For the Wages of Sin is Death…

Image

The news media reported the deaths of two men recently. One died at the age of 95 after a lifetime of achievements. The other died in a fiery car crash at the age of 40 at the height of his film career. I’m, of course, referring to Nelson Mandela and Paul Walker.

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was South Africa’s first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Although he was a man with human faults and failures, these were overshadowed by his huge list of human rights achievements and successes. He won the Nobel Peace Prize!! And, he did all this without the benefit of today’s social media.

Paul Walker was not anyone I’d ever heard of before as his films were not ones of my taste. I probably wouldn’t have given his death more than a passing thought, but he died a few miles from my home. The accident was within a few feet from where my daughter and her family attend church. We’ve been to this church many times. The accident happened a quarter mile from ‘our’ Walmart! The crash site created enormous traffic jams as crowds went there…some to pay their respect and others to simply gawk. So obsessed were fans with the site of the accident that two young men were arrested because they ‘stole’ some remnants of the crash. They face possible jail time for acting stupidly and impulsively.

Image

I didn’t know of Paul Walker but he was immensely popular. Those who knew him personally spoke of what a decent man he was…down to earth, genuine, and concerned for the environment. He even attended the school that my daughter-in-law attended and where two of my grandchildren now attend. Yet, his life was cut short because of a lapse in judgement.

Social media played a big part in spreading news of his death.

While the news reported these deaths, it seems as if this holiday season brought us personally news of several other deaths as well. Every few days we heard of the passing of someone…old friends, friends or relatives of friends…young and old. But, with all the news of people passing, it was the death of one young man that impacted me the most.

Image

I’m in my early 60’s, so it isn’t unheard of that I would have my contemporaries pass away. My best friend died almost 7 years ago at the age of 56. It was way too soon to lose her, but not unimaginable. But, the unimaginable did happen on Christmas Eve. A young man named Kevin Hill passed away after a two-year battle with cancer. He was a husband and father of two little children…and a dear friend of my son and daughter-in-law. Before locating to Atlanta a few years ago, Kevin and his wife, Rachel, were members of our church. They returned to California frequently for Kevin to get treatment. And, it was here, in an apartment in Burbank, that Kevin took his last breath.

I never had the opportunity to meet Kevin or Rachel personally but I feel as I have gotten to know them through a Facebook page and blog that Rachel started to document their journey. Social media brought them into my life and into the lives of many. Kevin and Rachel are people of faith and they never doubted where Kevin would go if he lost his battle with cancer. But, that didn’t mean that they didn’t fight and research all treatment options. Most of these options were quite physically demanding and grueling. But, it didn’t matter. Kevin still fought to stay with his family. And, Rachel was right there beside him…encouraging him and being his advocate when he was too sick and too tired.

Image

Kevin’s death really threw some of their friends for a loop…even those with a strong faith. To young couples in their thirties, they can’t picture not living to see their children grow up and get married or not growing old together. It is completely unimaginable. And, that’s how it should be. We shouldn’t spend our youth worrying about what could happen. But, when something like this does happen, it can cause enormous crises in faith.

What impressed me the most in reading the blog about this family’s journey was the incredible maturity and grace exhibited by them both. Rachel wrote with sensitivity and was extremely articulate. She revealed their lives to us at a deeply intimate level. She exposed their strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, courage and doubts…and, she shared their absolute faith as to God’s will in their lives. But, most of all, Rachel shared their belief in the blessed assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ. While going through the toughest time in her life, Rachel still encouraged other women whom she never met simply by her example of a godly woman.

I kept up with this family through social media. And I learned of Kevin’s passing the same way. And even thou this information didn’t come to me via national or network news, that doesn’t minimize the impact, nor the example of grace they shared with so many. Kevin’s death may not have touched as many lives as Nelson Mandela or Paul Walker, but his life and death were indeed far-reaching.

Kevin and Rachel Hill did not choose this journey, but they traveled it with Jesus by their side. If I’m ever in a similar position, I can only pray that I can follow their example.

Image

Advertisements

DIY Saturday – PVC Tote Storage Organizer

This past Christmas was the first time we really got to take advantage of our PVC Tote Storage Organizer…and it works perfectly. No more did we have to move a bunch of totes to get to the one we needed. Yes, we still go crazy when decorating the house for the holidays. But, both the decorating and un-decorating took less time. And…it all looks so nice when it’s put away.

Being Womanly

When I started this blog I said that I would include different kinds of posts…including craft ideas. This will be my first post of something my hubby and I actually did in our garage. It was one of the first ideas I pinned from Pinterest and it was inspired by the following picture:


This seemed like a perfect solution to our problem. We have over 50 totes of various sizes stacked in our garage…most of them holding Christmas decorations. (I go a little crazy at Christmas time.) Anyway, it never failed. Regardless of how we planned, we would always need the tote at the bottom of the stack. At the end of Christmas, we would take extra time and put the totes back in a particular order…knowing how we typically decorate the house. It didn’t matter…we would still need totes at the bottom of the stack. With a system similar…

View original post 834 more words

New Year’s Resolutions?

Image

I love it when the New Year is here. It’s like a blank slate…a chance to ‘do-over’. If the past year has been difficult and full of trials, it is a chance to forget and start again. If the past year has been full of blessings, it’s a chance to bask in contentment and look forward to more. In reality, it’s just another day, but civilization has created a defined end and beginning with the start of a new year. Regardless of the religion or calendar used, the passing of one year to the next is universally a time of reflection…on looking back on the completed year and a time of planning for the upcoming one.

What I hate about the New Year are those pesky resolutions. Statistically, less than 10% of resolutions are kept. And, it’s no wonder why. Most resolutions focus on our faults. Will we lose weight, will we exercise and get more fit, can we get more organized, can we get out of debt, or will we spend more time with family? While we can all use a little self-improvement, I think that New Year’s Resolutions can be self-defeating due to the unnecessary burden we place on ourselves.

The origin of New Year’s resolutions dates back for hundreds (of not thousands) of years. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. Some churches hold “watchnight” services on New Year’s Eve at midnight so that Christians can prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.

There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Catholic fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility, in fact the practice of New Year’s resolutions partially came from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

Image

So, by tradition, resolutions have always been about self-improvement. But, I wonder if we might be more successful if our resolutions weren’t so much about us. Perhaps, we would do better if we focused more on doing for others…or better yet…doing for God. I certainly don’t have it all figured out. I do know that if I do have a resolution for 2014, it is to be more positive in my life…to worry less and enjoy the moments more. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

 Image