Do I Take Everything Personal?

Personalizing is taking something personally that may not be personal. When one takes everything personally, stressful events feel like consequences of something one personally did…they feel they somehow deserve the consequences. Although, someone who is blunt may express their opinion about something, as they may always do, but someone who takes things personally may be hurt by this person’s words, even when the blunt person did not intend to hurt the other person.

The first tip for personalizers is to realize that not all set backs are the end of the world. If you feel rejection, that is okay, even normal. Although, we need to keep in mind that this feeling of rejection does not mean that you are never going to be successful one day.

Remember that negative feedback can be useful to improve work, not to point out all of your mistakes. You are talented and skilled!

Second, be kinder to yourself. Give grace to your own mistakes and imperfections. If you can learn to be nicer to yourself about your imperfections, you won’t automatically jump to feeling attacked when other people make comments.

Next, it is important to accurately label emotions you are feeling. Emotions drive thoughts and behavior. Emotions often trigger personalizing. When you can label your emotions accurately you are able to better manage thinking and behavior. Then the next step is to practice. Imagine situations in which feelings of rejection are likely. Now put yourself in that situation. What should you do or think about in this situation? After having this imaginative practice, now it is time to learn through doing. Experimenting through real life situations.

The root cause of this personalization is often due to attachment anxiety. Personalizers often want to  please everyone. They want to be accepted and loved by everyone. The solution is to attempt to be warm to people but maintain better boundaries. It is not your job to please everyone.

I hope these tips help. Remember you can work towards healthy lifestyle change. If you or someone you know would like some life coaching in this area please contact me.

Baseball Hall of Fame Rant

On Wednesday January 9th 2013, The Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted absolutely no one into the Hall of Fame for 2013.
It was the first time since 1996  that the writers elected no one in.
Some of the people on the list were not voted on by the voters due to substance abuse, such as steroids. Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafeael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire are big names that were mentioned in official reports for steroid-use like the Mitchell Report.

I am upset because I think that there were players who earned the Hall of Fame and who were are not at all associated with substance abuse, yet they also were excluded this year.  Craig Biggio,Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell specially, in my mind, had amazing careers, Hall of Fame worthy, but this year they did not get in.

Maybe in the next few years they will get in. And I am probably making a big deal out of nothings, since many if not all of those mentioned in this post will get in the Hall, just not this year. The honest truth is that we will never really ever know who did and who did not use steroids or any other substances.
And the truth also is that these people, their history, records and their substance abuse is all a part of history. We cannot change it now, but we sure as heck better remember it.
Also, in my own mind, there will always be something new that the MLB will have to find and remove, players will always find the new (undetected advantage) whether it is substances and supplements or anything else, to help them be the best players they can be.

Part of me was just upset to see this elitist group of privileged writer sobs, put their noses in the air and say “NO.” It is weird that they are still an electoral power in this modern age….why can’t the fans, media and players have any say about who gets into the Hall?

What I am Currently Loving about Substitute Teaching

What I love about substitute teaching is that everyday I have a chance to make an impact.
Last year was my first year as a sub. Last year was a lot different for me than this year. Last year, was a learning experience and I was drained daily. I enjoyed doing the job but it was more of a job. This year, I have come to a new perspective. It is not just a job that I love but every day is a unique opportunity to make an impact. 

Everyday is really all to my advantage. I get to leave the classroom and go home when the day is done. The kids have to keep coming back to the same culture, environment and teacher(s) day-to-day, everyday.  I may not ever see those particular kids again and I may get to see them several times in the next month.  
So you can imagine the opportunity to make an impact on these kids. If I can make a few of them smile, laugh or simply enjoy a fun break from norm, then I feel like I have had some success. Trust me, we get things done too but school can be fun too.

The truth about substitute teaching is that we don’t really get to teach much. Teachers do not often leave us many teaching tasks, which seems ironic. And for the most part, the stereotypes can be true…subs come into a situation where the students want to test the waters and get as close to the line as possible. I have learned to be firm, strong and establish rules and respect early on in the day. Last year, I was too fun and personable without first establishing respect and it was difficult. This year, I come in hard and establish respect first, then it is fun to be able to be more personable with students who are respectful to me also. If they are not respectful to me, I can be a commander and make the day, not as fun.

