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Finger Pointing Is Useless

For better or worse, a child has the childhood they have as a result of their parents choices. Period. I did. You did. Your kids do.

If the child’s parents break the law, it hurts their kids more than anyone else. Trust me, I’ve seen it first hand. It’s heartbreaking. No one wants to see a child be hurt or suffer. No one.

We cannot change a child’s parents or make their decisions for them. BUT…

What we can do about it is to be there for the kids around us. First and foremost, pray for them and their parents. Then invest in them, if you’re able. Encourage and support them. Hug them (when and if that is appropriate). Pay for them to go to a camp. Bring them with you to fun activity that you take your kids on. Tutor. Mentor. Foster. Adopt. Donate your time and/or money to organizations who help kids. Or if God’s put it on your heart, start an organization.

Ranting fixes nothing. Hating and finger pointing changes zip. This post and your post and all the other posts add up to zero.

Changing things and helping people will cost you something. Time. Money. Effort.

Are you willing to put your resources where your mouth is or are you just going to finger point and continue to rant?

My point in posting this is to say 2 things: 1. Kids need the village. Be the village. And 2. Stop blaming the government for everything. Step up and take some responsibility yourself. Some of you do…and I have mad respect for you and how you walk out your life. But I’ve seen some BS rants by people I know just like to complain. And I’m over it. That is the spirit behind this post.

Point to ponder while you wander…Love is a verb. You want to change the world? Then get off your phone. Get out of your chair. DO something. End of my rant.

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Musical Monday: Get Off My Cloud

Today I’m sharing my fave Rolling Stones song… Get Off Of My Cloud

When I hear the chorus I envision myself as child laying in soft green grass in our yard watching the parade of clouds roll by. I’d call out the shapes…elephant, duck, tree, turtle, ship… or I’d imagine myself floating in the blue sky on my very own cloud. It was quiet & peaceful on my joyfilled cloud. Nothing bad happened there, nothing sad either.

It was dreamy…the thought of alone time. I now know it’s because I’m introverted and I need alone time to recharge. Actually the thought of my own cloud was perfection. Soft fluffy perfection on my cloud.

I didn’t want messy drama brought into my cloud. I didn’t want someone to “wreck” my day.

But the truth is that no one can wreck your day without you conceding the right to them. No one can “make” you angry. They may hurt you, frustrate you, scare you, but you choose how you react. Anger is a secondary emotion, it’s choice.

Only you can determine what your attitude and frame of mind will be. Only you can choose to maintain peace in a storm. Only you can decide to choose joy in the face of a day that is full of problems.

Peace and joy are choices you make every day. Strength comes from joy. Rest comes from peace.

Point to ponder while you wander…Many things will happen in your life that you have zero control over. That is just life. But you have control over how you choose to react. You determine your attitude.

PS Continuing with the theme….here’s Barbra singing Don’t Rain on My Parade in Funny Girl for your auditory and visual pleasure.

Pear Tomatoes and The Sick Day

I’m currently down with a sinus infection. So after picking up my prescription today I went to the store to get some essentials. And I found these…

For those of you who don’t know, these glorious things are pear tomatoes. One of my top ten favorite foods.

NaNa used to grow these for me when I was young. Being alone in a new city, and sick, I needed this today. I needed happy yellow fruit and the memory of something NaNa used to grow specifically for me, because she knew I loved them.

I don’t have a point for you to ponder while you wander today. I just needed to share my little spot of joy in my Kleenex and Neti Pot filled sick day. 

I also have a sick day confession… Hallmark Christmas Movies started today and I was sucked in to watching two of them before my nap. I know. I know. I broke my rule about all things Christmas waiting until after Thanksgiving today. But Hallmark Christmas Movies are the cheesiest (and by cheesiest I mean ooey gooey heartwarming and predictable but I love them and cannot help myself) and best! Now I want to have a cheesy Christmas romance in my life soooo bad that it’s ridiculous. 

Hallmark Christmas Movies are indeed my guilty pleasure and apparently my kryptonite. 

