23 February, 2007

debt blogs!?

Ha,ha,heehaws!!! -was my first reaction as I came across the phenomena of "Americans and their debt blogs" in a news article from Spain. I immediately judged them as stupid and unsuccessful...how could something like that work?? what!?
Well, after reading the article called " blogs are a new way Americans control their debt " from Spain's version of yahoo, I decided I would not judge it. why?

I went to a couple of the blogs mentioned in the article such as, Poorer Than You by a some such Stephanie of Rochester, New York. And another one called We’re In Debt and it is run by a couple ( king and queen of debt) who is trying to get out of debt and aiming to help you know if you are in debt, how you got there, how to get help, where to go, which credit cards to use-or not use and on and on. From the blog king of debt offers his warning signs that you may be over your head in debt, debt management tips, and improving finances in a marriage.

Wow, it would seem these people have it all, and know it all, but that is not what these blogs are about. They are about an online community helping each other to be debt-free. That is the goal. The king and queen of debt are just that, in debt and that was the reason they started the blog. They want to be held accountable to whomever reads and comments on the blog and out of guilt or obligation come out of the debt they have submerged themselves in. Seems like it could work right?? It is much more than many Americans are doing to rid themselves of this problem, being that we consumers of the U.S owe more than 2,400 million dollars collectively. yuk!

Here's to the king and queen of debt, who are doing something about it! and here's to debt blogs!

22 February, 2007

love, love me do!

a little late for v-day...but here's to love!

Love is not the feeling you get when the sun shines and everything is going well, nor is it the red and pink flirtation of V-day. Love is knowing that your friend will always be honest with you and that you are treasured. It means that when you make mistakes, don't dress right, don't say the right thing, don't act nice, don't talk when you should have, don't give when you could have....that person will be there and will keep coming back for more.

Love is giving in when you really know you are right, choosing to smile when habits annoy and quirks are getting to ya, giving up things that you really didn't need anyway (even though you thought you did), always thinking about the best for that person whether or not it means you will always tell them what they want to hear.

It means giving of yourself, it means trusting and letting go of past hurts and grudges. it means being vulnerable even though you will get hurt. It means being gentle even when you want to scream out horrid words, it means not being offended when you have every reason to be.
Love is tattered and broken and always beautiful, love is strong and vulnerable at the same time, love cries with you when you are sad and is joyful when you are happy.
Love is not ditching, not giving up, not looking around to see where your needs could be better met. When things get tough love does not look elsewhere.

Love spoke one of it's loudest, clearest lessons to me in an old man and woman as they came into a store. she could not walk, he could not hear, their skin was wrinkled and old, she had a walker and he helped her along. Love is their commitment of 75 years through miscarriage,their children's weddings, and any type of difficult time you could imagine. Love is the way their eyes still twinkle when they see each other, the way he dances around her walker, the way he tenderly holds her hand and guides her. See, love is what happens when you are done putting yourself first and you are ready to care for someone else.

Love will always exist, not because it is easy,but because everyone needs to be loved, and everyone needs to love.

21 February, 2007

...she never said "let them eat cake!"

My husband and I recently watched "Marie Antoinette" directed by Sophia Coppola, with Kirsten Dunst. The more I think about it, the more I realize I really liked it. Even as it is overflowing with bright pops of colour and loud up-to-date music, and fun pastry treats, the story is obviously a very sad one, a time of revolution and a rockstar queen that can't stop spending every one's money, but there is so much more to it than what you would see on the surface. Beneath the surface of teensy, floral gowned little girls and boys is history.

I love history. I love history because we can all learn from the mistakes and the successes of those who have had them before us. I love that! It is fun to read about people and what they were like, what influenced them, and what they were involved in. I love the history of people, the history of what made them do what they did, and why the things that happened actually happened. I don't like dates, and colorless facts-I want to know about people! Reading books and books about Rousseau and Hume and the kings and queens of Europe is okay, but really understanding why the people of a period revolted, understanding why they believed in science or religion or why they got sick, that amazes me. We can learn so much from it all...and it intrigues me more than much else.
Then who was this Marie Antoinette? Was she more than some careless queen?For many years she was viewed as being very superficial, lacking in character, shallow and weak, but recently this notion has changed. The trend in recent years is to acknowledge her strengths, and not focus entirely on her weaknesses. We now take her on more as a real person than the creation of an unnecessary revolution-due to an overly extended shopping/gambling spree.Much has been said about this woman, in 1933, Stefan Zweig wrote a biography about Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Ordinary Woman, in which he argued that the queen achieved greatness during the final years of her life thanks to her extraordinary courage.
She was called to something that she was not prepared for, and in so made many mistakes. Marie Antoinette's journey began at the age of 14, when she was to marry the prince of France Louis XVI. In parting her mother said:"Farewell, my dearest. Do so much good to the French people that they can say that I have sent them an angel." When the teen princess reached the border of Austria she was asked to remove all of her Austrian encumbrances (clothes, jewelry, mementos, servants and friends) and leave them behind, as she would not serve France properly if she were allowed to keep them. She was asked to remove her Austrian attire in front of the entire Austrian Delegation, causing her to cry. She was then re-dressed in French clothing and brought into a country she did not know.

