Insurance for Life

August 31st, 2015

WARNING: Touchy subject ahead.

For the last few months my hubby has been in a sort of negotiation situation with a new life insurance company. At 48, (we know) the reality is that anything can happen at anytime and being prepared is the only way for true peace of mind.

Except, it’s pretty unnerving to do such a task and not feel weirdly emotional about it. Who wants to plan for death? No one, that’s who. People are irreplaceable and there is no amount of money that can bring them back or take away the pain of their loss.

For me (and many others like me), I wouldn’t be able to pay my current bills (since I have no real job) if my husband suddenly passed away. Not a good position to be in, yet it is my real life situation. For the last 10 or so years, I’ve felt secure knowing he had a policy in place to help us (our kids and me) get back on our feet for a period of time if something happened. But, that policy ran its course and we were left with nothing. Nada. Hence, the new policy shopping.

Picking a dollar amount that will sustain the person left behind can be grueling and awkward. In my thinking, since I’m a bit out of the dating and marrying age….I’m looking at living alone and on my own for a long time. My husband’s salary is a bit out of reach for me and the debt, mortgage and more is enough to throw me into a deep depression. Insurance offers a comfort that cannot be taken away even when our loved one has.

After the death of my mother, I see how important being prepared for the ones left behind really is. Nothing was in place and it left me scrambling. The stress of losing her was overshadowed by all the many real life details left for me to figure out after she was gone. Her house, her belongings, her bills….and more overwhelmed me and my family. Life insurance would have prevented a lot of the stress and a plan could have helped me navigate through all the little details. I didn’t have room for choices and I didn’t have time to think through a big plan after the fact. I just had to do what I could and leave it at that. It was painful.

So, in light of what you know…. are you prepared? Is your family covered by an insurance policy? Do you live thinking, “It won’t happen to me?”. I hope not. This past weekend, my Florida family buried a young husband and father who died suddenly without warning from a heart-attack at 34. No one is promised another day. Not being prepared is terrible planning on our part.

Do yourself and your loved ones the honor of having your life and death in order. Nothing can bring you or me back…..but taking care of them financially is a loving legacy to leave behind.

Test Test, Is This Thing On?

August 27th, 2015

I talk a big talk. Maybe you do too. When I picked my Word for 2015, oh so many months back….I secretly hoped that I wouldn’t actually have to USE IT “too much”.

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Yea, I’m a faith giant.

More like, fake giant.

This past week? I’ve been running on the hamster wheel of [going nowhere fast] and falling hard face-first on my word of the year focus. Trust. Hrmph!

Irony at its greatest.

Isn’t that how it goes? We get all jazzed up, psyche ourselves to the point of nothing can stop me and then fail the whole test when trouble comes our way?!

I cried my eyes out over a terrible FAFSA / SCHOLARSHIP mishap that left my hard-working senior college babe without her much needed money for school. I lost all hope and I even let myself forget that my word for the year was such a doozy of a proclamation that I actually EVER BELIEVED it was for me.

After crying and wailing …. and more crying, then crawling into the covers and giving up – I felt the gentle reminder that God knew all about this way back when. He felt none of the “SURPRISE, your scholarship is gone blues” that I was feeling.

Why it happened isn’t important. It happened. It’s a part of God’s plan. My role in this fiasco is to T R U S T Him.

After all, that’s what I promised to do. I just didn’t think it would be over such a sensitive or important part of my life, my sweet kid and her final year of school. The reality for me though is that I’ve been skipping along, maybe even feeling untouchable when the TRUST test came on the scene.

I am humbled.

I am reminded that my life is not without obstacles. I am deep in gratitude for the love of a Father who knew all along about the scholarship slip-up and holds the power to make all things new with or without a second signature on an online form. He can move mountains and He can make a scholarship come & go…and go & come back again. I know, I can TRUST HIM!

Is it a test? Probably not. Is it a reminder? Probably not. Is it a part of life? Certainly so.

I should be living in complete TRUST every single day. Not just on the days of big scary events that threaten to topple over my whole world or the world of those I love.

trust the lord

Ashley Who?

August 25th, 2015

Someone, somewhere right now is searching for a way to cheat on their spouse.

When the news first reported the Ashley Madison hack, I thought to myself – Who? Ashley Madison? What’s that? And why is it such a big deal? Hello, my name is Naive Eve. Pleased to meet you.

I don’t cheat. I don’t look for ways to cheat and I believe with my whole heart that my husband is living the same kind of committed lifestyle.

I bet a lot of other’s felt the same way until they followed one of the links to find their partner caught up in the most painful scandals of our current world.

What is wrong with people? Who does this? Who purposefully seeks out relationships outside of their marriage … knowing the truth could ruin their entire family forever?

Well, a lot of people. Cheating has been around much longer than dear old Ashley Madison’s been on the world wide web. Further proof that the human heart is flawed and wicked.

Why?

