Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Snackopoly: A Gaming Pictorial

My husband is a gamer.  He's a hard core game lover of all kinds.

 I hate games. I'm a hard core game hater of all kinds. I can tolerate Mrs. Pac Man. (I know...that is lamer than quoting Mean Girls, but it's the truth.)  

Anyway, my husband sometimes channels his love of games with the intense love he has for our children and they mesh over the dinette table I've shoved into the corner of our kitchen (because the dining room has a trestle farm table in it and they can't punch and noogie each other across it's vast distance).  

Yesterday, he brought home a weird version of Monopoly called "Snackopoly".  It's a Little Debbie version of Monopoly. (because we are crazy cool like that, ya'll).  

Welcome to our world:

Yes, that is a Little Debbie Nutty Bar (you're welcome)

A small glimpse of my man's Disney's tea glass in the background. That is ALWAYS how he rolls, ya'll. 

The Dough

I don't know.  It appears that David is equally clueless. Awesome.

Loki's attitude about game night. There wasn't any food, peasants. Why bother? 

I hope you enjoy your family nights as much as we do. I also hope they are filled with as much love and weirdness as ours.  


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mercy and Peace

James 2:13 says, "Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!"  This verse in the Scriptures both soothes and scares me at the same time.

Mercy is hard for us flawed humans and forgiving someone who has genuinely wronged me feels almost insurmountable at times.  However, I know myself and all that God has forgiven me for and it's enough to make me cringe.  Therein lies the conundrum. 

I have an opportunity very soon to host someone in my home who, less than a year ago, told an outright lie about me. I don't mean they exaggerated; I mean they lied. They slandered me and they did it in writing. I felt like crud, I was shamed (why do we feel that when we didn't do anything?!) and I was angry, but that's not all. (it never is, is it?)  I did the thing that is my fleshly response to being wronged...I acted like a complete jerk, became sanctimonious and made the situation much worse. Much worse meaning to about the 100th power, in case you were wondering. Basically, I showed no mercy.  Zero. Because, you know...I was "right". So not awesome.

How in the world did this person get an invite to my home, you may ask?  They didn't, at least not directly. God has placed a group in my home that comes as much a shock to me as to anyone else. I'm still a little flummoxed by it, but my spirit is fully at rest, so I'm believing that God is working. When the invite went out to others in my group, it never once...not ever...occurred to me that this person may respond, along with others, that they would love to attend. We will be praying for our homes, our children and our families. We are lifting up our children and our schools. We are believing that God will move and my deepest held desire is that Christ will show up and be glorified in every word, every action and every thought. And then that email reply from her showed up and my heart sank. And once again, I felt like crud. I didn't want her to be there. How was I supposed to pray and honor God when my heart wants to be merciless and cruel?  How was I supposed to honor Christ when what I really wanted to do was break bad and rip into this woman who told lies about me?

I couldn't and I can't.  But, He can.  He can soften my heart and make my motives pure.  He reminds me of who I am in HIM, not who I am when I allow others to define me or even who I am when my flesh takes over and I do ugly things to other people. He reminds me that mercy does not come from anything having to do with me. It flows from Him. HE is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Him. Not me. It isn't about me.  Allowing someone else's actions to define me or control me clouds my vision and makes me want to manipulate and harm someone who is obviously already hurting.  It reminds me that while she lied about me, I was verbally cruel and downright mean.  How am I "better" than her, regardless of how the whole thing started?  I'm not. But He is.

The best part of taking a breath and bowing my will to Him?  Something is happening in me. My anger at her is going away.  My hurt is slowing fading and I'm starting to see that I wasn't hurt nearly as much as she was hurt. Sin is heavy and it's awful. And what's more, I get an opportunity to serve someone who I would never have willingly chosen to serve and something about that is changing me, too. I can't even articulate it, but it's happening.  I want a relationship with Christ and one of the things that I'll be praying about at this meeting is that my children learn to be kind and merciful because Christ was kind and merciful.  I want my kids to WANT a relationship with Christ because He loves them more than I can fathom, but also because He loves them right where they are, in all their imperfectness.  Maybe this is part of that prayer, already being answered because He already knows what I need...

In a world gone crazy, it's important that we are peacemakers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why I Don't Read The Matt Walsh Blog Anymore

My Facebook is often filled with people sharing Matt Walsh's blog posts so a few months ago I decided I'd join the party and read his blog. Since I'm pretty outspoken and blunt, I figured Matt and I would have tons to agree about as well as an opportunity for me to learn from someone many others I know deem to be someone worthy of learning from. I was right. And I was wrong. 

I usually like the topics that Matt writes about but think his delivery is extremely polarizing and, more often than not, designed to get a rise more than actually create debate for people to try and understand one another. The funny thing is, Matt often uses that point to criticize someone who writes to him and uses aggressive tactics.

