Friday, July 30, 2010

The Spicy McChicken

Okay. So I've had this video since our road trip. It cracks me up every time I watch it.

My daughter LOVES the McChicken sandwich at McDonald's. Well, on our road trip we discovered that they suddenly switched from offering the regular McChicken to the SPICY McChicken. She ordered it anyways thinking she could manage it.

It was like flames were going off in her mouth. HA HA It was so funny to watch her eat this thing and then drown herself in water...which we ended up discovering wasn't the purest.

So I think my daughter would like to make a special request... Please, McDonald's. Please bring back your REGULAR McChicken!





Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sometimes You Can't See What's Right In Front of You


Home Videos. They are great for capturing moments in time. They also do something to my heart. When I go back and view videos from when my kids were little, I find myself thinking “How could anyone say ‘no’ to that sweet little face?” Or “Why was I so grumpy – she was so cute and innocent!”

I’ve also found myself looking at a moment in time from a different perspective. “How could I have not seen how skinny I was? Why didn’t I enjoy it more?” Or on the opposite spectrum – “Why did I not see I was gaining weight and do something sooner?”

Sometimes we just can’t see what’s right in front of us. We feel old when we are so young and vibrant. We waste time and days wishing and hoping for what’s not there and yet in 5, 10 or even 20 years we will look back and wish we had enjoyed ourselves more or loved what we had more.

Each one of us is blessed. Often, we can’t see what’s right in front of us because of wanting something different. Yet, if we could just pause and refocus our priorities, our vision, and our heart and attitude – I think our eyes would often clear and we’d see what often everyone around us sees.

Thankfulness, gratitude, joy, and contentment come with an attitude of the heart. It’s nothing someone else can give us. We just need to tune out the rest of the world, tune INTO the Lord, and focus on what God has placed in our lives. Focus on who we are and what we are doing with ourselves a lot more.

Regrets are awful. They just gnaw away at you. Don’t look back somewhere down the road and wish you would have enjoyed those God placed in your life more. Don’t wish you’d grabbed at opportunities in your life more. And don’t regret not loving and enjoying yourself more. For some day you will see the beauty in your life that God has always seen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In Sympathy...

When someone passes away, if you’re anything like me, you feed badly and usually express your condolences in person when you see the family member or loved one. Sometimes you don’t know what to do or if they want to be alone or not and so just expressing your sadness at their loss in person seems to be the way to go.

I didn’t realize until I was an adult that sometimes doing something more matters infinitely to the person going through the loss. It doesn’t take much time, and it doesn’t cost much. That thing is to send a sympathy card.

I had no idea how much these cards would mean until I went through the loss of my grandfather the summer of 2009. I didn’t expect any cards – after all, it wasn’t my mother, father, or sibling who passed on – it was a grandparent. And yet a very dear one to me at that. I took his death bravely but with deep sorrow.

I received a sympathy card in the mail. And then a couple more and found that those few words that someone took the time to write out and send to me, meant everything to me. It was if someone was validating my tears, my sadness, and my pain. It was if someone was saying to me – “I understand, I care, and I’m praying for you.” I had no idea a card could do so much for me during such a difficult time.

It wasn’t the words these precious people said that meant the most to me – it was the effort. It was as if when I opened that envelope and saw the words “In sympathy of your loss….” That it was if someone was hugging me and telling me that it was okay to cry. When everyone else was going on with their daily lives, it was if someone was pausing for a minute to let me know that they loved me and understood that – for a moment – it was okay for me to have a hard time doing the “dailyness” of mine.

I get it now. I didn’t get it before. Most of my losses of loved ones happened as a child or a young adult so I didn’t see or really benefit from a sympathy card. It wasn’t until I was an adult that it struck my heart with the deep connection and outpouring of concern and kindness.

I think anyone who has gone through a loss will also understand. The phone calls and visits – yes, they are important too. Bringing of meals is invaluable to a family who is dealing with the emotional turbulence of a loss. But if you don’t feel you can do those things – or even that they aren’t simply enough…. Send a sympathy card. I guarantee you that the effort alone, means the world.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moving the Line of What is Acceptable

I was talking to my girls recently about music. We were downloading some new songs from Itunes and one of my daughter’s was asking me what some of my favorite current hits were. I finally mentioned one that I liked, but was hesitant to buy because of the singer’s reputation. She told me, “That has a bad word in it.” Really? I hadn’t even noticed. She told me if I listened carefully that I would very clearly be able to hear it. Which brought up a short little discussion on content in songs.

