Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why My Family Choose To See 'God's Not Dead' over the Movie 'Noah'


            Many of you read my blog a few weeks ago called ‘Thoughts on Christian Fiction from This Preaching Author’.  If not feel free to read it here

            I still agree with most of everything I wrote there, however I’m going to have to backtrack and recant a tad.  I still believe in realizing that films that are based on true stories sometimes take their own lives, but if you remember I said as long as it doesn’t ‘go down a very inaccurate path’ then we needed to support this attempt that Hollywood is doing with the film Noah. 

Well. . . I have a confession to make.  My family desperately wanted to see Noah.  Months ago when we saw the trailer we became so excited.  We don’t go to the movies often.  Let’s face it; renting it later is always cheaper.  We put it on our calendar and started to look forward to it.  I was convinced this was going to be an awesome film, and instead of really researching who was behind it I jumped into the Kool-Aid with both feet.  I was one of the first people to roll my eyes at the Christians who were thumbing their noses at it.  I desperately wanted to support this effort.  We made plans to go this Saturday.

When the reviews began flooding in, Dan and I started questioning our initial excitement.  The general consensus is that the film barely resembles the Bible and took some turns that weren’t exactly Biblically inspired.   I was given an interesting article on FB regarding it, and unanimously everyone said it wasn’t for viewers 12 and under (Though a Pastor friend of mine commented that what realistic film about the Old Testament would be okay for kids to watch? LOL funny and true!).  Granted I haven’t seen the film and perhaps Dan and I will rent it when it comes out.  I’m not judging those that see it, but truthfully after I heard how it deviated so far from the Bible I’m not sure I really care to see it anymore. I’m not sure how true it is but I’d heard the director is an atheist, and art is an expression of who a person is.  While I didn’t expect it to necessarily come from a “Christian” perspective; I did expect it to have similar motives, which I hear that doesn’t really happen. I was very disappointed. 

So on Saturday morning my family decided to go see ‘God’s Not Dead’.  I think we made the right decision.  This film was AWESOME!  Both my husband and I being artsy film people tend to get annoyed with the stereotypical cheesy Christian film/theatre.  But there isn’t a whole lot of cheese here.  Pure Flix did an amazing job on this film.  My family cried, and had to fight not standing up and cheering in the end (though I’ll confess a few fist pumps and singing along).  It was the right choice for us to make as a family and I’m so glad we went.  I’ll also confess to have become a semisecret fan of Duck Dynasty so having the Robertson’s in it was just a too fun addition.  I thought Kevin Sorbo did an awesome job, and I’ve become a fan of David A. R. White over the years. It was well worth the money, and I was glad to give our finances to a worthy ministry. 

I guess this experience taught me, YET AGAIN, how quick I am to react in a situation that I really haven’t studied out.  Had I really paid attention and researched the Noah film in the first place I probably would have come to the conclusion I did a lot earlier, and thusly wouldn’t have jumped on the ‘Why do Christians always turn so judgmental’ bandwagon.  I believe in supporting filmmaker’s attempts at films that have messages I believe in.  But as many posted, it seems ‘Noah’ just when too far with its interpretation. 

I also realize that the controversy over this film has been a hot topic these days.  I haven’t seen it, however the conclusion my family ultimately came agreed upon is we’d rather see ‘God’s Not Dead’.   It was the right choice for my family.  I want apologize if anyone read my first blog and thusly ran out to see Noah and hated it.  I’m working on learning to get all the information before I react.  We all have areas we can confess we need to work on, and that’s one of mine (grin).

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Grandmother Saved My Behind Again...

My grandmother moved in with Jesus over 5 years ago. When I was a little girl, she used to sneak me out of the house if I’d gotten in trouble.  We used to go get a McDonald’s Happy Meal and eat it at the Harding Memorial.  I still remember rolling down the hill in a huge cardboard dryer box (which I did hear that all of that is officially illegal now.)  No matter how old I was her excuse for any deviant behavior I had was, “She’s only such and such years old.”  Yea I don’t think that excuse still works. 

 I inherited a lot of her kitchen extras.  You know what I mean, those random cooking tools that one rarely buys but somehow they end up in the drawer.  My family and I are in the midst of several transitions and a lot of my things are still packed in boxes.  I only unpacked the bare minimum when we moved a few months ago.  I have no idea where my crock pot is.  I think it’s in a box somewhere between my china and one of the computer desks which could be on top of or around the piano.  As I was considering how to solve my need of a crock pot, I found my grandmother’s old one; which still works perfectly and has been a big help.  I couldn’t help but have a moment of tears when I found it.  I miss her every day, and here she was again bailing me out of trouble.