I believe is that people are broken. How can they not be? Tens of millions of people (there were supposedly 30,000,000 users signed up for this site) were affected by the hacking of Ashley Madison. That’s a lot of people involved in something they surely knew was never REALLY PRIVATE!

I don’t have the mental energy to linger on this subject too long. But, I also can’t stick my head in the sand and neither can you. Our world is full of confused and hurting people. Some of them, acting out so incredulously that it has become only a matter of linking to a site to find out if you’re the next victim.

Listen, if you haven’t heard…I am here to tell you – STUFF ON THE INTERNET IS NOT SECRET! Somehow, your sneaky little clicks can be found out. If you send nude photos of yourself, they can be seen by more than just the person you are sending them to. If you are looking for love in all the wrong places, you will eventually be found out. Be diligent, be of sound mind and protect yourself and the ones you love.

Don’t stray away from the place where you are safe and loved.

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Before I close the door to my Ashley Madison thoughts today, let me be clear. My heart is no more healthier or whole than any of the cheaters found on this site or mingling around in the world of lust. I’m just as weak, I’m just as wicked, I’m just as pathetic.

I cast no stones. However, I want you to know… that my life and the ones I love in it are of utmost importance to me. I will forever try to live my life in a way that honors them because what I do in secret can and will have a tremendous affect on them. Beyond that, I never want to hurt the God who sees (Jehovah-jireh) with my foolish and sneaky ways just to satisfy a yearning inside of me.

What I do, what you do is absolutely linked to the people we love forever. Think about that before you go looking…

I’m Afraid…. of What?

August 20th, 2015

One night (this could have been said, many nights) I couldn’t sleep because my mind was racing with “What if’s”; What if he has an accident? What if a car doesn’t see him on his motorcycle? What if she is in the wrong place at the wrong time? What if someone tries to break in? What if I get sick? What if he loses his job? What if we can’t pay our bills?

WHAT IF? (Insert: hand-wringing, tossing & turning, heavy sighing)

As a mom, I think some worrying is probably unavoidable. But, then again, is it?

fear not

After reading a great article yesterday by the very young (Hello, he WASN’T ALIVE when the Space Shuttle blew up?) Frank Powell on 9 Sins Christians Are Okay With, I took a little bop right between the eyes (thanks, Frank) at my own acceptance of most of what was on his list. Fear and apathy being two of my biggest weaknesses.

I’m a Christian. I’ve been a Christian a looooooong time (I was in my first year of college when the Space Shuttle blew up). I’ve deepened in my faith. I’ve read scripture for knowledge and heart power and obedience.

Still, I grapple with fear.

I know better, is what I’m saying. I know it, I can even feel it. It’s wrong and unnecessary. Yet, as soon as the lights go out, or the kid drives away or the weird pains in my body rear up….I resort to feeling afraid.

fear fear

Feeling afraid is like telling God – He isn’t big enough to take care of me or the people I love and fret over. Rolling around in bed while my mind races around with the what if’s, is not from God.

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God doesn’t dole out fear (but Satan sure does). He doesn’t use fear to get us to do what He wants either. Like many have assumed throughout their lives.

Does that mean we shouldn’t fear Him?

Bliss

It means, we shouldn’t mix up a Holy reverence for who God is in our lives with the VBS character we play like He is in our real world living.

God is Holy. God is righteous. God is pure. God is wise beyond all knowledge. God is power. God is merciful. God is everywhere all the time. God is the Great I Am. HE was, HE is and HE will always be.

My knowledge of those attributes of Him propel me to honor Him, to trust Him and to believe Him when He says….

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I can rest knowing God has complete control over my life.

His love for me is deeper than any kind of love that I’ll ever know on this earth. His love for the people I care about is even stronger than the love I feel for them.

So, why should I worry or fear?

Right now, I have a sign by my front door and I notice people slowing down as they walk by to read it…

…And it’s time I start living like I believe it!

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What are you afraid of?

Ready or Not

August 19th, 2015

What is it that you know you’re supposed to be doing but you’re not?

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What’s holding you back?

I’m like the Pastor preaching to the choir on this, I know. I have my own wishlist that I just sit on and hope one day will come true. It’s not. No one is going to hand me my dream and it’s not going to happen like that for you either.

So, what say you? Wanna sit around and wait or do you want to make something happen?

I’m off today, doing just that.

TAKE THAT, HUMP DAY!!

Choose Wisely

August 18th, 2015

I read an article this morning that sparked a fire in my heart. It was titled, How to Teach Your Kid to Marry the Right Person. The writer points to the mistakes she made in her own life and wishes that her parents had stepped in to help her. Who knew parents had such power?

I DID!

Parents have an obligation to help guide their kids to good choices. Now, before you jump on my Facebook feed and chew my ear about how parents shouldn’t meddle in anything to do with their kids futures….let me be clear, YES HECK THEY SHOULD!

What is it about freedom to choose that convinces intelligent people to think that they have no right to try to influence THEIR OWN CHILDREN to make good choices? People. Please.