When I was growing up (yes, I can’t believe I’ve relegated myself to using those lines!)…I informed my daughter that bad language in music wasn’t allowed on radios. Now, it’s commonplace.

Why do you think that is?

I think it’s because we’ve allowed it. We’ve desensitized ourselves to what is bad and what is okay.

Say you have a song that is really vulgar. Everyone is in an uproar about it. But then another song comes out that isn’t quite as bad and so it’s allowed. Then down on the road, more songs come out. Some push the limit, others go back to that one song that was a little “edgy” but allowed and so they too – are allowed, because “hey” – they aren’t “as bad” as the other songs. This continues for a while until you start having a market saturated by songs that once would have been deemed “unacceptable.” The line keeps moving. And it’s moving in the wrong direction. Instead of starting back where we didn’t allow any of these words, thoughts, or actions; we’ve allowed them in small doses because they aren’t “quite as bad” as some others out there. But the limit keeps getting pushed to worse and worse – more vulgar and more vulgar and so the ones that aren’t “as bad” also keep getting pushed because everyone thinks they are tame “in comparison.”

Just what is “our comparison?”

Whether it’s movies, music, commercials, television, news…whatever….we’ve allowed the line of what is acceptable to continue to move, when in reality it should be back where it started. No bad language. No untruths. No demeaning of people. No sex. The list goes on and on.

For me – God’s Word is what I hold everything in comparison to. His Word never changes. It was relevant yesterday and it will be relevant tomorrow. It doesn’t get to be “old fashioned.” It’s amazing that way. His values and morals are for our protection. And the line of what is and is not acceptable never moves or changes.

I need to hold what I listen to, see, think, and act upon – on His Word. Always. Just because something is “less bad” doesn’t mean it’s good. That fact will never change…no matter what society does or does not allow.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One Breath Away

I learned something through a couple of pretty big mistakes in my life. I learned how quickly we could screw up our lives. How easy it is to ruin everything you stand for and work for.

We can be so judgmental… people. We can look down on others for the messes and mistakes in their lives, all the while, failing to see how easily we can make our own.

I learned we are all one breath away from disaster. One breath away from our whole lives changing. And it’s humbling.

Lest you think I’m wrong – when was the last time you said something when you were upset, later regretting it deeply? When was the last time you were in a car accident that could have been much, much worse? When was the last time you acted passionately in an incidence only to have to try and repair things later? When did you act foolishly with your finances or dive into something ignorantly without checking the rules or facts first? Yes – we’re all one breath away. For most of us, grace and mercy spares us from deeper consequences. For which I’m eternally thankful.

I’ve been a “good girl” all of my life. Fear has kept me that way. Anytime I’ve ever done anything – I’ve gotten caught. So it’s easy to have fear keep you on the right path. And yet sometimes my naiveté has landed me into trouble, as well. I’m learning that the fact that you didn’t realize something just can’t be an excuse in life anymore. You have to think and use your head.

Of course we can’t be perfect. We can’t always hold our tongue when we’re upset – but we can get closer to it if we practice that tactic. We will make mistakes, have errors in judgment, and mess up. Just know that if things work out all right or you’re spared discipline or embarrassment – it’s not because you were “lucky.” It’s because of God’s great and deep love for you and His unending grace and mercy. Never count them out or take them for granted.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pet Peeves

Everyone has pet peeves. What one person can overlook drives someone else completely crazy. What another person finds offensive or disrespectful, another can easily offer grace and mercy.

I’m not sure if our pet peeves stem from bad experiences or merely our God-given personalities but they are there constantly challenging us.

Here are some of my pet peeves –


~ Naked Toddlers running around in public. Or even a little girl in pants or diapers but nothing covering her chest. (When I say in public – I usually see this at parks, lakes, recreational type events)

~ People who are late.

~ Hearing other people swallow. My daughter can swallow (for fun) pretty loudly and it just grosses me out. I just don’t like to hear others swallow!

