Changing Our Minds, Part 3


  • ChangeIs it possible to change after a crisis? According to one scientific study, not many people do. This research was conducted on 3,700 people (for more research on “change”, visit National Institute for Health.) Actually, I’ve attempted to quote the pastor at the church we attended last week,

Could you change if it was really important? A study of 3,700 people who were diagnosed with high cholesterol determined only one in 10 can….They were told for their health, they need to take one pill a day. By the 3rd month, 1/2 had stopped taking the pill to lower it. Then, a year later, only 1/3 continued to take the life-saving medicine. The reason? The pills reminded them they were sick. So the bottom line was, they didn’t resist the change, they resisted being changed.

We couldn’t believe the sermon this week sounded like what we needed from the sermon the week before, Changing Your Minds. Maybe this is what I (Debbie) need to really make that final change I have been struggling with for over 40 years!

To be very honest, I’ve noticed I’m not the only wife with this “problem.” Bill was happy to hear I really am serious about tackling this with our new lifestyle. Those 400 or so square feet we now live in means we REALLY need to get along. And for the most part, we do, almost all the time. If you’ve read some of our first posts about our marriage (we divorced after 13 years only to experience a miracle and remarry a year later), you’d know we are like most married couples. We started out thinking we are the perfect couple and we will have the best marriage ever. And then eventually, reality hits and again, like most marriages, we began to experience the common issues men and women have. Disagreements.

When we remarried, we vowed we would do it right the second time and we honestly gave ourselves over to the Lord for His guidance. We recently shared as guest bloggers on Aprita’s World, what we feel is about the best advice we can give young marrieds. So you would think we have the perfect marriage now.

Well, we are working on it and as our last post shared, there is hope if we allow the Lord to work in our lives. So the challenge the week after the sermon was to see how it played out. And then we had another “detour” to our vacation in Myrtle Beach. This time, our daughter needed some help. The solution was for us to drive 400 miles one way to pick up our oldest grandson. We actually had tried to get her to come for a week with both grandsons, but we know traveling with a newborn and an active toddler wouldn’t be easy.

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We had a great time with him, but our focus was purely on him and only him! So no time for me to see if I had really changed, but something told me, I hadn’t. As we dealt with him, I couldn’t help but ask, “Lord do I act like a two-year-old toddler when you are trying to get me to do the right thing?” You know what I mean, “I want to do it MY way!” Oh, our patience was tested. We worked as a beautiful team, keeping him safe and helping explore a new world, the beach, and gardens.

Off to church, we went on Sunday, taking him along to enjoy the church nursery. He had a grand time and we got what we needed, the sermon topic was “Principles for Change.” We chuckled as we read the bulletin, God had a message for us again! But the scriptures seemed an odd place to focus on change, or were they?

Mark 2:2-12

The healing of the paralyzed man

This familiar story is about the paralyzed man who had so much faith, he asked his friends to take him to see Jesus. However, he didn’t realize how hard it would be to see him. He was in a crowded building and the only way in was to make a hole in the roof and be lowered into the presence of Jesus. And the friends did exactly that. The result, Jesus knew of the man’s great faith and said,

Verse 5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Verses 11-12. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The sermon continued. Through the power of God, we can change. We become new creations. Old things become new. Much like this paralyzed man. Didn’t he experience change? Our lives change, too, when we meet Jesus. Bill and I have both changed drastically since we both met Jesus in our younger days. But it is a life long process to get to where we want to be. To really change! We know we have to want to change. But I’ve wanted to change this “quirk” and it’s taken longer than we want. Come on Pastor, help me see what more I need to do!

We have to ask, how do we prepare to change? Much like the paralytic. The first principle is to be surrounded by friends and family with faith. He had four friends he trusted and depended upon! And then as we met the Lord, we first need to allow our hearts to be changed. And that is acknowledging we are sinners and are in need of a savior. Jesus clearly saw the man’s heart and his faith. So his sins were first forgiven and then he was able to walk.

Psalm 103:2-3 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases….

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We need to ask ourselves, who are my friends? W hat is their faith? Do we realize our faith can be seen, so do we see their faith? Let’s go back to verse 5: When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” And like these four men, their faith was evident. Let’s look at some Proverbs for wisdom about our friends:

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

In other words, if you want to see positive changes, you want to be surrounded by people of faith who are wise! I’m thankful my husband is very wise! And we are blessed with friends and family who are also living for the Lord.

