Monday, November 21, 2011

How Many Irons in the Fire?

This might be the wrong analogy, but "irons in the fire" is a common phrase even in our modern day when we don't have to put our irons in the fire to heat them up.  Nope, we plug them in, choose the best setting and wait while they heat up.  I think the saying "irons in the fire" comes from the fact that many, many, many years ago, people had to actually put their irons in the fire to heat them up before they could use them.  Then, when they got cold, they'd have to put them back into the fire to reheat and do this over and over again.

Unless they had many irons in the fire.  If they were fortunate enough or had planned well enough, they might be able to afford many irons to put in their fire. Then the trick would be to keep track of which iron was put into the fire earliest so they'd know which one was the hottest, which one needed more time, etc.  Thus, we have the phrase "many irons in the fire" and we use it as though we really know what we're talking about, when most of us have never actually put an iron in a fire.

Or maybe it came from the use of branding irons, which ranchers heated to brand their cattle or other livestock.

Either way, I DO have a point to this topic.  I have found that I work best with many irons in the fire.  For years, I fought this, thinking I was only allowed to have one real passion if I were to do my passion justice. But, rearing eight children has taught me that having many irons in the fire - or many interests and passions going at once - actually helps me work better.  So, I've stopped fighting this thinking in my life and embraced my many, many passions. And the cool thing is, I don't feel like I'm cheating any of them, or myself by pursuing many at one time.

My passions are many.

I love writing and it's likely my favorite. I love to teach writing and have a successful class going through Community Education that I LOVE.

I love helping others through abuse recognition and recovery.  It's very satisfying to help someone who is going what I went through, then they see me living in victory and it helps them.  This makes II Corinthians 1:4 come alive!

I love cooking.  I do that nearly every day.

I love baking.  I do that nearly every day as well.

I love photography.  I am an award-winning amateur photographer and love the challenge of photography. The satisfaction of that hobby is all over the walls of my house.

I love scrap booking and paper crafting and the creative process.

I love home schooling. I have 4.5 years of that left and I realize that I'd better get my other hobbies in full gear when that ends. I've been home schooling 25 years now.

So, having many irons in the fire is no longer something I will fight. I will embrace my varied interests and passions and give each one its due and never feel like I'm cheating any of them, or myself.   I've realized it's ok to have all these irons in the fire because I am blessed to have so many irons in the first place!  My irons represent opportunities and opportunities abound!


Monday, November 14, 2011


We get conditioned to certain behaviors and that conditioning leads to expectation. Expectation, if properly used, can lead to great success.  But, it starts with conditioning.  Conditioning also has a dark side. Abusers know this.

As parents, most of us condition our children to believe they can be anything they want when they grow up. We encourage them to try their wings, to dream big, to create all they want and to learn.  This is a form of conditioning.  Most conditioning is thought of in a positive light.  We condition our hair for a better result. We condition our bodies to perform better athletically. We condition our mind to learn better by studying.

But, there's another type of conditioning we need to be wary of.  Negative conditioning.  This type of conditioning is so subtle that many people have no idea they are being conditioned to fail.  There are many types of negative conditioning, but for today's blog post, I want to focus on one particular aspect of negative conditioning:  Economic

Economic Negative Conditioning is Economic Abuse.

Here's how it works:  First, an appealing scene has to be created.  Often, I've seen "ministry" as the chosen vehicle of economic abuse.  The abuser creates a "ministry" mindset that makes it hard for the abused person to argue with.  If what he's doing is "ministry," it's hard to argue with that without seeming unspiritual.  This is economic abuse paired with spiritual abuse.  Often, abusers have to pair different types of abuse together to make one or the other seem plausible.

Once an abuser establishes his or her avenue of abuse, such as using "ministry" as a front, they have successfully set the stage for their next move.  In the name of "ministry" one can't want financial gain, economic success or nicer things.  If an abuser sets his victim up (conditioning) to expect less, they are free to be lazy, have other priorities, not work hard and then pursue their own interests outside of their financial responsibilities to the person they are abusing.  Inevitably, the abuser is doing this to someone they are financially responsible for.

Conditioning a person for economic abuse happens over time.  The abuser can't spring this on a person all at once; they take their time and patiently repeat certain ideas and expectations to the point where, over time, the victim automatically falls in line with the negative way of thinking they are being conditioned toward!  It's a process that abusive people have often perfected and rarely does a victim even know they are a victim until years into it when they wake up one day and decide they are tired of struggling.

Enough said for now.  Economic abuse is rampant among abusive people.  If you suspect you are in an economically abusive situation or relationship, tell someone you trust.  They may already suspect the reality of this in your life, and you speaking out will confirm it.  Recognition of abuse is the first step in stopping abuse.