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For those who hate Father’s Day, etc.

This time of year and other times such as Mother’s Day, Valentines, etc. are not exactly exciting for everyone. I read a story once about a prison doing a Mother’s Day project and the lines were so long for those inmates wanting to send their mothers cards. The project was such a success that they tried it again on Father’s day, however for Father’s day no one showed up to send a card to a father. My dad used to be a prison chaplain and he had all kinds of cards available to give to inmates. He took us to sing at the prison chapel often and we loved it as kids growing up. Those men were so receptive to God’s love and so humble too. Dad never threatened to leave us thankfully for bad behavior, although he may have been tempted..The sad reality is not everyone has a great father or mother for whom to buy a card. Also, someone could be grieving the loss of a great mother or father and these great displays in stores could be painful to see in stores. There are many reasons why one wouldn’t or couldn’t celebrate all of the holidays we have here in the US.

So, here is my suggestion..If you don’t have a good one (dad, mom, valentine, etc) adopt one. I adopt all types of family members even if I have a good one, fill in the blank. For example, if you don’t like your father or you miss yours find someone you admire, look up to, or are friends with and buy a card for this person. If you can’t find someone you admire, keep trying! Go out and meet some more people. Get off of social media and go meet your actual neighbor. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Let people love you and be friends with you. Open yourself up. I realize no one can replace a lost loved one but there are people still in your life that need the love you can give and who want to love you in return. Focus on the present and who you have and tell someone Happy Father’s Day!

Lastly, if you have a good one, be sure to tell him too!

Natalie

Romans 12: 8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 

 

 

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Davidson college grads do not…

…talk about bodily functions or simply pass gas and make a big deal about it. This I know after a conversation with my boss. Her husband is a Davidson grad. My response was, “I wish my husband would have graduated from Davidson”. I’ve asked him to up our 529 plans for the kids in hopes that my stinky boys will go want to go to Davidson in the future. People belong to all types of groups, alumni organizations, clubs, churches, families, etc. I learned last week that Anderson Cooper is from the Vanderbilt family which owns a famous NC tourist home, the Biltmore House. Most of us are not from prominent families in the US or other parts of the world but we belong to something, someone, or some group.

I heard a great message this past Sunday night on belonging. It made me think about how what we belong to directs our actions. For example, as mentioned above Davidson grads. don’t do certain things. :). My husband, who is proud of his bodily functions aka smart but not a Davidson grad., went to a hairband weekend convention/concert or something over the weekend. He had plenty of time to people watch and see what some of the band groupies were like. He isn’t a groupie or even fan of this music, but his friends are so he went along on a road trip to hang out with the guys. Oh the things we can get ourselves into simply because of who we are friends with. Some good and some not so good. Maybe we are trying to wear certain brands, play on certain courses, or enroll our kids in certain schools..think about why these things matter to you in terms of a sense of belonging. Do they really matter or should they long term if this is all you think or talk about?

Who you consider yourself to belong to is foundational in your life. Being someone who believes in God makes a difference in my life. If I simply belonged to a family, a club, or a group these things can and will let me down, change, and/or fail me. However, I believe God will never change, is in control of all things and I believe that he will never leave me. I belong to God means I have hope. Also being a believer in Jesus and having the hope that he paid my penalty for all my wrongs, means I should a act in certain ways. People should see and feel love, joy, peace, forbearance (tolerance and patience when I’m annoyed), kindness, gentleness, and self control in me because I am loved and should love others in these ways.

God put a desire to belong in all of us, I believe to draw us to him. What are you putting in place of your true belonging. Is it more important that you are a crossfit junkie, a soccer mom, or even a church member than it is to belong to God in your life?

Consider who you associate with, who you or what drives your actions and choices, and who you belong to today and everyday and act accordingly. I also suggest acting like a Davidson grad in the way mentioned above even if you aren’t one!

Love,

Natalie

 

 

 

 

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Prom or allergy season?

As a teenager, I was excited and nervous about prom season. As an adult, I’m dealing with allergy season. My how life seems to change, yet in Ecclesiastes 1:9, the Bible tells us, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

I was going to write today about things we are “allergic to”. My son often says he is allergic to broccoli. I’m not even sure there is a such thing. Anyways, some people also act like they are allergic to certain types of people and squench (I made this word up) their noses at certain groups..maybe that group is teenagers. However, at this time of year at the very least think back to that glorious time in your life…or maybe the not so glorious time in your life…prom. Also, be thankful for those neatly dressed kids in restaurants during this time of year.

NERD alert: According to Time.com “The word prom is short for promenade, the formal, introductory parading of guests at a party. The prom can be traced back to the simple co-ed banquets that 19th century American universities held for each year’s graduating class. A growing teenage culture pushed proms younger and younger, and by the 1940s the adolescent dance we know today had almost entirely taken hold. In the 1950s, a thriving postwar economy allowed high schools to eschew the traditional gymnasium in favor of proms held in hotels or at country clubs. President Kennedy rescheduled a 1963 $1,000-a-plate fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton to accommodate a local school whose prom had been booked for the same time. In 1975, President Ford’s daughter Susan held her high school’s senior prom at possibly the best prom location ever: the White House.”

Recently, my very cool husband and I were asked to be chaperones for a young friend of ours and this person’s date for their prom dinner. Maybe the couple was desperate and we were the last resort, at any rate, I’m excited. I’m looking for a cool car to take them in, making sure they have a nice restaurant to eat at, and thinking of other ways to help them have a great time while their cautious, loving parents feel safe also. Of course, I also want their prom to be fun. My proms were a blast mostly because I went with people who were fun. One of my prom dates was so nervous…He has a supped up Toyota Camry…yeah baby… and when we were leaving the restaurant with our motorcade of friends, he put his brother’s car in reverse instead of drive and hit our friend’s 198? T-top camaro behind us…:) poor thing. I tried not to laugh too hard.

It is a pleasure and joy to have friends of all of ages. Don’t be allergic to young people. Embrace the next generation. If you embrace them, they may actually listen to what you have to say. Share your stories good and bad and listen to theirs too. They are the generation who will be making decision for us and influencing our children.

Enjoying the season while sneezing,

Natalie

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Have you ever?

I realize I may be strange and have done some rather weird things that most of you haven’t, but at least I try to find humor in life.. Try it, you may like it..

A few weeks ago, it was a rough morning getting out of the door with two boys and I spilled my coffee walking out. It splashed all over me rather and some of it got in my hair. This may not be a problem for normal people but being an allergy sufferer, I put local honey in my coffee to sweeten it, hoping it’ll wake me up and work towards my immunity from allergies…Therefore, honey got stuck in my hair along with coffee.. It must have been a glob because as I noticed it while combing through my hair with my fingers going to the dermatologist office, I ended up pulling a patch of my hair out! WTF (aka wild turkey fun..;)).

At this point, I stopped ‘combing my hair’ and went into he doctor’s office. When I got back into the room, I decided I need to wash my hair in the sink. Of course, as I practice praying without ceasing often, so I prayed no one would walk in as I’m leaning over the sink washing my hair at the dermatologist with hand soap. Thankfully, I was cleaned and ready to go as the doctor and nurse came in to check my skin.

Being a mother of boys, I often feel like I’m going to lose my mind in the mornings because they are energetic like bulls in a china shop as my sister says. I love it but some days… I have to laugh at myself and my struggles of being bumped into by my four year old  with a cup full of coffee and honey.

Consider this:

“We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.” According to Web MD, Also laughter can positive impact our blood flow, blood sugar levels, immune response, relaxation and sleep.

God created laughter and here are a few things his word says about laughter:

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine…

Proverbs 31:25-26 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

Proverbs 14:13 Laughter can conceal a heavy heart…

Lastly, I agree with Charlie Chaplin who said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted”.

Have a great week,

Natalie 🙂

 

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No thank you Super Bowl commercial!

mqdefaultThanks to the Super Bowl commercial about leaving the water faucet on…my husband has a new method in trying to get me to turn the water off while I’m brushing my teeth. He gently reminds me that people in the world are in need of the water I’m wasting.

I realize this is an issue for me and I’m working on it. However, guilt is not always a good method in trying to get others to change. Sure it works sometimes, but does it result in a true change of heart. A true change of heart is much more effectively in long term change. A change of heart involves a difference in perspective, will, emotions, and thoughts about an issue, person, or object.

What have you been trying to change? Eating habits, lifestyle, negative or harmful thoughts.

Consider praying about a change of heart considering the matter. Use the following questions as you search your heart:

-Does this view or practice effect me negatively?

-Does this view or practice positively impact others?

-Is this view or practice harmful to my physical body?

-Is it harmful to me spiritually?

-Is is harmful to my mind, will, and emotions?

-Is it harmful to my community?

-Does God honor this thing or view?

-Is this thing or object an idol in my life? Does it matter above all else?

-How much time do I spend on this thing?

-Am I scared to talk to others about this thing?

If you honestly consider the struggles you have by using these questions, you may be able to open enough to allow God to change your heart.

Have a great week!

Natalie

PS If you’d like to help give water to someone in need around the world, visit http://www.compassion.com for more information!

 

 

 

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Have you ever felt awkward at a wake/funeral?

