My Half-Serious Analysis of the Cause of the Economic Crisis

Permit me this rant. See if you can find a common denominator.

OK, so I get an email from Facebook saying, “You haven’t been back to Facebook recently. You have received notifications while you were gone.” (Naughty me!)

So I click on the link. Ask trusty Roboform to fill in the password etc. Didn’t work.

Strange. It always did work. It worked on Tweetdeck.

So I click around some other ways and FINALLY get into Facebook. (Somehow, don’t ask me what finally worked.)

So, where are these friend requests? Not a clue. I click Friends and see I have some Suggestions. I click on some people I know I’d like to be friends with. Every time I click, I have to

Continue reading “My Half-Serious Analysis of the Cause of the Economic Crisis”

Reflections on Being “Unconnected”

For the past 6 days, I have been unable to access the Internet, except for a brief, inexplicable time when the DSL connection worked for a few hours, then went bad again.

It’s been very frustrating, but enlightening.

Frustrating because, of course, so much of what I do is dependent on being able to hook up to the Internet. Whether it’s research, email, Twitter, connecting to the various accounts that allow me to get my work done, I must be connected or I’m “up a creek without a paddle,” as the cliché goes.

It’s also been an enlightening experience because

Continue reading “Reflections on Being “Unconnected””

Behind the Political Scenes–Spiritual Battles and God’s Agenda

Someone sent me a link to a YouTube video that purportedly rips open the curtain to reveal what’s really going on behind the scenes politically.

However, the REAL picture behind the scenes is revealed in some verses I just append” to read in today’s Scripture selections in The Two-Year Bible (which I LOVE but is unfortunately out of print).

This was today’s passage from the book of Daniel. Daniel saw in a vision a man, who is probably Jesus (the description parallels that of Jesus in the book of Revelation). This man comes to Daniel after he had been praying in great anguish over the devastation of Jerusalem, which was a result of God’s judgment on his people for abandoning him for other gods.

Then he [the man in the vision] said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, коли под наем

You Never Know What Will Happen in a Day (Redefining Success)

I knew today would be broken up–doctor appointment with my daughter, Moms In Touch prayer meeting, webinar. But nothing happened as intended.

I took my 13-year-old daughter in for her routine sports physical. It was time for a couple of shots as well, the doctor said.  After the second one, Christine slumped off the table and fell straight on her head.

After she rested some, drank juice and ate  a couple of candy bars,  we left.  She insisted she could go back to school. I got her excused from P.E. and went home, expecting a call.

It came soon enough. She was nauseated, really felt bad. Took her home. Called doctor, reported symptoms, including tingling on one side of her body. “Take her to the ER,” they advised.

Thankfully, the hospital is 3 minutes from our house. Four hours later, we came home. CAT scan normal, just a head injury.

What’s unnerving is that one year ago to the day almost–on Labor Day weekend but a Saturday–I had a mini-stroke and was in the ER myself.

The point: You never know Continue reading “You Never Know What Will Happen in a Day (Redefining Success)”

Does God Still “Speak” to Us Today?

Does God still speak to us today?

Let me tell you a little story, and you be the judge.

I went on my walk today, as usual. As usual, I prayed as I walked.

I was praying about a particular person who often irritates me. It’s because of a certain mental issue this person has (it’s diagnosed and everything, so it’s not just in my head).

This “condition” causes my friend–and me–a lot of problems. So, I was praying that God would fix this condition, or at least let it not be a hindrance today.

No sooner had I prayed, “God, fix this person,” than words formed clearly in my mind: “I do not fix people, I only Continue reading “Does God Still “Speak” to Us Today?”

Why Thanksgiving is the Healthiest Holiday

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What could be better than a whole day devoted to food, friendship, and gratitude?

In fact, Thanksgiving is actually the healthiest holiday we have.  And I’m not just talking about the turkey and the side dishes.

Thanksgiving is the healthiest holiday because the benefits of gratitude are measurable.

In a WebMD feature, Elizabeth Heubeck summarized some of the health benefits of giving thanks. University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons conducted a study on gratitude, finding that grateful people–those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind–have an edge on the not-so-grateful when it comes to health. “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations,” Emmons told WebMD.

Gratitude acts as a stress buster. An inability to deal with stress is attributed to up to 90 percent of all doctor visits, and is linked to several leading causes of death, including heart disease and cancer. “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have a tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress,” Emmons says.

