The Red Cup.

I have a confession. I just bought a Decaf Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks. It was handed to me in their new, plain red cup. I drank it. And I Love Jesus.

I didn’t proclaim, “Merry Christmas” in the middle of the store (its November), tell them my name was Merry Christmas, or run around holding my baby girl above my head screaming, “WE LOVE JESUS!” And you know what, I didn’t feel slighted. I didn’t feel a direct attack on my faith. And in no way, did the removal of the Reindeer effect my love for Jesus Christ. In fact, my love for Jesus only continues to grow, every day that I spend with Him, despite my surroundings in this world.

But you want to know one thing. As I looked at that red cup sitting on the counter I did feel annoyed.. Maybe, even so much as disappointed at the man who caused the big stink over these cups. Granted I don’t know much about Starbucks as an entity but I can’t recall hearing them proclaim affiliation or know of them to be a Christian run and based business. So, why the fuss about them removing the Reindeer? And I hate to say this, but don’t we often hear complaints of people saying that Santa Claus, Reindeer, Christmas Trees, etc. detract from the main Reason for the Season, that being the birth of Jesus Christ!

Let me remind you, fellow lovers and followers of Christ. We are called to lead people to Jesus. We are called to be beacons of light upon a hill. We aren’t called to stir up animosity or get mixed up in the silly arguments about removing “Christmas from Starbucks cups.” We aren’t called to have thin skin, leaving us easily slighted. Rather we are called to be warriors. To take up the cross. To spread LOVE, not condemnation. And PLEASE do remember, that Jesus Christ, NEVER forced the Gospel upon any one. He never screamed “Merry Christmas” at the coffee baristas of His time. I will ensure you one thing… we WILL NOT further the Kingdom by forcing the Good News upon people. It is said, “I will stand at the door and knock.” Scripture doesn’t say, “I am coming to your door, move to the side because I’m kicking it down.”

Now, dear man who created this unnecessary stir at Starbucks… I feel for you. I understand how easy it is to get caught up in bologna. We all do it from time to time. But listen here, “Keep your eye on the goal. Keep your eyes focused on the One we serve.”

In the future, if it truly means that much to you (which is a whole other issue) as opposed to starting chaos and controversy slamming Starbucks new red cups why not put a spin on it and say,

“Thanks Starbucks, for the new red cups with a clean, blank surface reminding us of The One who was born on Christmas Day, who lived a life of humility and love, and who was crucified, and died to wash away the sins of the world… [WHO DIED to WASH AWAY MY INDIVIDUAL SINS], leaving us all a CLEAN, BLANK SLATE!”

Sorry about the rant. But come on people. I don’t mean to sound insensitive but It’s a RED CUP FROM STARBUCKS. Lets toughen up a little and stop allowing the enemy to play games. There are people in this world who are not only slighted for their faith, what they stand for or who they are, but are literally dying as martyrs because of their Love for Our Father, God. These are the situations and the problems that command our attention, not the design team of Starbucks new coffee cups.

 

Valentines Day. (I loathe this holiday).

It’s true. I do. Okay, maybe not “loathe” but honestly, I truly dislike the present day expectations and ideas of “Valentines Day.” As a child (and with my son) Valentines Day is so fun and so cute – it’s a week of making cut-out hearts and painted cards for family and friends. It’s about heart shaped pancakes, pasta and cookies, and endless kisses until your little man holds his hand up to your lips and says, “NO MOMMA! NO MORE!”

Continue reading

love.

Last night as I was preparing dinner in the kitchen, while dancing to “Shake Your Sillies Out” with my little man, and simultaneously talking to one of my best friends on speaker phone as he ventured through the Miami Boat Show, a verse from Genesis randomly popped into my mind, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

See, my husband, like most men has the ability to focus with pointer like precision on one thing, without regard to anything else around him. And while this is an amazing quality that clearly is helping to grow a strong and healthy business,  I can’t tell you how many times I have left a room frustrated, angry and/or annoyed, having attempted to have a conversation while he sits in front of the television or his computer, having done literally nothing but conversed with myself.

And in much of the same way, my husband has expressed equal frustration over the fact that there are times when all he wants is my “seemingly” undivided attention and instead, I attempt to converse with him while, putting the dishes away, prepping for dinner, dancing around with my son, and answering random text messages that pop up on my phone.

In both ways, our strengths, a man’s intense ability to focus, and a woman’s innate ability to multi-task, both given as gifts of God to complete and make suitable helpers for one another, when left unchecked and unrecognized can create opportunities for misunderstanding.

