Thursday, September 3, 2009

No Man is an Island

Have you ever had days when you just wanted to crawl under the bed and hide. How about having a life just like this? My pastor refers to this as having a messy life. (See his blog from today : as he tells it much more poignantly than I can......

I have determined that I have a very messy life! My family looks very far from perfect and honestly sometimes it's easier not to have to deal with others in this matter. I often find it too painful or difficult to present my problems and then deal with the bewildered looks that follow. I have determined that most folks want us messy people to give the standard reply of "fine" when asked how we are doing. They really don't want to hear that my life is a constant stream of disasters!!

However, I am copping out when I close myself off from others. Yes, relationships take work and commitment. Sometimes, I don't feel like I have time for that. If we are supposed to be pattering our lives after our Savior, then this attitude cannot prevail. Our pain and disasters might help someone else in their moment of crisis. We might also find relationships that ease the pain of our own lives. People need other people.........we were meant to live in a loving community to help and sustain each other. It's easy to forget that here in the cyber age.

I am challenging myself to reach out to others more this week. I know that I have some relationships that could use some patching up. I also know that the Lord has probably presented me with opportunities to meet people that I closed the door on. I am going to make a conscious effort to reach out more and hole up less.

What about you? Are you living on an island? Do you have something wonderful to share that could only be exposed through the messiness of your life? Or maybe, you have compassion and love that could be given to one of us messies. Either way, take a chance and reach out......Jesus did with twelve very messy men......and He changed the world.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Actualization of Accumulation

As I was driving home from Walmart today, it struck me.......We all own a ton of stuff. I saw many cars parked in the driveways of my neighborhood. Undoubtedly, because people had so much stuff in their garage that they couldn't fit their car in the there. So, they parked one of the biggest expenditures out on the street, and put their junk where it could be sheltered. Didn't make much since to me.

I arrived home and unloaded my groceries. Then, I proceeded to pick up my living room. It hit own family has too much "stuff"! It's piled everywhere and I am actually running out of places to put it all. Why????

How much of this stuff do we even look at or use?

We have technology stuff, therapy stuff, gaming stuff, reading stuff, children's stuff, and multimedia stuff!!! I don't know about you but a bulldozer pushing all this "stuff" out of my life would be exceptionally nice. It's in every room, corner, closet, and counter in my house. I am truly thinking of becoming a minimalist and getting rid of it all! I believe that my brain would be considerably less cluttered too.

My family like many others is learning the hard lesson of defining wants and needs. It's just hard for children to get this lesson when we belong to a consumer driven society. They are bombarded by advertisement, and peers that they need the latest and greatest "stuff" out there. Still, God is very clear about how we should handle our money. If we go back to biblical concepts, our family financial spreadsheet is bound to move into the black! Teaching our children concepts of tithing and living debt free will also help them be successful and happy in their futures.

Having a child with special needs puts an increased burden on my family. We learned three years ago how to do without long before the recession hit. We have had to learn to rely on God and cut every corner that we can. Decisions that are often painful for everyone.

Many families today are now facing this same financial issues. Some have lost jobs, still others have lived far beyond their means. Either way, the economy is a wake up call for us all to redefine what is truly important to us. If we can survive the pain of giving up stuff, I believe we will reap riches of enjoying those things that truly matter!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Forty-Five Years Ago.....

It was 1963. JFK was president and assassinated in Dallas, TX, America introduced the zip code, Martin Luther King delivers his "I have a Dream" speech, the Vietnam War is raging, Lyndon B. Johnson assumes the presidency, Beatlemania hit the U.S.............

AND............ my parents got married on August 31, in Bay City, Michigan.

I never realized how tumultuous this time must have been for them. Two kids that met at Arizona State University. My mom from a small town in Missouri, and my dad a football player from Michigan. They were just two Midwestern kids, trying to finish college, and fearless enough to get married during these very confusing times.

Forty-Five years is a very long time......

In this time......they raised two college educated children, obtained Master's degrees, taught and influenced thousands of high school students, made many friendships, and touched many lives. Not bad for two kids from the Midwest!

They have always been my stability. My foundation in a very confusing world. My father sees things in black and white......right and wrong. He instilled in me those Midwestern values of honesty, hard work, and commitment. My mother cushioned the wrath of dad when he didn't understand our paths. She was always there to comfort and pick up the pieces when my brother and I fell.

They are amazing people to have stuck it out all these years. They differ in stature, political beliefs, vocation, at one point, religion, and just about every other thing two people could disagree on............but not their love of the Lord.

I believe this is why they have made it these forty-five years. They clung to Jesus when days were dark and praised Him when life was going their way. This was handed down to my brother and I. We were the lucky ones to have been taught by such great examples.

I celebrate Dave and Deanna Sampson today! I thank God for such determined and committed parents. I was lucky to have such an awesome example of God's love poured out upon the Earth and thank Him for two such amazing people everyday!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Silent Partner

Most people know that I am married. However, many people have no idea what my husband looks like, what he does, or how important he is in my life. I must admit that I have secretly have held a grudge against my husband. I have thought he doesn't have a clue what my life is like. The absolute craziness of my days trying to keep my schedule together. I have discovered though, that I wasn't giving him credit for what he does and how much he loves us. Although, he doesn't completely understand the stress of my obligations, he always supports the insanity.
Joe my silent partner.

My husband was born in 1950 when the world looked much different than today. He was raised in Baltimore, Maryland a whole world away from Arizona. He is an only child that was born to a poor working class family. I was born the youngest of two, my parents were educated and taught high school. Our worlds couldn't look more different. What brought us together was passion, love, and baseball. Seems rather shallow now!!

Our lives really didn't turn out the way we had planned. Does life ever?? We swore to never have debt, as we were comfortable with where we were. I taught school and Joe taught college. Life was simple and straightforward. Then came DJ........he was enough to throw any boat off course.

Because of DJ, I had to quit work. I also had to give up a substantial paycheck while we assumed tremendous medical expenses that continue today. I learned to trust God and my husband. We have struggled through three years of treatment that often meant I spent months in Phoenix away from home. Joe quietly picked up the pieces and kept the house going, helped with my oldest, and worked to pay the bills. I also watched him sell his prize baseball autograph collection to fund our Hyperberic Oxygen Chamber. He never complained, pouted, or grumbled......he just let things go.

We have an unorthodox marriage at best. I take care of DJ's treatment, medications, food, school, and church. I also take care of the the house, pool, yard, laundry, meals, and Kelsie. He attempts to deal with our budget, works every overload, works both summer sessions, and tries to pitch in to the effort every so often. He also takes care of our son on weekend mornings. I am NOT a morning I get to sleep in!

I couldn't do what I do without him. I have never once doubted his commitment to me or our family. I also rarely tell him he is my Hero. God truly gifted me with a remarkable husband.

Today, I hope you think of who your silent partner is and thank God for their continued support and love. These people are such a special gift.....we should let them know regularly how much they complete our lives!