Thursday, December 29, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Clyde Annandale

Our church had the privilege this past Sunday of having an international performer and biblical dramatist Clyde Annandale from Kenesaw, Georgia.  Clyde did a presentation of King David in the morning service that was not only inspirational but humorous as well.  Clyde spent 3 years in Israel doing research for his presentations and he masterfully portrays 52 distinct characters ranging from his well-known one-eyed seaman to Jesus in the Upper Room.  His work has taken him far and wide.  He even performed for the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu at the 50th anniversary of the statehood of Israel.  He also portrayed Jesus before the Mayor of Jerusalem and 5000 of his friends in the Jerusalem Convention Center.

Clyde involves the audience in his dramatizations. Here he is pictured with Lawren as Mary Magdalene.

Clyde exhibits a bold zest for life and willingness to share the gift of himself with others. His smile is contagious to everyone around him.

Clyde as he prepares to deliver his second performance of the day .... the greatest sermon ever preached ... the Sermon on the Mount.

A close friend, Joe Rayburn and his wife Lu, seemed to make a real connection with Clyde.  Joe was invited and agreed to return for the Sunday evening performance to play the role of Caiaphas. 

So good to see a church full of people and the praise and worship was awesome !!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tell Me Everything by Marilyn Meberg

Marilyn Meberg has a master’s degree in counseling psychology.  As a counselor, teacher, mother and wife, she has spent decades helping women gain freedom from their fears, their secrets, and their pasts.

I had never heard Marilyn speak but on the first day of the Women of Faith conference in San Antonio I was looking at the book table and found myself attracted to Marilyn’s book, Tell Me Everything.  My decision to follow my spirit and purchase the book was confirmed after I heard her speak on Saturday afternoon.  I started reading the book on the trip home and couldn’t believe how she seemed to have been “reading my mail”.   I have included here some of the concepts that I found to be of particular interest.

Marilyn described how many people today are living with an unknown and undiagnosed infection that’s silently growing inside them, causing them pain and suffering. Some of these infections are emotional rather than physical and may be in the form of an addiction, or behavior.  It might be an incident that occurred sometime in the past that seems too horrific now to even think about let alone share.  Maybe it’s not even your original secret, but your life is infected by a loved one’s secret that you are desperate to keep secret too.  It’s poison can burple up through the layers of your emotions to cause you to respond in bizarre ways to ordinary events.  These secrets can make you sad and even sick.

Marilyn related the story of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s  book,The Scarlet Letter, where the character Hester Prynne came upon Arthur Dimmesdale walking through the woods seven years after her initial public censure.  The speak for the first time and Hester attempts to assure the minister that his good works and humility had gained him penance.  But Dimmesdale cried out, “Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret!”  Because Hester’s secret became known, she was not haunted by the fear of public exposure as was Dimmesdale.  But in both cases there was great pain: Hester’s public, Dimmesdale’s private.

The reason it is so hard for us to admit to the secrets hidden in our hearts is that we’re ashamed of them.  But …shame is not what we do, it’s who we perceive ourselves to be.  Shame is a core indictment of our very essence.   Perhaps most helpful to our understanding is that at the very core of shame lives the panicked fear of abandonment and rejection.  If you really knew me and the nature of the stuff that lives in that dark corner of my heart, you’d not only be shocked, but worse yet, you’d be appalled.  If you’re appalled, then I have every reason to assume you will reject me.  If you reject me, I will experience abandonment, which is the most devastating emotional state in which to live.  

One of the greatest driving forces of our nature is to feel connected to other human beings.  To truly experience connection is to experience oneness; without it, we can withdraw into a world of lonely isolation.  When our secrets become too powerful, shame becomes an identity, a state in which we feel different, despairing, and helpless.  The person who has trouble receiving love because she believes that somehow love has to be earned; she has to qualify. 

Simply hearing the words “I love you” sets off  myriad internal responses, such as: “You wouldn’t say that if you really knew me.” “Once you know me you won’t love me because I’m not as good or successful as I may appear.” “I guess I’ll marry you, but you’ll never get very close to me because I’ve got to work very hard so  you’ll continue to think you love me because love is based upon what I do and not who I am.”

