Monthly Archives: December 2008

Thomas Jefferson's 2nd Rule

Okay, now that you have learned that in Ecclesiastes 9:10, we should not have idle hands and that we must do God’s work; let’s take a look at Thomas Jefferson’s 2nd rule:

2.  Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

Okay, this one is a tough one.  Outside of not asking my kids to retreive something from the other room for me, I am struggling to comprehend what TJ meant by this.  I am sure he had plenty of hired hands.  We know he was a slave owner.  So what did he mean?  Is it that we shouldn’t “Pass the Buck?”  Does it mean that if something we are doing gets tough not to bother others for help?  Does it mean we should stick it out until it is impossible to do then seek the help?  Think about it and let me know what you think.  I would love the discussion.

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Thomas Jefferson's 1st Rule

Thomas Jefferson (TJ for short) as most American’s know had it going on during his day.  TJ was definitely an ingenious and wise man.  In my previous post, I laid out the 10 rules that TJ lived by.  Today, I want to take a closer look at rule number 1!

1. Never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

Is anyone else on the web feeling a little uncomfortable right now?  I don’t know about you but I have the tendency to “put off” things here and there.  I think it is a part of being human.  We always take for granted that tomorrow will come.  Somehow we get this crazy notion that if we “put it off” that “it” will magically disappear or better do it by itself by the next morning.  Wouldn’t that be fun…… get a bill coming due……tomorrow it pays itself and I am not worried.  Yeah, right!!

“Putting off” leads to laziness.  Something I battle along side of my depression.  Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy physically or emotionally to do something.  Now, go get your Bible.  That’s right! You heard me!! Go get it.  I can wait if you need to dust it off some.  Don’t be ashamed.  It happens to the best of us.  Stop “putting it off” and go get your Bible.  Now turn to Ecclesiastes 9:10…….  I can wait.

Read it.

Don’t put it off.  Read it.

What do think of that verse?  Do you see God’s point?

Thomas Jefferson in 2009

For the new year, I want to put a challenge out there to my readers.  Instead of the yearly resolutions that most of us do not follow, I want to challenge you to use Jefferson’s 10 Rules as guidelines to live by (along with your Bible, of course) in 2009. These 10 simple rules were written by Thomas Jefferson many moons ago and yet I think they are very noteworthy for a fresh new perspective for the upcoming new year.

Jefferson’s 10 Rules

1. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

3.  Never spend your money before you have earned it.

4.  Never buy what you don’t want because it is cheap.

5.  Pride cost more than hunger, thirst and cold.

6.  We seldom repent of having eaten too little.

7.  Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

8. How much pain the evils have cost us that have never happened.

9. Take things always by the smooth handle.

10.  When angry, count to 10 before you speak, if very angry,count to 100.

So what do you think?  Pretty cool, huh? Kinda makes you go “Whoa!  Dude!! T.J. knows what he was talking about!”

Thomas Jefferson in 2009

For the new year, I want to put a challenge out there to my readers.  Instead of the yearly resolutions that most of us do not follow, I want to challenge you to use Jefferson’s 10 Rules as guidelines to live by (along with your Bible, of course) in 2009. These 10 simple rules were written by Thomas Jefferson many moons ago and yet I think they are very noteworthy for a fresh new perspective for the upcoming new year.

Jefferson’s 10 Rules

1. Never put off until tomorrowwhat you can do today.

2. Never troubleanother for what you can do yourself.

3.  Never spend your money before you have earned it.

4.  Never buy what you don’t want because it is cheap.

5.  Pride cost more than hunger, thirst and cold.

6.  We seldom repent of having eaten too little.

7.  Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

8. How much pain the evils have cost us that have never happened.

9. Take things always by the smooth handle.

10.  When angry, count to 10 before you speak, if very angry,count to 100.

So what do you think?  Pretty cool, huh? Kinda makes you go “Whoa!  Dude!! T.J. knows what he was talking about!”

Saying Goodbye to 2008

Oh my!!  It is almost Christmas Eve.  Mark and I have finally put the finishing touches on the homemade gifts.  We have been wrapping and enjoying our youngest jump for joy as Christmas day slowly creeps up.  There are many mixed feelings as the year closes.  Some are exhilarating and others  are heartbreaking.  So many lasting memories have been made in 2008; yet 2009 looks as equally blessed.

