Cheer Up!

This is a post dedicated to my little sister Vivian (age 2). She does some amusing things and I’m hoping they’ll cheer you up if you’re feeling down. Enjoy!

✧ She affectionately called a stuffed dog by the name of “Brownie White-White”.

✧ When she’s supposed to be sleeping she will instead sing a classic Christian song, but her own rendition. “I am Jesus’ little man…ever mad at heart I am…when my SHEPHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERD jetly buys me…”

✧ If she gets in trouble (i.e., making a large mess of the cereal) she will immediately scrunch up her shoulders with an adorable smile on her face that screams that she didn’t do it because ain’t she just a cutesie wittle baby.

✧ Her stuffed bear is named Tubby. When we went to a frozen yoghurt parlor, there was a stuffed bear slightly larger than her own bear sitting outside. He is now known forever as King Tubby. All hail!

✧ No, this is not the Joker. This is her after getting into Mommy’s makeup.

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✧ This little twerp is a speed queen. We’ll just happily be playing outside when all of the sudden she’ll go roaring down the mountain in a wagon piloted by my 8-year-old brother. A recipe for disaster, to be sure. We freak all the babysitters out of their minds.

✧ As any mom or big sister knows, if it’s quiet for longer than five minutes, something’s up.

“Vivi? Where are you?”

“I fix it! I fix it!”

Uh oh.

✧ We have this small toy guitar that she will grab and then say, “I am rock star!”

Her grammar is simply spectacular, is it not?

✧ She can fall off her bike onto solid concrete, hit her head, and scrape her knee, and will not cry a single bit, but it it’s naptime and try you touch her you can expect the Holy Shriek of I-Am-Two-Years-Old-Hear-Me-Roar-Now-I-Break-Your-Eardrums.

✧ Her dancing style involves pirouettes, one-arm-in-the-air spins, jumping, scrunching up her face, and hopping from foot to foot. If you stop the music, you’ve just become her worst enemy.

✧ One of her habits is sitting underneath the kitchen table with a mournful expression on her face as she belts out Castle on a Cloud from the Les Miserables musical. “There is a castle on the sleep…I like to go there on a sktskhawa…”

✧ On the subject of clothes…

“How about this Vivi?”

“Hmmm, no, I don’t love this.”

Someone’s a picky fashionista.

✧ As I’m writing this, I’m asking her to come over to me and she runs in the opposite direction before grabbing one of the toy microphones and then coming back. “Okaaaaaaaaay,” she says into the microphone. Then she breaks out into the ABCs. “ABCDEF…” and so on and so forth. I don’t think she thought I was paying attention until she saw me looking at her. “QRS, TUVeeeeeeeeeeee…” And suddenly all power has been lost in the Performance section and we’re back to shyness.

She has now run away and is saying everything into the microphone.

I love that little girl.

Author’s note: This is a late birthday present to my dear cousin Maddie who is the godmother of Vivian. Can’t wait to see you for Thanksgiving, Maddie! Love you xxo

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The Sinful Nature’s Attacking…Again

After each meal in my house, I have to play drill sergeant to get the kitchen cleaned up. Sometimes, the soldiers children aren’t all that cooperative. Feet are dragging, there are moans like someone shot them in the stomach, they’re just not moving. And my patience is wearing thin. I’ll try to keep my cool for as long as possible, and then suddenly, RAWR! I’m yelling at the top of my lungs that if they do not start sweeping the floor I will tie them in a burlap sack and throw them into the ocean to get eaten by Ariel’s cousins. Then, I stop. Midsentence almost. Gasping for air, I wonder; Where did that come from? I feel physically and emotionally incapable of that terrible of a reaction to frustration and anger.

If you watch the news long enough, the picture of a murderer might show up on the screen. Perhaps they violently killed three people. When the family and friends are interviewed, at times they will say that they don’t know how this person could’ve done it. They always seemed so nice, and they wouldn’t hurt a fly. They’re wondering, Where did that come from?

It’s hard to imagine how truly horrible the sinful nature is. It takes over anyone, at any time, in any place. It does not discriminate between any sort of group. I think a common misconception is that when you become a Christian, you don’t feel the urge to sin anymore, like when you’re on a sugar free diet for a long time and don’t want to eat that triple fudge brownie because you’ve found something better. No, it’s not like that at all. Perhaps your soul has been given to God, but your flesh is and still will be with you until the day you die. It will continue to attack you, to tempt you, no matter what your standing. It won’t give up and the darned thing won’t die like some satanic immortal demon (that’s exactly what it is, as I think about it).

