It’s Time to Do This

It seems I’ve taken a long hiatus from blogging.

With good reason.  (She’s an eleven week old named Katherine.)

But I’m back.

I need to write.

It’s therapeutic for me.  It’s how I best communicate.  It’s a step towards my dream.

But it’s easy for me to sit back and say to myself, “There are millions of bloggers already.  I don’t need to be another one.  I’m sure it has all been said.”

I have to push those thoughts aside and remember two things:  My words haven’t been said.  And someone just might need to read them.

So it’s time to do this.

It’s time to dream big and work towards it.

It’s time to write.

Social Media and Comparisons

I really am thankful for social media.  It has allowed me to stay in touch with family and friends even with several hundred or thousand miles between us.  There are some redeeming qualities to all of it.

But sometimes I just would rather it not be such a big part of life nowadays.  People pour hours into peering into others’ lives and using posts to evaluate and critique their own lives and others’ lives.  It has taken comparisons to a whole new level.  The media has always fostered comparisons in our culture.  Whether it be with athletes, actors, singers, or the insanely rich, American media and way of life encourage some pretty crazy standards.  Standards that usually make a mockery of Biblical wisdom and true Christian discipleship.

Social media falls right into that.  People can edit their lives to display only the glamorous and good.  The edited lives displayed depict the healthiest of foods, the most creative projects, the happiest of times, the best outfits.  And it’s not just that it is all displayed, but that these usually fake depictions of real life have the ability to be “liked.”  So when you don’t post every meal or date night, outing with a friend or adventurous undertaking, or you don’t get a high number of “likes” or “favorites”  or “repins” for what you do post, it is very easy to think your life is not as good as someone else’s.

I really am all for staying in touch with family and friends, sharing ideas and articles, marketing businesses, and loving life.  But there needs to be authenticity.  There needs to be balance.  We need to teach our children that their worth is not measured by how much they post online or how many “likes” they receive.  Knowing how people are doing based on what you read on social media does not equate to intentional relationships.

I might sound harsh in this, but that’s not my intention.  I am just burdened for my generation and the ones following regarding all of this.   It is more than okay to do something fun and happy without posting a picture of it.  Learning contentment in this day is hard.  But it is a battle worth fighting.

Our hearts need to be sustained by the Word and not by others’ posts.

Our identities need to be found in Christ and not what is “liked” by our “followers.”

Our relationships need to be authentic and not artificial.

It is our choice whether we fall into the trap of becoming obsessed with this social media, comparison-driven culture or rise above and use it for good.

A Year With Our Sweet Pup

 

We were crazy enough to get a dog after only a month into our marriage.  We might have jumped into just a few transitions all at once.

Chaco was already a year old when we got him from the pound.  So he knew basic things, but we still had things to teach him and help him trust us.  He might have made things a little extra chaotic at first.  Even still, he quickly became part of our family, and a year later we can’t imagine life without him.

Our sweet lab/husky is definitely going to have to adjust to the baby.  So once again our family will grow.  And once again it will be an adjustment, but it will be completely wonderful. We know Baby C will come to love Chaco as she grows up with him.

Cheers to life with pets and to growing families!

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Christian Hypocrisy at a Middle School Basketball Game

Recently I sat in the stands of a middle school basketball game.  A couple things happened that caused lots of emotions to rise up in me.

The guys were playing so well, with lots of determination and heart.  It was a joy to watch them play and see how much they have improved over the season.

But then the shouting started.

One of the coaches on the other team and lots of the parents were yelling at the refs and basically throwing fits.  It was embarrassing to watch.

First of all, it’s a middle school game.  The kids are learning the sport and are there to have fun.  No one is getting recruited to college right now.  No one is going to make it big in the pros because of this game.  It’s to learn the fundamentals, learn how to play on a team, and have fun.

Secondly, I’ve been to a pretty large number of sporting events in my life.  And even on the pro level, there are few times that the refs actually lose a game for the team.  You can’t control the calls the refs make.  So you better play your best and do what you can to win.  And in the end you know, whether you win or lose, you played your hardest and the refs are not to blame.  It made me think of something Dave Ramsey said recently about the financial situation in America.  He said you can’t control the poor decisions the government is making regarding our money and our country’s budget, but you can control how you handle your family’s finances and budget your own money.  You have to do your best with what you have and not get worked up about the things you can’t control.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely competitive.  Most people don’t know that about me because I’m an introvert and usually quiet.  But I am quite competitive.  Ask Spencer, he’ll testify.  And I love sports.  I get into the games.  But there is a line between being into a game and being rude, angry, and selfish.

Lastly, the school we were playing was a Christian school.  It was quite sad to see people who, whether they know it or not, are representing Jesus in our city and were making such a fool of themselves with their speech and anger.  It hurt my heart.

If I wasn’t a believer, I would have had another reason to not trust Jesus.  I would have seen the Christian hypocrisy and continued walking away from the Church.

We are all sinners and we will fall at times.

But by the grace of God, He forgives.  Sanctification is a process.

May my life not make people turn away from God, but turn to God.  To seek His face.  To follow after Him.

May the Church be the people of God we are called to be and stand out in our selfish culture for the glory of God.  May we be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.  May we seek to be continually changed into people that more accurately reflect the splendor and beauty of our Lord.  May we always, in everything be about Christ.

Sitting in the Dentist’s Chair

Usually being able to leave early from work brightens one’s day.  But if you have to leave work because of a migraine and a dentist appointment, the brightness dims. I convinced myself to push through the pain and go to the appointment.  This dentist was recommended to us, and they really were wonderful!  I’ve never been one who was scared of the dentist.  But after the crazy times following my wisdom teeth removal a few years ago, a bit of nervousness sneaks up in me.

