Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Showing God

 The Headlines:


God is working for you.

Are you working for him?

And... can people tell?




I have long been a Christian.  My Grandfather was a Lutheran Minister and growing up my family and I went to church every Sunday. I have always had a close relationship with God.  I pray and talk to him all the time.  I know bible stories galore and am very secure with and in my Christianity.  I rely on it everyday.

So, one day, back when I worked for the local NBC station in Phoenix, Arizona... something shocking happened.  As I was chatting and getting ready for air, I said something to my anchor at the time... when she looked at me quizzically and said, "wait, you're a Christian?"  Ohhhhhhhhh boy.  I was paralyzed.  Embarrassed.   Kinda Sickened.  "Of course,"  I replied, "it's like, the most important thing to me!"  

How did she not know that?    

HIDING GOD?

Cleary, it didn't seem to be.  Apparently, I wasn't showing God.  I wasn't talking about him.  I wasn't acting on him.  He was hidden.  Yet... he was truly the most important thing to me.  How could that be?  It was shameful.  If something is important to you, you show it.  People know.  

I'm reading a book right now, "Elijah"  by Priscilla Shirer.   In it Shirer contends what you do, how you spend your time, money, efforts... is what you, in a sense, worship.  It's like your God.  Gulp.   Think about that one.  

What do people know about you?  What do you show?  What is important?  

For instance, if you're at dinner and you dip out to the restroom... does your bestie know what to order you?  I bet she does.  If you're single and you like guys with red hair....  are your girlfriends looking for carrot topped men for you?  Probably.  If you dream to be a professional golfer - do people know where you'll be on a beautiful (not windy) morning in Scottsdale?  Of course.  Because you show all those things.  

That Anchor friend of mine knew I liked fine dinners, fine wine and fine facials.  But she had no idea that my biggest "find" had nothing to do with the finer things in life.  It had everything to do with My God.  But I needed to show it.  And fast.  Now, no, I didn't go on Television that morning declaring to all, "In Phoenix, Nicole McGregor, I'm a Christian.... 12 News" but it did change me.  From that point forward, I was keenly aware that I needed to TALK my WALK.  

TAKE 2

*As the years passed I became a Mom.  This is when you really get a chance to talk and walk with God.  In fact, I've noticed it's at this time when many are brought closer toward God.  Through their children.  There are opportunities like Pre-School, Sunday School or camps.  You never realize this when you're a child yourself.  But turns out when you're a kid - people throw lots of opportunities at you.  They want to create environments where the child can learn and grow.  

Those opportunities tend to dry up as we age (like everything else).  Until all of the sudden you look around and see absolutely no opportunities that you don't make for yourself.  Feel me?  So, unbeknownst to us (at the time), children need to seize these amazing chances at lasso-ing something special.  Like drawing, like building, like... God.*  

Parents are lucky too because they can piggyback on what their kids are being exposed to...  including God.  Some don't need an introduction to God but they might need to get reacquainted with him.  Maybe we all need that actually.  My children of course were baptized.  We pledged to make God a center of our lives for not only ourselves but our children.  I was Mary and BP was Joseph at church on Christmas when our daughter was just a few months old.  They both went to a Christian Pre-School.  My daughter goes to a Christian (Catholic) High School.  We go to church as much as our schedules allow.  I try to read Christian books and attend bible studies.  I make it one of my priorities.  It's still not enough.  It probably never will be and I'm okay with that.  What I'm not okay with is someone looking at me, shockingly, and saying "you're a Christian?"  No, please, never ever again.  

I want to make sure people know that my God is more important than my Gucci.  I do not want there to be any question about that.  I don't worship people, planes or purses.  Only him.  I hope my actions and words show God everyday.  And most importantly, I need this to trickle down... to those little people who I'm in charge of making big Christians.  

I think it's working.  Here's why.

