Posted in Faith, Inspiration, Womanhood

Crown of Glory

miss-universe

My husband, Bob, and I came across the Miss Universe Pageant while we were channel flipping before bed last night. When we first started watching, the top six contestants were being determined; but after two more rounds of elegant evening gowns and challenging political questions, we saw it narrowed down to the top three. The remaining three women were asked a final question, something to the effect of What is something that you failed at in life and what lesson did you learn from that failure? Whether it was because of nerves (which I’m sure played a tremendous part), international translations, or just the fact that these women have been pushed to succeed their whole lives, they all seemed to initially hesitate with their answers. It started me thinking about what I would have said if I had been in their shoes, and I realized I would have hesitated too, but not for the same reasons.

I fail daily. In 30 seconds it would be awfully difficult to come up with just one failure and one lesson that I’ve learned along the way. I’ve lost my cool and screamed at my kids. I’ve forgotten to acknowledge a dear friend’s birthday. I’ve gotten impatient with my extended family. Once, when our pizza delivery was running late, I called the store owner upset and learned I had mistyped the house number on our online order. Gulp. Instead of being supportive, I’ve rolled my eyes at Bob with a look that says “Are you kidding me?” I’ve overspent areas of our budget. I’ve told little white lies; in fact, I’ve told big lies in some stages of my life. I’ve been judgmental. I’ve been envious. I’ve failed to take care of myself. The list could honestly go on and on.

The most important lesson that I’ve learned from all these less than stellar moments, is that God’s grace is really BIG. Instead of being put on the spot in front of the world for 30 seconds with one chance at success, He watches me continually make mistakes and loves me despite them. No matter what I do, He is still there offering me the chance to share His crown of glory in heaven someday, and unlike the final three Miss Universe contestants, my chances are many because of His son’s sacrifice. What an awesome gift knowing I don’t have to be flawless because He loves me despite my failures! Today I pray for Miss Universe. That as she upholds the duties of her crown this year that she knows God’s love. While the world expects her to be perfect, He does not, and he offers the same gift to us all.

God Bless and  Easy Breathing!

Photo credit to People.com

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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 Friend, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

“Killing Me Softly with His Song?” I Think Not.

TODAY’S FORECAST: Penitent

So first off, I want to thank those of you who are new to the blog. I’ve seen a couple of new followers coming through and I want to thank you all for checking out the blog. I hope that you can find something here that’s inspirational, encouraging and most of all that will remind you how much God loves you.

Secondly, many of you seasoned readers who are also members of the blog’s Facebook page know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth, but rather, took a few special vacation days with my family over Spring Break. We took the kids to a water park so I posted a couple of pictures below so you can see what fun we were having while I was politely ignoring all of you. Forgive me!

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Thirdly, onto today’s post. The commandment that I reviewed in my last post was Honor Your Father and Mother. While many of you expressed that you really enjoyed that particular post, aka Sparrow Parenting, I confess that I evidently blocked it from seeping into my brain waves because I had an interaction with my own parents on Easter Sunday that sadly was a lot less than “honoring.”More on that in a bit. Today’s commandment is this:

You shall not kill.

When I was reviewing this commandment I didn’t have to think all that hard of the applicability it holds in our world today. There are reports of killings everywhere from incidents as recent as the student shooting tragedies at Chardon High and Sandy Hook Elementary, as well as the loss of 12 lives and the injury of so many others at the Aurora movie theatre shooting by James Holmes. Folks, if you haven’t noticed, we are living in a very volatile society where violence is quickly becoming the norm instead of the exception. Yet somehow, I don’t think my blog is probably being viewed by too many serial killers or mass murderers, (at least I hope not!), which has left me with the remaining unanswered question of how does this commandment apply to me in current times? The thought just crossed my mind about killing someone’s spirit. Does that apply? For me personally, it most certainly does.

Back to Easter Sunday and the interaction with my parents. I disagreed with mine on a particular subject and who does not disagree with their family members from time to time? It doesn’t mean I love them any less or that I don’t respect what they have to say. On that particular day; however, my temper and impatience got the best of me and instead of sharing my feelings as a respectful child, I threw a major tantrum screaming and yelling, leaving our family open-mouthed and upset. I scared my kids with my anger, upset my parents with my words and left the rest of my family silent and reserved. Ouch. Just how many commandments did I break with that tirade? Certainly I did not honor my parents in the way I should have and put my anger above God, there’s two for sure. I did worse than those though, I killed the spirit of everyone in the room. I left our family feeling as somber as if we were commemorating Good Friday rather than celebrating the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday. No matter what we were in disagreement about, I should’ve handled my point much better than I did with calmness and reasonableness. Yeah, definitely a need to reset the GPS on that one.