How to avoid these opportunities for misunderstanding? It’s about Thoughtfulness – on both sides.

Love is Thoughtful.  

“Love requires thoughtfulness – on both sides – the kind that builds bridges through constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks. Love thinks. It is not a mindless feeling that rides on waves of emotions and falls asleep mentally. It keeps busy in thought, knowing that loving thoughts precede loving actions.”

When was the last time you spent a few minutes thinking about how you could better understand and demonstrate love to your spouse? What immediate need can you meet? Im not a huge fan of Valentines Day, (as I think every day should be a celebration of your love) but what could you do this Valentines Day to make it more than just a “Hallmark Holiday” for you and your love?

A Genuine Smile.

Screenshot 2014-11-14 09.27.18

“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you’re happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.”

True happiness isn’t found in your situations, the people that surround you or the dreams you are achieving. True happiness and contentment is found within. True happiness is a choice.  It is saying, I love who I am today. I may not have liked the choices I made in the past, and I may not make all the right choices in the future, but I forgive myself and I am happy with who I am and love who I have become.

Deciding you are happy and content with who you are doesn’t mean entering a state of complacency. It means choosing to be happy amongst the struggles and trials that will undoubtedly find you in your everyday walk in life.

Choosing to be happy doesn’t mean plastering a fake smile to your face, bearing down and waiting for the storm to pass. When you are truly happy and content with who you are, you will find something to  genuinely smile about everyday,  even in the midst of the chaos. It means saying, “Today is tough but when I have God dwelling in my heart, I am tougher.” You may feel like the weight is to heavy to bear. Today may even feel like the worst day of your life, but there is reprieve in knowing that God never gives us anything we can not handle and tomorrow, when we are with Him, is always new day. And everyday, with time, forgiveness, a change in perspective; our circumstances and situations change.

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can now see; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So, smile today. For no reason aside from the fact that you are loved by The One that created you. Know that whatever heartache, hardship or trial you are enduring or will endure in the future will one day come to an end. Know that nothing that comes your way that will be too great for you to handle when you have the Creator of the World on your side. Know that whatever you have done in the past is over, done with and forgiven. Make the choice today to love yourself and see yourself as He sees you. Look in the mirror today and smile because YOU are Beautiful. You are loved. Be proud of who you are, despite your circumstances and situations.

1%.

Let me set the scene.

I’m in the grocery parking lot with my son. I pull the cart up to my car, and rest it against the wheel as I always do. I grab my son out of the cart, unlock my truck and begin to put him in his carseat. Because of the way my sons carseat is situated in my truck, I have to crawl inside with him in order to buckle him in properly. As I am in the middle of buckling him in, I begin to hear the sounds of a crazed screaming lady. As the sounds grow closer and closer to our truck, I finish buckling my son in, only to hop out, shutting the door to a lady walking towards me, with my cart in her hand,  finger pointed at me. The words that followed from this ladies mouth nearly knocked me over. “You may think it’s cute to sit in your car and see how many cars your cart can hit but let me tell you something. I don’t think your daddy or whoever pays your little bills can afford a dent in my car. So if I were you I’d think twice before I play my next little game of Parking Lot Pinball!” I am sure you can imagine my face at this point. Praise Jesus that one of my struggles is NOT a temper. Thanking this woman for returning my cart, I turn around to re-open the door to the backseat of my truck at which point my son goes, “Momma!” Glancing back over my shoulder at the woman, her face of anger went to immediate embarrassment, and she goes “Oh sweetie, I am so sorry!”

I couldn’t blame her. I couldn’t be angry because I do it too. It is human nature to look at the situations and circumstances around us with a judgmental eye. A judgmental eye based upon the facts that are immediately before us.  We see something happening and we immediately jump to a conclusion based upon what it is that we see, from our own perspective, without any further knowledge or thought. In our minds, we say, “this is what it looks like, so this must be what is happening.”

Forget my account in the parking lot and lets take a look at social media – facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat.

Bear with me for a second. Think about the last “selfie” you took. And if you’ve never taken a “selfie,” think back to the last family photo you took. Was it perfect the first time? Probably not. If you took a selfie I am sure you tried 12 different angles and looks before you mastered that one shot you wanted to share with the world. And if we are talking “family photos,” unless they are professional, in which the photographer will retouch them to your required perfection, I am sure dad’s eyes are closed, little brother Joey is making a funny face, sister Jessica is rolling her eyes, Justin is giving mom the bunny ears and pour moms look says nothing but frustration. But what do we do, we take them over and over until we manage to get one photo with minimal obscurities, and THAT is the one that you have mounted in a frame in your living room.

