Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you haven’t gotten your sweetheart a Valentine’s gift yet, you still have time. Men all around the country are calling florists or stopping by their sweetheart’s favorite candy or jewelry store to pick up evidence to the one they love that they do not deserve to spend the night on the couch. valentines-chocolate

Last night I was watching a rerun of the television show The Big Bang Theory and Dr. Sheldon Cooper said that he could not understand how the execution of a monk named Valentine could have lead to the holiday that we now celebrate on February 14th. For all the Sheldons out there, I researched the story. Today, Valentine’s Day is a day when we celebrate love and romance by giving flowers, cupids  and candy to our sweethearts, however, the origins of this holiday are not so romantic.

A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.

The celebration dates back to ancient Rome when men “hitting on women” was not a euphemism, but was a literal practice. It began as a three-day celebration, February 13-15 when the Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia. Men sacrificed a goat and a dog then whipped women with the hides of the goat and the dog. The women actually lined up for the men to hit them because they believed that the practice would make them fertile. Afterwards, the men drew women’s names from a clay pot. The pair would be mated for the remainder of the festival and if the man liked the woman, he would claim her permanently. On February 14, Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine. The Catholic church honored their martyrdom with St. Valentine’s Day. In order to rid the Christian society of pagan rituals, around 400 AD, Pope Gelasius I combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia. At that time however, the festival was more like Marti Gras  except people kept their clothes on. Until they got home anyway. It was still, after all, a day of fertility and love.

During the same time, in France, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day which meant the “lover of women”.  Tokens-du-jour, the first Valentine’s Day cards became popular during the Middle Ages. Chaucer and William Shakespeare helped popularize Valentine’s Day in Britain and Europe.

A Vintage Valentine's Day Card

A Vintage Valentine’s Day Card

Valentine’s Day followed the immigrants over the big pond to the New World. In 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Missouri produced the first factory-made valentines. Valentine’s Day is now big business. Last year, the average American spent $130.97 on candy, cards, and gifts. This year, according to the National Retail Federation,The average person will spend $133.91 on candy, cards, gifts, dinner and more.  They expect total spending to reach $17.3 billion. That’s a lot of money spent on a holiday that once involved sacrificing dogs and goats and men named Valentine.

I hope you don’t mind that I went off the track of writing history related to the American Revolution. During the winter months, not much went on militarily and so it makes it difficult to find history to write about during this time of the year.

I wrote two more hubs on Hubpages to share. Simply click on the links to check them out.

Sweet Homegrown Carrots

Plant Sweet Peppers with Basil

Also, I hope you had a good week. I know the east coast has been hit by a massive storm that left almost a half a million people without power or heat. My prayers are with them. I hope the weekend is better for them than the week has been. Here in the Midwest, we are heading into a warming trend, I hope that means that spring is on the way. I have a special surprise to share on Monday. I hope to see you then.

How to Become Successful

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”-Winston Churchill

This Day in History as It Relates to the American Revolution

On this date in 1778, South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. The Continental Congress had adopted the Articles of Confederation on November 17, 1777 and submitted the request to the states for immediate action. On this date (February 5) South Carolina was the first to ratify it, however, other states saw problems with it and asked for changes. On June 26, 1778, The Articles were ordered to be engrossed, but the engrossment was found to be incorrect so a second engrossed copy was ordered.

Articles of ConfederationOn July 9, 1778 second engrossed copy of the Articles was signed and ratified by the delegates from eight states: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina.North Carolina delegates signed the ratification of the Articles of Confederation on July 21, 1778, July 24 Georgia ratified, November 26, New Jersey ratified, May 5, 1779 Delaware ratified. On March 1, 1781 Mayrland ratified making it the last of the thirteen to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

The States soon realized that problems existed in the Articles of Confederation so Congress approved a plan to hold a convention in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.

Failure Doesn’t Have To Be Permanent

The first attempt that the United States made for creating a document to live by, The Articles of Confederation, failed to provide a government strong enough for the country. It wasn’t until the Founding Fathers got together and drafted The Constitution of the United States that it finally found the working document that would catapult the fledgling nation into the greatest country on earth.

Other great events in history did not occur without much failure. Everyone knows that Thomas Edison failed countless times before he invented a functioning light bulb. Everyone has also heard the question “What do you do when you have failed seven times?” and the answer: “Get up an eighth time.”

