Archive for the ‘houses’ Category

Best Selling Self-Help Books

October 7, 2009

For the past 30 or 40 years there has nearly always been a self-help book on the bestseller list.  Some of the personal stories are quite astounding and very inspirational.  I’m very happy for the people who beat addiction or crime and now have a nice life.  I saw a television interview with such a man.  He beat crime and drugs by changing his thinking and his self talk.  Now he is a best-selling author with a family and a nice life.  Very inspirational, but I caught myself thinking “now what?”  So many addicts were very successful people with a family and a nice life.  They all said their life felt empty, meaningless and without purpose.  A meaningless life is painful and drugs numb the pain.  And I asked myself “Where is God in this success story?”  It is from God we achieve our sense of meaning and purpose.  He made us all for a purpose and He tells us what the purpose is.  Without that taproot of purpose I’m like a rose I planted that blooms great for awhile and then dies for lack of a root system.  Getting off drugs is wonderful.  Getting off drugs without God has its limits.  If my car has an empty tank and I need to make a 10 mile trip, I can push the car 10 miles and write an inspirational book about it.  I may receive loads of admiration for my feat in achieving the 10 mile push through sheer will power.  I can also fill my tank with what the car was made for and drive 400 miles in that time.

Keeping Stuff

August 19, 2009

I helped Michelle move last week, and oh my goodness, do they have a lot of stuff!  It got me to thinking about why people keep so much stuff they absolutely can’t organize a closet or a garage or an office.  I think there are a number of reasons.

First, I think people who felt deprived in childhood save things because deep down they believe they will once again be deprived and might need these things.  They may save old clothes that are out of style, old excess goods of any kind, too many linens, old furniture in the garage, old home decor from previous houses.  Its just a hedge against the possibility of future want.

Second, I think people save things because they spent too much money on them, and even though there is no likelihood of their being used again, its too much money wasted if they give it away or sell it at garage sale prices.  However, considering the costs involved in keeping a lot of stuff around, keeping unused things might be throwing good money after bad.

Third,people save things because they have a memory attached to them.  They are afraid if they get rid of the item, they might lose the memory.

Fourth, people save things because someone they love gave them the item, and they are afraid to hurt the person’s feelings.

Fifth, people save things because they don’t take time to regularly clean out.  They keep stuffing things away without thinking about whether they need it.  This is how magazines, paperwork, “freebies” etc get stacked up to overflowing.  Its just too much after a long day or week to go through things and THROW STUFF OUT.

All this stuff is eventually enslaving.  Living amid clutter is low level stress.  Having things organized where you know what you have and where to find it is liberating.  There are a lot of good books out there about how to organize anything from your house to your life.  Go for it!  It may be one of the cheapest and most refreshing vacations you ever spent.

A Dream House

April 16, 2009

Recently I toured a number of very beautiful homes.  Some were so especially delightful, I felt upon exploring them that I had somehow truly come home.  They almost felt like something I had once designed for myself, or a nearly forgotten home I’d long ago lived in and loved.  They brought out such pleasant emotions!  I believe the mansions God has promised–the ones Jesus said he is preparing for us in Heaven will be like that.  We will love every detail of our heavenly homes, because Jesus knows every detail of what we love.  Homes we have loved here may be a foretaste of our forever homes in Heaven.

Miracles Part 1

November 17, 2008

Some say the age of miracles has passed, but I don’t think so.  I saw my first miracle when I was 11 or 12.  My family was very poor, and our roof was very old.  We were using nearly every container in the house to catch the leaks during one of the slow moving frontal storms with day after day of rain.  Daddy went through the kitchen in the dark one night, and kicked over yet another new, leak catching bucket.  He called the family together and announced we would pray for a new roof.  He reminded God that he usually only asked for spiritual blessings, but wanted to make an exception this time because our situation was getting serious.  That week he got a free estimate and learned a new roof would cost the equivalent of two months income for our family. 


A couple of days later, a letter came to my mother from an elderly, maiden aunt.  She told Mama “you are in my will, but something prompted me to wonder if you might not need help now.”  Enclosed was a check for the amount of the roof estimate.  The check had been written before the roof estimate!

Reasons I believe in God part 1

July 4, 2008

I have given a lot of intellectual reasons to believe in God, but I have some experiential reasons to believe.  Answered prayer, specifically, dramatically answered prayer is something not easily written off-particularly when it occurs more than once in a lifetime.  I will write a series about my life, recounting some of the answers to prayer, partly as a way of thanking God for His goodness to me and my family, and partly as a way to build your faith.  God is real, and He is involved in the lives of people who are reaching out to Him.

When I was young, possibly 10 or 11 years old, our family was very poor.  My father had become disabled and unable to work, and my mother could not earn enough at her clerical job to support a family of 5 people.  Things were gradually falling apart around our house.  Our roof was leaking, and during the April rains, we were running out of containers to hold the drips.  One night as my father was walking in the darkened kitchen, he kicked over a bucket of rainwater–one he didn’t know was there.  This was another new leak!  He gathered our family in the living room and told us we were going to pray about our situation.  This was new.  Although our family gathered for nightly prayers, it was unusual to ask God for mundane things.  Dad prayed something like this: “God you know I have always believed we should only ask you for spiritual things, or really serious things.  I know a new roof isn’t all that important a request, but it is becoming very uncomfortable for us to live with all these leaks, and it may permanently damage our house.  If you would please understand our need, would you help us?”  In the next couple of days, he got an estimate on a new roof.  It would cost $800.  That was over two months salary for Mom, and it might as well have been two years salary.  It was an impossible obstacle.  A couple of days after the estimate, Mom got a letter from a maiden aunt.  It said something like this:”  My dear, you know you are in my will, but I don’t intend to die for a long time yet, and it occurred to me you could use some help now.  Please use this for your family as you see fit.”  Enclosed was a check for $800!

One Month to Live part 2

March 16, 2008

I started a post some time ago on the “one month to live” movement.  I have given it some more thought.  Its a very heavy subject.  Imagining myself with only 4 or 5 more weeks on this earth, helps me put into perspective what is really top priority.  One thing I now know to be low priority is “stuff”.  I recently talked with a friend who has moved into a retirement apartment.  She and her husband (now deceased) had already downsized twice, and each time it was painful to try to give away their “stuff”.  Things that seemed valuable to them weren’t wanted by most of their loved ones.  They had to twice watch their “stuff” picked up and dumped unceremoniously into a Salvation Army van.  This move was the hardest for her.  For her most recent apartment, she had saved only her most favorite possessions, the ones she considered most valuable, most beautiful, or special family heirlooms.  Now she was, as a widow, having to downsize again.  She really wanted to keep what was left “in the family” …and the family wanted very little of it.  While sad, this really changed my perspective on “stuff”.   I’ll keep something as long as I need, love or enjoy it, but not for my heirs, unless they have specified they want it.   Then I’ll learn to enjoy things in the “here and now”, and let go when I must.  There will only be a few things from this life in eternity.  Just God and relationships with people.  Heaven will be too full of new things to even think of what is left behind.  “Stuff” will be as missed as baby things are missed by a teen.  As Paul said “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.”