This has been confessions with the Red Hot Jilly Pepper. I am sorry but not sorry. And you’re welcome to join my Hallmark movie support group. I’ve got tissues. You bring the snacks. We’ll watch together and dream of our own perfectly orchestrated Christmas romances. 😉

Musical Monday: Because You Loved Me

Today I want to honor those who loved me into who I am today with
Because You Loved Me

This is the theme song for the movie Up Close and Personal. I viewed it as a romantic lovey type song until my friend chose it for her Daddy/Daughter song at her wedding. Then I heard it with new ears. Since then I’ve heard it as a general song of gratitude for my core people. Mom. Dad. Nana and Papa. NaNa and Boppie. Mentors. Pastors. Siblings. And certainly my friends! All the people who loved me at my worst and loved me into the woman I am now. To those people I say thank you!

But the last time I heard this song the only One I could think of was Jesus.

Sigh.

The way He loves us is so hard to describe or explain. But I am oh so grateful for it. This song is a decent start…feel free to cry in gratitude. I did.

For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I’ll be forever thankful
You’re the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You’re the one who saw me through through it all

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I’m grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don’t know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark shining your love into my life
You’ve been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

Musical Monday: Because of You

I had intentions of a completly different (and fun) song today, but I felt like I needed to post Because of You by Kelly Clarkson. The video is powerful, please watch it before reading on.

I have 2 words of encouragement today; one for the kids who feel this way and one for the parents. Both are encouraging so please keep reading, and remember there’s always hope.

Message 1: For the Kids
I understand the feelings behind this song. As kids, we suffered from our parents bad choices. Those choices may still be affecting you now. If that’s you today, I’m praying for you to forgive your parents and any other care giver who hurt you.

This forgiveness releases you from the bondage of the past. This forgiveness is so you can move forward and be whole. This forgiveness is the very thing Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6.

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

If you hold on to this anger and hurt it becomes bitterness! That’s why Jesus demanded you to forgive others. Not as a law…but as a freedom for YOU from bondage.

Unforgiveness hurts you. Poisons you. NOT the person you’re holding a grudge against.

Please hear my heart here!

I watched someone I love dearly eaten alive by bitterness towards his father. And I’ll be honest, his hatred was justified. His father was a cruel man that came far too close to beating his mother to death. This is horrendous. No child should have to see that!

I also watched bitterness taint the most joyful, hilarious, and downright blast of a woman I ever knew. I watched this amazing woman age rapidly after she lost her joy. She became sullen, negative, and bitter. People began to avoid her, which multiplied the bitterness into cancer. And I lost her.

A joyful cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression.” Proverbs 17:27 TPT

Don’t let yourself be tainted. Don’t let yourself grow bitterness. Confess your anger and bitterness to God. Speak out loud that you forgive whomever your bitter towards, whether they are still alive or not. Whetherthey deserve it or not. And anytime that hurt/anger/resentment/disgust/sadness begins to rise…you say it again. And you keep saying it until it stops rising up.

Eyes that focus on what is beautiful bring joy to the heart, and hearing a good report refreshes and strengthens the inner being.” Proverbs 15:30 TPT

God NEVER wanted you to be hurt or have a rough childhood. But people make choices that affect others. He DOES want to heal you. He wants you to be whole.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV

Please forgive so you can be free!

On an a personal note about my parental units…I love my parents, but they are flawed. They made mistakes and bad choices that handicapped me in some ways. But I have forgiven them for that crap, and moved forward into adulthood. I yearn to see them become all they were designed to be. When I forgave them, it felt like a million pounds was lifted from my shoulders. I felt free. And for the first time I was able to love my parents right where they were at. I was able to see them clearly, with God’s eyes.

Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise:  If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”” Ephesians 6:2-3 NLT

Message 2: For the Parents

So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.” Matthew 12:31 (See also Mark 3:28)

You made mistakes as a parent. No one parents without making mistakes. You need to forgive yourself. I’m praying for you to come to the place where you choose to forgive yourself, even if you don’t deserve it.

If you are caught in a web of unforgiveness/bitterness for what happened to you as a child and guilt for repeating the cycle, please please please, forgive your parents and forgive yourself.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2

The man I mentioned above who hated his father became an alcoholic who beat his wife. He repeated the cycle. Years later, he refused to receive the forgiveness of his ex-wife and children. He refused to forgive himself. The guilt he felt about repeating the cycle became self-hatred and he died at a mere 60 years old. I lost him. It was a devastating loss of a man with the kindest softest heart, a generous people person, and a jokester who made me belly laugh more times than I can count. My heart broke that he couldn’t forgive himself, and couldn’t receive healing before he died.