There are two things we learn from failing. One is that there was something that needs to be changed in order to succeed. We have the choice of either tweaking something in order to succeed or we can do as the Founding Fathers did with the Articles of Confederation and start over. The second thing we learn is whether we are going to become a failure and quit all together, or get up one more time and enthusiastically change the failure into a success. How we react to failure determines whether we remain failures or become successful. It depends upon whether we get up and make the changes necessary to obtain successful results. Quit now and guarantee failure. Make changes and perhaps next time you will succeed.

This week on Hubpages I wrote my 99th and 100th hub

Please check them out as well!

Is there anything easier to Grow Than Okra?

Growing Onions by Using Seeds, Plants, or Sets

Proving My Worth So Others Will Believe It

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”—     Theodore Roosevelt

When I started this blog, I didn’t know where I was going with it. I just knew that I had things to share. I simply decided that I was going to allow my words in this blog take me wherever they would. I have taken these words of Theodore Roosevelt to heart. I am doing what I can, with what I have, where I am. I am not stressing about it, I am not worried about my next post, I am simply writing what I have to say when I have it to say. I am writing what I know.

All my life I have had it thrown into my face all the reasons that I couldn’t do something. In some ways it made it easy. I couldn’t do something because. . . whatever, and that was that. Life went on mediocre as ever. It was always, someday, maybe, but not now. Those excuses kept me in my place. What I wanted was somewhere out in the future because the excuses were there to protect me from danger. Oh, I have had my moments when I would step out of my shell. Like the time when I was twenty. I quit my boring job and went to California on a bus and arrived in LA at 3 am and didn’t know a soul there. That was an adventure. I stayed there two days and those two days changed my life, for a while, anyway. For the next six months I focused on what I hoped would be a writing career, but my parents said that I needed to get real and get a job. After a few months of hearing that, I got the job. I allowed myself to be pushed back down into that box. I’m certain you know what box I am talking about,  the box was labeled “The Right Thing to Do”. The problem was, I had been outside that box and had a glimpse of what life could be if I allowed myself to do what I could with what I have where I am. I have never liked that box. I’ve never really fit into it.  I do however like what happens to me when I decide to step out of the box to discover what I am capable of doing. Perhaps I should take a page out of the book of our founding fathers and recognize that before others will see who we are, we have to defend where we see ourselves.

Today in History As It Relates to the American Revolution

This day in history in 1783, Spain recognized United States Independence from Great Britain. Although the United States officially declared its independence from Great Britain, other countries didn’t recognize the country until years later. France was the first to recognize it. France officially recognized US Independence on February 6, 1778 and sent ammunition and supplies to the new country in order to help the US secure its right to call itself a free and independent country. Spain recognized the United States when they recognized that the war was over and the United States had won its right to freedom.

Declaration-of-Independence

The official date that the US declared independence from Great Britain was July 4, 1776. Other countries did not officially recognize it until years later.

Two days after Spain recognized the United States as an independent country, Sweden also recognized the US. Great Britain, of course, officially recognized the United States as an independent country on September 3, 1783 when both Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris.

Other countries did not recognize the US until the Americans had decided for several years that they were separate from Great Britain. Perhaps this is a lesson that I also must learn. I must declare my independence and see myself outside of the box that keeps me from being the best that I can be.

Learning Treat Myself With Respect

“You must focus on treating yourself with respect and loving yourself and the universe will give love and respect back to you in many various forms and experiences.”-Frank Mangano.

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I need to take a tip from my daughter and learn that I deserve to have my own respect.

When I first read the quote above, it washed over me like a tsunami. I have done a lot recently concerning the one resolution that I had concerning focusing on finishing what I start, but as far as learning to “love”, my mind has been elsewhere. As I was reading this, I realize that the reason that others do not treat me in a way that I would like to be treated is because I do not treat myself with respect.

How should I treat myself so that I can treat myself with respect? In other words, how do I treat myself with more dignity. First, I should be sitting tall and standing tall. Second, I shouldn’t allow myself to talk down at myself both in my head and aloud. I need to take better care of my body. I respect my body by eating nutritional foods and by exercising on a regular basis. I need to focus on ensuring that my hair, makeup, and clothing look nice. I deserve that kind of respect from me as much as anyone else deserves the same kind of respect. Knowing that I am worth loving by treating myself with respect, will resonate to others that I deserve their respect as well.

