Forced R&R

You want your vacations to be perfect, right? After all, you spend all that time, money, and energy into creating a magical event to create family bonding memories. In reality, vacations can be some of the most stressful events ever!

We decided to take the kids to the beach for one final fling before the baby gets here and life has to get all serious again… I’ve tried to warn the kids that once she arrives, the first few weeks may be a little challenging because I’m going to be in recovery and all that. So, to create a memory, we rented a travel trailer and headed for San Diego.

The kids had their first boogie-board experience and loved it. The sand was perfect, the weather was beautiful, and we had a great time. On the way home, we swung up north into San Bernardino county to visit our old stomping grounds and reconnect with some old friends. As we arrived on that Saturday afternoon, it became clear that our van had a problem. No longer would it shift gears!

Our intent was to come home on Sunday, but the mechanic told us that the broken cable was only available through the dealer, which wouldn’t be open until Monday. So we took a deep breath, and decided to make the most of the extra day of our stay.

Monday morning we got a phone call, and were told that the dealer didn’t have the part and it had to be overnighted from Georgia. I began to wonder if I’d have this baby in California after all! So we got a few more groceries and hunkered down for yet another day.

How would your attitude be at this point? Gratefully, my husband didn’t have to report to anyone for being absent an extra 2 days, but we did have to keep the schools informed of the children’s absences. Even so, the car repair and the 2 extra days of trailer rental had not been part of the plan. Our oldest son had a band concert that Tuesday night that he could not afford to miss, so we borrowed a friend’s car and drove him an hour down the mountain to catch the next plane home. Grandpa picked him up and he got himself to the concert while we spent about seven hours driving home later that night.

Who wouldn’t feel irritable with all of these unforeseen expenses? Most people would be. But if you have read Hidden Treasures then you know that by the law of Polarity, “bad” situations always contain within them the seed of something wonderful. This situation was no different.

Never before has our family had the luxury of more than 56 hours with nothing to do, and nowhere to go! The kids discovered an element of creativity that they had never had to enlist before. We pulled off the road to play in the Mojave River bed. Seven years of living within a mile of it, and we had never done that before. We fed the ducks and had s’mores with some local friends, as we camped at the lake nearby, again, where we had never camped before.

I was amazed at how patient the children were as they sat in the car for hours on end, driving around to visit grownups that they scarcely remembered. I realized that so long as mom and dad are not stressed out and rushed, the kids are more relaxed as well. Who could’ve known?

My children played together, overlooking age differences and enjoying nature. What rich memories we created, and only because things had “gone bad”!

Life is like that. Every detour we are required to take has some breathtaking scenery if we’ll allow ourselves to just look around a bit… don’t make the mistake of missing the view by focusing too intently on the problem.


Prosperity Principle: Voting for Broccoli

I rarely speak out on topics that might tick people off. And I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut the last few months. But I can’t stay silent any longer. To save you some time, I’ll tell you if you’re going to want to read this…

You’ll want to read this if you are a God-believing poor or middle class person. You’ll appreciate it if you are a self-made rich person. You’ll like it if you are down-and-out but expect to change that, somehow, someday. If you gravitate toward true principles, then you might find it interesting.

With the premise that we are all children of God, we have to consider the greatness that lies within each of us. We were all created to succeed, to grow to our fullest potential, to enjoy prosperity: the bounteous blessings He has in store for us. We have within us seeds of excellence!!

What does this have to do with elections? Well, I remember being in a political science class my senior year of high school. We were studying a method of government that was based on the premise that everyone would be well cared for. Everyone would have all they needed, because the government would see to it.

I came home confused because it seemed that it sure sounded like the right plan. But I knew my father disagreed with the philosophy, and I couldn’t figure out why. I was embarrassed to bring it up, but I finally mustered the courage to ask him about it. “Dad, what’s so wrong with it? Don’t we as Christians want to make sure everyone has what they need? Shouldn’t a government do what they can to make sure everyone has the prosperity they want?”

