Every Day is a Journal Page

Psalm 139


“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him endured the cross…”
(HEBREWS 12: 2)

Society teaches us constantly that we are the masters of our destiny, that we are what we make of ourselves, that we write the script. Knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior, however, shows us otherwise. Christianity is not about me and what I make of myself; it’s about Christ and what He has done for me.

He is the author of my faith; He has known each word before it is even on my tongue; all my days were ordained in His book before a single one of them came to be. With the prophet Jeremiah we learn to say, “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Those lessons come to us over time when our best-laid plans fail and we are forced down other paths. Instead of feeling that we write the story of our lives, we see that every day is a journal page – a record of all the Lord has done for us. He is the author of our lives! With our eyes fixed on Him (not ourselves), He carries us through and writes us into the wondrous plan of His kingdom.

INSIGHT
YOU CAN’T WRITE YOUR OWN DESTINY; GOD HAS NUMBERED EVERY ONE OF YOUR DAYS EVEN BEFORE YOU LIVED A SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

Anchor Devotional

No More Yelling

This morning my husband and I were talking about how badly he felt about shouting at our toddler when he is disobedient.  And when I came into the office, I saw an article explaining why yelling doesn’t work.  I wanted to share it with parents who go through the same thing as my husband and I do when it comes to trying to get our kids to do what we have told them several times to do.  “Clean up your room.”  “Clean up your room.”  “Clean up your room.”  I bet this sounds familiar to you. 

The article, No More Yelling explains why it isn’t effective to raise your voice when your child won’t listen.

You wouldn’t normally scream at an annoying friend or neighbor. Yet shouting at a misbehaving or dawdling child is standard for many parents. When sociologist Murray Straus, Ph.D., and his colleagues interviewed 991 families, they discovered more than 90% use yelling, screaming, or shouting as a way to correct the behavior of a child. “Parents assume that because everybody does it, yelling is harmless,” says Dr. Straus, who co-directs the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. “That’s not the case. Yelling belittles kids and undermines the parent-child bond.”

Another reason to quiet down: Raising your voice is no more effective than other, less harmful, alternatives. “Walking up to a child and repeating ‘Stop it’ works just as well as shouting,” Dr. Straus says. “If necessary, hold your child firmly and explain that what he’s doing is not okay.”

The reality, say researchers, is that whether you spank, yell, or speak in a normal voice, a toddler has about an 80% likelihood of repeating her misdeed within the same day, a 50% chance within a few hours. Repeating your message without hollering is, in the long run, the better, far less harmful, tactic.

I would usually squat in front of our toddler and try to explain to him why he should not behave a certain way and why he needs to stop it.  I ask him if he understands what I am telling him.  When he misbehaves we try to take away some privileges–like not playing on the computer or watching TV (we have decided that he should not be watching TV for more than one hour per day).

I agree that yelling is not a good way to get your message across.  It bothers me but I will be honest and say that there are times when your child pushes your button to the point where you end up losing your cool and you raise your voice.  When I do that he cries and I feel really bad.  I tell him that Mommy is sorry she shouted at him but she told him more than once not to do something and he still did it.  He understands that we get upset with him because, “I’m not listening.”

The next time your child misbehaves or doesn’t do what you instruct him or her to do, even though you have said it a couple times, take a deep breath (in some cases you need to take several breaths) and in a calm voice, say what you need to say.  “Mommy and Daddy don’t want you putting your shoes on the bed because they are dirty.  Please go and put them in the cupboard.” Look him directly in the face and say this in a gentle but firm voice.  He will get the message.  Here you are explaining why he should not put his shoes on the bed and then you are giving him direction by telling them where they belong (in the cupboard). 

Instead of yelling, “Don’t do that!” when your daughter takes a toy away from her younger sibling, you explain to her, calmly why it taking the toy away was wrong and then suggest that she finds another toy to play with instead.  This will teach her that when she is at daycare and another child is playing with a toy that she wanted to play with, she has the choice of playing with another toy until the one she wants is available.  You are addressing the problem and coming up with a solution that works for everyone.

As one person puts it, yellers create yellers.  You don’t want your child to become yellers so stop yelling and talk to them instead.  When you are worked up your child may get worked up too.  “Direction that makes the most impact on a child is actually one that is stern and even somewhat gentle, says Michelle LaRowe, author of A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists. “When you speak in a calm but firm soft voice, children have to work to listen — and they most always do. The calmer and softer you speak, the more impact your words will have,” she says. “Not only will your child most likely grasp your instructions faster, you won’t have to lose your voice trying to convey it.”