SHOWING GOD 

Almost every night I take my son to bed.  We talk, pray, sing, sometimes I cry (ok, I cry a lot).  It is a special time.  On this occasion, my son was about to embark upon a baseball tournament.  We, as per usual, started to pray but while I typically lead it... this night , I asked him to do it.  "You can use the extra prayers, maybe you should request strength this weekend."  He had been a little under the weather.  He prayed.  The next day,  the team played great.  He, in particular had a really good game.  So when we came back that night for prayer I suggested he may want to do the honors again.  And after yet another day of amazing play - it came time to pray.  This, you see, was a 3 day tournament.  The first we've ever had.  But this time, before prayer, I asked him: "Hey, who are you playing baseball for?"  He thought about this for a while.  A good 30 seconds.  He answered: "me..."  "Oh," I said, 

"what if you started playing for God?"  

He wasn't baffled.  Instead he looked at me and said... "that's what I was gonna say!"  I asked if maybe, when he stepped onto the field... if he should give it to him?  

Give God the glory.  

Play ball in his honor.  All the time.  I told him he didn't have to point to heaven when he ran over home plate.  He didn't have to make the sign of the cross over his chest when he got a good hit.  I didn't want him, in any way, to act like the pro's do.  He just had to be himself.  Do what he thought right.  I encouraged saying a prayer before or as he took the field.  I didn't explain exactly when or how to do this... I figured he could work that out.

The next day my son's team played ball again.  They won two more games.  They went all the way to the last game.  The Championship.  I didn't know what unfolded at the time, but was told later.  

Before that last game my son, #3, (for yes... all the reasons why you can imagine and more) PRAYED.  

He got on his knees in the dug out, leaned on that long bench, humbled himself before our Lord... and he started to pray.  That 10 year old little guy prayed in front of all of his team mates.  By himself.  But not for long.  Soon, one little boy asked him what he was doing and when he told him he joined.  Then there were two.  Until another little boy asked them what they were up to and he kneeled beside them both.  From what I was told, it wasn't much later that all of those kids were alongside each other praying before that game.  Showing God.

Wow.

My little man, bravely did what, apparently, I couldn't do all those years earlier.  He Showed God.  Boldly, unapologetically, perfectly.   I was proud.  Not for the baseball game.  Oh no, they lost that one.  Two to zilch.  Even after all those little prayers. 

HE'S GOT YOU

But that's how God works.

Sure, it would have been even better if they had won the game.  Or maybe not.  Because that's not always how life goes.  Just because you ask for something... doesn't mean you get it.  In fact, often times you don't.  I know you know that.  But I think, no matter what the score board said,  those boys won that day.  They won something way bigger than the first place ring.  They hit a homer out of the park when they kneeled before him.  When they Showed up for God.  Showed the world, or at least our little part of it, that he's there, everywhere, all the time.  They showed he's in charge.  Even during a kids baseball  game.  It's amazing how so many of us rely, solely, on ourselves.  Like, we got this... when we don't.  He's got it.  He empowers US to go get it.  

STEP AND REPEAT 

If you've read this far I think you're into this.  So do me a favor and go back up and read the paragraph that's starred under TAKE TWO.  Then come back and meet me right here.

Did you read it again?  Okay so now...

Create YOUR opportunity to Show God.  You're not 5 anymore, no one's reading you bible stories or taking your hand and helping you cross the street.   You have to do it.  And see, God needs you to... heck the world needs you to do this right now.  There's a lot of people out there NOT Showing God but we can change that.  It just takes you.  

I hope my son understands that now.  Or at least is starting to... may that never change when he's angry, or sick, or hurt... or lost.  Because he will lose more baseball games even when he's Showing God.  We all will suffer from time to time, some more than others... even though we're showing up.  But that doesn't mean we stop.  

Naaaaaah... that's when we lean in more.  And more.  

Finally tonight, when I was in my 20's my Mom got me one of my favorites gifts.  In the eyes of the world, sadly, it wouldn't be much.  But to me... it meant everything.  It was a simple wood frame with words underneath the glass.  It said:

Nicole,

Trust me.

I have everything under control.

Jesus


Wow.  And all I had to do... was show up.


 

  

   

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Purchasing a "Multi-Generational" Home

The Headlines:


Love Grandma?  Have a Favorite Aunt?

Maybe you should buy a home together?

It's called a Multi-generational home.


It's been a while since I've written.  Not sure if you've noticed but Real Estate has gone a little bonkers.  Because of that, as well as the other things life throws at a woman my age, in my "stage"... writing has taken a back seat.  Yes, I've been busier than ever in 2021 writing contracts, showing houses, negotiating deals... making dreams start at home.


