Friday, March 30, 2012

She's Making a List

First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination. ~Napoleon Hill

Our first week of my new morning chore plan has gone quite well. We were able to complete the index card lists I had made without much problem, although we started lessons a bit behind time, but I think once the Princess gets used to the daily morning schedule that she will do it in a more timely fashion.

My husband, a to-do list maker extraordinaire, has advised me for years to make lists. I do make lists for things like groceries and errands but writing out what I need to do or just want to do every day...well, things can just go completely awry. That happens to my husband all the time. He would tell me that some days he does get to do even one thing on his list, but then he writes what he did do so to remind him of his accomplishments that were done instead.

Don't tell him this but I am thinking that I really should put his advice in action long before this.

I have my morning chores listed so far and I am writing what I have done during the day also. I am realizing that my problem has been that when I write to-do lists for the day ahead of time, I write more than I could do and do not leave much time for the fun things in life. This time I decided not to enslave myself to the lists but just to do whatever naturally comes up to me as a priority for the day. Whatever seems to bother me the most about my home, whatever visible pile or hidden spot stands out the most, just becomes my target for the day.

This morning it was my kitchen bar. I had placed several bottles of supplements on the bar from a kitchen counter earlier this week because the Princess and I began making fruit and protein smoothies for breakfast. (Thanks for the idea Birbitt! I fear now she will eat nothing else for breakfast.) So I needed to make my Vita-Mix more readily available without having to move bottles of supplements out of the way each morning. I do have a pie chest for our supplements but somehow they always end up left out on the counter in front of my juicers. (Yes, I have a Green Machine extract juicer there as well that we may be using more also.) I left this new pile on the kitchen counter because had other things that had priority for every day until this morning.

Of course, I decided that to be able to place the supplements in the pie chest, I needed to reorganize it also. I did that first. Then I filed away a few of my daughter's art papers she had laid on the bar since replacing them with newer works on the refrigerator. My uncluttered bar then just needed a cleaning...and I decided the kitchen sink did also. Then it was time for the Princess to get up and start our day together.

Here are some of the nice changes that I have been and still am seeing this week:

  • My bathrooms looked great every day.
  • My laundry room floor is cleared and clean with no lint.
  • My kitchen floor is cleaner.
  • My hamper is not overflowing.
  • My bedroom rocking chair could be sat in without taking clothes of it first.
  • My vacuum collects less dust on top of itself because it is being used more.
  • My gardens have less weeds and are shaping a little at a time.
  • I finally made some of the French flash cards I am been meaning to do for...mmmmonths, as embarrassing as it is to admit it.
  • My husband complimented how much better the bathrooms and laundry room looked.
  • My daughter was enthusiastic and helpful with a good attitude.
  • I feel optimistic about getting to the piles I still have left (and there are still many and then it will be the hidden places like closets and cupboards).

I actually look forward to adding something else I have done to my list every day!

~ My Lord, I love how You guide me in finding and developing what will work best for my family and me. Thank you for this fulfilling and productive week. ~

Monday, March 26, 2012

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

There is no daily chore so trivial that it cannot be made important by skipping it two days running. ~Robert Brault

I am tired of myself. I need a make-over, a re-do, a real change. No, I am not going to drastically cut or color my hair or buy new faddish clothing. This change is deeper, under the skin, not really noticeable to anyone but the members of my family, who live with me.

I have had this pestering thought in the recesses of my brain for the last year or so...maybe two or so, actually. I decided that I have not been teaching my daughter something rather important. My mother did not teach it to me as her mother did not to her, but it is something I do want to pass on to my daughter, so I have to change my ways so that it will have a chance to be passed on to her, at least.

Homeschooling--I still dislike that term! Home education is not just about academics. We can impress society, or at least try to, with test scores, but what is the real difference between the public school student and the home educated child with the same test score? The lifestyle, learning at home and on the fly, and all those life skills that cannot be shown on paper but make all the difference in being prepared for one's independence in adulthood.