We get one shot at this parenting gig. It doesn’t bode well for us to wing it or “hope” all will go in their favor. Parenting is an intentional act. We either do it or we don’t. Helping mold our kids into healthy, successful adults takes a lot of investment. It also takes dedication…..and tenacity.

So, imagine their future marriages?

If I asked, I would bet that NO ONE would say that their biggest hopes for their kids futures are rocky relationships, divorces or broken homes. Yet, most parents tend to back off or look the other way when their young teens or adults dabble in unhealthy relationships. You know, just not comfortable with “saying” anything. Bad idea.

Do you remember being 18? 22? 27?

What did you know about life then? What kind of dumb mistakes did you make? Could you have taken a better path for yourself if someone would have intervened? I believe so and I don’t even know who you are reading this. You might be someone’s pastor or an author of deep spiritual writings. Mistakes manage to affect each of us, no matter who we turn out to be later in life. Some mistakes, take our whole lives to get over if we ever even do.

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So, how do parents help their kids to choose a spouse?

First, by being a great example. Trust me when I say, my kids know the honest truth about who I am and who their dad is. Two very flawed and broken people who’ve tried countless ways to destroy one another during the last 26 years. We’ve been good to one another, we’ve been mean. We’ve helped and we’ve hurt. We’ve argued and we’ve made up. We’ve struggled and we’ve soared. We’ve shunned and we’ve forgiven. Through all of our weak pathetic attempts to outdo one another (hey, first-borns…can I get an amen?) we had one thing that grounded us, G O D! God wouldn’t leave the two of us alone in our sin. Every single fuss, every little frustration….God stayed first in our hearts. Because of that, we genuinely had to ask & seek forgiveness for the wrongs built up between us.

Our kids had a front row seat in all of that. They know the difference between real and not real forgiveness.

Second, talk about relationships openly. We’ve never tried to hide stuff from our kids. They’re too smart anyway. They’ll figure it out. Life is bumpy. Money problems happen, jobs disappear, outside influences sneak in, health problem take over….life has no guarantees. Other than, issues will creep into every persons life. How we deal is important. How other people deal is too. It’s a good thing to pay attention to how others handle their problems and to decide what’s healthy and not so healthy with your kids. Believe me, they will make a lot of their own personal decisions throughout life based on what they’ve learned from their own environment at home.

Third, pray for them and for their future spouse. It’s important that they know you are praying too. Be honest about your hopes for them and that you are trusting God to provide them with the perfect person to spend the rest of their lives with. A marriage relationship is the biggest decision our kids will ever make. EVER MAKE. It is a commitment like none other. Society may try to make that decision seem disposable….however, it is not. Marriage is forever, whether it works out or doesn’t. You are forever linked through the act of marriage to that person for the rest of your live long days. Ask any divorced person.

Fourth, speak up. It’s going to happen, your kids are going to date a few losers. Don’t be shy about your opinion. That doesn’t mean, go bang on their heads until they listen. It means, use the opportunities you have to speak openly about the qualities you see or don’t see in that person. Ask good questions, help your child learn to ask good questions too. Your advice might fall on deaf ears, but you won’t have to answer them later as to WHY YOU DIDN’T SPEAK UP! If you’ve ever been love-struck by a not-so-good choice of a future spouse and realized it just in time then you know how thankful you feel that you didn’t make the biggest mistake of your life by marrying them. Do the same for your kids. They need guidance.

Every parent owes their kids help in this area. But, I also realize a big reason parents aren’t helping is because they can’t even get their own relationships right. Still, I think if you don’t want your kids to make the same mistakes you made….you would want to speak up even more.

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Here are some great questions to discuss with your kids/young adults about the idea of marriage.

1) Are you ready for the commitment that comes with marriage?

2) What qualities are you looking for in a future spouse?

3) How do you handle conflict, stress, money, children, poor health, job loss? What do you need in a spouse regarding those issues?

4) What are your personal goals? Do you have personal goals for a future spouse?

5) Where do you see yourself, your marriage, your life in 5, 10, 20 years?

6) How important is working out hard marriage problems? Will you do counseling? Divorce? Separate? Or will you stick it out?

7) Will money be a source of discord in your marriage?

8) Is faith important to you when choosing a forever spouse?

9) Does family matter when deciding who to marry?

10) Are you prepared for the future if an unplanned pregnancy occurs? Or is the relationship just not that special after all to commit to marriage?

Choosing a spouse is a lot like rolling the dice. No joke. I think about my own decision 26 years ago and wonder how I got so lucky. I know that my 22 year old brain was a mixed bag of nuts. Still, God blessed me and I’m forever grateful.

I knew, after dating all the stinky fish in the sea that the kind of man I wanted was the one I found in my hubby. He wasn’t perfect, he didn’t have a stacked up bank account, he didn’t see everything in life with the same eyes as me….but, I knew.

Hopefully, our kids will know too.

* Don’t worry though, we will lovingly give our advice. 😉

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