Here are 10 ways to help you to stop yelling at your child when he or she drives you bonkers:

1. Breathe – Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Sometimes all it takes is a moment to cool down.

2. Address the Behavior – We all have good kids; sometimes their behavior just stinks.

3. Mean Business Without Being Mean – Instead of yelling, use a firm, but soft, I-mean-business tone when giving behavior directions.

4. Help Your Child Explain Feelings – Before you lose your cool because your child has misbehaved, figure out what is causing the behavior.

5. Have Clear Rules & Follow Through – Not carrying out your threats will result in them testing you — and you getting angry.

6. Give Praise for Okay Behavior – Parents praise their children for good behavior, and scold for the bad, but what about the in-between?

7. A Strong Bond Makes Discipline Easier The stronger your relationship is with your child, the stronger your discipline will hold
 
8. Put Yourself in Their Shoes Are you hurt when someone yells at you? Of course; so why wouldn’t your child be?
 
9. Good Eating & Sleeping Habits Healthy children are the happiest children
 
10. We’re Not Perfect – No matter how hard we try, sometimes we will slip up and yell. And that’s okay, as long as we know how to make it right ((http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/discipline/tips/parents-yelling/?sssdmh=dm17.516163&esrc=nwhk033011&email=2398747799).)
 
Here’s another tip:
Be Realistic of Your Child’s Ability Level Avoid requesting your child to do anything he or she is incapable of doing. Make sure that the behavior expectation for your child is age-appropriate.  Child development experts and authors can provide you with discipline strategies and techniques that are age-appropriate.  Parents who become realistic about their child’s behavioral ability level often have less frustrated children who learn to listen and cooperate (http://www.scottcounseling.com/wordpress/seven-steps-in-disciplining-your-child/2009/06/07/).

Now you that you are aware that there are better ways to discipline your child, utilize them.  Both you and your child will be happy when there is no more yelling.

Jesus: Of Tender Compassion

“Deeply moved at the sight of his brother [Benjamin], Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.”
(GENESIS 43:30)

We read in Genesis of Joseph’s dealings with his brothers when they came to Egypt for food. Notice that they did not recognize him on their first trip. Similarly, the majority of Jesus’ brothers – the Hebrews – failed to recognize Him on His first appearing. The brothers went back to their father, returning later with Joseph’s full brother, Benjamin. Joseph wept upon seeing him, just as Jesus wept over his friend Lazarus (John 11:35), and for the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44).

Joseph would hardly be blamed if he treated his brothers with cruelty. Instead, when they recognized him on their second trip, he treated them with compassion. Jesus also showed compassion for those who crucified Him, crying out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). But Jesus’ ultimate love was in His sacrifice of Himself for His Church. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

INSIGHT
“THIS IS…WHAT LOVE IS: JESUS CHRIST LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US. AND WE OUGHT TO LAY DOWN OUR LIVES FOR OUR BROTHERS”
(1 JOHN 3:16).

Miscarriage, a Crime?

I read some time ago on Care2 Make a Difference, that a state representative has introduced legislation that would make miscarriage a crime punishable by death. 

Rep. Bobby Franklin’s bill would require that women who miscarry prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation” or they could become felons. The bill would also put the burden of responsibility on women for protecting the fetus from the moment of conception — even though it takes 3 weeks for pregnancy tests to become reliable. It’s estimated that up to one-quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage and most of the time doctors don’t even know the cause.

The bill would classify the removal of a fetus under any circumstance other than during a live birth or to remove a dead fetus as “prenatal murder.” Doctors and hospitals would be forced to report miscarriages to authorities, who would then have to investigate if the miscarriage occurs without medical attention (http://www.examiner.com/democrat-in-national/abortion-debate-rep-bobby-franklin-s-bill-makes-miscarriage-state-concern).

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.  How could miscarriage be viewed as capital crime?  Why should women be subjected to proving that there was no negligence on their part? 

Miscarriages are sometimes called “spontaneous abortion”).  It is the loss of a baby in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Sadly, it is a common event. Although it’s difficult to give an exact figure, about 15 per cent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Often, a woman miscarries before she realizes she’s pregnant. Perhaps as many as three-quarters of all fertilized eggs are lost in the very earliest stages of pregnancy. About 98 per cent of women who miscarry do so in the first 13 weeks but occasionally, a woman will miscarry much later.

Even healthy young women with no known risk factors can miscarry.  And it is possible for a woman to suffer miscarriages before she has a normal pregnancy as in the case of Wendy. She had two miscarriages a few months apart when she was 31 years old. She then had a perfectly normal third pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 41 weeks — exactly one year after her first miscarriage.

There is research which indicates that there are factors that would make miscarriages possible such as smoking, drinking more than four cups of coffee a day or a lot of alcohol.  Most women avoid these things while pregnant.