So my point is, killing someone’s spirit can sometimes be as dangerous as pulling the trigger. Words and emotions can strike just as painful a blow, and instead of “killing me softly with His (God’s) song” we barrel over someone’s heart. So think about this. Whose spirit have you killed recently? Was it your kids’ because you nag and yell at them so much? Was it a colleague that you gossiped about at the work water cooler? Was it the parent that you were less than patient with? Was it the department store clerk you were rude and cranky to? Was it yourself with words of self-deprecation and self-loathing? Let’s pray that we can all be fillers, not killers in accordance with this commandment.

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

Sparrow Parenting

TODAY’S FORECAST: Lucky

Let’s be honest here, there are times when our parents annoy us and for those of us who are already parents that we in turn annoy our children. Our parents may say or do something that we don’t agree with and then we attribute it to their eccentricities, their age, their issues, their shortcomings. The thing is, sometimes it takes a little perspective to understand why parents do the things that they do. If we as children spent as much time getting to know our parents as we do in questioning why they do the things they do (or did the things they did) we might be able to see them in a whole new light. I’m sure that as parents, we are hoping our children will award us the same opportunity in our future relationships, right?

I was trying to consider what I would comment on in my blog around the commandment that says Honor your father and mother, when I came across this video. Talk about perspective. Go ahead and watch.

Wow. It make you think, doesn’t it? Especially for those of us with aging parents who may need us to repeat some information from time to time. Put yourself in both the young man’s and the father’s shoes. Think about how you currently treat your parents and how you will want to be treated as a parent by your own children in future years.

Consider the following questions in reflection today. I had to think long and hard about them myself. Then, if you have children of your own, think about your children going through the same list pertaining to you. Are there areas that you would like them to answer differently then they would right now? Do you have opportunities to model how that should look with your own parents, in-laws, step-parents?

1.) Do I honor and obey my parents?

2.) Do I respect my brothers and sisters in order to make life easier for my parents?

3.) Do I respect others with lawful authority?

4.) Have I talked back or answered a question in a way that is demoralizing or detrimental to the relationship with my parents?

5.) Do I fail to help at home or to spend time with my family?

6.) Do I blame my parents for my own shortcomings?

7.) Do I bad-mouth my parents, in-laws, siblings, step-parents in front of my own children, other family members or friends?

8.) Have I been impatient or unkind to my parents?

9.) Do I reach out to my parents to offer my help, my love, my company without them having to ask?

10.) Have I asked God to help me forgive my parents for any bad decisions, abuse, alcoholism or abandonment I might have suffered from by their hand during my childhood?

We never know the love of our parents for us until we have become parents.
— Henry Ward Beecher

Posted in Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

Cuss Control, a Real .Com

TODAY’S FORECAST: Surprised

Well, apparently some of us are just a wee bit passionate on this subject of the Ten Commandments because I received some very ardent emails about exactly which commandments I am planning to cover in my blog,”the Catholic version, the Jewish version or the Protestant version?” I grew up Catholic and now am practicing as a non-denominational Christian, so the ones I’m familiar with are what I’ve committed to memory from my Catholic days. Suffice it to say though, that I’m taking all of my information from Exodus Chapter 20, so the subtle differences in arrangement should be pretty negligible for most of you. When we get to the commandment about keeping the Lord’s day holy, I will be maintaining a Christian perspective on the definition of “sabbath,” so well, there you have it. Hopefully I’ve cleared up any lingering questions about that, but if not, you know where to find me. 🙂

So today’s second commandment is this:

You should not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain.

There is quite a lot of debate about what this commandment meant back in the time of Moses and of Jesus, let alone in our world today. Different religions again claim multiple interpretations, so I’m going to share the interpretation that rings truest to me personally which is the Hillbilly version that says, “Watch yer mouth.” 🙂 Okay, all kidding aside, I honestly think this commandment is meant to command respect for God and His name. I think it means that we should not use His name or any combination of His name in anger, surprise or otherwise. I also think it means that we should mind our swearing, especially if sailors are blushing at our commentary.

Did you know that there is actually a website that addresses the “evils” of swearing? On its home page it actually addresses a whole page of reasons not to swear, and I was surprised to find that none of the reasons cited were even religious. They even have tips to help break your swearing habit. Don’t believe me, check it out! http://www.cusscontrol.com/swearing.html

Anyway, I guess when it comes to this commandment, I believe while it is not completely outdated that it is open to some personal interpretation. I guess my rule of thumb is that if God was standing in front of you, would you be throwing F-bombs His way?

Here’s some things to consider. Reflect on them and pray for God’s guidance, that’s all I can recommend. 🙂

1.) Did I curse or swear?

2.) Did I use God’s name abusively, lightly, carelessly, by blasphemy?

3.) Have I used foul language or jokes?

4.) In conversation, have I passively listened to jokes demeaning to the Church or God’s authority?

God bless and easy breathing all. Have a good weekend!!!