Category Archives: Inspiratioal

A Generational Curse ~ plagued me all of my life

ShameMy mother and I grew into a love/hate relationship. She was a good person, don’t get me wrong. I honor her for the upstanding individual she was. Her word was her bond and she was as moral  as the day was long.

However, very early on, I perceived her attitude toward me as one of suspicion and condemnation where the opposite sex was concerned. As I grew into my teenage years, it seemed to me she was obsessive in that area. I’ve always been bemused by this, I’m absolutely sure I didn’t exhibit any behavior in my pre-teen years to warrant this type of extreme scrutiny on her part…which was when her censure began.

I wasn’t allowed to date in high school.  And it was during my high school years when I overheard my parents discussing their fear that I would get pregnant. I was extremely hurt. Why would they think that? I was socially awkward around boys. I said and did the wrong things. I’d try to fit in with them by being one of the boys and quickly found out most teenage males didn’t enjoy a girl more quick witted than themselves. And they weren’t attracted at all to a girl who was one of the guys. By my senior year, I’d begun to flirt and that got me some male attention. Still, I didn’t fall into the ‘dateable material’ category in their books…not a problem. I wasn’t allowed to date anyway. But I was allowed to attend my proms. Out of the fear that I would have no date for either one (more than fear…stark reality), I asked boys who I thought would in no way be asking any girl to the prom. And so, I did attend both proms. The Lord has gifted me with the skills of a planner and with determination. Both those talents have stood me well in life.

When I got out of high school, it was like being shot out of a cannon. I went to live with my older cousin and her husband in New York City and I got into the dating scene, which at that time was the singles bar scene. Enough said.

Later, I married a funny, great looking, and highly intelligent guy. My mother is gone and I was at her side when she passed. It’s been a number of years that I’ve forgiven her for her obsessive hounding, scrutiny, and condemnation of me as a girl.

I’m now semi-retired, a widow, and I have an ongoing, growing relationship with the Lord that is indispensable to my life. It wasn’t long ago when the Lord not only opened my hear to see where my mother was coming from lo those many years ago, He impressed upon me that I was to share this publicly…hence this blog article. Sharing this was not what I wanted to hear or do. I knew it was God, even though I might’ve wanted to play that game: is it really God asking me to do this?

I also was aware of the sad history of my third youngest aunt (one of twelve children, born to legal immigrant parents, my grandparents). This aunt got pregnant at age 19, told her older sisters, and was whisked away to a sister’s house in another state. This was so my grandparents would never know and the family wouldn’t be embarrassed in their small town. My aunt was kept hidden away during the pregnancy and must’ve felt intense shame. At any rate not long after the baby was born and given up for adoption,  she was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

Secrets do get out, and when my grandparents found out about the pregnancy, they were in extreme pain that they had a grandchild ‘out there’ somewhere they would never know. My aunt’s schizophrenia was very hard for the family to deal with. She was institutionalized in a state hospital. In the 60s when the state institutions were closed, she went to a group home. I recall visiting her as a girl at the state hospital, and then as a young adult at the group home.

What the Lord made clear to me in my heart about my mom was that her fear of me becoming pregnant came out of a generational curse brought on by the intense pain and suffering the family went through with my aunt’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy and birth and her subsequent schizophrenia. I’ve never been sure if my mom and her sisters believed the strain of this pregnancy and birth triggered the schizophrenia. And maybe it did…or maybe she was going to come down with this awful disease in her 20s at any rate. Maybe the oncoming schizophrenia caused her to make poor choices with a boy and that resulted in the pregnancy. Which came first, the chicken or the egg, the cart or the horse? I’ll never know.

What the Lord recently showed me was while I lived for many years wondering, due to my mom’s condemnation, if she truly loved me…this extreme behavior on her part came from irrational fear. She was absolutely beset by a spirit of fear in this regard. And it was also love. She wanted to protect me from what had happened to my aunt. It had never occurred to me that my mom’s crazy behavior had anything to do with love, but it did. And I hope my sharing this will help set someone free who had a condemning parent.

There is such a thing as a generational curse. It’s a very complex subject matter, not a parlor game. I’ve only touched the mere surface of this subject. If you identify in any way with this scenario, pray about it.

 


Rebecca’s Legacy by Betty Thomason Owens ~ spotlight

Rebecca's Legacy

Historical Romantic Suspense/Inspirational Fiction

 

Betty is such an awesome writer, you just have to check out Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3 Legacy series.

*****

Amy Juliana Emerson might be a cultured debutante, but she’s doing her best to follow her mom’s rebellious footsteps. Her desperate attempt to escape her father’s control, however, comes at the worst possible time.

Robert Emerson has received a threat against his family in an attempt to take over his company, Sanderson Industries. To guarantee his willful daughter’s safety, he sends her to work on a produce farm run by her Aunt Rebecca. Maybe her quiet strength and unconditional love can work on Amy, keep her from becoming the prodigal daughter she seems insistent on being.

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to make sure his daughter stays in line. His only interest in the beautiful girl is purely part of his job. Purely. Amy considers him a fuddy-duddy which suits the situation perfectly, allowing him to stay close to her without concern for her losing her heart to him. And his own heart … well, his feelings didn’t matter. This was business.

INTERVIEW:

Nike:  Tell us something topical, interesting, funny, or something we would not expect about the writing of this novel.

Betty:  Amy Juliana Emerson was born in Amelia’s Legacy, the first book in the Legacy series. I always wanted to tell her story. When her character began to flesh out in my writing, I loved her instantly. She made me laugh. The main antagonist in Rebecca’s Legacy, Thad Greene, was supposed to be a constant thorn in Amy’s side, but something happened as I was writing his character. He ran into a snag that changed the entire plot line and shocked the author. Yes, that’s right, I was surprised. So, now you know I’m not a plotter. I contemplated an adjustment to the story, but honestly, the pivotal scene just felt right.

Nike:  If this novel is part of a series, tell us about the series.

Betty:  The Legacy series begins with Amelia’s Legacy, Nancy Sanderson’s attempt to free herself from her grandmother’s iron-fisted control. In book two, Carlotta’s Legacy, Nancy’s best friend Rebecca Lewis feels compelled to enter into marriage with a man she barely knows, a young Italian count who owns a vineyard in Umbria. The ongoing theme of the Legacy series is discovering love through family.

Nike:  Can you give us a sneak peek or preview into the next work in progress (WIP) you’re working on? When do you expect to release it?

Betty:  I’m working on the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. The first book, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a retelling of the Biblical story of Ruth, set in 1950s rural south. I was able to use many of my childhood memories of the setting and actual people (fictionalized, of course) who lived then. Book 2, Sutter’s Landing, continues the story. In the final book, Annabelle (the Naomi character) struggles with her feelings for a man who’s pursuing her. I’m hoping she’ll overcome her objections and accept his proposal, but we’ll see. The working title is “Annabelle’s Beau.” I hope the book will be ready for release in 2019.

Nike:  Were you good in English as a student? Did you enjoy reading and writing back then?

Betty:  English and literature were two of my favorite subjects in school. I read all the time and enjoyed a variety of subjects and authors. My senior year of high school, I was a teacher’s pet—er—aid for my English Lit class. That was when I became interested in the classics. I read books by the Bronte sisters, Dickens, and du Maurier. When it came time to read Les Misérables for class, I was horribly bored. But a couple years later after high school ended, I was even more bored, and picked it up again. Wow. I was hooked. I read it through twice and loved it. I don’t remember writing, except when it was required. The desire to write came on suddenly in my early thirties. I often quip that I started writing to keep my sanity while raising three boys. A friend read one of my early stories and encouraged me to pursue it. I took a short story writing class at the University of Louisville. The professor loved my story and urged me to continue writing.

Betty Thomason Owens

BIO:

Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, ANNABELLE’S RUTH, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, THE LADY OF THE HAVEN and A GATHERING OF EAGLES, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Betty’s website 

Purchase Rebecca’s Legacy on Amazon

 


Tipping Percentages ~ now a vehicle for shaming

tipA recent report stated millennial are the “worst tippers.” I’d heard this before and I’ve also read a large number of articles extolling raising the tipping percentage from the traditional 15% to the new 20%. The result being that some groups of people aren’t tipping at all, but they are being shamed. Even traditional 15% tippers are being shamed, which is ridiculous.

Why is tipping important? Well, how we handle money shows character. Does tipping 20% show better character than tipping 15%? Not in my opinion. However, in our culture where we all know service employees depend on tips, not tipping at all does show a lack of character. It’s common knowledge that in many cases your server might be a single mother supporting her children, or a student over-burdened with college debt.

Deuteronomy 15:7 ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]  

If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;

Younger adults starting out in their careers as well as retirees have a lower income than middle-aged adults and so ‘have always’ tended to be on the lower end of the tipping spectrum. This should not be surprising and I can’t understand why a study was needed. What I don’t like is the shaming element in reporting this study to the public. It seems, in today’s accusatory environment, many perfectly understandable things get twisted and  reported in the media in a shaming manner. Then they go viral on social media…or vice-versa. Sometimes the shaming gets to be a fevered pitch. This is so unhealthy, so unnecessary, so unproductive.

Tipping is a perfect symbol. How we tip shows how we treat others, how we value their lives. It’s  not ‘they should do something about that’ or ‘there should be a program to fix that’. Tipping comes out of our pockets. It’s personal to us. It’s what are ‘we’ doing to show we value the other person? We have some skin in the game.

Contrary to unfounded popular belief, shaming doesn’t make the shamer feel super-duper. Quite the contrary, shaming others often leaves the shamer let down and in a state of anger, which is mentally and physically damaging.

And, of course, it goes without saying, shaming is extremely damaging to the one being shamed. Interestingly enough, both the shamer and the shamed are so preoccupied with their own behavior and feelings, they have little empathy for others. There is no win here. It’s a lose-lose.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

 

 

 


Singleness ~ a most valuable season

woman dancing

In American culture we’ve treated the state of singleness as a state of me-ism, freedom from other’s needs and desires, carefree liberation, interspersed with times of mutual body disrobing. One nonfic writer admits, fueled by several glasses of wine, she started her list of things to do for her-single-self in prep for this body disrobing with another adult. The list included exercise class, clean apartment, spiff up her appearance and style, etc.. Doesn’t sound that liberating to me.

woman with violyn

As Christians, God should always be Number-One in our lives. We should seek God’s will for this single life-season. Actually, singlehood is one of the most valuable seasons. It’s a time to develop into whole, fully functioning human beings. A shalom time. In Hebrew, shalom means nothing lost, nothing broken. Whether we will marry, or stay single, singleness is a time for personal growth, healing, and developing of God given talents.

man and woman 1

I’m now single, again…a widow. However, when I was single the first time, it was commonly said, “two will make a whole.” That’s not true. Two half-people do not make one wonderful whole. Two half-people are two broken people floundering in a marriage. Many of us went into marriage that way. With God’s help, fifty percent of the marriages survived. Can I suggest, that mate-seeking model is flawed. It’s also a horrible model for eventual parenting. Jesus gave the best advise for relationships.

29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12: 29-31

In my belief system, Jesus is telling me at the bottom of this, I should have appropriate self-love, but certainly not the puffed up kind. As a Christian, I believe all life on the planet, as created by God, is amazing, and all human life is sacred. That includes my life. As a born again believer, I realize the Spirit of God dwells within me. That’s something incredibly awesome and valuable.

I was born into singlehood. Although I didn’t always recognizance this, from day one until the day I married, was a time of preparation. Ideally, it was a time to get to know God intimately, and a time to know myself. It was a time of intense personal growth…a time to discover my talents and my purpose on the earth.

Forgiveness

In order to live intimately with another human being of the opposite sex, from a different cultural background, heritage, and ancestry…these years of singleness were a time to learn about forgiveness. In marriage you will have to forgive. You will have to forgive yourself perhaps even more than you forgive your mate.

These are things in our culture we don’t talk about much. We make game shows and reality TV out of marriage. We talk about buying the perfect wedding gown, taking an amazing honeymoon that will be the envy of our friends and coworkers. The wedding gown gets packed away and eventually might be given to the Salvation Army Store. We come back from the honeymoon and have to live together…actually communicate and relate to a human being totally different from ourselves.

Why not take this time of singleness as a time to know that God loves us. We can then love Him, appropriately love ourselves, and more deeply love others. Not just love a marriage partner, but our families (even if they’re flawed and they’re all flawed), and our friends. We can learn how to love the unlovable — in Christ, and not get stepped on, manipulated, and used because we know we have worth and purpose. Yes, singlehood is a very important and wonderful season of life.


Don’t Despise What You Have ~ craving more

Child, photographer

Your Superpower

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8 [New American Standard Bible]

If God, looking at us, started with what He had…that might not be such a bad plan of action.

We live in a disposable culture. We all know people who live their lives constantly craving the next, newer, better thing.  They have a smart phone that’s working just fine, but there are smarter ones coming out. So, they discard the one they have and get the new one. Or it’s a wide screen TV, and they get a wider screen. Or, whatever.

Many of us have been in situations where someone at work had a close friend. Then they aspire to and are in the running for a promotion to a higher position. So, they drop their old work buddy. We’ve all seen or heard of scenarios like this. I know I have.

So many seem to fall short in the appreciation department, in the areas of gratitude, reliability. I try to be kind, honorable, but of courses, like you, I’ve fallen short.

pigeon-943273_640

Your Superpower

It really gets insidious when someone looks down upon one of his/her own talents or abilities because it’s not enough, not cool, not in demand, not of high standing, doesn’t command attention. They’re looking at whoever they think are the movers and shakers, belittling themselves by comparison. This is so sad.

When young people, or even not so young people, look at reality TV stars and devalue themselves while they crave the lives and lifestyle they are watching…this is soul killing.

Fixing, hammer

Your Superpower

This is not how the Creator made us to be. It seems cliche, yet it’s still true, we are each unique. There will never be another your or me. We’ll never be replicated. We were all born with innate abilities and talents. Maybe someone made fun of yours or put yours down. So, you thought they weren’t enough…you weren’t enough.

What were your God given talents? They could be small things. Do you always fix your bed exactly so? Do you have a green thumb and the ability to grow things? Do you love color, or music, or dance…or all of those? Are you a planner? Do you make list?

Coaching

Your Superpower

These things that are innate to you and I are precious. They are part of a whole that makes up the authentic human being we are. These traits/talents/quirks can be clues to our purpose. Or they can be a vehicle to fulfilling our purpose.

I used to sometimes think, I can’t hear from God. He’s not directing my steps, so how can I know what I’m supposed to do, what my purpose or direction in this situation is supposed to be? But then I learned, a lot of the time I was making it too complicated. The answer was often in what I had in my hand. What had I already been blessed with? I needed to take care of that and value it…maybe share some of it. What was I able to do? What felt right to do? Yeah, ask that question. What’s the right thing to do? Doing that will most certainly leave me with authentic self-esteem.

I needn’t make the situation grandiose. Perhaps making a fuss wouldn’t be the best idea. Whatever I had peace about…walk into that. Just take the next step.

 

 


Palm Sunday ~ begins Holy Week

Palm Sunday, Triumphal Entry

 

 

Commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with palms is entirely a Christian thing. Our forefathers and mothers in the church, even children lauded King Jesus in this way. Ordinary people. Though they most likely didn’t know what kind of King He was.

Then they hurried and each man took his garment and placed it under him on the bare steps, and blew the trumpet, saying, “Jehu is king!” ~ 2 Kings 9:13 [New American Standard Bible]

This is a very important day in human history. It is the day that Jesus began his last journey…His journey to the cross. This is not the event that would change everything, but it’s the event that points to the cross and resurrection.

Palm Sunday is a day of great hope. We are reminded that hope sometimes must endure a dark night, dark season. But God is glorious. His grace is perfect and He loves us. He will bring us through.

The story of Palm Sunday and the events of the last Passover are told in the Gospel of Matthew, starting in Chapter 21, and in the Gospel of Mark, starting in Chapter 11.

Palm Sunday, palms


Bunnies ~ in my bookcase

1980-01-01 00.01.17-1

I’ve got my plush bunnies, a little lamb, candle eggs, as well as a few Easter mugs I’d received as gifts…all arranged in my bookcase. There are a few more Eastery items placed here and there around the house. They make me feel happy.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ~ Abraham Lincoln.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”  ~  John 15:11 [New American Standard Bible]

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 [New Kind James Version]


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