Encouragement, Life's Journey

The Pearl

November 29, 2014

Today, let’s take time to reflect on one of the most unique and beautiful creation of nature: the Pearl. The Pearl is not a gem. It is an “element” (pun intended) and in a classification of it’s own.

The gems which we highly prize including gold and silver come from the earth. They are formed by the pressure exerted upon them by the forces of nature. Which, in itself, is a lesson for us.

The Pearl…….a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk.

  • Just like the shell of a clam or oyster, A Pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in layers.
  • Being irritated by a parasite or something intruding into the shell, the mollusk forms a pearl sac of tissue cells and secrets a substance to cover the irritant.
  • This protection process is repeated many times, thus producing A Pearl.

This process also speaks of the irritations and difficulties in our lives.

  • We don’t want to let something invade our life that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
  • So, if we desire to live a life that benefits others and ourselves; we must work to protect our lives from whatever is attempting to intrude and be unprofitable to us.
  • This may be a long and tedious process. A Pearl is not created overnight, but is slowly developed by a repetitive building up of layer upon layer of protection by the mollusk.

Fine quality Pearls are most of the time iridescent.

  • Like the interior of the shell that produces them.
  • Our life, as seen by others, will reflect what we are on the inside.

In this modern age of “anything goes” there is so much offered to us that has absolutely no benefit.

  • Much of it causes nothing but harm and destruction.
  • It seems pleasurable at the moment, but unforeseen results come into our lives. 

Do we, as individuals, want to go along with today’s culture.

  • And, let that which is undesirable into our lives?
  • Or are we alert to what is damaging, so that we can put into process the tools to protect ourselves?

In 1895 there was a book written by Henry Van Dyke called “The Story Of The Other Wise Man.”** Like the other Magi, He sees the signs in the heavens proclaiming that a King had been born among the Jews. He sets out on his journey to see the newborn ruler, carrying treasures to give as gifts to the child – a sapphire, a ruby and A Pearl of great price.  

He stops along the way to help a dying man, which makes him miss joining the caravan of the other three wise men. Since he missed the caravan, he is forced to sell one of his treasures in order to buy camels and supplies necessary to cross the desert alone.

He arrives in Bethlehem too late to see the child, whose parents have fled to Egypt. He then saves the life of another child at the price of another one of his treasures.

He travels to Egypt and spends many years searching for Jesus there, also in many other countries. All along the way he performs acts of kindness and charity to those who needed assistance.

After thirty-three years, he is still a pilgrim, searching for the King he heard about all those many years ago.

He finally arrives in Jerusalem just in time for the crucifixion of Jesus. There he spends his last treasure, The Pearl, to ransom a young woman about to be sold as a slave.

He is mortally wounded in an accident, and is about to die, having failed in his quest.

Yet, he was at peace, because he had done the best he could. A voice whispers to him “Verily I say unto thee, In as much as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.” The Other Wise Man had found his King.

The word Pearl is a description of something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.

There is not another exactly like you. When each of us decides to rid ourselves of the irritations inside, we become a rare find for others and our life become more valuable to them and to our own selves.

Pearls have a softer exterior than the hardened gems of earth. It is said that they will take on a specific luster and color from the oils, minerals etc. on the skin of the one who wears them. What traits do you take on in your life for others to see?

In this life there are always lessons to be learned. What can you learn from A Pearl?

 

“The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks,

while in reality it is the only weight which is necessary to keep the diver down…

while he is hunting for pearls.”

(Richtner)

 

**The Story Of The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke, Publisher: Harper & Brothers

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Encouragement, Life's Journey

Words

…..October 25 ,2014

 

Most of my life I have been a reader: novels, poetry, self-help books, newspapers, the Bible, etc. I love the beauty of words and the way they flow together. Some well known authors certainly have a talent for expression.

 

WORDS ARE POWERFUL

  • They paint a picture.
  • They take us to distant lands and different times.
  • They entertain us and sometimes they change our behavior.
  • They educate us and at times challenge us.
  • They make us laugh and they can make us sad.
  • They can lift us up or tear us down.

Scripture has much to say about words; especially in Proverbs and in the book of James.

 

There are two things in this world that devastate us: words and rejection.

  • In all honesty I believe that those two words probably form most of who we are.
  • You say, “no way” but a great deal of our lives are based on the outcome of what we have experienced from those two words.
  • Today our attention will be focused on Words only. Rejection will be addressed at a future time.