This paralyzed man needed friends to help him. Then he caught their faith as they brought him to Jesus. No one wants to be a bother, but to change, we need to bother others. To confess our sins not only to God but to each other.

The process is to first seek the PARDON or forgiveness. And that was what he did, by approaching he Lord, even if on a mat! Then to accept the POWER of the Lord, “take up your mat.”  And finally, allow Jesus to work from the inside out. First the forgiveness and then he could walk!

So how do I apply this? Today, we had to miss church due to the round trip to return our grandson. Instead, as we rode, we talked and talked….about this matter!

So here are some notes from our discussion. I wish I could have taped it. We do talk about the state of marriage a lot. Because we are surrounded by married people. And we want the best for them…but like us, they need to WANT the BEST for their marriage.

Here are a couple of thoughts from our discussion:

  • Interesting how our culture wants marriage for all. But it is only for the alternative marriages that the media seems to promote. If we want to talk about a covenant marriage as designed by our Creator, if we are a believer in the God of the heavens and earth, then we are seeking to be married as God intended it.
  • When a man talks harshly to wife, he is called an abuser. When wife does it, she’s “just a nag.” Men say they don’t hear their wives when they are nagging them. Have you noticed, you don’t hear jokes about wives tuning out husbands, but wives say it all the time. Oops, I do accuse Bill of not hearing me. So maybe I am a bit of a nag at times. I need to watch my what comes out of my mouth. Instead of saying, “Bill do this or that!” Say, “Bill, would you mind doing this or that?” Geez, is that all I need to do?
  • As we finalized our minimalism – After 40 years together, about all we kept were our family pictures. They define who and what we are. When people divorce, what happens to the pictures? We decided when we divorced, we would give them to our daughter. How do you think she would have enjoyed them? Looking at all the fun times we had? Would she feel joy or sadness? Happiness or heartbreak? We’re so thankful we are continuing to make family memories in our pictures.
  • We don’t teach children how to be married. They pick it up watching parents and world around them such as TV. What kind of marriages are being promoted? All we can do is pray our daughter sees our marriage as different from what is promoted. In fact, we are so happy to say she has told us more than once, she is so grateful she was raised by two parents who love each other, and her. And now that we have grandchildren, this is even more important as we help her as needed.
  • Going deeper, Bill no longer lets me tell him what to do anymore! Now that’s the CHANGE I needed. He’s a grown man, a college graduate, who graduated with honors as he likes to remind me!
    He asked me, “Do you know how it makes me feel when you try to direct me? Is there something wrong with me?” Oh NOOOOO!!!! I’m so blessed I have such an honorable and wise husband. What’s wrong with me that I continue to do this?
  • Fortunately, we have a desire to succeed! We want it all!!! So I just have to ask for forgiveness, once again. This is not the first attempt at this….but this is the last.

My dear husband, please forgive me once again for telling you what to do. I’ve really worked on this and I’m sure I get it now! Friends, will you hold me accountable?

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Aren’t we happy grandparents? With our two month old grandson this weekend.

For more about the Change our Lord wants accomplished in all mankind, visit http://thelordiswithus.com/2015/10/27/the-new-true-self-must-increase-the-outer-man-must-decrease/

Chapter 12 – Our Colorado vacation


We have lived a charmed and blessed life.  That does not mean we have  not had much pain and suffering, but that we have survived it all to enjoy another day!  We are approaching our twilight years.  Our past has given us much time and perspective to look back on our lives as well as to look forward to how we can make the most of what time we have left on this earth.  But I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

As we began our trip, Bill read about a man who was conflicted on attending the funeral of his ex-mother-in-law.  The man wanted to attend and thought it was the right thing to do even though there were many obstacles.  His new fiance, who is asking for the advice, asked if flowers and a card would be enough.  The response was that if the man thinks he should show up, as the newly beloved, she should make it as easy as she can for him to do what he thinks is the right thing.  Bill liked the answer which included, “help him achieve what he values rather than telling him what to value.”

If you love your spouse, you will help them do what they feel is right and then you will support them in their decisions even if you disagree.  And our postscript – if it turns out to be a bad decision, love them, please don’t say, “I knew it was the wrong decision.”  This is part of our BEST Principal (see Chapter 7 – RX for the BEST marriage).  But even better is to pray as a couple about what is right and what WE should do!  We do like to do things as a couple, what is best for our relationship, for our health, our safety?

