Posted in Being a Friend, Being a Mom, Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

Keeping Up with the Joneses

TODAY’S FORECAST: Grateful

So today, we cover the final piece of the ten commandments in 100% Chance of CHANGE’s first ever series, GPS of Faith:

You shall not covet your neighbors’ goods.

In lieu of a post today, I want you to check out a website instead, if you would. It is called Who are the Joneses?

DIRECTIONS:

1. Click on the website link or copy and paste it into your web browser. http://whoarethejoneses.org/

2. Do what it says, go ahead and enter your salary (or your total household income), and hit ENTER,  I DARE YOU! 🙂 Read what it says.

2. Click on Nevermind the Joneses

3. Read and follow the prompts.

4. Comment on the blog FB page or on this post what your experience was.

Whatever your walk in life is, I guarantee this will make you think.  Happy Friday and many blessings this weekend to you and yours.

God Bless and Easy Breathing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Being a Friend, Being a Mom, Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

Little White Lies

TODAY’S FORECAST: Honest

Well, it’s been a few days since my last post, so I’ll pick up on where I left off on the GPS of Faith series in reviewing the 10 commandments. Considering I combined multiple commandments on a few of the posts, I just realized that this leaves us at the second-to-last post, so we’re down to the home stretch and then this series will be finished. Congratulations on sticking it out with me, we’ve almost made it! 🙂

Today’s focus commandment is this:

You shall not bear false witness.

I don’t know how anyone could argue that “bearing false witness,” otherwise known as lying, has become almost as natural as breathing in our society. We lie about all sorts of things from falsifying our looks for the sake of youth to telling our kids that they are the very best, brightest and strongest, even if they’re not. I recently read an article published online by Huffpost Healthy Living from September, 2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/09/why-we-lie-time-factor-truth_n_1862384.html. The article quoted a Notre Dame Psychology Professor, Anita E. Kelly, Ph.D., as saying “Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week.” How sad that is. That’s quite a lot of false witnessing right there! I don’t think there’s much then to be argued that this commandment is still applicable today. In the article Dr. Kelly went on to say that, “We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health.” So let me get this straight. Lying is not only wrong in God’s eyes, but can also negatively impact our health? Then why the heck do we do it?

Studies have shown that most of us are not spending those 11 lies a week telling the “really big whoppers,” but the “little white lies” that easily slip into our social banter. We all know that lying is wrong; however, if we are honest with ourselves, we would probably realize that we tell a few too many “little white lies” than we’d openly care to admit. For most of us, telling a lie seems like a simple way of sparing people’s feelings, avoiding conflict, saving ourselves from embarrassment, protecting our kids or inflating our own self-esteem. Have you ever heard yourself saying something like:

“You’ve put on weight? Seriously, where?”

“Of course I would tell you if I was upset with you, we’re friends, aren’t we?”

“That’s funny, I never got that paperwork.”

“Sorry I’m late, traffic was backed up because of an accident.”

“There are no losers, honey, only winners.”

“I shot a 67 on the course last weekend!”

“We can afford the Lexus. We’ll pay this credit card off as soon as you get your next bonus.”

It’s so easy to convince ourselves that lies like these are not only okay, but also a way of survival in this crazy world we live in. So let’s turn the tables for a moment. What if God was the one telling us the “little white lies?” Imagine if He had said:

“That fig leaf ensemble looks fabulous on you, Eve!”

“Cain, your offering wasn’t all that bad, you’re still a winner in My eyes.”

“Why Moses, of course you can part the Red Sea all by yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to.”

“You should have seen it; I sent those Israelites steak and eggs, right down from the heavens!”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Jonah, they’re really not that bad in Nineveh, just a little misguided that’s all.”

“Well Martha, I know Lazarus has been dead for four days, but with you in charge, of course the tomb won’t stink.”

“Mary, you’re highly qualified. This being the “Mother of Jesus” thing will be a snap!”

“It’s okay, Judas, I’m sure you needed the money.”

Sounds ridiculous right? Well, it’s just as ridiculous as the lies we tell each other. Remember folks, the devil is the “father of lies,” the “king of ridiculousness.” He is the one that secretly convinces each of us that we’re not good enough or that if we tell the complete truth, God will not be there to fulfill whatever void we believe is being created. As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts, he is also the master of subtlety. He doesn’t attempt to take our hearts with the “tall” tales he plants his seed with little untruths. That is why we have to come together and pray that we can guard our hearts against them. Remember, whether we classify them as “big whoppers” or “little white lies” we’re still breaking God’s commandments.

