It is 2:43 a.m. this morning as I write this post. I woke up and could not get back to sleep so I decided to get out of bed, light a virtual fireplace, and do some work on this blog.
There is a new page on the menu – “Holiday Helps.” It is filled with various articles, websites, music and book recommendations to help you get through the holiday season. There is something on this page for everyone, whether you are grieving or just stressed out from all the chaos.
There is also a sub-page, “Joy Filled Recipes” that contains links to unhealthy but extremely delicious recipes.
I will add to the pages as I find more resources or recipes that you will enjoy.
Ever since Joe’s passing I’ve been rediscovering and/or reinventing who I am. The first step was upgrading from film to a DSLR camera, the next step was reading books, then came unemployment followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blogging. That is what widowhood is all about – moving forward with creating a new life while not forgetting the old one.
History always fascinated me and was my best subject in school. Once I got out in the working world, my love of history did not occupy much of my time. My interest was slowly been rekindled over the past few years but has intensified this summer. History brings me joy.
However, in school I do not recall getting much of an education about Christianity’s role in our founding. My teachers may have casually mentioned it. So I did some research on Amazon about Christianity and our founding. Dr. Stackhouse Jr’s book was one of the search results and I found the title intriguing.
His book is packed or should I say stacked with quotes from and information about the founding fathers and their faith. There is so much information I found this post hard to write because I want to include everything.
Here is my best shot at a general overview with some quotes scattered through out.
The title of the book comes from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson proposed seal for the United States, which is on page 98 and the book’s cover.
They Had A Dream
The founding fathers had a dream, a dream of a country where man was not under the rule of tyrannical leaders imposing taxes on it’s citizens. A country of the people, by the people and for the people where man was free to choose and create his own destiny.
They Had Faith
But bringing this dream to life was in going to be what most would say is an impossible dream. However our founders had the faith to know that nothing is impossible with God.
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Matthew 19:26 King James Version (KJV)
Their faith in God is the one thing that I quickly noticed when reading in the book. It was a strong faith, a passionate faith, a faith unlike what we see and experience today. These men KNEW their Bible and applied it to everyday life.
Our faith today is sterile, sanitized and bleached out. It’s too formal, to routine, to bland in fact it is down right too establishment-like. But that is a subject for another post.
The Apostle Paul talks about submission to those in authority in Romans 13 as God put them there. It is generally interpreted as blind obedience to whoever is in authority.
However, Puritan minister Johnathan Mayhew (1720-1766) of the West Church in Boston gave a sermon on Romans 13 where he stated obedience to whoever is the ruler applies ONLY when the leader is being kind to his people. If he is imposing things, like taxes on tea, he is not being kind. Since he is not doing God’s will, we have a duty to rebel against the tyrant.
If it be our duty, for example, to obey our king, merely for this reason, that he rules for the public welfare, (which is the only argument the apostle makes use of) it follows, by a parity of reason, that when the turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and to destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to throw off our allegiance to him and to resist.
Johnathan Mayhew Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH. D. pg. 13
Mayhew’s sermon was given on the 51st anniversary of King Charles I’s execution after the English Civil war of the 1840’s.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (emphasis mine)
Matthew 22:37-39 King James Version (KJV)
Obviously imposing taxes or other nasty things on people is not loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Therefore we the people have the right to rebel against tyrannical rulers.
There were even sermons about politics preached from the pulpit in the pre-revolutionary war years. Sermons about God being almighty, powerful and the ultimate ruler. Understanding this puts into the power of kings and queens into perspective as they are mere mortals like the rest of us.
Knowing God is the almighty gave them courage to boldly proceed with the fighting for our right to be free from England and the tyrannical rule of King George III.
The Country’s One Foundation
American historian Henry F. May best explains the answer as to why Christianity played a role in our founding:
A great many people believed throughout the period that the religion of the Bible, understood best by simple people, was the safest foundation for all essential truths.
On the whole, various forms of Protestant Christianity served the emotional needs of most Americans better.
Henry F. May American Historian and Margaret Byrne Professor Of History University of California, Berkeley Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D. pg. 43
Christianity is about a loving God who wants a relationship with all of us because we are his children. However, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He sent Jesus down to rescue us because God knew we would never be able to work our way up to heaven. Our good deeds towards others prove we are saved by God’s grace.
It is that simple. And that is how I like my religion – simple. No fancy, foo-foo, frilly religion for me. Foo-foo belongs on evening and wedding gowns. Life was hard back in the 1700’s and is still hard now, therefore religion needs to be simple.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…
The Declaration of Independence Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D. pg. 60
The words were discussed and discussed until everyone could agree upon them because:
The Declaration had to be acceptable to all of the American People “if Congress expected them to live by it and die for it.” wrote Rod Gragg.
Forged in Faith – How Faith Shaped the Birth of the Nation 1607 – 1776 by Rod Gragg Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D. pg. 60
Dr. Stackhouse, Jr. points out that while Thomas Jefferson (writer of The Declaration) did not acknowledge a personal salvation experience, he agreed with Jesus’s teaching. He was also suspicious of religious institution and their leaders.
[Christ’s] system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that ha sever been taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers.
