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Delays and Disruptions: Divine Appointments/Hidden Blessings?

February 26th, 2017 by stephanie

Heading over to the gun range, I was a bit excited, and apprehensive, at the same time. Having not practiced for what seems to be about a year, I knew my familiarity with my Bersa 380 and my skills were both quite rusty. But my basket was packed and was holding my pink eyewear, my gun case, and my rolled up targets. I at least looked like I belonged. I think. Somewhat. I imagine the pros could spot me a mile away and were thinking to themselves, warning: rookie on deck. 

It was a new location to me. However, when I saw the lounge, the free coffee, the cold beverages and the big leather chairs, I knew I’d come to the right place. I headed to the counter to reserve my range, settled in for the safety video, signed the online waiver, and then waited.

Once all of the above were completed, I realized the clock was ticking and I’d better head over to select my ammo. After a nice chat with the man at the counter, I headed back to the lounge. And waited some more. I took that opportunity to watch some YouTube videos on my particular gun piece, some loading tips, and then realized…I have been here an hour and a half. What’s up?

With that, I headed back to the reservation area. “You can remove my name from the waiting list,” I stated. The not-so-eager or helpful assistant asked my name a couple of times and seemed to be annoyed. It was then he realized in his system how long I’d been there. “Oh,” he suddenly offered, “I can get you in now.”

Really? Why now? I mused.

“No thanks. I need to go,” I replied rather flatly.

With that I turned to head to the ammo area to return my would be purchase. That’s when he stopped me and said, “Wait!” He was scrambling for something and was offering it to me. “Here’s a free range hour on us.”

I paused, then received the small card. “Ok, thanks.” I then left. I was not a happy camper.

That’s when it hit me.

Why are you upset? Sure, you waited. But you just got a free trip to the range! That’s cool You may have spent your time today in a way you hadn’t planned, but you got quite a bit accomplished during your visit. (The ability to work remotely on our phones these days can be a blessing for moments such as these.)

The steam began to cool and my shoulders lowered as I drove away talking myself into a namaste calm.

That’s when the point was driven home.

Why do we get upset when delays or disruptions happen? It doesn’t solve the problem at hand. And, too, showing our emotions can, and often does, ruin the moment. Or the relationship.

I was reminded of a story where a couple that were moving a mattress were in the elevator heading down to the street when it stopped. They were delayed over an hour waiting for help to come. When they finally got outside, they looked up only to see a 3-year old playing on a balcony above them. They tried to talk the toddler inside, but the autistic child could not understand their words. He came tumbling down—right after they’d hurriedly moved the mattress under his playing area, only to catch him—just in time.

Now, if they’d fumed, and demanded their way, or been ugly, imagine how silly they would have felt only to realize, that exact delay was what turned into an opportunity to save a child’s life.

Coincidence? I think not.

The point?

Maybe delays and disruptions aren’t something to look at as negative or so awful. Maybe we need to just ride them out and look forward to something good to happen on the other side.

For me, staying calm, at least on the outside that day, landed me a free trip back to the range. If I’d thrown a fit, that may not have happened. And truth be told, I needed time to check out the new facility, learn the ropes there, and get reacquainted with my neglected firearm anyway.

For that couple who were moving, they unexpectedly kept a family from tragedy.

I hope this thought will carry into this week with you. If you have a divine delay or disruption, I’d love to hear about it.

Email it to: info@stephaniehuffman.org

—Just my thoughts.

S.

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Fishy Taxes

February 19th, 2017 by stephanie

As I sat down across from my accountant this month, he greeted me with the usual, “Well, how did we do this year?” I slid the report across the desk facing him and he quietly and methodically reviewed it.

After punching my numbers into his system, he turned and asked, “How much did you say you put away for your April 15 taxes?” When I gave him the amount again, he looked back at his screen, then back to me, and stated, “That’s about exactly what you owe this year.”

I just smiled.

It’s tax season here in the good ole U S of A. At least, for many of us. (Some do their reporting later in the year.)

But for those of us who know the April 15 date all too well, it looms once January hits.

Over the past 12 months, I was thrilled that for the first time in my business I was at a point where I could actually pay all of my estimated taxes.  Beyond that, during that same period, I was even able to set aside twice that amount in preparation for what I imagined I might owe.

The company had a good year. And, per our current tax structure, as happy as I was, I knew the day was coming that I would “pay” for that success. Sadly, the better you do, the more you owe. But I am not complaining. I was actually excited.

When I shared my accountant story with the #2 at my company, she paused and said, “That’s just creepy!”

I laughed. Then mused…Noit’s just God.

It reminded me of the story of Jesus, the disciples, a fish and a coin. If you aren’t familiar with it, you need to check it out.

