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Know your benefits for yourself! February 9, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsgridley0630 @ 1:51 am

Blue Cross Blue Shield. Priority Health. Aetna. United Healthcare. Hap. HMOs. PPOs. EPOs. And everything else in between.

A daily (and usually frustrating) part of my job involves health insurance. There are general rules that apply to most cases-MOST insurance companies fully cover preventative visits, for example, and immunizations. After working as a receptionist for awhile and from my graduate education I have also picked up on differences between HMOs and PPOs. However, considering the fact that there are thousands of plans, there is no way I can ever learn the ins and outs of all of them.

A problem I see often concerns physical exams and PPOs. Typically PPOs require 366 days between physicals. Usually when scheduling physicals we are careful to check the date of the patient’s last physical to determine whether or not they are eligible. But guess what-gasp-sometimes we make a mistake. And wouldn’t you know it…the patient gets mad. “Why didn’t they tell me when I scheduled it?”

Ummm…it’s YOUR plan that YOU signed up for. So the better question is… “why didn’t YOU know?”

My thought is that a lot of people don’t take time to read the book they get when they sign up for their plan-the very book that is designed to help the contractee understand his benefits. It takes time, they sometimes have too much detail and get boring, etc. I get it. But at the end of the day it is still primarily your responsibility to understand your benefits for yourself. But if you don’t read you won’t know.

Amazing that a parallel exists, at least in my mind, between health insurance and the Christian walk. We have the ultimate Benefits Guide…our Holy Bible. In it we can learn the many benefits that come along with our heartfelt acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and obedience to the Word of God. Eternal life is the biggie, of course, but what other benefits can be found in the pages of the Bible?

Where do I begin..?

When I read the Benefits Guide, I am looking to learn about myself… how I can make myself better and be a shining light in the darkness of this world. I don’t read so I can tell Sister So-and-So about herself. I read because I love the Lord and want to live a life that is pleasing to Him despite my many flaws. Through the Bible, I have learned what true agape love is, the unconditional love Jesus showed when He took that unbelievable beating and died for us. I have learned that vengeance belongs to the Lord, and it is better to forgive someone who has wronged me and let that person answer to God instead of seeking revenge and getting spanked by God in return. I have learned to accept myself as I am, flaws and all, because I know that God gave me the shape, skin color, hair texture, talents and abilities that He wanted me to have. I don’t worry much because I know I can turn my problems over to a God who created and sustains EVERYTHING.

Just like any other person, I get discouraged sometimes. I’m not as cute or small as I used to be. I’m trying to accept my hair in its natural state and it doesn’t look good sometimes,  and people close to me have made comments.  I’m disappointed that I have yet to achieve what I had planned to achieve by the time I was this age. I got upset this past week because I got an unprofessional reponse from a woman I reached out to about a job. In every circumstance I found solace in the Word.

Luke 12:7 tells me that the hairs on my head are numbered. God took time to put each and every curl (or, according to society-nap) where he wanted it to go. And when I was complete, he was satisfied. So I try to make it a point to be satisfied with HOW God lovingly made me.

Matthew 6:26-27 reminds me that God lovingly provides for birds, so of course he will take care of my needs as he does continually for lesser creatures.

When I find myself getting annoyed with the Kim Kardashians of the world who are making a tidy sum for doing nothing of value while I have two degrees and make less than twelve and a half bucks an hour, I have to look at Proverbs 31:10-31 that I am hghly valued by God as a virtuous woman.

The Bible tells us all this and more. And even better, it is divinely tailored to fit EVERYONE’S life. It is a book rich with blessings and benefits, and when the day comes for you to answer to God, do you think you will be able to say, if he asks you a question about a sinful behavior you continued after you were saved, that you didn’t know it was wrong? Nuh-unh. When you “signed up” for Christianity, in order to understand your coverage, it immediately became your responsibility to read your Benefits Guide. Don’t wait on someone else to spoon-feed it to you. Don’t just wait for Sunday school, Sunday service or Bible study. Read t often, and reap its benefits!

 

Class of 1999-a great bunch of people. February 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsgridley0630 @ 5:37 pm

These two pieces of news have disturbed me greatly today.

