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-Fly

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 Fly. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

Sometimes life gets so hectic, I wish I was a bird so I could fly away.  Perhaps I am alone, but a quick escape always seems like utopia when life takes a trip to crazytown. Maybe it is the illusion of rising above my problems and then finding solace some place else. Or, could it be that flying is faster?  I can fly from North Carolina to California in a matter of hours, driving would take days.

In the 140 character age we live in, things happen quickly. I have come to expect next day delivery, instant downloads to my iPad Kindle app, and the ability to purchase music with a simple double tap.DSC_6493

When trouble comes, I want OUT….like yesterday.

Let’s not even talk about when a decision needs to be made in the big Jeopardy game of life……. “I’ll take wings for $200 Alex”.

Although I know flying away is irrational, I often so desperately want to do so.

Do you ever want to just fly away?

Even King David in the Bible could relate to this whole “fly” thing–

Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.  Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! (Psalm 55:5-6)

Fly away and rest….that sounds lovely doesn’t it?

Yes….Lovely just not likely!

David must have realized that his transformation into a dove was not going to happen.  In Pslam 55:16 he listed his plan:  “But I will call on God  and the Lord will rescue me.”

Last week, my pastor said a profound sentence that I am choosing (so not there yet..still working on it) to say when my “let-me-just-fly-away” moments happen.

“God, I trust you with it and I honor you in it.”-Jonathan Robbins

As the holiday season rushes in, what are some ways you can remember to trust God and honor Him in your actions?

Pour Your Heart Out-Peace Faker

Image Source

Hello, My name is Katina and I am a Peace FAKER.  I came in contact with the term “Peace Faker” while reading the book Unglued (Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions) by Lysa Terkerust.

If you haven’t read Unglued, I STRONGLY suggest it.  In the book, Lysa gives four categories that describe the ways we come “unglued”:

Exploders who shame themselves (Yell first, feel horrible later)

  • Exploders who blame others (Yell and then blame the other person for your behavior)
  • Stuffers who build barriers (Say everything is fine but then get distant)
  • Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks ( Silent record keeping of every wrong doing only to be brought up later)

Call me crazy but depending on my audience, I can react in all of these ways.  Don’t let someone close to me like my husband or children dance on one of my nerves, I can explode and blame, stuff and build a barrier while collecting my retaliation rocks, and shame myself for it ALL  in record time.

However, I am a people pleaser who loves to help which means I am a champion STUFFER!  It just seems easier to PRETEND that everything is OK instead of having a hard conversation. I don’t want to make things worse, so I try to convince myself that I can just let it go.  That sounds good but the reality is….I don’t just “let it go”.  I build a barrier or distance myself from the person who has hurt me. Or I take, and take, and take and then BOOOOOM.. I let them have it for old and new!

I think most women stuff in some shape or fashion.  It just seems like the “good Christian girl”, or “best Mommy of the Year” thing to do.  It is ironic.  We stuff in an effort to be peacemakers when in reality we are what Lysa calls “peace-fakers”.  Lysa says, “True peacekeeping is about properly processing the emotions before they get stuffed and ROT into something horribly toxic”.

The point is to have something Lysa calls “Soul Integrity”.  “Soul Integrity” is honesty that is godly.  Soul Integrity brings balance to unglued situations.  It makes us true peacemakers–people who aren’t stuffing or exploding but rather honestly demonstrating what they are experiencing in a godly manner.” WOW, what a wonderful thing to model for our children!

A passage in the book of James speaks about Soul Integrity:

James 3: 14-15, 17 (NIV) (I added the words in parentheses)

14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast (explode) about it or deny the truth (stuff). 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic….But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

How can you respond in ways that are:peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere this week?

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Thing’s 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.

Hugging the Porcupine-Pour Your Heart Out

I have always been a person who can pretty much get along with everyone.  I am sure there are people who just can’t stand me but up until now, I have been totally oblivious of their disdain for me.  Even more than that, I am just not a person who has tons of people I “don’t like”. 

I guess that is why my current situation has me so bummed.   I currently have a porcupine in my life and porcupines are hard to deal with.  Porcupines have  sharp quills that make it difficult to hold them, hug them, talk to them and and much as I would like to admit, LOVE them. 

I am struggling to love my porcupine.  She has cut me with her words and vindictive behaviors.  When I say hello to her, I get nothing but crickets!