Many people have a misguided notion that their life or the signature of their lives will only last for the amount of time they’re on the earth.  That’s just not true.  My grandmother’s crock pot bailed me out.  A life impacts well beyond what they did on the earth. 

I’m working on my 20th book.  The rough draft will be done either this week or next week.  It’s all about the legacy of two characters.  So I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy these past few months.  Dan and I were joking around yesterday about what we’d want in our obituary.  I don’t want my obituary to be all about the books I wrote or my accomplishments, but I want it to say, “Anna was a super fab woman of God who loved her family and impacted many for the Kingdom of God.”  I want my legacy to go beyond my years on the earth too. 

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

It’s been spring break at my house this week.  It’s been easy to get on my girls for bickering and arguing.  It can be easy to yell at them.  But they are a blessing from the Lord.  My grandmother always treated me like that, even in the moments that I knew I wasn’t acting like a blessing.  To her I was.  Sometimes legacy doesn’t always have to be physical children but spiritual ones as well.

Value your legacy, even when you maybe annoyed by them.  Show them that they are special to you.  Make your moments count.  Live the way you want to be remembered.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crying At the Library

            Last weekend we went to our local library.  They were doing some kind of treasure hunt for younger children, with a story time, and a craft.  It was a tie into the St. Patrick’s Day theme.  We thought it would be fun, and our youngest daughter wanted to go.  She did have fun.  Until she sat all of her things (Candy, a bracelet, a temporary tattoo) that she found in the scavenger hunt on a one of the mats that had been laid down for story time to go say something to us.  When she got up, another child and his mom felt the need to sit their behinds on top of my daughter’s things where she had been sitting. I’d like to think it had been a misunderstanding. When my daughter got back to her seat to find they had taken her seat and sat on her things she started to cry.  My youngest does have a tendency to cry easily but she may have had a point here.  The mother didn’t seem to care she sat on my daughter’s prizes.  She finally moved her behind and gave them to my daughter but in no way was she going to change mats.  My daughter wanted to leave immediately.  She was embarrassed she was crying, and was mad at the woman.  Without punching the other mother I did the only thing I knew to do.  I pulled my daughter on my lap and sat on the mat in front of the lady.  We encouraged my daughter to still try to have a good time.  Eventually I think she did. 

            It’s so true that when situations like the above occur we all have a tendency to want to just run and leave the environment we are in.  Those things steal our joy.  I wasn’t about to end up in a fist fight with the mother, but I wasn’t about to let her ignorance stop my daughter from having fun.

            I have noticed in life that it can be a series of waves and storms.  You have to learn how to stay where God has placed you, and refuse to allow the changes thrown at you to steal the joy of living.  We can choose in life to either be a victim or an overcomer.  I was trying to use this situation to teach my daughter not to let what happened steal her fun.  I hope she learned that lesson.  Jesus overcame death, and the world’s system.  If we are in Him, we can do the same.

1 John 5:4 (NKJV)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our[a] faith.

            Don’t let circumstances, annoying people, or whatever might get thrown your way in a situation steal the joy of living from you.  Sit yourself down and refuse to allow your joy to be stolen from you. 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God doesn’t send things your way to steal, kill or destroy you.  But Jesus came that you might have life, and live it more abundantly.  Don’t allow things to chase you away from living, but rise up and take your stand.  I know you’ll be glad you did.  Joy and happiness are choices that come from the inside.  Choose to live exuberantly.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.


Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Legacy

            I have often joked that my ethnicity is Ohio Redneck.  Many of you have a shared a laugh with me as I’ve said it.  That’s partially true.  The best answer would be that my ethnicity is Appalachian, but before that:  My family tree can be traced back to Ireland, Scotland, Germany, with a Native American.  I still claim the Ohio Redneck, but the majority of my Heinz 57ness is Irish.  I often say I come from a long line of Irish story tellers: That my destiny was found somewhere in my genetic code. (grin) Somewhere in my stacks of papers I can find the shipping manifest of where my grandfather’s father (I believe it may be an extra generation back) emigrated from Ireland.  Within my cultural code, Ireland is the culture I find I most identify with, though I have a few German/Indian moments. One of these days I’d love to visit the country.

            Since Today is St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to take a moment to discuss St. Patrick.  Most people will celebrate today with parades, pub crawls, and meals of corned beef & cabbage.  People will wear green for fear of getting pinched, and practice their best Irish brogue.  With a little too much green beer in them they’ll wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day Irish or not.  However St. Patrick was far from the kind of man who would have encouraged the day-after St. Patrick’s Day hangover.