Basically, it goes something like this: the religious Temple tax collectors came calling. Yes, you read that right…the men of the faith were asking if Jesus and his followers were going to comply with what they owed the place of worship. Now, Jesus did not agree with this practice. It was not a civil tax, nor was it even a tithe, but rather, a religious tax on the Jewish members. Sheesh! And I feel over taxed?

Here is how The Lord handled the matter—and directed his team: “…we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

And so it was.

The point? A miracle transpired that met their current financial needs. It just happened. It happened for me this month, and many months and years prior in my life, if truth be told. And, it can happen for you.

If you are feeling the financial pinch lately, and a bit concerned, I hope this passage, and my personal story as well, will be an encouragement to you.

Others might see it as a bit, well, “fishy”, but when the money comes through, you and I will both smile, and nod. We’ll know what really went down.

Just my thoughts.

—S.

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Idealistic vs. Realistic

February 12th, 2017 by stephanie

While sitting at a business lunch, across from a gentleman who works at a university in the alumni donations space, the conversation turned to recent events in our country. Unless you have been living under a rock, there’s been a lot of unrest, to say the least.

That is when this particular college representative made a flippant comment. He seemed to feel very proud of his point, stating in regards to the current issue at hand,  “What would Jesus do…?”  This statement was to be an indictment on laws being debated on topics that pertain to immigration, free speech and more. He seemed a bit inspired that students at his very conservative university were even wanting to be involved in the protesting. (I wondered how his donor base might feel about that.)

What struck me at that point was a number of things.

However, to answer his question, if only in my mind and not aloud at the table, I instantly thought of the Scriptures that share of the story of Jesus being approached on the issue of taxes. Basically, Jesus told them to abide by the laws of the land. Obey the authorities at hand. (Ironically, when it came to religious laws, he and his disciples were known to break those left and right!)

It was at that point, I realized this individual, who is a representative of higher learning, was not only unaware of the laws of our land that are currently on the books (and not being followed), he was showing our table he truly didn’t know the depths of the Bible. His institution being that of Christian by name, left me very much wondering.

But back to “What would Jesus do?” The passage I referred to earlier may be familiar to you,”Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Basically, “If it’s the law—obey it.”

The New Testament calls on believers to support their governments, even when harsh or when they don’t agree. It NEVER encourages Christians to rebel, to destroy, or to tear down what is in place.

As my mind wandered, and as the speaker for the luncheon droned on, I kept wishing I could have discussion with this tablemate. But alas, sadly, in today’s climate, no one knows how to debate. They just scream, pound the table, demand their way or get angry if you don’t agree with them. My colleague sitting next to me pointed that out when we looked at each other after the lunch and had the same thought. How we wished for sober conversation for both sides. But, alas, that won’t happen. At least not in today’s climate.

I then mused about people who have security detail, or who live in gated or walled areas. I was surprised to think of how many of them are against a “wall” and are pro gun-control as well. Being that they themselves are personally secure at all times (or so they assume), the power of the issue for those who are left feeling not-as-secure—alludes them.

But let’s get back to ideal vs. real.

Idealism: My dog thinks the world is a great safe place. He doesn’t like it when I tell him what to do or thwart him in regards to his will or wishes. I keep a short leash on him, as they say. What he doesn’t understand is that dangers, and evil people, do, in fact, exist. Visit any prison, or hospital or vet where abuse has been clearly dealt upon a victim.

Realism: We have laws in order to be able to live in peace with each other and to live protected. Order is a good thing. Look at any third-world country, and I hope you can see that. If it is OK for me to hit you, break into your home, crash your car or steal from you, then you can’t live in peace. We can’t have lives of liberty and happiness with no rule of law, or order. That would be a life of fear and anxiety.

Fact: We do live in a wonderful country. It’s amazing, and if you have traveled at all, you know exactly what I mean.

But, reality is this: simply trying to believe that evil doesn’t exist if we don’t want it to, and that by thinking good thoughts, and believing people are good, will cause that wish to be so?  That isn’t realistic. It isn’t truth. It’s just an idea. A thought.

That being said, we all know thoughts are indeed powerful. It’s important to think “good” thoughts and to avoid the negative and toxic.  Climbing into a hole, however, isn’t the answer. Closing the door while the fire is burning in the front yard, is not going to solve the problem.

So, what’s a person to do?

Why….start with obeying The Golden Rule, of course!  Do unto others as you would have them do to unto you.

You can read it here: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

And too—Follow the rules…It’s best for all of us.

I end with some words that have always been encouraging to me. I hope you find them comforting as well.

Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.

—Just my thoughts…

S.

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