Dr. Phil describes the porcupine personality type as:   “People who are determined to find fault with anything and everything going on around them. Porcupine personality types are PRICKLY!  As a result, people engage them, if at all, at arm’s length. The world recognizes that interacting with the porcupine is a lose-lose situation.”  (Right on Dr. Phil!)

Have you EVER had to deal with a porcupine?

I realized this week that I have gotten to the point that I try to avoid my porcupine.  When we HAVE to be in the same room, my heart rate elevates.  I go into survival fight or flight mode getting ready for the next attack.  After I come out of “fight or flight”, I go into drama mode where I dwell in my anger or frustration with her.  Talking to her about our “situation” whatever “it” is, seems logical but I have seen ‘ol girl in action and I KNOW it will only make things worse.

Since I haven’t felt like I could go to her woman to woman, I have talked to my friends to get confirmation on how unbelievebly EVIL she is! (Really grown up eh?) I even said that I would no longer even try to speak to her since she doesn’t speak to me! (Boy I sound like a five year old!)

How does Jesus instructs us to deal with porcupines?

Matthew 5:43-48 (CEV)

 43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.

Really Jesus?  I am supposed to pray for her?

Yes because….

45-48 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectorslove their friends.  If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that?  But you must always act like your Father in heaven.

Well God is perfect and I am not so why even bother?  Can’t I just continue with this tic for tac thing we have going on? 

No….

“Pursuing the standard of perfection does not mean we can never fail. It means that WHEN we fail, we deal with it.”  -John MacAuthur

Matthew 5:48 (The Message)  In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me your Word to teach me how to live.  Forgive me Father for not responding to my porcupine as I should. I pray for her Lord that you would comfort her and allow her to acknowledge and feel your love.  In my mind, I know that hurt people hurt people. Yet, I allowed my hurt feelings to dictate my behavior.  Help me to forgive my porcupine and show me where my responsibility lies in our conflict. 

I know that you love her just as much as you love me.  Lord, stretch my mind and emotions so I can embrace my porcupine with grace and continue to live my life joyfully.  You never said this life would be without troubles.  In fact, your Word says that WHEN troubles come they should be an opportunity for joy.  Help me live out my God-created identity and be a light to the world. Amen

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

Consider Your Ways-Pour Your Heart Out

The school year has officially started. Both of the girls enjoyed their first few days of school and we have had uneventful mornings. For all intents and purposes, this “back to school” season has been a success.

Just before getting too excited, I began to think of the New School Year like the actual “New Year” that happens every January. In the “real” New Year, people make tons of resolutions and promises to change things. A great many of these resolutions are the same ones from one year to the next  (i.e. stop being late, get up earlier, lose weight). Unfortunately, most of those resolutions are long forgotten by February.

Most new school years in our home begin with the same resolve as an actual New Year: the girls go to bed on time, lunches are packed and night, clothes are picked out in advance and we make it to the on the bus stop on time sans Mommy yelling! I am not sure when the change happens but by the end of the school year, the resolved mornings have turned into teary battles.

Perhaps you don’t have children or your back -to- school days are over. Can you relate to resolving to make change only to end up dissolving into the day to day of life and things remain unchanged or worse?

In the short book of Haggai, God speaks to the Israelites about this very subject:

Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it….. This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.”

God had instructed the Israelites to rebuild the temple but they grew complacent and did not finish the work they started. In fact, sixteen years passed after they constructed the altar of the temple and left their work uncompleted. In those years, they turned their attention towards their own affairs instead of God’s. Although they busied themselves, their labor was never enough. In fact, they began to find that they were never satisfied and constantly frustrated. When God commanded the Israelites to give careful thought to their ways, he was essentially calling their priorities into question.

We stay up late, skip out on morning quiet times, grab food on the go, stop exercising, and all kinds of things in an effort to get more things done. Life, with all of its demands (work, school, children, marriage) beats down on us like a hail storm. Sometimes it seems easier to run quickly in the rain towards shelter instead of taking the time to open our umbrella of protection, God. We need to give careful thought to our ways.

Our biblical priorities are: God first, family second and career third.

I love the way Joyce Meyer summed this principle up.  She said:  “The key to having God’s “abundant life”—His love, peace and joy—is keeping Him in His rightful place in our priorities.”

The start of a new school year is a great time to realign our priorities.

Realigning our priorities sounds great but how do we even get started?  I would love for you to join me in a seven day challenge to make scripture the first thing that we read each day–(yes even before email, texts and facebook)!

Things I Can’t Say