 This year has been a lot more fun, easier and smoother for me, simply because of this respect factor. In fact, I even miss some of those kids, I think of them as “my kids” but I am obviously not their full time teacher or anything, it is just those neat connections, you get to make.  It is amazing how just a few riddles, funny jokes, pieces of candy and/or coloring activities can save a boring day. 

Eagles in the Bible

There are over 8,000 kinds of birds. Approximately 400 varieties live in Israel, and Scripture mentions about 40. Modern scientists classify animals on the basis of what they look like inside and out. However, the biblical writers generally classified animals according to where the animals lived. Thus, in the Bible, bats are listed with birds as creatures of the air (Leviticus 11:19; Deuteronomy 14:18)(Visual Bible Alive).

The American English word “eagle” appears about 30 times (depending on the translation) in most English Bibles. The Hebrew word, “nešer,” appears 26 times in the Old Testament. It is described as a large, carnivorous bird of prey known for its long feathers, wings, speed, power in flight, and keen eyesight (2 Sam. 1:23; Ps. 103:5; Isa. 40:31)(Baker & Carpenter, 2003).

It has been described as a “great vulture” in Lev 11:13 and “vulture” in Prov 30:17 and Mic 1:16, RSV “vulture” in the text once only, for the Heb expression “sons of the eagle” (Prov 30:17). Many translators have been satisfied with the term “eagle” because of the finer traits of strength, swiftness, and care of the young are cited, but where the eating of carrion or “baldness” (see Mic 1:16) is involved, a lesser breed of bird seems to be in order. Actually, not only did the Semitic languages tend to lump the large soaring birds into one family but the Encyclopedia Britannica defines “eagle” as inclusive of several day-flying birds of prey comprising, along with hawks, harriers and old world vultures, the family Acciptridae (Fisher, 1999).

This idea of renewal and strength in eagles is especially popularized by Is. 40: 31: Yet those who 1wait for the LORD Will again new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
And Ps. 103:5: [God] satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

I have been really curious lately about Eagles in the Bible. I have always wondered if the Biblical authors actually saw birds similar to eagles that you and I are familiar with. Ultimately it is near impossible to prove one way or the other but many sources that I have been reading recently have made some good points.
1. There is a myth out there that says that supposes that this bird (eagle or not) was a bird that had some extreme renewal habits: -going off and plucking its feathers and not being able to fly for about five months. The image has even been added that the beak and claws are knocked off and then grow back during that time, giving them another 10 or so more years to their life. I have been trying to find proof of that, and am not finding it. Most Eagle authorities state that that would not happen, because the bird would die during that time with no flight feathers or beak or claws (Lee, 2009).
A second source along with the American Bald Eagle Organization also makes the point that Eagles do not undergo the process of rebirth described in the myth/legend commonly used as a biblical metaphor (Christensen, 2012). Although there are some alternatives that still make the Bible true: It is NOT an eagle but a different bird. Or it is an eagle (see below) that goes through a different kind of renewal than the one described in the myth (see: Lee, 2009).
2.A reasonable suggestion that it is not actually an eagle but an Old World Vulture: a Griffon Vulture(The Wonder of Birds).

(Photo from Cortijada Los Gazquez).

3. In any case the eagle is known for catching its young on its wings after pushing them out of the nest….this is a great strategy to teach the young ones how to fly. So this bird, eagle or not could have demonstrated a similar process.