Challenge for the week: Honestly look at the times you “stretch the truth” and see why you do it. Ask God for guidance and forgiveness in this area.

Posted in Being a Wife, Dealing with Trials, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

“It’s A Slow Fade”

TODAY’S FORECAST: Committed

I’m going to combine two commandments into today’s post because I think they strongly relate to one another. I also want to give you a SPOILER ALERT and let you know that this post will include some plot description and scenes from the movie, “Fireproof,” so if you haven’t watched the movie, you may not want to watch the included videos or read the commentary I’ve included in the last few paragraphs regarding the film. I definitely don’t want to ruin it for you, it’s an incredible movie; one I would highly recommend watching, especially for those of you who are married or engaged. With all that being said, the commandments I want to take a look at today are:

You shall not commit adultery. ~AND~ You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

I don’t think that I have to tell anyone that infidelity has been sneaking its way into our culture for centuries. It’s been used as a theme in literature such as in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s historical romance, The Scarlett Letter and Gustave Flaubert’s, Madame Bovary. In television we’ve seen it in various popular prime time sitcoms over the years such as Dallas, Roseanne, Friends, ER and Grey’s Anatomy. We’ve seen national leaders give into adulterous behaviour such as in the instances of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, John Edwards and many more. Celebrities are practically born into a lifestyle of infidelity; hence the string of broken Hollywood relationships that plague tabloid headlines.

In all these instances, however, there were physical acts of cheating; that is, two partners choosing to have sexual encounters outside of their previously committed relationships. In our culture’s exposé of adultery in literature, media, through authority figures and Hollywood, we’ve softened as a society to the idea that “emotional infidelity” or carrying on in an affair where physical intimacy is excluded but where emotional intimacy or pleasure is not,  it is somehow okay. Trust me when I say believe it’s not and that God doesn’t think so either. An “emotional affair” can be just as slippery of a slope as a physical one, it’s just somewhat more of a “slow fade.”

A perfect modern-day example of this is the movie, Fireproof. Fireproof was released in 2008 and quickly became an international success. Starring Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea, the film primarily focuses on a couple, Caleb (Cameron) and Catherine (Bethea) Holt, who have come to a difficult season in their marriage which leads to Catherine filing for divorce. Caleb is a firefighter who puts his job and other pleasures in his life above loving his wife and committing to their marriage. Catherine is a woman scorned who begins an “emotional affair” with a doctor at the hospital where she works. For all of Caleb’s inattention, Dr. Keller (Perry Revell) has enough compliments and kind gestures to make Catherine feel fulfilled outside of her marriage. Out of loving concern, Caleb’s Dad (Harris Malcolm) gives his son a book called The Love Dare that changes everything. Caleb soon learns that the mantra he carries in his work as a firefighter of “Never leave your partner behind” also applies to his marriage to Catherine. Through a series of eye-opening events, Catherine comes to realize it as well and together with God, they are able to save their marriage.

One of the theme songs of the movie is a song by the Christian musical group called Casting Crowns, titled “Slow Fade.” Listen to the music and see some scenes from the movie by clicking the play arrow on the video clip below. I would encourage you to listen to this once for the words to the song and then again to see some of the scenes as it’s hard to do both at the same time and fully appreciate the meaning.

I guess what really hits me about this movie is that never at any time was there any physical contact between Caleb and another woman and yet he found it perfectly alright to spend time looking at internet porn. “What’s the harm? It’s only impacting me?” That’s just it, his marriage was crumbling before his eyes and he didn’t even know it. It was a “slow fade.” Catherine was the same. While there was no sexual contact between her and Dr. Keller during their harmless lunches and flirtations, her world with her husband was unraveling and she didn’t even care. Again, a “slow fade.” Is it any surprise that for those of us who remain faithful to our marriages and partners and refuse to physically cheat on them, that the crafty liar, satan, wouldn’t find another way to get to us slowly instead of through such an obvious manner? It’s something to think about.

Lord, we ask that in this age of infidelity You put a holy “hedge” around our marriages and relationships to protect them from evil. Do not let us break either of your commandments regarding sexuality, not through sexual or emotional affairs, addictions to pornography or anything else that defeats the purpose of living our lives in harmony with and for You. Don’t allow the devil to destroy the sanctity of marriage through a “slow fade” of temptation. Help us to love and respect one another as You do us. We ask this in your name. Amen.