You also have a higher risk of miscarriage if you:

• have had more than one miscarriage already

• have fibroids (non-cancerous tumours of the muscle layer of the uterus) or an abnormally shaped uterus

• have lupus

• have diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid disease (although if these conditions are well managed by you and your doctors, the risk of miscarriage is much lower)

• have an infection in early pregnancy such as rubella, listeria or chlamydia. 

For the most part though, doctors aren’t able to pinpoint the reason for most early miscarriages but it seems that a fetus which is abnormal in some way, tends to miscarry. Probably at least half of all miscarriages in the first trimester of pregnancy are the result of chromosomal abnormalities that prevent the baby from developing normally. Later miscarriages — after 20 weeks — may be the result of an infection or an abnormality of the uterus or placenta, or a weak cervix, sometimes called an “incompetent cervix” that is not strong enough to keep the womb tightly closed until the baby is ready to be born.

Unfortunately, two of the tests — amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) — used to detect abnormalities in babies can also cause miscarriage. Amniocentesis, generally performed between the 15th and 18th weeks of pregnancy, results in miscarriage for around one per cent of women. CVS, which is performed at around 12 weeks of pregnancy, may cause miscarriage in between one and two per cent of women.

What can a woman do to reduce the risk of having a miscarriage?  Give up smoking; cut down on coffee and alcohol (personally, I would cut these out altogether).  If you have miscarried before , your doctor or midwife might suggest that you try to rest as much as possible during the first couple of months of your pregnancy. You might also be advised to avoid sex, again for the first few months, until your pregnancy is well established.

If you already know that you have a weak cervix because this was the reason for a previous miscarriage, you may be able to have a special stitch put round it to keep it closed until your baby is ready to be born. This is called a Shirodkar suture or cerclage.

Sadly, there is little that can be done to prevent a miscarriage once it is underway. Coping with a miscarriage is very hard, but it may be some comfort to know that most women are able to get pregnant again, and experience a normal, full-term pregnancy (http://www.babycenter.ca/pregnancy/griefandloss/understandingmiscarriage/).
Sometimes a woman can take all the necessary precautions to ensure a healthy pregnancy and still miscarry.  Miscarriage is a traumatic experience for a woman who is looking forward to having a child, especially when she had has difficulty conceiving or has suffered miscarriages before.  One of my co-workers mentioned that her relative suffered a miscarriage.  She was carrying twins.  Fortunately she was able to conceive again and now she is the proud mother of twin boys. 

Losing a baby is tragic and it is insensitive of Rep. Bobby Franklin to charge a woman with committing a felony if she can’t prove that there wasn’t any human involvement in her miscarriage.  Please take time and sign this petition Georgia:  Don’t Make Miscarriage a Capital Crime  Tell Georgia legislators to oppose H.B. 1 and any laws that try to strip women of their rights.  Do it for yourself and for the women who have suffered miscarriages and may still be mourning their losses.

Helen Keller

I remember watching Patty Duke’s powerful and award winning portrayal of Helen Keller in the movie The Miracle Worker.  I admired Anne Sullivan as she worked tirelessly to help Helen learn how to communicate.  At first there were constant battles as wills clashed but bit by bit, the walls came down and soon Helen and Anne developed a close relationship.  Helen was no longer throwing tantrums but was learning to communicate her feelings, wants, needs, etc in a clear and effective way. 

Helen Keller was not born blind and deaf; it was not until she was 19 months old that she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain”, which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness did not last for a particularly long time, but it left her deaf and blind. At that time, she was able to communicate somewhat with Martha Washington, the six-year-old daughter of the family cook, who understood her signs; by the age of seven, she had over 60 home signs to communicate with her family.

In 1886, her mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens’ American Notes of the successful education of another deaf and blind child, Laura Bridgman, dispatched young Helen, accompanied by her father, to seek out Dr. J. Julian Chisolm, an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist in Baltimore, for advice.  He subsequently put them in touch with Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell advised the couple to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, the school where Bridgman had been educated, which was then located in South Boston. Michael Anaganos, the school’s director, asked former student Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired and only 20 years old, to become Keller’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year-long relationship, Sullivan evolving into governess and then eventual companion.

I was familiar with Helen Keller the child but never knew what became of her.  Yesterday, I learned that she went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities, amid numerous other causes. She was a suffragist, a pacifist, an opponent of Woodrow Wilson, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter. In 1915 she and George Kessler founded the Helen Keller International (HKI) organization. This organization is devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. In 1920 she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Helen joined the Socialist Party along with her friend, Mark Twain.  Newspaper columnists who once praised her for her intelligence later blamed her disabilities for her socialist views.  In response to remarks of The editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, Helen said,  “At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him…Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent.” She was referring to the time that they met before he knew of her political views. 