~ Wet paper.

~ People who cut in line in front of you (in a car) and then wave “thank you.” Umm – excuse me? I didn’t have a choice!

~ People who come into a movie at the last minute and ask you if you wouldn’t mind moving down a couple seats. Never mind that you were there 30 min early just so you could pick out which seats you wanted!

~ People who ask to borrow money and then never pay you back.

~ People who don’t “RSVP” to invites.

~ When I park “waaayy out” in a parking lot so as to not be by any other cars and then come back out to my car to find one other car right in the slot next to me.

~ Girl Cliques.

~ Stores that don’t have price tags on things for sale. If I have to ask, then I don’t want it.

~ Dogs roaming free. Dogs that don’t stay in their own yards. Dogs that constantly bark.

~ Last minute planning when you knew of an occasion or event ahead of time.

~ Texting codes. I don’t like to have to stop and figure out what the abbreviation means. Just say it.

~ People on planes who have their seat tilted wayyy back so your knees can’t move and are all crunched. And they leave it this way THE WHOLE FLIGHT.

~ Swearing. It’s not cool. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t make you look or sound tough. It’s just ugly.

~ Uncontrolled children. Especially in public pools or in the bleachers at school functions. If they are splashing me, running by me, being loud so I can’t hear or not being respectful.

~ Anything wrong with my food. Dirty glasses at a restaurant, bugs, discolored lettuce, hair; I get grossed out easily.

~ FREEZING stores and restaurants. If you want me to stay and purchase more – don’t chase me out of the store by making me miserably cold.

~ People who don’t keep their word.

~ Price tags on the front of picture frames that then leave a sticky residue.



What are some of your pet peeves?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And God Said Hello....




I just had to share this picture. My nephews are staying with us for the week and we took them to a nearby cave today. When we were coming back out into the light, we all noticed this gorgeous sun ray shining down into the cave from up above.

I have always loved sun rays. To me, they have always symbolized God. God speaking to me. God getting my attention. God's love. God's glory. Just GOD.

I stepped into the light today and tilted my face upward - to His.

It just felt like a "hello" from Him.

Monday, July 12, 2010

For He Loved Me

I read this verse today….

“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
Psalms 44:3



…”For you loved them.”

That last line just brought such warmth to my heart and a sweet smile to my lips. It was a good reminder to me of all the spiritual battles I have fought in life. Or thought “I” fought in life.

So many times we think it’s us doing the battle. We think we are wielding this sword and fighting on a daily basis whatever it is that has been placed in front of us. But it’s not our swords or our arms that bring us victory. No – it’s God. It’s HIS arm, HIS hand, and the light of HIS face that brings about victory…not anything we did. Not that we prayed mightily enough, were good enough, were strong enough, or that we were blessed enough. No, it is simply because God loves us.

Sometimes truths so simple are the hardest to take in. We think there must be more. But there’s not. God does things for us simply because He loves us and He desires to bless us.

Yes, I believe He wants us to get on our knees and pray. I believe He wants us to use what tools He’s given us in our faith, but those are more for our own growth and walk than they are for results, really.

Anytime I think I’ve done something enough; if I would just fast more often or pray harder – then the focus is on “me” and what I can do – not one what my God can do.

It’s good just to remember that it is not by might but by God’s that wins battles.

For He loved me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sing Like a Bird


One of my favorite things in the summertime is to wake up with an open window and hear the birds outside chirping and singing away. I love it so. It lends a whole cheer and tone to my day from the very beginning.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a “sad” bird song. They always seem to have melody in their voices and a smile in their song. I like that. I think we could learn from that.

When we wake up and start each day, it is a gift. After all – God sustained us through the night and saw fit to let us live another day. That is one reason to wake up smiling and singing. We also have the chance to live each new day “right.” We have another chance to say the right thing, think the right thing, act in the right circumstance and with the right heart and motivation… and love from a heart that is right with God.

Each new day is a fresh start. A new beginning. Another chance to be who we want to be. That is cause to sing is it not?

They say you can wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I think that’s true. But I don’t think I’ve seen a bird do that. They seem to wake up with a song in their heart. They are focused on the day and the job with which they are set out to do. Whether that’s building a nest, guarding eggs, bringing food to their young – whatever. They do it with cheer and focus.

