Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Work

Loving the Unlovable

I apologize for not writing more this week – It as been a long one filled with turmoil and a lot of Illness filling our home. That being said – I have been praying and asking God to show me what to write about. He really brought to mind for me all the people I have had in my life, specifically the difficult ones.

If there is one thing in life that is always guaranteed it’s that you will always have at least 1 difficult person in your life. I like to thing of them as the sand paper of life. God places them there to teach you something and smooth out your rough edges. With it being right on the holidays, I really felt that it was needed to talk about how to deal with the difficult people in life.

Look – When it comes to dealing with people it’s easy to deal with the nice people. The people who are good to you – it’s easy to be good to them. It’s hard to be nice to difficult people. And I’m not talking about putting up a phony front about being nice then going behind the their backs and talking about them (again – this has taken me years to learn and I’m still imperfect, so please don’t think I’m saying this from a “I can do it already” vantage point).

God calls us to love one another. Not just the people we do like but to love everyone. In Fact in Matthew 5 he gives a direct command “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. We are called to do this because even unbelievers can love people who are their friends. But it shows God’s love when we can love someone. We are called to be Salt of the earth, Lights of the world. How can we do this – simple – love those who hate us.

Ok so here’s the thing – It’s hard to love that boss you have that is just really pushy and short with you. The one who rides you into the ground daily. It’s hard to deal with that girl who calls you and is always complaining. That coworker who can’t show up for work because she is “sick” then posts pictures on instagram of her going drinking with her boyfriend/girlfriends. It’s hard to forgive the man or woman who wronged you. Your ex who told you he wanted a divorce. Your husband who said something hurtful today, that you just can’t seem to let go of. I have been through all of that. It never gets easier but I have learned how to forgive these people. I have learned what helps me to start thinking of them as needing love not hate, anger, or resentment.

Here’s what I do:

  1. pray for them. I pray. I pray for them daily. If you are like me you have a prayer journal and their name is written 3 times minimum. I pray for them to become closer to God and for him to make them into the person he wants them to be. Here’s the thing – When you pray for them, it may not change the situation. It may not even change them. But it will change you. Every time God tells us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies – he follows it with “pray for them”. Even Christ did this as he was on the cross – he said “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. Pray with a humble heart for the Lord to touch their lives in a miraculous way.
  2. I buy them a gift. Now this works in situations where you will see them at work daily but not in all situations. Typically I just buy them a coffee or a latte and bring it to them with a note like “your daily cup of joy”. This sounds stupid but most of the time it just lets the person know you are thinking of them. Something that small like a can of coke or cup of coffee can make their day that much better. Plus – it marks the first tangible step of forgiveness and attempt at unconditional love for me. Several of the people who have been the most difficult in my life – we now keep in touch and while we may never be best friends, I do count them as real friends.
  3. Realize that they may not change. The behavior they have – sometimes it will change. I have had an experience where it has changed but I have also had experiences where it hasn’t. I still pray for these people even though I don’t have any interaction with them. And I still send them small gifts when I can. But I also realize – their behavior might not change and it’s important to come to terms with that. But my reactions to their behaviors have.

Jesus Died for everyone. Not just for the righteous. He forgave Judas – a man who sent him to his death. One of the most interesting teachings is the Lords Prayer:

“Our Father in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom Come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil. ”

I just want to rest on the idea of God forgiving us our debts – think of ever sin you have ever committed (if you haven’t committed many – kudos to you but you are wrong; and if you are like me – I get it.). He forgives all of those. Every single sin that popped into your head – it’s already forgiven. Isn’t that incredible!? How could we do any less. I would like to point out that if you can’t forgive the next verse tells us that we will not be forgiven by the Father. Without forgiveness we can’t have unity as a body of believers. Without forgiveness we can’t have unconditional love. And without forgiveness – we can’t see people change or come to Christ.

