Courage and Kindness..the Cinderella Movie

cinderella-glass-slipper-goodAs our “girl time” activity of the weekend, my daughters and I went to see the new Cinderella movie.  Since I know the Cinderella story backwards and forwards, I was ready to huff, puff, roll my eyes and noodle neck at all the gushy “love at first site” stuff.

Surprisingly, I did NOT roll my eyes, but there must have been dust in the theater because my eyes got a little misty.  Not to mention, God used my time off my cell phone to minister to me.

The new Cinderella movie gives us a little background into the character of our princess, whose real name was Ella.  We get a glimpse of Ella’s seemingly perfect childhood and her pivotal life circumstance that changed everything, the death of her mother.

We all have pivotal life circumstances that when we reflect on them, we can see the how the trajectory of our life changed for a season or perhaps a lifetime.

When Ella’s mother was on her death bed, she asked Ella to promise her one thing:  To Have Courage and Be Kind.

When Ella’s father remarried her stepmother, Ella discovered something we in real life have known a VERY long time….having courage and being kind ain’t easy. With some folks and in some situations, it is nearly impossible.

It was refreshing to see Ella, who was given the name Cinderella by her stepsisters, desperately wanting to give up. If it had been easy for her to keep looking for the best in each situation she faced and then handling her challenges with kindness and grace-filled strength, there would be no lesson.

The lesson is in the struggle.  The lesson is in having courage and being kind, even when you are not feelin’ it.

It was Cinderella’s kindness and courage that won the Prince’s heart.  Unlike in the animated movie, their first meeting was in the forest in plain clothes, not at the ball.  However, just like in the animated movie, when the Prince saw Cinderella at the ball, he was in love!

Ok annnnnnd since we all know the story….. they all lived Happily Ever After. Right?

Yes, but not before Cinderella did the most courageous thing anyone can do…she FORGAVE.  Instead punishing her  Step Mother for mistreating her, Cinderella forgave her.

Cinderella and her Step Mother both endured pivotal life circumstances.  It was how they handled the cards life dealt them that made the difference.  Cinderella could have easily become bitter like her Step Mother but she chose to be better.

So I left the theater wondering how I can be BETTER instead of bitter about my own pivotal life circumstances.

Surprisingly, my answer came from a princess but the original idea came from the King of Kings.

Have Courage –Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

and

Be Kind-Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Have Courage and Be Kind has become a new mantra for me! I love it so much, I created a printable for my desk! Want one for yourself?  Click HERE

Have Courage Be Kind Printable

Five Minute Friday-Write..and I am 40

Every Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is WRITE. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

Me with hatI turned the big 4-0 on Monday.  Honestly, it was a little harder than I thought.  I don’t feel older, I guess I just began to realize that over half of my life is well…..over.  Kind of shocking to think of it that way.  However, thinking of it as half over places a sense of urgency on me to make the years that I have left REALLY count.

Have you celebrated any milestone birthdays that made you reflect on your life?

As I look back over my life and think about the things that have consistently brought me joy, the words dance and write bubble up to the top of my mind.  As I stand with over half of my life behind me, it is getting harder and harder to silence the little girl in me who wants to write and dance for a living.

The practical side of me that has always been able to push through and do what is logical, is now fighting against this 40-year-old inner spirit who will NOT be silenced.

Believe me, I have tried to not get so excited about dancing a new song in class.  I have prayed.  “God please just make me normal.”  I have longed to just love my day job and be a go-to-work-and-come-home kind of girl. (It would be so much easier.)

NO DICE:(

May I ask a birthday favor of you?  I think I have worn down the ears of my dear friends:  Keysier, Larae, Traci and Kim.  Will you pray for me, my dreams and this sassy, 40- year-old attitude?

Thank you in advance,

I need it.

What do you need prayer about?  Tell me in the comments:)

 

 

The Get-out-of-that-funk two step

imageHave you ever had a period of time when you just don’t have your mojo?  Things that normally take you no time to finish seem to take an eternity? If you are totally honest, you really don’t have the energy to do the things you need to do.  Mama is irritable.  It is kind of like a toddler who has gotten over tired…..sleep would REALLY help them but they are too tired to wind themselves down so they throw a fit?

I am not sure if any of this sounds familiar to any of you, but it pretty much sums me up for the last couple of months. I have been in a funk.

Oh and add some guilt in there because my inner mean girl keeps reminding me–in the grand scheme of things….my “funk” is nothing in comparison to the hurt people are feeling in different parts of our country and across the globe. Well now, just knowing that I feel funky but that I am totally over-reacting really helps me feel better right? Uh, no.

So what is a Diva to do? Well, I learned the two things from my fitness class ladies that have really helped me begin to feel better. I call my lesson the get-out-of-that-funk-two-step.

image

Step 1–Gratitude
I know it sounds cliche-ish but you really can’t stay in a funk when you thank God for all of things that are going right. No matter how funky you feel, there is always SOMETHING you can be thankful for. I can’t tell you how many times one of the ladies in my class thank me for being their instructor. No, THANK YOU ladies for being some of the most amazing women to dance through life with. Thank God for bringing us together…it has all been HIS design.

Step 2 Don’t cry about it……Dance about it
Every week, the ladies in my classes come in with their own set of problems yet they hoot, holler, punch, salsa, merengue, and kick in spite of it all. They challenge each other during class then they put prayer requests in our prayer box.

One of my favorite biblical characters is David. I think I like him so much because of his passion. In 1 Samuel 30:6 David is in a funk and he two-stepped his way right out of it: David was greatly distressed…..But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (AMP)

How do you de-funkify?
This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Things I Can’t Say

A Life Changing Pedicure?

Make the most of every opportunity. The days are evil. So don’t be foolish. Instead, understand what the Lord wants. Ephesians 5: 16-17

I went to have a pedicure and manicure last Sunday.  A very lovely Asian woman greeted me and began to work on my feet.  I could only imagine what she must have been thinking about my neglected feet.  My last pedicure was at the beginning of September.  I decided not to worry about it as I whipped out my O Magazine.

Just when the article about Oprah’s favorite things was getting interesting, the nail technician asked me if I worked.  Without looking up I answered, “Yes”.

“What do you do?” She asked.

I briefly looked up from the magazine and politely stated, “I am a pharmacist and I own a fitness company”.  Back down to the magazine.

“Where did you go to school?’

(Nice girl smile)–OK so my plans of relaxation were so NOT materializing.  I decided to close my magazine and answer her questions.  After she asked me what seemed like a million questions about my pharmacy career, she put her head down and then informed me that she is a pharmacist in Vietnam.  Really?

I asked her a few questions and learned that to work as a pharmacist in the US she would need to pass an equivalency exam to prove her pharmacy knowledge and be proficient in English (reading, writing, and speaking).    It is the proficient in English part that would be the most difficult for her.   Her most probable option to ever realize her dream of working as a pharmacist int the US is to start all over.  Uggggh.

Just thinking about starting all over made me ache for her.

I sat back and listened to her talk.  Although her name tag says “Kelly”, that is not her real name.  “Kelly” does nails for survival. She came to the US six months ago not speaking a lick of English with the hope of making a better life for her two boys ages six and eight.  The boys are still in Vietnam with her mother.  Double uggh.  She attends a  local community college during the morning and does nails every evening and on weekends.

She doesn’t drive so her husband has to take her everywhere.  He does not work.  They argue a lot.  She looked me right in the eyes and said, ” I am so tired”.

My eyes welled up with tears.

She saw the compassion in my eyes and she said:  “I felt really sad earlier but I am so thankful to have met you.  No one here has ever treated me like you have”.  Y’all, I came completely unglued in the pedicure chair. I felt so convicted.   I was already having to pump myself up about going to work the next day.  This woman would give ANYTHING to be in my shoes and she feels thankful to have met ME? I didn’t feel like I did anything except listen.

That is when it hit me.  My purpose for coming to the salon was to have a relaxing pedicure.  God’s purpose was me to be “PRESENT” and encourage one of his hurting daughters by just listening.

We hugged when it was time for me to leave.   I wanted to take her home with me, talk to whatever immigration people I needed to and then fly her back to Vietnam to get her children. Somehow we both knew that was an unrealistic expectation.  I pressed twenty dollars and my business card into her palm.  She walked me to the door and watched me as I got into my car.  I waved to her as I pulled away.

Dear God,

Please watch over this beautiful woman as she continues to persevere for her family.  As the Christmas season rushes towards me with all of the parties, presents, and meals, help me to remember to be PRESENT.  I cannot do what you need me to do if I am distracted.  It makes me sad to think of all of the opportunities I may have missed to show your love to someone.  Keep my mind focused on what is the best use of my time that aligns with your will.

Amen.

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell @ Things I can’t say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 Days to Clean-Days 27-28 Who are You Trying to Please?

Image Source

Can you believe it is almost Thanksgiving?  If you are hosting dinner at your house this year or have quite a few things to cook, you are probably well aware!  Along with the cooking usually comes getting your house ready for guests.  Holiday cleaning often means a mad dash around our house.  We stuff things wherever they will go to get the appearance of ALL clean! It’s crazy.  We clean only to mess everything up when we cook and entertain guests. 

As most of you know, we have been imperfectly progressing through the ebook, 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae.  After chugging along, we are finally on days 27 and 28 of the challenge.  The ebook, 31 Days to Clean, is about the why and vision for maintaining our homes.

Around the holidays my “why” is often different from what it is normally.  “Why” do you go through the extra cleaning around the holidays?  Is it for the people who live in your home?
 
While we are on this whole “why” thing, why DO we stress ourselves out so much during the holiday season?
 
The lesson for day 28 really hit home for me.  Day 28 is entitled “Who Are You Trying to Please?”. 
 
Good question, especially this time of year. 
 
Perhaps it is just me, but I feel a ton of pressure to go all out for the holidays.  I have friends who love to cook and Martha Stewart probaby consults with them for her recipies.  I am happy for them but I am NOT that chick.  It is not just the cooking and making of plans.  My father passed ten years ago and holidays have not been the same without him–even the little ones. 
 
Every year, I try to ra-ra myself into a cooking, perky, house all decorated by Thanksgiving person and it just doesn’t happen.  One of my girlfirends asked me “Don’t you want a great tradition for your girls?”  Well of course I do. The million dollar question is how to acheive the “ABC Family Special” holidays without stressing myself completely out?
 
I think I found the answer inside our little ol cleaning challenge:  Who am I trying to Please? 
 
I have decided to sit down with my family and decide TOGETHER what our priorities will be this year.  We cannot make every party and this mama cannot make cookies, fudge, pound cake, shop, work full time,  AND make hand made teacher gifts–just sayin’.
 
The “ABC Family Special” is totally unrealistic–for me anyway.
 
Are you trying to please others for the holidays or in any other area of your life?
 
The Cleaning challenge for Days 27-28  (you knew there wrould be one now didn’t you?):  Utility room-wash windows, dust ceilings, scrub sink.
 
Happy Thanksgiving Divas!  I thank each of you for reading, commenting and encouraging me the way you do!
 
Then I think to myself……………………….what a wonderful world.

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell @ Things I can’t say.

31 Days to Clean Day 12-Imperfection

Hello Divas! Thank God today is Friday!  This week has been a doozy for me!  Well, we are on day 12 of our 31 Days to clean challenge.  Want more info about the challenge, go HERE

“31 Days to Clean” is actually an ebook by Sarah Mae. 31 Days to Clean is about the “why”, the vision and the heart for taking care of our homes. Each day, readers are encouraged with light hearted lessons and then “challenged” to put those ideas to action.

The lesson for day 12 is very near and dear to my heart because it is about Imperfection.  If there is one thing that I know about, it is imperfection.  In reading the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst, I came in contact with a phrase that has really revolutionized my thinking: Imperfect progress. 

Lysa defines imperfect progress as slow steps of changed wrapped in grace.  I just love that.  I think the reason it resonates is because deep down we KNOW that we are not perfect and those around us are not perfect but we still strive for perfection and EXPECT it!

I EXPECT to be able to get everything done, get everywhere on time AND have little perfect children in tow.  ( I am sure NONE of you ever think like that, right?) 

In the rush to get it ALL done, I often lose my joy.  It is hard to be joyful rushing ALL the time and BUSY crossing things off the to do list. 

These words by Ann Voskamp stopped me in my tracks:

“If you don’t fight for joy, it’s your children who lose.”(or those you love the most)  

What do I want my children to remember — my joy in a clean home”, {my joy in accomplishing things;work, job, business)} — “or my joy of the Lord?  You will be most remembered — by what brought you most joy.”

What do you want to be remembered by?

After each day’s reading, Sara Mae gives two challenges:

The Mary Challenge:  Think about some areas in your life wher you have been striving to be perfect or comparing yourself to others.  Think about any unnecessary burdens you have placed on yourself based on what someone has said to you.  Take these areas to the throne of grace and ask God to fill you with truth.

The Martha Challenge:  Living room–clean and organize shelves and electronics.

Five Minute Friday-Race

Every Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is RACE. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

Every week, I look up and it is already Thursday.  How is that possible?  The days just RACE by me and I often stay in a constant state of catch up.  With so many things to do, it is soooo tempting to RACE right along with the speed of “life”.  But, is “life” really in a RACE?

Well there is the RACE to get the laundry done, the RACE to get my real work done, the RACE to keep my house clean, the RACE to blog, the RACE to get my playlists done for the my fitness class, the RACE to get homework done, and my all hill RACE to make it to the bus stop on time!

Still yet, “life” is not in a RACE –I am.

The funny part is– I know I can choose to slow my pace in the RACE or even forfeit some days.  Since I have this knowledge, why do I run around like a chicken with her henny penny head cut off so often?  I can answer my own question:  I RACE around trying to do too many things.

I am currently doing a 31 days to clean challenge and one interesting thing the author, Sara Mae challenged her readers to do was the “6 most important things”.  The point is that you write down the 6 most important things that you want to get done the NEXT day at night.  Then you go through your day and cross of each thing in order.  You don’t add new tasks and if you do not complete something, you add it to the top of the list the next day. 

Even with trying to do the “6 most important things”, my tendency is to RACE to do more.  Yet in my RACE of more, I enjoy LESS

Dear God, help me focus on what’s really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest.

Five Minute Friday

Plaid and Priorities-31 Days to Clean Day 5

With imperfect progress at its best, I am on DAY 5 of the 31 Days to clean challenge.  

Day 5 of the challenge has been a doozy for me.  The day 5 lesson is all about evaluating our priorities.  OUCH! Want more info about our 31 days to clean challenge?  Go Here.

After each day’s reading, Sara Mae gives two challenges:

  • The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
  • The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks

In addition to the cleaning challenge, I am also participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop today.  Today’s writing promt is:  write what comes to mind when you think of the word plaid. 

The word plaid reminds me of priorities.  If we don’t limit the things placed on our schedules, our lives become overwhelming, confused and busy much like wearing plaid with another textured fabric.

The Mary challenge for day 5 is to create a list of priorities that make sense for you and your family.  (God first, family, home, personal)

I have written down my priorities MANY times only to continually end up overwhelmed. I am full of great ideas and intentions.  It’s not that I don’t really want to, it is just that I get soooooo busy.  Just like plaid, my life seems to be checkered with tons of stuff that gets in the way of what I really want. 

My REAL challenge is to figure out what I can remove from my schedule.

Almost all fashionistas agree, wearing more than one piece of plaid clothing makes your whole outfit look overdone.  With plaid, less is definately more.  It is the same way with priorities.  Less scheduled not important stuff allows for the best stuff to get done. 

The Martha challenge for day 5 is to wash your kitchen window treatments  and or clean your blinds.  If the clean police came to my house and saw my blinds I would surely be arrested!  For this lovely task, I wiped out the window seals with a damp cloth and then dusted the blinds using the vaccuum attachements.  I sure hope that counts for clean.  Some people actually take their blinds down to clean them.  I have NO idea how to unhook my blinds soooooo the vacuum way will have to do!

Do you have your priorities written down AND visible?  How often do your priorities seem to change?

Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.

31 Days to Clean-Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of the 31 day to clean challenge!!! To catch you up:

I downloaded the book 31 Days to Clean a couple of months ago with very good intentions to read it and follow the challenge.  Yea, those intentions took me NO WHERE! So, I am singing the Barney clean up song and really buckling down!

31 Days to Clean is about the “why”, the vision and the heart for taking care of our homes. Each day, the author, Sara Mae, encourages you with some thoughts and ideas, and then she encourages you  put those ideas to action.

After each day’s reading, Sara Mae gives two challenges:

  • The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
  • The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks

 

Come on and take the challege with me!

The lesson for Day 2 is entitled, Created to Give Life.  During this quick one pager, Sara Mae lists several ways that women give life!   Women give life physically but also spiritually.  Here are just a few ways that stuck out to me:

Women give life through:

Our words (Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) The tongue has the power of life and death.)

Our home (Proverbs 14:1 (NIV) The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.)

Socially (Proverbs 22:9 Happy are generous people, because they give some of their food to the poor.)

The Mary challenge for day two is to do something to bring life to your home, children, husband and/or sphere of influence.

My girls love for me to snuggle on the couch with them and watch one of their television programs.  So, last night after dinner, instead of swirling around doing my nightly “busy” stuff, I got out the blanket and we all snuggled on the couch just before bedtime!  They squealed with delight, a perfect sign of liveliness!

The Martha challenge for day two is to clean out and scrub down the fridge and freezer.  Hmmmm, my schedule just did NOT allow for a hour long freezer fridge clean out.  That will probably have to wait until the weekend.  But, I did straighten the living room and vacuum the steps!

In the past, I would have seen my inability to get today’s task done as a failure.  I am one of those people who think  it only counts if you get everything done.  Well, my dear divas, I am learning about a thing called Imperfect Progress.

I am reading the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst and one amazing term that she uses is, Imperfect Progress “slow steps of changes wrapped in grace.  I kinda think keeping a clean house is all about Imperfect Progress.

Perfect people put everything away ALL the time and have energy to cook gourmet meals and interact with their children without ever yelling!

Real people get busy, have great intentions and then forget, clean up only to have little people come in and mess up, put clothes in the washer and remember two days later to put them in the dyer when they keep smelling mildew, and have schedules that don’t allow for everything but if they are careful they can make time for the best things.

How can you give life to your home, family, or work environment today?

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Things I can’t Say

Princess Choices-Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

Mama’s Losin’ It
Today, I am participating in Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop. One of the writing prompts for this week is to list some of the things that I would tell my teenage self. Since we haven’t mastered time travel yet, my list will be what I wish I knew then but can share with young girls NOW:

1. God loves you

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

I don’t think I ever thought about or realized how much God loved me when I was a teenager. I sought all of my approval from friends, boyfriends, teachers, and accomplishments. Oh how I wish I knew then that God is a better friend to me and takes better care of me any man. Had I known about His love for me, perhaps I would have recognized my royal position as a true Princess, a daughter of the King of Kings.

No one talks to the King’s daughter all crazy! She is confident in who she is because of her father. She respects her Father enough to follow his commands even when she thinks they are lame because she understands how much he loves her.

In one of my favorite movies, Disney’s Princess Protection Program. Demi Lovato’s character says the following: “You think that being a princess is superficial. That it is about what you wear and how you look….. it is what you have to offer to the world and who you are inside.”

2. The decisions you make now are important.

Ephesians 5:15-17: Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Andy Stanley, lead pastor at NorthPoint Church says there is one question that, if we ask it each time we make a decision, it will bring clarity to the important questions, problems and dilemmas in our lives. He calls it the best question ever.
The best question ever is:

Is this the WISE THING to do?  Based on—my past experiences, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams.


All too often we ask ourselves the wrong question when making choices. We usually ask Can I do this? In today’s society we can pretty much rationalize any decision as something that we CAN do. Often, if we can’t rationalize or don’t even want to take the time to think through a decision, we just throw it in the YOLO (you-only-life-once) category and like Nike, “Just Do It”.

Andy Stanley explains that simply asking if we can do something or not or even asking if doing something is wrong leads us to ask: “How close I get to the line between right and wrong without actually doing something wrong?” Better put: “How far over the line can I go before I experience consequences?”

Unfortunately this method of decision making often leads us to ask: “How did I get myself into this mess?”

Then we learn the hard lesson that while we only live once, we may have to suffer the consequences of our decisions over and over.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom. First by reflection which is the noblest; Second by imitation which is easiest; and third by experience which is the bitterest”-Confucius

What advice would you give to teenage girls?