 

Recently I alluded to the home where I was raised. My parents, as we all are, were a product of the baggage that came from their backgrounds.

Their experiences manifested itself in words that more often than not tore down.

Too much of the time destructive words were hurled at each other.

During those times I was the appointed go-between. “Tell your mother this….tell your Father that.”

I was “little miss goody two shoes” who tried to do what I could to keep these explosions from happening.

When they happened, life was confusing and difficult. My heart was wounded for the first time at an early age.

 

I knew my parents loved me and cared for me. They taught me the necessary things we need in our lives.

  • To know what it is to work, to have good manners, to be helpful to those who are suffering.
  • They were good, honest people.
  • In their defense, it was a different time.
  • They were a product of the great depression.

I came to realize as I became an adult that they didn’t have the resources to help them that are available to us today. Counselors, preaching, books, helps on how to have a productive discussion, support from encouraging peers.

 

My younger sibling became a carbon copy of my parents, so I was outnumbered.

  • I became quiet, shy, undemanding (unlike my sibling), introverted and a book worm.
  • I learned to measure my words carefully.
  • I just wanted a peaceful home.

 

After 30 plus years of marriage, my parents finally divorced. Still when I went home the words were there, especially on my mother’s part.

  • I loved her dearly and still do. So much of what I am is owed to her.
  • In many ways she was an example to follow.
  • My strength and belief in myself came from her.
  • She sacrificed herself for others even when it was difficult for her.
  • She was a get it done type of person.
  • She had earned the respect of other people.
  • Her friends appreciated her.

 

When she died a neighbor commented (he meant it nicely) that she was one tough broad. She had to be, she was the only girl in a family that had seven boys.

I’ve often thought she should have been written about in the Readers Digest under the heading: The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met. That certainIy was my mother.

People didn’t forget her and she made an impression on many lives.  It means so much to me that my last words to her were “I love you Mama.”

 

But she also thought she was clever in the things she said in order to get her personal point across.

  • Anytime I visited home, there were new wounds and at times her words effected my children.
  • I knew she was speaking through her own disappointment, and brokenness, but that didn’t make me feel any better.

 

One time, when I was in my 30’s, myself and our three children went back home for a visit.

  • She still grieved over the divorce and at that specific time my sibling was avoiding her.
  • I tried to encourage her with the enjoyable things she could do with myself and her grandchildren.
  • She said to me: “I don’t have your daddy, I don’t have ?????, and I don’t want you.”

Even then, I knew she didn’t mean it, but those words are to this day embedded in my memory.

 

Previously, you were warned that sometimes this blog would be deeply personal.  

I do this for one reason….YOU.

Behind every face is a story. The things I have just shared with you are a part of my story and have helped to make me who I am.

The real truth of my story is that these things were necessary, in order that my life’s purpose might be fulfilled. It is a tool to be used, not locked away.

Each of you have your story. Many will be different from mine and some will be similar. There are others out there whose story is horrific and they run from it.

 

Whatever your story, you control how it ends. New beginnings are possible at any stage of life.

  • My prayer for you is that somehow through these words you will see that there is always hope, a new day and a different future.
  • Each one of us needs to learn and use our past experiences to help us grow. To obtain the best for ourselves and those whose lives we may effect.

 

All of us should be careful of the words we utter.

  • It’s so easy to let them fly out of our mouths. It takes a lot more courage to keep your mouth shut than it does to open it.
  • Always stop and think before you say anything. Once it’s out there, it cannot be called back.

 

Sometimes the price for words said or possibly not said is too high.

  • Build people up, don’t tear them down.
  • Words are free, but be careful how you spend them on others.

 

As you have determined by now, I believe it’s best to use words that encourage others and to think in a positive manner.

  • You’ll feel better about yourself and others will feel better around you.
  • It’s not hard to say something uplifting to someone you encounter during your day.

 

A couple of weeks ago I went to a deli counter that we use frequently.

  • For quite a while we have had difficulty getting an order sliced to our satisfaction.
  • Very politely, I told   the clerk about our (small) problem.
  • She took time to explain about the problem they were having with their equipment.
  • She then proceeded to do the best she could to accommodate my order in the best way possible.
  • When I picked up my purchase, I kindly said to her “I appreciate your attitude” and wished her a good day.
  • She replied back to me, “you made it better.”