It’s time to stop letting the people who are hurting influence our behavior. It’s time to be Salt of the earth and Lights to the world. It’s time to turn the other cheek. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

School tips · Work

Tips To Passing A College Level Course

I am not immune to bad grades. I wish I was but I’m not. After a long semester, one filled with tears (literally) and struggling to keep a good grade in specific classes, I have decided to write a post on how to successfully navigate a hard class. I’m not guarenteeing you will recieve an A or a great grade but you are sure to pass the class. Many of these tips I read before I started my class and I ignored until the end of the semester. I’ve since reevaluated my decision. So here are some tips that I will be implimenting this next semester.

  1. Perfect Attendance – I use this title because it brings to mind a specific item. Not “oh it’s ok to miss some” but always being there and always being on time. I want to stress the point that you really need to make sure to be in class as much as you can. Not only will it help you develope a presence with your professor but it will also help you when they give tips in class about tests, exams, and how to remember items.
  2. Ask Questions – Make sure you ask something if you don’t know it. It’s important to be clear about something even if you feel stupid or ignorant. You are in a classroom and it’s probably the safest zone you could have to ask questions like “Is Limestone part of Tums”? – PS – the answer is NO. And yes I’ve heard this question in a classroom.
  3. Study Outside the Classroom – This doesn’t just mean in the library. I would highly recommend http://www.KahnAcademy.com for pretty much any science or math subject. I haven’t used them for anything other then science or math but they have proven to be one of the most useful websites I’ve come across.
  4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – Practice until your head hurts and your brain wants to drop out of it. I’m not talking about practicing concepts where you are strong – practice your weak points. It is the only way you will get better. If you don’t understand the teacher – find another source, but practice as much as you can.
  5. Silence your phones/computers/any source of distraction –I do this in class and when I study because otherwise I will get so distracted. It will help you focus on the concepts you need to be studying or paying attention to lecture more than you realize.

Do you have any tips you want to share? I’ve found a study buddy to be very helpful in certain instances but with hard topics, I have to say that I find I study best by myself. I’ve also found it helpful to ask the professor privately for help or find a tutor for concepts that I don’t understand if you can’t find help online. Personally, I learn best by myself so that’s the way I tend to study. Best of Luck to all the students out there.

Daily Life · School tips · Work

Do’s and Don’ts of Writing an College Essay in a Second Language

While going through school I have been helping my brother-in-law with his essays as well as writing my own. Background – he immigrated from Peru several years ago and while his english is pretty solid(speaking), his writing is a weak point. Let’s be honest – most people who are fluent in english (reading, writing, and speaking) like naturalized citizens struggle with writing a solid essay. This list compiled down below are a few things that will help you learn to write a better essay in english if it’s your second language. I do have to say that I believe it would help with writing in any other language but I won’t swear to it.

  1. Do Organize – I’ve said it in previous posts and I’ll say it again – organize before you write. This is probably the most important step to writing an essay no matter the language. You have to organize your thoughts – write it in bullet points, do a brain web, anything that helps you get organized. It always amazes me how people ask me to read their essay and it’s so unorganized. Your brain might make the connections but I guarantee your readers will not.
  2. Do NOT Write it in Your First Language – This was new to me when I started reading my brother’s essay. He would write them in spanish and then use Google Translate to translate them into english. Now – I love Google Translate. It’s how I am able to communicate with my mother-in-law, but using it to translate more than a few sentences is a BAD idea. I know that writing, particularly in english, is very difficult, but try speaking what you are going to write as you are writing it. It will help you learn the flow of what you are trying to communicate. The problems I have found in essays that utilize a translation website are: grammar, missing words, incorrect sentence flow, and mistranslation. If you are unsure about a word – yes look that up, but do NOT use it for the whole paper or even sentences. It becomes choppy and looks like something expected out of an elementary school student.
  3. Do Read – I know that sounds weird, especially in the age of TV. That being said, however, you must read. Read and re-read your essay. Read other essays, books, magazines, and literature. No – subtitles do not count. This will not only help you become more accustomed and acclimated to the language but it will also help your grammar skills. Amazingly, I can tell who reads and who doesn’t simply by the style of writing they employ. If you aren’t going to read a book or don’t want to – please re-read your essay at least 3 times out loud. Give breaks in between your readings. It is most important that you read it out loud though, this forces your brain to find all the discrepancies your ear will hear.

