Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Python, Lizard and Me

There we were bound up with a Burmese python wrapped around my husband and me as I'm trying to hold the snake’s head with its tongue flicking every which way.

And the trainer says “We may not be able to bring the bearded dragon lizard into the picture” and I say “Oh I hope you can, that’s my granddaughter’s favorite.” Knowing the trainer put it in the previous picture I’m thinking why not. So the trainer adds it to the mix of small alligator and huge snake even though he’d rather not.

Me? I’m thinking I included snakes in my latest novel Bullet in the Night and what a fun picture this will be to send my editor and post on my author page.

And the trainer says, “Sorry I need to be in your picture. I don’t like the way this snake is acting.” I say “Oh do you have to?” because he wasn’t in the other family’s picture. Meanwhile he tries to ease himself over to the edge. But the snake’s not liking this so the trainer grabs hold of its head.

I’m totally clueless that we’re getting into a situation of real danger here. This python has already been posed for eight other family pictures and is sick of this.

Suddenly the trainer says, “That’s enough. I’m taking the python out.” We all groan. And only later I see in the snapshots that the python is starting to squeeze itself around my husband’s leg and that head is looking for something to bite and my shoulder is right there. How do you remove a python squeezing your limb fast enough? Chop it away? And even if it’s not poisonous do I really want all those snake teeth in my arm? Plus who wants being a snake killer on their conscience?

I wake up the next day in a cold sweat thinking how close we all were to danger. And then I’m thanking God for protecting me in my impulsiveness at times when I insist on having things my way. Even as I’m trying to teach our ten-year-old grandson the beauty of submitting to authority – that adults and people in charge know better and that’s why they must be obeyed.  I’m thinking how I wanted this picture of God’s awesome creatures my way – I was casually insisting while I should have been hanging on every word of the trainer.

One of several New Year’s resolutions I'm making is to listen more carefully. To check for the yes’s and no’s of God. To move forward and retreat at His command. And control my willful urge to have my way and consult Him for direction later.

I’m also thinking of not asking people “How are you doing?” Instead I may start asking “How are you being?” After all isn’t that more important? Aren’t we all focused on the to-do stuff more than the to-be stuff? Like to-be submissive to the will of God, full of gratitude even during adversity and always mindful of the needs of others.

The trainer got us another snake. We finished the picture shoot with this small snake wrapped around our granddaughter’s neck. 

The picture makes me smile now. I wanted big and we got little but with it came safety and happiness.

Can anybody relate to this?

Men if you’d like a few suggestions to help with your husbanding and fathering this year check out my ebook Man in Command. At 99 cents it’s the richest investment you’ll make in your life. http://amzn.to/1zMzrSK

So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Saddened by Recent Events

Is there anyone who hasn’t been saddened by the recent events in our nation? I won’t comment on recent rulings best left to those who examined factual evidence in each case. But what can we glean moving forward to prevent reoccurrences of such tragic situations?

It’s clear as a society we’re failing to universally teach basic principles of moral behavior and respect for the law. Not all parents, grandparents, relatives, school teachers, etc. have succeeded in impressing youthful and adult citizens that stealing is wrong, breaking the law is intolerable and violating the law will have consequences.

Parents have a responsibility to discipline their children and train them wisely. This is the purpose in my book Soaring As A Parent, Secrets To Being Great and yes I’m giving it a plug because many parents are well-meaning but don’t have effective strategies which is why I present clear methods. The book is available on amazon. http://amzn.to/1A6Rd1o

Grandparents or other relatives can also step in to assist parents or take over if parents are unable to perform this role. My book Secrets To Being A Super Grandparent helps them teach wise behavior. Also available on amazon.http://amzn.to/1kKItrH

Moving forward I suggest three immediate strategies.
1) Teaching the Ten Commandments in every classroom and on the walls of every home. Leaders within every culture should support this. What’s not to like about teaching not to lie, not to steal, not to covet what belongs to someone else? Some children currently grow up not learning moral behavior. Post the Ten Commandments in businesses. Display them in public places and demonstrate them by how we adults live.

2) Preventing a widespread disrespect for the countless men and women in blue uniforms who risk their lives every day to protect citizens will occur. Our police need affirmation not condemnation. I advocate instituting “Cookies for Cops” to honor the good and faithful public servants who perform their jobs every day with the highest level of integrity. How about bringing a batch of cookies to local police to honor them?

3) Those who foster political agitation are not serving the individual families affected or our nation well. The violation of law brings subsequent engagement of police if individuals breaking the law are black, white, brown or whatever. Leaders must not incite protests, but channel energy to positives outcomes like teaching we are one nation under the law. Every citizen who respects the law will avoid any confrontation with a potentially disastrous outcome. Let’s move forward with sympathy for those adversely impacted while we teach moral behavior to those who follow us.

What better time than now to discuss these issues and implement positive strategies that will benefit all citizens.

From the Bible, Message version, Romans 13:3-5:

"Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live."