In the spring, my family and I feeling the crunch of today’s economical times, spent a weekend camping in our own backyard.  We built a fire, set up camp, and told family “camping” stories of the years gone by.  Watching the kids enjoy a huge bonfire (thanks to Mark), roasting marshmallows and laughing until our sides hurt, melted our “money” worries away.  We learned that a vacation isn’t where you go but how you spend the time with one another.

One of the biggest challenges we faced this year was me quitting my job.  At first, leaving just about killed me.  It wasn’t what I wanted; yet, in a strange way, it was a blessing that I never saw coming.  Between the depression caused by the endlessness of the job, the burn out that many children’s ministers endeavor, and the constant catch 22  guilt associated whenever I chose to spend time with my family or the time I chose to be away from them, it was a wonder I didn’t completely lose my sanity (although there are those who are going to be wondering).  And you know what, I would do it all over again to see those shining young faces saying yes to Jesus.  That is the part I miss the most.  I miss kneeling with the children and praying.  I miss the countless cheers and games we played to learn about Jesus.  I miss the moments when they would ask me to tell the more about a Bible story or about how Jesus loves them so!  I miss the dancing and singing of our praise.  I miss it.  I do.

Once I left I began to fear the worst. I didn’t have an identity anymore.  I had always had a title.  I was an interpreter, a teacher, a children’s minister and now I was becoming a “Home Economics Specialist” complete with daily chores!  At first, of course, I was thrilled to stay at home but my heart wanted more than scrubbing toilets.  I continued to pray asking God for my purpose.  I know I was born to do more than to be an associate to Mr. Clean.  I needed a purpose from God.  Then He spoke, “Speak and Motivate.”  Confused as to what exactly He meant, I continued to pray.  I was beginning to feel discouraged and a little impatient so I pumped up the praying efforts and one morning while walking God thumped me on the head with some really big news.  He gave me the titles of   Mother, Wife, Friend, Speaker, Motivator, and most of all “His Precious Child.”

In 2008, I have had to learn how to diligently be in tuned with our bank account.  I visit our Internet banking so often that I could be labeled obsessed.  We have squeezed our budget dry many months and yet we are still afloat.  We are learning what it means to be content, bargain hunters, and amateur economists.  Our children are learning about what it means to live with what we have and not to covet.  Our children are doing great without all of the “extras” in life like baseball, basketball, soccer, piano lessons, shopping trips to buy “new” stuff and I can go on and on….. I think you get the point.  We have learned to live with $3.24 in the bank for two weeks and stretch our meals to last until daddy gets paid.  Trust me I am not complaining, I am astonished at our success!!  Did you know that you can add Ketchup and BBQ sauce to the “mystery” food in the back of the freezer to make a cheap and easy gourmet meal that lasts for two days ?  The family of 7 out in Arizona who claims to be the cheapest family in America have nothing on the Dettra family of 4 in Sardis! I would love to display that trophy in the living room!  I am very proud of my family who are all sacrificing so that I can stay home. Our love and laughter is stronger than ever since I left the workforce.  I may miss the perks but I love my family and what we are doing together. Go Team Dettra!!

One of the hardest things I did this year was saying goodbye to my Granny.  She was the last remaining member of a generation in my family.  She was such a special and strong lady. I spent as much time with her as I could (remember the catch 22?) and I always called her when I pulled out of the drive on my weekly errand to Wal-Mart.  I don’t know how many times I have wanted to call her and I can’t bare the thought of deleting her number from my cell.  She was a blessing and I miss her greatly. Christmas is going to be hard this year!

Oh the blessings that were showered upon us! My son gave his life to Christ. My daughter entered middle school and I am surviving!  Mark and I are still newlyweds after being together 13 years! As we close 2008, we may look back on the memories, the heartaches, and headaches but we know that in order to grow we must leave the past in the past and face forward.  2008 is only a chapter in our lives and it is ending quickly.  So let’s say our goodbyes for the next few days and then look to 2009.

We have a bright future ahead of us!  Come on 2009!  We eagerly await your blessings!!