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On handling anxiety

Sunday, 24. June 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Are worries getting you down? George MacDonald had these wise observations:

“It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear.

“God begs us to leave the future with Him and mind the present. We think that we come nearer to God than the lower animals do by our foresight, but there is another side to it. We must do our work in the great present, leaving both the past and future to Him to whom they are both ever present, fearing nothing, because He is in our future, as much as He has been in our past.

“If we have a disagreeable duty to do at twelve o’clock, do not blacken nine and ten and eleven, and all between with the color of twelve. Do the work of each day and reap the reward of peace. So when the dreaded moment in the future becomes the present, you shall meet it walking in the light, and that light will overcome its darkness.”

[Source: 3000 Quotations from the Writings of George MacDonald, compiled by Harry Verploegh (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Fleming H. Revell, 1996).]

“Cast all your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, New American Bible, Revised Edition).

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Famous people’s quotes about their mothers

Sunday, 13. May 2018 by Renee Ellison

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To inspire you today!

My mother was the source from which I derived the guiding principles of my life. (John Wesley)

My mother had a slender small body, but a large heart—a heart so large that everybody’s grief and everybody’s joy found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation. (Mark Twain)

She tried in every way to understand me, and she succeeded. It was this deep, loving understanding as long as she lived that more than anything else helped and sustained me on my way to success. (Mae West)

For the mother is and must be, whether she knows it or not, the greatest, strongest, and most lasting teacher her children have. (Hannah Whitall Smith)

You can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your child’s. The influence you do exert is through your own life, and what you’ve become yourself. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

From Jennie Bernstein, mother of the famous Jewish musician and conductor, Leonard Bernstein: Lenny always wanted an audience. And in the beginning, I was that audience.

My mother was as mild as any saint, and nearly canonized by all she knew, so gracious was her tact and tenderness. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Mother was one of those strong, restful, yet widely sympathetic natures, in whom all around seemed to find comfort and repose. (Harriet Beecher Stowe)

My mother made a brilliant impression upon my childhood life. She shone for me like the evening star—-I loved her dearly. (Winston Churchill)

All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. (Abraham Lincoln)

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am, I owe to my mother. (George Washington)

What tigress is there that does not purr over her young ones, and fawn upon them in tenderness? (Saint Augustine)

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret love outlives them all. (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

She was such a good loving mother, my best friend; oh, who was happier than I when I could still say the dear name “mother,” and it was heard by her, but whom can I say it to now? (Ludwig van Beethoven)

I have found that no kisses can ever compare to “mom” kisses, because mom kisses can heal anything. You can have a hangnail, a broken heart, or catatonic schizophrenia; with moms, one kiss and you’re fine. (anonymous)

I think my life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face. (George Eliot)

The older I become, the more I think about my mother. (Ingmar Bergman)

Grandparents: Love your grandchildren without usurping their primary love relationships

Wednesday, 21. March 2018 by Renee Ellison

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We must “love” carefully in all of our relationships. As we love, we must strive to not usurp the God-ordained primary loves of those around us. If there is a desire in our hearts to have the supremacy in the heart of a close relative, for example, or a person at church or work, or neighbor, outside of God’s expressed order, we could unknowingly be involved in a type of subtle mental adultery.

Let’s look at this subtle tendency even with the natural love of grandparenting, first, so that the transfer of this vital relational principle is more easily understood with any similar additional situation. It is a natural temptation for a grandparent to want to be thought of as wonderful by their grandchild—right up there with Mary Poppins—but if we are not very circumspect in this regard we can unwittingly supplant the child’s love for their own parents in preference for affection toward us. That may feel marvelous to us, but feels terrible to the parents.

Often, parents are weary and beleaguered with the daily challenges of chores and discipline and when a grandparent pops in and out of the scene the child can begin to PREFER the unbridled sentimental and lavish expressions of “love” from the grandparent.

So, what the grandparent must continually do when with the grandchild is to support and uplift the efforts and personages of the parents. This can include being swift to point out the labors of the parents in the child’s behalf, the goodnesses in the parents’ character, etc.

Also, it is important to refrain from having secrets with the child of what we shall persuade the supposedly unwilling parents out of. No collusion! We must avoid strategizing with the child as if the parents are the reluctant enemy.