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D pg 62
Guess it is a good thing you are not alive today, Thomas. There are a lot of preachers and religious leaders that you would cause you to raise an eyebrow. (By the way, antient is an archaic variation of the world ancient per Merriam Webster.)
“But Wait, There’s More!”
There is more information in this book than I can cover in this blog post – freedom of speech, the Great Awakening, and separation of church and state (spoiler: it does not mean what you think it means) are just a few topics I did not cover.
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and enter the world of online dating but have heard horror stories from friends and family that would cause Stephen King to have nightmares. Plus you do not know where to begin as there are so many dating sites your head spins like a merry-go-round.
Then Discovering Love Online, Love May Be Closer Than You Thinkby Chuck Miller is the practical resource you need in preparing for an enjoyable, successful adventure. In addition to his online dating experience, which led to him find his current wife Deb, Chuck was a singles ministry director for a number of years. His book is not only based on experience but a lot of research as well.
Chuck takes the guesswork out of what to do and where to begin. He does this by assuming you know nothing so he covers the basics, including grooming, manners, first impressions, and where to go on dates among numerous other topics.
He has a Master of Divinity degree so his Christian faith is mentioned throughout the book. Miller explains how his beliefs apply to dating and why his conservative values will help you when it comes time to meet someone in person.
While the book is filled with advice about online dating, it is also filled with age-old adages that are still true.
Where Do I Begin?
You begin at the very beginning with the age-old adage:
“Know Thy Self.”
Because how can you know what to look for in a spouse if you do not know who you are, what you like and what your goals are in life. Part of this process may include personality assessments and even considering the advantages and disadvantages of staying single. There is nothing wrong with staying single as God designed everyone differently.
Part of the process of knowing yourself is determining your list of non-negotiables. These are items that are deal makers or breakers.
For example, potential non-negotiables could include: faith, whether someone is an animal lover, the political party they are affiliated with, are they a smoker or a drinker, and do they believe in tipping the pizza driver well.
This is just a partial list what could be non-negotiables. Your list of non-negotiable items will be different from anyone else’s since we are all unique individuals.
Paid vs Free
Another age-old adage that is still true today is:
You get what you pay for.
Chuck provides a brief summary and pros and cons, starting with Chemistry and ending with Zoosk, to help you determine which one is right for you. He does recommend choosing a paid site because people on those sites tend to be looking for long-term relationships.
Without passing judgment, the clientele on paid services tend to be more earnest in their efforts and more thorough and accurate in creating their profiles. I’ve experienced it first hand and so have many others seeking love online.
Chuck Miller Discovering Love Online, Love May Be Closer Than You Think pg 47
This is the person with whom you hope to spend the rest of your life.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Once you’ve chosen a site, Chuck even tells you how to set up a winning profile. This includes what information to share and what not to share, photograph advice, answering questionnaires, and storytelling advice for your profile summary.
It is true today as it ever has been:
Honesty is the best policy.
There is no room for embellishment or flat out lying in your profile. It will come back to haunt you at some point in time. Be honest in who you are and what you do.
Also, he mentions that incomplete profiles are also not acceptable. Photo’s need to be there and be current, profile questions answered and basic information filled in.
Your dating profile is your online dating resume. You may wince and groan, but it is true. “Interviews” are granted based on the information contained in your profile. So if you do not want to end up in the shred pile, fill out your profile completely.
Not Just For Scouts
Chuck admits there are risks involved in meeting people you met online and encourages you to be extremely careful selecting people to meet offline.
However, he acknowledges these risks apply to people you are introduced to by friends, family or that you meet in the produce section or any other public place.
He also gives you tips on what to look for to determine a possible unsavory character whether they intend to take your money, cause physical or emotional harm.
So whether you choose online dating or meeting someone the old fashioned way –
Be prepared for anything. Have friends or family at the same coffee shop if you choose to meet there. You can never be too careful.
The Tip of the Iceberg
This is just a tiny bit of advice covered in Discovering Love Online. This book will help prepare you to find that special someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
Chuck did a wonderful job combining his faith, age-old adages, and advice in his book. I highly recommend this book if you or anyone you know are considering online dating. If you have any questions, his information is listed below.
Author’s Note: Chuck Miller and I met when he attended GriefShare after his first wife’s death. I’ve seen him go from mourning to joy and that joy includes finding his current wife Deb (an absolute sweetheart) via online dating.
Disclaimer: I purchased the Kindle version and was given a free autographed copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All links are non-affiliate.
Wow! I understand that Joe’s timeline ended and mine did not, however I would have never used the word “calling” to describe being a widow. Calling is what happens to men and women who become pastors.
I was intrigued by the concept, and used my Amazon gift card from last Christmas to order the book. (Yes, it is mid-April and I still have an Amazon gift card from last Christmas.)
Once it arrived I looked at the table of contents and was intrigued by Appendix 2 – The Local Church and Its Widows. Ms. Cornish nails the topic and opened my eyes to a different way of seeing churches (more on that later).
I’ve since started reading from the beginning and a full review of The Undistracted Widow will be published once I finish it.
A Nun Named Maria
Are you a nun named Maria?
