Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do Your Own Search

There are far too many people that put their trust in professionals not knowing anything about them. Yes, I understand the concept of paying someone for their expertise because they went to school for that special subject that you not have the inkling nor the weatheral to stomach going through the hours they endured for the lectures, books, studying, tests, exams, just to do it all over again and keep abreast of any new reports that could make them do their jobs even better. With all of that tenacity to keep at it to get that specialized degree for the purpose of helping other people, it doesn't change the character of the integrity of the person.

How do find a professional with integrity? How do find an excellent lawyer, doctor, surgeon, dentist, building contractor, accountant, bank manager, or the like who isn't looking to clean all of your assets? Face it, there are too many people these days that went to school and chose the professions that they did soley for the money.

I would like to pose a few scenarios. You look at the dynamics of them and create a means where thwe layperson can come out of it ahead of the game.

Scenario #1:
You have a horrendous toothache and are going to see a dentist that one of your co-workers recommends. She has been going to this dentist since she was a child and has never steered her wrong in all of the years she has been going to him. He makes sure that you will not feel any pain and does not do any unnecessary procedurtes that you don't need... she says. So based on her word, you go see this dental professional. He has the hygenist do what she does and then comes to see you. Upon the first glance of your tooth, he says, "you have to have that pulled." You know it is a wisdom tooth and there is no reason to pull it if it isn't decayed. You convey that you would like to keep all of your teeth at all costs. He tells you that because of the shape of your face that you wouldn't be able to clean it properly and it will have to be pulled because of decay anyway, it might as well be now. You are in excruciating pain and know that what the dentist just said was crap! You ask could he free the gums from around the tooth so you won't feel any pain. He says no. Then he leaves with the hygenist who comes back in a few minutes to finish the cleaning you thought was already complete. She pokes at your gum with a pointy metal thing and asks if that hurts? You frown and nodd; she leaves to tell the dentist. He comes back with the x-rays to show a shadow around your tooth and says it is hidden tooth decay. What do you do?

Scenario #2:
You have been married for less than a year and are pregnant with twins. You are just elated with being a parent for the first time and everyone else is giving you such support and well wishes. The doctor has asked you some odd questions about you history (work, education, and income). Not knowing what that has to do with anything, you answer all of the questions that he says are necessary for the files. The pregnancy is going well although there has been a few times where the doctor says some little comments that are unnerving seeing it is your first pregnancy. He waits for your respionse to the odd things he says. The more questions you have the more inuendoes he seems to tell. Shaking off the wierdness of the conversation because the last thing you asked he said it had nothing to do with your health, the babies, or the outcome of the delivery. Then out of the blue after your scheduled visit, you get a frantic call from one the nurses who states that you have to come back to the office as soon as possible. The tests came back and showed something that the doctor must see know it isn't what he thinks it is. What is it, you ask. The nurse says that she can't say and it would be better that you come in and speak to the doctor. Knowing that you dont have a reason to be alarmed that you, the babies, your family and your spouse's family are all healthy you say with much confidence and conviction, " if it is all that important, have the doctor call me to make an appointment." The nurse answers with a tone as if it would be to your benefit to do as she asks, you hang up the phone. The doctor calls and says that the tests came back that you are a carrier of (pick an ethnic ailment of your nationality). You are in your 8th month and he is requiring a pelvic exam for some ailment that requires a blood test that you know you don't have and couldn't possibly be a carrier of. What do you do?

