How do we use our words?

I have a very diverse life. I have been blessed to experience many aspects of life. I have had full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and non-paying jobs. I am a wife, a mother a friend. And as I write this, I notice that my first three sentences all begin ‘I have’. My thoughts run to “how selfish am I to be thinking about what ‘I have’ instead of what I can do, or be, or give.’

And that makes me laugh because my family is very conscious of our giving both in time and finances to organizations and people who are less fortunate than our family. So why is it that I look at those sentences and cringe and think of the selfishness of the word have?

The first definition of have in the Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is…’to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement: to hold in one’s use, service, regard or at one’s disposal.’ The definition goes on but it never sounds positive. Further down in the definition it actually says that it can mean to ‘take advantage of: TRICK, FOOL (as in been had by his partner).’ One of the only positive spins I see in the wordage has to deal with marriage ‘to accept marriage’. No wonder I felt a little queasy after seeing the first three sentences I wrote.

So I go one step further and find Roget’s Thesaurus hoping for some affirmation that have is not a bad word and should not need to be struck from my vocabulary. I begin to think how hard it is going to be to find words or phrases that can replace the word have. I am somewhat pleased that the first word to replace have in the thesaurus is understand. Okay, that is a good word. The next word sends me in the dumps again…possess…ugh, the third word include, YEA! I continue looking at the thesaurus and see that there are over four and a half pages, or approximately 1000, have phrases in which the thesaurus gives alternative wording.

I don’t want to think that have is a bad word. I have many things and I know that means a lot in our ability to give. It says in the Bible (paraphrase) to those who have been given much, much will be expected. I believe that one reaps the other (my words) because I have, I can give. Because I give, I have. I do believe that I am blessed because of my trying to be of service to others.

You cannot give what is not there. I find time to give to volunteer organizations because it is important to me. When my children were young, I was their Girl Scout and/or Cub Scout leader. Before we started homeschooling, I volunteered at their school.

If something is important, you can find the time; you find a way to fit it in to your schedule even if it is stuffing envelopes at your home after the kids are in bed. I used to tell people why I volunteered so much was to make up for those who did not have the time. I did not have a full-time job so I was more flexible than those who worked full-time.

Sometimes, the unimportant things get pushed to the side temporarily. I think that is the personality of many women; they sacrifice themselves for others and say that there will always be time for themselves when their children get older.  While I would really like to spend my days quilting, there are more important things that I can be doing to help impact lives and our community.

I believe that I am doing all I can. I devote many hours to volunteering. As my children get older, my volunteer focus changes. They don’t need me as much anymore and their activities don’t lend themselves to needing me as a volunteer. But my giving does not stop, it just evolves.

In this season of giving, it would be nice if everyone took the time to look at their life, see how it impacts their family, their community, our world. If everyone, and I mean everyone, gave up one hour a week (on average) to help someone, to help an organization, think of the millions of hours that will have been given to better our world. It is just an hour, 52 hours over the year, just a little more than 1.25 of a work week, to make this place we call home, better.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not asking everyone to restrict their volunteering to one hour a week. I would love it if everyone who is not already volunteering began donating an hour a week. I know there are people out there that do not give anything for one reason or another. Volunteering is not limited to adults, children as young as five can find something to do. The Girl Scout program and Cub Scout program provide many opportunities for service.

This is the only world I know. The way that I treat it, I believe, has an impact on how I live and feel and how the world and its inhabitants feel about me. If I see something that needs to be done and feel passionate about it, if I do not act, who will?

If someone sees a small fire and does not put it out, the end result can be destructive and deadly. How many small fires do we see throughout our day, that if we would just act, could be squelched and stopped in a short time? How many of those small fires are allowed to burn and destroy so much? We see it all of the time during the dry season. If someone would have not dropped that cigarette or made sure that their campfire was extinguished… If someone would have addressed their angry feelings, immediately, instead of letting them smolder and grow into a ‘forest fire’, what a better world we would have.

