open and willingness applied. Craft on!

Loving People

I believe you have to be a studier of people before you can begin to know and understand what on the planet you can do to meaningfully love them. I also believe you have to be a studier and child of God before you can love them after you have studied them. Think about that for a minute. It is very deep… Let it sink in. 🙂 The more you study and understand a person you are trying to love, the more you see the walls they have built up to protect and hide themselves from differing levels of mistrust and fear and doubt, trying to cover and excuse sins, walls riddled with varying degrees of lies centered around some core ugly lie they believe about themselves. Even “normal” (whatever that is) people have these to some degree. Even Christians have varying spiritual maturity levels so different degrees of walls they still have not yielded. It seems like a lot of work to love someone, so I believe that is why we don’t see more of it. I am not speaking of love you get something back from, like lust or service or promotion/elevation. If it serves your purpose, it is not truly love, it is payment, isn’t it? No, the love I am speaking of is love in service to God for the sake of so done He created and loves. So loving them shows your devotion and worship to God as a thanks and worship for all He is and has done for us. It produces nothing, expects nothing but costs something. This type of love is truly rare these days and this rarity is probably the reason for falling away from the church and sharp moral decline of late. It is imperative that we followers of the way of Love truly embrace the notion of loving who God puts purposely in our path. And we do this by the following: 1. Keep in close contact with God through Bible reading, meditation and prayer. We must keep our focus and this world bordering on insanity will steal your concentration and focus in a heartbeat if we are not vigilant. 2. Study those we determine to show love to, not in a creepy stalking way, you understand, but by conversations and observations. 3. Be an example of Jesus Christ all the time to the best of your ability. People will not listen to love from one unworthy of the word. 4. Find a need and fill it. If someone needs service, serve them. If they need their bags carried, carry them. If they need their house cleaned, clean it. If they need a spare tire put on, put it on. If someone needs a hug, hug them appropriately. If someone needs encouragement, encourage them. If they need a listening ear, listen and refrain from “helping” or putting your two cents in unless asked. If someone needs a gift, give it. All that we have, all of our abilities come from our mutual Creator. We are all designed in Heaven before we ever arrive in the womb. We are all here on purpose for God and each other. If we act on this belief, we can change the world, one loving act at a time.

My Life in an Oldies Rock & Roll Band

As a hobby and where I met my husband, I play the keyboard and sing in our oldies rock & roll band called Smooth Sentiment Band. We perform standards and classics (usually hits of the time) from the 50’s to 70’s. It is good clean fun for us and the mostly clubhouses in Central Florida venues we play in. I thought other people who do not have the opportunity to be in a band might be curious as to what it is like. There are two phases of description: one is the inner workings of a band and the other is stage performance. Phase 1: inner workings of a band. Here is the fun work. This is where each band member works independently on their part of the song, sometimes figuring out your part on your own from listening to the song about a million times or you can cheat and get it from sheet music or YouTube. Once you have your part, hopefully by the next band practice/rehearsal, all the band practices their parts together with the singer(s). The more this happens, the better the band gets together at reading the band members’ individual cues or playing style and it starts to gel or click. This is where the band stops being a group of musicians playing together and starts being family. In fact, we are often closer than a lot of family because music has a way of promoting community and acceptance and mutual respect in a band. Of course, I have been in bands where this never happens because of immaturity or egos, but we are honored to be in a band now that has clicked. Yay! Phase 2: stage performance. Here is the work going from behind the scenes to presentation. This part is where the rubber meets the road, the reward for the hard work. We arrive an hour before the gig starts to set up and later will stay an hour after and tear down. If it is a dance, we play an alternating 2 fast and 1 slow songs. This generally keeps dancers on the floor without exhausting them hopefully. It also keeps things interesting. If it is a show, we dress the songs up a bit and play entertaining tunes that may not be easy to dance to. It is always great fun! Many bands are nervous before a performance always and forever, but I grew up on stage and don’t have stage fright, thank the Lord! The reward is the good times people have who hear us as well as the money they pay us. It validates our hard work. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit of behind the scenes of bands.