I decided to stop thinking about all changes I need to make, which were too many and overwhelming, as I have to make everything as complicated as possible so I end up being paralyzed and do nothing towards making that change! Better yet, I tell myself that I have to have certain things in place first before I can begin to initiate the change. My mind is a very scary labyrinth, so now you are trapped into my thinking processes, not just wondering to where I am going but about what I am writing.

Organizing, cleaning, and loving my home. A few years ago I tried Flylady, which is a wonderful for many women and I admit it gave me some very good ideas but overall I am not not the flying type, it seems; I just cannot get that obsessed with wearing shoes all day in the house or with shining my kitchen sink, which is clean most of the time anyway. Flylady may be different now, but I was overwhelmed by the daily deluge of emails after I signed up. I have looked into alternatives, but I realized I really want the impossible: something I can step into with very little tweaking and yet tailored to what will work for me.

Yeah, I can be rather hopelessly idealistic at times. So, I was back to making my own, which I have been far more than just reluctant to do, because I, being me, wanted to create an complete system that would keep me on track. I tend to make things far more work than they need to be sometimes. To add to my complications (you know I like adding complications), I like the idea of routines, but I feel limited and even smothered by them so this system really has to be of my own making.

Being truthful with myself (as I should be having taken a truth promise for this year) what appeals to me most is something like the original S.H.E index card system on which Flylady was initially based--I do have a thing for index cards, oddly. Plus, I need something far more flexible with our crazy weekly schedule yet did not make me feel terribly guilty at the same time.

Instead of devising a complete system before I started using it, I decided to start out simply with just our regular morning chores with a few extras added. A new one is the swish and swipe of the bathrooms. I showed the Princess how I will be doing mine and watched her do hers, which is far more important because it is the guest bathroom and the one which ends up looking the worse when I do not check it every day. It took her less than ten minutes and I think she will get faster at it with practice. I want her to start taking ownership of that bathroom and see it as her responsibility solely. This new chore will not be done every morning: on Tuesdays, we have an early morning at the horse barn and it would probably be better to do the the bathroom swish/swipe after showers.

I like the brief description in large letters on the cards and I think I will use that same line on a daily check list that I will make soon. I also like having the detail on each card to remind me and for the Princess, should she begin to help or take over the chore. However, I get bogged down on check lists that have too much detail on a sheet of paper. I think the combination of the index cards and a paper check list will do very well for me. I will eventually add weekly, monthly, and other chores each with their own index cards to rotate. I have a bill organizer that will serve nicely for this.

For now I am writing what I have done today on a paper so that I can work on developing a list of chores by room and frequency. Also, the list helps me to realize how much I have done and can do each day. I have decided that bite-sized chores work best for me and to keep most jobs under fifteen minutes at a time. Better to do just fifteen minutes of something than to be paralyzed by a job that I think will take two hours or more to do and not even start it.

The best motivation for me is not just a cleaner home in which I will readily invite guests, but that my daughter is learning some very good habits that will help her when she is responsible for her own home and family.

~ My Lord, help me to teach my daughter to be more organized with housekeeping by being better at it myself. ~

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Little Sign of Hope

I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done. ~Hudson Taylor

If you read my last post, you know that I was feeling the weight of things to come and the weight of things in the present. Every now and then I get caught up in seeing things on the worldly side and just cannot "see" the spiritual realm. I forget sometimes that I can choose which of these two realities to be my reality. Even when I see the purpose behind something, it is sometimes (most times) difficult to watch another struggle through it.

I have a friend, who is quite ill. She is my daughter's piano teacher, but she was my friend before the Princess was born, the first real friend I have had since moving here and our friendship has lasted well over a decade. When I needed a word from the Lord, it often has come through her, and I have been able to provide the same for her at times also. This illness causes her terrible fatigue and lately she has had a fever for unknown reasons. She was an only child with both parents passed on and she has been living alone since her divorce which happened some years before I met her. I am very concerned about her. It has been one of the things weighing me down lately. I wonder why she is not receiving healing.