Meberg discusses the power of abandonment memories to hide away in the secret recesses of our mind.  We may have completely forgotten a powerful memory, but nevertheless, it may have an unperceived influence on our lives – our behavior, our thoughts, our attitudes. We go about our lives carrying secret , troubling pictures we don’t even know we have – or if we do know we have them, we’d like to throw them away. But since memory doesn’t throw anything away, we try to forget the troublesome  photos. When that happens, the images – the secrets – get pushed down into the unconscious, where the album is protected and safe.

But the fact that those pictures are in the album and that we sometimes receive flashes of them tells us we need to look at them, exclaim over them, and perhaps cry over them.  When we acknowledge the hurt, pain, confusion, or embarrassment they may produce, our next step is to show them to the Father who, incidentally, already sees them, and then to ask His help in processing them. 

Abandonment memories can be harsh and hurtful.  An unperceived buried memory of abandonment may be a “secret” hidden within us that causes us to feel emotional pain we can’t understand – until that memory is brought into the light of God’ healing.  

God intends that His good and perfect creation will be appreciated by us; that it give us pleasure. For many people, the challenge is to keep pleasure in a state of balance. When a pleasure takes control of our lives, problems occur; dark secrets are created.  The portion of the human brain scientists refer to as the “pleasure center” is the part of the brain that reacts enthusiastically to chocolate, pizza, pasta, or any favorite food or activity that provides pleasure.  The pleasure center also loves the concept of “more”. “More” keeps us craving and not satisfied. The result can produce behavior that invokes shame – and causes us to create the dark secrets we hope no one else will discover about us.

The “more” pursuit can produce addictions. There are 2 key neurotransmitters in the brain: endorphins and dopamine, which have much the same molecular structure as morphine.  So when the addictive substance wears off, the newly created receptions need more.  If they don’t get more, the pleasure center is out of balance because more of the addictive substance is needed to produce the same high.  That “more”, if not satisfied, creates cravings. Addiction of any kind serves a crucial function – it distracts from pain.  All addiction is about distracting the user from feeling pain.  That pain may be current or buried deeply beyond conscious knowledge, but pain drives the addiction.  The victim thinks, Those feelings are so overwhelming, threatening, and persistent, I cannot cope with them. 

Counseling is a place to learn why there was a particular vulnerability.  Understanding the source, or the secrets, behind the predisposed condition can give clarity, but it cannot heal.  Only God can heal.

Women of Faith 2011 - San Antonio Texas

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Women of Faith conference in San Antonio Texas with a group of women from my area. The music and speakers were top notch and included Amy Grant, Sandi Patty, Lisa Welchel, ( or Blair from Facts of Life) and one of my favorite new singers, Mandisa!  It was my first time to ever attend this conference and I have included here some of the things I learned this past weekend. 

Patsy Clairmont is a recovering agoraphobic and through her humor she provides hope for healing as she shares from her own struggles.

Patsy shared three things we need to learn to say everyday:

Yes – to God and His plan for our lives.
Thank You – to God for everything He provides.
No – to anything that distracts our attention from His purpose.

Life is messy.
People are textured.
God is mysterious.

God designed us to be connected one to another.

Sarcasm is anger which has gone underground and comes up as a clown.

God calls me not to sit as a spectator on my own life.

We can’t afford to not have boundaries on our emotions.  No one needs to hear everything you think is on your mind.  Whining to get what we want or using silence is a learned behavior.  We need to put away childish things and grow up.

Fear hangs out with 3 friends – Anger, Shame and Guilt.

God has designed us with a WILL that is stronger than our EMOTIONS. 

Recognize the power of words when they are placed.  Be an encourager!  Splash joy, and hope, and confidence on others.

Andy Andrews is an internationally known  speaker and author of The Traveler’s Gift, The Final Summit, and The Noticer.  His works have sold millions of copies worldwide.  Both of his parents died when he was 19 and he found himself literally homeless, sleeping under a pier or in someone’s garage.  Then he asked the question that would ultimately affect millions of people. “Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?”

In his story about The Butterfly Effect he shares how you can live a life of permanent purpose which begins when you know that everything matters.  Every action matters.  There are generations yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves we make and the actions we take today.  And tomorrow,  …. and the next day. 