This is where we are in our lives.  It has been a journey trying to figure out how to live happily ever after, let alone in these tough economic times!  How do we fully support each other in our hopes and dreams?  We started out young, dumb, naive but in love!  But we had so many problems early on (wanting our own way or neglecting to ask each other our opinion) so it was hard to support each other.  Sadly, like so many, we did not really know or understand what love is.  (see Chapter 5, “Just what is love anyway?”)  We have now figured it out and are doing all we can to support each other!

Bill wants to travel to places he has never seen (that is just about anywhere) and I want to combine our travel to visit family (we have family all over this country that we need to see)!  Bill likes a slow pace, easy-going, no hassles, no schedules, no obligations.  I love life in the fast lane, so much to do in so little time and I am an organization freak!  Give me a schedule and I flourish!

Do you see any possible conflicts?  But after over 36 years together, we have learned to dance in the kitchen (he is the cook and I am the cleaner upper) and in our travels.  Caveat – I can’t keep tune to the beat of any music, so I am not talking ballroom dancing!  I just figured out how to pace myself to him, while keeping myself otherwise occupied or rather, out of his way as he whips up our dinner in 15 minutes or less!

This past week in Colorado was only our second really exciting trip in the past six years – since I retired from my first career.  One of our best was to celebrate our 35th with our daughter and new son-in-law on a cruise.  In fact, as we look back, we have not taken many week-long vacations!  We’ve actually only had about 5 one week vacations in all that time.  We got into a habit of long weekends, three or four days.  Why?  Because we are workaholics and just did not feel we could “afford” to take more time off!

So on September 10, 2011, off to Denver we flew!  A week in the mountains – what could be more exciting?  And the bonus, we have a nephew in Denver and a niece, her 3 month old baby and husband in Colorado Springs.  More exciting is that I lived in Colorado Springs for six years, from ages 3 to 9 (or thereabouts).  Ah, the wonderful childhood memories I was able to relive!  Bill was not sure about some of the things I wanted to do, but he supported me.  So we danced together to make this a fabulous vacation!

Hadassah!If you know me, you know I love babies!  Upon arriving in Denver, we meet our niece, Rachel, her husband Fernando and three-month old Hadassah for lunch!  I snatched Hadassah from Fernando and began loving on her!  She is so beautiful and easy to love!  I held her as much as possible and only had to give her quickly to her mom when she was hungry!

Haddassah, Rachel and HannahSo to make things even more special, we were joined by Hannah, Rachel’s cousin.   Hannah, a college student, is a gifted dancer!  She is using her talents to grow closer to the Lord in a dance troupe of like-minded students.  We missed her first performance by a few hours, but she sent us a link to watch it!  We are all so proud of her!

After we ate, we ventured downtown without Hannah.  I don’t remember Denver being such a beautiful and clean city!  And I even forgot it was the Capitol – I think the elevation got to me!  We walked around a Memorial Park to Veterans and then strolled downtown.

Bill is musical and performed a sweet melody for me!  Then off we went to our hotel and had a great night sleep to prepare us for our journey to Beaver Creek, a very nice resort in the Rockies.  We had no idea how exciting the drive would be to our destination!  When we lived in Virginia, we enjoyed Shenandoah National Park, taking day hikes on the Appalachian trails.

We are trying to stop and smell the roses.  On our journey there, I discovered I needed more gum to help my ears acclimate to the mountains.   So the first exit we see is to Buffalo Bill’s grave and a museum on Lookout Mountain.  Bill was hesitant to stop there, saying they did not advertise a store….How many times have we been to a museum and they did not have a store?  So he reluctantly took the exit and we had one of our most exciting times of the week!

Exit to Lookout Mountain. House on a hill. Water Carves Canyons.

The view up to the top of the mountain was breathtaking, as was almost all of the Rockies and the blue sky!  It was a long, winding steep road up to the top.  Amazingly, we saw hundreds of bike riders on the way up and down!  That is what these people do for fun!

Anyway, at the top, we took time out to learn about the legendary Buffalo Bill (a scout, showman and visionary), saw the grave site he picked out (because he said you could see four states from the view) and visited the informative museum.  It was well worth the diversion from our trip to the resort.  And we were able to buy me some gum to help my ears in the elevation!

Later that day, we arrived in one of the most beautiful resorts we could imagine, Beaver Creek, nestled in Avon and just down the road from Vail.

Stay tuned for the next blog with more pictures and details about our fabulous vacation, which included me reliving some of my favorite childhood memories!