Anyway, as I sat there on the chair listening to the hygienist and mumbling my few responses, I was reminded of my looming job situation.  I wrote awhile back about this:  https://spencerandsarahc.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/still-trying-to-figure-out-what-i-want-to-be-when-i-grow-up/

Somehow she started talking about someone who is going back to school.  And she brought up how sad and hard that must be to graduate with a degree, and then decide you need to go back to study something else.  How tough it must be to realize all the time and money you put into your studies should have gone towards something different.

I didn’t say anything.

Maybe because there hands in my mouth flossing my teeth.  Or maybe because I didn’t want her to know that’s exactly where I am now.

At first I wanted to be sad along with her.  Wonder how ahead of the game I would be if I already studied nursing.  And then I remembered what a joy, blessing, and privilege it was to study what I studied, where I studied it, under the professors I had.  I know without a doubt I had the right major.  I might not know for several years why, but I know it was right.  And now I anticipate going back to school.  It doesn’t have to be a sad or gloomy thing.

I will take this life, this journey, this mountain one day at a time and know my Lord walks beside me, before me, and behind me.  I am completely covered in His atoning grace and mercy, and my life testifies to the goodness and faithfulness of my Father.  No matter how confusing and crazy, hard and trying this life may get, I do not walk alone.  There is a reason behind it all.  Therefore, I will rejoice and be thankful always.

Passing along a few good articles…

I have stumbled upon some heavy articles recently that I wanted to pass along.  These are definitely worth the few minutes it takes to read them.  Enjoy.

About the Russian anti-American adoption ban:

Dr. Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote this after a Russian saw his posts and responded with a bit of national pride:  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/01/08/the-answer-to-russias-orphan-crisis/

Just yesterday I saw this http://m.voanews.com/1582953.html and it made my heart so glad.  That picture of thousands of Russians standing up, not for Americans, but for orphans brought such a smile to my face.  I am thrilled to see people being the voice to those who can’t speak up for themselves.

And then sign this petition to help the 46 families that were so near to bringing their Russian children home.  And then pass it along.  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/help-46-families-wchildren-caught-politics-bring-their-court-approved-adopted-child-home-russia/SgvPTKR2?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

On the recent Louie Giglio and inauguration scenario:

This is an article from Ed Stetzer posing the question, are evangelicals no longer welcome in the public square?   http://www.edstetzer.com/2013/01/evangelicals-and-44-of-america.html

Here is one from Russell Moore concerning this situation and the new state church. http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/01/10/louie-giglio-and-the-new-state-church/

This blog shows resemblance between what is going on now and what George Orwell wrote about.  http://greatriversofhope.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/an-inauguration-to-make-george-orwell-proud/

This article I found most interesting. To sum it up, the author argues the point that if you have this much power are you really the ones being oppressed?  It is very insightful. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2013/01/11/help-were-gay-and-were-being-oppressed/

Along the same lines:

This is a letter from the CEO of Hobby Lobby about his business potentially being fined millions of dollars everyday they do not comply with certain health legislations concerning abortive contraceptions. http://thebrennerbrief.com/2013/01/03/tragic-letter-from-the-hobby-lobby-ceo-results-of-personal-freedoms-slipping-away/

While Louie Giglio is in the news recently for a sermon he preached 15 years ago calling sin what it is, he is usually known for his stance against human trafficking and slavery.  The Passion Conference took place in Atlanta at the beginning of this year to shed light on this horrific situation.  These provide information about that:

This is from Compassion providing some awful statistics about human trafficking.  http://blog.compassion.com/human-trafficking-awareness-day-what-is-a-childs-life-worth/

President Obama declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/12/31/presidential-proclamation-national-slavery-and-human-trafficking-prevent

And then you can go to this site  http://enditmovement.com to learn more about what you can do to stop modern day slavery.

This article has a different spin to it, but was written to those who attended Passion 2013.  In it the author quotes Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  It is a subject I wrestled with in college.  Why would I spend so much time and money getting an education when I can be starting a ministry or just be out in the world with hurting people?  This article has a wonderful answer to that.  It reminds me so much of C. S. Lewis’ “Learning in Wartime” essay, in which Lewis writes about the importance of staying in school even during such a time as war.  If you are in school and have passions that you are ready to make a difference with, read this and know your education is not in vain:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christandpopculture/2013/01/did-you-go-to-passion-2013-heres-what-fyodor-dostoyevsky-would-say-to-you/

And then we come to health:

I was so glad to see an article about the dangers of fast food from TIME this morning.  Often Americans talk about different fad diets or the increase of disease in our culture, but for some reason people, including doctors, do not talk about whole body wellness.  There is a definite link between what we eat and disease.  http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/15/fast-food-linked-to-asthma-and-allergies-in-kids/  What we give our bodies affects them, and in America it seems to be more negative than positive.  We would do well to bring more things like this to light.  I talk about what wellness looks like for us a bit here: https://spencerandsarahc.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/living-well-together/

On a lighter note:

This blog was written about the show Duck Dynasty.  The author provides evangelical insight into why this popular new show is good for this country.  They are simple points, yet they are true.   http://truthmattersblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/5-reasons-america-needs-duck-dynasty/

That’s all for now folks.

Still Saturday Morning

Calm.

Warmth.

Hot tea.

The Psalms.

Stillness in the air.

Quiet.

Pen in hand.

Journal, book, Bible lay open.

Saturday mornings won’t always be like this.  Of this I am sure.

So for now, I treasure this.

This rest is refreshment for my soul.  This calm defeats the chaos that filled my mind at work.  This time with my Holy Lord delights my heart.  This reading of the Scriptures gives me sustenance.

This I treasure.