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.

 

Pi=3.1415WhyIsAspenSoCute?926535

There are few things that bore me more than numbers.  Addition, multiplication, division (just kill me), algebra. (What comes beyond Algebra, I don’t even know. Algebra 2?) I wasn’t bad at math, I wasn’t good at math. I just had and have NO INTEREST. To me, mathematics is Black and White. And I am Grey.

Anyone who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor, get this. I married a Mathematician. No literally, he received his degree in Mathematics. 

Last night as I sat listening to the accountant discuss – all things numbers, I found myself going, “keep eye contact,” “smile,” “nod”, “he’s looking, jot down notes,” “only a few minutes longer,” “you can do this,” “keep focused!”  At one point I almost started laughing because I caught myself pretending I was Russell Crowe, playing John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, trying to decode hidden messages in this crazy looking spreadsheet of numbers the accountant handed to me. At another point in our meeting, the accountant opened his drawer to pull out a highlighter and I found myself wondering,

“why do men always use yellow highlighters. Blue is just as effective. What about pink. You know, back in the day, pink was thought to be the most masculine color there was. Perhaps I would find this pie chart more interesting if he used prettier colors. hmm… pie. What kind of pie do you think mommadukes will make this Thanksgiving? It’s almost Thanksgiving! yay, I can’ t wait for Christmas! Man, I didn’t get to the beach this summer. I really wish I was surfing right now. I can’t wait till Aspen can surf. Hm, I really need a new board. I wonder who is having end-of-the-summer-sales? Oh shoot, focus focus focus. Eye contact. I wonder where he buys his suit. I should suggest to him that he buy it from Kate’s boyfriend…” Welcome to my mind when someone starts talking numbers. 

3.1415…Why Is Aspen So Cute?…926535. Focus is not an option when it comes to math. 

Literally feeling guilty because of my complete lack of interest and inability to focus on what this man was saying,  I started praying, but the words that were pouring from my heart surprised me… “Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you for the abilities and talents you have given me in my life. But Lord, I also want to thank you for those abilities that you haven’t given to me! Lord thank you for being you and for knowing what is and was best for me!” Could you imagine if God have gifted me in mathematics? I would be the most miserable banker, accountant or tax “person” in the universe. God knows what He is doing. God gifts us accordingly and individually. He gifts us uniquely. He created me to see the world in all of its Grey, where others see Black and White.

We get so caught up in looking at everyone else’s gifts and talents that we miss out on our own! We think, “Lord why didn’t you bless me with that? Lord why can’t I sing like her? Why haven’t you opened more doors for me? Why don’t I look like her? Why can’t I do this, why can’t I do that.” We focus so long on what He has given other people that we start to begrudge their talents. For some reason, we think they should be our gifts and talents too. We forget that we were all gifted accordingly to enhance this world as a whole!

Could you imagine if the Lord gave everyone the gift to sing beautifully? Who would be there to listen? What if the Lord blessed everyone with the ability to build, who would be there to serve the people inside the buildings?

“In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage other, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has give you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to other, do it gladly.” Romans 12:6-8

We have all been given different talents, gifts, abilities and strengths. God works magically in different ways through each of us.  We need to invest the gifts that God has blessed us with wisely and use them to glorify His name, as well as encourage and strengthen others around us in His love (without love, all our gifts are nothing!).

We need to stop asking to receive the gifts of others. Rather, our prayers need to be of thanks to God for blessing those around us with the gifts they have been given. And abundant praises to Him for those gifts and blessings, both that He has given us and those that He has not.

Take a Moment:

  • What are some gifts, aspirations, talents that you have always dreamed of having?
  • What individual talents/gifts/blessings has God given you?
  • Do you have any friends around you, who have been blessed with dreams, gifts, or talents you have wanted personally? How does that make you feel?
  • How do you think your life and attitude will change when you stop asking God to bless you with what IS NOT YOURS and begin praising God … Continue reading

Sonflowers.

Last night as I was falling asleep scrolling through instagram, there was a photo of a girl holding freshly cut flowers captioned, “If I had more female followers this photo would have more likes.” Although several things ran through my mind, one thing, rather feeling…

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Are those Nikes on his feet?

For some reason, to me, “pediatrician-waiting-room-office-toys” scream runny noses, strep throat and long sleepless nights. So last week while Aspen and I waited for the results …

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I’m not a Rom-Com Fan and I’ve never seen the Notebook. (Now What!)

I’ve never been one to WANT to watch, read or even hear about a sappy “love” story… I’m not a Rom-Com fan (actually the first time someone asked me if I liked Rom-Com I didn’t even know what that was… I had to google it! haha) I’ve never seen The Notebook (and I have no intentions too), I do love Dirty Dancing, but I couldn’t care less about the love story between Baby and Patrick Swayze (I don’t even know his character’s name) I JUST LOVE TO WATCH THEM DANCE! I didn’t read Eat.Pray.Love. nor 50 Shades of Grey….Quite frankly, I’m the Beautiful Mind, Dumb & Dumber, Wicked Tuna, Real Crime on The ID Channel – type of girl. However, lately, I have literally been mesmerized and completely engulfed, not by the human idea of love, but in the attempt to understand and discover what it means to love someone with “Godly love.”