His reply was profound. He said, in essence, “Leslie, it all goes back to how God deals with us.”

With that, he had my attention.

He continued, “God sent us to earth to live and grow and learn. He wants us to reach our highest potential. Many choices we make lead us to bondage of one form or another. For example, if a young woman chooses to be sexually active before she is married, then if she becomes pregnant, her 100 choices were just reduced to a small handful of choices. She must decide if she will have the baby or not, if she will keep the baby or not, if she will quit school or not. No longer is her future wide open. Her choice reduced her own freedom. Or maybe it is a sexually transmitted disease that evaporates her wide variety of choices.

“On the other hand, as we make wise choices, such as getting a good education, we are laying the foundation to be able to make hundreds of choices in the future. So many more doors open to us when we have made good life decisions. The better the choices we make, the greater our freedom.” I continued to listen. “Now, do you think God wants us all to make good choices?”

“Of course,”

“Does He make sure that we do?”

“Not really, He’s kind of left us on our own to make mistakes and stuff.”

“And when we make mistakes does He protect us from feeling the pain that comes from making mistakes?”

“No, He doesn’t.”

“So, He put us all here on earth, knowing full well that we would make mistakes and knowing full well that we would suffer for those mistakes.”

“Yeah, I guess so… seems kind of harsh.”

“What happens to a child that grows up with a parent that doesn’t let him get hurt, or bails him out every time he goofs up?”

“It ruins the kid. He grows up thinking that life owes him something. His pain is always someone else’s fault.”

“Honey, that is why we always look for leaders that understand that principle. Give us a leader who will protect our freedom… to succeed, and even to fail. Give us a leader who is more concerned about what God thinks than what a deteriorating society thinks. Let others vote for candidates who promise to protect them from the consequences of their own unlawful choices, but as for me, I want leaders who hope I succeed, but will not try to save me from myself. I have lessons to learn, too. I want to become all I can be, and that requires that I learn from my mistakes.”

As I thought about what my dad said, it raised more questions in my mind. As I got older, and married, and struggled through school and struggled to raise little kids, I often reflected on his words.

For example, I tried as best as I knew how to live the way I thought God wanted me to live. But what did it get me? We were living in poverty, and the stresses that go with financial lack sent me into anger and depression. I lost confidence in the notion that the righteous will prosper. I felt pain.

And I remembered my Dad’s words and wondered what I must be doing wrong to be living so miserably. Our multiple attempts to rise out of the wretchedness were of no lasting effect. But I believed him, anyway, and continued to vote for political leaders who represented philosophies consistent with my beliefs. I believed we could make it on our own. I believed that we would somehow find our own solution to the problems with Social Security, and medical insurance coverage. We weren’t succeeding, but I clung to the principle. I voted for what was good for us, like eating our vegetables when we’d rather be eating dessert.

You know, it isn’t very common that people naturally do what’s good for them, when something more enticing is available. It’s much easier to get someone to eat a cupcake than a head of broccoli. Just as it is enticing when one candidate promises that all our needs will be met.

That makes sense, doesn’t it? Who in my situation wouldn’t want that? I suffered the pains of poverty, the frustrations of not having insurance, and the agony of unemployment. I endured the depression, the suicidal thoughts. Seven years of financial bondage and the stresses that accompany it. On a couple of occasions we reluctantly accepted a handout. But deep inside I was screaming, because of what my father had taught me. I felt that somehow I was giving up a piece of my soul, selling it away.

(I recognize that there are people that truly are in need of welfare. These are the people it is meant for. I am happy that my tax dollars are going to help the genuinely needy citizens. But I knew I was not one of them. There are too many people out there who give up searching for ways to be self-sufficient because either they haven’t needed to, or they don’t know that they have seeds of greatness and their own hidden genius. I cannot blame them for giving up the effort.)