Some of the ideas that spoke to me through Andy were :

I have been created in order that I might make a difference.

When we invest in ourselves we control the outcome.

Perspective brings calm.

Smarter people in our society have a greater problem with fear.  Smart people get disabled by fear.  Fear is a misuse of the creative imagination that God put in you.  We imagine our way to self-destruction. 

Every GOOD thing that happens in your life happens not because of how you FEEL but because of how you ACT.  Every GREAT things will happen because of how you act when life is not fair.

Andy compared people’s needs to canaries, goldfish, puppies, and kitty cats.  Canary people need quality time. Goldfish need a clean bowl.  Puppies need praise (You’re such a GOOD BOY !!).  Kitty cats need touch.

Brenda Warner  surprised us with her "talent" by doing the splits on stage !!!  She also shared her story of how her child was dropped in the tub at the age of 4 mos. by her husband who later abandoned her for another woman.  Brenda was serving our country as a US Marine and was married with 2 children when she became the victim of infidelity and divorce at the age of 24. She found herself living in a Section 8 apartment on food stamps as a single mom trying to balance nursing school and the challenges of a special needs child.  She lost her parents in a natural disaster at the age of 28.  She has learned the blessings and pressures of fame and fortune being married to an NFL superstar by the age of 30.  Her husband Kurt and their SEVEN children live in Arizona. 

The one concept that Brenda shared that really spoke to me was the idea that you cannot allow your past to define who you are today and it’s never too late to become who you might have been. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stuffers by Lesa TerKeurst

Have you ever tried to keep the peace by avoiding confrontation and just stuffing down the issue? I have. And it hurts. It hurts me. It hurts them. And it certainly hurts relationships. Instead of keeping the peace, it actually slowly erodes the relationship.

I stuff because:
· I don’t feel safe enough to confront this person.
· I don’t have the energy or the time to get into a conflict right now.
· I don’t know how to address it
· I don’t want to seem hypersensitive
· I don’t want to get rejected
· I don’t want to lose control
· I don’t want to make things worse so I convince myself I can just let it go

But if I’m completely honest, as a Christian woman, I sometimes stuff because it feelsmore godly to stuff.
I read verses like Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise,” and I decide to hold back my words. And I plant in my brain, “It’s godly to hold back your words.” And then I reinforce this thinking with other verses like, “Proverbs 15:19, “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.”

I want to keep the peace. I want to speak the truth in love. I want to be gentle not confrontational.
And these are good things. If I can do this without bitterness forming than great! That’s called healthy processing. But there’s a big difference between healthy processing and stuffing.

Healthy processing is where I think through the issue and diffuse the hurt. Maybe I do this through prayer and studying my Bible. Maybe I do it by talking to a counselor or mentor in my life. Maybe I just give it enough time where I decide it’s not that big of a deal after all. But here’s the key: the end result is the hard feelings dissipate. If they don’t dissipate, they get stuffed.

And that’s where trouble is found.

That’s where barriers are built.

Barriers shut communication down. You determine another person isn’t safe and label them with words like, “Demanding. Irresponsible. Volatile. Selfish. Defensive.” No matter what they do or don’t do, this label is a barrier filter through which everything they do will be processed.

You know the label you’ve placed on them but they don’t.

You just mentally stick it across this person’s name in your brain. The problem is they don’t know it’s there. So every interaction you have with them going forward is confusing.

They know something is wrong but have no clue what it is. Eventually, this relationship will shrivel up and die because it’s been deprived of the life giving necessity of open communication.

Boundaries, as opposed to barriers, provide safe passage ways for communication to flow. It may be tough for some to stay within the boundaries you’ve set but at least there is clarity on what works and what doesn’t.

Some examples of healthy boundaries are:
If you continue being thirty minutes late to events, I will take a separate car.
I need a better work ethic from you in the office, or we’ll have to make some changes.
If you keep spending over our budget, I will cut up the credit cards.
I can’t lend you anymore money until I see you making serious efforts to find a job.
I want to bring the grandkids to see you, but if you just surf the web while we’re there, it’s not worth it to come.

