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A Lesson in Class

She’s baaaack! That’s right, I’m NOT dead.  Let’s give credit where credit is due: Thank you God!  Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

This illness of mine dragged me down, and when you’re down, it’s easy to get discouraged. When I’m recuperating, I watch old movies because I just love them. They have plot, dialogue, intrigue, romance, and a touch of class I don’t often see anymore.  Audrey Hepburn embodies class. If you’ve never checked out her movies, do so. Even in the worst movie, she shines with class and poise.

Speaking of class, when you’re not feeling your best or a bit discouraged, it’s easy to think people take short-cuts in life. It’s easy to think fortitude doesn’t exist in today’s culture.  If you’re unfortunate enough to click the TV over to one of the reality shows like “Keeping up with the Kardashians” it’s easy to think class is displayed only in old movies. Well, I’m here to tell you that I got a lesson in class this week that I won’t soon forget.

Renea Winchester is an author and public speaker.  She agreed to speak to my writer’s group even though she lives quite  a distance away from me, and we are something of a small group.  She’s written a new book, her second, “Stress-Free Marketing”.  After coming all that way to educate a few writer’s about how the publishing and marketing business works, the least I could do is feed her.

Renea came to my home with another author, Deborah Malone, for dinner.  We had a great time chatting and chowing down on chili.

I’ve seen Renea speak two times. Each time I come away with a lesson in class as well as knowledge.

Renea’s new book outlines how to succeed with hard work and class in a tough business. There are eight million plus books on Amazon as of press time. How is one to succeed without cutting corners, forgetting your manners, or telling white lies?  Renea has it all figured out, and cared enough about others to write it all down for the rest of us.

Why did she do it? She’s concerned that desperate people in desperate times are finally writing that book they’ve always had in them only to be ripped-off by people who have no morals and no class.  This is the kind of person Renea Winchester is: A classy business woman with a writer’s heart. She’s the Audrey Hepburn of the publishing world. Thanks Renea, for making the world a better place and doing it with class.

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Comfortable Shoes

Existing in a Human VacuumWe cannot exist in a vacuum, but have you noticed how hard we try?

We actually pay for internet service so we can ‘chat’ with our ‘friends’ without having to feel any real human connection. You can’t read body language. You can’t experience a hug, a cringe, or a group belly laugh. Yet, we pay good money for a cheap substitute to avoid real human interaction.

Saying we can ‘read the Bible at home’ or  using televangelism as a substitute for Church is kind of the same thing.

Humans need love and affection. As the body of Christ, we need to communicate and interact. We need to act in unison to worship God.  It is our need, as much as God’s commandment, that draws us together every Sunday morning.

Televangelism has its place, but not on Sunday.

Hebrews 10: 24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Worship Service should be a calling and a habit.

As long as you notice, and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be the one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God. ~ C.S. Lewis

Here’s to getting rid of the excuses and making Sunday Services a habit like a good shoe you are comfortable in.

The ‘What If’ Game (with a twist)

It’s so easy to play the ‘What If’ Game these days.

  • What if I lose my job?
  • What if my child gets sent to war?
  • What if I lose my home?
  • What if I lose my health insurance?

Today, these are all valid concerns. I’m guilty of playing the ‘What-If’ Game.

It may sound simplistic, but adding God to this process changes the ‘What If’ Game to something completely different. God allows us, and encourages us, to replace fear with love.

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. -John 14:27

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” -Psalm 34:4

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ Hebrews 13:6

Instead of getting angry at the car that slows me down,  I play the ‘What If’ game – with a twist. “What If…the car in front of me is God’s way of keeping me from being in the accident that is 20 minutes ahead of me?”

When someone is obnoxious, “What If” they just got up this morning and found out someone they love has cancer?

When the clerk at Starbucks doesn’t even notice me for the umpteenth time, “What If” she’s so distracted by her school work  in college that she cannot focus on little ‘ole me? Or, “What If” she’s contemplating all the good she’s going to do with her medical degree once she completes 8 years of college?

I notice the yard down the block is overgrown. Normally, I would assume the person doesn’t have time or just doesn’t want to mow. “What If” that house down the block is unkempt and the yard is overgrown because the occupants are dealing with job-loss, long-term illness, or something worse?  So, why not go mow their yard for them while I have the mower out?

People (me included) tend to assume the worst, especially when we are primarily concerned with ourselves. Jesus tells us to “be not afraid” and that requires us to assume the best. Why not? It puts me in a better mood, I have more of a Christian attitude, and I’m finding that I do more of the Lord’s work when I assume the best by turning my ‘What If”s’ around and aiming them at someone besides me.

Mahatma Gandhi said it best:

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever”

Here’s to letting worry go, turning our ‘What Ifs’ around, assuming the best, and showing concern for others today.