Scenario # 3:
Your car sounds funny. It sounds like the transmission. You have had the car (used) for about a year and have been taking good care of it. When going to the dealer, you see the salesman who sold you the car. She is very friendly and assures that the mechanics will find whatever the problem is and for you not to worry. When seeing the mechanic, you tell him what the problem is. He claims that you ned for the transmission to be overhauled and that will run you about $1500.00. Not expecting to have to spend that much, you have to make a decision. You simply can't keep driving the car with it sounding like it does. The mechanic is looking at you for answer as to what to do. He is not giving any other recourse that might not be as expensive. The warranty has run out and you know there is nothing else that sales person is going to do. The sale is done. She couldn't care less if set fire to the car. Just at that moment, you know it would be better just to get a tune up. Can't explain why you know this, you just do. When you tell this to the mechanic, he becomes soooo agitated as if you were making a decision about his car. He says that you are going to ruin the car if you don't do as he suggested. You maintain with your decision. The tune up takes an inordinate amount of time and when giving the diagnostic, you see that all of the fluids have been checked and filled. The mechanic is still clearly annoyed with you and shows this by not giving you the complimentary wasjhing of the vehicle when you leave. Oh well, the car is fixed, you say to yourself. You don't need the car washed anyway. You leave the garage and notice that your car sounds the same. Again, you get the feeling to go to a car parts store and get some transmission fluid. Checking the fluid witht he dipstick, you find the container completely empty. Filling it then driving, you see the car resumes sounding in top shape. You realize the mechanic was trying to cheat you out of some major cash that would have cost you $4.75. Angry at what has happened, what do you do?

Those are three separate scenarios that has happened to me. I have changedsmall bits and pieces where you could see yourself in them. My reaction could be completey different than what you would do. The point is, if you don't have some information before going into the so called professional establishment, it is like going to a wolf's den who sees you as prey. Your weapons of defense are being informed so you can be respected and the wolf sees he cannot take advantage of you. It isn't about going back to school (unless if thats what you would like to do), but just getting some minor facts. You have the internet. It is easy now.

With all of this new fangled technology, you have to be more aware than ever before. Remember the liquid protein that was suppose revelutionize the diet industry. People died from that. Think about all of the animal tested products for human safety. The long and short of that is, how do doctors know that the tested product doesn't cause some mental incapacity? Animals don't talk. Studying an animal's behavior doesn't mean that humans will react the same way. How is it that one set of medical professionals profess to keep from processed foods for your health and yet the medication is processed? The law requires for pharmeceutical companies to advertise the side effects to mediucations along with the benefits. When I asked my doctor why give a med that might cause such side effects and his answer is, well the side effects isn't as bad as the initial issue. Isn't that a matter of opinion seeing that the doctor won't be experiencing the side effects. Who's body is it anyway?

Just be alert and do your homework before embarking with telling any professional anything. He has many questions for you before taking your case. Shouldn't you have questions of your own before giving him your business? (Hosea 4:6 AMP)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Dad Is Bigger Than Yours

I remember such words being flagrantly spoken on a playground. With boys it was the makings of a fight. With girls it was a moment for discussion and then the decision whether or not to remain friends. Which ever the gender, the mere fact of the matter that with a Dad being there, he served as a safe place. There was someone there larger than myself who knows more than me and Mom put together. He doesn't buckle under pressure and seems to handle every situation with ease. There was absolutley nothing to worry about.

These days there are too many children who physically grew up not knowing who their father is and what he can do. Unfortunately, no one says that it is because of the poor decisions made but it is lile growing with something missing. The necessity of having a father goes without saying seeing the plight of the "nuclear family" these days.

And so, not having the joy of playground antics by daring someone to have a bigger or better father, the  child grows with the pressures of the world on his/her shoulders. He starts believing that no one loves him and that swells into other matters. I have counseled such children trying to find other means for them to be successful adults. Once some path has been made clear, one announcement on the news or certain celebrity's untimely demise and that clearing vanishes.

Psychiatrists and child psychologists are now finding how much children really do need structure and discipline. Gone are those foolish years of being the child's best friend first before being a real parent. A parent is better than a child's friend any day of the week. The parent that came up with friendship first was more consicouly aware of getting older than what was best for the child. What does a child have to brag about when his middle aged mother is still trying to look like the "material girl" and his father (if there) has to shake off his new compact hot rod off his hip just to get out of it? Put yourself in that child's shoes, would you rather have been an orphan or be embarrassed by introducing either of those two people calling themselves your friends but are your parents?

