What uncommon things do we want to become common?
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Most Tuesday mornings I walk with a good friend of mine, a young lady who is entering into a possible marriage relationship in the near future. She is so excited about the possibilities. Their relationship is so healthy and strong. She is such an encouragement to me and a Godly young woman with wisdom beyond her years. We have wonderful conversations together. During these walks we dig down deep into each others hearts in an attempt to sharpen one another in the Lord. One summer morning a couple of months ago as we were walking along, she asked “Chelsa, when was the last time you and Creg went on a 4-5 day get-a-way by yourselves?” I laughed inside and thought, “She must not realize how busy our family is or how close we are. We do everything together with our children. Why would we want to go anywhere without them? Plus, all the farm chores! How could we leave all that work for the kids to do?” I snapped out of my thoughts and felt a little silly telling her I couldn't remember a time since we celebrated our 10th anniversary in Oregon 8 years ago. She was taken aback, shocked really, and she gently reminded me that the marriage relationship was the most important earthly relationship we have.
She was right. And I knew it. After we prayed together and parted ways, her comment kept tugging at my heart..."The most important earthly relationship we have." The most important. And I started thinking...Do I really see Creg as the most important relationship I have in my life? Do I long to spend time with just him? Do I enjoy being with just him? I confess that I had trouble answering yes to those questions. Yes, we love being together with our kids. We enjoy doing ministry together helping others. But what about just the two of us? Do we still love to be together or have we slowly drifted apart? The more I thought about our marriage relationship, the more I realized we needed to follow her advice. Maybe not 4-5 days, but at least a couple of days where we could just focus on each other. I realized that I had been his “help-meet” by fulfilling duties and responsibilities, but it really wasn't all that fun anymore, and there just wasn't very much joy in our relationship. We've been married for 18 years and we have both grown spiritually and in other ways and in other relationships, but our marriage was suffering. It was obvious to me now. We were taking each other for granted and going through the motions. Somewhere along the way we had stopped seeing each other as the God given treasure we were meant to have: Heirs together in the gracious gift of life united together. We weren't truly enjoying each other's company anymore.
After lunch at Creg's parent's house, I told them about the conversation I had that morning. Creg blurted, "Four days! Remember, we have 4 kids & a farm." "So much for that idea," I thought. Then Kay, Creg's mom, said, "I think y'all should go. We'll keep the kids & take them to do all of the chores." We both lit up & immediately said, "OK." I told Creg that we needed to stop and think about what's happening within our marriage & family (Sierra just turned 15!). It's time to work through some tough questions and slow down enough to enjoy each other.
So we decided to go to Dallas a couple of weeks ago and take our much needed break. We didn't have any plans except for attending a Truth Project training seminar and going to worship at Farmer's Branch Church of Christ. We didn't go to many places or do many things other than going out to eat a few times and taking a walk by the river. It was great just focusing on and enjoying each other and becoming better friends, partners and lovers. We talked and listened. We repented and forgave. We hugged and kissed. We came home with a renewed sense of purpose and unity. I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful our time was. This trip was the beginning of the transformation our marriage! The Lord has been gracious to us yet again and has blessed us with each other. But this time we realize how blessed we are!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Maybe you've heard about President Obama wanting to take away the tax breaks of private corporate jet owners. Walter Williams wrote a great article about the unintended consequences that usually happen when government gets involved in places it should not.
When Congress imposed a 10 percent luxury tax on yachts, private airplanes and expensive automobiles, with the passing of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, Sen. Ted Kennedy and then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell crowed publicly about how the rich would finally be paying their fair share of taxes.
Within eight months after the change in the law took effect, Viking Yachts, the largest U.S. yacht manufacturer, laid off 1,140 of its 1,400 employees and closed one of its two manufacturing plants. Before it was all over, Viking Yachts was down to 68 employees. In the first year, one-third of U.S. yacht-building companies stopped production, and according to a report by the congressional Joint Economic Committee, the industry lost 7,600 jobs. When it was over, 25,000 workers had lost their jobs building yachts, and 75,000 more jobs were lost in companies that supplied yacht parts and material. Ocean Yachts trimmed its workforce from 350 to 50. Egg Harbor Yachts went from 200 employees to five and later filed for bankruptcy. The U.S., which had been a net exporter of yachts, became a net importer as U.S. companies closed. Jobs shifted to companies in Europe and the Bahamas. The U.S. Treasury collected zero revenue from the sales driven overseas.
Back then, Congress told us that the luxury tax on boats, aircraft and jewelry would raise $31 million in revenue a year. Instead, the tax destroyed 330 jobs in jewelry manufacturing and 1,470 in the aircraft industry, in addition to the thousands destroyed in the yacht industry. Those job losses cost the government a total of $24.2 million in unemployment benefits and lost income tax revenues. The net effect of the luxury tax was a loss of $7.6 million in fiscal 1991, which means Congress' projection was off by $38.6 million. The Joint Economic Committee concluded that the value of jobs lost in just the first six months of the luxury tax was $159.6 million.
Congress repealed the luxury tax in 1993 after realizing it was a job killer and raised little net revenue. Why did congressional dreams of greater revenues turn into a nightmare? Kennedy, Mitchell and their congressional colleagues simply assumed that the rich would act the same after the imposition of the luxury tax as they did before and that the only difference would be more money in the government's coffers. Like most politicians then and now, they had what economists call a zero-elasticity vision of the world, a fancy way of saying they believed that people do not respond to price changes. People always respond to price changes. The only debatable issue is how much and over what period.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Oh Lord, our God,
We acknowledge you as our Creator and the giver of all good things.
You are Great. You are Mighty. The All-powerful God.
You are worthy of our praise.
We humbly bow before you this day as an outward sign of honor to You.
You are our Lord and our Master and our King, and we are unworthy servants.
But how long, oh Lord, will you withhold your blessings from us?
Why is it so dry?
Why is there no rain when you have the power to bring it?
Why does our land have to suffer this terrible heat and drought?
Why won't you bring relief?
And why do so many in our midst have to suffer so terribly
with sickness and pain and sorrow?
You alone are the giver of life.
How long will you withhold your hand of healing?
Why does this have to happen to your children, the children you saved?
Sometimes we grow so weary with the heaviness of this fallen world.
Our hearts are tired and heavy and weary.
We don't understand.
We cry out to you!
Why? Why? Why is this happening to us?
But even though we don't understand it all, we trust you Lord.
Your ways are higher than our ways.
Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
We don't always understand,
but we do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love us.
You proved that when you sent Jesus.
You are a good and beautiful God and you have been good to us.
Help us remember your blessings.
You have showered us with your mercy.
You sent Jesus to save us.
We are forgiven.
You have given us your Spirit to help us cope.
We thank you that you can fill us with your peace and joy
when in some circumstances peace and joy seem impossible.
Thank you for promising never to leave us or forsake us.
And thank you for giving us each other to lean on.
May we rest in your peace and in your love.
Amen, through Jesus our Lord.