If you won’t stop drinking too much or using drugs, I will take the kids and move out.
The difference between the two is honesty. When we build a barrier with a person it’s either because we’re afraid to be honest, tired of being honest and getting hurt, or feeling like the relationship isn’t worth the hard work honesty sometimes takes.

When we build boundaries we are being brave enough to be honest but wrapping it in a love that keeps the relationship safe for both.

Barriers set relationships in a regressive pattern that leads to destructive isolation.
Boundaries set relationships in a progressive pattern that leads to effective communication.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.

How Do Co-dependent People Behave?

Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine - and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.

They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become “benefactors” to an individual in need. A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may “pull some strings” to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior.

The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the “benefactor.” As this reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from “being needed.” When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in the love and friendship relationships.

Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Fear of being abandoned or alone
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • Poor communications
  • Difficulty making decision
For more information go to the following link:
Mental Health America - Article on Codependency

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Handle "Incomplete People"

Our women's ministry has been preparing for the Living Proof Simulcast with Beth Moore this weekend.  We are very excited and the registration numbers are now over 90 women. 

Today I shared these words with the steering team that have been on my mind and heart this week.

I have been reading an e-book by Lisa TerKeurst called Made to Crave. It's an excellent book and I would highly recommend it. Something I read this week has really stuck with me .... Anytime God is up to something good, Satan is right there to try and destroy it. And many times he will use people to accomplish his purpose.

John 15:9-12 says "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now REMAIN (or abide) in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that MY JOY may be in you and that YOUR JOY may be COMPLETE. My command is this: LOVE each other as I have LOVED you."

Ladies, I believe this verse is the key to our success this weekend. In order for us not to let Satan rob us of our the JOY that comes from our FATHER who LOVES us ... we must REMAIN in his love. See he said it 3 times ! That means he wanted to really emphasize the importance of what he is trying to say to us.

Now here is what Lisa had to say about this verse: "We are taught to remain in God's love so that we won't tie our happy (yes, our happy!) to anything but God. So that our joy will be complete. Complete. As in not lacking anything. Complete. As in filled up to the brink with joy no matter if we are wearing our skinny jeans or not. Complete. As in satisfied with a fullness we can't get any other way. ......

Incomplete people are diffcult, demanding, and always in pursuit of that next thing that will surely fill them. Incomplete people think that putting on their skinny jeans will right all their wrongs and fill up all their insecurities. ... Incomplete people are desperate for others to notice them ... The bad news is, we're all incomplete people. The good news is, Jesus loves incomplete people. And he wants us to know we can have complete joy by being secure enough in HIS LOVE to reach out and love other incomplete people."

Incomplete people are complicated and sensitive and messy in their reactions. They have the potential to drain us and make us grumpy. The last thing we went to do when a person throws their incompleteness in our direction is to love them. But what if we dare in that moment to think differently? What if we could be courageous enough to act and react like a COMPLETE person - someone who has HIS JOY in us, sustaining us, and directing us? What if instead of looking at this incomplete person's offense, we cold see the hurt that surely must be behind their messy reaction?

Someone this weekend is going to try and steal your joy and make you feel incomplete as much as they do. Why not ask God to show you right now who needs your words of encouragement? Allow him to reveal that person to you and put them on your heart. Begin even now to pray for that person and to pray for each other as we prepare to minister to the women of Southeast Texas that he leads to us. As they enter the door of our church home, let's put forth our best efforts to help them experience HIS JOY and know what it's like to be COMPLETE in Him. Let's love them as He loves them!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prayer of Blessing

Oh my Chaddaseh, beautiful flower of my fields of glory. Don't you see how much I love you. I see the writings on your heart and I see the love you have for me, and also the fear you have when it comes to the things I've set aside for you in order to show you my glory

It's ok to not understand, and it's ok to stand back and ask if it is really me speaking. That's why I gave you the free will that you you can come to me, ask me and see the realization of why I love you

Trust me, my Chaddaseh...I am calling you to something so much beyond what you know...a Pastor's Wife is a calling that I've given you, but you know that my anointing goes much deeper

You know that my love for you and trust in what you see and hear and know are much deeper

You may not know it all yet, but that's the fun in it all...