Orphans are no longer living in halfways houses with others just like them as depicted in such movies as Oliver Twist, Orphan Annie, and the Chicago Boys. They seem to be everywhere. The products of women believing they could have it all visiting sperm banks periodically to the teenaged girls looking for Mr Right Now. Both of those types of women have to work to provide for what they choose to do and the fruit of their loins have to search for emotional maturation elsewhere.

That search for emotional maturation can lead to some mental illnesses. Where will they go? Who are they talking to? Who or what is it that is influencing them? How they think didn't come by osmosis. The cares of the world can be too much for any one person to bare. How does a child digest the headlines of homicides, suicides, genocide, and the like? Where is the father to explain these matters so the child can have that care-free life?

Personally, I had to believe that there is someone bigger than me. Someone who created this world and everyone it it. Someone who knew that people were going to make mistakes and someone was going to learn from them while others just gave up. Someone else has to shoulder the burden of all that has happened and what is still to come. It is my personal belief in God.

No matter what anyone else says and how they make fun of a being greater than myself, my faith in Him has given me peace that surpasses all understanding. Scoffers can say what they will but do they have a restful sleep at night? Do they find joy in the midst of their environment? Can they readily resolve daily pressure? I do, I can, I do.

I have this mighty God  - my heavenly Father, who is much bigger than those cares, burdens, and pressures (Psalms 55:22 NIV). So why carry it if you don't have to? If you never had a father, you can now. All you have to do is believe that He is.

Oh, and by the way, when those scoffers come to make fun ( and they will), notice the tone and anger in their voice. Why are they upset? Who are you hurting when you cast off those cares on God? Why would anyone be pleased with seeing you loaded down or oppressed? Could it be, that they know He is actually bigger?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why Don't You Go to Church Anymore (part 1)?

It is a question I have asked a few people and there are a myriad of answers; which, if we were really being honest, a bunch of excuses for not doing what you know is good for you.

Even that doesn't make sense because we do everything else (practically) that's supposes to be good for us having retained the understanding for that. We know and have learned to eat food that is nutritious. It doesn't necessarily have to taste good but when we understand that it is good for the health of our physical bodies, we develop the taste for it and eat it anyway. Every once in awhile we'll taste a fast food item but we have also learned the more we stay away from those things that aren't good the less we crave the taste for them.

This would also be true with getting regular dental check ups and physicals. The dentist/doctor tells us what we have been doing wrong and if this or that doesn't change then there will be some harsh repercussions. What happens? Eventually, change occurs. It start with making the decision to do so. Once the decision is made everything else follows that decision.

That decision, if a good one, influences other matters in our lives. if the decision is to lie in bed and sleep rather than getting up and extra hour early to exercise then you cannot be upset with the results. If the decision is to lounge/bar hop until the wee hours knowing you have a presentation in the morning, whose fault is that? If the decision is to keep clutter at a minimum by giving clothes or household items away that you haven't used in years then the result is having an orderly home that is easy to manage and maintain.

Decisions are easy to make once we have the knowledge and understanding so what is decided can be of quality rather than made from pressure. There are no regrets when understanding and knowledge are in place. When we know that it is good, we simply do it. (Hosea 4:6 NIV), (Proverbs 18:21 AMP), (Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV)

Why Don't You Go to Church Anymore (part 2)?

Doctors say that excercise releases certain endorphins. Endorphins are hormones in the body which makes us feel good. These endorphins also motivate some people to keep a regiment of some sort of physical activity. Haven't you heard some say that when they don't exercise, they feel blah? They have gotten use to the endorphin release and are trying to keep that feeling. It is better and much healthier than trying to get a pseudo-euphoric feeling that alcohol/drugs can only temporarily give.With drugs/alcohol the side effects oppose endorphins which then also regulate sound decisions. Feeling food or escaping reality is what an addict/alcoholic think about and the results follow.