Other interesting eagle/vulture related discussions from the Bible: The Bible mentions the eagle’s strength and invincibility often with reference to powerful nations attacking Israel. The prophet Ezekiel described Nebuchadnezzar as an eagle (Ezekiel 17:3). The eagle builds its nest on inaccessible mountain peaks or at the top of the tallest trees, a fact noted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:16; compare to Job 39:27-28; Obadiah 1:4). Eagles are devoted to their offspring and train them with great care in the art of flying. Some commentators interpret Exodus 19:4 and Deuteronomy 32:11 as evidence of the eagle’s practice of catching its young on its wings. Confronted by its impressive qualities, biblical authors observed the eagle with awe and wonder (Job 39:27-30; Proverbs 30:18-19). Since the vulture, like the eagle, was a symbol of sovereignty and domination in the ancient Near East, some gods were represented as vultures (Visual Bible Alive).
Here is a good site that mentions all of the verses where “Eagle” is used in the Bible:

Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (760). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Christensen, B. M., (2012). “Rebirth Of The Eagle Hoax.” From Hoax-Slayer. Accessed Sept. 8th 2012 from

Cortijada Los Gazquez.

Fisher, M. C. (1999). 1437 נֶשֶׁר. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (606–607). Chicago: Moody Press.

“History of The Griffon Vulture in the Bible.” The Wonder of Birds

Lee. (2009). “Birds of the Bible – Eagle’s Renewal” from Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus assessed on Sept. 8th 2012 from

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (Ps 103:5). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

“Birds.” Visual Bible Alive. Accessed on Sept. 8th 2012 from

Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

In America, people, (business owners too), are entitled to their own opinion

Chick-Fil-a has had a rough week. My response to the Chick-Fil-A controversy is the same I have about the more recent news about billionaire founder and president Jeff Bezos is donating $2.5 million to support gay marriage. That response is that in America, we have the right to our own opinions.
America is founded on principles of capitalism, democracy, life, liberty, justice, freedom and the pursuit of happiness to ALL. That means Wiccans, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Quakers, Buddhist, Hindus, Scientologists, all the denominations of Christianity, Catholics, Orthodox and ANYONE else tied or not tied to any religion. We are all entitled to the same freedoms and rights. All human beings that are citizens of this country should be treated with the same equal rights and liberties, that is what America is about.
It is easy for the Christian to have “a Christian over-reaction” to any of the news stories listed above. Some of my Christian colleagues all of a sudden are extra supportive of Chick-Fil-A and intentionally are no longer going to ever use For me, I am more relaxed about all this. Yes, I am supportive of Chick-Fila, but I would feel the same support if they were an atheist owned business. I simply do not think it is in one person, a mayor, who also has equally free opinion to use that opinion to block the building of a restaurant simply because his opinion does not match up with the Chick-Fil-A’s president.
I think that a Christian business owner -an American citizen- is welcome to his opinion also. If you do not like these things, do not eat at his restaurant, that is a capitalistic strategy that I can appreciate. My point is that in AMERICAN, agree or disagree with the values (all values aside really), we are a capitalist society. That means that given the EQUAL rights and liberties, all companies can build and have a chance to succeed (if they can) in a capitalist system.
I am not going out of my way to eat at Chick-Fil-A. I am consistent with my argument. I will continue using because I am a capitalist consumer. I save money with Amazon. Amazon has developed an excellent service. What the Founder/President of that company does with some of his profits is not my concern. I do not feel like my using of the service is contributing to gay marriage. Even if it were a direct correlation, I would not be concerned. He is welcome to have his own opinion on gay marriage. He is welcome to spend his money on it. He is a citizen of America. He has equal rights to an opinion in this free country too.
I will go even further, I am even willing to say that I am not too concerned if gay marriage becomes legalized. Hear me out here, this is tricky and a touchy subject. Yes, I am a Christian, ordained minister and have strong conservative values, but listen. Do not have a Christian over-reaction. Yes you heard this Christian correctly, I think that the LGBT community can have equal rights. They are human beings too and live in America, home of the free.
Yes, you may see the obvious clash between my own Christian values drawn from the Bible and my public opinion and support for the LGBT community. There is some tension there. How can I possibly give my support if I am truly a Bible-believing Christian? Here is my approach on it. I do not see the point in fighting with legislation. I do not see how being anti-LGBT is showing the love of Christ to these people, who need Jesus. Obviously, I am not living the LGBT lifestyle. I even agree that that lifestyle is not natural, not healthy and sin. Although, my understanding is that I cannot tell people which sins they choose and do not choose. It is not my place to judge nor my place to control.
I have to give up control of that battle and focus on the heart. I want to show these human beings Christ’s love and His Gospel. Only Christ can truly save them and change their hearts, which in turn, will change their lifestyle. Only Christ can do that. I want to be His ambassador. I do not want to live in the past and say, this America is suppose to be a Christian nation (that is another post) ….let’s move past that. Read my responses to that argument in the links. Basically, we are America, home of the free and all are welcome to live free here in America right now, despite any special relationship you think America has with God. I do not see it. It may be hard or unfortunate for some Christians, but we are where we are in America right now, some call it “post-Christian.” That may be a stretch since nothing is impossible with Christ!
To take my previous argument further, that is I think that the LGBT are free to live how they want to in American. There is not way I can possibly live a life that is not connected or associated with any sinners. Firstly, all men are sinners. Some way or another every screen I look at, every food I consume, every book/blog I read…if you dig deep enough there will be a connection to a non-Christian. That is ok. All men are sinners. We once were sinners too! Have empathy.
Let us not have “a Christian over-reaction.” Let us live “IN but not OF this world.” Let’s be the workers IN the fields harvesting. Let us NOT live in complete isolation like monks, what impact would that have? How useful is it to avoid completely everything connected to sin? Especially in a capitalist society…we are blessed to be allowed to enter the harvest! We are blessed to have EQUAL rights (EVEN AS CHRISTIANS!!) Compare yourself to Christians hiding in Asian and Africa! We are so blessed to be consumer capitalists with equal rights! COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS oh spoiled American Christians.
Now let us use these rights and advantages for Christ’s glory! Let us be SALT and LIGHT in this very diverse democracy. Let us Praise Jesus because we have so many opportunities to make a difference and show Christ’s LOVE, hallelujah!