            Who was St. Patrick?  He was actually British until he was captured by pirates and forced to be a slave in Ireland.  After going back to England he became a priest and felt a divine call of God to go back to Ireland to teach them about Jesus.  St. Patrick was an evangelist.  He used a shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity, God head, Three in One (whatever you want to call it for God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit)  St. Patrick was heralded for bringing Christianity to the land of Ireland which at the time was filled with pagans and druids.  Here is a fun version of all that history told as only the Veggie Tales could tell.

            When it comes to fulfilling destiny one of the common excuses I hear people try to come up with is that they are only one person, how could they ever make a difference on the earth.  I absolutely loathe that excuse.  Jesus was God but he was one person.  St. Patrick is heralded around the world as the man who brought Christianity to an entire nation.  What about people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Martin Luther (the Protestant Reformation), Corrie Ten Boom, Etc. Etc.  I could start naming off more names that have influenced thousands for the kingdom of God and for the world.  All of these people were one person who hooked up with their divine destiny, and through them God shaped the world for generations to come. 

            As you go out and celebrate St. Patrick’s day today, realize that he choose to allow God to take all the negativity that had happened in his life (Being kidnapped by pirates, slavery, living with a bunch of people that didn’t even speak his language) and use it for the glory of God. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Remember that your life is short, what kind of legacy are you going to leave?

whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited, and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Building Blocks of Destiny


            Many of you have heard me tell the story that I was NOT a writer growing up.  People who were writers were people I admired, but I can remember thinking to myself that was not me.  In fact the gifting never really appeared to my knowledge until after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Which has just always been proof to me that I can’t take credit for this ability?  It’s a gift from the Lord plain and simple.

            However, my oldest daughter and I were watching YouTube videos a few days ago.  I was subjecting her to some of my favorite songs as a kid, and she was laughing at the clothing and music styles.  Some of the music that I remember ringing such a cord with me as a kid were these songs that were statement pieces about injustices in the world, or historic pieces that were exposing the darkness in humanity like Winds of Change by the Scorpions, or Abraham, Martin, and John by Dion.  My mother always says that one thing I always had as a kid was a very active imagination.  I used to sit at my father’s side while he told Vietnam stories, and they were a typical evening ritual.  Movies like Delta Force, The 10 Commandments, and Rambo were movies I watched over and over again.  I can remember getting mad in a high school history class because I didn’t like the way the teacher was teaching on Vietnam and I wanted to teach the class.  I remember sitting behind a piece of the Berlin Wall at a traveling museum and weeping for the people would lost their life to bring it down.  I remember going to the adult Sunday School Class at the little Lutheran Church when only a preteen because the kids class bored me.  I joke that I was an odd kid, but in truth I was just being the person God created.  While I still maintain that God gave me a writing gift I can see that the building blocks were there from a very early age.

            While all these things didn’t click to me as a child, I see it now very clearly.  All these things were clues and building blocks to the person He had created me to be on the earth.  God is no respecter of persons (James 2:1-13) The Bible is very clear that He puts us together and fashions us in our mother’s womb.

      Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

God uniquely fashions each of us in the womb.  He puts us together and molds us.  He gives us gifts and abilities.  You will do things on this earth if you will yield over to God’s plan that I will never be able to do.  You will accomplish things that your neighbor never can, because God has fashioned you for a specific plan and purpose.  His plan is always bigger than your mind can fathom, and that’s a good thing.  That’s when you know only God can do it.  You were born for such a time as this.  This song is a new mantra that’s been playing a lot at my house recently.  We just bought it off iTunes.  It’s the Anthem by Jesus Culture.

“Wake up child; it’s your time to shine! You were born for such a time as this! You have destiny.  You are royalty.  Shake the nations!”

Just as I can look over the early years of my life and see building blocks for my future, think about your own.  I’m sure those moments exist in your life.  Think about them today.  What are they?  What can you do to step into those moments of destiny?  Life is just too short to go through it not fulfilling purpose.   God has a purpose for your life! Spend some time with Him, find out what it is, and blaze a trail!

God has awesome plans for YOUR life.  Get excited!



Monday, March 10, 2014

Sitting At The Door: Ringing the Bell & Banging Your Head Against a Wall?