It cost me nothing but a few words, but the results gave both of us satisfaction and a happier spirit.

 

Think about words which have been spoken to you that made your day better, or maybe encouraged you when it was needed. And, as they say, “pay it forward.”

Maybe you can reflect on the words of a song or songs that you love.  A favorite song brings pleasure to our day. They may even make our tasks easier to perform, make us smile or speak of a memory we treasure.

You might remember an author you enjoy whose way with Words lives long after the book is finished. I often think of the last few words used by Herman Wouk in the “Winds of War.”  They are so descriptively beautiful. They still (after many years) remain in my mind.

 

Words live on after those who have uttered them are gone. The quotes that I use in this blog are ones that I meditate on and try to apply to my life. They cause me to continually inspect my outlook on life and how to approach the issues we all have to face.

Remember………WORDS ARE POWERFUL…….use them wisely!!

“The Past is My Heritage,

The Present is My Responsibility,

The Future is My Challenge.”

(unknown)                

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Encouragement, Life's Journey

John Wayne

 ….October 18, 2014

 

Recently I came across this quote attributed to John Wayne.  “LIFE IS TOUGH, but it’s tougher when you’re STUPID.”  The Duke, he called this one right.

It’s a shame what people do to themselves (and others) because of stupid.  I know people that are and have been stupid.  I’ve been there myself more than once.

If this topic fits you, you are admonished to wake up and smell the roses.

Don’t know exactly where to go with this one, so I’ll just start and we’ll see what happens.

  • My heart hurts and is very concerned for someone our family decided to trust and welcome into our lives.
  • I have no anger, no vindictiveness, but sadness and disappointment for broken trust.
  • Right now this individual is living stupid, hurting their own life most of all, and the lives of others because they have let what happen to them yesterday put them in a deep dark hole.

 

One of life’s unchangeable truths is that; we only have today, yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.

 

Sometimes we live so far in the past that we can’t see today and what is before us for only this one day.

  • This truth was brought home to us with the death of our oldest child at the age of 27.  One of my comforts was that we had so many days hidden in our hearts to remember.
  • Was everyday perfect?  No, but there are good memories, laughter, fun times along with the days that were frustrating and the days tears were shed.
  • We tried to take each day and what it held for that day.

None of us has the promise of tomorrow.

 

There are those who don’t live today, because they have told themselves that tomorrow will be better.

  • They’ll be happier, have more things, be better off, be more handsome or attractive, meet the right person, etc.
  • They can’t take the joy out of today because of the longing for what might be down the road.
  • So much of the time that longing is never fulfilled and that makes today a waste.

Nothing to laugh about, nothing to remember, nothing to enjoy……..just a day gone by.

 

On the flip side of this record I have talked to and dealt with so many people who cannot get over what happened in the yesterdays that are gone and cannot be changed.

  • They are still grieving 10, 20, 30, 40 years or more later.
  • Their lives are under the control of someone else. Not God, not themselves.

I just want to shake them and tell them to quit wallering in the past. Just like a pig wallers in the mud.

 

Behind every face is a story. In each of our lives there is one big word CHOICE.  That word dominates our lives. It determines how we live now and for eternity.

  • I have my story and a lot of it is full of pain.
  • Countless others have overcome tremendous odds and have led positive lives.
  • Joni Erickson Tada (a quadriplegic) for one. She challenges me when I think I owe myself a pity party.

C.H. Spurgeon once said:

“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to tremendous difficulties.”

 

We think the positives and negatives in our lives are because of others or circumstances beyond our control.

  • That is a lie we tell ourselves to use as an excuse for who we are and what we do.
  • It’s a cop-out and we use it to become lazy so we don’t have to do the hard work, a day at a time, it takes to live a productive life for God, others and ourselves.

 

I am firmly convinced that each of us is a product of how we talk to ourselves about ourselves. 

We hear so much psychological propaganda today about copping with our experiences.

Experiences my foot, they don’t amount to a hill of beans. 

  • Who are you? 
  • What are you doing? 
  • Who is influencing you?

 

It certainly isn’t God or you wouldn’t be making the mistakes you’re making now. You have a choice.

  • Make it for God, do the difficult work.
  • Be the person you should be.
  • Quit crying over the milk that was spilt yesterday.

DON’T BE STUPID.

Forget yesterday, forget tomorrow.  The Army says “Be all you can be.”  Choose to live today and count your blessings.

 

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” 

(Unknown)

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