I am hoping the book I am currently reading will shed some light for me about the gift of healing. Actually, I have been quite taken with the first chapters. I already have read about experiences similar to my own and am eager to read a later chapter covering unbelieving believers. Like one of the two authors, I have often found that believing unbelievers receive healing more than the unbelieving believers. Now my friend has been healed in the past and believes in healing, yet is not healing, so the gift of healing still mystifies me. Maybe it is supposed to be that way?

I now have another for which I need to pray. My younger half-brother called me tonight. It is the first time we have talked since our mother died two years ago. He said that his ex-wife just gave him the Christmas card I sent with my contact information. I knew he was divorced, information passed to me from our sister who called me around Christmas after receiving her card. I am still sad about his marriage falling apart. His two daughters are so young, just four and two years old.

We talked about various things. He is a computer whiz kid (kid to me, that is), but does that after hours and works in an automotive shop for a steady income. He is having difficulty with back pain. He took a fall off the roof of his father's mobile home when he was about nine years old and they apparently did not take an image of his back. When I saw him just before he married, I knew he was going to have problems; his back had a very pronounced abnormal curvature, much, much worse than my own. I figured then that in just a few years he would begin to experience serious pain and he is now. Unlike me, he has gone the conventional route and is taking pain medications that he now fears he will not be able to live without, which was one of the reasons I purposely avoided pain killers with my own back problems. He also needs healing.

Later in our conversation he told me something that made me wonder if it was the real reason for his call, a little sign from my Lord to lift the doom and gloom I was feeling and remind me that all things have their purpose. My brother proceeded to tell me about a dream that felt too real and was terribly frightening, but also made him feel the presence of the Holy Spirit within him. Now he had accepted the Lord as a teenager, but later told me he never really was that into it. He sure seemed "into it" when he first told me. I saw the glow about him, but he trivialized the whole thing just two years later. He found himself doing the same with that dream just three weeks later, but this time he prayed that if it was from the Lord that He make it known...and he had the vision again in that instant.

Right afterward he read for about three hours every day until he read the entire Bible from beginning to end. He is not in a church because of his work schedule. I will be praying for his healing and that his employment changes so that he is able to attend church.

I am just very thankful for the reminder that prayers are heard by the God who cares. There are so many who need healing and to know the Lord.

~ My Lord, please bring healing to these two people whom I love this day. You are truly the God of impossible great works. ~

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Whirlpool

…what the situation will be like in the world before the Lord returns, namely, Christ will be despised, and the preachers of the Gospel will be regarded as fools. ~Martin Luther (The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, vol. V, p. 40)

I fast on Wednesdays, which can complicate things in ways I cannot predict. Sometimes I get a headache, but that is rare. Occasionally, I get overtired or generally weak, but not so much so since we have been working at the horse barn on Tuesdays, oddly. Once in awhile, the Lord lays something heavily on my heart and I devote my prayers. Very seldom I get this detached feeling that leans toward feeling defeated.

On those days, I feel a sense of lost and hopelessness. I do not want to talk much. I do not want to hear much. I do not want to read. Worse, I do not even want to pray to my Lord.

I see the beginning of the End Times are upon us and I do not know whether I should try to fight against it or just resign myself to its fate. I fear most for my daughter. I fear for all the Christians and Jews who are just beginning to feel the persecutions yet to be. All my life I have heard about the End Times and all my life I have dreaded its coming.

For what should I pray? That the Lord stop pass this cup from me and my child and my child's children? That they be strong, their faith unwavering, even to their death?

I feel like I am on the edge of a whirlpool: able to see its forthcoming perils, but too caught in it to stop the inevitable demise. For what should I pray?

~ There are times, my Lord, when the groanings of my spirit cannot be served by words. Please hear my heart.~

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Feeling Stabbed in the Back

Pain is never permanent. ~Teresa of Avila

Because I have some abnormal curvature in my spine, it can cause problems now and then. I used to have serious back problems for about six years that started when I was 28 years old, but my back has been in far better shape since then, even through a pregnancy when I had to still carry our 45 pound crippled collie up and down the steps and recently I have been doing all kinds of labor at the horse barn. I rarely have a problem with it at all these days...but I am today.