I get to watch as you grow, and a baby who learns to walk...I am there to grab you as you fall

and to hold you as you cry

As you look in the mirror, you know you see something growing in you...a ministry that is waiting to be birthed

Yes, it's the 9th month of this birthing process and though you aren't quite sure how to take it, I am giving you this special thing to care for

This ministry that only you can understand...that's why I have given it to YOU

I pruned you, Chaddaseh, in the garden of my glory that you would be ready for this

and I know that I made the right choice, because I made all that is good, says the Lord.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

On the Passing of Uncle Cecil Comer ....

The following article was written by and is posted with permission from my husband, Jack Comer Jr. ..... 

I had an uncle that passed away last week. He was my dad’s oldest brother and up to this point, was the “oldest living Comer.” He was a very devoted Christian, having served faithfully in several areas at the Bethel Baptist Church in Houston. But what I remembered most about Uncle Cecil, is that he was a POW during WWII. In fact, he was imprisoned at one of the most notorious German prison camps, Stalag 17.

Now my uncle didn’t talk much about his days as a POW, but I remember as a teen reading the letters that he sent to my grandparents. Most of them had information that was cut out, so you would be reading a letter that had several holes in it. One of the comments that I remember was how Cecil looked forward to the Red Cross packages that were sent. These packages included items like canned tuna, cheese, dehydrated milk, cigarettes, chocolate, liver paste and raisins. Now they were suppose to be receiving these packages every week, but according to sources the enemy would take these care packages and use them for themselves.

I share this story to you because I think it illustrates what is happening today. People today are in a prison. There is so much hopelessness and despair. And it is only through the red blood-stained cross that freedom can be found. As Christians we are the ones that are delivering a message of hope. But often the enemy steals the message before it even arrives. So we need to keep sending the message. Keep preaching the gospel. Keep ministering to people in need. Keep offering Christ to a dying world. With the understanding that one day, it will make a significant difference in one’s life.

Thanks uncle C. for serving our country! You and others like you, are already missed.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It is the Cry of My Heart

A Cure for Jealousy by Lysa TerKeurst

“Wow… look at her marriage.  They seem to have it so together.”
“She eats whatever she wants and never gains an ounce.  Must be nice.”
“Her outfits always look so snappy while I have a serious case of the frump.”
“I wish I had her job- her smarts- her income. Sigh.”

Whenever I get an overly idyllic view of someone else’s circumstances, I often remind myself out loud, “I am not equipped to handle what they have—both good and bad.”

When I want the good things someone has, I must realize that I’m also asking for the bad that comes along with it. It’s always a package deal. And usually if I just give a situation enough time to unfold, I thank God I didn’t get someone else’s package.

One of the first times I came to understand this truth was in middle school when I met a beautiful girl at the children’s theater in my town. We were both budding child actors cast in a Christmas play. During rehearsals I remember feeling envious that her long dancer’s legs could move in ways my stubby limbs never would. Her legs were muscular and lean and graceful; mine couldn’t be described with any of those adjectives.

One day she felt an unusual pain in her left leg. A doctor’s appointment turned into a battery of tests that turned into a hospital stay that turned into a diagnosis. Cancer. A surgery to remove a tumor turned into an amputation turned into a complete life change. Her world became filled with words no child should ever have to know: chemotherapy, prosthetics, hair loss, and walking canes.

As a young girl I was stunned by the whole thing. Especially because I clearly remember night after night watching her glide across stage and asking God for legs exactly like hers.

Of course not every situation is as dramatic as this one.  But, it’s a good life lesson.

I have learned that I am not equipped to handle what others have—both good and bad. I am, on the other hand, completely equipped to handle what I’ve been given.  And the more time I spend being thankful for my life, the less I look around wishing for something else.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prayer for a Friend

I prayed today for my friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer and is facing surgery tomorrow.  I am posting it here as an expression of faith, agreeing with my friend and with our Father for healing and restoration in his life.