Jesus Culture Experience

Alright, so I have always enjoyed  Jesus Culture band and have found their music to be very worshipful. I had never really taken the time to explore the backgrounds of Bethel Church in Redding, CA to see where they were coming from in doctrine. Instead I decided to go to a Jesus Culture Conference in New York City with some friends. 
I am a Baptist. Bethel Church and Jesus Culture are more charismatic. They fall most in line with the Pentecostals.  For the most part, the conference was not too scary or difficult for me. If the band and preachers and followers where mostly Pentecostal (or Charismatic) then they were really watered down during the conference. There was not a lot of people falling over slain in the Spirit and those sorts of things. 
Although, there were miraculous faith healings. I still cannot stop thinking about one instance. A deaf lady from birth, was prayed over with the laying of hands and everything. After the prayer, she started hearing things. I talked to her and her friends, it was a crazy thing.  I believe God can do healings, like this on Earth, if He desires to.
Bill Johnson, the pastor of Bethel, laid out an argument for faith healings….basically firstly, the disciples did it:
Mt. 10:8- Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Then in John 1: 50 – Jesus says that greater things are yet to come than these [things you have seen me do].

There were some areas I could not completely agree with Bill on, but why aren’t we out in our communities/streets praying for healing for people in our local communities?
Obviously I have some warnings:
1. This is NOT about works. It can easily begin to look like and feel like works. But it is only God who does the healing, not us.
2. God may not always heal every single time we ask for healing in our prayers. Sometimes He has a greater purposes that we do not understand. Remember home is NOT on this earth.
3. Theology. One thing Bill Johnson said that is the most debatable is his understanding (or lack of it) in Christology. For me, Jesus was 100% man AND 100% God.
For Bill, Jesus was 100% man who forfeited completely ALL of His God-abilities and did the miracles as a complete man. Meaning any man can perform the same miracles if they rely completely on the Father as Christ did. 
This gets sketchy for a couple of reasons. Again, as with point one, it can easily start to become a works based system. But second and worse offense, is centered on Christ.  Christ had to be 100% (as well as 100% man), in order for His offering for our sins, as our substitute, to be acceptable and infinitely valuable (1 Pet. 1:18-19). 
So all of this has got me thinking all week and it is an amazing God thing. I see, not only at this conference but through-out history that God  can use us despite our bad theology and even despite our differences in beliefs/theology. I hear reports that Redding, Ca is a safe haven, a cancer-free zone and that the presence of the Holy Spirit is there. All of that sounds wonderful, I do not have any data to prove it but I believe that God can work in that way if He so desires. 