We see this delicate sort of successful loving expressed perfectly within the Trinity, itself. Christ was always referring to the love of the Father. The Father was drawing attention only to the love of the Son. And the Holy Spirit humbly draws the heart to Christ and the Father, and never to Himself. This is how holy love works.

Mom’s Day Out Workshop

Monday, 05. March 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Want to be queen for a day? Have a personal mentor all to yourself? Come to Renee’s “Mom’s Day Out” one-day workshop and you’ll never be the same.

You’ll expand your own skills in one to three vital domestic areas. You get to select one of these skills, or have a combination of two or all three. Not only do you learn them yourself, you also will be able to turn around and teach them to others.

With these highly focused streamlined remarkable methods, you can teach these skills to your children, or make some extra spending money from home via teaching other moms and daughters in your area.

Your own personal satisfaction, delight and expansion with your newly found skills will be your biggest gain. You’ll go home filled because someone invested in YOU, for a change, like you do with your children and others every day. Pamper yourself AND grow capable, in one day.

The three skill areas:

· Personal and domestic organizational tips and tricks

· Beginning sewing skills

· Beginning piano chording

The workshop fee is $99, and includes two free nights of simple sleeping accommodations, meals, and free pick-up and drop-off at the DRO airport for those who need to fly in. (The Durango-La Plata County Airport is just ten minutes away; no need for a car rental.) Bring a friend and/or your daughter, 12 years or older only; one fee per person. Make your reservation now via email.

Filed Under: Home management tips

Thoughts on committed love vs. sentimentality on Valentine’s Day

Wednesday, 14. February 2018 by Renee Ellison

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I think it is most interesting on this Valentine’s Day to observe our culture’s mania over engaging in sentimentality and materialism, all too often with a series of transient lovers (beginning in Jr. High, continued at the office, and ending in Senior retirement communities of multiple divorcees and re-marriages playing crib together) in preference to gripping the real foundations of a lifetime singular love.

Such a solitary love is built upon an increasing fidelity, loyalty, having each other’s back through thick and thin, focus, selflessness, self-sacrifice, adjustment to another human being in all of its delicacies, promoting the other human being in others’ eyes, believing in them, working side by side in various life projects, etc. One Chinese man built for his wife a stairway up their mountain of 500 stairs, made of rock, presented them to her with pride, and walked up and down them with her over the remainder of their crippled old lives together. She was his entire horizon.

As a culture, on the other hand, we would far rather throw money and tinsel at the situation with a temporary love than do the work of love’s longevity and depth of “knowing.” The old hymn expresses real love so well in its words: “He shall hold me fast.” That is the lead pipe of human love as well:“I shall hold thee fast.”

Filed Under: Home management tips

Let us ever take the high ground

Tuesday, 13. February 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Some evangelicals teach that the commands of God are so high that it is impossible to keep them; therefore we must settle only for a sentimental feeling of love toward our Master and live each day as we feel (for many, that winds up meaning….helplessly succumb to the relentless pressures of increased subtle and overt worldliness).

Upon a close examination of actual scripture we find accounts of the exact opposite. Amazingly, several individuals are, in fact, pointed out as righteous—while living amidst very pagan worlds. In each case they were marked by belief in God AND they walked in a progressive obedience. These individuals didn’t have periodic bum chapters (couldn’t help it… waywardness), in their walk with God.

“He who loves me keeps my commands” (John 14:15, 21). “He it is who loves me” (i.e. obedience, apparently, is the identifying feature of the strong believer).

Noah: “I have found you righteous in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). It was apparently evident that Noah had obeyed God in the past and, now, as soon as it was commanded, he would get right to work on the ark.

Job: “Job was blameless and upright” (Job 1:1). He feared God, and he shunned evil. He wasn’t foolin’ around with a little bit of waywardness on the Internet.

Enoch walked with God, and was not! (Genesis 5:24). He apparently had totally overcome the fear of men.

Elizabeth and Zachariah: “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s command and decrees blamelessly” (Luke 1:6). (Elizabeth’s tank tops weren’t cut lower and lower.)

Mary: “You who are highly favored… You have found favor with God” (Luke 1:28, 30). (Mary hadn’t shacked up with three or four guys already, insisting upon “instantness” before succumbing to the “bondage” of commitment.) “May your word to me be fulfilled !”

