The Client

Someone once came up with a creative acronym for BIBLE as being Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  I like that.

While sleeping this morning, I came up with what to me is a strange analogy for our walk with Yehovah God.  It was like being a stock trader.  I knowww, hunh?  I’m as out of my comfort zone on that as can be.  I’m referring to one who trades stock for others and haven’t a clue what the title for that job is and have never even owned a piece of stock so I may be completely clueless but hopefully not wrong…but if I am, please forgive my error and feel free to comment with your own thoughts on the matter.  Now that I have laid my ignorance on such things before you, I can move on.

From what I understand, when you trade stocks for another person, you are usually given a set of parameters for when to buy or sell that stock.  For instance, you sell when it’s high (at a certain price sometimes) and buy when it’s low (again, often there is often a number given ahead of time).  You can do that for your client all day long or even longer until something out of the ordinary comes up.  That’s when you call your client and say, “What would you like for me to do about THIS situation?”  You’re dealing with that person’s money, after all, so you need to know what THEY want to do, not just do what YOU would want to do.

If the client says, “There are instructions that cover that in my portfolio” (again, excuse my ignorance of proper term, here), then you would go find that information and use it to make the decision.

If the client says, “I trust you and give you the authority to make that decision based on your own knowledge and expertise”, then you’re able to go ahead and make the decision on their behalf.

On the other hand, they may say, “Here’s what I want you to do…”, so you would go ahead and do it because it is their money and they have the right to do what they want with it.  Oh, I know…this analogy is faulty right here because often, “the stock trader” is the one with more knowledge so they would likely give advice to the client, suggesting what they think they should do so we’ll have to be sure it is known that this is a very experienced Client we’re dealing with.  In fact, this Client knows even more than “the trader” and the trader is new to the business.  The Client has more important things to do on His own and doesn’t have the license or time or fill-in-the-blank to do it Himself here in this realm and therefore needs representation.

If you haven’t already been “catching on” to this analogy so far, I believe you are now able to see the point of this analogy and you will be able to see yourself and so many of us in it.  Some of us run off half-cocked, forgetting or not bothering to even check the portfolio a.k.a. BIBLE for the instructions we were given.  We forget that this is The Client’s money and not ours, that WE represent HIM and what we do will reflect well or poorly on Him.   We wouldn’t want to trigger any sort of “Occupy Wall Street” on Him now, would we?!?

Some people will be too insecure and afraid of making a decision which means they may miss opportunities for the client which would make the client very unhappy and could easily affect others’ lives.  Or perhaps some are too busy and forget that they are only “in business” because this Client saved their life and gave them this job, even getting them their “license” in order to service this one Client.  Oh, there are so many scenarios!

At some point in time, we all try to tell The Client that we know what’s best for Him.  After all, we are all too familiar with the extenuating circumstances and He might have missed some of them.  Ha!  I knowww…it sounds ludicrous when seen in this light but I know you can see yourself doing that.  Ouch!  I can see myself, too!

How about when The Client says, “Do this…” or “Do that…” and we say, “But I’m scared!” or “I don’t want to do THAT!” and try to talk Him out of it or worse, just ignore His instructions.  The client could miss out on millions and you can imagine His displeasure!  (Feel free to fill in your own various definitions of “millions”.)

The parable of the talents from Matthew 25 comes to mind, doesn’t it?  The “talents” are HIS, whatever we deem those talents to be.  Some say it’s simply about money, some say it’s talents as in abilities but perhaps we are still limiting it too much.  Could it be that everything He has invested in us is included, not forgetting the opportunities we’re given?  Haven’t our lives even been redeemed by Him?  It’s not clear from the scriptures where to draw the line so I guess the question is all about where we choose to draw that line in our own lives.

In Romans 9, we read about The Potter a.k.a. The Client and “the clay” a.k.a. “the stock trader”.  We must never forget that it’s all about The Potter…not “the clay”.  It’s all about The Client and His will…and not about “the trader”.  Let’s balance that with reminding ourselves that The Client LOVES the “trader” and The Potter LOVES the “clay”!  Jer. 29:11 tells us that HE has a good plan for us and as we take the time to get to know Him, we will come to trust that He Is the right and only choice for being The One in Control… and we are fortunate just to have been chosen to be called His trader, His clay, His child.  Then, as little children, we can REST in His choices and bask in His rewards…both here on earth and in the inestimable days and years to come!

