Alright, alright…  So you can’t stare at thermometers and fried eggs for more than a week at a time.  I’ll update already!  You may now officially stop harassing me!

I’ve been spending some time at the beach lately.  I’d like to say “a lot of time”, but the fact is, I don’t like the beach.  I know there’s eye-rolling going on all over the world as you read that last statement, and I know how much of a waste it is for someone like me to spend an entire summer in my mom’s home, just a minute down the road from a gorgeous beach and a gorgeous lake and big crashing waves and….  Hey, at least I like the seagulls, right?  And I feed them each time I go to the beach to watch a sunset, so I’m doing my part for nature.  Don’t think ill of me just because I hate to have sand between my toes, I don’t care for heat, and I’d rather not sit in the sun.  Besides–I can’t get cable TV while sweating on the beach, sand stuck in my suntan lotion, so why would I waste my time? 

I did venture down to the beach one evening last week and spent some time observing a little girl.  She was there with her parents, and either had ADHD or a surplus of sugar coursing through her veins.  When it came time for her to leave the beach, her dad offered a ride on his shoulders, but the little girl was so hopped up on whatever-it-was that she dashed around in circles screaming at the top of her lungs while her mom chased after her.

When she was finally captured by her mom, she decided she’d like that shoulder-ride after all.  The mom put her foot down.  She would NOT be getting a fun ride off the beach after the disobedience she’d just demonstrated.  This is when the story really caught my attention.  While her father tried to call on his wife’s kindness, the wife merely repeated over and over again that actions have consequences, and if the little girl didn’t suffer the consequences of her misbehavior, she’d get the impression that there was nothing wrong with it.

Ask my buddy Mari Ellen: I’m compulsive about the whole “consequences” thing!  I wanted to cheer for the mom for holding her ground…right up until she gave in, and a victorious little girl was carried off the beach in style.

Consequences…  What’s their value?  Learning, that’s what.  Let me give you an illustration:

My brother and his family were just here for 10 days.  During the first day or so of their visit, Lydia (left to right), Corbin, and Owen frequently let rip with massive burps that ruffled my pseudo-southern sensibilities…!  So I decided to deal with their burping exactly as I deal with the Storch girls’ burping–which meant smacking them lightly upside the head whenever an offensive (and foul smelling) burp escaped their lips.  [WHAT??  STORCH CHICKS BURP????  Yup–they’re sadly human.  Don’t you wish they were all saintly and pure like me?]

During the first couple days of smacks, it became evident that Corbin, Lydia and Owen had previously not been aware of when they were burping.  I’d smack them and they’d look at me like I’d just popped out of a rocket ship, then they’d get this “Oh, yeah–I burped” expression on their faces.  After a few days of smacking reminders, all three of them were blessedly releasing only internal burps–mouth closed–which pushed Victorious Me one step closer to having a full blown case of Tyrannical Disorder!  Hey, if it works, why stop?

The fact is, those small consequences (trust me, they were painless!) taught my niece and nephews to be aware of their burping, then to control it.

Life is dangerous–and the most dangerous part of life is our propensity to NOT think in terms of potential consequences.  From driving too fast to eating too much to staying up too late to getting into too much debt…  One of my favorite sites in Washington DC was the following picture.  These tobacco plants were part of the garden surrounding a Native American museum near the Capital.  Isn’t it ironic that right in the middle of those TOBACCO plants was a sign warning of consequences?

[Subliminal message:  don’t even think of developing an addiction!] 

One more thing about consequences:  they aren’t always for our own good.  Sometimes they’re for the good of others.  How many of us have been the victims of the sin of those around us?  How many of us have been the ones to suffer from the mistakes of others?  The secondary consequences of actions are often even more traumatizing because we’ve done nothing to deserve them.  The rape victim who suffers deep emotional turmoil because her attacker sinned.  The child who grows up feeling worthless because his father was never there.  In these cases and so many more, those who failed might have gotten off easier than those who received the brunt of their misdeeds.  Consider the following picture:

I visited a plantation while traveling in South Carolina.  Lining the majestic laneway of the mansion was a row of houses like this one that once housed entire families of slaves.  They hadn’t done anything to deserve the shameful treatment they received at the hands of rich white men.  Yet they were the ones who endured the consequences of the sin of theirs masters.

So…..what’s my point?

My point is that I’m no different from that little girl on the beach.  I want to be able to misbehave as much as I want and STILL get to ride away on my daddy’s shoulders.  But I’ve learned that consequences are not so much the way God punishes us as the way He LOVES us.  And by smacking us upside the head when we need it, He hopes we’ll avoid much greater pain–for ourselves and for those we love.

So let’s not try to avoid the consequences of our stupidity.  Let’s recognize them, embrace them as God’s gift to us,  and put the necessary work into learning what needs to be learned before we commit the same mistake again.

I’m through preaching….really.  This should teach you not to tell me to update!    I leave you with my love and with a picture of the beauty just down the street from where I sit.  Wish I could share it with you in person.



  1. wow…yur wisdom and insight always astounds me! incredible stuff..every time i read yur updates, i go away from my computer feeling like i’ve learned something. so anyways, thanks for sharing your wisdom with the rest of the world! we need it!

    p.s. you should hear the burping at OUR house!

  2. Michele, you know you really should be copyrighting this xanga site! Seriously I think you need to write another “inspirational” book of simply Michele wisdom and reflection complete with cool photos!  Everything said was powerful except if you were raised Korean and then burping is a compliment to the cook. Anyway, we actually did NOT have lots of burping on our roadtrip, but the talks we did have and the sound of smooching was a part of it as well as sweat and! There is so much I need/want to talk with you about…ahhhhhh!  Don’t worry it’s all good! Your mom lives near a beach!!!!!!!!!!  Can she kind of adopt me?!? I never did see a beach while in the States, but I did grow to love the beauty of Kentucky and the church community that Tab and Ryan belong to there! Peace and JOY! I am counting the days til you get home…nine!  hugs and love, Renee

  3. man i’m glad i t wasn’t me getting smacked this time! way to go michele’s niece and nephews! just kididng michele..its funny how you tell us about actions and consequences and yet so many people go out there and try it juts cuz they can or when someone tells you that its bad so many people have to try for themselves and they defintely learn the consequences with their actions..i really don’t know where i was going on that i think i was just thinking that to myself and just wrote it down anyways! if i come up with what i was going at with that i’ll fill you in! glad you liked my haircutt

  4. man… I want a cool aunt like you… hehe.. thanx for the thoughts.. and uh… sorry I never called back… it was becky portman who was trying to call me.. and after I hung up my dad was there to pick me up.. and when I wasin the car… I forgot to call back… sorry about that.. ^^ and.. I never ended up going to the service thing… I chickened out… but!! wish me luck for Sunday~ haha

  5. haha. you crack me up. your site makes me really happy and laugh because your points are very true and i whole-heartedly agree with you. i guess the reason i laugh the most is because your pictures that go along with your lesson are very perfect and thought out like a perfectionist, like me! why didn’t you talk more about this good stuff in kenaniah? and why can’t i even spell the name of the ensemble i was a part of for 3 years? oh well.

  6. uh oh! the last time i had a suggestion from you was… at the mezzo? 😉 around then.

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