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/highland-park-reserve-officer-shot-and-killed-in-detroit/31149674

http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2931559&fh_id=14109

The first link takes you to an article about an Army reserve veteran by the name of Roderick Burton Jones. To some people, including myself, he is known as BJ. I have known BJ since we were seventh graders at West Middle School.

I have also known the young lady whose obituary can be viewed in the second link since seventh grade. It shows her name as being Gabriella, but we all called her Lynn. She was sweet, quiet, and loved her family.

We kind of grew up together in that we went to the same schools from seventh grade all the way up to our graduation in June of 1999 from Ypsilanti High School. Ypsi is not a city that is known for much, but I cannot say enough about my classmates. I truly enjoyed my time with them. A lot of people were not so fortunate as to have a decent adolescence or teen years. I had a blast during mine, despite the attempts to bully me or make me feel bad about my appearance by a small handful of people. In particular, my classmates, class of 1999, hold a special place in my heart.

So it is disheartening to find that two of them were lost in such a short span of time. Both of these individuals had families that are left behind to find their way. Lynn’s passing is a little baffling to me at this point–I have no idea what happened–but BJ’s seems particularly senseless. I was infuriated to find the reason he was shot–because he threw a few losers out of a nightclub in Detroit. That is worth killing someone over now???

I have many thoughts racing through my mind about both deaths that I am having difficulty sorting through right now. Of course we know that we are not guaranteed to live to see a hundred, but I can’t help but have questions. However, my questions can wait. The more pressing urge is to pray for the families of the deceased, and to pray for my remaining classmates as well.

 

There is still some good… January 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsgridley0630 @ 9:23 pm

Please share your stories of well-doing or well-being at http://www.thereisstillsomegoodoutthere.weebly.com.

(Image from http://helpink.org/products/good-deeds)

 

Your thoughts on capitalism, inflation, economics… share with me.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsgridley0630 @ 9:19 pm

Ho-hum.

So here we are on Sunday, easily my favorite day of the week, and I am getting glum thinking of the impending Monday.

My rant here is not to complain about my job–I have done that enough. While I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work and bring home some money that can take care of a few household builds, thus taking some of the brunt of that from my husband, overall Mondays distress me because on Mondays I again turn over the responsibility of raising my children to the (very capable) hands of my mother.

No, I do not worry about my children, but the fact is, they are MY children and I want to be the one to raise them. But, economically speaking, we cannot afford that.

When my son was born, we were living in a condo that my sister owned. She did not charge us much in rent. There were times after my husband was laid off that we did rely on government help as he looked for other work-Medicaid for my son and a Bridge card (food stamps) to eat. Although we appreciated the help that safety net provided (and those programs SHOULD be there for people who need them, but should never be a way of life for anyone able-bodied), that was not how we wanted to raise our family. But, for a stretch of time, we were both employed, and although we struggled, I was home with my son while he was young. I loved it, and he thrived.

With my daughter things are different. I have been working since she was very small, and I feel guilty that I have not spent as much time reading to her, singing her her ABCs, teaching her numbers, etc. With my son, I went so far as to homeschool him a little since I was home with him. I was teaching him Spanish and, since he is interested in being a doctor, even using my books from college to teach him bones and muscles and bodily systems with my anatomy and physiology knowledge. I LOVED IT. I fixed his breakfast and lunch, got him dressed, got dinner ready for my husband when he did go back to work, and overall felt that I was doing what I was supposed to do for my family. Not saying I never got bored or frustrated with my entire life revolving around my family–I’d be lying if I said that. When I started my graduate program, that gave me an outlet, a chance to focus on my own ambition outside of my family.

Maybe it is in my mind but my daughter is not as advanced as my son is and I feel that is my fault for not being with her like I was my son. She is exceptionally smart, but I have not devoted as much time to her. I spend forty hours a week at my job, and by the time I come home it is time to fix dinner, help my son with homework, get some baths going, and read a story and go to bed. It is often upsetting to me that I spend perhaps twenty minutes of quality time a day with my kids throughout the week.

Has capitalism and the pursuit of wealth interrupted the American family? Years past women were able to stay home with their kids because their husband made enough to support them. It would be nice if that were more feasible now but everything costs so much. I remember where I lived as a child in Ann Arbor, Michigan–a lovely, safe neighborhood with tons of kids. The rent was $325 a month. Now, in 2014, it’s over $1200. Thirty years ago, average rent was $375. Now it is over a thousand (Wotapka, 2014). College costs are 500% higher now than they were thirty years ago… why?? (Odland, 2012). A new car was under ten grand. Now, a decent used car might be under ten grand. SMH.

