November 6, 2013
October 30, 2013
When you are a child, all you want to be is grown-up so you can do whatever you want to do without any type of restrictions. You have all kinds of unrealistic expectations of how one day, you are going to travel all over the world, drive nice cars, and everyday will be nothing but 24 hours packed with non-stop fun. Of course after you have reached your adulthood, you realize that even though there are advantages to being an adult, it is nothing like you had envisioned. Being a grown-up comes with its own set of rules that include things like paying bills, raising a family, and just trying to keep a roof over your head. Responsibilities seem to overwhelm you sometimes. All of the sudden, being a child doesn’t seem so bad after all. Every time you see one playing happily, you find yourself thinking how nice it would be to have those carefree days back. When there were no responsibilities other than school, homework, and chores. You actually feel envy inside at the very thought of it. That’s why they say hindsight is 20/20, not only in this case, but in many other areas as well.
Teenagers are perfect examples of little humans you can never please. They always want more. New clothes, cell phones, a new car, and always, always money. As parents, we love our children dearly, so our goal is to make them happy by giving them everything in our power. But the real kicker is on top of everything they want you to give them, they still want you to allow them 100% freedom to do all of the things they love, with no restrictions while you foot the bill. If you attempt to put your foot down, they get furious with you. Why can’t they have cool parents like Sally’s (hypothetical name)? Sally’s parents are always so nice and very rich. They bought her a new car and she can go wherever she wants with no curfew. You find yourself wishing you had her perfect life. What you don’t know is that Sally’s mother is a closet alcoholic, and her father cheats on her repeatedly. They fight almost every night with little thought of how their behavior is killing their daughter. Sally would give anything to have YOUR life, complete with the restrictions you hate so much with parents that love her. And one day you find out the truth, when you are delivered the sad news that Sally has taken an overdose and you don’t know if she is going to make it.
Nancy married her childhood sweetheart when she was 16 years old. They have been married for 12 years and have three kids. For over a decade, she has wiped snotty noses, played taxi cab, and had dinner on the table every night. Along the way, she and her husband seemed to have lost that spark. Oh, they still love each other, but the romance seems to have flown out of the window through all the crazy, daily chaos. Nancy wishes she could have the same kind of marriage that her best friend Tracy has. Tracy and her husband go out once a week, they travel places, she goes shopping, and gets a new car every year. They seem like the ideal couple. What Nancy doesn’t know is that Tracy’s marriage is completely a front for her husband to be in good community standing. Tracy’s husband does not care about her, he only cares what people think of him. At night, when they are alone, he closes himself off in his study so he can concentrate on his work. They never even have a conversation unless they are in the presence of others. Nancy would be surprised if she knew that Tracy was actually envious of her marriage and she would trade places with her in a second just to have one day in Nancy’s mundane life , where she would know she is loved.
All three of these examples are just cases of how the grass is greener on the other side and we have all been guilty of it at some point in time. We always seem to want more; more money, more time, more freedom and more love. As humans, we never seem to be satisfied with what we have. But the sad thing here is that while you are so busy wishing for more, you are wishing your life away. You are missing out on the here and now. God never meant for you to have every single thing you wanted in life, He wants you to be content with what He has given you.
The best person to talk to about life is an elderly person. Because they can tell you a lot about hindsight. They have lived it, and now that their years are getting smaller, they can tell you that it’s just not worth it. They will tell you in the end, it is about good times with families and friends and making memories to last a lifetime. The kind that will make you smile every time you close your eyes and think about it.
This, my friends, is real life, this very moment and you only get one shot at it, so make it count. Where you are right now and who you are with is it. Nothing else really matters but knowing true happiness. Stop looking at the glass as half empty and see it as half full. So, let go of all the “ what if’s” and embrace what you have. I promise you will find an inner peace take over that will enrich your life in a manner you have never dreamed possible.
As for the grass being greener on the other side…well, you know what they say about that…
October 15, 2013
I don’t usually do back to back political rants, but in times like these, how can it not be on your mind day in and day out. With all of the uncertainty in the air, there just seems to be utter confusion everywhere you turn. And anger…lots and lots of it.
Last Tuesday evening, I received my dreaded information packet from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I, like so others, was fit to be tied when I discovered my health insurance was going to almost double for even less coverage than I have now. I had already been on a tangent (as you all may have read last week) about the government shutdown, so this only fueled my fire even more. Folks, I am not a wealthy person. I live from paycheck to paycheck just as most of you do, so this very substantial increase to my monthly budget is just not something I can afford.