This Day In History As It Relates to the American Revolution

The first time the word “campus” was used to mean school grounds was in a 1774  letter written by Charles C. Beatty was written on this date regarding Princeton where he wrote:

If you recall, a similar incident occurred in Boston just a few weeks earlier. The Boston Tea Party sent the tea cargo of the merchant ships the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver into the ice cold waters of Boston Harbor of  on December 13, 1773. To show Parliament’s disapproval of colonial insurrection, they closed the Port of Boston to all trade ships. In doing so, they were sending a message to the colonists that any further misbehavior would result in further crackdowns. Rather than beating the colonists into submission however, this and related actions lead to the events of April 19, 1775 in Lexington and Concord igniting the flintlock or Brown Betty that started the American Revolution.

This week has been quite busy. I believe that I have started developing a routine that can work for me so that I can finish the writing that I have started. I have made considerable progress this week on A Coward’s Solace, my next novel in The Locket Saga. In addition, I have written two more hubs on hubpages both of them are related to a nonfiction book that I will be publishing next month called Simply Vegetable Gardening. The hubs are Up the Fence with Cucumbers and A Three Sisters’ Garden Bed

When Things Happen to Disrupt My Schedule

Getting Caught Up

After a great start early in the week, the flu put me behind again in several areas, but I am still caught up in some areas.   We are on the mend, my daughter is back at school, and I am ready to play catch up and hope I can get ahead again.

Despite the fact that I have had a set back this week, because I have built in free time in my schedule so that when emergencies happen, I don’t end up getting overwhelmed by the fact that I am behind, I simply use what would have been free time as the time that I use to catch up. Not only does this work for illness, but for other emergencies such as an unexpected deadline that forces me to drop everything to focus on that. It also works for things that are not emergencies but are also important like attending my daughter’s school events.

This Day in History

artillery to BostonJan 24,1776 Henry Knox arrived at Cambridge, Massachusetts with the artillery that he has transported from Fort Ticonderoga. In 1775 Fort Ticonderoga was used by the British as a communication and supply link between New York and Canada. On May 10, 1775, Green Mountain Boys led  by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold demanded surrender of the fort. Once the fort was captured, Henry Knox transported most the confiscated cannons and other armaments to Boston which arrived on this date in 1776. These cannon were used in ending the British Siege of Boston when they fortified Dorchester Heights. With the threat from the cannon on Dorchester Heights, the British evacuated Boston in March 1776.

Despite the Fact that I was ill this week, I still managed to get the two hubs on hubpages done.

If you think that being patriotic is flag waving and simply thanking a veteran for his or her service, you might want to see what our founding fathers believed constituted–

What Does it Mean to Be a Patriot?

If you are a writer, and you’re having trouble taking the time to sit down to write, perhaps it has less to do with finding the time as it does knowing what it is that you intend to write. If you knew you could get started in fifteen minutes or less, would you stop procrastinating and start writing?

Five Ways to Avoid Procrastination in Writing

Most of my writing on A Coward’s Solace the third book in The Locket Saga in the past week was done over the weekend. I hope to get even more done this week. Haven’t read the first two books in the Locket Saga? What are you waiting for?  Check them out by clicking here!

Networking and the Brain

Since the first of the year, I have been thinking about what I am going to do when I finish school, and this past week I have done a couple of things that will help me along the road to building my career. Monday I went to the Missouri Career Center and talked to a woman who was also a writer. She gave me some names and then she gave me some job leads. I have not followed up on any of them yet. I have been busy with school and writing. Primarily Monday will be my day for doing job searching I think.  My big issue with finding a job I am discovering has to do with the fact that I don’t have the network that I need to have here in Springfield. I need to get out and meet the people that I may want to work with. As a writer, I definitely need to make those connections.

I, also, went online to a webinar about networking and  learned about Coffee, Lunch, Coffee,  a book written by Alana Muller. She said that she create a network by having coffee with one person in the morning, lunch with another person, and then coffee with another person in the afternoon for a total of three people per day five days per week. She said that by the end of a year, she had 160 meetings and met 200 new people in that time. She said that if I was looking for work, looking for work was my job. As in a job,I should get up and get dressed as though I were going to work and then go someplace where I can work. My main focus in getting a job should be to network, that it is in meeting people that I am able to find the right connections to find the job that I want. I don’t know that I could sit down with 15 people per week every week for a year, but I imagine that it is sort of like writing on a regular basis, once you get used to doing it, it becomes less of a chore and more of a habit.

I am in the middle of a class on physiological psychology and even though it sounds like a boring, dry class, once I plowed through the anatomy information, I found the class fascinating. Our brains are truly awesome. We’ve had an exponential growth in understanding of how our brain works, but the more we learn, the more we realize that we don’t know anything. Did you know that our brains are interactive? For instance, when we feel empathy toward someone who is sad, our brains motor and sensory neurons fire in the same part of the brain as the person with whom we empathize.I finished reading the textbook this week. I have just 3 more weeks of the class.

I listened to an audio this week that told about being mindful and I then downloaded a mindfulness bell on my phone. (free app). Periodically through the day, I am using that to help me focus for a minute or so while doing everyday things. I feel as though my mind is full this week (pun intended).

I added 2800 words to my work in progress A Coward’s Solace, the next book in The Locket Saga. This week, I, also, wrote hubs for Hubpages. Both have a mindfulness element to them.

The Best Tips For Losing Weight Permanently

Tips for Becoming Mindful

What’s Your Hurry?

Have you ever stopped to think about the reason that we Americans are in so much of a hurry? me_on_the_laptopWhy is it that we are always in a rush to get wherever we are going? A few days ago I watched someone pass me seven times while I was on my way home from dropping my husband off at his truck. The person was stopped by the same stop lights that I was stopped at, the person definitely seemed to be in a hurry, but the hurrying wasn’t getting that person to where he or she wanted to go any more quickly than I was going. In addition, the constant passing and cutting bumper riding that the person was doing was not only endangering that individual’s health by the stress he or she was creating for him or herself, it was putting other people in the cars around that person as well. I contrasted this with myself who was in no hurry to get to where I felt no stress getting where I wanted to go, yet, I was getting there as quickly as the stressed out person was getting to wherever he or she was going.

Sometimes you just need to stop fighting the current and simply enjoy the ride.

Sometimes you just need to stop fighting the current and simply enjoy the ride.

How does this relate to either of my resolutions, to finish what I start or loving more?  It relates to how I finish what I start because it reminds me that it is important for me to plan my time properly so that I do not procrastinate and wait until the last minute to finish whatever I want to finish. In addition, it reminds me that I need to allot myself enough time to finish those items. I will get to where I want to go just as quickly and with a lot less pain if I stop to enjoy the journey as I will if I try to rush toward my next goal. It is not that important that I rush to where I want to go. It is more important that I learn to be mindful of where I am and where I want to go. This is why having decided to designate Monday, Wednesday and Friday to post blogs here on The Ugly Duckling, post hubs on Hubpages on Tuesday and Thursdays, why I am limiting my novel writing to 2800 words per week as well as why I am making simple changes in habits related to my health rather than dieting.

      One of the main habits that I want to focus on is being mindful of what I eat and drink. We Americans are so obsessed with rushing around, that we don’t take the time to enjoy what we eat or what we drink. I want to learn to stop and really enjoy the food that I am putting into my mouth. Did you ever notice that the first bite always tastes the best? Part of that has to do with the fact that we salivate in the anticipation of eating and our taste buds and our brain is prepared to set out and enjoy whatever it is that we put into our mouths. I want to be able to take the time actually  to  look at my food. I want to see the symmetry of an apple, the colors of a salad. I want to see all the bright colors of my salad, the green of the lettuce, cucumber and green onion, the creamy whiteness  of the meat, nuts, or dried beans, the redness of the tomatoes , the purpleness of cabbage the orange of carrots, and the bright colors of the fruit that I eat after the salad. I want to listen to the crunch of the vegetables as I chew, feel the tingle of the vinegar in the vinaigrette on my tongue, smell the mixture of smells from the salad, as I load each item onto my fork and put it up under my nose to put it into my mouth. Contrast this wolfing down without really tasting a bland dry fast food hamburger and bun, the same mass produced bun, pickle, catsup, onion, and mustard, and the salty cardboard fries that we have had every other time that we drove up to the drive-through window. Imagine then drinking the overly sweet drink so that we can wash the colorless, flavorless food-replacing substance that would have absolutely no flavor if it were not for the salt and sugar content.

