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.

 

10 Things God Says About Me.

Have you ever seen one of the those kids, that is so bad, you think, MAN THANK GOD that is not my child…

Well, when it comes to the swimming pool, that is my child.

There is something about the water that literally turns my Little Man into a maniac. All he wants to do is PLAY, PLAY, PLAY… and not how little toddlers are supposed to play, but how wild animals play in the open ranges of Africa As I see other moms of toddlers sitting around watching their little ones scoop up water and empty it into buckets on the side of the baby pool or sit beautifully on the stairs, I on the other hand, am narrowly rescuing their unassuming children from my son as he attempts to “pounce” on them like they are a zebra and he is the lion.  I am blocking splashes and flying pool toys hailing from my child’s domain of the pool, as he flops around wildly, going under water and jumping up and down in an attempt to make the biggest splash. At which time, I reluctantly change my hat from “mother” to circus tamer, simply attempting to contain my little monkey. (It’s awful) … (Little side note. We are working on this issue.)

Yesterday,  with the weather as amazing as it was, the pool was packed and my little man was on his A game. (No, I don’t mean good behavior A game.) I mean he was like a wrestling, bull-fighting, shark attacking, tiger preying champion at the pool yesterday. Needless to say, we had to leave early and “Mommy and Little Man” took a much needed stroll to the grocery to “cool off” and “think about our actions.” Frustrated and annoyed that my otherwise, unbelievably well behaved child acts like such a hooligan in the pool, I reached for a carton of eggs and received a little message from God.

No, He wasn’t telling me I have a rotten egg for a son. (Although I am quite certain a few of the other mother’s at the pool may have valid arguments. Haha)  No, quite the contrary. To me, this was a little message, saying nothing more than, “Chill Out Momma. We’re all different. We are all created with our unique blessings, gifts and talents AND we are all created with our own unique struggles. So embrace the blessings. Embrace the talents. Embrace the gifts. And deal with the struggles as they come, but don’t dwell on them. Don’t let them ruin an otherwise beautiful day.”

So I started thinking, of all the things, just at the age of 2, God has blessed my son with. And then I started thinking of all the beautiful things I can say about my son (and truthfully, like any mother, I can list just about 90 million things I love about my son and say about him on a daily basis).  However, then I started thinking, what does God say he loves about my Little Man and what would God say about him right this instant, knowing his actions in the pool? Would God’s list be the same as mine?

What does God say he loves about you? Despite our struggles, our hardships, our annoyances – what is it that He would say about you as a person?

I encourage you, make your own list, “What does God Say About You?“ Then make a list of things God says about your son/daughter/husband/partner… What is it that God loves about that person?

What Are 10 Things God Says about _____________________.

 

In the meantime, you can check out what I have come up with…

10 Things God says about me.

 

1. He loves that I am a little bit weird. (just a little bit) He created me this way. He created me in His own unique image.

2. God loves that I am redeemed. He knows my failures. He knows my struggles but He loves me despite of them and has made me whole in Him! (Ephesians 4:24)

3. God says, I am forgiven. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

4. God says, I am an Overcomer. God says, that not only will He never give me anything too big to handle but that with Him, there is NO one that can stand against! “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

5. God says, I am His child. Think about this for a moment. There can be 9,257 people in a room, and I have just as much confidence that the God of the universe, the God who has EVERYTHING,  would point me out in a room, like that of my own mother or father, and say, “Yes, she is my child! I claim her as my OWN!” Talk about feeling accepted! 1 John 3:1

6. God says that I am beautiful. He created me in his own likeness. He knows every hair on my head (and there are a lot).  (Matthew 10:30) I am the apple of His eye. (Psalm 17). His treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

7. God says, He doesn’t care if I … Continue reading

Fear of the Unknown.

Fear.

Physically, mentally and psychologically debilitating.

It’s happened to all of us before. You’re lying there in the darkness and you hear a creak. You’re parents words from childhood come flashing through your mind, “Its just the house settling…” But you close your eyes and then it happens again. “Creak…” A floorboard!? Is that a shadow under the door?! Could someone have slipped by the alarm? At that moment every Lifetime/Suspense movie you’ve ever seen flashes through your mind as you remember screaming at the characters on the TV, “GO GO GO.. they’re right outside you’re door!” And you think, “Okay, I’m not going to be her.  What is my next move?…Lie here and play dead under the covers? Maybe they won’t see me. Prop myself beside the door and prepare to tackle? Should I crawl out the window?” Only to hear a faint creaking noise again and then “BOW!!!” The dog comes bounding from behind the door,  leaping to the bed, offering her wet, slobbery kisses!

Fear. It’s physically, mentally and psychologically debilitating.

Remember back to your childhood. A fear of the darkness would cause you to see monster shadows out of a lamppost from outside. Burglars from puppy footsteps up for a midnight drink of water. Boogey monsters lurking under the bed.

Fear. It clouds and hinders your judgement, your vision, your hearing, and your actions.

Every fear in the universe stems from one uncertainty, Fear of The Unknown.