How are we, the taxpayers, supposed to survive when we are paying out more than we are taking in? I mean, we are getting hit hard everywhere we go. From the increase in utilities, to the grocery store, to the gas pumps, and now finally with health insurance. We are a tax poor nation. Well, for those of us who work anyway..all of these added expenses and most of us have not even gotten a raise in a couple of years. Companies are cutting their work staff, only to result in an increase in workload for the skeleton crew left behind. And all these jobholders hear for their extra time and efforts are “Just be thankful you still have a job”. And yet everyone wonders why the morale is down everywhere you turn.
When I was recently divorced, I worked two, sometimes three jobs to earn my way. I have worked in textile factories, been a food server, and cleaned houses just to make a living. No one gave me anything. I wanted to make my own way. I was not above a little manual labor to pay my bills and everytime I wrote a check out, I felt a pride in myself that money can’t buy. Failure was just not an option for me. And I did all of this without a college degree, so if I can do this as a single mother, then I know anyone else can.
Because my kids were raised around a strong work ethic, both of my daughters are extremely hard workers. So, if a child is raised in an environment where they are dependent on government aid, then they will grow to be dependent on them as well because it’s all they know. If you don’t believe that, just look around.
The fact of the matter is that our government is making our citizens lazy. They want you to rely on them for income because that is a form of socialism. Case in point: I’m guessing everyone heard about the alleged computer glitch with the EBT cards over the weekend. Don’t kid yourself, that wasn’t a glitch. It was a test to see how it everyone receiving EBT benefits would react in the event the funds were no longer there. They can say all day long that it was just a glitch, but how many times have you ever heard of any kind of glitch where food stamps are concerned? Never…
Moving right along in day 15 of the shutdown, I hear that there is some progress slowly being made. Well sure, I mean we only have two days left before we suffer nationwide catastrophic failure to the likes of which our nation will ever recover. No rush or anything…
But what exactly is involved in this so-called progress? Here is the House’s counter offer: House Republicans will move their own debt ceiling and government funding bill, GOP leaders announced in a closed meeting Tuesday. The bill will delay Obamacare’s medical device tax for two years, install income verification for Obamacare subsidies and have language to cancel health insurance subsidies for members of Congress and the presidential Cabinet. Government funding will run until January 15 and the debt ceiling will be lifted until February 7. Folks, it’s like putting a bandaid on a gushing wound. This temporary solution will only get us through the next few months before the problems arise again. You cannot borrow from Peter to pay Paul. It just never works.
So, what if we ran our household the same way the government runs the country? It would result in bankruptcy and losing all of our assets. Can you continue to borrow money when you write bad checks and have horrible credit? Not in a million. They would laugh you straight out of the bank.
Meanwhile in Washington D.C., thousands of protesters have made their way to our nation’s capital to voice their disapproval of the mess our country is in now. From bikers to truckers to veterans, the road to D.C. has been steadily jammed with traffic. I would just like to personally say to these protesters: Thank You for standing up for our rights. You make me proud to still be an American in times of strife. If everyone would band together like you all have, then maybe, just maybe, we would make an impact that would be heard around the world.
But on another note, I hear the squirrels at the White House are eating very well off from the ripe vegetables and produce of the First Lady’s vegetable garden, since the gardeners that remain have been limited to removing trash and watering the lawn. Lucky for them there was some live produce around for them since all of the nuts seem to have moved indoors.
Hope you all have a great week!
September 24, 2013
Rejoice in the day the Lord hath made…Well, that’s what I did this last Sunday. And what a beautiful day it was! Brilliant blue skies with cotton clouds and an abundance of sunshine. The afternoon may have gotten a little warm, but even still a pretty much perfect day.
On Sunday afternoon, my family had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Burrell family at their home near the Mellow Valley community. The picturesque setting they call Sheperd’s Hill immediately gives you a feeling of warmth upon arrival. But I knew I was going to be something special when I saw that it sets just off of Roll Tide Lane.
We were greeted warmly by all and given a personal tour of the grounds. From the herb garden to the livestock to the blacksmithing, it was a very informative, educational, and refreshing tour.
If you’re not familiar with the Burrell family, then you are truly missing out. This family is incredible. Just being around them makes you say “Now, this is a family who has got it all together”. And family is everything to them. They have six children, and will soon welcome their ninth grandchild into this world. Their home captures the true essence of what everyone pictures in their mind and the perfect family atmosphere. Lots of love and laughter in a warm, welcoming environment.
If you met the Burrell’s on the street, then you would probably just take one look at their attire and think to yourself “Oh, they’re just Amish people.” Which is untrue, by the way. They call themselves Plain Christians, although slightly modified.
