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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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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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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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50 shades of what?

Oh the women who’ve asked their friends this question over the past several years…Some have read it gladly, some have read it secretly, some haven’t read it because of guilt of who would find out, some haven’t read it for other personal reasons. Let me start out by saying we shouldn’t judge others and put ourselves on a pedestal for having read or not having read anything. This is not a judgmental blog, simply one I hope you think about…

The book 50 Shades of Grey, the book by EL James is widely popular. I agree with authors Stattery and Gresh of their book Pulling back the shades that the  “50 shaded” book addresses the needs of women to:

  • to be cherished by a man
  • to be protected by a strong man
  • to rescue a man
  • to be sexually alive
  • to escape reality

All little girls need to be cherished by a father, protected by a father, and then I think they grow up wanting the same things. Being nurturers by nature, we also want to rescue at times. God made us sexual beings and in the right context, it truly can be experienced as His gift to us. We also at times want and need to escape reality. However, outside of God’s plan and help many women seek to fulfill these longings in the wrong places. Our longings that God created will never be fulfilled out of his will and ways. Only when addressed according to God’s standards, do I believe these longings can truthfully be addressed.

The statistics on sexual abuse and violence are extremely horrifying. I do not agree with the “50 shades” book showing that the way to heal from being taking advantage of is to ask someone else if they’d willing let you take advantage of him/her. It definitely romanticizes many things about sex. One sad truth told is that if you don’t properly deal with your pain, you will transfer it to others, mostly likely the ones you love the most. God intended sex for wonderful things as a gift to married people. However, sadly the devil has perverted this wonderful gift in many disturbing ways and so many people are hurt, devastated and traumatized. But, I believe individuals don’t have to be forever damaged by these acts. I believe with God’s help, intensive counseling, and loving friends/family healing is possible.

Positive ways to be cherished, loved, and protected can be found in God. Read the Psalms and, let him love you. Let him protect you and He cherished you already more than you know. Let Him love you thru allowing others to help you. Look at all of the goods things in your life, James 1:7 says these are all from God. Realize how much you are cherished and protected by focusing on the good in your life. If you are married, be sexually alive with your spouse. God didn’t just intend sex for us to reproduce or else the Song of Songs wouldn’t be in the Bible…If it is difficult for you to enjoy sex in your marriage, get counseling! Lastly, if you need a way to escape reality, try reading Redeming Love by Francine Rivers or Divine by Karen Kingsbury or simply get out into nature and enjoy creation!

Have a great week and God Bless,

Natalie 🙂