Apparently, a few of my rib heads were subluxated, chiropractic terminology to say that the beginning of the rib closest to the vertebral column is somewhat dislocated. Rib head subluxations have happened to me now and then over the years, but this time in a differing location than usual and it must have happened during a restless sleep, of all things! The problem is not so much the rib, but the muscle spasms that accompany its being out of place. It started on Saturday, but it was mild and sometimes the ribs slip back in place with just moving around. Not this time, of course. Sunday I did go to church but wished I had not by the time we came back home as the spasms worsen while sitting in the chair there.

Monday,...well, I cannot really describe the pain level of the spasm I began experiencing Monday morning. I would liken it to childbirth, except the child is coming out of my mid back on the left side. Actually, it felt as if being stabbed, breathing gets really difficult, and torso distorts into a paralyzing twist. On a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being the worse, I think I have been spiking at 9. I nearly passed out a couple of times and then I really wished I had because it was so intense. I am thankful that the spasm does subside so that I am not in pain all the time, but they were lasting longer and longer. Three days is usually my pain limit with rib heads.

My husband had taken the day off Monday for other reasons and I am always amazed, by the grace of God, that I do not have these flare ups when he is away. He drove me to the closest chiropractor, as we see two different ones with the farther one being an hour away, but nearby on our Thursday errands. The ten-minute drive to the close one was agonizing enough. I spent some time getting therapies to relax the muscles as much as possible. The adjustment was not a painful as it could have been, but the muscle spasms persisted all the day afterward with movement, which I tried not to do at all. They were spiking around 8 yesterday, but usually did not last as long as they did in the morning. I always feel stiff but better in the mornings, getting worse later on, but the last time I fasted and got better as the day went on. I may go back in for another adjustment today to be sure the the rib heads are holding in place.

I did begin fasting Monday as it has been my experience that usually reduces muscle spasms and soreness faster and I expect to be quite sore, perhaps, for most of the week, unless my Lord intervenes. So far, my husband planning to be in town for the day, the week actually, but plans change with his job so I never count on him being available.

I was supposed to take in my consignment items yesterday, but I rescheduled that for Wednesday afternoon. Knowing I would still be sore today, I called to have someone else feed the horses at the 4-H barn this morning--good thing too because I am still having spasms at level 6 this morning. I am hoping this will not take all week to get over, as I am suppose to face paint all day Saturday for the 4-H Spring Fling fundraiser.

Ironically, I just began reading a book on healing....

~ Please, Lord, please heal me. ~

Monday, March 12, 2012

What to do with God's Abundance

When we surrender every area of our lives--including our finances--to God, then we are free to trust Him to meet our needs. But if we would rather hold tightly to those things that we possess, then we find ourselves in bondage to those very things. ~Larry Burkett

I am sadden this day. I feel this weekend's church board meeting may have been one of those spiritual pivotal points for my church. There is a history, as there is with any church. This one is between my church and the district. There are hard feelings, understandably because the district once closed another church in the area where some of our current members went. The story goes that there was no warning; the district came for a visit one Sunday service and gave the announcement that it was to be closed effective that day.

Our church had some cushion money, but that was used up over a year ago. Since then the church has been making it month-to-month. It has not been making its monthly budget, but it has been paying all the bills and the pastor's salary. We had even been paying our obligations towards missions, colleges, and the district itself, but it has been a struggle just to keep going. Last fall the district asked for all churches to increase the amount they give to the district. Most of the increase was for travel expenses for the two district leaders as I understand it and, although there were protests, it passed when put to the vote.

There are three other concerns. First, the district has not helped us even when we asked for it, not even when we were looking for a pastor yet took credit for the one we found, adding to the bad feelings already present. Second, at the last district conference other church pastors shared how to "fudge" numbers so they could pay the district less money, at least that is how it was viewed by the pastor and others who attended. We have taken our obligation to the district seriously and have been a 100% church, but hearing from larger churches how they pay nothing or little really did not help the attitude in my church toward the district, who allows it. Third, there are questions about a loan of district money to the district leader. (Personally, I do not have any history with the district so I can have a more uninvolved, third-party attitude as I observe people working through all these things.)