I recently attend a wake for someone that I didn’t have a relationship with, but I went out of respect for someone I love deeply. Sometimes, it is nice to support someone even if you don’t support the people they are related to…

Here’s how I dealt with the awkwardness:

-I looked for humorous things people have in common. I noticed that a local cigarette manufacturer was likely financed by many people in this family. There were oxygen tanks, tracheotomies, and all kinds of smoke related wrinkles at this wake.

-I realized certain types of rebels are worse than others. It’s ok to be a rebel sometimes. Some people think certain hair styles should stay around forever. I guess these people are hair rebels! I’d rather you be this type of rebel than other types..

Joke with your mother about her outfit. If she has a pocket, put a snot rag or other inappropriate object in her pocket for a nice surprise later.

Enjoy the weird funeral home furniture. I have a family member who works in a funeral home now and sometimes this person takes hand-me-down furniture home… couches only not coffins, yet. I still wonder though why a funeral home had a sleeper sofa…?

Giggle at strange conversations. A family member for some reason thought telling my spouse about the joys of pot smoking during this wake was a good idea. While some of you reading this may think pot smoking is ok for recreational or medicinal use, this person would probably not be a poster child for your cause.

Investing in your children is worth it! You can’t change who brought you into the world or who raised you, but you can change from your generation on… Thankfully, my father invested in his children things like unconditional love, grace, work ethic, healthy habits like not smoking, how serving others is a joy, and most importantly the love of God. He can’t change his past but he has made a great family investing in his children. Continue to pray for your crazy family members but give it to God and invest your time in your future, your children.

Relationships are tough sometimes. I have read this quote before I think in the book, The Shack, that “most of our hurts come from relationships but so does our healing”. Some people will hurt you in life, but others will help you to heal. If you haven’t found those who can help you heal, keep searching for a great therapist, good friends, and adopt a family if yours is crazy. I adopt family wherever I go. I have wonderful parents, but I’ve also adopted some extra ones from work and church. They would probably agree that I need a village…

Love you all,

Natalie

 

 

 

 

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5 things not to do during a snow/ice day

Since most of of us on the east coast are snowed/iced in, I thought I offer up some tips on what not to do. We have plenty of tips available online for what to do, so here are some humorous thoughts for what not to do…(with the help of my husband…)

1-Do not try to heat your home with your outdoor grill. The fireman in your area will have a much more difficult time trying to get to you when you burn your house down. Instead warm your heart and soul with your family. Tell funny stories to your kids about your childhood. Play some of your favorite childhood games with your kids. Snuggle up on the couch together to keep warm instead.

2-Do not eat yellow snow.  I watched the cutest video of a friend’s daughter this morning licking her window in an attempt to experience the snow from inside. By all means, go outside, find some clean, white snow and make some yummy snow cream. Just remember that yellow snow does not make lemon flavored snow cream.

3-Don’t feed your addiction to the internet. It is ok to read a good blog…check your social media once a day, order a birthday gift, or look up an interesting fact or two. Just don’t stay online all day because you feel stuck inside. Be creative, do something different. Make something, draw, color with your family, etc. Earlier, I was studying the 10 plagues of Egypt and I learned that as God was using these plagues to get Pharoah’s attention, he was also confronting their false gods (i.e the nile was a god to them, they had a fertility goddess with a frog head, etc). It made me wonder what plagues God would put on us today if he wanted to confront the things we worship instead of him. I kind of feel like he’d put a plague on the Internet…

4-Don’t speed. I’m all about venturing out, but don’t be stupid. If you are normally not a great driver, don’t have much experience driving on icy roads, or people who love you are advising you not to drive, just stay inside or be a passenger. However, never be afraid to venture out even if you don’t leave the driveway or parking lot.  Explore God’s beauty.

5-Don’t make a snow day schedule. Enjoy the down time and rest. God created rest. We just don’t often enjoy his creation of rest. We need it, our bodies require it. So take a nap, stay in your pjs a little bit longer (although the people around you would appreciate you brushing your teeth at some point) and enjoy this gift of time to rest.

Enjoying God’s gift of snow today,

Natalie 🙂

 

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How to have no “ragrets”

A while back a good friend of mine was thinking about getting a tattoo so I decided to help her look for a nice one and found the one in the featured picture. I wonder if the person in the picture has any regrets about his/her tattoo.

As the new year begins, many people enjoy the idea of a fresh start, a new chance to make goals and work towards achieving those goals, or simply having a clean home after taking down all the holiday decorations. Personally, I enjoy getting back into my normal routine.

Unfortunately, many people begin feeling frustrated after a few months or maybe a few weeks of struggling with trying to achieve the goals set as the New Year started. Sometimes frustrations lead to regret. At times, frustrations simply mean you need to get your mind and will focused on the new change because it feels different. Frustrations shouldn’t lead us to quit altogether, but we may need to try something different or at least a different approach.