Recently a study of endorphins also found that taking a vacation from time to time also causes the mind to rest. Those who vacation do better in school, work, and home. Getting away from the daily grind just to have fun cleanses the mind and is health to your body. This would also be true (in smaller increments) in getting a good night's sleep (to bed before 11:00 p.m. and to be up and alert no sooner than 5:30 a.m.), as well with allowing 1 day to rest within a week. That is 6 days of work and 1 day not to do anything but relax. What happens? Endorphins!

Isn't that what we like from life - to feel good? Does it really have to be hard or can we have days of knowing we have done good toady? Believing or thinking that life has hardships when we understand that good decisions make good results just doesn't make sense. Yet if we think it without making the effort of research for ourselves then who is to blame? Aren't we responsible for what we do? (Proverbs 15:28 KJV) 

Why Don't You Go to Church Anymore (part 3)?

Responsibility is a crossroads for some. It is a poressure that the unequiped try to escape. we see this in family/divorce court, jail houses, bars, and on street corners. Life is hard for them because of what they believed, a decision was made, and the result followed. It doesn't feel good, there are no endorphins, and saying what they hate is more likely then enjoying all whart could have been.

Regret (guilt, remorse, low self esteem, despair, grief, discouragement) come when people get to their lowest point. Some rely on superficial means (alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, brawls, etc.) to get from their slump. These things don't work. Others come to a place where there is levity or at least a means to be happy. Studies have been done about having faith in someone bigger than ourselves. Just knowing that the pressures of life not being on our backs is in of itself a release off of our minds. The poverty in the world, war, the children without parents, thieves, prostitutes, drug addicts, car crashes, cities in ruin, the recession, scandalous politicians, influential celebrities with sorted lives, was just all too overwhelming to view each and everyday. Its alot to shoulder and if carried for long periods can explain the mental/emotional health of some people. Understanding that no one person can everything about social plight everywhere. We make charitable donations to those who need. Whether it actually gets to the people isn't your worry. You have done your part. If you think you should do more, then make a career out of it. Go study and see what job is best suited for you to make the changes you have a passion to do.

God created the world. God created people. People make decisions - good or bad. Having the belief that God sees all and is patient for us to do what is right takes time. Think of it this way, when your parent made decisions for you, how long was it before you rebelled? When did your parent stiop cleaning up your messes and allowed you to see what you have done? How long did it take for you to grow up and be the person you are now - responsible, successful,  productive? It siwhat a parent hopes for.

God is good. God is our heavenly Father. If your parent , having to learn what good is before teaching you to be good, how much more would our heavenly Father do for us?

Out of all that is offered in life for us, there is no endorphin that feels better than having faith. Witht hat decision, the best results follow. (Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV), (Proverbs 15:4 AMP)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Make Up Your Bed!

As children life was so simple. All we had to do was eat our vegetables and have fun. As we grew older things got a tiny bit more complex; we had responsibilities other than just having fun. We had to keep up with our hygiene, clean our rooms and put away our toys... but fun was still in the mix so hemming and hawing was but for a moment and the new responsibilites became habits. It was for our good and social acceptance was much easier as we learned what the need for those habits were.

Who knew that those simple things like brushing teeth, taking a bath, putting our toys away and making up our beds would carry us into a world that made bigger responsibilites much easier to do? Think about it, those that we work with that don't seem like they can get the easiest tasks done, what do you think their home life is like? You know that there home training had to be taught in a cave or under a rock! When I start a new job, without thought, I have to get the desk organized so I can do my job proficiently. I was talking to a co-worker while I was separating the paperclips from the rubber bands. The co-worker was mesmerized by what I was doing and didn't understand why it was necessary for me to do. I didn't know how to answer that other than it seemed to be out of place. Compulsive or just neat and orderly - a judgement call.