I do not want to miss out on the simple pleasures in life. I want to enjoy the journey every step of the way and I certainly can’t do that if I am in too much of a hurry. Life is meant to enjoy, not hurry through.

Changing Habits Rather Than Dieting

Saturday, I had my hair cut and colored and my daughter had her hair cut as well. It was our day out, so we went to the mall and went to The Body Shoppe and got a makeup makeover. It was so much fun. Shannon, my hairdresser and I talked about how if she was not a hairdresser she would love to have been a psychologist because a psychologist does a lot of the same things a hairdresser does, except, the hairdresser can help a girl feel better about herself. As I told Shannon and Keven, (the guy doing my makeover), I love it when I can get the instant gratification that getting my hair done and getting new makeup can make a woman feel more like a lady. I said that it certainly beat eating properly or doing exercise in making a person look better.me_on_the_laptop

Yesterday, I was working on the current college course I am taking physiological psychology and was reading the chapter on obesity and I learned some scientific information concerning why we gain weight and how to use that information to help us lose weight. Of course, the science looks at the idea that taking a pill of some sort or having some sort of surgery could be the answer, but realistically, we can learn to change our thinking, change our habits, and thereby improve our health. I’m working on an article that I will be posting tomorrow that will tell in better detail the research and how to make the necessary changes.

Essentially, I intend to begin making gradual changes rather than going on a diet. It’s too easy to sabotage a diet. For one thing, the thinking is wrong. If I told you “don’t think about a soft creamy bowl of ice cream dripping with hot fudge topping, topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry, what are you going to think about? I’ll bet your mouth is even watering. (Yeah, mine too.) I can tell you that any time I have ever been on a diet, I have thought about food most of the day, every day I was on the diet. From the moment I started my diet, I agonized about how I was denying myself food. So, rather than diet, I intend to develop small habits and maintain them for a long time. Once those habits are established, I will add to those habits.

Four changes that I want to make right away would be to take a vitamin 3 times per day (recommended daily dose, 3 tablets per day), drink water (one when I awaken in the morning, one before each meal and four other times during the day), be mindful of what I am eating, and then intend to decrease my food intake by just 100 calories a day for the rest of the month. The idea is not to obsess about restricting my diet. Instead, I want to do more to add healthy changes. That’s where the vitamin and the water come in. I am simply adding small positive changes. A few little changes over a period of time can make a big difference in the long run.

The First lesson of The Art of Being

me_on_the_laptopWe all think about our destiny, especially this time of year. We look back on our past year and then we look forward to the following year and make resolutions that within a few days we leave behind. One problem that we often have is that we are either reminiscing about the past or feeling guilty about the past or we are day-dreaming about the future.

It is no wonder that we believe that we simply are what we are, that life just happens. That somehow it all relates to luck and being born a certain way. It’s as Forest Gump’s mother said, “Life is a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’ll get.”

We can’t change the past, and there’s really nothing that we can do about the future. For the most part it is as she said. “you never know what you’ll get.”

We call that destiny and we feel powerless because change is not something that happens without effort. However, there is a concept called the butterfly effect. Basically it has to do with the idea that on small butterfly flapping its wings can change the weather all over the world. The concept suggests that a small change now can make a big difference later.

It’s as the old Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now.”

As Forest Gump himself determined at the end of the movie, it’s not just destiny that determines our future, sometimes we also affect what happens.

It all reminds me of the serenity prayer which says:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Most of the time people associate this with the attitudes and actions of other people, but we can also us this saying as we look at our past. We cannot change our past, we can only reflect on it and learn from it, but we definitely cannot change it. Therefore, why is it that we beat ourselves up over it? We need to accept it and move on. It is easier said than done.

In addition, if we do the same thing today as we have always done, we will end up with a future that reflects on what we’re doing now. We cannot change the future, because we often continue doing as we’ve always done and expecting different results. Or if we do decide to make changes, we try to change everything all at once only to burn out as soon as we come against resistance to those chances. However, by making small changes today, by learning to be a little bit better at being who we are today, we can become a better person tomorrow.