A few months ago, in protest to the above issues, our board decided to withhold paying the district. We planned to pay our obligation in full eventually, but there is no requirement in the manual that it must be paid monthly, as we were doing. The board planned to withhold the funds until the district leader made a point to contact us and discussion these issues. However, our following Sunday School lesson was about tithing and government, so in an impromptu meeting with just a few board members, perhaps three of them, it was decided to pay the district half and still hold the other half aside to pay in full later. The district did send a letter reminding us to send the increased amount, but not even a phone call asking us if there was a problem.

The last church board meeting it was decided that the money building in the account meant for the district would be a nice cushion for our own expenses. Now, my husband, a board member, was in favor of withholding 100% to get the district's attention and was away when decision was made to change it to 50%. This time he was against the idea that we would give 100% to missions and colleges, but only give half to the district from now on. He felt that we should pay 100% with the same priority as a person would pay a tithe and the only reason he was in favor of withholding was because there was questionable financial issues within the district.

I have just finished the book The Promise of Provision: Living and Giving From God's Abundant Supply reviewed in my last post--quite timely, I would say considering the circumstances. I feel that tithing should not be something tied with one's feelings about the church. Tithing should be something that we commit to do in honor of our Lord. He provides all and we have the privilege to give what He has placed on our hearts to give back and use the rest for our needs. The thing is that often we get caught up with thinking we need more than we really do.

My husband began making only 60% of his former salary about four years ago with another decrease in pay and no raises for two years. It was a serious pinch and then we felt called to double our tithe for six months during that! When my husband first proposed that idea, I thought he had loss his senses completely, but when I prayed about it, the Lord confirmed it to me also. Still, it probably was the hardest thing I have ever been asked to do by my Lord.

You have to understand that in giving 20% at that time, we were not giving just beyond our budget, but beyond our expenses and what little cushion we had would be depleted completely; we would be flat broke at the end of that six months. I did not understand then that we were giving from God's abundance, but towards the end of that period I marveled how we never paid one bill late. We did have things break that would not get fixed until later, but we got by without the dishwasher for some months and the other little things too. Not only that but in the fifth month my husband was offered a new job out of the blue, since he was not looking, that was an over 30% increase in pay. At that point, we knew that anything over what he had been making for the last two years was an abundance, so we prayed about what God would like us to pay in tithe money and it was 15%, which equaled the same amount in funds as the 20% previously. We believe firmly we were given an abundance, because we obeyed and we wanted to be sure we kept on obeying.

Now here is my church, to which we give tithes, not being a good example of faith with the tithe. I have felt that God was showing us what we can get by on, so that when He did bless us with more members and money that we would use it more wisely. However, now the church is not paying its share to the district. Maybe people saw money building up in the account for the first time in well over a year and it tempted them. Maybe they just are letting their feelings about the district justify keeping it. I do not know, but it feels quite unsettling in my spirit and my husband did not feel it had been a decision from the Lord sought after in prayer.

I can definitely understand how trusting the Lord to meet our needs each month is difficult, but I also have seen the blessing that comes from doing that, in God's time. I cannot help but think that this latest decision is a very poor example for our members and children. Are we to tithe based on our feelings or services? Should we withhold 50% of our tithes to the church to protest its actions? If we were an independent church, this would not be a problem, because there would not be a district to which we would have an obligation. However, since our church is in this structure, I feel it should abide in it accordingly. I have seen and believe that my church has been promised more from the Lord, but I am not sure that it is being obedient and perhaps the Lord is allowing us to be tested. Anyway, I am truly concerned about how God will deal with our church because of this and asking for prayers that we follow His will.