As for me, I have traded my old life for His life…and I am going to do my best to be as moldable as I can be, studying His “portfolio” and spending time with Him to learn His wishes so that I can make the trades a.k.a. decisions He would have me make with as little of my own fear or even “wisdom” thrown into the mix as possible.  I will try to keep in mind that He has a plan and it’s a good one and He knows ALL I will ever need to know to “get the job done” so that once I’m finished, I can hear those amazing words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into My rest.”

“So be it!” a.k.a. “Amen!”

Advice or Advise?

There are so many difficulties in the English language that many people consider it one of the hardest to learn. Many words are spelled differently but sound alike and a few are spelled the same but sound different.  It doesn’t matter at all when we’re only speaking those words but it can make a world of difference when writing them!

A person writing a resume and cover letter could be unknowingly making mistakes that can keep him/her from getting the job.  A journalist could embarrass themselves and the publication they are writing for if certain mistakes are made.  Professional letters and articles are written every day and our lack of knowledge or spelling skills tend to be somewhat evident at a very inopportune time.

Today, I am embarking on a new Category:  Word & Spelling Dilemmas.  The words I’ve chosen for this first post are:  ADVICE and ADVISE.

ADVICE is a NOUN.  A noun is the name of a person, place or thing.  Some people think that a noun has to be something you can see, feel or touch but that’s not true.  Let’s talk about the definition we have.

First question…is it a person?  Nope
Second question…is it a place?  Nope
Third question…is it a thing?  Yes…and we’ll discuss that in a moment…

Let’s talk about how to SAY it, first…and how to REMEMBER it, as well.  I like to find little tricks that help remember things.  In this case, ADVICE has the word ICE in it.  We all know how to pronounce ICE.  It has that essss sound, doesn’t it?  Now, let’s just point out the obvious strange thing that confuses everyone.  The “C” actually says “S”!  Whew!  You can see why people get so confused.  You’ll learn a little more about this when we get to the next word, ADVISE.

But for now, let’s discuss how ADVICE is a thing and how we can remember it.  We’ve already talked about how ICE is in the word and we all know that ICE is a THING because we can HOLD IT in our hands…even if we can’t do it for long!  ;)  So, if you put it all together, ADVICE is something we GIVE OTHERS, ICE is something we can even give others, it’s a noun…and the way you remember to spell it with a “C” is because of the word ICE.

Okay, let’s move on to ADVISE.  There is a strange rule in English that says when an “S” is in between vowels, it often SAYS “Z”!  Let’s look at some examples:
ROSE     NOSE     RISE     RAISE     FUSION     TEASE
CHEESE     RESULT     RESERVE     PRAISE

It becomes very clear WHY everyone is so confused over these words.  ADVISE is a VERB because a VERB is something we DO.  In this case, we ADVISE someone about something, we tell them what to do or not do…with the emphasis on the word TELL.

So, let’s look at what we’ve learned…or at least I HOPE we’ve learned!  I sincerely HOPE I haven’t LOST you altogether! 🙂

ADVICE is a NOUN…a thing…and we remember how to say it AND spell it because it actually says, “ICE”…which is another NOUN.

ADVISE says “Z” because of that silly phonics rule of the “s” between vowels.  Think of the “z” as being a backward “s”…or that the “s” is a backward “z”.whatever works for you.  Also, it’s a VERB…it’s something we DO.

Here’s a funny statement you might try remembering:

“If you want to be happy, I advise you to take my advice!”

Are you sure it’s morning?

I woke up early recently to get out the door for an important early morning meeting.  This is out of the norm for me and to top it off, the time change made it dark where the sun would have been rising before the time change.

Our new kitten, Simba, sleeps with us throughout the night and usually waits to get up until the sun is up.  If I get up to get a drink or turn up the thermostat, he usually waits for me to come back.  If I think he is about to hop down and follow me, I pick him up and carry him with me.  That way, he stays sleepy and goes back to sleep with me…and won’t try to wake me up to play.

Well, that particular morning, I had to get up in the dark and actually take a shower and start getting ready.  It was so funny as he looked at me with those sleepy eyes, wondering when I was ever going to come back to bed.  I carried him around for a few minutes as I turned up the heat and got the shower started.  The funny thing was that he kept yawning and yawning!  Then, he’d look at me as if to say, “What are you doing up, Mommy?  Are you sure it’s morning?”  Once I got in the shower, he went back to sleep.  That’s when I realized, “You know you’re up early when your KITTEN goes back to sleep!”

Have Faith & Stay Calm

I watched the movie “10.5” today. It is about a series of earthquakes that hit the west coast. In order to prevent one that will destroy the west coast, they decide to set several nuclear explosions underground to seal off the San Andreas Fault.

