Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thank God for the little miracles...

...the ones that aren't life changing or in some way tied to one's eternal salvation. I'm talking about those little miracles that are completely unnecessary. The ones that might make life a little easier or not. The ones that you could easily live without because you'll find a way through the problem. These are the miracles that remind you that God is aware of you, as an individual, some small thing that whispers, "I am aware of you and know your every need. You are not forgotten. You are not alone. I am here, always."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Carpe diem... yea, sure...

Have you ever had one of those days when you wish you had simply crawled back into bed, with your blankie, and stayed there until, tomorrow?

This was definitely one of those.

I'm back to taking the bus, as it's cooling down again, but I'm leaving a little later, so the bus isn't quite as crowded. However, the bus driver decided to take his break one stop before mine. Why? The place he stopped was in the sun. My stop was in the shade. It was faster for me to walk, so I did. Not a bad thing, simply a change in my routine that throws me off a little. Thank God for public transportation that however roundabout gets me where I need to be.

Returned home, none the worse for wear.

Put my contacts in. A legalized American torture: Slip while putting your contact in so it slides up off your iris and up under your eyelid, far enough that you can't reach it. Much screaming and sobbing ensues. The tears blessedly help to move the contact down far enough that you can reach it with the tip of your fingernail and drag the weaselly piece of plastic back down where it belongs. It is good to not live in a blur, and to have my peripheral vision back. Thank God for contacts, even if they are a pain.

Survived and decided to try famous Joanne Fluke Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder mystery cookies, only instead of Rice Chex I used Rice Crispies. Note: Rice Crispies do not work as well, not enough substance. Still yummy, but not as chewy. So far so good, except that a repairman came that I hadn't been told would be coming in the morning, while I was baking the cookies. I let him in. Mad at myself for making a stupid error that could have been much worse, except that the guy blessedly was really nice. Unfortunately, it threw off my routine, again. By the time I finished straightening out what was to be done, I'd forgotten that the cookie sheet I'd just pulled out of the oven was still hot. Thank you, thank you, yes, second degree burns, blistered. Thank God for aloe vera and Mums Blend. Will not mention how much cold water was run down the sink, after it ran over my fingers. My right hand. The dominant hand. Yipee skippy.

Personally, I'm disappointed in the new Hawaii Five-O. One more violent cop show, though I have to admit that the scenery is stunning, but so is CSI Miami's. Not pretty enough to put up with all the mayhem. I'm even finding the cooking shows aren't holding my attention. Thank God for books.

And finally, the weather is cooling down. The peasants rejoice. Unfortunately, there is something that loves this cooler weather that doesn't love me, so my allergies are bothering me. Thank God for Claritin-D.

I managed to accomplish quite a bit, all things considered, so maybe I should finish with a little cheese.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #24...it isn't what you think it is...

Today is Pulpit Freedom Sunday. I'm praying for all the pastors, ministers, rabbis, etc, who are choosing to "preach from their pulpits...about the moral qualifications of candidates seeking political office." This statement was originally posted at the Alliance Defense Fund website. It is now an annual event, starting back in 2008. The purpose is to challenge the IRS ruling that they can't speak about anything political and claim nonprofit status. This is a tax regulation, not a law; a regulation that did not exist before 1954.

Do I want my church leaders telling me which party to vote for? No. Do I want my church leaders telling who I must vote for? No. Would I be offended if they told me to educate myself about the leaders and issues and vote? Absolutely not. (In fact, I wondered why it was usually avoided. Now, I know.) Would I be offended if they did an investigation into the candidates and shared that information with me? No. If they told me that the choices I made were offensive to God because I disagreed with them, I'd have to respectfully consider whether or not my choices were in keeping with what I had been taught at church and whether or not I truly agreed with it or not. That being said, the church does have the responsibility to teach values and principles. However, ultimately, the state of my soul is between me and God.