~ My Lord, please help the members of my church hear You clearly and obey Your will in all areas of our lives, but particularly with personal and church finances. ~

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book Review: The Promise of Provision

God longs for you to have fruitfulness in every area of your life. God is a God of abundance. I pray that He will grant that revelation to you as you read. ~Derek Prince

Coming from a childhood of poverty, I have struggled for many years with the concepts of wealth and poverty as well as blessings and curses. The Promise of Provision: Living and Giving From God's Abundant Supply is the first book I have ever read on God's provision that is truly Biblical as well as easy to understand. Although I have learned some of these principles in my own life over many years, I find my own experiences to be confirmation of Derek Prince's provision philosophy as expounded in this book.

When God blessed His people, He did so by promising them children, abundant harvests, increased herds, plentiful food, victory over enemies, bountiful storehouses, good weather for crops, prosperity, productiveness in their labor, recognition of their county by other countries, and more. In Deuteronomy 28, He blessed the people who obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and stated that these blessing would "come upon you and over take you." Such a powerful promise in exchange for obedience!

Prince describes the five basic principles of God's provision:

  1. All of God's promises hold the provision.
  2. All of God's promises are our inheritance.
  3. All of God's promises are an expression of His will.
  4. All of God's promises are now available to us through Christ.
  5. All of God's promises being fulfilled do not depend on our circumstances, but rather upon our meeting God's conditions.
The five conditions outlined in the book are admitting your true motive; faith is essential; honoring through giving; right thinking, speaking, and acting; and let God add--in His way and in His time. Then there is the purpose for provision which is to invest in people.

I have been very moved by this book, because it is not about building wealth nor glorifying poverty, it is about God's promises of provision, which not only are sufficient but are abundant. It is about understanding that God wishes to give to us, so that we can give abundantly in honor of Him. I highly recommend this book for Christians in all financial situations.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House Publishers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

~ My Lord, thank you for drawing me to this book and that it was provided to me freely. Bless this book and may I pass on these principles to others. ~

Friday, March 9, 2012

Truth Promise 366: Honesty is Not Everything I Thought It Would Be

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7

On Tuesday morning as I was about to leave for the 4-H stables, my partner mother called to ask me if Miss Annette had called me, because they would not be coming out to the barn with the Princess and me that morning; she did not want us to be waiting on her. I told her that I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to use the new rope halter I had made on Blue to lunge him and that I thought we might try to trade off working with him until he was responding as he should, that is not acting up. She went on to say they would not be coming on Tuesdays from then on and would be helping another mother, who boards her horse there and comes on Monday both in the morning and afternoon, but they would go in the afternoon starting the week after next as they would be taking a week off. (Now to be honest, Miss Annette had mentioned last week that they may not be coming out on Tuesday mornings soon but it was said in a manner that was not definite and I had talked to the mother since then and she did not say anything about there being a change.)

The Princess was very upset that her friends would not be coming anymore and complained about the amount of work she would have to do. She was difficult that morning. I understood her feelings: there would be more work for us with the feeding and cleaning up with just the two of us, but there would be much less stress and work on me with everything that came after, like grooming, lunging, riding, and making sure three to four children and one adult were handling the horses correctly so they would not get hurt.

Now all of Tuesday I felt that I had done this family a disservice and that I needed to apologize to the mother. She is a very nice person and we talk easily on the phone. Had the situation been different, I would enjoy her company very much--at least, that is what I found myself saying in my mind. I decided I would apologize that night after the 4-H meeting, as she said they would be there.

Unfortunately, they did not come so I did not get the opportunity. I did see the the Monday mother and talked to her after the meeting. I said that I had heard that she would have some help now on Mondays and I must have looked a bit confused after she mentioned another woman and her daughter. I then clarified who I meant and then she told me that they had shown up last Monday afternoon and she did not know why they were there, but they just started feeding the horses. This reminded me of the first time they came on Tuesday morning and let the horses in before I had gotten back to the barn; they just seem to take over and know what they were doing. Perhaps Miss Annette had forgotten to tell her they were coming, perhaps she did not know...on that point I have no knowledge of what transpired, but I was again surprised that the mother had not told me they had already been there on Monday afternoon, actually just the day before she called me. I wrote "again" because I want to believe she is being truthful with me, but it seems that she has other priorities.

