Pass-downs, and other investment strategies

stock-exchange-738671_1280Clearly, Bob and I are not financial moguls.  Our newest car is an ’04 (or is it an ’03?  When it’s that old, who cares?) But it runs, and it’s paid for, so that.  I say we’re the Joneses that no one tries to keep up with.

Bob’s parents were likewise not investment wizards.  Frugal and responsible, yes, but they were not big names on Wall Street.

However, Bob’s grandfather worked many years for a particular company in which he was able to acquire personal stock.  This “stock” continued to “split” (whatever that means), and through the long time of continued reinvestment, grew somewhat impressively. 

To see his grandparents’ home, one wouldn’t think much of their investment strategy, the financial legacy of which was passed down to their two children and was then passed down to Bob and his brothers on the death of his parents.

My (also very frugal) husband has chosen to invest this share, with the intent of not only passing it down to our children, but with the hopes to adding to it for them as well. 

Which means our newest car is still an ’04…

Nevertheless, we both have and continue to realize the benefits of a financial inheritance in ways we’re probably not even aware of to this day, including while growing up.  Likewise, we have both been reaping the even more important benefits of a spiritual legacy passed down to us through both of our families.   

 “The priests will not have any property or possession of land, for I alone am their special possession.”

What a countercultural statement for back in the day!  Land acquisition was all that!  Property was your security, your status, and a major part of the financial legacy to hand down to your family.  What I hear God saying here is that knowing Him is a far more necessary and sufficient inheritance than anything else.  Then this:

“I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Jesus is talking here about a kingdom harvest of souls for God, but I’m thinking the principle applies to the spiritual pass-down in our lives as well.  And what do I do with it?  I can squander the spiritual and physical resources I have, which are largely due to blessings of our parents’ godly obedience.  Or I can invest them for further growth (the dividends of which never fluctuate with the cultural moral tide) to be passed down to my children and beyond. 

My own dear parents have discussed with us some investments which they someday intend to leave with “no strings attached”.  In my usual levity I quipped something like,

“So, you mean I can go buy that bright red Ferrari?”

“Well, if that’s how you want to use it,” was the sincere reply.

Nah.  The ’04 is fine. 

(For some practical and encouraging info on passing down the spiritual blessing to your children, you might find this interesting:)

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/passing-along-a-blessing-to-your-children

Ezekiel 44:28; John 4:38 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

“Because enquiring minds want to know.”

newspaper-2874482_1920The above title was the advertising tag for one of those insipid tabloids from years past that grace the check-out counter at the grocery store.  They tend to be right there with the candy bars to make it more convenient to rot your body and soul at the same time.  In my mind, tabloids rank up there with Harlequin romances and other forms of mental/emotional snake oil. Continue reading ““Because enquiring minds want to know.””

Stinky feet

argument-3312463_1280 (1)“Now, if I were in charge…!”

Ever had that thought?  ‘Fess up, because who hasn’t.  And not just about the government, but the media, the job, or even the church…(c’mon, Someone bigger than me is reading your thoughts.)

It’s been said that absolute authority corrupts absolutely.  I’m sure that’s probably true in a human sense and, although I’ve never had absolute authority, I know what I messes I’ve made with the little authority I have had.  Continue reading “Stinky feet”

Stone, wraps, and other impediments.

I wonder if Martha gets a bit of bum rap.  She’s the calculating one, knows what needs to be done and does it herself if necessary.  The list-maker, the bean counter.  Martha was the chief cook and bottle washer when Jesus came to visit her and her siblings.  She alone was the one who received a gentle rebuke from the Lord when she demanded that her sister, Mary, come and help her in the kitchen instead of sitting with the Master, listening and absorbing.

I bet Martha as the older one, the one who helped her little sister growing up to put on her clothes and lace up her sandals.  You know how older sibs are called upon in a family.  Insert all of that on Martha’s shoulders.

Now Mary, it’s possible that Mary is same woman mentioned in another of the Gospels as the “unclean” prostitute who broke the jar and anointed Jesus in an act of repentance for her now-former lifestyle. The jury is out on that one, but for argument’s sake…

In this context, I can perceive Martha’s frustration, helping to sacrificially raise her younger sister only to have her go off and ruin the family name.  Perhaps this is why no spouse is mentioned for Martha— in that culture once the family is disgraced, who wanted to marry into that?  If this is case, like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal, I get it.

Then their beloved brother dies. 

Interestingly, when Jesus finally decides to make an entrance, Mary is the one who stays behind, but it’s good ole’ practical Martha who goes out to faithfully meet the Master.  Of course, the first words out of her mouth are, guess what, cause and effect:

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

Problem defined, problem solved.  That’s Martha.  If Plan A didn’t transpire, she always had a Plan B.  It wasn’t, however, quite what she expected:

 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

How often do I ask God for a miracle, only with the proviso that He does it my way.  Good grief, don’t open the tomb!  Don’t expose the decay and don’t make the smell of death public.  No, I like to keep things private.

I forget there was nothing private about Jesus dying on a cross—for me.

There is something about the things we keep hidden which allows them to fester and multiply.  I’ll try to deal with it on my own. If my first plan is tanked, then I’ll think of the next step, but by all means, let’s keep stench under control.

window-806899_1920Except life doesn’t actually work that way.  The only way Lazarus was going to walk out of that tomb was to roll away the stone and let him breathe God’s fresh air.

How’s your air quality today?

John 11:21,21,39 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Built to serve

car-3189771_1920Car commercials crack me up. 

There are the luxury cars that try to evoke images of ecstasy by a voluptuous female draped over the hood or a tuxedo’d movie star falling backwards (slo-mo) into a swimming pool.  You want to be cool?  Drive this car.