The real crux of the problem: Separation of Church and State. History lesson: This does not mean that church and government are never to mix, contrary to popular opinion. It is true that there are plenty of examples of how badly it turns out, but consider that it is frequently the government using religion as a reason to do what it wants. (Zealots are a whole different story.) Now, the truth: Wikipedia said it best and most succinctly: An off-shoot of the original phrase, "wall of separation between church and state," as written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist's Association in 1802. Jefferson was responding to a letter that the Association had written him. In that letter, they expressed their concerns about the Constitution not reaching the State level. The 14th amendment had not yet been ratified, thus leaving the States vulnerable to state legislation. In Jefferson's letter, he was reassuring the Baptists of Danbury that their religious freedom would remain protected - a promise that no possible religious majority would be able to force out a state's official church. The original text reads: "...I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."[1] The phrase was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. The phrase appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution.

Yes, you read it correctly, there used to be official state churches. In fact, that was one of the struggles in congress, which they overcame, clearly, considering how often they prayed. It was never intended for religion to be kept out of government, but government was to be kept out of religion. The government was not to place restrictions on the free exercise of religion, in so far as said religion did not violate basic laws like thou shalt not kill. Is it possible that those who have no religion of their own are replacing it with government? I don't know. I do know that a government that believes it knows best how to run my life has nothing to do with God. Government is made up of people as imperfect as I am. They do not possess the power to save anyone from their mistakes. Mistakes always catch up with you, eventually, unless you repent (remembering that repentance is not a get-out-of-jail-free card; consequences are not negotiable). God knows I'll make mistakes that's why He provided a Savior, and a government or person or organization that pretends it can be a savior is lying. Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He is more than enough.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Carpe diem

I love learning weird little bits and pieces of information. For example, I was reading a historical romance, 1875, and the author mentioned cans of food on a shelf. My first thought was that it should be bottles, then I decided I'd better look it up. It started in 1809, with the Napoleonic Wars. They needed a way to preserve and transport large amounts of food. Bottles weren't travel worthy. What a surprise. Cans arrived on the seen in 1810. So, now you know when canned food first appeared, and why.

A bit of other research was accomplished for another project, as well as some writing and reading and still more research. A good day overall, I think.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #23

Today, I'm only posting one thing:

Peace Is Coming

I've seen several of the Jon McNaughton videos, and each has touched my heart. I chose this one in particular to share.

God bless all those who are willing to share their faith in Him, for it strengthens me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day

When was the last time you read the Constitution of the United States of America? I did a few months ago and learned things I did not know. It was difficult reading for me, but also inspiring. So, celebrate Constitution Day and read the Constitution.

US Constitution

I have lived on three different continents. When I lived in Asia I was serving a mission. I worked very hard to keep my mind on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I endeavored to not compare but to simply enjoy the experience. When I lived in Europe I loved it. I'm so grateful I was blessed with such incredibly rich opportunities. As much as I loved my temporary homes, there is no feeling in the world like coming home to America. With all our bickering and nattering, there is an air here like nowhere else on earth. And I have never appreciated it more because I am finally waking up to the realization that I have taken it all for granted, and it's time to change, to study and to learn what God has given me, and more fully cultivate my gratitude to God for His mercies. God bless America.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A bit of silliness...

Have you seen the new SkyRider seats? The ones that are on the design table for future airline travel? I saw the announcement first yesterday, at Yahoo News, and again today. Walk with me through my thought process, possibly a dangerous journey but hopefully amusing, and at least I won't be alone.

Imagine: a standing seat for airlines. Really. Better yet, go find a picture and come back, I'll wait for you. (I really need to have my sister teach me how to post my own pictures, except that I wouldn't use the feature much.) Never mind. We'll start this exploration at the beginning, my first thoughts when I saw the picture of those seats:

worlds-narrowest-airline-seats

~Remember how you hated that guy for reclining his seat into your lap? Now he's practically in your lap and he hasn't moved his seat at all. There is no hope for a reprieve because that seat ain't movin'.
~Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to flight 13, the flying elevator, for the next three hours. Enjoy the ride.
~Don't plan on working on your laptop, unless it is one of those itty-bitty ones. Wait, is there even a table? Ooookkkaaayyyy, the iPad should be a shoe-in. It's small enough. Don't bother bringing binders or folders; there isn't room.

Then I read the article, and this paragraph stood out: "For flights anywhere from one to possibly even up to three hours ... this would be comfortable seating," he says. "The seat ... is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle."

Read it again. And think about it.