He is bigger than our human understanding of theology. I do not know who is more correct in a lot of areas in theology. I see good arguments on my areas of debatable topics and yet while it seems that the two sides can not agree and work together….they can. God is bigger. God does the Healing. He does the saving. I am just glad to be a part of it. I want to continue to work out my faith and continue to study these things. Do not get me wrong I desire truth and solid Biblical answers and I believe that a foundational worldview with essential doctrines is essentials….this is why I am willing to debate Bill Johnson on the points I did above. 
While on many non-essential, I am willing to hear the other side of the argument. I give grace and I agree to disagree and agree to say that “Wow, God is working through that, despite my understanding or belief.” 

Snakes on a Bikepath

Took Ginger, a Chichiwawa, for a walk today on a bike path. A biker stopped to warn me that there was a snake on the path a few yards up.
I paused a minute wondering what I should do. I had on flip flops and I am not sure the Ginger has every encountered snake. I wondered how she would react. I thought a bunch of what-if questions…

Hoping the snake passed by, after a minute of reflection, I kept walking the same direction. We did not encounter any real life snakes, but in my head I saw thousands…every broken branch, every twisted thistle, every broken bamboo shoot, everywhere I turned my mind was playing tricks on me.

What if I get bit? What if Ginger gets bite?  I am not prepared for this. What if the snake is poisonous? What if it jumps out and I have no time to react?

It was really useless worries. I made it all the way to the lake and turned around and made it back home without a hitch or a snake but my mind was still playing tricks on me.
What is the snake going to do jump out in front of me in an ambush and attack me with his poisonous venomous attack? What a silly thought, as if snakes had a mind of intent against me.
I’ve had crazier dreams, especially snake related dreams.

Nonetheless, Ginger and I made it home safe and did not encounter that snake or any other snakes.


Ok, so do not get me wrong….I do love America. I am so grateful for the sacrifices made for me to be living in this country. I am so blessed to be a citizen of the USA and to have all of the rights and freedoms I do have. It is truly wonderful. In fact, it seems unfair even, at times, when I think about me…I could have been born anywhere, but God wanted me here, in America. He wants me to but all of these blessings, privileges, rights and responsibilities to use for His glory.

On all of these holidays, especially July 4th, Americans get a little high on themselves. I do not care so much for all the celebrating and pride. I see people posting things about how America is the greatest country ever, if you are not an American than you are somehow less human or less important and I hear preachers say that America is going to be revolutionized and redeemed. They say how America is undeniably the world’s stronghold…..and this is where I start getting upset with holidays like today.These statements cross the line for me

 Maybe I am not Patriotic enough or American enough….but America is not some special country that God loves more….if anything it is just the opposite. There is no mention of America in eschatology. In fact, this is the wrong side of the world. The real action is in the middle east. And Americans ‘hate’ the middle east…..
Do not get me wrong, I will not dispute that God can save, revolutionize and redeem America, if He wants to. I desire to be a part of that. I am attempting to live my life in that way. But there is no guarantee that this is going to happen. Christ may come back today. That would be wonderful too.

And guess what? God loves ALL human beings on planet earth. Non-Americans are humans too. They are not any less loved by God. They are not any less important. The truth of the Gospel is just as true for them as it is for the American Patriot. One thing that we so easily neglect is our understanding of world history. Yeah, we know our own American history well. We are proud of it in America, too proud. Studying world history and other country’s history offers an amazing perspective.

Other countries have amazing stories and perspectives from their own history too. There is a lot of amazing and miraculous things happening around the World, not just in America. God is so good and doing so many amazing things. God loves them too. I think Americans have narrowed their eyes and vision on themselves so much, that they miss   everything else. God is moving and working around the world. God loves the nations, America is just one.

Albeit, America has been and still is a major country economically, socially, and even spiritually…we have a lot of freedom. But with that comes a lot of responsibility.