Posted in Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Fried Chicken or Chicken Pot-Pie

TODAY’S FORECAST: Debating

This past Sunday, three out of four of us were down with bad colds. It was one of those “out of commission” days. For any of you who have read my blog before, my Bob is used to handling anything when I’m fighting off one infection or another, but when we’re both down and out at the same time, it’s like Scooby Doo says, “Ruh-Roh, we’re in rerious rouble, Raggy!” :-)Miraculously, it was a night that we didn’t have a sporting event to run to or some other commitment with scouts, school, etc., so, thankfully, we didn’t have anywhere to be. The only question that needed answering besides “Where’s the closest tissue box?” was “What are we going to do for dinner?”

At about 5:30 (without any warning whatsoever, I might add), Bob said, “I think I need to go pick up KFC for dinner.”

I just looked at him. KFC? As in Kentucky Fried Chicken? Who would want such a thing when they are sick with a cold.? No offense to you KFC lovers out there, but this is the LAST thing I’d choose to have for dinner when I’m not feeling good. Not to mention that after my husband had a heart attack at age 36, greasy and fried are not my first choices for him for the late evening meal. Then again, he was sick, he rarely ever asks for anything and he had this look in his eye that said, “I NEED fried chicken,” so yep, KFC it was. The kids and Bob opted for crunchy, greasy fried chicken. I, on the other hand, opted for their chicken pot-pie (which I have to admit is actually quite delicious as far as comfort food goes).

As we enjoyed our KFC feast, it later got me thinking that God is a little bit of fried chicken and chicken pot-pie. Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. In the Old Testament, we hear about God and His wrath in stories like Noah where He destroyed the entire earth with a devastating flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, where He rained fire and sulfur from the heavens to destroy everything there. In the New Testament we hear about how Jesus’ rage was evident when he was throwing the moneychangers out of the temple and chastising the Pharisees.  There’s a lot of edgy, hot,”crispy” anger going on there, a little like the fried chicken, if you will.

Then we hear of God’s abundant love in stories such as the sparing of Isaac’s life in the story of Abraham, the restoration of Joseph, the deliverance of the Israelites into the promised land, the protection of Esther, and ultimately in the gift and sacrifice of His Son. In the New Testament we hear of Jesus and his deep love for Lazarus, his understanding for the woman at the well, the healing of the possessed boy and multiple others. Again, there is His ultimate display of love, dying for us on the cross. In these stories there’s a lot of mushy, comforting, goodness, much like a chicken pot-pie.

So you ask, which is He? Fried Chicken or Chicken Pot-Pie? Well, honestly, I believe He’s a little bit of both. Many Christians, like me at our recent dinner encounter, choose often to focus only on the “chicken pot-pie” side and show our aversion for the “hot and crispy fried chicken” side. I believe God is not only a God of love and mercy but a God of judgement. God detests evil, and His wrath is a very valid response to that. In the gift of His Son, wrath met mercy at the cross for all of us, bearing fruit to an indescribable, never-ending love. Fried Chicken or Chicken-Pot-Pie? Yes, please!

Posted in Being a Mom, Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Love Notes for Kids

TODAY’S FORECAST: In love with my kids 🙂

One of my best friends puts a joke in her kids’ lunches every day. I think that is so cute. Her kids love jokes, she loves her kids and putting jokes in their lunch is the perfect way to tell them, “Hey, I’m thinking of you, knew you’d love this, and by the way, I love you.” Brilliant.

I’m also a firm believer in writing “love notes” to my kids. Today, it was in the form of a letter that I wrote to Meghan after she asked some tough questions last evening about the state of my health and whether or not I was “ever going to get better.” Heart-breaking, but I’ll leave that for another post. Today, I wrote the letter and set it on her bed so that she’ll see it when she comes home from school. Not only do I hope that it will re-emphasize the important points of our conversation last evening, but also that it will reaffirm that no matter what happens, she will always have my love and God’s. A letter is a tangible memoir for my girl who sentimentally keeps everything; and it’s special because it’s private, something between just her and I.post it note

I can write a letter like that to Meghan, but with Jacob, being seven and much like his Daddy, he wants to get straight to the point in the briefest way possible. He’s definitely my post-it-note kid. I write my love notes to him on a post-it and stick it up on his dresser, on his closet door, on his pillow or in his lunch. It might be just an “I love you, Jake! Love, Mom” or it may contain a brief memory bible verse about something he’s struggling with and an encouraging note telling him, “I know you’ll do better next time, buddy!”