I owned a horse. Riding for three hours leaves me feeling it the next day or two or three. Even an hour can leave me miserable. And lucky you, your flight is delayed on the tarmac, for four hours. And just for the record: The only time I felt comfortable in the saddle for eight hours was after I'd had a couple of days of feeling horrendously miserable. Can't move miserable. Want to scream every time I move miserable. (Hey, when you only have four days to ride as much as you want, you do what you have to do.) Quit crying and drag yourself up there, even if you do feel like your leg muscles are being ripped in half. Lovely thought, I know.

Now, take the logic a little bit further. You know, think ahead. Consider the possible draw backs. One word: Turbulence.

I'm going to give you a minute to think about that one, though I imagine you've already seen the potential problem, particularly to the male population, though the women won't be too impressed either.

It only takes being on a bucking horse once to know it isn't comfortable no matter what gender you are. Now, I only fly but once or twice a year. Even so, I've had more than a few times that I've found myself slammed into my seat by a bumpy flight.

How in the world did this design ever make it out of the brainstorming stage? Inquiring minds want to know, or not.

Please, not the future of any flight for me. Oh, wait, what was I thinking? It isn't stated but clearly this isn't meant for the general public; this is for the svelte and perfectly fit. Isn't it? Just wait until you find yourself seated beside a basketball player, or better yet, a football player, or a child too big to be on a parent's lap. Yep, good luck with that.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why I should be the poster child for the "new" America...

Yep, that's me. I was not allowed to work while I went to school. School was too important to be distracted by earning money. On welfare, I could have a place of my own, and I certainly qualify for it. Insurance is sky high. I'm overweight, and clearly need someone to tell me what to eat because I'm failing on my own. I've kept my head buried in the sand rather than look around at what's happening, so someone else should make the decisions about the things I know nothing about. I don't want to try to figure out what each candidate is really saying. Just tell me what to vote for, and I'll do it. I'm the only person in my family without at least a B.A. By every definition, I should want what the new government regime is offering.

I. DO. NOT. WANT. IT!

I was taught that Democrats were for the little guy, and Republicans were for the evil corporations; Democrats were peace-loving, and Republicans were warmongers. What I was taught was to be easy, non-confrontational, because everyone else was responsible, not me. I didn't have any power, so what could I do, really?

So how in the world did I turn out to be a capitalist down to my bones? It wasn't easy. There was a lot of learning, accepting responsibility, learning, creating healthy boundaries, learning, making priorities, learning, making mistakes, and more learning. Looking back, I recognize that it all came down to one thing: My free will, my right to choose.

It has been a gradual process, but one that has been escalating over the years. Several years ago, I began recognizing a pattern that really, really annoyed me. There were people that knew me well and wanted to make sure I never made the same mistakes again. Then I started to notice that there people who didn't know me or anything about me but were making assumptions about me. They were telling me what was best for me because they wanted to be sure I didn't make any unnecessary mistakes. If I only did everything they advised, I would be safe. Why did this all sound so familiar?

The adversary abhors freedom. If we're free, we might choose to serve God. God, who gave us freedom from the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, to eat or not. He knew what would happen if Adam and Eve ate, and expected it. He gave Man the freedom to make mistakes. So it follows that the adversary would want to take away all freedom. What better way than to disguise freedom as dangerous? Do I really want to follow the insidious plan the adversary has so carefully constructed since the beginning of time? Or do I want to be willing to risk my very soul for the right to lay claim to the Atonement that God provided through His only Begotten Son? All that is asked of me is that I believe and follow Christ. With God all things are possible; the adversary whispers that all is lost with too many choices. It's too risky. It isn't safe. You might fail. You could be hurt. You could have trials. You could struggle. You could die. A rule here, another there, and oh, better make a rule for that little thing there, and that, and that, and that, and that... And in an effort to remain safe, we find ourselves bound in the chains of safety, not only not safe but lost.