Of course, there are the usual elements…people in authority who don’t listen to the person who understands what is going on and wants to take drastic measures to save as many lives as they can. An evacuation (this one of the whole west coast), the usual arguments over those who want to stay to help others but want their loved ones to go (they always promise that they’ll all be together again) and the usual evacuation congestion, etcetera.

While watching this movie, I learned or was reminded of several things:

1. Don’t freak out. If you stay calm, you can think more clearly and get more accomplished.

2. Carry a photo of yourself and your loved ones. They may be needed!

3. Keep a whistle and water nearby. Being prepared for emergencies is something you can’t avoid and must do.

4. Have faith…big faith. If you don’t, you’ll give up. The people who believed, made a difference. The others gave up, got in the way, made things more difficult for others than they already were, scared others, causing them to freak out, got in the way of progress, etcetera.

5. If you are in a place of authority, listen to your advisers…but make your own decision. You’ve got to follow your gut. YOU are the one who was given the position and that was no mistake. Listen…but then YOU decide what to do.  Ultimately, you will be the one held accountable for the decision so you need to be sure that the decision is one that YOU chose because YOU will have to live with it for the rest of your life.

Friendly People Day

I had an unusual experience the other day. It just so happened that it was Halloween, probably my least favorite day of the year, but it turned out to be a very nice day because of all the friendly people I encountered.

Which brings me to my reason for blogging today…

After taking my mother to the airport, where friendly airport personnel abounded (even the nosy guy who was going through her luggage and took away her 8 oz. water bottle), I went shopping at WalMart. Now, I must tell you that WalMart has consistently been the source of some of the unfriendliest people in the Ozarks but on Halloween, everything changed!

It was strange…in a good sort of way, of course! Ordinarily, it didn’t matter who I greeted or spoke to, my comments were responded to with blank stares and mute mouths. I’m serious! It was horrible! I kept wanting to look in a mirror and see if something was on my face or in my teeth! Hahaha! On this Halloween, though, it seemed that every time I turned a corner, I was greeted with a smile and often, some version of “Hello!”  I knowww! How strange, hunh???!!!

There was even a very senior citizen who stopped and talked to me in the parking lot…twice! In the bakery, I also helped a young man pick out a birthday cake for his 14 year old sister. I also chatted with the checkout clerk and another woman greeted me twice! Hahaha! Before I left the store, I went to pick up a sandwich at the Subway in the front of the store and even there, a woman in line chatted at length with me, giving advice on how to have the sandwich made. She works at WalMart in the shoe department and I will keep an eye out for her when I go by her department in the future so I can say, “Hi!”.

So, what’s the deal? I don’t know if all this friendliness had anything to do with the “holiday” but I’ve got to seriously consider it. I don’t think it has anything to do with me because I’m always smiling and friendly but I must admit that I asked my husband while he was eating that sandwich (made just as that WalMart employee suggested), if I looked different today. It sounds silly but I did! And he was so sweet…he perceived it was a test and told me that I did look very nice! Hahahaaa! Bless his heart!

But seriously, I’m thinkin’ it had something to do with the fact that employees were dressed up for Halloween and that many of the shoppers were planning fun events for the evening. I wonder if people aren’t also feeling more generous on that day. I mean, Christmas seems to have become more about getting than giving but Halloween is partly about giving candy. Thanksgiving and Christmas are about spending quality time together but as I think about it, so is Halloween. Families take time to make costumes for others, bake cupcakes, spending quality time together going trick or treating, etcetera. Drat! I hate that there’s something good about this holiday that I hate so much! Sigh! I’m afraid I can’t deny it so I’ll just let it be what it is…and be grateful for the friendliness of the day. Now, I can’t help but wonder if that friendliness will continue through the rest of the holiday season…???

I spent the afternoon with an old friend…

I had a wonderful afternoon today. I spent it with an old friend.

The old friend was music…but not just any music. It was one of my favorite CDs that I hadn’t heard in a couple of years. It’s by Carolyn Arends and the album is called, “this much i understand”.

I think Carolyn is a balladeer. She is a Christian who sings wonderful songs about our lives. One song is called Happy and in it, she asks if she annoys us by her optimism and tells us she is going to dare to be happy. What a great message!

She goes on to sing Life is Long, which talks about some tough times in a woman’s life and she tells them to hang in there, that life is long, and tomorrow’s another day, that she believes they’re gonna make it. Who hasn’t had days when they needed to hear that?