Her reign was hard, the people admired her, but soon decided that she was much to extravagant. They blamed her for the financial problems of France, even though realistically she did not have much to do with it. Louis XVI (her hubby) was the king who aided the US in the American Revolution in order to prove to Europe that they could afford it, that did leed France to ruin. Really though, the point is that they tried to do things the right way, they had their problems, but they were probably just an exaggerated version of our own problems. You know what they say: "the more money you have the bigger your problems are!". Munro Price, in his political study on the fall of the French monarchy, wrote "Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette have often been portrayed as weak and vacillating. Far from it; their policy between 1789 and 1792 was entirely consistent, and highly conservative. They were prepared to die for their beliefs, and ultimately did so."oh, yah and she never said "let them eat cake!" the line that she is most famous for. That line and many other ideas about this queen was just a revolutionary propaganda scheme of the current day to sour her image.

I guess for me it seems easy to cast blame on someone when you don't know them, or care to. It is much more difficult to do so after walking in their beautiful pink shoes and spending two hours getting to know them a little better. Can we all learn something from history then? even those of you who are not "into" history? We can learn that it is easy to judge when someone is not close to us, or when we put up walls...but when we let that same person in it becomes much more natural to forgive faults and recognize that they are struggling too.

Anyway, I was trying to write a non-serious blog. They don't ever really end up the way that I expect anyway. Here's to Marie Antoinette so much more than just an amazing movie!!

If you are interested in more info about the historical Marie Antoinette, check out this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Antoinette

20 February, 2007


great man - Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :
64 Moby Thesaurus words for "great man":
VIP, baron, big gun, big man, big name,
bigwig, brass, brass hat, celebrity, constellation,
cynosure, dignitary, dignity, elder, father, figure,
folk hero, galaxy, hero, heroine, idol, immortal,
important person, interests, lion, lords of creation,
luminaries, luminary, magnate, man of mark, master
spirit, mogul, nabob, name, notability, notable,
panjandrum, person of note, person of renown, personage,
personality, pillar of society, pleiad, pop hero,
popular hero, popular idol, power, power elite, public
figure, ruling circle, sachem, social lion, somebody,
something, star, superstar, the great, the top, top
brass, top people, tycoon, very important person,

What does it mean to be great? I guess it really depends on a great what, right? Well, a great person, a great pastor, a great wife, a great man of God. What does it take? What is the difference between a great woman and an ordinary one? I ask myself this because I want to be great, not just decent or mediocre.

I will be honest, many days it is hard for me to get over myself, my selfishness, and focus for even a little time on what is truly most important in life: sitting in God's amazing presence. I know that at certain times and seasons in my life it is easier, and others such as this one it is harder. I could make excuses until each of you were are able to relate to me, but the fact is that there is not an excuse that would matter.

I grew up in an amazing home, with wonderful parents, in a land far, far away (that i still love), I have an awesome husband, two beautiful little boys, and all i could ever really need. Just like for anyone else there have been things that could have held me back, things that I could gripe about, things that could have caused me to stumble or to not go on any further...we all have these things. Each of us has to come to a point where we realize we are not going to let anything hold us back, that what we could do is too important, and then we need to see the victory in all of our circumstances. There is victory in each of our lives when something amazing has happened, but there is far more victory when we have overcome something that was meant to set us back.

so, who is great? who can be great? Any person can be great. Any person in any circumstances has the ability to be great, the lie is that we could not do it for some reason or other, other people can...but we cannot. If you believe that, than it is true that you will not and you cannot be great. The truth is that each of us is called to be great. We are called to walk a line that is hard to walk and not be prideful in it. We are called to give, to forgive, to let others go first and not boast about that. We are called to greatness...a harder kind of greatness even than that of the world around us. A greatness that is many times not admired, it is seen as lacking spine, or letting others walk all over you, but this greatness is the greatest testimony we have.

