Do I Add Value?

This question was posed to me from work.  I can “justify” how much value I have for work.  I understand windows and glass and spacers and can add value to my employer.  But what about in my personal life?  What value do I add to my friends and family?  Do I add value to the lives of those around me?  How can I begin to add value to people in my life?

  • Helping them – Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”
  • Loving them – 1 John 3:23, “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”
  • Serving them – Galatians 5:13, “Life by the Spirit You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
  • Encouraging them – 2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
  • Comforting them – 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Are you adding value to anyone in your life today??

Why My Emotions Are All Over The Place

So…about 2.5 weeks ago I underwent my first medical procedure of my life…at least that I remember.  When I was 3 days old I had a full blood transfusion, but I don’t remember that.  Fast forward 45 years and a few months and I’m having arthroscopic surgery on my right knee.  Evidently at some point in my life I have broken my femur bone and part of the bone was floating around in my knee.  The dr wanted to go in and do a search and rescue and get all the bone fragments out, clean out any arthritis that was in there and drill a couple holes in my femur bone to stimulate some regrowth of cartilage.  I have heard horror stories about how surgeries can go…about how horrible it is to come out of the sedation, about how bad the pain will be, etc.  This, of course, made my extremely anxious.  Luckily for me it was first thing in the morning and I had to get up at 5am so I’m already tired when I get there and they give me the pain meds and that’s all she wrote for me.  I don’t remember one other thing until I’m in recovery.  I came out of sedation just fine.  I wasn’t crying.  I wasn’t angry.  I just wanted to go back to sleep.

Now fast forward 2.5 weeks.  I have been cooped up in the house for over 7 days, no sunshine, no leaving the apartment. I’m trying to wean myself off pain meds.  The house is restless because everything is topsy turvy with me being down. Focus stage right:  It’s Mother’s Day.  It’s raining buckets so our plans have been cancelled.  I have no family around here to share it with.  I miss my Mama dreadfully.  I am wearing every emotion on my sleeve by this point.  I must have broken down 7 different times on Mother’s Day, some worse than others.  Finally, it takes an episode of “Call The Midwife” to send me over the edge.  Good grief.  I’ve never cried this much in my life and that’s including the time I was on hormones trying to get pregnant.

I do not know if surgery or the stress of the surgery or the pain of the surgery is causing me to be an emotional basket-case, but I surely wish I could have some emotional normalcy.   I’m driving my own self completely bonkers being this wimpy emotional wreck.  Bring on the Happy Pills!!!

My Love Revolution

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to make more of an attempt to blog.  Since it’s been a year since my last entry, I’m not doing that well on this particular resolution.  But I have 8 more months to make an attempt!

Recently, and by recently I mean February, my family and I started attending theChurch at Battle Creek.  We wanted a place with a good youth program and somewhere we could be challenged to grow in our faith.  I’ve been blessed and encouraged during our time there.  After being so burned by church politics I was afraid I wouldn’t ever be happy to go to church again, but I’m loving it.

A week or so ago the state of Indiana passed the Indiana Religious Freedom Act and the world went nuts.  Now this is near and dear to my heart as I spent 28 years of my life in the Hoosier state.  Do I believe a business has the right to decide who they will serve?  Yes.  Do I believe they can discriminate against religion, sexuality, gender or race?  Absolutely not.  In fact, that should be illegal.  So when a pizza shop went on the hot seat for saying they wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a gay/lesbian couple, based upon the owners religious beliefs, I was outraged!

Didn’t Jesus tell us to not resist an evil person?  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:30
Doesn’t the Bible tell us to serve one another in love? For us, as believers, to not use our freedom to indulge the sinful flesh?  Galation 5:13
Didn’t Jesus to tell us to love your neighbor as yourself?  Luke 10:27
Doesn’t the Bible say that love covers over a multitude of sins?  1 Peter 4:8

By these verses it would seem to me that every person who believes that they are following Christ should not only embrace the people who are typically discriminated against, but show them, like only true followers of Christ can do, what it means to be loved and accepted.  For example, what would have happened if the pizza shop owners would have embraced the gay/lesbian couple (someone they felt were “evil”), and treated them as if they were any other child of the King?  Would the couple not have felt loved, accepted and important?  Isn’t that the true meaning of God’s love??  Are we not to love people into the Kingdom of God?

