Happy Sabbath. It is hard to believe that it is already the last Sabbath of July and we are now more than half way through 2022. This year is really flying by. May God help us to make good use of the time that we have left in this year.
It is my hope that this Bible find the difference game will be a step in that direction. And that it will make learning God’s word more fun, and inspire you to hide His word in your heart so that it can be a guiding light unto your feet in the hour of darkness.
A few months ago I wrote a warning article on my Make Time For Happy blog, a fun blog inspired by my little pup, about the dangers of letting your dogs outside without keeping a close watch after a hawk or an owl came within feet of my back door. If it had happened when we first moved in 14 years ago, I could have understood. As very few of the lots in our neighborhood had been built and it felt like we were in the middle of the country. But now ever lot has been built on, and areas that were once nothing but trees have been cleared and transformed into neighborhoods and more and more it feels like we have been swallowed up by the city. So you would think that it would be safe to open the door and let our little dog spend some time roam his fenced in backyard.
For the first few years we had Happy, we often did that. But every once and a while we would notice the shadow of a hawk passing over heard and heard the birds madly screaming as the mocking bird or black birds gave vigorous chase. Oddly, as the houses sprang up around us, we were surprised one day to look out our window and see a hawk sitting on our fence. For a few days after we decided that it was better to be safe than sorry, and accompany Happy as he ran and played. When, after a few days, there was no sign of the hawk, we figured all was safe and we let Happy out as normal.
On and off for a few years, there would be a pattern of the occasional visit by the hawk for a few days each year, and then an all clear for the rest of the year. At first it seemed like there was nothing to worry about as the hawk would only relax on our fence for a few minutes here and there for a few days, and take off at the slightest peep. For those few minutes we were able to enjoy the priviliage of beholding this breathtaking predator from our family room window.
Then one year, there was a somewhat worrisome change, yet it took time for us to recognize how unnerving it was. After years of making the occasional visit and taking off, we noticed that instead of taking off the moment that we opened the sliding glass door, it would linger and let us admire it from the safety of the porch. Our hearts thrilled with amazement as we stood on the porch and enjoyed this rare view. As soon as I had the chance I got out my camera and snapped a couple of pictures, thinking how lucky I was to be granted this rare priviliage.
Then one day I tried opening my porch door and take a few steps outside so I could get a better picture. And to my surprise, the hawk stayed and let me take a few picture.
And after a couple of days take a few steps in its direction and take an even better picture.
It would seem that alarm bells should be going off at this point that this wild bird felt comfortable enough to let us open the screen door and get within 50 feet of it and then calmly turn its head and let us take its picture. Overcome with the excitement at being so close, it never occurred to us that this wild bird was slowly losing its fear of us, and that this could put our dog in danger.
Happy Sabbath. I hope that God has blessed your Sabbath and that you are drawing closer to the Lord. I hope that this simple, Bible find the difference helps to make your Sabbath more enjoyable and helps you in your quest to learn the word of God.
Some days are definitely harder than others, and today has definitely been one of those days. Today has been a frustrating day full of interruptions and delay. Task that should have taken 5 minutes were turned into an hour plus exercise in misery as every time I started someone would come and ask a question or needed me to hear something important. On top of that, it seemed that every program was eager to reveal their peculiar quirks, crash, or somehow erase portions of the work I had struggle to complete.
Irritating and pain inducing struggle that it was, I had brushed most of it off as the unwanted misery of one of those trying days when it everything goes wrong and you wish that you could just stay in bed until today turns into tomorrow. Tired and worn, I have learned to take a deep breath and remind myself that this too shall pass, and take an extra long break to recuperate.
All would have passed with only minor notice, if it had not been for an unexpected disappointment. For weeks I have planned to get a brand new math sheet creating program that was scheduled to come out tomorrow. For days I have watched every video that I could, and planned what I would do when I got it.
That was until tonight, when less than 14 hours before its release, the breaks were slammed shut because my mother feels the price is to high. Suddenly, without any warning, hours of waiting and planning went up in a puff of smoke.. In that second my heart sunk and discouragement took hold.
It reminded me how much has changed since my father died. If he was alive the price of the program would not have been an issue. As my eager cheerleader he would have helped me pour over the different bonus packages to help me chose the right one.
It is not that money was not an issue while he was alive. As long as I can remember money has always been tight. As much as my father would have loved to give me a blank check and let me get whatever I wanted, he had to settle for long talks to help us pick and chose which items were the most important and which we might desire but must pass on for now.
But things were just better enough, that there would have been no question about whether or not we were going to get this program. After a few minutes of seeing what this program could do, the question would have been settled, it might mean waiting on other things for my little business for a few months, but he would have said it was a deal too good to pass up.