The richer keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. And our society is so materialistic that even people of moderate means are getting caught up in trends and have no problem forgoing their rent or car payment just so they can impress other people and get the same new iPhone that thousands of other people are getting. It costs less than twenty bucks to make a pair of Air Jordans, but people have no problem shelling out a couple hundred for them, only to watch them go out of style and then have to scramble to get the next pair and keep up with everyone else.

There is a lot of misery involved in the pursuit of money, and the overzealous pursuit of wealth in America (often at the expense of others) has seemingly affected us all. Even someone like me, who has finally gotten to a level of satisfaction and contentment with what I have–I am perfectly happy with my home, although it is small, it is big enough; I am happy with the car I have, although it is not brand new; etc– still has to live in this exploitative world where everyone’s motto is “I got mine, you better get yours”.

I apologize for my disorganized rant. I do. Typically I put more into my posts in terms of organization, but admittedly I am not well-versed in economics or the terms and concepts that go along with it. I just wonder why things cost so much more than they used to and why, if the cost of living has risen so, why haven’t wages as well? Do greed and capitalism go hand in hand?

Thank you to the following individuals for allowing me to use your information.

Odland, S. (2012). College costs out of control. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveodland/2012/03/24/college-costs-are-soaring/

The People History. (N.D.). The year 1985 from The People History. Retrieved from http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1985.html

Wopatka, D. (2014). U.S rents rise again as market tightens. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304887104579304830053269994

Image borrowed from http://www.dystopiaearth.com/?p=976

 

An Unpopular Message January 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsgridley0630 @ 6:36 pm

As a medical receptionist, I often have to act as a liaison between the doctors I work with and their patients. Sometimes I have to convey information to patients that they do not like. If a doctor has chosen not to refill a patient’s prescription, I have to tell the patient and deal with their (usually angry) response. If the doctor says the patient has to rescheduled his or her appointment because they arrived after the fifteen-minute grace period, I have to deal with their (again, usually angry) response.

Is the anger directed personally at me as the messenger? I don’t think so. I tend to think that since I am The Face the patient sees at that moment, I get to bear the brunt of their immediate response, which usually comes forth before they have fully thought it through. Basically, I don’t think most patients curdle their anger long enough to realize the person they are talking to at the moment is not the originator of the message.

As Christians we have a message that is highly unpopular in this world. That does not mean we should ever shy away from saying it. Why? The fact that the world is in the shape that it is in in says that A) we are already not being vocal enough and B) people may not even know they are hungry for the Word, for that good Gospel message, but obviously the world needs it. One might ask, what is so offensive to some about the Word of God? Why do people, even some Christians, refuse to read, study, come to Bible class, etc.?

I’ve learned from personal experience that the Bible convicts. When you open the pages of the Instruction Manual, if you are reading in the right mind, having prayed beforehand for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what must be revealed, the Bible may be for you a mirror of your actual self. Whereas you can hide certain aspects of yourself and your life from others, you cannot hide anything from God. People may not read the Bible because they do not want to know of their sins. Once you have become aware of the sins you commit against God–repeat, against God, not against other people–then a sense of responsibility may form. People do not want that conviction, and a lot of people are not interested in giving up their current ways.

Boy, was I one of those people. I had no idea how miserable and lonely I was in my earlier years UNTIL I finally experienced the fulness of God. I thought I was having a good old time, drinking, clubbing, sexing… SMH. Every now and then that wiley devil tries to entice me into thinking I was truly living then, and how my life is such a drag now… well, it’s not. I have even more fun now than I used to. Why? Because at the end of the night I don’t feel remorseful about any of my actions. I stay away from people and places that are unsafe. And although I may have taken away some years through the damage I did to myself while I was drinking heavily, certainly that stopped once I let go of that habit. I have not looked back since. I can walk right into a liquor store and walk back out with my Peppermint Patty and not think twice about it.

