~I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.--Revelation 3:8~

This Month's Thoughts for:

Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

Psalm 43:3 NIV

Body-Now that all of the holiday celebrations are nearly over, it's time to look at taking care of ourselves. If you haven't already been, you need to find the right balance in life so that you can have time for exercise and to strengthen yourself.

Mind-Whether you're a student or a graduate, it's never too late to learn something new. Keep your eyes and ears open so that you may find guidance through God's word.

Spirit-Take time each day to pray and talk to God. He hears you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Featured Short Story: A Glutton for Punishment by Rebecca Benston (Part Two)

Jane sat up straight in the seat, “What do you mean, a solution?”

“She means that we can help you with your situation,” Lola said from the passenger seat. She turned and looked at Jane sternly. “Your situation with Pete.”

“How do you mean? Do you know a better attorney or something?” she asked.

“Well…kind of…not exactly, but well, yes,” Sissy said.

“Do you remember me telling you about the trouble I had with my divorce a couple of years back?” Sissy asked her.

Jane nodded.

“Remember how I told you that all Ted talked about was getting the house and how he was going to take all of the money out of the bank accounts so that I’d have to struggle to keep my business going,” she continued.

“The business you started with your own money?” Jane asked her. She was getting very curious now.

“Yes, that’s the one,” she said, “Do you remember me telling you that Ted had passed away just three days before our final hearing?”

The pieces began to fall into place and Jane nodded, “I remember, what did you say happened to him?”

“I didn’t really say, but they think it was some kind of electrical problem,” she said, throwing her hands up in a practiced show of naivete. “He was just driving along one night and his car sort of burst into flames.”

“Oh, my God,” Jane said, “That’s horrible.”

“Yes, it was horrible,” Sissy said, holding her hand in front of her, admiring her French manicure. “Such a shame.”

“It’s odd, really,” Lola said, “but the same kind of thing happened to my ex-boyfriend, Greg.”

Jane’s brow furrowed, “It did?”

“Well, not an explosion, but a freak accident with his ATV,” she said, “He was an avid sportsmen and one day, he was out riding around in the woods, doing whatever it was he did when he went out in the woods. The policeman who came to see me said that he had lost control of the four-wheeler and flipped over the handlebars. He died instantly.”

“Jesus, you guys must be bad luck,” Jane said, and then her hand flew to her mouth. “Bad something…I guess.”

“We’re bad something, alright,” Kate chimed in, “Bad ass women who don’t take shit from men who try to hurt us. That’s why we want to help you.” She had been quiet during the rest of the conversation, but Jane knew why. Kate had been attacked by her former boyfriend, Steve. He had beaten her severely and left her to die in the parking lot of their apartment building. She had managed to drag herself to safety and from there, she had taken steps to get him out of her life. The process had been a difficult one from what Jane had heard. Kate hadn’t been able to get a restraining order because there had been no witnesses to the beating and because Steve had somehow managed to get himself beaten up before going to the police and claiming that Kate had been the one who hit him.

Jane hesitated and finally, after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, she said, “I don’t know what to say, what can you do for me? I just can’t imagine…”

“All you need to do is tell us a few things about Pete, we’ll take care of the rest,” Sissy said. “You won’t need to do anything and we’d rather you didn’t know more than that.”

Jane turned it over in her mind. She had wished that Pete would just disappear. She had also wished that he would drive his car into a tree or something along similar lines. Now the opportunity for relief from this jerk was right in front of her. She would have been skeptical, but in light of what she knew about her friends she felt like they might actually be able to help her. None of them had ever been in trouble with the law. None of them had been questioned by the police at the times of their significant other’s deaths. In fact, they had actually been treated very well by the local law enforcement officers. Sissy had even started dating a policeman recently and was supposedly thinking about marrying him. She thought about Kate and her situation with Steve.

“So whatever happened with Steve,” she asked her, “He just disappeared?”

“That’s what they say,” Kate said, winking her eye. “He just disappeared.”

“Can I think about it?” Jane asked, “I mean, can I get back to you on this?”

“Jesus, Jane, we’re not selling you a car here,” Lola said, “We’re offering you a special solution to your problems.”

“Now, Lola, let’s not put too much pressure on her,” Sissy said, “this isn’t an easy decision and if she isn’t sure, I don’t want her to jump into anything.”

“Thanks, Sissy,” Jane said, “I don’t mean to sound unappreciative, but I just don’t know. I mean, we have a daughter together and how do I deal with telling her that he’s gone?”

“How have you been dealing with it?” Sissy asked, raising an eyebrow.

Jane thought for a minute and then started to tell the ladies about Pete’s habits.
She told them where he liked to eat, where he liked to shop, and where he liked to hang out after work. She gave them the address where he was living with his parents. She told them about his tendency to overeat and how he loved a good meal. She told them how he liked to go fishing at night and drink beer on the dock while he fished. When she was done, she asked them if they could give her some time to make up her mind. She assured them that she only wanted to make sure she was doing the right thing. After all, what if he decided to come back to her and everything went back to normal. Not likely, but it crossed her mind. The ladies agreed and she told Sissy that she would call her in a couple of weeks to let her know what she had decided.

When Jane got back home that night, Zsa Zsa was asleep on the loveseat. Emma was sleeping in a little sleeping bag on the floor near the couch. Jane looked at her daughter and then leaned down to brush the hair away from her precious little face. Tears rolled down her face as she thought about her discussion with Sissy and the girls. How could she take Emma’s father away from her? Would it solve anything? What was she going to do? She had a court hearing the in a couple of days and she would find out where things stood. She picked Emma up and carried her to the bed, tucking her in and kissing her goodnight. Zsa Zsa had already awoken and headed home to her own apartment. Jane changed her clothes and got into bed beside Emma.
She held her close that night as she fell asleep. She hoped that the right decision would come to her soon so that they could get on with their lives.

Come back for more of the story next week!

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Tips on healthy living, healthy loving and healthy habits!

Healthy Relationships: Where do you fit in?

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 New International Version

In relationships, we are all put to the test in one way or another. Whether we are being taught a lesson in trusting others or in learning to love selflessly, we must always be on the lookout for signs that the enemy is lurking nearby. Sometimes what we think might be one of God's tests for us is actually our own ego struggling to overpower His influence in our lives.

If you are fighting constantly over the same issues with your significant other, take a step back and ask yourself, "What would God want me to do here?" It could be that He wants you to take enough pride in yourself to stand up for your right to be respected in the relationship. Maybe you need to step up and express your dissatisfaction with the way you are being treated in order to make your loved one understand what you need. Or maybe you are with someone who is treating you unfairly and God wants you to guard your heart.

If your usual tendency is to run away from a relationship when you aren't 100% satisfied with the other person's behavior, this could be an indicator that you aren't being realistic in your expectations. No one is perfect and learning to love one another's flaws as well as one's gifts is part of a healthy relationship.

A great resource for you to check out if you are having difficulty sustaining relationships is "Safe People" by Townsend and Cloud. I am currently going through a Bible Study with some ladies and we are using this book as our guide. There is alot of great information about boundaries and how to identify traits in others who may be unsafe for us. If you get a chance, check this one out.

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