Category Archives: Thomas Jefferson

Getting a Handle of Things with TJ: Rule #9

This next rule caused me to stop and to think about what TJ is telling us.   Honestly, I had no idea.  This led me to do some extra research.  Exhausted after reading a zillion commentaries and this is what I found…..

8.  Take things always by the smooth handle.

This little rule was stated by TJ in efforts to produce peace,  harmony, and consolation.  Apparently, wise old TJ did not like to argue.

To argue for or against a stand, a purpose or a point worth arguing over will eventually lead to someone being hurt.  Whether or not it is a physical hurt or an emotional hurt, someone always loses in an argument and feels defeated.  I mean let’s face it.  When we argue our point, the augment isn’t over until someone is “right.” Or at least someone feels as if the have gotten the last word in and therefore is deemed “right.”  Someone will lose causing a strain in a relationship.

Jesus teaches us to love and respect one another.  “Love one another as I have loved you.”  So why do we argue?  Why is it that we get our tail feathers ruffled?  God wants us to have loving relationships with one another so why do we seek to be right all the time?  Why don’t we just agree to disagree on matters.  Turn the other cheek, possibly? Have you ever argued with a smug “I know I’m right so I will let them argue their point then I will calmly nail them to the wall” person? I have and that is the worst kind of argument.  They sit there until I get so angry I ready to hit them…. then the smug…… OHHHHHH  See I’ve been hurt!  Ouch, should have listened to TJ’s advice.

When we argue, we lose sight of the Jesus kind of love.  We end up angry at others and sometimes ourselves.  Ultimately, losing a relationship or tainting one beyond the repair of trust because we don’t want to be burned again.

Wouldn’t it be easier just to listen long and to not open our opinionated mouths.  I have a long way to go on this rule.  See, I like to argue.  I am a freak in nature I guess.  I like to debate.  But I hate to lose friendships.  So if I lose a friendship, am I really winning an argument?  Ponder on that one.

So this year, I am going to stop arguing as much.  I will put my debating on the back burners and listen to the others without being smug and pouncing on them in the end.  I will turn the other cheek and will stop arguements before they get heated and someone ending up hurt.

TJ and Grandma Cannon: Rule #7

Looking back over the years with my Grandmother, I find such admiration for her life and the example she was for me.  In her younger days, I could picture her as the feisty, full of fun, young lady she was in the 30’s and 40’s.  By the time my brother and I were around, she was living up to the “coolest” grandma title.  Later in her life when her health and its toll on her emotional health was affecting her, we saw a change.

She repeatedly said to my mother and later to me after Mom’s death, “I’m such a bother” or “I know I am causing you so much trouble.”  Huh, perhaps, Mom and I should have quoted today’s rule:

7.  Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

But I think TJ was hinting at something more that a child or grandchild caring for an aging parent.  I think TJ was referring to simple acts of kindness that are random and worth every moment doing.

Think about it.  Is it trouble for someone to hold open a door for someone? Is it a bother to look in on someone who needs tending to?  Is it troublesome to clear your schedule and just spend time with someone you love?  Not if we are willing to go that extra mile…….

I watched how my mother do exactly that.  She never resented going to her parents home and helping them out.  Whether it was to do laundry, cook supper, or to pay their bills, she never complained.  She simply loved doing it for them.  I saw it when she worked with her students.  She was patient and never grew tired of making a difference in a child’s life.  She never thought of  it as troublesome to go over the lesson one more time for little Johnny who was having trouble understanding.  With her friends, she always did little special things for them.  Leaving cookies and a sweet message on their desk.  Calling them every evening when they were sick.  She loved being a “secret pal.”  She lived up to the task at hand and never once complained.  And she never got tired to telling Grandma, “You are not a bother, mother.  I love you.”

So, be willing and do something nice today for someone who needs a pick-me-up.

Oh Thomas, Did You Have to Go There? Rule #6

Thomas!  Thomas!  Thomas!!!!!  Did you have to go there?  Rule number 6….. can I just say OUCH!!

6.  We seldom repent of having eaten too little.

Well, I guess I will have to loosen the belt on this one!!  Well guess what folks, Thomas has a point here.  Think back to Thanksgiving day…..  Were you sorry that you ate enough for a small army? Did your waistline in your “fat” jeans remind you that you ate too much?  How about the heartburn did you make you wish that you had stopped after thirds?

Oh, the Bible has a few things to say about overeating.  Gluttony is the term used.  Okay, I am going to shock you.  Go do and well look it up….. did you see the definition? excessive eating and drinking…..  Whoa wait a minute here!!  You mean the Bible says not to overeat?  I had to check it out myself.  I found my answer!!  OUCH!!! Check out Proverbs 23:20-21; Proverbs 28:7;Proverbs 23:2….. OUCH!!!