Do I advocate that Capitalism is God's perfect plan? You're kidding right? People aren't perfect. Given all the plans that Man has come up with, Capitalism gives the most choices so far. I want more choices not fewer. Consider that in the Old Testament, God gave 10 Commandments. In the New Testament, we were given three. Fewer rules, with more far reaching meaning. But those three rules are based on the individual. The first great commandment is to love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength, and the second is like unto it to love thy neighbor as thyself. There isn't anything in there anywhere about someone else making sure I'm taken care of, nowhere. I'm willing to trust that the Atonement is more than enough for all the mistakes, bumbling, failures, and loss that life will throw my way. I'm awed and grateful that God inspired the Founding Fathers to create a country that would make it possible to choose my own way. I may succeed spectacularly, but I may also fail just as spectacularly, but hopefully in the process I will become what God intended. I choose the freedom God promised.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Carpe diem

You know those yummy chocolate chip cookies I told you about, from Joanne Fluke's Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder? I made them again, today, but made a substitution. When I tried them the first time I didn't have cornflakes, but I did have corn chex, so I used them. I thought they were yummy. This time, I thought that if corn chex would work, what about rice chex? Yummy!!! I think I actually like it better because corn has a stronger flavor than rice. Next time, I'm going to try adding rice crispies instead of chex. It would save time, no crushing, pour and stir in. A success. I made them all in under two hours. :-) Laundry was done. Glenn Beck is back from vacation, and I found myself amazed once again that things he discussed were things I've been thinking about.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11...

My sister and I went to the Healing Field first thing in the morning and again in the early afternoon. Our cousin would have been at the World Trade Center, except that he was taking his parents to the airport. My memory of that day is as clear as if it happened yesterday. I read card after card after card. Men, women, children. Husbands, fathers, sons. Wives, mothers, daughters. Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts. Best friends. Pregnant women. Grandmothers and grandfathers. People starting new jobs, people soon to retire. People from large families, people who seemed alone. Each filled a place on this planet. Hobbies, pets, favorite sport teams, favorite activities, collections, hopes, dreams. Some cards held only the name, age, job, and location. Other cards shared memories that will be held in the heart forever. I read the cards because each person needs to be remembered. Each person deserves to be remembered. My life changed that day. I didn't realize then, but I look back now, and my world changed. My perspective changed. My path changed. I will always remember. Will you?

http://www.healingfield.org/staticpages/index.php/tempe

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do you really know what's in that box?

Anyone who knows me knows I love experimenting with food, trying new recipes, comparing recipes and foods. I don't have a problem with throwing away the failures. Sometimes you find something FANTASTIC. I recently tried Schwan's Lemon Butter Shrimp, and yes, it is incredible! Worthy of candles and china and crystal. I also tried Aunt Jemima's Buttermilk Pancake mix. I compared it to Kroger's in-house brand and Krusteaz. I like it. There's one little problem. The latter two mixes come in plastic bags inside the cardboard box. The AJ brand has no plastic bag. I know someone who used to work in a cardboard box factory. They talked about how dirty the work was, how hot and sweaty they got, handling the cardboard boxes. Lately, my brain has been... flighty. Isn't that precious? Great. I'm pouring mix from this cardboard box and I'm thinking of this person's sweaty hands moving the boxing material... think I'll stick with Krusteaz and Kroger's. Not as "green" but a little more mentally appetizing. My mind wandered a little further. Oatmeal comes in cardboard boxes, without plastic liners. I always knew there was something wrong with oatmeal. And for all those pleased with oil drilling moratorium, consider this: No oil, no plastic. Really want to go green? Remove everything plastic from your life, no buildings, all electronic devices gone (phone, TV, PC, printer, ereaders), motor vehicles of any kind (including bicycles and wheelchairs), no gardening (remember those little plastic carry alls your plants come in? or what about the bucket or tote you keep your tools in? or what about the tools themselves, that comfortable handle?), no books (covers), no Legos for the kids. I am ever astonished at how often people will cheer the demise of this or that because they see the end of what they view as evil, without thinking it through. How often have I heard people complain of the evil of the internet? The same internet that connects me to friends all over the world, which I think is a really awesome gift from God. And here we are back at Pancake Mix. Really. Did you know that they laminate a very thin film on those boxes? I did my homework. I found out for myself. Will I buy AJ pancake mix again? Probably not but only because I've had bugs eat through the cardboard but are less likely to eat through the plastic bag. Hate picking bugs out of mac and cheese. The real question is "What is your perspective of the world?" Did you decide for yourself? Or are you letting someone else decide for you? If it's the latter, that isn't why you're here. Why post this, today? I'm endeavoring to learn to decide for myself. I've learned that in order to make a decision, I have to know what the options are. Many of my decisions are made by the values and principles I hold dear, but if I don't know what those are, I will flounder. God asks of me to follow Him. I finally came to realize that I couldn't follow Him if I didn't understand what He was asking. How can I be honorable, if I don't know what honor is? How can I be faithful, if I don't know what faith is? How can I be charitable, if I don't know what charity is? How can I be honest, if I don't know what honesty is? How can I be courageous, if I don't know what courage is? It's one thing to have a working knowledge, it is something else entirely to claim it for one's self, to be possessed of it, to have it be such an integral part of you that you automatically choose what will be honorable, faithful, charitable, honest, because it's who you are. I want to be that, and that means working to be more than the minimum requirement. More importantly, it means that I must accept responsibility for who and what I am and what I become. It isn't easy. I make mistakes. It helps that the picture is clearer now, but only because I've done a lot of homework, studying, searching, digging, asking questions. The ground work is being laid, all part of the adventure.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Carpe Diem... TBR #28