Then we are not a problems to be solved.
For some reason we were called to be widows, called for such a time as this. Now how are we going to glorify God in this season of our lives?
And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
I entered a contest through an email for a chance to win a copy of “Social Media Explained, Untangling the World’s Most Misunderstood Business Trend.” Well I won, which means there is a little piece of hell freezing over because I don’t normally win contests.
I agreed to let Mark know what I thought of the book. After reading it, I got this post 3/4 done when life got in the way. I am sorry Mark for not finishing this sooner.
So without further adieu, here is my opinion of Mark Schaefer’s book.
“Social Media Explained”
Suffering from grief deciding if you should use Social Media?
Suffering from grief because of a social media plan gone bonkers?
At 133 pages, this book is a quick easy read and packed full of valuable information.
The book is divided into 3 sections:
The Five Most Important Things You Need to Know about Social Media Marketing.
The Five Most Difficult Questions You’ll Face.
A Social Media Primer.
In these three sections you will find everything you need to know about social media presented in a clear and concise manner. Schaefer covers why you should use social media, content being a revolution, the dreaded “Should and/or how do we measure social media?”, how to handle negative comments, and where to start with social media.
He also tells you what makes a good Community Manager, because larger companies will need this person.
I was so blown away by what I was learning that I emailed the owner of the marketing company I do freelance work for and told her to get this book since she trains her clients on social media.
The information in this book applies to large and small businesses and can be adapted to job search as well. After all a job seeker is a business of one trying to sell his or her skills to a new client (employer).
Not only does Mark explain social media but he includes a story about how a business client used this information to reignite a stagnant relationship with a business client.
Whether you are a small, medium or large company, get this book before you dive into social media. If you are already social, this book will help you improve your game.
Thanks Mark for writing a book about social media that anyone can understand and for selecting me a recipient of a copy.
Ms. Hill’s book is powerful and digs deep into the reason we:
struggle working our way through grief,
feel something is missing in our marriage,
despair over any other problems that engulf us.
I am only on Chapter 4 but felt I needed to get some quotes and scripture out to you in the form of “Weekend Wisdom.” There will be more posts about this book as soon as I am done reading it and have a chance to drink in Ms. Hills words.
“although difficult to imagine, physical pain can sometimes be easier to endure than the ongoing anguish of loneliness, rejection, loss, and failures.” (Chapter 1)
“We’re empty because we’re more concerned about “feeling” better than finding God.” (Chapter 1)
“Emptiness is not the end, it’s the beginning. (Chapter 1)
“We fail, miserably, to grasp the fact that only God can supply what our soul most deeply desires.” (Chapter 3)
“We, just like the woman at the well, don’t realize that what we’re really yearning or is an encounter with God.” (Chapter 3)
“…or God gives the Spirit without limit.” – John 3:34 (NIV)
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38 (NIV)
“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT (Chapter 3)
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 NIV (Chapter 3)
For Widows Only?
This book is appropriate for widows, or anyone experiencing any of life’s nasty events.
Call To Action
Don’t wait for my review – go buy this book now! Have a pen, notebook, and hi-lighter handy as you will need them when you read it.
“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis (Chapter 3)
There are 3 books that I read daily (sometimes I run a day or two behind). Now these books are great for everyone not just widows. So whether you are grieving or tackling one of life’s other nasty events, pick up one or all 3 and dive in. These books bring me comfort and encouragement and help maintain a positive outlook.
I used this daily devotional last year and am using it again this year. Each day has Scripture followed by a devotion by Dr. Peale. I dare you to be discouraged after spending a year reading and meditating on each devotion. Dr. Peale’s writing is authentic and practical and will be for years to come.
It is one of those books filled with pen, hi-liter and sticky notes. Not only do I have it in paperback but it is also on my Kindle, so whenever I am in need of encouragement, this book is there.
I added this book this year since I loved Dr. Peale’s other book. You read one page per day containing 1 or 2 sentences which will give you inspiration for your day or give you a quick pick up at lunch. This book would be perfect for someone in their first year of grief, since each day’s thought is short and sweet. During the first year you do not need anything that requires a lot of thought.
This book is also on my Kindle and will be used every year.
Time For Joy
“Choosing Joy, A 52-Week Devotional for Discovering True Happiness – Angela Thomas (Howard Books)
I started this book around April or May of this year. It is grounded in scripture. There is a devotion for Monday – Thursday and then 1 for the weekend (Friday – Sunday). Angela’s writing is also very positive and uplifting. I am enjoying this book and combined with Dr Peale’s books, these 3 are a great way to start each day. This one is not on my Kindle – at least not yet.
I do not have a particular reading plan but refer to it when I want to read the context surrounding a verse from “Positive Living Day By Day.” Plus I will read the scripture that our pastor is using for his weekly sermon. Although I soon may start reading the book of Ephesians. Yes, this too is on my Kindle.
I hope you will make at least one of these books a part of your daily reading.
May God bless you with a joy filled day.
(Coming next Tuesday – How Michele Gets A Good Night’s Sleep)
(Disclaimer: I did not nor do I receive any compensation for any links in my posts.)