It is obvious what God calls great.That he who has more power, does not boast or pride himself in that, but always puts other people before himself. But I have just started thinking...and it may seem so obvious to some..but he who is great also has to put God before himself.

As a busy mamma, the focus is so much on my family that it does seem easier to put noisy children before yourself,it is easier to be able to realize that you are not putting your husband before yourself, and it is also easy for me to forget that Jesus should be first, before me, my kids, and my husband...but especially before ME.

yuk. I thought this would end up being a more glorious blog than just a self realization of something that I thought I already knew. But wait!...that is just the story of life, my life at least. When i think i know something really well and have it all down...then the real lessons begin.

( Matt. 23:11) (luke 9:48)

09 February, 2007

Who needs character anyway?!

The Value of Godly Character

~Character in us and the church
This last week our pastor spoke on building character in ourselves and our church and our children. He mentioned the all-famous-statistics that the percentage of people who get divorced is the same inside the church body and out, which i already had heard. He went on to say that in recent studies lying, cheating, looking at pornography (among other yucky things) is also the same.

Our pastor mentioned that it is a lack of character that causes the church to want to fit in with those around it. We are not called to make the world happy, or to agree with their standards in order to lure them into getting to know Jesus. We are called to holiness, and Godly character. Godly character is not just good character, it is far beyond being called a "good person". Godly character is our goal, and even though it is a goal that we can try to reach, we will never fully attain it in this world.
I guess to some that would mean: "then wherever i am at is okay, since i am not doing that bad, and i sometimes let my circumstances grow and mature me". God does not rate each of us on an A-F grading system, he does not hold up a chart and see where each of us fall...we were all called to do our best, the best with what we have. The best with our own circumstances, the best in the hard times, the best when we have been trampled on. Always the best without all the excuses of why we could do better or we could have done worse. The only person we are allowed to compare ourselves to is Jesus...and we all have a long way to go to get there.

~Building up what really matters in our children
People everywhere admire those who have talent, those who can speak well, write outstanding literature, sing good, jump higher, and make you laugh harder than those of us without that gift. The truth is though that a gift is just that, a gift. It is something we just have. We can obviously perfect that gift with classes and many hours of practice, but it is still a gift, a given, something we can just do a little (or a lot) better than those around us. Having kids, i realize they will have extraordinary giftings, things that i will want to help them perfect, and qualities they have that will be unlike anyone else. That in itself is beautiful, or is it? A gift without the character to sustain it is ugly, truly horrifying. We all like to hear a great comedian that can make you laugh, or hear a singer that really can sing but if they do not have humility, integrity, love others, and give of themselves...they are just that only a gift, with no substance. We are not like to be friends with this arrogant people, we don't like to marry them, we don't like to be around them for any longer than we have to-unless they are using their gift. When they are caught up in their gift, it is a beautiful thing...if not...we all run.
So when people tell me about my own little boys, "oh, i can tell your little boy is intelligent", "he can carry a tune beautifully"or, "he is a great little dancer" i do beam. but it hits me somewhere way deeper than my superficial pride when they say: "he is so gentle with the little kids", "he shared even when he did not want to", or "he was so polite, he said please every time" and so that is when i look my little boy in the eye and say, "mamma is so proud of you, great job!"

the bigger the gift my child has, that much more it is my job to build in him a Godly character that will hold up under the pressure of that gift, and the challenges and choices that he will have to make. this is my job because a person with a gift and not a Godly character may be amazing in a full set of different ways: pride, vanity, lust, and selfishness...and who really in the end cares if a little bratty child has a good sense of humor, can sing ave maria in Latin/French/German, or can jump high enough to dunk. not one person (besides his mother...maybe!) that has to be within one city block of this child.
But because gifts used well and with the power of God are incredible they are so worth the frustration they cause, they can make those with the hardest hearts melt,they can impact you like nothing else in this world, they can help you see things you have never seen, hear the most amazing sounds, they can heal hurt, release pain, bring joy, they speak words into your life of all which is perfect and what you so needed to hear, and they heal your body.
This is why we admire gifts...because they are incredible. but take a step back, do people admire you or your child's gifts, or are they amazed by the quality of your character, and able to be truly impacted when you use your gifts?