            When we were house training our dog Mojo, we hung a single jingle bell by a ribbon on the inside door knob.  The concept is fairly simple.  He learned quickly if he had to go outside to ring the bell and we’d let him out.  Last year when going out to go to the bathroom, was still a fairly novel idea to him we had some issues with our cable internet.  A worker arrived to fix the cable in the back.  Mojo started to ring the bell.  I thought the dog just wanted to bug the worker so I didn’t let him outside.  I ignored the first few rings.  But Mojo didn’t stop.  He got indignant ringing that bell.  I didn’t want to let him out with the cable worker.  He’d be in the way, I didn’t know how this man was with dogs, the back gate was open so the worker could go in and out, etc.  Mojo kept ringing the bell, and I kept ignoring him.  Finally I looked over and Mojo had chewed the bell off the ribbon and had it in his mouth shaking it back and forth.  He was whining, and doing everything he knew to do to go outside.  I still thought he was after the internet worker.  So I told him no!  Mojo waited until I was just behind him, and as if to make a point peed all over the floor!  He’d tried to tell me that he had to go. 

            I can defiantly identify with Mojo’s frustration in those moments.  He knew he was supposed to go to the door and ring the door.  He knew that is supposed to get him outside.  He was doing everything he knew to do in order to get the door to open and it still wasn’t opening. 

I know I’m not the only one who has felt a little like Mojo at that moment.  You’re at a doorway waiting for what God has spoken to come about, and you’re doing everything you know to do in order for the door to open and it just isn’t.  Frustration can be an ugly emotion.  Many of you just aren’t sure how much longer you can contain yourself. 

“But God, I’ve done what you told me to do!  Why hasn’t the door opened?”  You want to scream and cry.  It’s in those moments you start throwing fits. 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

God knows your standing at the door.  God knows you’ve done what He told you to do.  God isn’t going to leave you there forever.  The season that you are in will end.  To everything there is a season (Ecc 3:1)

Mark 11:23 (KJV)

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

You have to trust God, that He will open the door in the right timing.  The trick is learning how to stand at the door and be at peace with your surroundings.  The trick is not growing so frustrated with everyone and everything that you throw a huge fit, and have a meltdown.  So what should your response be when you’re sitting at this divine door waiting for it to open?

Ephesians 6:13 (MSG)

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

            When you’ve done all, stay on your feet and keep standing! Endurance, Patience, Perseverance are all things you need if you ever want to see the plan of God fulfilled in your life.  I totally understand it’s not easy.  But you have to trust God that it’ll all be worth it.   While sometimes it may feel you’ve been at that door forever, you haven’t.  God isn’t going to leave you there, so keep trusting Him!

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thoughts on Christian Fiction from this Preaching Author


            While currently I am more known for writing nonfiction, I am a story teller at heart and write a lot of fiction.  I’ll be starting on my 20th book soon, and out of those 20 books, 16 of them are fiction.  Thank you Jesus that God will open a door for a home (publishing house) for all these books so that their not setting with a cardboard sign by the literary highway that reads, ‘Will write for food” in purple marker.  (GRIN)

As the story teller and preacher that I am, I love it when I am able to put a spin a Biblical story or use the Biblically based themes in a project.  I am excited that more and more movies and books are being done in this vein.  So confession time, my family is pretty stoked about the move Noah that is coming out at the end of the month.  I was shocked to hear that there was some kind of controversy going on about it.  I guess there is a Christian community of people annoyed because Hollywood had to add to the story in order to make it into an epic film.  Ummm duh.  If the film only used what was in the Bible, what are they supposed to do with the other 1hr and 45 minutes?  I can understand one would be concerned that they would take it in a place that wouldn’t be Biblical.  I mean to Hollywoodize a Bible story sometimes it would cause alarm.  With films done in the past that have gone down a very inaccurate path like Corpus Christi, I can understand the concern.  The Bible is very sacred to me, and I don’t want people to do what they did in that film. (In Corpus Christi it makes horrible claims against Jesus’ sexuality) However from what I’ve heard that isn’t what has happened here; the twists and turns the film takes appear to be very fictional, but Biblically possible

            I think the issue is how it respects and treats the original Bible story.  From what mindset and motivation is the writer approaching the story?  Is it contradicting the word?  Often Christian fiction pieces cause such controversy.  For example, the Left Behind  Series by Jenkins and LeHaye.   I will say I’ve read that series and I love it.  I think the writers did a great job basing a story around what could happen in the end times, and I think that readers have to remember that its fiction.  It’s not meant to be considered a time line and exact times and moments of everything that will occur in the end times.  There is often a huge controversy on books like The Shack by William P. Young.  I’ve heard some people try to discount this book as being New Agey.  I never got that from it.  For me it’s a powerful book, and helped me mourn and process some loss in my life.  However, it’s FICTION!  It’s not meant to be looked at as Biblical fact.  People need to understand that there is a difference between: fiction, non-fiction, and when something is BASED on a true story.  Even when it’s based the writer will take twists and turns.

            The concern becomes, that individuals may think that the writer is trying to add to the Bible in this regard like it mentions in Revelations.