Father, I pray for my friend tonight ...... i pray you give him peace and comfort ......and a good night's rest ....... wrap your arms around him where i can't ...... Lord u know his every need...... and we know that you r in control of all things ..... We praise you father for your goodness in our lives ...... i pray ur hand of protection be upon him ......and guidance for the drs and nurses who wait by his side ...... Lord throughout the days ahead ..... provide your peace .....and Lord ......we ask that your will be done .....but please please
...... do a miracle in his body ......bring healing that can only be explained by you Lord ..... and complete restoration of his health that he can live a long life of service to you Father ..... we pray all these things ..... in ur precious name .... Amen

Bargaining With God

Friday, May 6, 2011

This mother's day ....

..... be thankful for your mother if she is living. My mom passed away suddenly when i was 25 yrs old and my dear mother-in-law took her place for the next almost 30 yrs. My mother-in-law was a great example of the Proverbs 31 woman.

My sister-in-law has been in my life for over 40 years now and has been there for me through thick and thin. I could not love her more if she was my own sister or mother and she has been a great example to me of sacrifical love for her family and for the Lord.

I am also very thankful for and proud of my two daughters-in-law who are both wonderful mothers and have blessed me with the opportunity to be a grandmother.

So many women over the years have served as spiritual mentors to me and for this I am deeply grateful. One of the closest was a lady by the name of Gay Mize (sister to Paul Robinson) who is now with the Lord. Gay taught me how to care for and train up my children and to love the Word of God.

To all the mothers out there, I wish you a blessed Mother's Day !!! And to all the daughters out there, I pray your life is as blessed as mine has been to be surrounded by godly women.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Moments That Excite Me

People who know me also know that  I am somewhat reserved and introverted in person, (ok, i heard that!) BUT I do have a tendency to get excited about making new friends online. At times I like to think of myself as the Queen of Social Networking because I enjoy using social media so much.  Recently, I have begun to use social media tools to enable me to travel, explore, and learn about people in other countries and I have found it to be a rewarding pasttime as well as helping me to practice my people-helping skills.

A month or so ago someone crossed my path who spoke very little English.  Having had 3 years of Spanish in high school and having visited Mexico City over 30 years ago, I immediately rose to the challenge of trying to communicate with this person.  I discovered very quickly that this person lived in Spain (yes, the country .... not another little town somewhere in Texas).  So from that point, my interest piqued in trying to communicate with this person. 

In the beginning, our conversation pretty much consisted of "hola, muy bien, gracias, and no lo se" (hello, very good, thank you, and I don't know).  In an attempt to alleviate the frustration we both were feeling from our mutual inability to understand each other, I initially tried to find a Web 2.0 tool to allow us to communicate through the use of a translator.  I discovered that Google has a translator application and helped my friend to learn to use this tool as well.  The application allowed me to type in English and it would translate my words immediately into Spanish for my friend.  Eureka!  We are now understanding each other !

From this point I easily discovered that my friend's name was Javier and his wife's name was Eugenia and works as a carpenter.  Javier asked whether I used Facebook, or CaraLibro in Spanish, which of course I do.  We agreed to become Facebook friends and from there we were able to share photos of our homes, families, cultures and lifestyles. Javier has posted some wonderful photos of the coast of Spain and of the work he has done as a hobby building and restoring boats. We then found that Facebook will allow you to add the Google Translator application which will enable the user to copy and paste translated text into the chat window.  Another new discovery to enable us to better communicate !

I learned that Javier had a strong desire to learn to speak English.  Eugenia speaks a little English from her years in Mexico City, but Javier's English was minimal at best. Communicating in text only was not helping Javier improve his English skills.  He needed to be able to hear and repeat the English words he was reading and studying in his English textbook. Now Google Translator will also enable you to hear the words in the new language, but what we discovered was that sometimes phrases do not translate into another language in a way that makes clear sense.  Example:  When I would say the word "blessings" to Jaiver, it would come out "benedictions", which of course does not have the same connotation in English at all. So it is better to have a person who speaks English who can deliever and facilitate the instruction.