I hope these help the writers out there that are struggling. Personally, I hate doing peer reviews and reading an essay that is so unorganized, choppy, and ill-written; so I’m sure my professors do also. It’s ok to need help – that’s why schools offer tutoring. It’s ok for it not to be perfect – that’s why you are in school. But it is NOT ok to not do your best and try to find a shortcut to doing a decent essay. When you get out of school – you will need these skills. Improve yourself in the safety of the classroom now – the working world is far less forgiving.

Children · Daily Life · Work

5 Tips for being a Successful Nanny

I have to admit that while I don’t currently desire to have any children of my own, I do enjoy being a nanny. I watch two boys Monday – Friday and while they have great days most of the time, occasionally we have bad ones too. I’ve picked up a few useful tips on how to deal with these days because at 6 years and 9 years old, I can’t cope with the behavior the way I would out of an 2 or 3-year-old. Both boys have different disabilities and it makes dealing with the behavior an interesting maze of actions and reactions.

  1. Listen – Sometimes all they really just need me to do is listen to what they are saying and sympathize with them about it. A lot of the time I don’t even have to say anything. Sometimes they talk about school or their dreams of becoming a motocross star or game system creator, but other times they talk about food they like or how rough their day was. No matter what they talk about, I try to listen and sympathize.
  2. Consistency People really underestimate how much children need consistency, especially kids with disabilities. It gives them something dependable in their life. I try to always have dinner ready at 5pm. We always do homework at a specific time. Things like this make it easier for them to anticipate what I’m going to ask them to do and it makes it easier for me when I have to tell them what to do.
  3. Discipline – I am never going to tell you to physically discipline someone elses child. I would never do that myself. When I talk about discipline I am referring to actions and consequences. Allowing children to grow up in a world without consequences does nothing for their moral compass or for their ability to learn about responsibility. Example: The 6-year-old that I nanny decided he would try to deceive me yesterday and not come do homework when I told him to. He likes to come home and watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. Normally, I let him finish his video before doing his homework – it’s annoying as an adult to be interrupted from a video, so I imagine as a child it’s harder to focus. Today, however, when I picked him up from school he came in and asked me where his Ipad was – I told him “You tried to decieve me and not be responsible yesterday. The consequence is that you lose the right to decide when we are going to do homework until I see responsibility again. We are going to do homework right now.” He was less than pleased to say the least. However, now he knows that he can’t do that.
  4. Find Something Special – As a nanny, you have to know when to have fun. You also need to know when to find something that can be special for you and the kids. While consistency is awesome and very necessary, on the really bad days (most of the time it’s because it was a bad day at school) I do something a bit different. We’ve made cookies, french toast for dinner, roasted s’mores over candles, and decided on a small party for christmas.
  5. Teach Independence – This doubles with discipline as they have to learn to do things on their own. The 9-year-old is my best example – each day I pick him up from school and we talk about what homework he has for the day and what is due for the week. He has 1 book report each week so he can have special privileges at school on Friday. I might ask him each day if he wants to do it but I tell him “It’s due on Thursday, so you decide what day you will do it and which works best for you.” I also tell him that he has to do his homework before dinner and shower after dinner. He has the capability of choosing what time he does those and by the time I leave each night – he has them done. This allows him moderate responsibility and teaches him to be independent and rely on me and his mother less. I find this to be very important especially when they are young because the world is not going to remind you of what you need to do when and your mom will not want to take care of her adult son. For the younger boy this might look like me telling him to take a shower and wash his hair – I choose the time but he does it himself.

Overall, I try to have fun as a nanny. We joke and laugh and have a good time, but at the end of the day – their parents are paying me to not only take care of the boys but also to give them life skills. I honestly believe that each of these tips helps me be a better nanny and helps the boys grow. Being a nanny can be like a dictatorship but most of the time it’s really more like a democracy and a bit of give and take.