  • What lingers in the darkness?
  • What will the diagnosis be?
  • What happens if my marriage fails?
  • What if I end up alone?
  • What if I say the wrong thing?
  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if they reject me?
  • What if my daughter/son gets involved in the wrong crowd?
  • What if I lose my job?
  • What if my partner is being unfaithful?
  • What if my dreams never come true?
  • What if I fail?

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

The answer to these questions are all unknown? What if the diagnosis is cancer? Then what? What if they reject me? Then what? The truth is, no one knows but our Father himself. But the one thing we do know and the one thing we can hold on to as reassurance is, He is always with us, always protecting us.

Fear is indiscriminate. It affects all of us regardless of our age or position in life. Whether our fear is absolutely realistic or out of proportion in our minds, our greatest refuge is Christ.- Luci Swindoll

“Did you know the children of Israel had nightights? The entire nation was afraid of the dark. In ancient times, the oil lamps that lit homes were kept burning all night long. In fact, it was often considered more important for people to buy oil for their lamps than food for their families. God knew his people needed reassurance. So when His people were uprooted from their land and forced to sleep in tents in the barren lands, they were comforted by the presence of a pillar of fire, that would cast a glow over the darkness reminding the people and children of Israel that their comfort was there.” (Living Above Worry and Stress)

For some reason this morning when I read those words, I felt a sense of relief, as sense of reassurance. When we think of God’s chosen people throughout the bible and/or the people around us who we esteem to be spiritually alike we often attribute them with bravery, honor, courage, and extreme faithfulness. But the truth is, take a quick look through the scriptures and it isn’t difficult to discover the fear that lives within the hearts of each of these people.

  • Eve : afraid of missing out on wisdom (Genesis 3:5)
  • Jacob : afraid of revenge from his bother (Genesis 27: 41-43)
  • Moses : afraid to speak in public (Ex. 4:10)
  • David : afraid of the exposure of his sin (2 Sam. 11:15)
  • Solomon : afraid of failing as a leader (1 Kings 3:9)
  • Jonah : afraid to face the enemy (Jon. 1:3)
  • Esther : afraid to admitting and allowing people to find out about her family heritage (Esther 2:10)
  • Hezekiah : afraid of death (2 Kings 20:1-3)
  • Joseph : afraid of what people would say (Mat. 1: 19)
  • Disciples: afraid of asking dumb and/or irrelevant questions (Mark 9:32)
  • Jairus : afraid his child would die (Luke 8:41-42)
  • Martha: afraid of disappointing her guests (Luke 10:40)
  • Paul: afraid people wouldn’t believe him (Acts 9:26)
  • Felix : afraid to face the truth (Acts 24:25)
  • Peter: afraid of breaking tradition (Gal. 2:14)

There is some relief, almost reassurance in knowing that even some of the bravest, most Godly people ever to have graced this earth, and called by God, too dealt with fear.

But God calls us to take courage, amidst our fears. He calls us to come to Him in faith,  for guidance protection and security, rather than to allow our judgment to become clouded by human fear.

When we find ourselves hindered by fear, we must remember we are not alone. “There resides in … Continue reading

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!”

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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.

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.

Who’s Galoshes are you peeing on?

Forgive me for this horrible comparison, but welcome to the way my brain works.

The other day I was out for a walk with my son when we came across this cute little man and his adorable little chihuahua. Hearing “barks” coming from the stroller, I stopped so we could watch and play with the “doggie” for awhile. The little dog was so sweet, coming up to both my son and myself and giving us little doggie kisses. However, as the man began to talk to us, something I have never seen happened occurred. The mans chihuahua, circled around his owner, sniffing his boots, then picked up his leg and peed on his owner! Completely shocked, I immediately went for the baby wipes to help him wipe off his boots and the little man goes, “Oh, don’t worry. He does this everyday. I’m used to it. Thats why we wear galoshes for our walks.”

As I walked away, I started thinking how annoying that must be to have a dog pee on your galoshes everyday. And then it dawned on me, how often we, as humans do this to the people around us…“Pee” on the ones that love us most.

Okay, bear with me. I am not speaking literally.

However, we often walk around all day with a smile, seemingly in good spirits with friends and co-workers, only to arrive home after a long day of work- tired, stressed about what the day had to offer or worried about tomorrow, only to take it out on our husband, wife, children or other family members.

And just like the chihuahuas owner, who wore his galoshes everyday, ready and expectant for his dog to pee on him, how many of our family members are essentially “trained”, “accustomed” to our attitudes of frustration and short-tempers, prepare themselves for the moment we walk through that door, ready and expectant to deal with our “leftovers” from the day.

It is human nature to to take stressors and problems out on the ones closest to us. People often say it is because you can be most real with those people. However, do know, simply because it is human nature, doesn’t mean it is right.

I encourage you to make a conscious effort this week to treat your wife, husband, children and/or other family members how you want them to treat YOU when you walk in the door!

Before you even walk in the door, take an active assessment of your mood. Are you “hangry,” “frustrated,” “worried,” “tired.” Be aware of it. Leave it at the door. And greet your family with a smile, a hug and a simple, “Im so glad to be home!”

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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