If we have the right intentions and motivation, we too, can feel happy each morning that we wake up. We can have a song on our tongue, a smile on our lips, and cheer in our heart. Just like the birds.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Open the Door



So many times I've wanted to move on in my life and God has told me I need to stay. So many times I’ve wanted to stay put and He’s commanded me to go somewhere else! I once told someone that I don’t really know what my “comfort zone” is because God never lets me stay there! (Of course, I do – I was just trying to illustrate how often God stretches me).


It can be hard to know what the right thing is to do when you look back in hindsight and see that God knew better than you on so many occasions. He’s done it with many of my dreams, wishes, and desires. It gets to the point where sometimes you start doubting your own heart even IF you think He’s the one leading it!

So what do you do? What do you do if you feel like you’re at a crossroads in a certain area of your life? What do you do if you don’t know whether to stay at your job or find a new one? What do you do when you’re not sure if you’re supposed to stick it out in your home or state or move on to a different one? How about your church, or a friendship?


I think I’ve discovered something in my past quests. It’s a simple motto for me. One that helps guide me when I’m seeking out God’s direction on an issue.



Just open the door.

When you’re not sure what the right thing to do is – open the door and ask God for His opinion. Start praying and seeing what He brings to you. Start thinking about the possibilities, even looking into them a bit and see what God does with that. Just open the door.


I’ve found that when I do this, when I don’t rush into anything but I’m patient and slowly start doing some research, God often shows me what it is that He wants from me. It’s not always what I want for myself, but in the journey – it’s amazing how He can transform my heart and mold it into one that ends up feeling at peace for what He has in mind for my life. But you have to open the door first.



If you don’t open the door and start asking those tough questions, how will you ever know what God’s answer was? If you don’t open the door because you were afraid of a risk, what blessings might you have missed out on? Opening the door and simply opening your mind and heart allows God to flood you with His options. It allows Him to truly work not only IN you, but around you.




We all hit spots in life where we’re just not sure whether to turn left on the road, right, go straight, or sit down for awhile. It can be perplexing, frustrating, and stressful trying to make sure you don’t screw up and that you make the RIGHT decision. If you are at this juncture in your life, stop for a minute and open the door to your heart. Open the door to your soul, to your mind, and to your future. Weigh all the options and pray about them. Then start peering down each path’s direction and seeing just what it might hold for you. If it’s the wrong way and you’re seeking God’s will – He’ll let you know and He’ll block you from going down that road. It may take a little time, but it’s worth it to know you’re heading in the right direction.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Inadequate

I love perspective. I love how it teaches you, brings you peace, focus, and clarity.

The older I get the more I realize how inadequate and flawed I am as a woman. As a person. And yet the older I get, the more okay I am with that. I see how futile and wasteful it is to strive for perfection. That there is beauty in my uniqueness.

I recently heard that people who are over 50 are found to be happier and less stressed than those under 50. I think it might be because they have discovered the same thing that I am slowly learning. I think that through their maturity in life, they have learned it is more restful, more joyful, and more peaceful to love yourself as you were created – than to strive to be someone whom you were never meant to be.

I’ve always felt that the more perfect I became, the less I would need to lean on God. Yet I strove for it anyways. For myself. For this inner image I had of what it would mean to be the perfect mental image of “me.” What I failed to see was that if I just allowed God to work in my life, submitted to Him, tilted my face upwards and let Him mold me in His own time….that I would become perfectly as He intended me to be. Maybe I would reside perfectly in a state of heartache for awhile to learn a perfect lesson for my life. Maybe I would be perfectly “antsy” and “uncomfortable” as He shifted priorities in my heart. Maybe I would feel perfectly “alone” in a season of life so that He could perfect my reliance on Him, my courage, and my self esteem!

Perspective.

Inadequacy.

Maybe what the world deems inadequate, God deems workeable.

All I know is that God created me with a purpose; a vision. And I want to fulfill it. In order to do that, I have to be who He intended me to be – whether or not I feel I am ready or perfect.

There is beauty in that knowledge. And peace knowing He finds me lovely right where I am. Because He sees the bigger picture.

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