Oh, my goodness, it's been quite a few books since last I updated by list. So, here we go: Once a Ranger by Carrie Weaver, another of my must-buy authors. She writes contemporary romances using heros outside the expected norm and makes it work. She did not disappoint. Read the first seven books of the Redstone Inc series. And loved them all. Justine Davis writes suspense romance. Lucy Monroe's next The Goddard Project book came out, Close Quarters, and again it was a page turner. Tara Tyler Quinn sent out an update email. She has a new project coming out, a four-book series all featuring Kelly Chapman. She writes romances about surviving abuse that speak from the heart. I always have to give myself extra time to read her books because I stop and think while I read. The beginning of the series is The First Wife. I'm looking forward to the rest, thankfully coming out over the next few months. Hate waiting. :-) Tried a couple of new authors that I really enjoyed. Kim Watters writes inspirational romance, and this was her debut book, On Wings of Love. Organ donation is not usually a central subject, but with Kim's personal touch she created a story with heart. I'm looking forward to what comes next. Today, I finished Tracy Kelleher's Falling for the Teacher, and loved it. The humor had me laughing out loud. Luckily, Tracy has another book coming out in a few months. Whoohoo!

Caught up on some reading, obviously. :-) Did a little cleaning of my storage room (still a long way to go, but it's started). Worked on a couple of projects. Overall, a relatively productive day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #22

~Books, finding new writers, and especially newly released books by favorite authors.
~A/C, it may be September and cooling off at night, but it's still hot during the day.
~Opportunities to associate with friends.
~Carl took 2nd in Atlanta! It was a good race, even though I could only watch the leader board at NASCAR and the live feed at Yahoo Sports. Smoke won, but Carl definitely made him work for it. Go Carl!
~God's guiding hand.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Winds of change...

This week has been an interesting study in perceptions. A debate was televised. I was astonished at the opinions after. Despite what has been happening for the past six months, people radically changed their minds because of a short program. One candidate came across well, the other did not. I didn't bother to watch because I had already made my decision based on the past six months of events. (I only started tuning in about six months ago.) I was gobsmacked when one person said they'd decided not to vote for one of the candidates because they didn't like their hairstyle. What?! Wake up! Character matters!!

Then I was called for a survey on the upcoming election. I was surprised to be asked questions I thought irrelevant and biased, in the extreme, ie, no matter how I answered it would skew the perspective. The person asking the questions was very polite, but they were also trapped by wording. There was no "other" or "nobody's business but mine" answers. The poller was doing their job, but whoever wrote it definitely had an agenda. I was pleased to realize that for the most part I answered honestly and thoughtfully. On a couple of the questions, I did fall into the automatic response instead of thinking before speaking, but not once did I answer with what I thought was expected.

So, I reflect on the past and I realize that I have a lot of voter's remorse, too many candidates that if I'd done my homework I never would have voted for. Too many things in my life that I allowed to go on because it was easier and because I'd decided not to decide. If I don't like where I am, there's no one to blame but me. By and large, I've done the best I know how, but then again, let's face it, I didn't always take the opportunity to learn differently. How in the world am I supposed to stand up for myself if I don't know what I believe or think or feel?