At this point I had a half smile on my face and now the woman before me looked confused. I just said that she would probably figure it out. This is the same woman who trained me when I started on Wednesdays and whose daughter we have paid to give the Princess riding lessons when we can afford them, so we have a little rapport. She asked what was up and I simply told her that if I explain and then she works with this family that she will probably think what was wrong with me as they do just fine, but I had worked with them for about six weeks and they have been taking lessons in the past two weeks with the 4-H leader's adult son, who has been riding since he was four and gives excellent lessons. However, I did tell her that they had the barn chores down but the mother can talk like she is more knowledgeable and experienced than she is with handling the horses themselves. She thanked me for the "heads up."

Tuesday night, a friend during a Skype talk made the distinction between a working relationship and a friendship, and I thought about how it was neither because I still felt I could not trust what she tells me. My friend also said something about how interesting my year of being truthful was turning out to be--that had to be a little tap on the shoulder from God. Can you believe that I almost forgot my truth promise? You see, it is very easy to be truthful, or at least convince myself I am being truthful, when when things are going smoothly, but add a bit of difficulty with another person, who is not really being truthful, and then I realized what truthfulness really is. Truthfulness involves a very familiar formula: reflection-conviction-repentance-change.

I have been truthful on my blog, because it was easy, even therapeutic, to complain here in my little Internet sanctuary, but that was not pleasing my Lord. I felt very strong urgings to apologize to the woman. Part of me did not want to do it, but another part of me wanted to do it as soon as possible. If you have ever felt a prodding from the Lord to do something you do not really want to do, but you also knew it would be better for you to do it, then you know just what I was feeling.

I called the mother Wednesday morning and apologized for being resentful toward her. I explained that from talking to her on the phone that first time that I thought she was going to be teaching me new things and I was disappointed when I began to realize that would not be the case. She told me that she had also said that she had not been around horses at all during her adult life and I confirmed that she had said that but that she just seemed to be so organized and had shared such definite ideas about how she wanted to go about training her children with the horses that I had allowed myself to develop this expectation, which was unfair to her because she would have been unable to fulfill it. I also confessed that expectations always get me into trouble with people that is why I try to have high expectation on myself and low expectations on everyone else, but every now and then I let one slip by.

Now there is one thing that I failed to mention on my blog, I think, and that is how, during our first phone conversation, that the mother told me all her plans and said that if I wanted my daughter to learn along with them, she would be glad to include her...that is one of the reasons that I felt she was far more experienced than I was. I would not bother to mention it now, except that it has some significance with how our conversation ended. She was talking about the training she had planned for her children after they will start leasing the horse at the other barn later this month. She had the first twelve lessons completely planned out. She was very enthusiastic about a couple of books she was using as a reference. She also talked about the exercises they would be doing. For instance, how they be going from sitting to standing in the saddle to help them with balance and in preparation for specific exercises to prepare for riding in a trot. She offered to share her lesson plans with me if I would be interested for the Princess....

"That would be so nice. Thank you." I said without hesitation, but also quite thankful I was on the phone at that moment, because I was thinking: Here she goes again! But, now I am no longer resentful, just amused by her in a more loving way.

When I apologize, I do not expect an apology in return, or forgiveness, or to be liked more (or at all). I cannot say I even expect to feel peace, although that did happen this time. Most of all, I do not expect the other person to change, though I think I would rarely be disappointed should "no change" be my expectation.

I have learned something, with God's guidance, about being truthful. Most people, perhaps myself included, tend to think being truthful is about confronting other people and it may be at times, but I am beginning to understand that being truthful is mostly about confronting myself. It is humility along with reflection-conviction-repentance-change.

I may have been right to think and feel what I did, but I have learned that truthfulness is not about being right--it is about getting right with God.

~ My Lord, thank you for reminding me that being truthful is all about seeking to please You. ~