People seem to draw their own conclusions about people who choose this lifestyle. It just seems cut and dry to them, you just live off the land and you can’t straddle the fence. They never even seem to try to grasp why people may even choose to live this way. Well, the Burrell family will be more than glad to tell you about their way of life and why they chose it…
About 15 years ago, the Burrell family would not have stood out in a crowd. They were your average family, her husband held down a full-time job, she was a homemaker and were raising their children to the best of their ability. But there were not happy with given family and church situations, so they began searching for answers. They tirelessly studied their Bible, without any footnotes or commentaries that so many people rely on in their quest for newfound happiness and inner peace.
When their extensive research led them to the possibility of adopting an alternative lifestyle, they did not want to be right. Reluctantly, they slowly they began making the transition to a Plain Christian lifestyle, all the while asking God to send them a sign that they were headed down the right path.
The first time the ladies of the family dared to venture out in public with head coverings, they were shocked at the positive attention they received when they approached by many people who were curious as to their beliefs. And as their transition into this lifestyle deepened, they were convinced that God was slowly leading them in the right direction. It never failed to amaze them how strangers would approach them out of sheer curiosity and lead to a full-blown conversation. Some would leave them in tears and thank them for being bold enough to follow God’s word.
No, they are not Amish, Mennonites, or even fall under the category of full-blown Plain Christians. “We just want to serve God and live a life that we feel is pleasing to him.” But they have decided that there are some means of modern technology that has its advantages, and actually benefits their daily existence.
For instance, when you walk into their home, you will find the air to be quite pleasant, if not a little cool because Angie keeps the thermostat turned down low due to a heat exhaustion incident she suffered several years ago. They drive cars; they hold down full-time jobs, have internet access and a TV. However, I think it is important to point out they do not watch broadcast television, only carefully chosen movies every now and then. Angie even has a Jacuzzi in her bathroom. Paul works in the IT department at Alabama Power, a position he has held for almost 25 years. They don’t apologize for any of these luxuries either because they are happy with every aspect of their life now.
They use the internet as a tool to reach out to others with their lifestyle. Their website: www.sheperdshillhomestead.com has a vast amount of knowledge about their daily journeys, heritage skills, sermons, etc. They have home church services in their living room where anyone who wants to attend is invited, with crowds from 10-50 people present. Their services are streamed through their website where they have had people as far as Scotland tune in. There is no love offering taken up, in fact if people want to give a donation, the Burrell’s tell them of a local charity they can give to.
They even have homesteading weekends where people sign up for a three-day experience in heritage skills. They give demonstrations and exhibitions at local events. And it is not a money-making scheme; in fact they barely break even on many of these activities they oversee. “Our goal is to share our heritage skills to teach others, not to profit from.”
What changes did their new lifestyle bring to them and was it worth it to them? Well, Angie says sometimes Paul tells her he will hear her laughing out loud in her sleep, not that she remembers any of it. “I can remember a time when there was little sleep, because I was just afraid all the time”, says Angie emotionally “ To think that I have progressed to a point that I have found such peace and joy in my life that I can laugh in my sub-conscious state amazes me everyday”.
“Blacksmithing, candle-making, balm mixtures, wool spinning, basket-weaving, quilting, all of these heritage skills that we partake in everyday just reaches into the soul and brings a type of satisfaction that modern life can never even begin to touch. There’s something in a lifestyle like this that truly connects you to a creator that loves you” says Angie. “It’s a kind of peace that money can’t buy, says Angie as she points to her simple frock that drapes her body and says “ This is just a little wrapping, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters”
“God created us to be creators. He gave us everything we needed to live off the land. We just had to work for it. When you go to work to a job where you don’t produce anything, it leaves a void inside that can never be filled” daughter Sarah says. “It’s about finding a balance in your life in seeking to lead a life that is pleasing to God and to find fulfillment. If most people aren’t producing something with their hands, then they are probably not going to be a very happy person”
To say that I was very impressed with this family would be putting it mildly. I left this visit feeling a sense of renewal of life. With all the bad things happening in this world, this family had seemed to find something that others were desperately seeking; a harmonic balance of happiness, peace, and best of all, they found God. They walk with him every day in every aspect of their life and it shows on their faces. Is their life perfect? Why no, but whose life is? But they have enough faith in God that they know as long as they follow Him, He will provide a way. They know because they live it everyday.
It takes a special kind of courage to take the leap of faith they did and change your entire existence the way this family did. I have the utmost a respect and admiration for them.
The Burrell family have been a feature attraction at Lineville Heritage Day with their heritage exhibitions and we are proud to welcome them back this year. Please join us on this day and look them up. Take the time to talk to them and see for yourself what great people these are. I promise you…you won’t be disappointed…
Sep 10, 2013