For me, I think one reason the church is failing so badly at reaching the lost is because many stand and scream at them about how bad they are and refuse to simply ask..."How are you?" "What do you need?" or, like the post Matt wrote to his daughter a few weeks ago, "I think you're beautiful", which was precious and encouraging. When's the last time we told someone lost, "I know someone who thinks you're so beautiful He died of his Love for you. Can I serve you and tell you about Him?" I don't think we (or Matt Walsh) will ever bring someone to Christ and the love He offers by writing excellent content (that sometimes make us laugh and often makes us feel "right") without also showing them Christ.

When Christ told the women at the well all her sins, she didn't leave feeling less than or bad or like a...well, whore, even though her entire village said that's exactly what she was! She left feeling loved, understood and cared for to the degree that she couldn't wait to reach her village and tell them all about this wonderful man who knew all her sin and didn't make her feel like dirt under his shoe (even though she really was dirt under HIS sandal!).

Rarely do I see a post by Matt that makes me think Christ would be glorified and seen as....For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. Most of his posts make me think that Christians are jerks who always think they're right and make me feel like a loser for not being as perfect as they think they are and I AM a follower of Jesus Christ. What about someone who doesn't know Christ? What lost person would want to be a part of a group of people who laugh at their hurt, mock their shame and think it's cool to sarcastically make points at their expense? (come to think of it...what sane person would want to be a part of that kind of constant judgment and pressure to seem perfect?!)

I often wonder how someone lost, hurting, alone, abused, abusing, etc...feels. Christ ate with those people. He ministered to those people. He didn't often break bread with people that thought they already had it all figured out (which were primarily the "religious" people of His day!!). I'd love to see someone with Matt's readership reach the people who will live apart from Christ forever simply because they didn't know...KNOW...that Christ loves them. He loves them where they are, just like they are. I don't want to be the Pharisee who stands around asking Christ's followers, "Why are you eating with THOSE people?  They're a bunch of sinners!"  Newsflash: I once was lost, but now I'm found. I was THOSE people and sometimes, to my shame, I occasionally still am. I find myself on my knees so many mornings repenting, praying and seeking God's face because I need Him. Because without Him, I am still "those people".

"The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: God, I thank you that I am not like the other men- robbers, evildoers, adulterers- or even like this tax collector".  Luke 18:11

Matt's great at sensationalizing and making me feel like I'm right, but I'm not called to be "right". I am called to seek the face of the only One who has ever been "right" and to bring glory to God.  I'm called to love God and love my neighbor as I love myself. Matt's blog rarely feels like love to me. His blog doesn't reflect the Christ of the Bible who ate with the worst sinners of His time or washed the disciples feet or loved the world enough to die for it. His blog doesn't reflect the Son of God who died without sin so that I could be made new. His blog doesn't remind me that Christ loves me fully, even when I'm not very loveable. And had Matt's blog been what I'd run into when I was struggling and alone and bitter and hurt...who can say how long I would have run from my Savior who loves me?  I'm not saying we can't tell someone of their sin in "love", but it's awfully important that we actually love them FIRST. 

"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that?"  Matt. 5:46-47.

Update:  I actually wrote part of this post as a reply to a sweet friend on Facebook.  Since then, Matt has posted his response to Robin Williams' death and I am even more thankful that I have removed him from my reading list.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finding Security

Its been a long time. I've been busy and there's been a lot of changes in our tiny part of the world.

First, my man left his job at his family's business after almost 25 years.  It was hard, but it was good.  His family has a tough history that I have no intention of sharing here other than to say most people in our small town would be shocked at the words on the page if his life was written in a memoir. 

Then, he took a huge pay cut by taking a job that makes his heart happy. I'm in full support, by the way. He's working at a ministry that brings him peace and a sense of purpose that he's never had before. I love that. I love the look on his face when he comes home, too. It's contentment. Trust me when I share that contentment is highly underrated in our culture.

Are you content?  Do you look at your life and feel like you're doing what you're suppose to be doing?  If not, why not?  If so, what do you do and how'd you get there?

Our road was bumpy and a little ugly.  We lied to ourselves for a long time.  We made good money and worked really wonderful schedules, so we should've been happy, right? We told ourselves we were happy and we would've eaten dirt before we'd have admitted to anyone but our closest friends that life felt a little empty, a little scheduled and a lot out of control.

Now, we don't have any extra cash other than the savings we put up for the kids and our retirement.  And you know what?  We've never been happier or more grounded in the promises of God.  He has been faithful. He has been present and more in our lives than ever before. Somehow, having less made me notice God more and that's what this journey, this life, is all about. I use to say that, but I didn't really mean it.

