Coffee Talk: Pet Peeves

 

You probably know by now that I am a former United States Marine!  We are a “special” group of people.  In addition to being a Marine, I have spent my adult life managing money, mostly millions and millions of your money.  As a result, I am very analytical.  I am meticulous.  I want everything to balance out to the penny.  I am constantly asking questions concerning the big picture like, “Why are we doing this?” or “Is this the best thing to do?”  I want to know about the bottom line: Not how much money we will make, but what will we get for the money that we spend.

On last week, I completed a six page package to recoup thirty one cents that was sitting somewhere in financial cyberspace.  One of my co-workers stated that the transaction wasn’t worth the paper that we were writing it on.  I guess there is some truth to that, but the books weren’t balanced.  I like for the books to be balanced.  Furthermore, it was the right thing to do.  When bypassing a penny on the ground as a kid in a grocery store parking lot, the old folks used to tell me, “Pennies make dollars, you know?”  They too were correct.  Therefore, I’m going to make the best use of the pennies that are under my care.  As a tax payer, you should be very glad to hear that somebody anal like me is working on your behalf and properly managing your money.

After one week of taking on blogging as my sixth profession, I asked my husband for feedback concerning the blog.  His response to me, “Well for starters, you can get rid of all those lists…that would make things less structured.”  I mean, you got to love him.  Thankfully one of my confidants was more gracious in stating, “Natasha, you should write how you talk.  Use a more conversational tone.”  Now that’s constructive criticism.

Either way, I’m taking the feedback from my all too wise husband and will resist the temptation to share laundry lists with you.  Although, one of my other girlfriends stated, “We are women, and we like lists!”  I must admit, I like lists.  I mean I really like lists.  Lists are like recipes; they provide simple steps to follow so that we obtain the desired results.  Actually, my short lived reputation of being the “Bulletized Blogger” is one of the reasons for starting this blog in the first place.  One of my mentors, Dr. Frank James, said to me a few months ago, “Natasha, you need to be writing something everyday.”  I’m quickly finding that writing is just like working out, or anything else that you do.  The more that you do it, the better you get at it, and hopefully, the easier it becomes.  Please forgive me for my previous “list punishments.”

What are some quirky things that you do?  Does it get on other people’s nerves?

Natasha’s Study: SDWSC Chapter 1

 

SDWSC Official Homepage http://www.sdwsc.com/

Scripture Reference: Gospel of John 12: 1-7, Matthew 26: 6-13, Mark 14: 3-9

In these scriptures we see Mary of Bethany’s sacrifice; we hear her heart beat.  We understand her release and her embrace of freedom because we know of her hope.  Apart from Jesus himself, she was the only human being present to invite the work of the cross.  She saw the tragedy ahead and welcomed the new life that it would bring for all of us.

This is a position that she could take only after sitting at his feet and learning about him, understanding his desires, and our purpose for action.    This is a position that she took after deep suffering and being heartbroken because of the death of her brother, Lazarus.  This is a position that she took after experiencing unspeakable joy because Jesus worked a miracle (not for someone else) but in her own life.  Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was extremely personal.  In addition to learning from his ministry, she called him friend.  She loved him and he loved her deeply.

Discussion Point: “God’s love changes us.  Radically.  All of us.  And when we are different, we make a difference in our world.” Elisa Morgan, page 5

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to read the introduction of the book.  Introductions serve a purpose; they give us a roadmap for where we are going.  I like to know where I am headed, and when I don’t know, that concerns me.  In the introduction, Elisa shares her assumptions that most of us care about life, world issues, injustices, sicknesses, and disease.  She assumes that we care about ourselves, our neighbors, our co-workers, and the person walking down the street.  I assume the same things about the readers of this blog.  If we do care, are we displaying that in our daily actions?  If so, then thank you for doing what you can.  If not, then why not?  Elisa shares her understanding that women are busy, have numerous responsibilities, and are now wearing more hats than ever.  I get that; I really do.  Part of that reality is the driving force for our thinking that we have to do everything, or something grand, or something that no one else has ever done.  The truth is that we don’t have to do any of those things.  We can evaluate our gifts and talents, reassess our time commitments, and prayerfully consider, “What if I did what I could?”

Mary of Bethany used what she had, and did what she could.  As a result, this is the place where Mary finds her legacy.  People will always remember and talk about Jesus; therefore, they will also remember her actions on this particular day and talk about her.

Because you are a girl or a woman who cares, how will you embrace your legacy?

Children, Our Future

North Carolina Zoo

            Well, we have survived the weekend!  Let’s see…there were three nights of waking up approximately three times a night to feed or change the infant.  It took approximately 3-to-4 hours to get six ladies and one man dressed and fed before leaving the house in the mornings.  My husband and I strategically planned to “wear the children out” during the day.  We did not understand that we would wear ourselves out in the process and energize them (because they were so excited about the day’s activities).  The Fourth of July Weekend 2010 consisted of one trip to the zoo, two picnics, one church service, one fast food run, one firework show, a lot of playing, feeding, and reading, with limited naps for the children (but not us).  Long story short, I’m pretty tired!

            The children rose early this morning and loaded the car for my husband to drive them back home.  For approximately forty-five minutes (while my daughter continued to sleep), I worked in a quiet house with no children and no noise.  I reflected on the weekend and the value that we place on our children.   

            I pondered that there are some women who are stay-at-home moms, and experience my weekend’s journey on a more permanent (long-term and full-time) basis.  I have the upmost respect for them!  I was also troubled as I thought about the increasing number of women who are forsaking marriage and childbearing to solely pursue professional careers.  Please hear me out before you load up the comment section (which I welcome by-the-way). 

            I have worked for the majority of the time that I have been both, a wife and mother.  I understand those major decisions are not taken lightly and are made for various reasons.  I also understand the various dynamics and challenges associated with being a professional, someone who is active in church ministry, a volunteer, and a woman who is devoted to her family.  I respect the women who walk this journey with me as well.  Because I live the life of wife, mother, and employee, it is not hard to see why some women would desire to delay or even avoid this challenge for which many of us feel unprepared.  Therefore, today’s discussion is not whether women should or should not get married, have children, or work outside of the home. 

            The better question is, “What are our priorities?”  Bottom line: Children cost us.  They have needs.  If you plan to care for them – provide them with food and clothing (regardless of the quality) – that is going to cost you money.  They desire your love, affection, and attention, and honestly meeting those expectations require the sacrifice of your time. 

             I have a very busy week ahead.  I’m departing in the morning to head back to Washington DC for a week.  I have a list of things to do before then, and I’m not even half way through it.  (By the way, chatting with you was on the list.)  Among other things, when I consider the care and attention that my own daughter needs, it would have been very easy for me to not impart into my sister’s children this weekend.  As I reflect, I cannot think of a better way to have spent my time.   

              Children are very important (and even that is an understatement).  We should place high priority on loving, nurturing, educating, and training our children.  They will ultimately reflect what we have become as a people.  In my early years, adults understood and valued the “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” concept.  As a child, I benefited from the teachers, mentors, neighbors, family members, and friends of the family who loved me and showed it by expressing interest in my upbringing.  Therefore, I encourage you, all of you, to consistently invest in the life of a child (if not yours, then someone else’s).   

Let’s be honest about it, does today’s American society view children as a Blessing or a Burden?

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