Daniel: “Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel” (Daniel 1:9). (Daniel hadn’t dabbled in Buddhism, just a little bit, during his college years. It is as if the Lord was saying to him, “You HAVE walked in obedience and I feel quite sure that you WILL walk in obedience.)

God implores us to “Be ye holy as I am holy” as if it were possible! It IS possible not to steal today.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Anything but God

Sunday, 04. February 2018 by Renee Ellison

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The atheist’s dilemma:

The atheist, having dispensed with God, now has to take on the burden of re-writing all origins, not only the social agendas he so chooses (as in “I prefer multiple women and I much prefer raising my children only part-time”).

But why stop there? Doesn’t he have to re-write the laws of physics and chemistry, to say nothing of explaining his own existence, too? He now must somehow explain his lack of power to engineer the details of which womb his body will proceed from, and in which century.

Another problem with choosing to be your own god [note the little “g”] is that it puts you in the company of everyone else who has chosen likewise. Thus, you are into battle with not just other people, but other people who, just like you, have chosen to be god—but on different terms than yours. So, if you want to be god, have at it.


New agers’ dilemmas:

Eastern gods are gods only of philosophical thought or of mystical conjecture. The devotees of such have to pit THEIR god of metaphysics against the credentials of THE God of historical fact.

THEIR god never:

· rose from the dead (witnessed by 500 over 40 days)

· performed miracles (witnessed by thousands; not a private apparition)

· ascended into heaven (witnessed by a group of disciples; again, not a private apparition)

· was foretold by scores of scriptures that predated his birth

· showed consummate immediate recuperative power over a man’s soul, to transpose him from skid row into a drug-free church go-er in an hour.


As they sit in the lotus position, they also must answer the questions of…

· how meditation helps one cope with a burglar in one’s home, or how to stop an ex-con from raping your daughter

· how much meditation would they need to do to secure Nirvana

· have to wrestle with the impossibility of assertions like “if you can believe it, you can become it.” Really? A foot-dwarf can become a pole-vaulter?

· via reincarnation, just what would an ant have to do to be worthy enough to come back as a cow?

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

The two ingredients of loving well

Saturday, 20. January 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Loving other adults and peers really well requires two sensitive awarenesses. One is everyone’s gaping need for unconditional affirmation. Therefore, let us give that affirmation as our pre-set immovable posture toward all of God’s humans. The other is everyone’s need for adult autonomy: let us give space to others to define themselves.

Each person is an entire continent, too vast to know fully, even by themselves of themselves, let alone by someone else. In light of this, we must begin relating to everyone with a kind of awe. If we don’t accept others, each as a unique continent, they just go underground; they sink, like Atlantis, out of our view. Each person will be who they will be; the sooner we can square ourselves with that, the more relationally successful we will become.

Give a person space and they will seek to be near us. Attempt to carve on them for our own ends, or control them or rearrange their head, and they will quietly slip out of view. What we seek to possess, relationally, we will lose. What we relationally keep in an open hand, we will gain.

We need to revere and respect each composite person, as is. Believe the best about them. Realize that they became whatever they are today via all of their specific and long background before they ever met you. Most of us are quite helpless to change, even if we want to. Let us then walk softly around others. As the old adage says, until we have walked a mile in another person’s moccasins we do well to refrain from criticizing. We may speak best with a zipped lip and a large loving heart.

Two tips for successfully managing groups of children

Thursday, 11. January 2018 by Renee Ellison

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At social gatherings and even at church after the service is over we often forget that children need adult supervision at all times. Without close management, unsupervised children, running in herds, tend to descend toward deviant behavior, property gets damaged, and/or someone gets hurt.

There are two wise avenues of establishing a wholesome triumphant group life for children at a moment’s notice. They are found in the teaching concepts of “gathering” and “pre-positioning.” Let’s look at each.

Gathering all the children involved in an event to sit quietly at an adult’s feet will coalesce a group in good directions. The instructions given at the time of gathering provides children with clarity and security. Children need to know, at all times, that some adult is at the helm and that an authority figure can be found swiftly should he or she be needed.

Pre-positioning further provides specific guidance for boundaries. Standards are set in this way that help define the event and set the tone of the atmosphere.

