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Saturday, June 8, 2013- See the Future

What if the you of today could give the you of 20 years ago advise? What would you say? Invest in Apple? Invest in Google? Watch less television? Exercise more? Eat healthier? 

Someone said, "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." No one is sure who said it first, but the quote has been attributed to Mickey Mantle, Eubie Blake, George Burns and Mark Twain (amongst others). 

Unfortunately, the truth is, we can't go back; but what if we look forward?

A recent research project conducted by Hal Hershfield, of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, determined that those shown a computerized picture of what he or she would possibly look like in 20 years, set aside more money for retirement than those in a group shown current pictures of themselves. The research cited most people having difficulty 'seeing' their future self, but an aged picture of a future self made a significant difference in the choices made regarding retirement savings. 

All this got me thinking, what are the choices and decisions I make every day that have the potential to make a difference in the 20 years from now me. 

The ability to see the future may not be quite as difficult as it first appears. We 'see' the future when we select a recipe, buy the ingredients and bake a cake. We 'see' the future  when we plant a garden. We see a nicer looking yard when we take to the yard with the lawn mower, trimmer and edger. A vision of a better looking future is not that hard to imagine.

The present acts/future consequences theme is portrayed in the classic tale, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. The main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, is confronted with future consequences of his actions--should he not change his ways.  

What about he 100 years from now future me? The Bible teaches (and I believe) that my never-dying soul and spirit will be somewhere in 100 years. In 100 years will I regret or be thankful for the choices I make today, tomorrow and in the coming week?

As important as my choices are for finances, healthy eating and exercise, they pale in comparison to my choices for Christian stewardship, commitment and faithfulness. 

My life is a stewardship and I'm accountable. I am a steward of my finances and I’m accountable. I am a steward of my time and I’m accountable. May God grant us the wisdom to continue investing wisely in our futures.

If the next 20 years fly by as quickly as the past 20 years, the future is most certainly coming and it’s coming very quickly. The choices I make today have consequences--and so do yours. May God grant us wisdom in making the best choices today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012- Teamwork

In Pat Williams' book, The Magic of Teamwork, he writes about a horse-pulling contest at a county fair. The first-place horse pulled 4,500 pounds. The second-place horse pulled 4,000 pounds. The owners figured the two horses together could pull 8,500 pounds. But when the owners hitched the horses together, they were able to pull 12,000 pounds, far more than the sum of their individual efforts.

In Ecclesiastes 4:12 we read: And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken . In Leviticus 26:8 we read: And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. Also, in Deuteronomy 32:30 one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight .

So, what applies to horses, cords and soldiers applies to singers and instrumentalists. Your faithful service to the Lord in our ministry allows us to accomplish more together than what any of us can accomplish individually. I want you to know that I appreciate your service to the Lord and your faithfulness to the ministry He has given us.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012- America's Crisis of Character

On Friday of last week Ryan sent me an email with a link to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Peggy Noonan entitled: America's Crisis of Character, The nation seems to be on the wrong track, and not just economically. It is a very worthwhile read.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011- Who Am I?

I'm just like you. I'm banker – wife – retired nurse & encourager – working wife – Christian school teacher & mom – willing servant, mom, wife & caregiver – wife, mother, grandmother – busy nurse & mom – happily retired nurse – proud grandfather – good lookin', but humble guy – Christian artist & husband – grandma & loving it – wife, mother & grandma – lover of music – grandmother of four – grandmother of six – faithful choir member – good grandmother at 70 – Christian patriot – Christian mother & worker – emotional, compassionate person and totally computer illiterate – singing crybaby nurse – librarian – homemaker with four grandchildren & retired – stay-at-home grandma & Sunday school teacher – sinner saved by grace – helper & team player – grandmother of four & a “good cooker” – gardener, cook & traveler – dad, husband & engineer – punctual & consistent choir member – granddad – Christian – grandfather of three – Sunday school teacher – retired 82 year-old man happily serving the Lord – teacher & mama – retired soldier – retired CSX engineer – grandmother of nine – child of God – computer geek baritone – finance guy & father – hunter, fisherman & camper – very busy person – father of two – retired, camper & Christian – grandfather of ten – wife, mother & nurse – hard working grandma – nurse, mother & dog lover – aspiring writer & crazy cat woman – realtor, mother & wife – full-time nurse – gun tot'n woman – mother of one & retired – wife, mother, grandmother & retired – wife, mother & teacher – realtor, singer, husband & father – husband, father & nurse – husband, banker & singer – happily married wife – housewife, grandma of 9 & mother of 3 – retired legal clerk – working grandmother – nanny for two children – retired newly-wed – happily retired woman – retired person – grandfather of seven – Christian mother of two – mother, wife & nurse – mother, teacher & coordinator extraordinaire – full-time nurse – banker – happily tired yaya (new grandma) – usually happy person – college student – grandma of seven & loving it! – high school student – very tired free spirit – Christian mom of two – wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother & retired – business lady – child of God, wife, mother, grandmother, sister & aunt – great-grandmother of three – retired registered nurse – Christian, married southern woman – DuPont retiree – retired x-ray tech – happily married woman – child of God, art teacher, grad student – Nana – choir member.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011- Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a great start. When we open a calendar for a new year, we never know what is going to unfold. The seasons, months, weeks, days and hours will bring both new opportunities and new challenges as they unfold. The gift of time is more valuable than the gift of money. I pray that we will have the wisdom to make the best choices with the time God gives us.

Our pastor has challenged us to focus on three strategic goals in 2011. What I like about the goals is that they are simple, they can apply to every area of ministry and that they can apply to each of us in every area of our life.

Goal 1—Honor the Lord in all we do. That is simple. Several years ago someone came up with the “What would Jesus do?” filter for us to ask in situations we may find ourselves in. For us, the question is, “Does this honor the Lord?” Do my choices, habits, practices, deeds, actions, attitudes, thoughts and actions honor the Lord? What is “honor?” When we honor someone or something we hold them or it in high esteem, we give respect. Simply put, when we honor the Lord we give Him first place.

I am convinced that so many times we fall short with our choices and can do better. As we begin 2011, I encourage each of us to make a conscious effort to ask the question, “Does this honor the Lord?”

Goal 2—Love One-Another. It is a simple goal, not so simple to practice at all times and in every situation. I don't know about you, but there is room for improvement in my life in this area. Honestly, it is not hard for me to love some people. And to be equally as honest, it is very hard for me to love some people. It is hard for me to love rude people. It is hard for me to love people who disappoint me. And sometimes it is hard for me to love people with whom I disagree.

In the New Testament there are 42 uses of the one-another phrase. They flesh out the “how” of loving one-another. (Be kind, serve, forgive, honor, greet, comfort, etc.) If I practice love one-another, what do I need to change? In 2011, I am going to work at doing a better job loving one-another. I hope you will too.

Goal 3—Grow in every area. Last week our pastor identified six distinctive areas we have in our life. (Physical, social, mental, financial, marriage & family, spiritual) We will be better off individually and corporately if we seek to grow in every area of our life. We will also be better off at the end of 2011 if there is growth in ministry. When compared to 2010, I hope that there are more people serving with us and more people serving the Lord more faithfully at the end of 2011!

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