Revelation 22:18-19 (MSG)

18-19 I give fair warning to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this book: If you add to the words of this prophecy, God will add to your life the disasters written in this book; if you subtract from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will subtract your part from the Tree of Life and the Holy City that are written in this book.

            It would be adding to the Bible if someone tried to present their story as FACT.  But when it’s published as FICTION, people who read it and view it need to understand that the writer isn’t trying to present their story as scripture.  They are using the Bible, and telling a story.  The problem arises though that many who read or view the film don’t actually know what the Bible says and then base their own theology on the project.  When really they need to open the Bible and find out what it really says.  Study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15).

            It seems to me that in cases like this the Church/Christians/People in general, have developed an overly critical spirit.  You should dissect what you watch or read.  I do believe you need to be on your guard concerning this.  I believe you need to guard what entertains you, and that is a whole different teaching.  What amazes me is that so often people will criticize a faith based effort but yet will be the first in line at some ungodly film regarding witchcraft, sexual perversions, or vampires, and then show up to church on Sunday Morning.  Really?    

What I’m saying is:

[ A Simple Guide for Behavior ] “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

I believe that films like Noah can inspire ones to learn more about what really happened and maybe a few people will pick up a Bible as a result.  I believe that maybe The Left Behind series wasn’t 100% accurate but can inspire others to get their lives right with God before the end times.  I believe that while Mel Gibson went out of his way with The Passion of The Christ there are still a few small things he had to add, and that film has been used mightily for the kingdom of God.  Media is a powerful tool.  Hollywood is seemingly waking up to the fact that these films are making a profit.  Perhaps instead of the church criticizing the efforts, maybe we should get behind it and support it. 

Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!



Monday, March 3, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Sappy Sad Songs

I have a fiercely intense love/hate relationship with super sad songs.  Our radio station here likes to over play them.  Call emotions a currency in my life.  Unless I’m willing to spend it on the song a perfectly good sad song will make me angry after I’ve heard it fifty times.  It’s the reason I loathe the “Christmas Shoes Song” that everyone likes to sing all the time.  My tear strings have been pulled one too many times, and the currency has been spent regarding the lyrics.  These songs always revolve around love lost and death. 

The first time I heard “He was Walking Her Home” By Mark Shultz I got so emotional I almost had to pull the car over.  It was hard to drive through my tears.  I wanted to yell at God.  But I began crying to Him, “I just don’t understand it!  Why would you put people on this earth to love and then just have them torn from them when they die?”  Had I thought about my emotions at the moment perhaps I would have reasoned them away.  God responded to my thoughts very simply.  I heard him deep within me respond, “But Anna, that was never My will.”

With those brief words it was as if pieces of a puzzle piece seem to fit together.  Death on this earth was never God’s will.  We were created to love.  Death came in through sin.  It is through Jesus Christ that we can lay hold of a promise in eternity.  (John 3:16)  God loved us all enough to give us a chance at eternal life.  Death and goodbyes stink, but the good news is that when we are in Christ Jesus we have the promise of eternity.  I have wished so many times that God would just let us email in heaven.  I have a couple people I’d love to hear from and I’d settle for an email.  My grandmother and 3 dear pastors of mine all passed within the last few years.  Man, I’d just settle for an email….

When I hear the song “He was Walking Her Home” I think of my grandparents.  My grandmother was a woman full of fire.  She and my grandfather met at 16 and 17, and were married a year later.  Grandma has been gone now for over 6 years and I still miss her every day.  I know my grandfather does too.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a life with someone for that long, and then have to adjust to life without them.  I have no doubt that she is in heaven now, joining my cheering section, and that I’ll see her again one day. 

While people write about these sad songs, death is something we’ll all have to face.  There is a time to be born and a time to die.  There is a time for everything under heaven. (Ecc 3)  It’s so easy to shrug off the inevitable but one day, unless the Lord comes back for His church in your life time, we’ll all have to face our last days. 

It can be very easy to get annoyed at the little things in life.  It can be easy to want to smack your spouse and scream at your kids, but when I lie on my death bed what will my regrets be?  What will my legacy be?  How will I be remembered?  How do you want to be remembered?  If your life is a song do you want it to be one of hope or tragedy?

I say all this to say this morning, enjoy your life.  Live your days to the fullest.  Don’t let things go unsaid or undone.  Do not live with regrets.  Despite having to see death on this earth life is still a gift and eternity is very real.  Do not wait too long to determine where you’re going after you die.  I don’t know about you, but while death doesn’t look like fun; I am looking forward, many years from now, to an awesome reunion party in heaven.  There are a lot of hugs I’m waiting to give. 

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.