Helen also joined the Industrial Workers of the World whom she wrote for between 1916 and 1918.  Her motivation for activism came in part from her concern about blindness and other disabilities.  “I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.”

Helen wrote 12 published books and several articles.  She wrote her autobiography, The Story of My Life with the help of her mentor Anne Sullivan and Sullivan’s husband and published it when she (Helen) was 22.

When Helen was young, Anne Sullivan shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with her and Helen is quoted as saying, “I always knew He was there, but I didn’t know His name!She even wrote a spiritual autobiography about her religion.

On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States’ highest two civilian honors. In 1965 she was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame at the New York World’s Fair.

Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, at her home, Arcan Ridge, located in Easton, Connecticut. A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and her ashes were placed there next to her constant companions, Anne Sullivan and Polly Thompson (Wikipedia).

Helen Keller is an inspiration to all of us.  She was the epitome of strength and courage.  She proved that a person with disabilities can have a normal life and be politically active and wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in–no matter how unpopular.  She was an overcomer.  She had vision!

I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world.
I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers. The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

Helen Keller

Jesus: Savior of the World

And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world.”
(GENESIS 41:57)

What would have become of God’s plan to save the world and Israel from famine, had Joseph’s brothers not sold him into slavery? We’ll speak more of this later, but for now, suffice it to say that God chose the perfect person and plan for the job. During the seven years of plenty, Joseph accumulated grain in vast storehouses. Then, when the famine began, all the surrounding nations came to buy grain to make their bread. Joseph held the keys to the world’s storehouse of bread.

In the same way, a great famine now exists among people throughout our world. Most of us in America have enough food in our pantries, but we have a spiritual hunger that won’t be satisfied with anything but the Bread of Life – Jesus. He said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry….” Just as the nations came to Joseph to get bread for life, so the nations now come to Jesus to get the bread of eternal life. God again chose the perfect Person and plan for the job.

INSIGHT
LIKE JOSEPH, JESUS HAS FULL AUTHORITY TO DISTRIBUTE HIS BREAD THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. UNLIKE JOSEPH, JESUS HOLDS THE KEYS TO AN UNLIMITED SUPPLY.

Going to the Gym

Just last week co-workers and I were talking about going to the gym.  It’s a big commitment and hard to keep up with.  Now that the warm weather is approaching and we can no longer hide our bulges in coats and jackets, we are making plans to start going to the gym or to keep on going.  It’s hard, especially during the week after you have had a hard and long day at work or if you are going by yourself.

Here are some tips to help you to keep going to the gym so that you can get into shape and put on those jeans that have become a little too close for comfort or the swimsuit you are planning to wear on your trip:

1. Make your workout part of your daily schedule. Make working out as important to you as everything else. When you do this, your health and fitness plan will stay in place.

2. The best time of day for you to exercise is when you have the time and inclination. This may be in the morning, at lunchtime or after work. By going to the gym at the time best for you, you’ll be able to stay motivated and focused.

3. Make sure that your expectations are not too high; don’t be discouraged by those who can run for longer, or lift heavier weights. Everyone was a beginner once. Start at a weight, speed or resistance that is comfortable to you and don’t over do it.

4. Set realistic achievable goals, whether it’s to row for longer or bench press more weight. Once you have reached a goal, set another, then another. By setting and reaching attainable goals, you will stay motivated and you will be encouraged by your progress.

5. Some people find that keeping a health and fitness diary keeps them motivated. As well as progress, it may be worth including what you are eating, so that you can adjust your diet and workout accordingly.

6. Vary your exercises. Do cardio exercises one day, a fitness class another day, and weights another day. Try to change your weight routine as well by adding more weight, or more reps or sets as appropriate.

7. Invite a friend or colleague to join you gym. This can provide friendly competition and encouragement. Also, you are more likely to go to the gym, as you won’t want to let them down.

8. Consider working with a personal trainer. Your personal trainer will design a unique exercise programme for you, which will encourage you to stick with it. Also, they will be able to tailor your routine appropriately as you progress.

9. Depending on your goals, it can take a while to see results sometimes. Depending on your own targets, you may see impressive results in a short space of time, or you may need to wait months to reach your goal.

10. If you miss a workout or two, you’ll need to find a way of getting yourself back into the routine as soon as possible. Missing a couple of sessions is not a disaster, but a lack of motivation or lethargy can mean that you stop going altogether.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1498011

There’s a gym in the condo where my family and I live and we have been planning to go and check it out but haven’t done that so far.  It’s time to get serious.  It’s conveniently close to home.  So, there’s no excuse for not donning our track outfits and heading down to the gym.  If we want to get in shape and stay in shape, we have to make our minds to do so and then stick with it.  
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