We began a series on Easter Sunday called the Love Revolution.  Don’t be fooled into using your freedom in Christ to indulge the sinful nature by discriminating against a certain stereotypical group of people.  Learn to love everyone the way the Jesus did.  He’s the One who has changed my view, who has taught me to love unconditionally…He is my Love Revolution!!!

Easter – blah!

What is it about Easter that annoys me so much?  The bunnies, the eggs, the pink, the baskets…the list continues.  Everything about Easter just gets on my last nerve.

Now most people would find that a person who believes in the Virgin birth, the death and the resurrection should actually like Easter.  Most people who are believers in Jesus celebrate the resurrection.  I’m supposed to rejoice in my Savior rising from the dead and while I am grateful Jesus defeated death by rising on the 3rd day, I don’t necessarily rejoice.  Some Christian I am…right?

I was born and spent the first 13 years of my life not sure about the whole church thing.  Then one night a man explained about the end times & repentance.  I accepted the salvation that Jesus’ death and yes, even His resurrection, assures me I have if only I believe.  After 20+ years as a church pianist, youth leader, Sunday School teacher and countless other duties in the church, I left “church”.  But I never left my beliefs.  

My beliefs remain in tact.  In fact, the greatest thing about this time of year is that it reminds me of “the bottom line” of my beliefs.  The bottom line of what the world views as the religious side of Easter would be the fact that the death of Jesus broke the barrier between God and man.  The earth trembled and the curtain in the temple was ripped signalling our ability to go right to God the Father through Him. THAT is what is important…that I don’t have to go through another sinful man (a priest) to be able to interact with God or Jesus – all I need is faith.  

So go ahead and buy your baskets, your eggs, your pretend plastic grass; attend your egg hunts, your sunrise services, your mass; celebrate spring with your family, friends or what not…I’ll be doing what I do every Sunday – spending time with the men I love trying to put my beliefs in action.  

WGS & Mom’s Trip to Indiana

The smelly 15 year old person who lives in my house and I went to the frozen tundra that is Indiana for his Spring Break.  What we were thinking, I’ll never know.  But it allowed us time with some very special people most of whom I consider family.

Friends are family we choose for ourselves.

Tony & Shannon came to get us at the airport!

Tony & Shannon came to get us at the airport!

My old neighborhood...look at the snow!

My old neighborhood…look at the snow!

Our old house

Our old house

Our old house...shocking how it's no longer "home"

Our old house…shocking how it’s no longer “home”

Hacienda!!

Hacienda!!

Infamous chips, salsa & CCQ

Infamous chips, salsa & CCQ

Essenhaus with my sisters, Amy & Karen

Essenhaus with my sisters, Amy & Karen

My sisters, Amy & Karen

My sisters, Amy & Karen

The one thing that Indiana does better than Oklahoma - McDonald's Coke

The one thing that Indiana does better than Oklahoma – McDonald’s Coke

Jay & Bumpy

Jay & Bumpy

Kiesha after Jay grabbed her...she didn't want her picture taken with him since he's taller than her now.

Kiesha after Jay grabbed her…she didn’t want her picture taken with him since he’s taller than her now.

Kiesha, Jay, Logan & Ally

Kiesha, Jay, Logan & Ally

The snow & the gray...the reason we left Indiana!

The snow & the gray…the reason we left Indiana!