So even though we were destitute, I continued to vote for leaders who were more committed to the strength of the American military causes than the ones who wanted me well fed. Give me leaders who will protect me from enemies so that I can be free to search for the answers on how to provide for myself. Free my mind from the worry of bullies so that I can spend my concentrated effort on how to tap into the hidden talents within my own God-given potential.

Don’t protect me from the natural consequences of my actions. Don’t promise to keep me healthy. Don’t promise to rescue me from everything I struggle with. Of course, I want all of these things. But I don’t want them from the government.

Let me find the power within myself to solve my problems. Let me feel the pain so that I might discover the remedy. Let me discover what I can improve about myself so that I can enjoy the rewards of living in harmony with God’s natural laws. Let me discover them, and choose with my own free agency to live t
hem or not. Let me struggle so that I might grow. Let me fall so that I will learn. Let me be.

So what is the government for, anyway? It is to do what I cannot do. I will vote for the people who understand their role. It is not their role to meet all of my needs.

For example, it isn’t their job to make sure I have one. It isn’t up to them to pass initiatives that make me feel better about my poor choices. Their role is to throw down the murderous, evil influences that threaten our ability to reach our own greatest potential. It is their job to provide us with as much freedom as possible.

One thing I know for sure is that the more government does to take care of its people, the higher the taxes. And the higher the taxes, the less freedom we enjoy. If our free agency is the one thing in which God will not interfere, then I deduce He would prefer leaders that do all they can to preserve that free agency.

All politicians do have to tax us to some extent. Pay attention to their philosophy, though. Are they taxing us to spread the wealth more evenly, thus discouraging the ambitious; or are they taxing us primarily to provide for those who -truly- cannot help themselves, and for a strong military force that provides the protection we cannot provide as individuals? If we must be in bondage to taxes at all, let it be to purchase our liberty.

Should the government raise the minimum wage and increase taxes on the wealthy? Has anyone ever stopped to wonder who it is that provides all those minimum wage jobs in the first place? Should the entrepreneurs be punished for their ambition? Or should we encourage more entrepreneurship so that more jobs will be created for those who prefer depending on others to supply them with jobs?

If you work for minimum wage, and you don’t like it, it is within your control to begin changing your circumstances. Don’t wait for the government to raise the minimum wage. Doing so only causes the cost of living to go up as companies have to pass the increased expense along to the consumers… including the minimum wage-earners!

Here’s another issue to consider: Life itself is the greatest gift we have. I am sorely disappointed in any political leader that feels it is the government’s business to prevent people from tampering with the way in which human beings EXIT life, but shies away from any moral stance on the subject of how a human being ENTERS life. Society seems to be unanimously in opposition of murder, for example, but dares not take a stand on the conditions surrounding the creation of life. Since when did that become an issue of religion, rather than the basics of healthy society?

My own realm of influence can discover, even create, solutions to my own problems. My health, my income, my family. Let the government protect my liberty, and I’ll rely on God to show me how to prosper.

After all, it is In God We Trust.

Granted, it’s easier to turn to the government for solutions to our personal problems. Therein lies the Cupcake. But the real answers, the lasting, substantial, life changing answers come from our Creator. Vote for Broccoli, and then get to work searching for the answers to the dilemmas in your own life. Let’s learn to provide for ourselves, and be self-sufficient. Financially, emotionally, spiritually.

Candidates who are passionately committed to pulling down the powers that threaten our liberty (even if it has to be at the expense of programs intended to make life easier for us) – that’s Broccoli. We’ll find our own solutions to our own immediate problems as we seek them. “Seek and ye shall find.” It’s a promise. But relying on government to solve our problems will hamper our quest for reaching our own greatest potential. Let us be free to succeed, or to fail.

That’s just what God does: He helps us succeed, or He allows us to fail. And if it is a system good enough for Him, who are we to think there’s a smarter system than that?

“Those who trade liberty for security will have neither!” John Adams