Okay I must admit I am an over-eater!  I am a glutton.  I hate to say it but my scale told me this just this morning.  My jeans tell me every morning.  And my mirror has been telling me for years and yet I blindly eat my heart out whenever I can.

God gave us this control thing.  No not your remote control…. but the ability to control our food intake.  Some of us chose or have developed an addiction that prohibits control, not to control the food intake.  It is as simple as this….. It is a SIN!!  Just like drug abuse. Just like adultery.  Just like murder.

So this new year is your year to take back the control and to enjoy God’s fruits, vegetables and of course apple pie with moderation.  Cut your portions in half.  Better start now before the economy of ours forces it upon you.  So, let’s do a little a little experiment shall we….. eat portions in moderation.  Cut your portions in half and stretch your meals. I bet you that you will see a difference in your food budget.

Okay, Mark and kids….. NO MORE SECONDS…. hold me to this now!!  Don’t allow me to talk myself into another spoonful.  NO MORE ENORMOUS MOUNDS OF FOOD ON MY PLATE!!  Let’s see if we can save the budget and our waistlines!!

TJ #5

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

I have been really thinking and praying about this one.  Pride….. it is the ultimate downfall. Really it is….. the Bible even states it.  Proverbs 16:18-19 describes pride as the beginning of destruction and a haunting fall.  Pride will ultimately cost you everything.  Could it be that pride will hurt you worse than starving or freezing to death?  Could it be that Jefferson meant exactly what Proverbs 16: 18-19 describes?

So I asked a couple of high school students.  Today’s youth will surprise you.  I asked them “What did Jefferson mean when he said…..”  One quickly stated that pride will take everything away from you.  She went on to explain that it will consume you and haunt you.  Wow, how profound.  Kudos to her parents!!

Throughout time, we find ourselves daringly toying with pride.  It can give you a false sense of ego and it can even put you on a path of vast destruction.  Again, Proverbs 16 says it all.

In these hard times, hunger, thirst and cold will humble the best of us.  It is so hard to make ends meet and the threat of losing your job is even becoming a reality to many of us.  Just yesterday I overheard some ladies talking about losing their jobs.  One lady’s reply was “I just wanted to get drunk and not think about it.”  Another was concerned about getting the bills paid and wondering if there is going to be enough money to last the week.

My heart broke for them.  I wanted to scream as loud as possible that things are going to be alright.  My aunt recently was talking about her grandfather and the great depression.  She said that he commented that he never understood why some of the rich now dirt poor people were killing themselves.  He would chuckle and say, “the depression didn’t impact us.  There was no change in our status….. we were just dirt poor and happy to be alive.”

Losing your home, your lifestyle, your material possessions will take a hard toll on any sense of pride a man or woman or any family may have.  Perhaps we need to stop looking so inward and band together to support one another.  It isn’t going to kill anyone to accept help or a hand out.  Don’t allow pride and a false identity that is over during these economical trials to keep you from getting a full belly at the soup kitchen, or a warm night’s sleep in a shelter.   Don’t allow pride to destruct you further.  Praise God that those services are out there even if the conditions are worse than any run down motel.

If you are reading this and your financial situation is collapsing faster than you know what to do, I am praying for you.  I pray that you find another job or the assistance you need to get a leg up.  Even if it is to swallow your pride and move into your parent’s home.  You will get through it.  I pray you will.

Okay now if I have not depressed you enough, I want to talk to you out there that is feeling the crunch of the times but haven’t forclosed or lost everything.  Pride clouds your perception on material things.  There are those out there that take pride in knowing that their clothing came from the coveted designer’s line.  There are those who take pride in their lavish homesteads and automobiles.  Some of those are pridefully still making those purchases instead of changing their lifestyles to match their earnings or to match their losses.   Living outside of your means because you are too proud to wear second hand even if it is designer clothing, or taking the bus instead of driving the newest “beamer,” is pride before the destruction.  Taking a hard look at your means and living among it can cause such anxiety and pain to some Americans out there.  Don’t believe me?  There have been countless Oprah and Dr. Phil episodes talking about this.  When the destruction hits and the fall is inevitable,  is pride really going to save you?  your home? your car? Is pride going to keep you from being honest with your family and friends?  Is pride going to keep you from rethinking the spending? Is pride going to destroy you?

Take heed to TJ’s wise words, ” Pride costs more than hunger, thirst, and cold.”