I want for all people to experience the peace that comes along with clean, godly living. A lot of people aren’t going to be receptive to that. Just like in my job, some people may not be interested in hearing what we have to say. But we still have to say it and not take it personally if their response is not what we would want to hear. After all, their attitude is not against us, it is actually against the originator of the message–in our case, if people fail to embrace the Good News of Jesus Christ being our Lord and Savior, their attitude is against God, not us.

 

My Understanding of Patience January 2, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsgridley0630 @ 10:47 pm
Tags: ,

I have been praying for more patience in my personal life, and I have finally found the key to getting it.

As I have grown in the Word I have found that my patience is increasing. It is still not where I want it to be, but definitely better than it used to be.

My prayers aren’t necessarily for an increase in patience as they are for a decrease of Self. If I want to be a vessel that God can used, someone through whom He can work, it is imperative that me and my selfish human natures, desires and characteristics dwindle. Our biggest enemies as Christians are our own Selves. When we allow the desires of God to be replaced by our own wants and whims, we cannot be useful to Him.

It is safe to say that this world can definitely benefit from every single one of us who claims to be a Christian to shine our light a bit brighter in 2015. With each passing year we see more tragedy and moral decay than the year before it. We should all be asking God to fill us, to remove Us from the picture and help us to develop the character exhibited by our Master, Jesus the Christ.

I have made goals for 2015 and one of them is to find a way to despise my job less. The atmosphere has improved and I enjoy all of my co-workers. However, the work itself is not what I pictured myself doing upon attaining my Master’s degree, and if I let it, I can get depressed if I compare myself to worldly standards–two degrees, tons of student debt, with nothing to show for it. However, this year is about meeting goals, not just sitting back and complaining. I am looking for some type of second job that I can do with minimal impact on my family–maybe something working from home, or something that involves writing–and would like to be able to use the second income solely on paying down my student loan debt, because it is hindering my entire family. Other goals include getting my weight under control. My youngest child is almost three. There is no reason I should still be carrying all of that extra weight around.

In terms of my job, getting my mind right about that is difficult. In the past two weeks in particular, I have found the overall selfish attitude of many of the people I am supposed to help to be quite disconcerting. I understand people get anxious when they have a problem with their health, but that is no reason to completely disregard the needs of others–needs that may be more pressing than your own.

Not saying that one being bothered by the fact that their doctor gets behind and their appointment does not begin when it is scheduled–it is understandable. People have other things to do than sit in their doctor’s reception area all day. I get it. But how about considering that perhaps your doctor got behind because a life-threatening problem came up with another of their patients? Is it impossible to understand how a doctor can get behind, or how a prescription can take up to 24 hours to fill, as doctors and their staff are tending to the needs of hundreds of other people and not just you? Shouldn’t one take personal responsibility for failing to call before their meds run out completely; not providing us with their insurance information or making sure a service is covered with THEIR unique plan that THEY signed up for; or making sure they know the date and time of their own appointment, which THEY scheduled? Understandably everyone has an off day, but I have noticed a pattern in which people are faster to get angry and blame others (usually us hapless receptionists) for something we have no control over.

As a patient myself, I have rarely been to the doctor and got in an out quickly. In the reception area, I remind myself that there might be someone back there knocking on death’s door, and my sore throat is probably not going to kill me. I also remind myself that while it is okay to politely inquire about your wait time, the receptionist at the front desk has no control what goes on behind her. Now, one problem I have is with impatience in the car. I try to tell myself that if people are moving slowly, it gives me time to just enjoy the vehicle God has provided for me, and if there is a traffic backup, I think that perhaps there is an accident and I should just pray for their safety and health and thank God for my own.

In times where your patience is tested, think of others and the possibility that just maybe you are being hindered while another of God’s children is being cared for. In 2015, my goal is to focus more on others and less on self.

 

Time to catch up-rant November 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsgridley0630 @ 1:56 am
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It has been awhile since I have been on my blog–far too long, and there shouldn’t be any excuses made, however, I do feel as though I have a decent one…

I guess I have two excuses–number one, I do not have a computer right now. I was recently given a laptop gratis by a friend of the family, so now all I have to do is get a new power cord for it and some Internet access and I can study and blog to my heart’s desire.