For example, we’ve got Paul. If you’ve ever taken a single glance at the New Testament, you’ll have heard at least a part of his story. He used to be called Saul and was a persecutor of people of the faith before he did a complete U-turn in the opposite direction and became one of the most amazing Christians of all time if I do say so myself. You’d think that a guy like him wouldn’t be tempted, or at least not as much as the common man, right? That’d be great, but nope. In Romans 7:18-20, he says “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” This is a man struggling with sin just as much as you or me.

This sinful nature won’t stop. And you’re going to get exhausted and depressed and want to put the sword down and take a break for one moment. How easy would it be to give in? To lie down and let the flesh take over, to pull you into the darkness. Simple. You wouldn’t have to work at all.

No one said this whole Christian thing was going to be fun and cheerful with rainbows and unicorns. Lovely thought, but that doesn’t come until later. But you will have peace and love. Jesus will always be there to hand you your spiritual Gatorade and to strengthen you for the next attack. In him, you may rest.

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

What Are You Saving For?

In this modern age, we have thousands of different devices that were created solely for the purpose of saving you time and energy. Many advertisers will use that to their advantage because companies have realized that humans love the idea of more. Dishwashers, microwaves, ovens, stoves, running water, and that’s just in the kitchen. Let’s not even begin on all the inventions made for the workplace, construction, transportation, etc.

But the question is, what are we saving all this time and energy for? We constantly feel like we need these things, but have you ever thought about why? For me personally, I usually want to finish faster with as little work involved as possible because I want to get back to reading my book or browsing through pictures of Sherlock. However much I try to convince myself otherwise, that stuff isn’t important. I’m saving time and energy, yeah, but I’m not putting it to good use. God gave us these wonderful people with brilliant minds that could make these labor-saving inventions, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t intend us to use the left over bits for watching the trailer for the new epic fantasy movie.

There are twenty-four hours in a day. After your work is done and you have interspersed no moments of entertainment or self indulgence, how much time do you have left before you need to rest? Or how much energy do you still contain? You may have mere seconds before your body yells “NOPE!” at the top of its lungs and crashes into bed declaring it hates Mondays or you may have a good six hours in your gas tank. It is so tempting to use those minutes for doing absolutely nothing. Eat an apple even though you’re full, wander around your choice of dwelling with a listless look, check your notifications on Facebook. Lethargy pulls you down, and if you do nothing for long enough, you become nothing. There will always be work to be done until everyone on this earth praises God as the one and only. There is always something you could be doing. There are people to help, a God who wants to spend time with you, and love that demands to be shared.

So I ask you…what are you saving for?

One Way, No Another

In case you haven’t noticed, the world’s thoughts and beliefs contradict each other. Like, all the time.

On one hand, you’re supposed to tolerate anything and everything, but you’re also supposed to help and love others.

Be kind. They need to toughen up, don’t assist them.

It’s okay to be fat, so here’s this weight-loss diet that I think you should go on.

Follow your dreams, but that one is stupid.

Don’t try to make yourself look better for anyone, just make sure you always look impeccable.

Share your opinions! As long as they agree with mine.

Do whatever you want, but don’t do that.

Life is a gift! Kill yourself.

It doesn’t matter who you are. Now change.

World peace! Send the nukes.

Work out to keep healthy. You should be skinnier than that.

I get confused simply writing this. Take a look at the world today. Murder, suicide, rebellions, drugs, faulty ideas of love, a minefield of bad decisions. We’re not getting anywhere. Even if all seven billion people of the earth got together under a single banner, we could not save a single soul. Driving in the middle of nowhere without a steering wheel, gas pedal, break, fuel, engine, seat, or GPS. A sure recipe for failure.

And then you look at the Bible. One truth, one concept. One right way to do everything. No trickery, no foul play, no dishonesty.

Just a God who loves you and sent his Son to die for the confusion, for this world of trickery and foul play and dishonesty. For the murders, suicides, rebellions, drugs, faulty ideas, and bad decisions.

For you.

There is nothing in this world that would ever do that for the mess of human beings that we are.