Category: Random

Good Times Sort of

Lately I have been going through a number of changes and transitions (to say the least). I have missed those good times that I discussed in my previous posts even more. Since my blog is about the good life and good times I didn’t want to be a downer and post a complaint about bad times (then I would need to modify the name of my blog).
We all go through bad times at some point during our lives. Inevitably, if you live long enough you will experience bad times. Those are times when situations and circumstances seem overwhelming. Those are often the times that make you stay on your knees in prayer and evaluate the most important aspects of your life. Difficult times, whatever they are, require us to have God on speed dial; constantly communicating with him about our feelings and needs in order to see our way through. Though I may not always receive the ideal or favorable outcome, I am confident that good times will come again. I must admit however that during the bad times, I make promises to myself that I will enjoy the good times wholeheartedly when they return. I also promise God that I will be grateful for those good times if He promises to give me just a glimpse of something good. Though bad times may not appear to have any good at first glance, they are indeed better than we realize. Often times there are good people standing on the sidelines cheering us on and praying on our behalf. Therefore you can rejoice in the bad times for good people, more good times and a Good God!

James 1:2

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, cause you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you can become mature and complete.”

Fairy Tale

As a parent I am often inundated with children’s shows and cartoons. There are often real life practical messages that take place in fairy tales and cartoons. I wonder if cartoons are really written for children, or if they are in fact written for the adults because the writers know that we will be forced to watch them countless times. Real life however is not a fairy tale  There are often real life stressors and factors that leave us overwhelmed and there is no prince charming to save the day. That is the difficult part to accept about life. It is real and sobering and you must continue on despite the difficulties you face. I have learned that despite difficulties you must move forward, just as I described in my sleepwalking post. One foot in front of the other. left.right.left right. Even though certain trials leave you spinning and you feel like you have little left, there is still that hope for a happy ending. Yes, life is not a fairy tale  but as Christians we believe that there is always a happily ever after.

Count it all joy whenever you face trials of many kinds. Because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance…..so that you may be mature and complete. (James 1:2) NIV

Do You Remember?

As of late, within the academic community, I hear numerous discussions about memory. How are memories validated and verified, and should they be? Have you ever had a specific memory that is remembered totally different by someone else? For example, growing up I remember having the best meals at my grandmother’s house. Those Sunday afternoons were filled with good food and love. I remember her cooking and especially the dessert table that included yummy cakes and pies that were freshly baked. Food and family are a wonderful combination and though our family was small in number, we had plenty of food and good times. I miss those Sunday afternoons because grandma always finished dinner at 3:00pm. That was just early enough for us to have leftovers and savor the tasty dessert that followed. The beautiful thing about memory is that no one can take them away from you. The good memories are especially heartwarming and comforting when you have very few family members in close proximity. The interesting thing however is that not all of my family members would remember those Sundays exactly the same way. In fact when asked, another family member corrected my nostalgic flashback. “Grandma never baked those pies,” they corrected. “I was always sent to the local store to get those pies.” “Really,” I said surprisingly,”mmm, well maybe I forgot that she never actually baked the desserts.” “And,” they continued,”She never started dinner and 3:00 pm, it was always 4:30pm, because I always ate in a rush in order to watch the pregame football coverage.” The way they remembered the memory is a direct reflection on their own interpretation of the experience. Though they may also remember the experiences as positive, their interpretation is specific to their personality.
This idea that memories are subjective allows for more understanding around the life experiences of others. It also allows us to have a deeper understanding of the impact that certain memories have on the human brain; thus dictating our life experiences.
Person: “Remember when………?
Me: “No actually I don’t, but tell me more what happened.”
Me: “Hold on and let me grab a seat and my latte.”
“The memory of the righteous is blessed…..”
Proverbs 10:7 NIV

The Good Life

I want a good life. I repeat this phrase to myself often. I.want.a.good.life. I recognize that asking for a perfect life is somewhat unrealistic. A perfect life would mean that everything is flawless and free from error. Even though I use the word often, nothing is perfect. Therefore, it is an unrealistic request to ask for a PERFECT life, so a good life will suffice. With that in mind, what is the ideal recipe for a good life? By that I mean a really savory experience that makes you grateful to be alive. I remember Whitney Houston’s song “You Were Loved.” I agree most with the part of the song that says: you can looked back and say, you did ok, you were loved. This song reiterates the idea that love is an important ingredient for creating a good life. Lets assume then that love is the number one ingredient. Since theologically I believe that God is love, lets assume that God is the most important ingredient in creating a good life. (I John 4:8)
I feel that money is also a key ingredient for a good life. Though I do not think that money is more important than love, I will suggest that money=comfort and allows one a certain peace of mind. I will add a dash of money or financial stability to the recipe. Next, I would add people to the mix. Perhaps I should be more specific: “good people”. I have heard this phrase used many times to refer to certain individuals that we deem safe, and positive. “Oh______, he or she is good people.” Though grammatically the phrase sounds awkward it is one those phrases that extends beyond the vault of basic black vernacular; the term ‘good people’ is universal. We are all, no matter what our background, in need of good people. Though the word people refers to more than one person, when used in that instance it means a single person. For the sake of this recipe however we will assume that good people means a group of positive people that also desire a good life. Since good people also want a good life then most likely they are like minded and hold some of the same good values.
Lastly, I think that good times are in order. By good times I mean the moments and occasions that you share with those good people, and that good love that I included at the beginning of the recipe. Those special (sometimes manufactured) occasions that you have with the people that you care about, and create good memories that are helpful in maintaining a good life. I have a built in schema for the phrase “good times” because of the famous television show from the seventies. The Evans family never had the ingredient of financial stability but they had love, good times, and good people. If I reflect hard enough, and you catch me on a good day, I must admit that I already have the good life. However, it is my responsibility to sustain it. I must fill it with more love, good people, and of course more good times *deep sigh*. Oh the good times… Ain’t we lucky got em’

Suffering

I am convinced that true victory cannot come unless there is a period of difficulty. I am not especially hard pressed at the moment, however as I meditate on the idea of success it seems that the most successful people have endured suffering. During an interview several months ago I was asked about the idea of suffering. “How have you suffered the most,” they asked, “and how has that suffering impacted you?” The idea of suffering is relative depending on the people involved and the situation. For many people, the “suffering” that I have endured is minor; mere child’s play. In fact, some may say that I cannot begin to understand the idea of suffering. I am not writing for that audience, however I welcome an educated debate regarding their opinions on suffering.

Those who know me personally understand my daily battle; an endless battle for sleep, respite and time, that I have endured for over a decade. A friend of mine who is also a single parent of a special needs child told me about five years back that she was reading a book on suffering. Five years ago at what could be considered a lull in my plight I questioned the severity of the word. Perhaps I was in denial that we were indeed in a state of perpetual suffering and difficulty. In fact, I know I was in denial and it was not until as of late that now I understand. She was trying to make sense of the situation. She was probably questioning the same God and asking the same questions.

Beauty for ashes. We would sing a song that talked about beauty for ashes in my church in Boston. I must admit that since then God has given me beauty for ashes in so many different ways. He shows me His grace and wraps me tight in His arms just when I need Him the most.

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3