I know this to be true in my own life. I keep what I call my “gifts journal,” noting the things that felt like gifts on a given day. As I thank God for these gifts, my focus changes from any problems I may have to the love that inspired such gifts of grace. I can tell you, this one simple action has totally transformed my life. Not only did it cure me of a postpartum depression years ago, but it has continued to relieve stress and be the source of much joy and strength.

Gratitude acts as an immune booster. When you’re grateful, you also tend to be optimistic. According to Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, “There are some very interesting studies linking optimism to better immune function.” In one, researchers compared the immune systems of healthy, first-year law students under stress. They round that, by midterm, the students characterized as optimistic (based on survey responses) maintained a higher number of white blood cells (which protect the immune system), compared with their more pessimistic classmates.

Optimism also has a positive health impact on people whose health is already compromised. In separate studies, patients with AIDS, as well as those preparing to undergo surgery, had better health outcomes when they maintained attitudes of optimism.

So as you partake of the wonderfully healthy foods of Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll also take time to feed your soul and strengthen your body by recounting all the things you’re grateful for.

And don’t stop at Thanksgiving Day, either! (I have s sample journal you can use to keep track of your “abundant gifts” throughout the year. )

For more health benefits of gratitude, visit my Healing Heart Issues blog for an article on the latest research:

The Amazing God Story that Can’t Be Written

The story I have to share with you today is not the story I thought God would write in my life.

You haven’t heard from me in a while, mainly because I’ve been super busy launching a book (MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths) and a business (helping people get their books written and published).

Concerning the latter, I thought it would be very useful to go to the annual Christian Booksellers convention this week in Denver to renew my publishing contacts. Gene goes because he works for a publisher. I would have been able to stay with him, no extra charge. Time away from the children, together!)As an author, my publisher could get me in. The kids had friends they could stay with for a week. My only expenses would be for transportation. Surely God would provide that.

I prayed about it. I tried to earn extra. I even asked a couple of people to help me out. The money did not seem to be forthcoming, and I felt strongly that this was not something to put on the credit card, even if it was a business expense.

The day before Gene left for the convention, a friend called. After she told me about how God provided for her at the 11th hour, I mentioned my situation.

She said, “My husband has a voucher he got when he was bumped a year ago, and I think it expires this week. Let’s see if I can find it, and if it’s transferrable.”

She did find something. We each called the airline company, described the vouther in details, and were reassured that it was usable and transferrable.

I checked flights to Denver, thinking this was God’s amazing way of providing for me to go to the convention after all.

No flights to Denver available under that voucher.

I hung up, very disappointed. Then it hit me: I have a free ticket to go anywhere! Where did I want to go?

Portland, I decided. As in Portland, Oregon. I have two sets of dear friends out there I’d love to visit.

Called the friends. They’d love to have me! Portland is so beautiful now! We’d have so much fun!

But then I checked the airline again. No flights to Portland on that voucher. No flights to Seattle, either. At least, not through Nov. 8, when she stopped checking.

But there were flights to Miami. I have a cousin in Florida I’d love to see. Called her. Debbie said it would be a fine time to visit. We’d have so much fun…. “We’ll do whatever you want to do,” she said.

The Amazing God Story I thought I’d be writing was how God knew I needed a vacation even more than I needed to be at the convention.

But it was not to be….

When my friend, who had the plane ticket, went to the airport to transfer it over to me–a trip he did not relish taking–the airline told him it was not a valid travel voucher. Despite us having called the airline at least 7 times, describing every inch of the paper and being told it was indeed a voucher and transferrable, US Air told Bill it was not valid.

Case closed.

No vacation for Diane.

Did something wonderful come up for me this week anyway? Not yet. I stayed home, got a lot done. Today I’m taking a retreat of sorts. I will try to get something done that I’ve been trying to find time for for months. (Something that will benefit my Abundant Gifts readers.)

But here’s what God did, that I can recognize. The morning my friend called about the plane ticket, right before she called in fact, I talked to a neighbor. The neighbor was having a garage sale, and I stopped by on my walk.

We got to chatting, and she told me that in April, she lost her future son-in-law. He dropped dead of a heart attack one day. Her daughter, who is 49, was devastated. She’d finally found the love of her life, and was all set for a wonderful future. Jane and her fiance had bought a house. They were to be married this summer.

Within a week of that tragedy, my neighbor, Genevieve, also lost her 33-year-old mentally handicapped son, who lived with her. She lost a son and son-in-law, her daughter Jane lost a fiance and beloved brother. All within a week.