When does life become so overwhelming that a grown child goes back home? When that child didn't learn the basics as habits. This is why some parents enable their grown children to come back home because they believe they didn't give their children the skills they needed.

Parents, get over the guilt. Your children have learned survival skills in order to manipulate you to believe that you still have to house them! It is easy to blame the economy, the recession, no one is hiring, no one is willing to rent to a mother with so many children, and the like... but I would like to challenge any of you in that situation, what skills do you have to get yourself out of that bind? What do you recall from your childhood whether it be at home or in school; what is it that you learned that can take you from a social cripple at home with Mom (again) to a viable, productive, successful adult?

I was there; back at home as an adult. I didn't vent with a bunch of excuses but I had them ready if I needed them. Even writitng this, I have to keep myself from typing at least one to make myself feel better for returning home and staying longer than I ever should have. What I forgot was that I had other skills to use. My mother taught me how to crochet. You would think that you can't do anything with that but show visitors of your home that you have a whole lot of time on your hands. However,  there are craft shows, consignment shops, gift stores, and online boutiques that would welcome hand made crafts. I also know how to draw and paint. You would think that there isn't a big market for artists either but there are large companies with lobbies that change their art from time to time and other businesses coming up everyday not to mention online galleries for exposure (see my gallery below). Also along with me having a degree, I can write and help people do what they need to do. This might not be a huge paycheck by themselves but working all three can make a living until the next thing comes along. This is being innovative which cannot come about when your life is in clutter and constant turmoil. Who knew that such a simple thing as putting away your toys could take you from destitute to productivity?
(Ephesians 6:4 NIV), (Proverbs 24:27 AMP), (Proverbs 6:9-11 AMP)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Walking Requires Effort

People try to sort confused lives because they decide that they can get something for nothing. It just doesn't work.

Even when you think you can cheat the process by speeding up steps to gain the desired goal, it is never the joyfilled event you expect it to be.

I have many family members who are college graduates (including me). There is not one of us who had the privelege of obtaining that education without hard work. I have witnessed those whose parents, planned  and saved for their children. It is good; however, those that I witnessed that didn't have to toil and struggle financially for their degree, found much to complain about once achieved. From not having a large enough salary to the environment from which they were employed. The ones who labored to obtain knowledge were grateful to get a job. The ones who were given the tuition had higher expectations.

I suppose we can pull pros and cons from both; however, it doesn't take the perspective away from planning and prioritizing.

If you don't make the effort to work out a detailed 6 month, 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year plan with goals in place, you have no one to blame when the "golden years" are only a couple of decades away and you have nothing to show for the life that has been given you (Proverbs 24:27 AMP).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Whether liberal parents would like to believe it or not, children do like structure. They have no way of knowing what is right and what is wrong without someone giving some sort of guidelines to abide by. They may start off liking that they have no rules and pretend for awhile to be your friend because you are "the cool" parent, but shortly (and more sooner than later) those same wayward children will resent their so called "cool" parent because they are not well liked, they don't know how to resolve problems, and they don't know why they have to do what anyone tells them to.

Though I have written about parenting and discipline in various forms before, I am not referring to that same topic now. What I am recalling are all of those lessons I received while growing up and the benefit they have on me now. I am sure we have all received the same lessons in order for us to function successfully. However the one that seems to be resounding in me now is the one of having a clean home. These days with parents being so busy trying to keep a roof over their families' head and it being necessary to have 2 incomes, there doesn't seem to be time for teaching the importance of having a clean home. What I have learned over the years that its more important for there to be order, rules, a place for everything and everything in its place; so not to be rigid but to have freedom to deal with everyday issues that happen rather than allowing them to mount up into a mountain.