The gathering and pre-positioning are where you set (and communicate to the children) the boundaries. When in groups, children need three kinds of boundaries—spatial, activity, and behavioral—for them to function at their best. Following are examples of boundaries of all three types.

One (spatial): “You may play in this area, but do not go out beyond X, Y or Z.”

Two (activity): “You may use this equipment, these objects, these games. You must put them back where they belong before going on to the next activity.”

Three (behavioral): “You must conduct yourself with kindness, looking for ways to serve or help others. Think of others more than yourself whenever you are in a group.”

These two simple management strategies of gathering and pre-positioning children are both wonderfully proactive, and are based on the fact that “an ounce of
pre-planning and prevention is better than a pound of chaotic cure.”

Let us value our children and their social events by remaining attentive to their needs. Let us determine to provide protection and security for them at all times.
There is no time when children are unimportant. Each social arena is a place to continue to tend, to train, and to treasure our offspring. Parenthood is all about vigilance. Do it carefully and prayerfully for just a few short years, a sprint across time, and you’ll reap the rewards again and again in years to come.

Filed Under: Home management tips

Thanksgiving or despair?

Thursday, 23. November 2017 by Renee Ellison

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Because of personal tragedies, large or small, some of us might find ourselves “Thanksgiving” during this holiday with a kind of emptiness. Loneliness, broken hearts, dashed expectations, failed marriages, ill health, grinding poverty, career upsets, accidents and deaths of loved ones, obstacles and disappointments over our own goals, investment reversals—all and any of these constitute possible sources of deep personal anguish, pushing thoughts of any sort of “thanksgiving” far away (at least in our hearts, even if we attend a dinner dedicated to that purpose).

In sadness, on a day like today we might find ourselves casting around furtively for something to be thankful for, but feel like we are scraping the bottom of the barrel. We might conclude that we could muster thankfulness for two good legs and blue sky. But what if even those things, too, were taken away from us? We break a leg or we are robbed of blue sky by prolonged inclement weather. We see readily that if we are to be thankful it will have to be rooted in something other than our circumstances.

The challenge of whether to be thankful or not is really a question put to us not for a day but for a lifetime. The issue of thankfulness doesn’t stop in 24 hours. We will face it ongoingly in old age when we find ourselves living on a shrinking island of diminishing personal faculties and capabilities. Will we choose to be grateful then?

Ultimately we must realize that thanksgiving or bitterness are relational terms. We do not sit as repositories of these conditions. These are thoughts with a destination. They are aimed somewhere, initially perhaps at people, but finally at God Himself.

Whether we know it or not, at the core of this issue sits another issue. To solve how we will position our soul, not just for today but for a lifetime, whether in gratefulness or despair, we must address the issue of personal suffering.

Real thanksgiving, the kind that gives unfathomable repose to the soul, day in and day out, is only possible if we believe in a God who created us and that He created us for a purpose. But how do we get-to/arrive confidently at that thought?

Let’s stop and fathom our anatomy for a minute. The very creation of our anatomy belies a purpose not just for our internal organs but for our entire existence. There sits the organ, and then there is what the organ does. So there we, too, sit—but over time it slowly dawns on us that we were designed for a great purpose, far outside of ourselves. And it is not just a purpose of function, but of being. We were designed for a relational purpose. We discover through the Bible that we were created for the praise of His glory…“to love God and enjoy him forever,” says the old Westminster Catechism.

Why? Because He first loved us.

The problem is that we don’t now see the whole story. It is hidden from us for a season, and for some exalted reason. Can we not imagine that if God took such great pains to design us in such detail, He has also calculated how suffering in the tender matters of the heart would ultimately benefit us?

Imagine ourselves shipwrecked—that we’ve come from somewhere and are going somewhere, but for now we finger lost treasures in the sand. Perhaps we have “fallen” from something?

The very existence of some good in the world—a kind gesture from a stranger, a beautiful sunset—gives rumor to the full-orbed story that we shall yet see in another realm, at another time. Now, then, is the season of trust. We must believe that God suffers with us, loves us deeply, and is in some mysterious way inculcating our sufferings into eternal benefit for us.

His purposes for us are greater than we can now imagine. This, then, is what we can be thankful for, through all conditions. The habitation of Thanksgiving can be our home; we can confidently park at that address, not only for today but for a lifetime.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips