Archives for November 2012

Five Minute Friday: Wonder

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He hurts again and follows a path he ought not go.  I wonder where is the justice?  When will my God follow through of his promise to spite my enemies? 

I wonder when I got so hard, so worried about making it right, so incapable of forgiving the 77 times.

I wonder if I’m doing it right.  Any of it.  Is it pleasing to Him? His will, his way? 

I wonder if I’ll ever quit caring about what they think—second guess every decision instead of just letting joy be joy.

I wonder if he will ever be healed.  Will his words not ever sting and my attempts thrown in my face.  Will I ever stop trying, putting myself out there knowing I will be hurt again, him incapable of returning what I offered.

In all my wondering, I forget it is He whom I must wonder on. 

He will provide justice–and more, grace–in His way.  He will give me grace to forgive.  He will heal, both he and me.  He will direct paths. 

If I only marvel at him, give him my rapt attention, wonder at the person instead of wandering my own way.  Then, the wondering and wandering will cease and true wonder begins.

 

Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

Should Christians Play the Lottery?

Last night was one of the biggest lottery drawings in history.  An individual had a chance to get a pay out of over 300 million dollars.  By the way, I cannot say that without accenting it like Dr. Evil’s meeellion dollars.

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Having that much money scares me to death, to be honest.  Too many decisions and responsibility.  However, it could do a lot of good for my family and a lot of organizations I care about so I’ve been debating whether or not I should play. 

Historically, I’ve blanketed the lottery as gambling and therefore bad. I voted against the SC lottery in the 90’s. However, I then proceeded to benefit from it with the the SC Life scholarship in college.  It felt hypocritical in some way even though I didn’t ask for the scholarship as it is based on grades. 

As I’ve batted this around in my head, I thought I’d work it out here and perhaps we’d come out with some good discussion.

Reasons against the lottery:

  • You gamble your money when you buy a ticket.  Gambling is bad.  Therefore, the lottery is bad.
  • I know of people whose lives and families are terribly ruined by an addiction to gambling and I don’t want my money to support it.
  • Contrary to popular belief, money usually makes things more complicated, not easier and it’s not the be-all end-all solution to people’s problems as they believe.  Have you seen the horror stories of people going into debt, descending into crime and even being stalked and killed after winning?  This is no good.

Reason for lottery:

  • The state and its residents benefit from the money as I was with my college scholarship.  This is good. 
  • Much benefit can be made for the winners of the lottery and those around them.  Scott said “Someone has to win, shouldn’t it be us who would do something good with it versus someone else?”  Good point, husband.
  • Even though the lottery can cause addiction, we don’t quit drinking Mountain Dew, eating Taco Bell or taking cold medicine because it has the capacity to do the same. That logic doesn’t stick when you start applying it to other things.  Furthermore, 401K is basically gambling your money too and no one seems to have a problem with that.
  • The Bible is wrought with decisions being made by chance.  People often casted lots to make decisions. 
  • Contrary to the belief I’ve held for so long, the Bible never clearly talks about gambling as a sin.  Or, I haven’t found one since researching this.  Someone please direct me to one.

Given that logic, I still feel up in the air about it. While it can do a lot of harm, it also can do a lot of good. 

Let’s see if we can put a wider lens on the topic.  While the Bible does not condemn the lottery directly, it does give lots of information on how we should view work and money.  Let’s see how those might apply:

  • Most want to win the lottery so they don’t have to work.  The Bible does not look favorably on lazy people.
  • I know it sounds nice to retire permanently to a private island, but we cannot carry out the Great Commission living a life like that (darn it!).
  • Coveting is a sin and often, we want to win the lottery to have what others have instead of being grateful for what we already have.
  • Getting money often makes you more greedy and materialistic, not less.  Love of money is the root of all evil.  However, money itself isn’t the root of all evil.
  • Proven: gambling can become an addiction.  We should not be slaves to anyone but the Lord.
  • We are supposed to be good stewards of our money.  Is it wise to give money to a lottery where we often will have no direct benefit?  Wouldn’t it be wiser to make a direct, personal impact to either our own college savings or someone needy around us?  However, we are directed to take care of the poor and needy with our resources and winning could certainly help fund many good deeds.

Given all that, might I suggest it comes down to the heart?  Why is that you want to play and win?  Is it really to help others or is it rooted in greed, covetousness, laziness or addiction? Are you prepared to steward the money well? 

I truly believe God can use any single thing he wants to accomplish his desires and if He leads a Christian to play and win in order to accomplish good, then rock on.

The bottom line is we must check our intent and ultimately, live out the command to live by the Spirit in all things.  Did you pray about playing?  What did the Spirit lead you to do?

What does this mean for me?  I think I’ll be sitting the lotto out until I get clear direction to play. 

  • I do have a very obsessive and addictive personality and I don’t need one more thing to battle. 
  • As much as I say and have plans to help others, I can be quite greedy when it comes to money and I think getting that much would just fuel it. 
  • I believe that much money would just add more stress to my life, not make it easier.  Just the thought of someone killing me for my money scares me away.  I’ve already been stolen from with what I have and it’s really not something I want to experience in any capacity in the future. 
  • I would rather direct my money somewhere that I know is helpful rather than leaving it up to a group to decide where it might be helpful to me in the future.  If you don’t think $2 is a big deal, did you know $1 can give someone water for an entire year?

What insights do YOU have?  What did I miss?  Why do you play or not?  Let’s discuss!

What I Wore Wednesday 11.28.2012

Today’s the day I share my outfits from the week with The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore Wednesday.  I pair my outfits with inspirational photos.  Read more about that here.

 

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Source: wired.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

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Source: flickr.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

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Source: luthienthye.tumblr.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

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Source: picasaweb.google.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. Romans 1:19-20 (MSG)

Hart of Dixie

OK I have a new show for you.  And for those of you with Netflix, pay special attention.

So.  My friend Mary Carver kept writing about Hart of Dixie.  It was on my list when it debuted last year and I just never found the time to watch it.  Well, Mary assured me at Allume that I needed to watch and since Scott has been on night shift the past month, I’ve been using my night to catch up.  And ya’ll, season one was so good! 

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The gist of the show is Zoe Hart is trying to be a surgeon in NYC (same kind as Grey’s Cristina Yang) but gets turned down for a fellowship so she finally accepts a General Physician’s job in small-town Bluebell, Alabama.  It turns out she’s not very wanted and struggles to fit in but it makes for some great TV.

It took a good 5 or 6 episodes to really love it but I do now and here’s 10 non-spoilerish reasons why:

  1. First and foremost, you must know I love that one of my beloved FNL characters is one of the leads.  I love that Scott Porter plays a similar type of role with Bluebell’s town attorney George Tucker.  I mean, QB1 and small-town attorney aren’t exactly similar but they’re similar in that he plays one of the town favorites in both shows.
  2. I never watched Rachel Bilson in The OC so I’m not really sure how to compare characters or her acting but I simply adore Zoe Hart.  She’s smart and fashionable and funny and horrible with guys and yeah, I love her.  Did I mention I love her clothes?  Even Scott won’t quit talking about her shoes  Did you see those shoes?  Those are awesome. Look at those shoes.
  3. Who cannot love Wade?  He’s the bad boy everyone loves to hate, or you know, just love to love.  If I were single, he’d be welcome to come paint my house any day.
  4. I love that they picked a former NFL star as The Mayor. It’s so random but so awesome too.  Lavon Hayes would say so too, I think. Speaking of, did you know I heard Michael Jordan has a house not 10 minutes from me?   I had a friend say they nearly ran into him when he was pulling into his neighborhood.  Anyhoo.
  5. Lemon.  Oh, Lemon.  I seriously cannot believe they named her that.  I don’t know that I like Lemon but she sure is interesting to watch and the Jaime King plays her to absolute Southern perfection.
  6. I enjoy Zoe’s lifeline to her high school friend, Rose.  I feel like we get a glimpse into the high school/CW realm without actually having to live in it all the time.
  7. I really like how they play the big city against the small town. I definitely find myself pulled in both directions.  I live in the suburbs but work in the city and enjoy bigger cities.  I appreciate both sides so it’s kind of nice to reminisce about NYC (I know, all of my 3 visits) with Zoe and make fun of their small town-ness but I also love how The Mayor, Lemon and other residents stick up for their small town.
  8. I enjoy the medical side of the show.  I know it’s no ER or Grey’s but I like it that way.  I like a little suspense when someone gets a snake bite or something.  Nothing too dramatic but enough to keep you involved.
  9. The Southern Belles.  I can’t help it, I love all of Lemon’s friends.  Although I’m in South Carolina, to my knowledge we don’t have these Southern Belles and I just find the whole thing entertaining.  In fact, DO these people exist in the South these days?  Anyone?  Annabeth is my favorite and she is HILARIOUS.  There was one episode in particular when she was actually being friends with Zoe and it was pure gold.
  10. OK and finally and not surprisingly–I LOVE the love triangles. Zoe-Wade-George and George-Lemon-Lavon could go on forever and I’d be happy.  And does anyone else want to see Zoe and Lavon just one time figure out if they could work?  I mean, I feel like there’s something there, no?

Now, I’m not TOTALLY sold on the whole deal.  Their morals are out the door.  This is no family-friendly show. Someone is always scheming and lying. I’ve been pretty disappointed in Season 2 especially with all the friends with benefits things going on.  Not a fan of Zoe going there.  I mean, he IS cute but come on, Zoe Hart, have some scruples.  It is what it is, though.  It’s near to impossible to find a show that isn’t like this in some respect.

But given that, it’s such a unique, interesting, fun, heart-warming world to live in for an hour a week.

So the entire first season is on Netflix and if you hurry up you can watch most of Season 2 on Hulu! 

Do you watch Hart of Dixie?  Let’s chat in the comments!

This post is linked up with Top Ten Tuesday

Tenth Birthday Party and a Few iPod Touch Rules

Whew, a four day weekend is just what I needed.  Bookcases were organized, rugs were cleaned, trees were decorated, turkey was eaten—all in a good Thanksgiving weekend.

Since I took a little bloggy break I haven’t told you about Emma’s 10th birthday party last week.  I cried my little eyes out on Monday about it, but Tuesday I held it together–it was time to celebrate!

She loosely had a dance-themed party so the girls played Just Dance on the Wii and made up their own dances to perform. 

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A few notes on the pictures:

  • You can see in the top left, somehow I scheduled this party on a night Scott had to work so I had all the giggling girls to myself for most of the night.  I finally had to come sit in the room so they’d go to sleep.
  • In the bottom left, you can spy Emma reading some clues to her BIG present.  The girls LOVED the scavenger hunt we threw together last minute.
  • The girls are putting on makeup there in the center.  I love that girls do that naturally.  I didn’t teach them to get in a circle and apply makeup but somehow girls + sleepovers = makeup sessions.
  • Had to include a few of Emma with her candles getting ready to blow them out. And yes, I whispered goodbye, single digits.
  • The cake is from Sweet Scene Cakes! She did a fantastic job taking our simple idea and incorporating themes from the party.

The highlight of the night was the new iPod Touch

Emma has been asking for one of her own for years but since the girls got their own Nintendo DS a few years back it just didn’t seem necessary.  At the time, we told Emma she could have an iPod when she turned 10.  It seemed like forever away.  Turns out it wasn’t.

I kind of wish now we’d just have to started out with the iPod Touch.  Yes, it’s more expensive up front but by the time you buy a few DS games, you are spending the same, if not way more with the DS.

The difference, of course, is the Internet

Emma was one of the last of her friends to get an iPod Touch so she has 5-6 friends she messages.  If the last 5 days are any indication, it turns out 10 year olds don’t have that much to talk about.

In fact, Scott and I have enjoyed messaging her the most and it’s just another fun way to connect with her.  I liked being able to message her while she was at a sleepover over the weekend and let’s face it, it’s nice to message instead of yelling across the house if I know she’s on it.

We let her get an account on Instagram.  She has a blocked profile and is only allowed to connect with females she knows. 

And of course, she uses it to play all the games that she normally tied my phone up playing.  Lexi no longer has to share when we’re in the car.  A to the men for no more fights.

She doesn’t surf the web and has no need for it.  Even at home, she usually is only on for school work or playing games, which don’t do well on Apple devices.  I don’t think she’s opened Safari since she’s had it.

Given all that, we still had her sign a contract.  It may seem like a little much, but we want to be clear and up front about expectations and have something to rely on if things go awry.  One of her friend’s mom sent me a phone contract she found (Thanks, Sarah!).  I edited it for an iPod and added a few rules of my own.

Here is a glimpse of the 17 rules:

1. My iPod Touch must be turned off by my bedtime and placed in the living room. It is my responsibility to be sure the iPod Touch is being charged when necessary.

2. During family meals, my iPod Touch will be turned off or silenced and in my pocket or placed away from the table. I will not check texts or play games during meal time.

3. I will practice proper etiquette when using my iPod Touch in public places, and be conscious of how my usage affects those around me. I will make sure my iPod Touch is turned off or silenced when I am in church, restaurants, or other quiet settings, and I will not take texts or play games during those times.

If you’d like a printable version, here ya go: iPod Touch Rules (PDF).

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I’m actually pretty glad we are able to spend a few years with iPod practice before she gets a full-on cell phone. 

I’m curious.  What age were your kids when they got their first cell phone?  Already time to start setting expectations!