Next, I asked Javier if he had ever tried using Skype.  He had not but was willing to try and mentioned that he had a webcam on his computer.  Javier was able to quickly set up a Skype account and in no time he and Eugenia and I were looking at each other face to face and hearing each other's voice.  This was the very first time Javier and Eugenia had ever Skyped with someone outside their country, so needless to say we were all very excited.  From my end, it was like watching two children on Christmas morning !  We were all so happy to be able to communicate with each other and to meet each other face to face and we found ourselves laughing out loud.  Javier and Eugenia were holding up their family dog Xana (Shana) which is like a child to them.  Sadly, Xana did not seem too excited to meet me. (haha)

I gathered that Javier and Eugenia live a very simple life with few material possessions and yet they appear to be extremely happy with their lives.  Javier has plans to continue working hard to perfect his English skills and I have already found that my Spanish is coming back to me in increasing measure just from talking to my friends from Spain.  What a delight it was to help someone find the tools to expand their world and to better communicate with the world around them!!! 

These are the moments that excite me!   Technology tools have the ability to change lives and benefit people in incredible ways.  We take so many of the powerful tools we have at our disposal for granted.  Seeing somone be able to broaden their horizons and achieve their goals inspires me to go out there and make more new friends and venture into the unexplored worlds around me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Did You Know? Prepare for the New Global Economy in 2011

Think Before You Post

The famous evangelist D.L. Moody once said "Character is what you are in the dark." What this means is a person's true character comes out when others cannot see what the person is doing.

I was prompted to write by a post I saw on facebook this week where someone was ranting about how they blasted their neighbor who's child had threatened their child. This person seemed to be looking for someone to agree that their actions were justified and necessary. This person freely and openly shared about how they apparently put the "fear of God" into the neighbor in order that they nor their children would have no further contact with their child.

I was very tempted to comment under the post something like ...."Way to go! You sure taught your neighbor a lesson. Wonder what lesson your children learned from all this??" Ok, maybe now I am ranting too. Guilty.

The point is this ..... Technology is a very powerful tool. Social media is a powerful tool. It can be used to build up or to tear down. It enables you to develop relationships with lots of people and is a great tool for networking. But alot of people can get the wrong idea about social networking from observing the type of negative behavior that I mentioned in the story above.

The fact is what this person was doing has a name and it's called CYBERBULLYING. The anonymity factor that the Internet provides allows users to have instant access to their victims and a wide audience for their bullying behavior. Cyberbullies are more likely to be women than men, because they don't need to be physically superior to their victims, and they often act impulsively without thinking through the consequences of their actions.

Personally, I have also been the target of rude facebook behavior, or let's call it what it really is .... CYBERBULLYING, and it wasn't pleasant.

Because alot of adults who are "digital immigrants" have not been educated regarding cyber ethics, we are seeing a great deal of misuses today of technology "power tools". Here are some guidelines that I share in my workshop entitled "Your Online Presence" about using social media responsibly.

1. Don't post anything you wouldn't want your mother to hear (includes content or images).

Social media is not private. Once you post you have no control over what happens to your message. Many are under the impression that their audience is limited to their friends but they are more often mistaken about who has access to their posts.

2. Don't be passive- agressive.
Even if you don't mention the person by name, there's a good chance someone will know who you are talking about. You not only do damage to your relationships but to your own reputation as well.

3. Don't have arguments on social media.
Praise publicly and critize privately. Having an argument using social media demonstrates you don't really care about finding a resolution.

4. Don't whine.
No one wants to hear a constant complainer. Keep your "tweets sweet".

5. Do be real.
People connect on social media because they want to get to know the real you. Don't shoot off stuff that sounds like it came from a Hallmark card.

6. Do connect with other people.
Use social media to connect with people you can learn from, who can learn from you and people you would like to know better. Don't be afraid to be selective, choose people you want to follow based on the value you will develop from the relationship.

Ok, I feel better now. In writing this article, I reminded myself that I can learn something even from the negative behavior I see in others. Plus, the fact that there are plenty of people out there that are in need of this message. We are all in process of learning and growing, me included. Hopefully, I have shared something here that is valuable enough to make you "think before you post".

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Shack by William P. Young

“Emotions are the colors of the soul: they are spectacular and incredible. When you don’t feel, the world becomes dull and colorless.

Each relationship between two persons is absolutely unique. That is why you cannot love two people the same. It simply is not possible. You love each person differently because of who they are and the uniqueness that they draw out of you. And the more you know another, the richer the colors of that relationship.”