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Hello 2014. I’m coming out of Hiding.

If nothing else this past year has taught me one of the most valuable lessons in life;
YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL of the situations and circumstances you encounter, nor the people that walk in or out of your life. You are, however, in control of your reactions to situations and the perspective in which you choose to maintain.
2014 has been a year unlike any other. I have experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life…

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A life of Peace or a Life in Pieces…

Someone asked me this past weekend, “how do you always seem so calm?” Well the first thing that went through my mind was, “she clearly doesn’t know me!” call my friends and you will find out I am certainly not “calm” all of the time!!

 

Peace, tranquility, happiness… they aren’t a reflection of our environment, in fact, my peace at heart isn’t a reflection of ME but rather the ONE in whom I put my TRUST in! The ONE that I have centered my life upon, the ONE that I created my foundation upon. (And no, I do not mean my husband…centering your life on that ONE individual (wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend) will lead to disappointment … why? Because we are all human and no OTHER human is capable of fulfilling all of our expectations, obligations, wishes and love!.. quite frankly it isn’t fair for us to expect that from our “other-half”, and it isn’t fair to ourselves! )

 

Our peace, happiness and tranquility is a direct reflection of “WHOM” and what we center the foundation of our life upon.

We don’t find calm amidst the chaos of our day simply by removing ourselves from our current environment and retreating to a “quiet” space for 5-10 minutes. In fact, a spirit of peace and tranquility is NOT a direct reflection of our current, past or future environment. Granted, it is always a plus to have a peaceful and calm environment in the home, office place and amongst friends and family however, lets face it, no matter HOW difficult we try, maintaining a consistently calm and tranquil environment at all times simply isn’t possible. In fact, such false expectations and our inability to achieve it only leads to greater disappointment.

 

So, this girl had asked, “HOW DO YOU STAY SO CALM?”… Was it my environment? Lets take a walk in my shoes for a day. (Actually lets do yesterday!) ….

 

  • 3:15am wake to a crying little man, (mind you my alarm is supposed to go off at 3:30ish).
  • 4am – catch a taxi to Union Station (where my $36 taxi ride turns into a $62 ride).
  • 5am – catch the train to Philadelphia
  • Train Ride – Bible Study & Work
  • 7am – Arrive in Philadelphia and take a taxi to my car, which I had to leave in the city on Friday because my schedule became so tight that I couldn’t actually MAKE it to where I needed to be without taking the ACELA train!!
  • 9am – call time for a full day on set
  • 5pm – began my 2 and a half hour trek home
  • 7:30pm – GOD WILLING, head to the pool with my little man! … BUT I MISSED IT YESTERDAY because I made a wrong way and had headed a good 30 minutes out of my way before I caught on that I was headed NORTH rather than SOUTH towards HOME!
  • 8:30pm – Bed Time Duties!
  • 9:00pm – Prepare Dinner
  • 10:00pm – FINALLY sit down on the couch with my husband for some “US” TIME to watch our recorded episode of WICKED TUNA!! (my favorite!!) …. #TeamWickedPissah & #TeamMarciano!! …
  • 2am – wake up, ON THE COUCH, television still going because we both PASSED OUT within the first 10 minutes of the show ….

 

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE MY LIFE! I CHOOSE to live the life I do… but at the same time with all the different “HATS” I wear…. Mommy, Wife, Model, Head Chef, Swim coach, Cleaning lady, Chauffer, Wine Sales Rep, Marketing Guru, daughter, friend, etc… it doesn’t allow for much time to escape the craziness of the day … However simply because it is NOT possible to “escape” the world and the craziness of our current environment doesn’t mean we can’t have total peace within us as an individual. …It doesn’t mean that our souls cannot be at total REST within us, as we venture through each day. Again, as I said before OUR inner peace and tranquility is NOT a reflection of our environment rather it is a CHOICE that we are given. A choice to keep ourselves in a state of mind that we are not affected by those things around us… a state of mind that maintains focused on He who truly matters… a state of mind that says, MY Eyes are fixed upon my constant and my foundation … our situations, our circumstances, our lives are ALWAYS CHANGING, always evolving, but our Lord remains constant and consistent… NEVER Failing, always providing!

For me, I find my most inner peace when I am next to the ocean (any ocean), studying the world of God but… we live in Washington DC, and despite my husbands efforts to convince me otherwise, there is a big difference between the Potomac river and ANY ocean…. So that means rarely do I find myself in MY PERFECT PLACE OF TRANQUILITY, next to the ocean with time to simply sit and reflect and find that “easy inner peace,”… however, that is not an excuse to go through life without it! Rather it means finding 5 minutes, whether in the make up chair on set, on the train before work, or at an exit off of 95, that I can grab my bible and simply spend some one on one time REJOICING, REFLECTING and GIVING ALL MY CARES AND WORRIES … Continue reading