I’ve met many people who have regrets about their past or life in general. It often makes me sad to see people wish they could do things differently or feel like they missed out on something. One of the things I am appreciative of for being a Christian is that I don’t have to have regrets about anything in my life or feel like I’ve missed out on anything because the best is yet to come. As a believer in Jesus, I believe he has washed away all of my past sin and I don’t have to continue making bad choices because I have God’s help now to live differently. Of course, I still screw up daily but knowing God loves me enough to lay down his life makes me want to live differently. According to Revelation 21:5, “He will make all things new”. One day all will be new, our minds, our hearts, our past…

Also, I believe I won’t miss out on anything because in Heaven, I’ll live in a perfect world and get to do everything I didn’t get a chance to do in this life. The best is truly yet to come. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “…eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Enjoy having no regrets in 2016!

Natalie 🙂

 

 

 

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Tis the season to be…

Merry or overwhelmed? Natalie is the name my parents gave to me and although I don’t think they looked into the meaning of it when they named me it actually fits in some ways. Natalie means “Christmas child”. I have always loved Christmas. I love the lights, the displays, the food, the music (specifically Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, it’s the best, don’t argue with me) and one of my all time favorite movies is Christmas Vacation. However, the older I get the more I am beginning to hate what this time of year has become.

Here’s a look at some interesting and sad things I’ve read recently about Christmas:

-Americans spend about $900 on Christmas (gifts, food, cards, decor, etc) on average person. So if you are a couple you spend about 1800 on christmas and a family of four spends $2800.

-Americans on average spend about $2900 per year to charities.Yes some spend this on Christmas alone…

-Americans billions a year just on wrapping paper.

-The “holiday blues” is a term…

-Many families dispute and have drama during the holidays.

-Many kids are brats and are showered with more than they know what to do with because some adults in their lives think they deserve every toy in the store.

Sadly, the list goes on…

However, if you look at the history of celebrations during this time of year, so of the end of year celebrations including yule logs (“I mean I don’t have a log”-chevy chase from the movie.lol), special trees, big meals, etc. actually begin before Christ was born. Some how the craziness of this year has infiltrated even the precious birth of Jesus. Christmas wasn’t a national holiday when the pilgrims came because they didn’t want to carry on the pagan traditions of they former countries. So how in the world did we get here…well it is truly an evolution of stories, traditions, etc.  some good, some bad.

My challenge for you this season is to stop and think:

-Am I truly giving out of love for others or is it about me looking good and/or seeking approval?

-Is there a family member I need to forgive just like Jesus came to forgive us of our sins? Or is my personal agenda more important than a true apology (as my friend Jason recently reminded me).

-Are we being compassionate instead of bitter at those who’ve hurt us during this time? (again a reminder from Jason) Even if you are mad at God for losing a loved one this year…have you considered that you aren’t alone and others around you may be hurting too. Have you considered being compassionate to one of those individuals?

-Are there things I need to give up during this time in order to slow down and reflect during this time?

-Am I thinking about the greatest gift of all with each gift I give?

If you are a Christian, stop and consider how others may be watching you during this season. Are you sharing the love of Jesus in this season or are you overwhelmed and sharing a bad attitude b/c of all the other stuff?

Love you all and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!

Natalie

 

 

 

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What superpower would you like to have?

Counselors often ask weird questions like, “if you could have a superpower, what would it be?” A woman whose suspects her husband of cheating might like to have the power of being invisible so she could spy. A traveling businessman may like to fly so he didn’t have to wait at the airport. Having boys, I have been asked this question too. As a matter of fact, one of my boys asked me which superhero was my favorite and I said “Captain America” (honestly because he’s the cutest) and my son being the wonderful judge of character he is, said, “why because you want to kiss him?”, No I said…”because I’m patriotic and love my country;  besides, I can only kiss your daddy like that ;).” Kids…

Here’s a thought on what I consider to be a true superpower, LOVE. We see images of love all around, we see things in then media that look like love according to some, we hear songs about love all over the radio, etc. Let’s look at love as a superpower and maybe it’ll help you through a Thanksgiving dinner or other fun and challenging moments in life.

1 Corinthians 12: 3-14 gives a completely different definition of love than what were are often exposed to in this crazy world. It introduces the definition in verses 3-7 by saying “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Do you have this superpower? Love has the power to transform lives, free people from pain, heal, and much more. This is much more effective than being invisible or flying. We long and need to experience this superpower. ry this definition of love and see what happens!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful for the love of Christ who showed this definition of love by laying his life down for me,

Natalie 🙂