I must admit that I heard something that really made me stop and think. Not too long ago, I saw an interview with Sarah Palin, in regards to her daughter. The interviewer asked if Sarah believed in going with the flow. Sarah promptly replied, "Only dead fish go with the flow." At first, I rolled my eyes. Then I let it sink in. I've been a rabble rouser, on occasion. Looking back, it was rarely about things that really mattered. Why? I was trained early to be whatever the other person wanted me to be. Withdrawing became my position of choice. Not much good to anyone, including myself. A dead fish, or pretty near it, or not so pretty as the case may be. Fortunately, God knows all about resurrecting the dead, so there's hope, but I have to choose and in order for me to choose, I have to know what the choices are. And we find ourselves back at doing homework! The good news is, I'm finding it far more interesting than I ever imagined. The world is an amazing place. People are fascinating. No more drifting with the winds. Time to set my sail, and learn to work with the winds to go where I want to go, instead of allowing them to blow me about higgledy-piggledy. None of it will do any good if I don't set a course, but with God, the path is clear.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clarifying lying...

Re-reading, I thought it might be helpful if I clarified what I meant by lying. I must constantly remind myself that my perspective frequently deviates from the norm. There are the everyday lies: "How are you?" "Fine." Actually, I'm sick; I was up all night; my job is in jeopardy; my relationship is a mess; the dog isn't acting the same, and I've no idea why or if it's serious or a funk... you get the idea.

Those aren't the kind of lies I'm talking about. I'm talking about things like acting as if I like something I hate because I want the other person to be comfortable. What about my comfort level? And is the other person so insecure that they can't handle a disagreement? Some are; that's true, but I'm also cheating myself out of the opportunity to share a different perspective.

More important are the lies to myself. Telling myself I'm fine, when I'm not. Telling myself I'm not hurt by this or that, and I am. Since I decided I had to stop lying to myself, I realized I really didn't know myself very well. I remember watching "Runaway Bride" and thinking proudly, "Ha! I know what kind of eggs I like: Sunny-side over on toast!" Great. I'm allergic to eggs. So this information is pretty useless. When I stopped lying to myself I realized there were a world of things I'd never tried, so how could I possibly know if I liked them or not? I'm still exploring the world. But I have to be very careful, because there are still moments when that knee-jerk reaction kicks in, and I stop and ask myself, "Is that really what I think? Is that really what I believe?" If I do or I don't, why?

Being honest with yourself is tough, no doubt about it. But it's impossible to be honest with others if you aren't, because on some level you will be lying. So, I'm working not lying to myself. I'm endeavoring to discover what I think, what I believe, and what I feel about what I think and believe. Definitely an adventure.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

40 Days and 40 Nights challenge...

This challenged takes root in the end of the Declaration of Independence: ...with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

As I've mentioned previously, I decided to take on the first challenge. I wasn't perfect. Nowhere close to perfect. For the past year or more, I've been mulling over honesty in my life. I was finally able to admit that I not only lied, a lot, but I lied really, really well. I also accepted that it was the only way to survive. I knew it needed to stop, and I was working on it. Then the challenge was made. Faith, Hope, and Charity: Pray, on your knees, at least once a day. Stop lying, to everyone, especially yourself. Do something special for your family members. I felt that making honor a part of my life required that I stop lying. I'm learning, and to my own amazement find I'm succeeding.

The new challenge issued I thought was simply a repeat of the first, until I listened to it about four times, writing it down three of those four. It clearly takes me a little while to process. That being said, emphasis was placed on the Hope aspect. Hope is false if it is based on a lie, so the truth is essential. That's where the stop lying came in. Now, to take it a step further, the question is asked, "What do you believe?"

Thomas Jefferson: Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.

So, here I am questioning, and realizing that there is so much I do not know, but I also know more than I thought I did. Too often, I have hurried through difficult things. I wanted them done and over with, so I could move onto what's next. I mentioned that I had to listen to the challenge four times to GET IT. Too often, I barely touched the surface of so many things because I wanted to be done. This time, I will take the days given to pray, consider, evaluate, reflect, and remember.