Genevieve told me that she and Jane have a strong faith in God, and that is what is getting them through. Her faith lingered with me. I returned later that afternoon and gave her a copy of Abundant Gifts.

Genevieve’s story framed my own disppointment with a new perspective. What was my diappointment in a missed vacation compared to the crushing disappointment of losing one’s love and a future that seemed a dream come true? Of losing the son one has cared for and lived with for more than 30 years?

In a strange way, God used their story to help me. Even though I felt very disappointed in not being able to take the vacation I thought I’d take, I felt an underlying peace and sense that God is in control.

He has provided miraculously for me in the past. This time he chose not to. I may never know why, or he may reveal it. Either way, I know he’s with me.

Life is full of disappointment. But it tends to evaporate when the presence of God is trusted.

On Asking God Questions

by Diane Eble

Do you ever ask God questions?

I do, all the time. At least one per week, usually many more.

Last week, I shared with you a question I had. The question, “Why did Jesus have to die?”

At the time, it was a burning question. One I’d had for a long time. It’s not like I didn’t know the “right” answer. In my head, I did. But on a deeper level, on the level where you really know and never doubt again—on that level, I didn’t know.

But you know what? Much as I’d pondered the question, somehow, I’d never really asked it of God. Once I did, I had that deep, soul-satisfying answer I sought.

Within 24 hours.

I have heard it said that the size of the question determines the size of the results. The question of why Jesus had to die is at the heart of Christianity—a big question. The result was a deep sense of certainty, a renewed appreciation at the depth of my being of what the Savior of the world did for me. For you. For the whole world.

The answer was simple (most profound answers usually are). Though we can do much to “improve” ourselves and even the world, it’s not a question of being better.

It’s a question of a relationship with the Creator and Center of the universe, who is a personal Being and who is totally, utterly perfect in every way. That Being wants a relationship with the creatures he made in his own image.

Problem is, the creatures aren’t perfect. Many don’t care a whit about their Creator. Fact is, most of them want to be Creators themselves. And they’re very busy working very hard to try to make that happen.

We have this innate desire to be perfect, it seems. (Perhaps, because we crave the lost union with the One who is perfect?)

Somehow, we can’t quite pull it off. So far nobody’s answers have convinced me that we are capable of making ourselves perfect, or even really good (though we keep trying).

Jesus died because human beings can’t make themselves perfect enough to stand in the presence of a pure, holy God. He paid the penalty we deserved for rejecting God and choosing our own way—the penalty of death. When Jesus conquered death by rising again, he paved the way for imperfect human beings to stand before a holy God. In great joy, I might add (as Scripture does). It is the same joy that Jesus fixed his eyes on to get him through his terrible suffering (see Hebrews 12:2). And he shares it with us!

So, I asked the question, and now the answer has come to my heart, not just my head.

I have had so many other questions, personal questions that no one but God could answer. When I take them to him, I wait expectantly for an answer. It’s a wonderful thing to ask God a question, a burning question, and await the answer.

In my experience, he always does answer. Sometimes the answer is, “I can’t reveal that to you yet,” but that in itself is an answer. He’s given me that answer many times, and it brings peace to my heart as I trust in his timing.

When I was young, I suffered rather severe acne. If you can believe it, I still have oily skin and acne, in middle age! I told Gene when he buries me, he’ll have to tuck my acne cream in the casket. For years I asked God, “Why have I had acne all but 11 years of my life?”

Slowly the answer, the blessing has been revealed. Because I had acne, I read all I could about skin care. I learned at an early age that keeping in good health was one of the best things one can do. So I disciplined myself to avoid sugar and fatty foods, to enjoy eating right, to exercise. The by-product was, I didn’t struggle with a weight problem. I also learned which were the purest products to use (and saved tons of money on skin care products and cosmetics, I’m sure).

Recently, someone complimented me on my complexion. I nearly fell out of my chair. My self-image never included “nice complexion.” She asked what my secret is. I said, “Acne.” The curse turned out to be a blessing.

What are your questions? Have you taken them to God specifically? I encourage you to do so, and then to watch and wait. You never know when or how or from where the answers will come. That’s the joy of it. God has answered my questions in so many creative ways. If you’re looking expectantly for an answer, you will recognize it when it comes. And it will bring the gifts of joy and peace with it.

Copyright (c) 2006 by Diane Eble. All rights reserved.