We cannot change the past. It is the one thing that is set in stone. We cannot live in our future. It hasn’t happened yet.We can only live in the now. What I did in the past determines where I am today, and what I do today will determine where I will be in the future. The only real day I have is today. I was in the past.  I will be in the future, but I am being who I am today. I am writing this in the morning of the first Monday of the New Year. What happens the rest of the year will depends on what I do today. I can either let it slip away, or I can learn to be who I am today. Any goals I have for the future can only be done by being a person of action today. That is the first lesson that I have learned about the art of being.

Resolving Changes in the New Year

Many times in the past I have resolved any number of goals only to give up on them a few days into the new year. In the past I have resolved to lose weight, quit smoking (I did quit smoking almost 23 years ago, but it wasn’t because of a New Years Resolution that I had made.), get more organized and exercise but to no avail.

I resolve to finish what I have already started.

I resolve to finish what I have already started.

This year, I have decided to do something a little different. This year, I am going to limit myself to changing two very specific underlying habits. I will evaluate on a daily basis the progress that I made in changing both habits. In addition,  I plan to evaluate the progress I have made by the end of each month.

Finishing What I have Started

The first habit I want to change is the idea that I do not finish things as I should. I have a lot of things that I need to finish and if I don’t start anything new,I am almost certain that I could work the whole year and never run out of things to do. In July I am scheduled to finish my liberal arts degree so that will be one huge project that I will finish this year without even stressing about adding it to my resolutions. In addition,  I have several novels that I started in NaNoWriMo that I want to finish. My current project is A Coward’s Solace.  I hope to have the second draft of that book finished by May 1, 2014. I have research that I can create into hubs for Hubpages, and I have several nonfiction books that I can finish as well. I plan to continue to write two Hubpages a week for the entirety of 2014.   I have craft projects that I have started, I have book marketing plans that I still need to implement. I also have a number of books I need to read both on my bookshelf and on my Kindle. I have numerous of files on my computer that I need to do in which I need to finish using, or I will either  delegate the task to someone else to finish, or I will need to determine that the opportunity to use whatever it is has passed and I need to discard the project. In addition, there are a number of projects that I told others that I would help them work on. I need to live up to those things that I agreed to do. As I said, I have things to finish.

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Becoming More Loving

That leads me into my second resolution. I will get into the habit of loving more. I need to learn to love myself more. I’m not saying that I need to “look out for number one” more. That is not to say that I should excuse the things that I have done wrong and sweep them under the rug. What I am saying is that I need to learn not to self-sabotage because of guilt or shame. I need to let go of the past and forgive myself of my past wrongs.  I have used personal unforgiveness as an excuse not to do the things that I know that I should be doing.  I need to recognize that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. After all, doesn’t perfect love cast out fear?

I need to learn to submit myself more to what my creator has destined for me to be doing. Jeff and I were talking this morning about Forest Gump and where at the end of the movie he answered the question of whether we are destined or if we choose what we do in our lives. He said that he thought it was both. I know that God has a destiny for me and I desire more than anything to choose that destiny that I was meant to fulfill. I choose to follow that destiny–the destiny of love.

I have always seen myself as a Christian, but lately I have been rather distressed with how Christians are portrayed in the media. However, I don’t see the the problem as originating from the media I see the problem as originating with Christians ourselves. This reminds me of one of my Dad’s poems called Faults:

When it comes to faults in others,

We use our eyes tis true,

But to the faults which are our own,

We use our eyelids too.

When confronted with a question like do you view homosexuality as sin, I have determined that whether or not another person sinned,  is none of my business. God tells me not to judge another person. My responsibility is to love them and judge my own sin. I have determined that what another person does in the confines of his or her bedroom is not my concern. It is the business of that individual, that individual’s partner, and God. My job is to love that person and to introduce that person to the God of love, nothing more and nothing less. I’ll leave God to deal with that person’s spiritual condition. God is far better at it than I could ever be.

This way of thinking brings me back  to the rubber band bracelets a number of years ago that had  WWJD stamped in them. The WWJD stood for What would Jesus do? So what did Jesus do? He loved people, he didn’t condemn them. That’s what I want to do. I want to love others like Jesus loved them. Today, this first day of 2014, I resolve to begin down the path of love.

If I follow through on just these two things, I know that I will have a Happy, Productive 2014!