Think about the things that you have. Do you have enough that you could share just a little to someone or an organization that has nothing? Let’s take our positive haves and help out those that have nothing.

This is totally not where this blog was going today but this is where I was led. I hope that everyone has a chance to be led where they have never thought and make an impact in ways they could never imagine.

Luke 12:48 ‘But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone have been entrusted with much, even more will be required.’ (New Living Translation)

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Having a blog named “a little caffeine”, I figure I should probably talk about my coffee. Every morning I make my stovetop espresso, heat and froth the milk and add my flavoring choice of the day. Today, my choice was Gingerbread. Since my home is not in town, it just made sense to me that I have enough flavorings (sugar-free) that I can have a variety of latte’s available. I use a fabulous website, lollicupstore.com that has reasonably priced coffee flavorings. They have a good choice of sugar-free flavorings that really allows me to have flavored coffee that matches my mood for the day.

I had my flavoring figured out before I woke this morning because today was going to be a busy day. One of the many things I do is direct our church youth choir. We had taken a break last year only to come back this year revitalized. We got excited about singing. We decorated our music folders with multi-colored and patterned duct tape. We were laughing and having fun. WELL, this was our Sunday to introduce our congregation to the new look. We celebrated with a song, “Two Hands, One Heart” by Claire Cloninger and Don Moen. When we finished, the pastor grabbed my upper arm and told me how great they were, how totally awesome we were. I could feel the energy from the congregation. I had two teens that wanted to join our choir after hearing us praise God!  What a great way to start our Sunday! We sang again at the second service and it was the same feeling. The year we took off was worth it. We are a much better choir. We now have the power and energy to serve God the way we should.

After that miraculous service, I got ready for my second stint for the day; volunteering at the Camp Fontanelle corn maze. This corn maze is sponsored by Camp Fontanelle (campfontanelle.com) and helps support the United Methodist Church Camp in Nebraska. Our family is heavily involved in this camp. My husband, per the by-laws, must take a year off from being on the board of directors. Prior to this year, he was the chairman of the board. Our children have gone to this church camp since they were 3 years old.(They are now almost 17 and almost 15) I am the writer for the newsletter and am the grant writer for the camp. My husband also runs a youth hunt camp on opening rifle season for deer. This camp teaches safe hunting and is an opportunity for a youth and parent to work together and bond in this manner.

Besides what we give financially and time-wise, I felt I needed to do more in the fall. Last year, I began volunteering every Sunday during the corn maze season, about 7 weeks. I work the ticket booth and have a chance to talk up the camp and everything that the camp offers during all seasons. We have been open since September 16. Like last year, this weekend was the weekend that saw our numbers greatly increase. Today, there were over 500 paying patrons to the camp. Yesterday there was over 450 paying. If you take into consideration the people who come to the camp and take advantage of the free things going on at the camp, it is estimated that there were as many as 1100 that visited Camp Fontanelle this weekend. Not bad for being open 12 hours over the weekend. Next weekend is the big weekend. On Saturday, there is the haunted corn maze and on Sunday there is Search for Treats in the maze. It is estimated that as many as 1,000, will be there on Sunday alone.

I know that we are to take time off and rest. It is commanded by God. And while I do not want to go against God, today was a day of praising Him. It was done through music at my church and it was done through the beauty of His land in the afternoon and evening out at camp. I can’t believe that He would be angry and thinking that I was going against Him by Praising Him ALL DAY!

I am really trying to be a better person, a better Christian. I know that I don’t always think with a Christian head or a Christian heart. I am trying to be better. I think that being in a Christian community is important. Just like those of other faiths are in their own communities, I feel it is important to be around people who share a general belief. We have a mission at our church and there is a mission at Camp Fontanelle. I hope that we can do our best to meet that mission. And I guess what I like is that both missions talk about being good to all people and making people feel safe. It is important to be good to people, to all people. And if we can make someone feel safe, at least in the church or out at camp, when they can’t feel safe at home, then we have achieved a great thing.