If you’re reading this it’s not too late for you! Come to Jesus and confess your mistakes and receive His forgiveness and forgive yourself. You getting help and becoming whole is the best way to show your kids it’s possible. Healing is possible. Restoration is possible. Breaking the cycle is possible!

If there is a chance for reconciliation and restoration of relationship, you should offer an apology, without expctation. This could help THEM heal. But understand that they may not be ready or able to forgive you. That’s okay. You should still forgive yourself.

Even if you don’t deserve it, forgive yourself anyway. Even if the situation is bad enough that your children can’t or won’t forgive you, forgive yourself anyway. Even if they are repeating your mistakes, forgive yourself anyway. Then pray for them to repeat your good choices, to seek help and to forgive themselves as well.

Point to ponder while you wander…”Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from deathand crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalm 103:1-5 NLT

Nana’s Playlist

I’ve been playing Scrabble with my Nana since I was about 10 years old. I didn’t win a game until I was 19! Not a single solitary game. Nana never just let you win. She said, “You never learn or get better if someone just lets you win. It is about playing your best game whether or not you win. It is about learning new words and how to play strategically.”

So when I started jumping up and down, celebrating my first victory, she told me she wasn’t going to play with me anymore if this was my sportsmanship when I won. I have learned a lot from my Nana.

As the years have gone by we became more evenly matched, and we just enjoyed playing. We’d be pumped when one of us played all their letters or used an interesting word.
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The best was when we could play on the deck when the weather was nice. I even made a Nana Playlist on my iPod of Glenn Miller Band, Bye Bye Birdie Soundtrack, Beach Boys and other oldies, silly songs, and Disney soundtrack tunes to listen to on those days. I’d crack up because inevitably she’d get up and start dancing when one of her favorite songs would come on.

I lost my Nana on March 11th. And the thing I will miss most this summer is those games and her dancing on the deck.

So in honor of her…here’s two of her favorite dancing songs from the Nana Playlist. I hope they inspire you to dance.

The Rivingtons- “The Bird is the Word

Glenn Miller-“In The Mood

Why I Loved Him

One of the most beautiful moments of my life was also one of my most heart wrenching.

My sister and I went to the assisted living center where our Boppie (Grandpa) had been living. We knew he only had hours left but being there in that moment made my heart ache and my eyes fill.

When my sister left the room, I asked him if I could pray with him and he nodded. I prayed that he would be at peace and know that He made a difference in our lives. And truly understand our lives were better because he was in them. I prayed he would know how much we loved him.

When I opened my eyes I saw tears streaming down his face. I didn’t realize then what a gift it was. I didn’t know my voice telling him I loved him and his life mattered were the last things he would ever hear on this side of heaven.

But I know now.

I know now that those few moments with him were a precious gift. The value of that time with Boppie was made really clear to me when my sister called to tell me our Dad had died.

I had been trying to get a hold of him for over a week. But I wasn’t worried about it because I was going up there and would see him that next weekend. But that next weekend was 3 days too late.

Thankfully the last time I talked to him I did tell him I loved him. But I wish I would have told him why I loved him and that he mattered.

So in honor of my Daddy I’m going to tell you why I loved him.

I loved him because he had compassion for people. I understand the compassion of Jesus better because I saw it displayed in my Dad.

I loved him because he took me ice fishing.

I loved him because he never judged me when I did something. Laugh at me, yes absolutely, never judgment. 😄

I loved him because he grilled year round. I can still see standing out in the snow; wearing cut off shorts, a t-shirt, winter boots & a flannel shirt. No one can grill a perfect steak like my Dad.

I loved him because he was always proud of me, even when my life was not going well.

I loved him because he could build and fix stuff, and finish pretty much every crossword.

I loved him because he was Grampie Vampire to his grand kids. They were his favorite people.

I loved him because he was all in when telling a tall tale; even to the point of dumping Raisinettes on the ground and eating them to convince my cousin deer poop tasted like chocolate covered raisins. But only if it was fresh.

I loved him because he accepted me as his own when I was a toddler. And even after he and my mom divorced, he still claimed me as his own. He never once referred to me as his step-daughter. Step didn’t exist with him or with his Dad (AKA Boppie who technically was Dad’s step-father).

And I will love him forever simply because he is my Daddy and I am his daughter.

I’m gonna stop here because I’m crying now and I also want to make a suggestion. Please tell your people you love them AND tell them why you love them. They may not realize how special and important they truly are.

Point to ponder while you wander… “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life.” Ephesians 6:2-3 NLT