Honest to a Fault – What A Crock

Have you ever heard someone describe themselves as “honest to a fault”? What is that? What is with the false nobility? All that means is that you don’t have the capacity to filter your thoughts and know when it’s appropriate to say something, and when it’s appropriate to keep your thoughts to yourself.

A friend of mine recently told me his wife instructed him that 80% of the things that enter his mind should never escape those confines.

What troubles me is that the people I’ve heard describe themselves this way actually see it as a positive thing. I’ve heard people say some horrible things to others under the disguise of honesty, when in fact, it’s a demonstration of one’s lack of self-control or self-importance.

People who describe themselves this way should take notice of the word “fault”. This means it’s wrong. They should learn to control their thoughts so they don’t escape out of the mouth and hurt someone. While they’re at it, they should learn to protect their minds so those things never enter their thoughts in the first place.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

~Philippians 4:8

Through It All

I’ve added a new song to my song list in the right column of this page. If you scroll down far enough, the latest song will begin to play. It’s an oldie by Andrae Crouch called Through It All. This song is particularly relevant for several reasons. One particular reason is because during the week after my mom’s passing, the music director from my church approached me and asked if I’d be up to singing this particular song on Palm Sunday. Being very familiar with the song, I agreed right away. Not because it’s a great song, but because I needed to sing that song. I needed to believe that song.

I didn’t do the second verse. I only sang verses one and three. The first verse opens up with the very poignant words, “I’ve had many tears and sorrows”. My challenge was to make it beyond that first phrase. But the verse I knew would be especially meaningful to me was the third verse.

I thank God for the mountains,
I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the things He’s brought me through,
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know that He could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do

Yeah, you understand now.

In my bible study last Monday, the pastor began our time by saying something which jolted my soul. He said “impatience is evidence of a lack of faith and trust.”

Wow.

Even writing that quote caused me to stop and ponder it. When we’re going through the valleys of life, we want to get out of them as quickly as possible. But the only way to get out of them is to go through them. Getting through these times requires great faith and trust. It requires the willingness to learn from every single detail of the experience. It means capture all the scripture and wise quotes you can, and memorize them and carry them with you. Those quotes reverberate in my head and heart and literally keep me from losing it.

I’ve said it many times before, and I have to continually remind myself that I must let go of the things which are out of my control, and apply wisdom and tenacity to the things which are in my control.

With that, I remain in a particular valley. Others have been through difficult times, more so than mine. But the battles I face are real and significant enough to me to challenge me in every meaningful way. There is only one way through the valley…and I don’t walk it alone.

Through it all,
Through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God,
Through it all,
Through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His word.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Try Harder

I’m telling you, I feel as if the last 9 months of my life have been some kind of time warp of life experiences. I’ve received many private notes from those who have read about the things which have been happening in my life over the past several weeks, and you have all touched my heart. But time marches forward, and so must I.

As I reviewed and updated my resume, I really hated the picture it painted. I am pretty much painted into a professional corner. With getting laid off from three different jobs in the last six months or so, I can’t say I was exactly energized to begin the job search process again.

Last Monday, I sat down and just looked at my resume. Then I looked at the typical online job sites.

Good grief. Really? Are you kidding me?

But then an idea was presented to me. My “GBFF” (Girl Best Friend Forever), as we jokingly refer to one another, (I’m her “BBFF”), called me and said that the law firm she does some side work for could really use some help. They would resort to sending one of their staffers on court runs to the local courts. This would literally take them out of the office for hours at a time, and from work they could be doing which generates income. It would be much more sensible to outsource that kind of stuff to someone. The attorney in her office is also a friend. They have been very supportive and encouraging, and offering some invaluable insight. He’d much rather hire me to do that than send someone from his office.

DING!

I wasn’t sure at first. Sounds kind of dumb, being a courier. It didn’t sound terribly glamorous or prestigious. But then I was quickly reminded that this isn’t about how stuff looks to others. This isn’t about impressing other people with my job title. This is about making my own business, and doing it better than anyone else.