However, the main excuse is that I have been working, in more ways than one. At my job, which I won’t spend ANY time discussing, and in my home of course, and increasingly, at my church. What I have discussed is that when people discover your abilities and willingness, they tend to ask more and more of you, and as a Christian, I will not say “no” to any favor asked of me when it comes to serving the Lord unless there is a VERY good reason not to.

I was asked to be the Sunday School teacher for the teenagers, a position I accepted immediately. I have been studying with the Moody Bible Institute for four years now. It was beyond time to put my learning into application. I love doing it. I love the kids. That position requires study and prayer, for I am not ever going to allow myself to go teach those kids something incorrect. I take the responsibility very seriously.

I have been asked to help out in some capacity for each of the major programs put on by my church, including most recently our Pastor’s anniversary celebration. I have been trying, with my family, to attend all of the afternoon services at either our church or others, and of course my kids are still active in the youth choir. It is all very rewarding. It does get taxing sometimes, admittedly, because to a lesser extent, once people know that you are willing to do something, sometimes people will use you… but that should not prevent you from working for GOD.

Herein lies the substance of my rant.

At my church I am also the site coordinator for the Moody Bible Institute class that is offered there. When I first began, attendance was decent, but it has consistently dwindled over the years. For the class to stay open, we have to have a minimum of seven (the number of completion!) students. Why? Namely to pay the professor, a very dedicated reverend who drives twenty or so miles to teach us, only to have an audience of 3-4 students at a time. Moody has been very flexible with keeping the class open despite the attendance, with the understanding that the past winter was a possible hindrance to participation and with the understanding that people may not be able to afford the cost of the class. They responded by dropping the price for new students. I have tried to help solicit support by sending letters of invitation to neighboring churches and providing snacks out of my own pocket. Apparently, people just aren’t interested in learning.

I am not taking it personal, what I am offended and upset by is that these classes are supposed to be for Christians, people who are supposed to strive to be “Christ-like”… how can you be Christ-like if you know nothing about He who we’re supposed to follow? How can you learn about Him if you do not read and study the Word?

I am frustrated by the unwillingness of Christians to do ANYTHING to advance their relationship with God and wonder how one comes to a point where they are complacent, where they feel maybe they don’t need to know anything else. I am never satisfied, my thirst for the Word of God can never be quenched, and the more I learn the more I want to learn. As I learn more, I want to do more and want to be a better servant and representative for my Lord and Savior. As I read more I understand why Christians ought to have a sense of urgency when it comes to spreading the Gospel, being the light and salt of the earth in these rough times. People NEED us. There are so many lost people in this world that we could be bringing to Christ but are in no position to be used by God for that. Not only because we don’t study, but also because we do not want to work to spread the Gospel. Most of us don’t want to work in our own church, let alone go out into the community and do anything outside of our comfort zone.

Not saying I have never been that way before. Years ago when my faith life was lacking, I was a spiritual babe and of little value to God. Why? Because I was selfish. I believed in God but I was still super worldly. I wanted God to answer my sporadic prayers and take care of me but I had nothing to offer Him in return. Like so many people of the world who only want God to swoop in like some type of supernatural Superman and save the day when things are in shambles, I treated God more like a Santa Claus than the creator and sustainer of this world. I only talked to him when I wanted or needed something and definitely was a poor representative of Him. He had every reason to wipe me out for such blatant disregard for His person but thank God He didn’t… He saw even more than I ever could have.

Selfishness has no place in a Christian life. But, we are. We are selfish with our money–we don’t want to support the church financially. We are selfish with our time–we get upset when church service runs too long. However, when we are told by our boss to work late, we go ahead and do that. We don’t want to get fired and we want the extra money. Yet, we forget that if we are obedient to God our needs will be supplied, and lest we forget that all that we have God gave it to us in the first place. We are selfish with our talents and abilities–we don’t want to get tied down by a commitment that might cramp our lifestyle.

So that places a huge burden on the faithful few that are happy to work in the church. Again, I am always happy to work for God. However, after a few people keep getting called upon to do everything in the church because the larger portion of the congregation does not want to do their fair share, then yes humanity comes in and the faithful few may get weary. I am included. Yes, I get weary, but I am not going to stop, and I am not going to tell anyone no unless I have a reason to when my help is requested.

I just wonder why my fellow saints don’t think the same.

If we love the Lord who hears our cries, why can’t we do anything for Him?

 

 
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