The thing is, you can express all kinds of sentiments in written love notes to your kids. Tell them a joke to make them laugh, give them a conversation starter for the dinner table or for a 1:1 chat, thank them for a job well done, compliment them, wish them luck, tell them that you’re sorry (it’s good for them to recognize that you also can make mistakes), tell them that you love them, tell them how Jesus loves them and share His word. Do it in a letter, a post-it, a paper airplane, a piece of tape on a baggie in their lunch. Heck, you could do it in shaving cream on their bathroom mirror! Anything outside their “norm” will get their attention and let them know that you’re thinking of them and they will be grateful that you took the time to make them feel extra special.

Oh did I mention this works for spouses too? 😉

Okay, a challenge for all of you. Tomorrow, write a love note to someone who is close to you. While you’re writing it, remember that God wrote us the ultimate “love note” when He gave us the gift of His Son. God bless and easy breathing!

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16~

Posted in Being a Mom, Being a Wife, Dealing with Trials, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

“Long Way Home”

TODAY’S FORECAST: Encouraged

Today as Bob and Jacob were home with the start of bad colds and feeling much less than 100%, and our new heater started blinking some undetectable code of yellow lights at us and refused to come on, I began to feel a little discouraged. Questions such as, “Are we EVER going to get over this stretch of sickness in our house?” and “Did we really need one more thing with the heat going on the fritz in such cold weather?” started to plague my mind. Then as I was making lunch this afternoon I heard one of my favorite songs playing on the local Christian radio station. It’s by Steven Curtis Chapman and I’ve included both the video link and the lyrics for you below. Maybe in your own life situations this song will be a source of encouragement as it was to me today. It’s a good reminder that though the journey sometimes may be tougher than we anticipated, it’s the destination we need to keep in mind and to remember that we’re not alone in getting there. Sometimes God speaks to us in wonderful and unique ways, even through song. God Bless and Easy Breathing!

 

http://youtu.be/l1p-QfgkLow

“Long Way Home” by Steven Curtis Chapman

I set out on a great adventure
The day my Father started leading me home
He said there’s gonna be some mountains to climb
And some valleys we’re gonna go through
But I had no way of knowing
Just how hard this journey could be
Cause the valleys are deeper
And the mountains are steeper than I ever would have dreamed
But I know we’re gonna make it
And I know we’re gonna get there soon
And I know sometimes it feels like we’re going the wrong way
But it’s just the long way home
I got some rocks in my shoes
Fears I wish I could lose
That make the mountains so hard to climb
And my heart gets so heavy with the weight of the world sometimes
There’s a bag of regrets,
My should’ve beens, and not yets
I keep on dragging around
And I can hardly wait for the day I get to lay them all down
I know that day is coming
I know its gonna be here soon
And I won’t turn back even if the whole world says I’m going the wrong way
Cause its just the long way home
When we can’t take another step
The Father will pick us up and carry us in His arms
And even on the best days,
He says to remember we’re not home yet
So don’t get too comfortable
Cause really all we are is just pilgrims passing through
Well, I know we’re gonna make it
And I know we’re gonna get there soon
So I keep on singing and believing
What all of my songs say
Cause our God has made a promise
And I know that everything He says is true
And I know wherever we go He will never leave us
Cause He’s gonna lead us home
Every single step of the long way home
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
(We’re just taking the long way home)
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
(We’re just taking the long way home)
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
(We’re just taking the long way home)
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
It’s just a long way home
Posted in Being a Mom, Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

Musical Mush

TODAY’S FORECAST: Musical

So, instead of a lovey-dovey post about how much I love my husband and my kids (you already know I do!) I thought I’d keep this post light today for all you starry-eyed lovebirds. Heaven forbid that I take away from your celebrating! 🙂 For those of you who are feeling somewhat less enthusiastic about the holiday today, well, my brevity will allow for you to go back to your sulking earlier; you’re absolutely entitled of course, but remember you are not alone, because God is there with you today!

In light of the holiday today, I thought I’d share my top 20 list of Valentine’s Day songs and why I love them so. To all of you, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and remember, we needn’t just celebrate our love on February 14th, there’s an opportunity to love every day. God bless and easy breathing!