I went on a few runs last week, and it was actually really interesting. My friend is a Family Law attorney, so my runs last week included a couple trips to the Family Law Court in Sacramento. I’m telling you, this was a feast for my people-watching eyes. It literally looked like a casting call for an episode of COPS. Aside from that, this work is really intriguing. I have always been fascinated by the legal profession and processes. There are so many little details. Things have to be done properly, or you’ve got big problems. This isn’t mindless work. It really does challenge my mind, which I need.

I enjoyed being out in the beautiful weather. I enjoyed making my own hours. I enjoyed the freedom to go see my dad for a couple hours since I was only about 5 miles from him. I think I could get used to this! But that would mean selling out to this idea, and really giving up on the traditional job searching. I can’t be successful in building my business or in a job search if I had one foot in both places. I have to completely go for one or the other.

We designed and printed some business cards by computer just to have something. This week, I have driven all around the area with the yellow pages laid open on my passenger’s seat. I targeted the law offices I found within ten miles, and stumbled upon a few I hadn’t targeted. So far, every one of them have been receptive. I think I even have four or five committed clients already! I’m not limited to my immediate area, which is actually fun for me. I’d love to get at least twenty clients on board within the next week or two. I don’t care who they are or where they are.

I have to admit, cold-calling people is 100% out of my comfort zone. But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of all invention. I’m in a place where necessity is a driving force, and I can’t afford to sit around hoping for interviews. I’m done being a slave to this economy and the numbers game. With a brain, ambition and determination, this can really work. I’m done being the one who gets beaten down. It’s time to do some of the beating.

It’s time to try harder!

Matt, Anita and Edward

It’s really an odd phenomenon when you get about a year’s worth of life in a seven day span. Your emotions, your mind, your everything just goes into passenger mode. It’s like you just make sure your seatbelt is buckled and your seat backs and tray tables are all in the upright position.

So much has happened since my mother’s death, and that much more has happened even since her funeral last Thursday. One thing I’d like to focus on as a subject is the wonderful blessing that has blossomed from this difficult time.

I have a step brother named Matt. He is about four years older than I am. In fact, I was an incoming freshman in high school the fall after he graduated. Matt and I were raised in different homes, and we were a few years apart, but we ended up being a little bit closer as kids than my oldest step brother, Larry, and even my older brother, John.

Matt and I didn’t have a lot in common, but I think we both have some important things in common. We’re both very emotional and sentimental. In my mom’s final weeks and months, Matt was the one who made it a point to spend time with my parents. But it wasn’t only Matt. He brought Anita and her son Edward. I don’t know a lot about their relationship, but I can see by looking at them that they are perfect together. There is such a special connection they have. It’s way beyond romance. They have a special friendship, too.

Edward. Wow. This kid is just amazing. After my mom passed, Edward went to his class and got permission to have each classmate write a personal note to my dad expressing their sympathy for his loss. They’ve never met my dad, and really, Edward hasn’t even had a good chance to know him long or very deeply, himself. Yet, Edward felt this deep connection with Dad. This connection inspired a thought like nothing I’ve ever heard.

At my mom’s viewing last Wednesday, Edward arrived with Matt and Anita, and presented my dad with a folder bursting with personal letters from each member of his class. Some drew pictures, but each shared their own individual thoughts and care to a man they have never met, and likely, will never meet.

This is a sixth grade class, mind you.

This just blew our minds. My dad sat down and read each and every note from Edward and his class. This blessed us so incredibly. How in the world do you express how full your heart is when someone does something like that? It’s simply not possible.

Tonight, after a pretty full day, my phone rang. It was Anita. Matt’s head was pretty much pressed next to hers as he was able to respond to everything I was telling her. It was pretty cool, actually.

One special byproduct of this very difficult time is the amazing resurrection that has happened in our family. It had been many years since Matt and I have spent any meaningful time together. It wasn’t because of animosity or anything. We just each had separate lives made that much more separate by many miles. But now, that’s all changed. No, we’re still many miles apart, but we’re connected by a special bond that no amount of miles can, or should weaken.

Family.

I’m grateful to God for life coming from death. I’m thankful that resurrections can only happen in graveyards. My mom lives in each one of us as we carry memories and her influence in us. By our love and relationships, she will always remain alive in our hearts.