Does Respect Equal Responsibility?

That dreaded day of the year came last week. Many were lined up at the post office or stuck online waiting for their return to go through cyber space. Filling out the forms online can be challenging if you don’t know what they are asking as you go through the form. Once the form is filled out and you send it either via mail or cyber submission there is always the possibility of REJECTION of the form. It seems every time I have filled out these forms over the internet there has always been a follow-up rejection email. No matter how scrupulously I go over these returns there is always an error either great or small. My error this year for our return was so easy and showed me how simple it is to look over even the most basic of details.

This is the first year that two of my girls had to fill out their tax forms. It was one of our “Bucket List” check-offs. They had to sign into the program and make up their own login and passwords and then fill in the blanks for their wages, medicare tax withheld, and state income tax withheld. Realizing that they are paying into medicare at such a young age and wondering what would be available for them when they get to that age caused us to stop and think about what the future might hold for them. It definitely makes us realize how much everything “rises and falls on leadership.”

The conclusion of this story is that even the basic things in life need to be learned at a young age, even the importance of our obligation to the government. Jesus even reminded us to “Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are Gods.” (Mark 12:17). God taught us the importance of rules, laws, and government in our lives. We may not like those in authority over us, but we are to show them respect and honor because of their position. We see this in the life of David and his high honor and respect for the role of king. Saul was a very difficult man in David’s life. Saul took David’s wife, hunted for David, and tried to kill David. Yet, no matter the risk or the opportunity, David always showed respect for the crown, no matter the person that was wearing it. Saul did not deserve David’s respect, yet David never showed Saul disrespect. Even after Saul was killed, David showed this man respect because he was the king.

Respect for authority is dwindling today. It may be true that those in authority don’t deserve our respect, but their position deserves our respect. If there was more respect would there be a greater sense of responsibility by our leadership. More respect = more responsibility. A point to ponder just because we need to do our taxes. I wonder…

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An Unexpected Check on Mom’s Bucket List

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Sometimes the unexpected ends up being more beneficial and helpful than the expected, planned, or anticipated. We have all had experiences like this. Can you think of one or two right now? How about the unexpected gift of flowers that arrives at your door one day, or an unexpected visitor that leaves you filled with more joy than you had before they arrived, or an unexpected hug and thank-you from your children over something you thought was inconsequential and insignificant? We have all experienced something like this and so many times those unexpected things or events are some of our most treasured memories.

As you know I am trying to make sure my girls know all I think they need to know before they are on their own. I call this my “bucket list.” This week they were able to do something that I hadn’t even put on my list, let alone ever thought of putting on “the list.” My parents were here last week-end for Easter. We had a great time playing games together, going for walks, going out for dinner, and preparing for our Easter lunch. We had a great time together. My Dad is a building contractor and can fix anything or figure anything out. We have had an electrical problem for years at our house and we asked him to fix it while he was here. After some time of questioning and investigating, he figured out the problem. Now mind you the electrical at our house has no rhyme or reason to it. If we turn off a breaker the lights in the basement may go out along with the lights in the second story bathroom. Needless to say this was an easy fix once the investigation was complete.

On Monday we went to Lowes to get a few supplies for this electrical project and we also bought a new gas grill. My Dad told my sweet daughters to put the grill together themselves and if they had a problem, he would help them. He wanted them to do it together, but by themselves. Danielle was in charge so there were lessons on leadership and lessons on submission by all involved. They tackled the project with much enthusiasm and organization. They got everything out of the box and organized it. Then they began with step one of the directions and started reading, finding the parts, assembling each part with meticulous detail. As I worked on other projects around the house, I cherished every moment of hearing them work together with great unity and effectiveness. When they needed help they called Grandpa. They didn’t need him till the end of the project when one of the fittings was not made properly so a bit of adjustment was needed. The grill works perfectly, and even though it is still winter here in Michigan we have used our new grill.

My sweet girls, you did a great job learning together, working together, and communicating together; and now every time that you the grill is used you can remember the fun and learning that can be had when you work together. Check…putting together a grill for Mom’s bucket list. Now on to one of our next things to learn…how to use the grill. That will be another time.

A poem about prayer

Communication and relationship seem to go hand-in-hand. It is difficult to grow in a relationship if no communication takes place. As time goes by in a relationship, there comes a point that it is comfortable to just be together without communication all the time. Just enjoying each other’s company seems to be enough, but that is not healthy every day all the time.

As I have been reading and studying God’s Word, it seems that I keep reading about prayer and hearing about it each week while at church. Jesus spent much time in prayer, early in the morning talking to His Father in Heaven. He taught about prayer in what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s life. Being a somewhat organized person, I felt like my prayer life was too haphazard. I wanted to pray for things, or people, or long term needs and requests; but always felt like I forgot something or someone or got distracted. As I was considering these things one night and studying prayer, I wrote the following poem. In God’s way, He is teaching me about prayer through books and His Word, and though I am not where I want to be, I appreciate the emphasis that is being made in my life.

I went to the throne with a request on my heart
It wasn’t for me I was just doing my part
Humbly bowing before my Creator Divine
I knew He had the answers in His own time

I went day-by-day with a want or a need
Never thinking to Him I had asked all in greed
No answer to these seemed to come as I prayed
So I went to His Word that at times seemed so frayed

I looked at how Jesus had prayed while on earth
I pondered the prayers and what they were worth
It wasn’t what was said in those prayers that I saw
It wasn’t that He followed the prayers of the law

No words were recorded in most of those places
Only examples in actions that faithfully graces
The pages of Scripture written down for our thought
To show through example this is how He taught

The emphasis was on the time that he spent
In the dark all alone in earnest intent
Not on what He would gain as He humbly lost sleep
But rather on the relationship He desired to keep