  1. Collin Raye,”I Volunteer” — This is our song, Bob’s and mine. We danced to it at our wedding and it does just not get any more romantic for me than this.
  2. Celine Dion, “Because You Loved Me” — This was played at our wedding as well when the wedding party danced. I love this song and yes, I love Celine Dion.
  3. Four Tops, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar-Pie Honey  Bunch)”— This is our song, Meghan’s (our daughter’s) and mine. We heard it being played on an a mixed CD when she was little and we danced around the living room to it. It’s still our song and we sing it frequently.
  4. Phil Collins, “You’ll Be in My Heart” — This is our song, Jacob’s (our son’s) and mine. Jacob’s preschool class performed this at “graduation” and they did hand motions and pointed at the moms. Talk about ripping my heart out with a spoon! Jacob yelled out, “Mommy why are you crying?” It’s been our song ever since.
  5. Bob Carlisle, “Butterfly Kisses” This is the song I danced to with my Dad at our wedding. I cannot hear it without crying. My Dad is so special to me. The line “I know the cake looks funny Daddy, but I sure tried…” is our special line because when I was a little girl and my Mom was working weekends at the hospital, I got up early on a weekend and attempted to bake my Dad a cake. No recipe, just an egg, some flour, sugar and vanilla in seemingly reasonable amounts. It was awful, but he raved at my kindness. When I heard this song I knew it was for us. During that dance my Dad told me how beautiful I was. Yeah, I’m crying typing it.
  6. Perry Como, “Catch a Falling Star” — This is the song my mom used to sing me when I was a little girl. She and I would sing it together as I grew older and would harmonize on this song and many others in the car, at home, anywhere. My mom has a beautiful voice and a beautiful soul. I love her so very much.
  7. Jefferson Starship, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now: — I loved this song, absolutely loved it. I remember watching the movie, Mannequin and hoping I would find someone who would love me enough to steal me away on the back of his motorcycle. 😉
  8. Chicago, “You’re The Inspiration” — Now who doesn’t love Chicago? My goodness, I could make my own top 20 Chicago list. I love this song just because it’s, well, romantic and it brings back great memories from my younger days.
  9. Peter Gabriel, “In Your Eyes” — Who does not remember the movie “Say Anything” with John Cusack holding the big “boom box” over his head belting this song for his love. Yep, I’m a hopeless romantic still. 😉
  10. Air Supply, “All Out of Love”— I do not know any female child of the 80’s who did not bawl their eyes out into a pillow over a lost love to this song. Count me in. I still LOVE this song though.
  11. Eric Clapton, “Wonderful Tonight” — Funny this is about a love of a different kind for me, the love I had for my 10th grade honors English students at Maumee High School. When I did my student teaching, part of the lesson is that they had to take apart songs and talk about them as pieces of literature. I remember one of my girls doing this song and I went right home and pulled out of my “tape” collection. (Yeah, I’m old!) Still a favorite.
  12. Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” — Another movie one that still gets me every time. When Whitney runs to Kevin Costner in those final scenes of the “Bodyguard,” forget it, I’m officially unglued!
  13. Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares to You” — Raw, edgy, but filled with so much passion! So much better sung out loud in front of a mirror with a hairbrush! 😉
  14. Joshua Kadison, “Beautiful in My Eyes” — I have loved this song since it was released. I karaoked for the first time in front of Bob, his parents and brother, Jay to this song in a local bar in Frankenmuth my first or second year that I joined them on the annual trip to our best family weekend of the year. Mmmm… good memories!
  15. Mark Wills, “Back at One” — Another of mine and Bob’s songs. We sing this together, complete with counting hand motions. Oh am I going to be so in trouble that I shared that publicly. No, er, I mean I sing and Bob acts very manly and nonchalant. Yeah, yeah, that’s it! 😉
  16. Berlin “Take My Breath Away” — Now who can forget Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in their Top Gun love scene. Is it hot in here???? PHEWEEE!!! Love the movie, LOVE the song. 🙂
  17. Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Sweet Home Alabama”— Now some of you might be wondering why this would be on my Valentine’s musical list. Have you seen the movie? When Reese Witherspoon looks at her mother-in-law and says, “Stella, make it a slow one” and  she and Josh Lucas dance.  Yeah, I warned you, I’m a sap!
  18. Les Miserables (Colm Wilkinson), : “Bring Him Home”— Another tear-jerker. If you have not seen Les Mis and have never heard this song, it is one of the powerful production songs I have ever heard. So powerful. Makes me want to grab onto everyone I love. Want to experience it. Go to YouTube. Here’s the link. It’s a song that just sinks into your pores, turn it up. http://youtu.be/OWrY4HWCG6o
  19. John “Cougar” Mellencamp, “Ain’t Even Done with the Night” — Bob’s and mine again. We just like the song. I can think of no one else except him when I hear it. 🙂
  20. Chris Tomlin, “Indescribable”—  Exactly. There is no way to describe the love I have for my Savior and that He has for me and every one of us. “Indescribable, uncontainable,….. incomparable… you are amazing God!” My BEST Valentine’s gift ever!!!