Then there are the manly truck commercials with the deep, disembodied voice talking about ratios and torque (whatever those are). You want to be studly?  Drive this truck.

The ones that appeal to family make much more sense to me.  The safety factor of “your-child-is-more-likely-to-survive-a-crash-in-this-car” is a brilliant advertising strategy in my book.  You want to be safe?  Pick this one.

I’m more of an SUV gal myself.  Being 5-foot-12 makes a sport car a bit challenging, and I like the thought of having more steel around me anyway.  All-wheel drive, stowing capacity and towing strength, it’s all on my check list. Continue reading “Built to serve”

Let’s have a fight!

argument-3312463_1280Like many people, I’m not intrinsically adept at confrontation.  That’s a nice way of saying that I tend to avoid it like the Black Plague, whereas my dear husband of 30-plus years (emphasis on the “plus”) has no problem with it.  I have always struggled being overly concerned with what people think of me.  Bob…well, let’s just say, not so much.  So, one can easily imagine how, once the honeymoon period wears off (five days???) and real life kicks in, communication patterns with regard to expectations can be…challenging. 

During one of our relatively few “disagreements”, I was doing my typical backing down routine, when my counterpart surprisingly said, “Now wait a minute!  Don’t you give up so easily!  Just because I’m louder doesn’t mean I’m right.”

He’s so good for me.

Learning to argue is a definite skill set for any relationship.  Setting boundaries, no name-calling, dealing with my own ego and emo, learning healthy compromise, being motivated by love rather than the innate desire to “be right”…the human psyche isn’t born with these things; they have to be intentional in any relationship.

Except one. Continue reading “Let’s have a fight!”

In Which Dawn Learns to Pray (#4)

notebook-1361981_1920I felt this pull while praying to check my website email.  Putting it off as a distraction, I went back to praying, only to have it crop up again.  So, I asked the Lord if this is something He was wanting me to do right now.  I immediately heard, “Go for it.” 

Okay, checking the email, nothing there I needed to see as far as I could tell.  That’s a little discouraging since maybe I didn’t hear from Him after all, which then degrades into maybe none of the things I think I’ve heard in the past are from Him either, which spirals into the typical that-works-for-others-but-not-me mindset of my past.  Doubt, failure, intimidation.

Regardless of whether I heard right or not, I know that those last three thoughts are not from God either!  What do I do with this?

Then I realize I’m still on the steep end of the learning curve.  In fact, we’re all on the steep end of the learning curve until the day we leave this place, so I’m in good company.  And the learning curve is just that, learning.  That, in itself, is encouraging.  I was a good student in school, but I still had to study and learn from my mistakes.  In fact, mistakes are some of the best instructive devices!  Plus, I know I have the best Teacher.

The opposite plays right into the enemy’s strategy: discouragement.  Who would want me to stop praying and jump off that learning curve?  Who has a vested interest in my giving in to doubt, failure and intimidation?  And fear of deception (one of my personal past Big Three)? 

Besides, if I need to hear from God about something important with obvious far-reaching consequences, He is good enough to confirm it for me.  He did that with Gideon, and He promises He doesn’t play favorites.  Plus, He has provided safeguards during the process: the Bible, koinonia with those who are further up the curve than myself, and of course, the Holy Spirit Himself.

He also promises that His sheep hear and know His voice.  Jesus is patient and kind and gentle, so I’m not by myself on this mountain of a learning curve.  Psalm 23 help-2444110_1920says, He leads me in paths of righteousness, and that He is with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Well, if He’s with me there, surely He’s with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt. 

I can let this serve to increase my tenacity and resolve, pushing me further in, rather than scaring me away.  Good things don’t necessarily come easily, and great things come with a price. 

Hey, this is good stuff.  Maybe I heard Him after all.

“Jag älskar dig!”

international-2684767_1920Which means, “I love you!” in the beautiful language I’m trying so hard to learn—Swedish.  This will be one of the native tongues for my second grandchild, as her wonderful Pappa is Swedish, and they are soon to be living there. 

As a point of connection, (and, as a grandmother, when you live as far away as I do, you actively seek points of connection), I’m investing some time in this little project.  She’ll know English also, but she’ll have fun giggling at her “mormor”, (the Swedish name for maternal grandmother), as I stumble through and unintentionally desecrate an otherwise delightful sounding language. Continue reading ““Jag älskar dig!””

Still “puzzling”

stamp-312609_1280Bob and I are still on this jigsaw puzzle binge.  Our middle daughter, now living in New York, loves these crazy things, so for her birthday this year we are sending her a jigsaw puzzle each month, only with a bit of a twist.  Once she completes the picture, she is to turn the puzzle over and there will be a message “from someone who loves her”.  Which means Bob and I have to put the puzzles together first, roll them up carefully, and send them out to friends and family who write/draw on the blank sides, roll them up again and send them back to me in the same tube.

Postage paid, of course. Continue reading “Still “puzzling””

The wheel keeps turning, but am I going anywhere? (Prayer journal #3, cont…)

I’m a bit fascinated by the concept of Prayer Wheels.  Put somewhat simplistically, a Prayer Wheel is cylindrical collection of Buddhist mantras wrapped around a central core that turns (usually clockwise) so that every time it makes a full revolution, the virtue (“merit”) of those scripted prayers are incurred by the one who turns it.  It’s generally recommended that the practitioner use a form of meditation at the same time, but I’ve read that, even in a distracted state of mind, merit is still obtained.  The more it is turned, the more benefit is received.  This from Lamayeshe.com: Continue reading “The wheel keeps turning, but am I going anywhere? (Prayer journal #3, cont…)”