I suppose the lesson was really driven when watching the series on A&E network of Hoarders. These people may have never been the organizing type and for whatever reason justifies the filthy condition of their homes. They know there is a problem but when it comes time to solve it, they come up with so many excuses and reasons as not to get it resolved. The organizers find that with these people it is a mental condition that came about because of a traumatic situation such as a loss in the family, some physical ailment, or another mental condition that stemmed into hoarding. The last episode I saw was an educated woman who didn't go out to buy a myriad of new things but didn't throw away her garbage, It got so bad that she couldn't get to the bathroom and wore disposable adult diapers because of it. When the diapers were soiled, she didn't throw those way either. She finally got to the age where she was to retire and needed to have some sort of an income. Her daughter, who had lived in these conditions all of her childhood was looking to help her mother move but only if she found help to do so. When she came to see about her mother she told of how her mother could not even sleep in her bed but tied herself to a portal medical toilet so that when she dosed off she wouldn't fall into all of the mess she had created around herself. It was to no avail. She fell asleep and in so doing she fell with the toilet tied around her. She was wedged in and couldn't get herself out of it. They found her surrounded in her own waste.

In talking with her daughter she finally agreed that it was too much for her to even contend with so she was willing to move. She also agreed to have her home professionally cleaned so she could sell the home and have an income to live on while transitioning into a care facility. As the professionals came to assess the damage in the home and to clean it, they realized the cleaning process would be for the health of the mother to see what she had done over the years but the house in of itself had to be condemned. As they moved bag after bag of soiled adult diapers, the woman watched and smiled even made jokes about the garbage. The daughter didn't see the humor and had concluded that her mother could not live with her but had to be in a home for the elderly. She knew that the collecting would begin the moment her mother was in a new place - her home.

Its funny that the daughter claimed when she moved away from her mother that she did not pick up the habit of collecting garbage though she had lived with it her whole life. She made up in her mind that it was not a way she was going to live especially when she learned there was a better way. She found this when her friends in school would invite her to a sleep over. She marveled at the way others lived and set a goal for herself.

Would this not be true of anything we do? No matter what we have been taught from our parents, if we decide to do something different as long as there is a plan and determination in place, could it not happen? Would this also be true of one's health? Doctor's say that because of heretiary conditions, we will have the same problems as our parents. If one parent is diabetic, then we have a 50% chance of also being diabetic. If both parents are diabetic then it is inevitable that we will be also. But what if we were to study our parents and see that one would not stay home for one weekend but worked nonstop for the goal of just loving to work. Because of never resting and using caffeine as fuel, he had heart disease. Wouldn't it be common sense not to have that same kind of lifestyle so not to have the same results?

It is true that we tend to model behavior after those who raised us but its just not written in stone that we have to cling to the way they did things. Don't get me wrong, if it is good and it works, by all means, do that - but know what is good and what isn't. Both of my parents smoked while I was growing up. My mother smoked cigarettes and my father smoked cigarettes, a pipe, and occasionally a cigar or two. I liked the smell of the cigar and pipe but I never had the desire to smoke any of it. Granted when I was little I would go into their car and light up the butts left in the ashtray, but that was only pretending to be grown up. Once grown, (or in those few years) it made no sense to me to be spending that amount of money weekly just to burn it up. I didn't have to discipline myself not to smoke, I just decided I have no need for it.

What about you? Is it absolutely necessary for you to eat late at night or have the sweet snack just because you feel like having something sweet? Why do you procrastinate to do the laundry week after week? Why buy more clothes when all you have to do is wash what you have? Why make the landlord wait for the rent when you got your paycheck? He could have been one of the first people paid off. Why make excuses to not exercise when you know what the outcome of that will be? Clean up the mess you make around you. If nothing else, wash your own dish when you are finished eating. Make your own bed when you get up from it. Make sure you don't leave trash yourself when you get up from the living room. You don't have to wait for the NewYear to make the resolution, do it now! Establish a goal, write it down to make the steps to obtain it. Where do you see yourself 6 months from now, a year from now, 5 years from now, 10 years and so forth and so on? What I use to teach to my clients is, failure to plan, is a plan to fail.
(Proverbs 22:6 KJV)