It's pretty clear - People want to move.  This was bound to happen after COVID.  I wrote about it the minute we were all "locked in" last year.  We all hung out in our houses for a really long time.  Many of us... got sick of them.  Add that to record low inventories all over the country and you get what we're seeing now in the housing market.  Real Estate is cray.


I've had countless conversations with people who want to cash in on the market.  The problem?  They don't know where to go. There seem to be only 2 choices: either A) move to a new location/state where prices have remained lower than where they currently live or B) stay in your home.

  

But, there is one more option some families could potentially use...


Multi-Generational housing, by the way, has been going on forever in other countries.  But us Americans - like our space.  You  remember your Grandma?  She didn't want anything to do with moving in to your parents home.  But other cultures do it all the time and we're just now catching on.    


How does it work?  Of course there are many ways to go about this but essentially... Grandma has a home, she sells it, takes the money she gets from that sale and uses it to help a family member (son/daughter/niece) purchase the new, larger home that she can then live in with the core family.  Basically, you're pooling together more money to buy the home that will work for everyone.  Of course, specifically how this works out (dollars wise) - consult your family attorney, money manager, tax professional and/or mortgage broker.


According to a study done by Generation United,  multi-generational houses have increased 271% in the last 10 years - with more than 1 in 4 Americans living in this type of situation.  The reasons, according to GU, are many.  Not just purchasing a "new house".  In fact, that's just the off-set benefit.  Eldercare and child care are the leading reasons.  People need help with raising their family so they move in together.  Both at 34%.  Followed by job loss or unemployment, healthcare costs,  cultural expectations and education/retraining.  See the full article HERE


Living together with your extended family does indeed save money and can help that home upgrade... but there are strings.  

Here are 5 things to think about:



1. Grandma will need to be taken care of at a certain point.  

She may help now but that won't last forever.  My Mom came to live with me 2 years ago after my Father passed away and it was determined she had Alzheimers.  We did not move... (maybe should have)  We were going to build a casita on our property but then we decided maybe we would just buy a larger house.  Soon after, COVID hit.  We never left. 

I can handle her now - but for how long?  


2.  Bills, including food, electricity, etc... will be higher.

Who pays for that?  How is it split?  Remember college?  When you got mad at your roomie for eating your cookies?  Those days are gone.  Sharing is in full swing at multi-generational houses.  But define who pays for what up front. 


3. The core family will never be alone.  

The need to carve family time becomes important.  Grandpa may feel left out when you take just your two sons to dinner - but you have to... tell him that up front.  Make sure everyone understands the family "unit" still needs to be intact.  You're just changing the dynamics a bit.


4. Where will people spend their leisure time? 

Is there defined space in the new home?  Will Gram have her own "living room"?  Or does she have to share the kitchen?  Is her own room her main living area?  What about bathroom space? It doesn't matter what the arrangements are - just talk about them up front.


5. Parallel or Perpendicular family values? 

The main reason living with Mother/Father/Grandmother/Grandfather/Aunt/Uncle can be challenging is  simply: all adults have their own ideas on how things should "operate" in a household.  So, in a new house you purchase together - which rules, well, rule? 

Are you going to church every Sunday?  What constitutes "healthy eating"?  Is there a bed time?  How often and how late do we have guests over?  Bottom line, do your values line up?  And if they don't - can you agree to deal, talk, resolve?  This may be the most important point because living together is a big decision and you need to make sure everyone can do so.. in peace.  Otherwise, it doesn't matter how big that house is!!!



Finally Tonight,

I'm a proponent of Multi-Generational houses.  In a lot of cases it's the right thing to do for many reasons.  I am living that right now.  No doubt, it comes with its own set of challenges but there's no other way I'd have it.  There are so many positive things that can come out of the arrangement... (besides and in addition to getting a bigger/better home).  This time is precious.  It isn't here forever.  Maybe not even tomorrow.  For us, living with my Mom is a blessing. But it is not for everyone.  If living with your loved ones feels like an opportunity for love first and financial opportunity second...  you're on the right track.  


Let me know if  can help you and your family with a dream home of your own. 

Nicole 



 



© One Picky Chick. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.