Even then, some of the heartache of missing my father and the way things were before he died might have been avoided, if it were not for the fact that all of this is a stark reminder of how my life and business have stood still. ears of fighting to go to school, years of struggling to make books, and I am still in the same place as day one. A lifetime of struggling and doing without, giving up holidays and summer vacation to study, staying up till midnight to do homework, getting up at 4am to get ready for school, some semesters enduring 12 hours without food because I could not afford to go to taco bell and get a burrito, at times having to go to class in a wheelchair, pushing myself to the point that tears were running down my checks with each step because I was ignoring the symptoms of a massive infection, enduring long hours in class with an undiagnosed and untreated migraine, for what?
Even now, after school my dream of going to school and becoming a doctor, then settling to try and become a nurse practitioner, and for now even getting a bachelor degree has been demolished, I have pushed myself to the point that every bone in body hurt. Where my nerves were so raw that it felt like someone was scratching their nails down a chalkboard or putting bare wire in water, and even worse, triggering hours of intense nausea that kept me from eating or functioning until it passed.
Why, in hopes that this puzzle book, that poetry video, blog, notebook, or activity pack would be the one to take off and earn more than a buck or two here and there. That at last, my dedication and perseverance, my willingness to work until my body said no more, would at last be rewarded. And success, even a little droplet of success, would finally come my way. And finally the pain of having to spend a lifetime on the sidelines watching my family, my neighbors, my classmates, and you tubers get their dream job, graduate from school, some become doctors, get engaged, married, have kids, buy their dream home, and live the life that will never be mine, wash away.
In that one crushing moment I felt that bitter weight of failure. That agony of knowing that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I struggle, I will never know the thrill of success or the joy of being a part of life. For good or for bad, for some reason all of my best efforts have ended up in a sea of tears that could not be kept in a hundred bottles for their multitude.
It has taken a lot of effort, but most days I am able to bury the pain of missing out on life’s dearest mile markers. It is not easy, but most of the time I can put on a brave enough face to convince those who long to be convinced that I am content not to marry and have kids, that I am satisfied to be forgotten as I sit on the sideline and watch the world go by.
Thankfully, the effort to make my books and humble little videos, keeps just the tiniest enough sliver of hope alive, that most days I can ignore the deep ache in my heart. Over and over I tell myself today will be the day, and if not, surely tomorrow will be the one. Perhaps this book will the book that will change the course of my life and allow me to enjoy the pleasure of earning my own living.
But tonight, when yet another hope crumbled into a billion particles of dust, I had to admit defeat. In spite of all my pushing myself to the point of being bedridden, the multitude of missed meals and hours of sleep, and countless other little and major sacrifices so that I might finally hold up my head instead of always having to hold out my hand, I have gotten nowhere. In a cruel twist of fate, the classrooms full of students who barely made an effort, have enjoyed the thrill of victory, have known the joys and frustrations of work, love, and family, while I, the one who gave every ounce of her feeble strength, have only tasted failure and disappointment. And all my hard work and dedication has only netted my aches, pains, infections, migraines, emergency room visits, loneliness, tears, broken dreams, and more.
Will I rise or will I fall? Will the day ever come when my hard work will translate into something greater than an empty dream, unfilled longings, and a quietly broken heart? Will I ever know the joy of finding true love, of earning my own wage, or at least being able to earn enough that every once and a while I can have the pride of being able to say, it may seem expensive to you, but its my money and I think its worth it? I do not know. But it sure seems like on this earth, success will never be mine no matter how hard I try.
The only thing that I can do is give my broken dreams to God and ask Him to dry the tears of my heart and give me the strength to get up tomorrow and keep on fighting until there is no more time to fight. And trust that one day He will keep His promise to swallow up the years that the locust have eaten up, and exchange all my tears for shouts of joy and happiness.
So finally, after more than a year watching videos, I finally decided that it was time to listen to the advice to try and diversify my income stream by repackaging my activity books to sell on Etsy. When I finally decided that it was time to open my shop, it was not because I was ready and waiting with dozens of products ready to upload. At the time I only had half a dozen packs that I thought where ready and waiting. Instead I decided that it was time because if I did not make the move now, I might never make the move at all.
I realized that after months of watching and planning, I had gotten comfortable with watching and planning. With hundreds of videos on You Tube talking about Etsy, it was becoming very easy to say, I need to watch a few more videos before I make a decision to do this or that. And to push the decision off to a more convenient time because I had no clue what I was doing or what I was getting into.
The problem is that like learning to swim or drive, you can only learn and understand so much by sitting on the sidelines and watching others. You can watch a hundred videos on creating the perfect listing or ensuring that you have flawless SEO, and think that it all makes sense, until you are the one standing on the diving board looking nervously down at the water. In that instant it is so easy to postpone the decision for a better time when I had watched a few more videos, made a few more products, or felt no pain.