William P. Young
The Shack

The quotes above are from the book The Shack by William P. Young which you can find on my Shelfari bookshelf to the right. A friend of mine suggested I read this book almost 2 yrs ago after the fire. I kept it in the back of my mind as a "must read one day" book. Recently, my friend Jessica loned me a well-worn copy that she picked up from a garage sale. Something about reading a paperback that has already been broken in seems to make it even more enjoyable.

Most people say when they started reading The Shack that it was one of those books that they couldn't put down, but I didn't find it to be that way at all. I took my time reading it and soaked it in. When the book first came out it was much debated in Christian circles because God the father is depicted as a black woman. You have to keep in mind that the book is fiction but I found nothing in it to be contrary to scripture. The main character in the book finds that he really doesn't know God as well as he thought he did.

I found the book to be very timely for me and it made quite a significant impact. I think the most memorable part of me was the idea of putting ourselves in place of God as judge when we harbor bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts. While reading this book I came to the conclusion that there were some old hurts and people that I needed to release from "judgement". It's interesting how releasing your hold on someone else can be so freeing personally. Reading this book at this particular time is my life is just another example of how God works in our lives in his own timing.

Just Go With It .... Learning to Trust

We saw the movie "Just Go With It" last night with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. It was a cute movie although Jack laughed more than I did during the movie. I found myself laughing more after the movie. The funniest part of the movie for me was when Adam Sandler's friend tries to give a sheep CPR and later when he is telling the story he said he gave "Sheep P R". I laughed and laughed again just thinking about it. Sam always laughs too when he hears me laugh.

I especially enjoyed the music and this song by Snow Patrol was played at a point in the movie when Jennifer Aniston is thinking that the man she is really in love with is about to get married to someone else. I liked the song because I think that we all need times when we just kick back and allow our minds to "chase cars". This idea seems to pervade alot of my philosophy of life these days that we spend too much time running around being busy and very little time thinking reflectively. This type of thinking promotes learning, creativity, and new ideas.

In the movie, Sandler lies about the fact that he is not married and tries to win a girl's affection by faking his marriage, divorce, fatherhood, etc.... and it leads to more and more lies. The only person who really knew him for who he really was, without all the lies, was his assistant Jennifer Aniston. In the end, Sandler realizes that he has to give up the lies and begin to trust the reality of what he has right in front of him.

Another thought that I came across today has to do with the idea of interpersonal trust. Lord knows I have difficulty in this area so when I read something that brings clarity to my mind, then I have to chew on it for a while and really try to process it.

"Interpersonal trust reflects an expectation that the other person will act benevolently. An individual cannot control whether of not the other person will fulfill this expectation. Trust involves risk and a willingness to be vulnerable to the possiblity that the other person will not fulfill the expectation. Trust involves a certain amount of dependency on the other person."

Now these ideas came from an article I was reading for my curriculum management course entitled "Teacher-Principal Relationships: Exploring Linkages between empowerment and Interpersonal Trust". But they remind me of the scripture from I Corinthians 13:7 that says "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things". In my mind, love and trust involve the same basic elements.

We usually think of this chapter as the definition of what true love is all about, but I think that faith and trust are all wrapped up in the same definition. Read here the version of I Corinthians 13 from The Message:

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."


Friday, January 14, 2011

Light Up the Sky by The Afters

My E-Portfolio

Here is a link to my completed e-portfolio ... Vision for Ed Tech Leadership . This project took me approximately 6 weeks to complete although it includes the work and resources that I have accumulated since I began the Educational Technology Leadership program in August 2009. 

I have included a copy of the email from my professor Dr. Diane Mason below:

We have completed our assessment of your e-portfolio and comprehensive exam.

First, we want to commend you on your creative approach to your e-portfolio. We appreciate your efforts to create a positive, unique, e-portfolio reflective of your master's program work. In reviewing your e-portfolio, we just took off a few points for minimal references associated with your field-based activity reflections.

As for your comprehensive exam, we noticed there were a few APA, mechanical, grammar errors. Attached to this document is your comp exam with comments.

e-Portfolio= 590/600 points
Comprehensive Exam=385/400 points

Congratulations! You have officially completed the internship course!

We wish you the best!

Dr. Mason

Diane R. Mason, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Lamar University