The truth is that our jobs aren't secure. Anything that we place our security in other than God is NOT security at all.  It's a smoke screen. Our savings, our jobs, our relationships, our churches, our businesses, our ideas of how things should be, our future plans, etc... None of those is where our security should come from because they could be gone tomorrow. Our lives aren't about being secure or safe or having more or even having enough.  They are about living a life that allows us to glorify God. Somehow, our insecurity in job loss gave us security in Christ in a way we've never had it before and I can't be anything but thankful.

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Life is a Mess

Mess:  The untidy state of things or a place.  That fits my life right now and I've decided to own it. (as if there is some choice to be made...) So often I long to portray a life of ease, with no mess or untidiness.  I want the world to see me as having it all together and someone who succeeds.  Too often it seems important that we portray more than what we are and it makes me sad, as well as a mess. 

Jobs are up in the air around our home and security seems far away.  Vacuuming, clothes and dust bunnies are all piling up or being ignored.  Chores seem heavy and weighted and life seems to churn at an impossible pace, whether too fast or too slow. Family members sick with diseases named, but not cured. An Uneasiness wrestles inside me, demanding to be acknowledged, confronted.  Anger is too often the companion of Uneasiness, I know this very well.  We call it venting, but it's really grace abandoned and a harsh word stirring up more anger, when gentleness is truly the answering card of love. (Prov. 15:1)  Doubt is their announcer and he trumpets with Armstrong like lungs to whisper urgently in my heart, "Did God really say...?"

Large decisions loom ahead and true to my flesh I ponder them and ponder them until they are larger than the sun and no light can pierce through my worry and imagination.  Surely, the problems are real and messy and truth.  My mind convinces me of this truth, yet still, there is a candle in my heart that will not believe that pondering is truth.  A place that understands that feelings do not manifest into reality simply because they are being felt.  This is a great Lie, my spirit says to me. 

And so I cling, in this messy life, to one Truth that is eternal and real:

Jesus, who does not leave me, and never forsakes me.  That even now, right this moment, is pleading on my behalf and loves me true, with a yoke that is light and a heart that is willing...always willing. Always knocking.  His strength is most known when I am weak and His arms are capable of holding me fully, even when I am sure I will simply slither away, unseen.  He sees. He hears. He knows. He is Faithful. He is near. The mess begins to lessen, the looming disaster shrinks and reality is made new because He lives and is Love. Joy becomes reality, Love becomes a Name, who calls me His own, and Gentleness finds its way into my heart to calm the storm and the noise. Peace, even among the mess. Perhaps, because of it...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Life

We started a brand new life about two weeks before Christmas and I wanted to share it with my readers here so that you could join the journey if you'd like.  It's here:


I've always been overly responsible, but what I haven't always been is responsible for what I eat.  I'm Southern, which means I was born and bred on sweet tea, sugar and all things fried.  It's called comfort food for a reason, people.  Food will lull you into believing it's OK because it makes you feel good.  I'll admit to being a bit persnickity, but something about treating food like it's a treat and I'm a dog has never sat well with me. I am not a dog and food is not my treat. Food should be good for you and fuel your body.  Right now, that's not the case for most Americans, so we decided to take control of ourselves and responsibility for what passes our lips.  I hope you'll join our journey, we're having a blast.

Kristi  :)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014...It's a New Year

Do you make resolutions?  I used to.  I'd make them, change them, break them and forget them, so I stopped doing that a few years back.  Now, I make more of a map...a guide, if you will.  I pray about things, get still for a second and then write down what comes to mind.  Things that I'd like to accomplish, things I'd like to do, things I want to change and heartfelt feelings that need to come out.  Even some things I want to enhance from year to year make their way onto the page. 

This year, I thought I'd share some with you:

1.  Tell the truth.  Even if it hurts.  I'm speaking about myself here, not tell the truth as in stop lying.  I rarely lie to anyone...just ask my friends.  I'm not the girl you want to ask if you don't want the truth.  However, I am prone to lie to myself.  I want to stick it out, change it, bend it and make it work for me, even if I know it's never going to happen.  So, I want to be kind to myself and tell the truth.  Even if I don't want to hear it.

2.  Monitor my tongue.  You'd think those two things wouldn't go together, but they do.  I talk too much.  It's a way to dominate and keep people away.  It's also caused me countless amounts of unnecessary grief, not to mention hurting others.  So, it's time to change.  That's all on me.

3.  Continue to write. It's coming easier now and starting to pay off.  I love it.

4.  Simplify my life.  Just simplify everything.

5.  Honor the time I've been given.  It's finite and I want to treat it that way.

6.  Be creative.  Too often I tend toward the logical, but my heart aches for the creative. I was taught that logic is more appealing, so I've always tended toward that even if creativity was what my heart longed for and needed. I crushed on Spock as a kid.  Enough said.

7.  Tell convention to take a hike.

8.  Just live.  Be in the moment.  Every moment.

Happy New Year!!  May 2014 bring us joy, love, peace and beauty that can't be defined.  And may each of us see what's right in front of our face.

Kristi  :)