I love them all but another particular fave of mine is called Life and Death, where she says that we are all just too busy, that we need to take the time to do what’s important and we forget that, “It’s a matter of life and death, all the choices we’re gonna get, to use our voices, make our choices happen here and now. What’s the matter with all of us? Chase the wind and we miss the bus. We get distracted from what matters and then somehow, we forget…it’s life and death.” It’s a real eye opener. ; )

An amazing love song is called The Day Will Never Come. In it, she tells her husband that the day will never come that she doesn’t love him, even if she can’t guarantee that she will always be the things he wants and needs from her. Now, THAT’S TRUE LOVE!

In a song called Surprised by Joy, Carolyn shares how she is astounded by God’s love and the wonderful things in her life, including God’s grace and the “little” things, like her son’s toothless grin. It is a song of gratitude and love…and we all need to be reminded of that!

One-Syllable Words talks about how instead of all the psychobabble, legalese, big words and craziness in our world, we need to get back to using some one-syllable words like “faith and hope and love, truth and peace and trust, dream and pay and watch and play”…stuff like that. Who can’t agree with that?

An absolute favorite that will often bring me to tears is her song, Even the Wallflowers, where she speaks to her infant/toddler, telling him that ever since he was born, she has been utterly amazed, astonished at his level of perfection and although she can’t imagine how anyone could hurt him, she knows they will. She wishes she can protect him from all the bad things of life but if she does, she knows he may never learn that even the wallflowers do survive, in fact, they can thrive, even in the shadows…and that there is a power in finding that out for himself. In fact, someday, he will even tell it to his own kid.

A sad and beautiful song was written to her grandmother, who died sooner than Carolyn expected. She says that if she had known her grandmother would be leaving here so soon, she would have done a lot of things differently. She sings, “If you were here right now, I would Love You Out Loud“, and explains what that means by saying she would listen to more of her stories and laugh at her jokes, pray with her, tell her she loves her more often and other such wonderful things.  It is a touching and beautiful ode to her grandmother!

She ends the album with another favorite of mine. It is a song to her newly born son, where she tells him she knows how frightened he must have been to have been taken from his warm world inside her “to this delivery room”. She tells him that even though he doesn’t understand it now, he belongs and that they’ve been waiting for him, looking forward to showing him the place. It’s called We’ve Been Waiting For You and she tells him that he’s going to like it here and that there are wonderful things in store like the taste of ice cream and his first kiss.

Then, she gets more serious, saying she now realizes that she is on her own journey and that when it’s her turn to leave, she’s pretty sure she’ll be frightened. She tells him that even if she cries, she won’t be alone and when her room is ready and she arrives at the gates of Heaven, she knows she will hear them say the words that she said to him as he arrived here, “We’ve been waiting for you. We’re so glad you came. We’ve been looking forward to showing you the place. There’s so much in store and we’ve been waiting for you.”

What a great note to leave us with! There is such tenderness and hope in her songs and my heart was full and soaring by the time the last note was played. Throughout the afternoon, even though I tried to be productive, I discovered that I couldn’t bear to be distracted, to miss a word, and I had such fun singing along to all the words that came rushing back to me!

I had almost forgotten how important music is! It ministers to my spirit, my mind, my soul! Oh, the time I’ve wasted listening to so many other things! Do YOU have a favorite album or singer you haven’t heard in awhile? Even if it is just a favorite era or a style of music you used to love, I encourage you to play it…and let your mind experience the emotions that come along with it. Another thing…if you love to sing, sing along…even if you don’t think you sing well…sing…because that act will take you deeper into those places you’ve kept closed off, the places you loved, exposing parts of you that you thought were dead and you’ve missed.

Music IS the stuff of life! Viva la musica! Hahaha! What a wonderful gift music is! What a blessing Carolyn Arends is to me! I think I’m gonna have to go visit her web site so I can tell her and thank her for it!

So, what are you waiting for? Your old friend is waiting!  Go turn on the radio or put in an album, tape or CD! Turn on your satellite and go to the CD stations! Get out the MP3 Player! Just start humming! Whatever you do, go for it!

I wish my cat understood…

I wish my cat understood…

I wish she understood English so I could explain why she can’t come in the house right now.

I wish I could explain about those chiggers and ticks…I’d tell her what they’re doing to her and then I’d tell her that she is bringing them into the house and then depositing them on the carpet, beds and couch, whether she means to or not.

I wish I could explain that the new kitten is not to replace her and that really he wants to be her friend.

I wish my cat understood that her human family NEEDS to SLEEP ALL NIGHT and they don’t want to get up and play with her or let her outside…again!

I wish my cat understood…because if she did, she’d be a happier cat!

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