See with all of these social media outlets, no one takes into account the back story of a persons life.  No one sees the tears shed, the heartbreak, the struggles, the bad days. We all simply see the 1% of every individuals life that screams, “THIS IS MY LIFE! IN ALL OF ITS AMAZING-NESS!” And then, like it or not, we all look at our own life and think, “Man… I wish I had that. I wish I had that career. I wish I was her. I wish I was more like him. I wish.. I wish.. I want.. Their life is SO much better than mine!”

But let me ask you this. Would you want his/her life if it meant, you had to take their baggage, their hurts, their pains, their sorrows as well? Do you even know what their hurts and pains have been in their life? Are you willing to sacrifice the unknown hurt, pain and struggle of that persons life for the 1% of insight that you see in that persons instagram/facebook life?

Now lets circle back to the incident that happened in the parking lot. The lady was certain I was simply “hanging out in my car, laughing at how many cars my cart would hit,” but clearly, she was wrong. So wrong. Are you so certain when you look at someone’s instagram and facebook accounts that the photos share a 100% accurate depiction of that persons life in totality, or are you allowing your own human judgement to get in the way. In no means am I saying that everyone’s life on social media is a lie. In fact, I think it is an accurate depiction for many of us, of some of the happiest moments in our lives. I consider it a modern day journal. A cherished moment from every day of my life, that I pray to never forget.

However, I am saying that our own human judgment, coupled with the fact that no one truly wants to share, nor often times wants to remember the hurt, the pain and the struggles that … Continue reading

16 Fall Superfoods and Activities to Fight off Illness and Promote Healthy Living

I’d like to share with you 16 Fall and Winter Superfoods/Activities (doctor recommended) that help fight off Illness and Promote healthy living, not only in babies but in adults as well.

Continue reading

Happy Halloween: Preparing for Growth

Butlers Orchard - Casandra Tressler

Happy Halloween! Although I can’t say “Halloween” necessarily is one of my favorite holidays, I do enjoy this time of year. As the season changes and the leaves fall, I feel like it is God’s way of preparing the world for yet another beautiful spring blossom, always leading me to take a closer look at my life.

I feel like our lives our so synonymous with nature. The leaves fall, all of nature goes dormant as we endure winter allowing for the plants and animals to rest, preparing for the beautiful blossom of spring, leading us into the fully blossomed, season and play of summertime.

So as we enter this season of fall, what is it that we need to shed from our lives to ensure a healthy spring growth? I always ask myself, “What is it that is holding me back, hindering me from taking steps forward in my goals, in my relationships, in my life!” And then as I prepare to move into the season of winter, just as God has instructed for the plants and the animals to rest, I too prepare for a season of rest. It doesn’t mean, skip the holiday parties or go into hibernation, but it does mean, craft out intentional time in your schedule for adequate and “more than” sufficient time to completely rest your mind, body and soul.

Therefore, when we move into the season of spring, as we begin planning for and fulling planting the seeds of our future, we will have the strength, stamina and energy to allow for a healthy bloom and sufficient growth that will blossom at its fullest in the summer of our lives.

Food for Thought.

Consider these two scenarios.

A man’s older car begins having serious trouble, so he takes it to the mechanic. After an assessment is made, he is told it will need a complete overhaul, which would tax his limited budget. Because of the expensive repairs, he determines to get rid of the car and spend his funds on a new vehicle. Seems reasonable, right?

Another man, an engineer, accidentally crushes his hand in a piece of equipment. He rushes to the hospital and has it x-rayed, finding that numerous bones are broken. Although frustrated and in pain, he willingly uses his savings to have it doctored and placed in a cast, then gingerly nurses it back to health over the following months. This, too, probably seems reasonable to you.

The problem within our culture is that marriage is more often treated like the first scenario. A discardable possession. When your relationship experiences difficulty, you are urged to dump your spouse for a “newer model.” But those who have this view do not understand the significant bond between a husband and wife. The truth is, marriage is more like the second scenario. You are a part of one another. You would never cut off your hand if it was injured but would pay whatever you could afford for the best medical treatment possible. That’s because your hand is priceless to you. It is part of who you are.

And so is your mate.

“The Love Dare.” Stephen and Alex Kendrick.