Housley Girls Night Out - me, Savannah, Taba & Kiesha (Kiesha's first GNO)

Housley Girls Night Out – me, Savannah, Taba & Kiesha (Kiesha’s first GNO)

Housley Girls Night Out - Nancy

Housley Girls Night Out – Nancy

Hacienda's Bar Nachos

Hacienda’s Bar Nachos

Anna & Aunt Jenny

Anna & Aunt Jenny

Anna & Aunt Jenny

Anna & Aunt Jenny

Alex & Aunt Jenny

Alex & Aunt Jenny

Alex & Aunt Jenny

Alex & Aunt Jenny

Kyrah & Aunt Jenny

Kyrah & Aunt Jenny

Me & the girls

Me & the girls

Cordelia Grace's "mean" face

Cordelia Grace’s “mean” face

Cordy & Aunt Jen

Cordy & Aunt Jen

Hanging at the Old People's House

Hanging at the Old People’s House

Bekah & Jay

Bekah & Jay

Jon, Jay & Jeaniki

Jon, Jay & Jeaniki

Jeanica's Sweet 16 Birthday

Jeanica’s Sweet 16 Birthday

Me & Jeaniki

Me & Jeaniki

Me & Jeaniki...check out that tongue!

Me & Jeaniki…check out that tongue!

Aunt Jen can still "hold" Jay

Aunt Jen can still “hold” Jay

Justice, Jay & Aunt Jen

Justice, Jay & Aunt Jen

Joce, Jay, Justice

Joce, Jay, Justice

Joce & Jay...he finally is taller than she is!

Joce & Jay…he finally is taller than she is!

Rob Manthey, Rob Luter, Phats Xayamath, Jay

Rob Manthey, Rob Luter, Phats Xayamath, Jay

Me & my engineering guys

Me & my engineering guys

Two of my favorite women, Nana Liz & Grandma Barb

Two of my favorite women, Nana Liz & Grandma Barb

me & my sister, Laurita

me & my sister, Laurita

Grandma Barb, Jay & Nana Liz

Grandma Barb, Jay & Nana Liz

Shane, Jay, Skylar, Laurita

Shane, Jay, Skylar, Laurita

Shane, me, Skylar & Laurita

Shane, me, Skylar & Laurita

Grandpa Bob, Jay & Grandma Barb

Grandpa Bob, Jay & Grandma Barb

 What an amazing time of seeing people who mean the most to us – family!

My Take on Valentine’s Day

I’m a little late, but I wanted to get this out before we move on from February…

So back a million years ago, Jason bought me a stuffed animal on Valentine’s Day.  I have it still today.  We may have exchanged a few cards over the years but typically we do not celebrate in the “normal” way most of civilization celebrates this ridiculous holiday.

Now you may wonder, why does this crazy woman feel that Valentine’s Day is ridiculous?  Doesn’t she want the chocolate, flowers, jewelry all the other crazy hormonal “normal” women want?  Well, let’s just say I’m not “normal”.  Nothing in my life is “normal”.  Everything in my life is a tad bit “different.”

So many people over the years have “pitied” me for having an “unconventional” life.  For example, Jason is the “chef” at our house.  I would rather clean than have to cook or even boil water!  He’s an amazing cook.  He’s always been the one to “take care” of things in our home.  Never me.  I would have to be out of all my clothes before I would even think of “its time to do the laundry”.  Not him…he’s on top of it all.  But that being said, we never run out of tea, sweet or unsweet…we never run out of pickles…toilet paper…etc.  He pays attention to things I never would dream of paying attention to until we were completely out.  These things…the things he does consistently, every day…mean more to me than a card or some flowers on some day that “the candy industry has created to bankrupt all of the males of the country” (his quote).  He takes care of me, our life together and generally makes life so much better for all of us.  He’s my rock and I would rather have that than a box of chocolates on a given day in February.  And with that being said…that’s my take on Valentines day.

The Smeltzers Come to Green Country

We had been having our version of the polar vortex here in Oklahoma…temperatures in the single digits and our days were filled with some clouds and the occasional flurry.  It was such a nice break to have Jason’s sister, Susan and her husband, George, come for a visit.  They were able to stay for 5 days and while we weren’t able to show them all the wonderful things of Oklahoma, we were able to show them a few things in our life.  We were able to make dinners together, play games together, go out to dinner together and just have a good ole fashion visit.  It was such a welcome break in our lives.

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