I look forward to our choir starting new music next week to get ready for Christmas and I look forward to dressing like Tinkerbell for the corn maze next weekend. My soul is at rest because I know that what I am doing is taking me on the right path. AMEN!

Sunday, a day of rest?

We All lead Busy, interesting lives.

Today, I was up before 6:00 a.m. to take my daughter to school to load a bus for a volleyball tournament. I headed back home to shower, iron some dress shirts for my husband as he was leaving for 4 days to a conference in Denver. I then made my latte (It was black cherry chocolate today ) and put it in my 24 oz. mug, toasted some bread, added a tomato and then walked out the door to get to the volleyball tournament. I spent 5 hours at the tournament and watched my daughter play the best I have seen her play. Her serving was almost flawless which means a lot since at the beginning of the season, she could barely get the ball over the net. While I don’t know her stats, I would say her serving was better than 90%. While we were in the “big city” we hit a few stores on our way home to get things that we can’t find in our town of 8000 people.

When I got home, I relaxed a little, then grabbed a bite to eat, read the newspaper, checked FB and then got to work again. I am the product sales coordinator for the fall Girl Scout product sales for our county. The sales ended on Thursday so I needed to get online, input my troop’s order (My troop is my Senior Girl Scout daughter. After 10 years of having a busy troop, it was decided that they were too busy in other things to continue), check all of the other troop’s orders as part of my job. I then sent out an email to the troops doing a follow-up to make sure their order inputs were correct. Then I needed to work on the Girl Scout overnight that is set for next week-end that I am organizing with a friend. I sent out confirmations and weekend details.

And here I am now, blogging, something that I need to be committed to doing every day. I need to work at this and make it happen. What a Saturday!!!!

I guess my point is, we are all busy in our own way. Even if being busy is just staying at home. I can’t believe the days that go by when I am home, I am kept busy all day, and at the end of the day, I feel that I have gotten nothing done. I actually haven’t felt that way this week. I have been busy and productive.

There will never be enough time in the day to get things done that should get done. But God only gives us 24 hours and day and hopefully we have made sound decisions and get the important things done. I have a laundry basket full of clean clothes sitting right next to me. They have been sitting in the basket for a couple of days. Should they be folded, Absolutely, YES. But have there been more important things to do this week? Again, Absolutely YES! Do I have clothes that need to be ironed, YES. Does my husband ever go without an ironed shirt, NO. I do it when it needs to get done. Should I really get through the ironing pile and also do the touch up ironing? Yes! But as the saying goes, the laundry will wait. I only have one chance to see my daughter play volleyball at today’s tournament.

I seem to find all kinds of things to do. I marvel at the women that have a full-time paying job and then come home and need to do the things that are my job. But I have always said that all of my volunteering is to help those that can’t volunteer because they have paying jobs outside the home.I volunteer at my church, volunteer out at the church camp which we are involved, do a lot of running around for my husband since he is very busy with his software consulting business.

I would not change anything in my life even though I am constantly busy. It helps now that my son has his driver’s license and my daughter has her school permit for driving. She actually took my car to school three days last week. It is so nice not to have to add all of those miles to my vehicle by needing to make multiple trips to take her and pick her up from school. Not needing my car is very freeing and if I don’t have a car, I have to stay at home.

Whatever you do and however you do it, I hope you can be like me and know what is a priority and work to do what is right for you, for your loved ones, for your community, for the world. My laundry can wait. It is clean. It is not wrinkled in the basket. It is just not put in the drawers. My home is clean and I don’t need to be embarrassed if someones stops by but it is not spotless. Once again, my family is more important.

Tomorrow, after church, my son and I head to the Camp Fontanelle Corn Maze. He has a paid position running the laser tag area. I am a volunteer and work the ticket booth. Is it worth it, YES because it supports a fabulous church camp. Will my laundry take priority, NO. Who knows, maybe I will get it put away after I publish this. Let’s hope. Maybe I will get a glass of wine and relax while getting the laundry put away! That is a great incentive.