Saturday, August 30, 2008
The most recent issue (September_October 2008) has started with a great article. In every issue, the creator of the magazine, Cameron Strang writes a beginning article called "FIRSTWORD". I enjoyed this FIRSTWORD so much and find his words ringing so true, I'm going to use it as my post today.
LEADING THE CHARGE by Cameron Strang
Let's get this out of the way up front: I'm not a politically motivated peson. Which is why I felt a tad out of place meeting with Barack Obama this summer. And talking to John McCain. And doing countless interviews about the faith and shifting polictical views of our generation.
Yet I have unwittingly found myself thrust into the political arena, a place where people are vehemently passionate about their idealogies and platforms. It's an entire industry built around being right and proving your opponent wrong, and winning at any cost. It's a continual power struggle and-from my humble vantage point-seems a bit flawed.
I'm someone who tries to think independently and objectively, rather than simply follow what the pundits tell me to think. Because of that, I've realized I cannot fully embrace either political party. Both sides of the aisle have some great ideas and goals. But both also have areas where they simply get it wrong.
I know the power of politics and the importance of the process in our world. But I also know that, historically, real, lasting change has started first at the grassroots level long before it was ever legislated. Cultural mindshifts influence Washington, not the other way around.
Many Christians traditionally have voted Republican because of their justifiable convication to protect the lives of the unborn. Now, many younger Christians are voting Democrat because of their justifiable desire to see our nation, the most prosperous in the world, address issues of poverty, global aid and the environment.
The problem is, many Christians vote these convications, but that's largely where their personal involvement in the issues stops. Are the government leaders we vote for meant to do our job for us?
If God has given you a heart for the poor, or to see a reduction in the number of abortions, or to promote peace, or to help the sick, or to stand for strong moral values, or to be a better steward of the environment, then your person focus needs to be on that-whether or not the President shares your same values.
The Bible reminds us to pray for our leaders, but it also talks about praying for those who persecute us. Though I can't foresee any situation where this would be the case, what if one day every value Christians stand for, even religious freedom itself, was legislatively removed? Christians in China and many other parts of the world face this reality every day. Would it change us?
Dare I say, it might actually spur the Body of Christ here into greater action. Could it be that the loss of religious freedoms would ultimately be the best thing for American Christians because it would cause us to stand on our own feet rather than relying on the government to legislate our faith and values for us?
I've heard that only 5 percent of people who attend church regularly actually serve in any way. I've read that if every Christian in America actually tithed 10 percent of their income, we would have enough financial resouces to wipe out global poverty.
There's more power lying dormant in pews around the nation than any government could hope to provide, and that's where our focus should be.
Many Christians want to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but I don't hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement. If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, where are all of those babies going to end up? Christians should be focused on personal action regardless of legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supreme Court justices to come along.
I'm not saying don't vote. Do. Vote your convications and let your voice be heard-that's one of the perks of living in a democracy. But don't let politics breed division, or make you see people in a different light.
If you have a passion for an issue, rather than judging someone who doesn't share that passion or viewpoint, just go do something about it. Give your life to it. Be the change you want to see.
We need to pray for our leaders and our country, but always remember that our leaders and country do not define us. We are the generation that will shape the direction culture, government and social action will take in the next 50 years. It's not up to Washington, it's up to us-and I say it's time we step up and lead the charge.
But that means with our lives, our finances and our actions every day. Not just Nov. 4.
Would love some feedback on this one. What do you think? I think Cameron Strang hit the nail on the head! Some powerful words asking, what are you doing about it? Besides just talking. Convicting for sure.
Friday, August 29, 2008
I have two amazing little sisters. One is twenty-two (22) and the other is eighteen (18). I'll be twenty-six (26) in October, so mom & dad split us up perfectly, four years in between us all.
I've always been a proud sister, but lately it's been booming out of me how proud I am of these two. They have become beautiful, talented, amazing young women. It's an honor to be related to them, seriously.So on that note, I'm going to brag about my sisters. That's what people do when they are proud, right? They brag.
Let's start with the youngest. The baby of the family, the little girl, who's not so little any longer - Kelsey. As I mentioned above Kelsey is 18. She has started college this year as a freshman and is attending Christian Brothers University (CBU). Talk about a sweet deal, Kelsey got an academic scholarship, as well as an athletic soccer scholarship to attend CBU. She is now a Buc and is beginning to study Bio Chemistry. Whoa! I'm so proud of her. She's not only an excellent student, but an outstanding athlete. CBU is lucky to have her.
You can check out & follow the CBU women's soccer team by going to : http://gobucsgo.cstv.com/sports/w-soccer/chbr-w-soccer-body.html. The website is currently under construction, but hopefully soon they'll update it with the new roster and you can see my sis there.
My other sis, the middle one, is Robin. Robin has recently graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in Interior Design. She's crazy talented. check out her interior design projects on: http://www.idrobin.com./ I'm amazed at what she's able to do. Robin recently moved to Nashville and works an internship at Interior Design Associates. She was just offered a full time position as Junior Designer at IDA this week, which she will begin after her honeymoon. The entire family is very excited for her about that opportunity. IDA is lucky to have her! She also has another big event coming up - Robin will be married on September 27th to a great guy - my soon to be brother in-law, Brent. They made a wedding website, so you can check that out also at: http://www.robinandbrent.weddingwindow.com/indx.cfm.
I couldn't be more proud of who my sisters are and what they have become. God has blessed me, and continues to bless them. I'm excited to grow with them as we get older. Wow. Proud big sister am I.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Kelly's birthday was yesterday. We planned a surprise get together for him, complete with Central BBQ - Kelly's favorite - catering. Yum, Yum.
We had a great group of people together to eat, fellowship, and celebrate Kelly's birthday and first day back to school. It was a success!
The above picture is the amazing cake Mrs. J made for the event. Everyone raved about this cake! Absolutely delicious, a perfect size for those attending, and decorated with Kelly's new academic home. He'll always be a true blue Kentucky fan, but now will have some more Tiger pull as he goes to college there and works hand in hand with the Men's soccer team. Go Tigers. At least it's still the same color as UK.
Well, we must have partied so hard last night, it brought the tree down. Granted, everyone left by 9pm because it was a Monday night and didn't drink anything stronger than a Coca-Cola, but Kelly and I have had an interesting morning already. We woke up, like any morning, doing our normal routine. Kelly even went outside to grab something out of the car for me.
Then Dexter started barking at the front door pretty intensely. We heard a little something, but I said "oh, Dex must be barking at that guy again that walks like 5 dogs at a time." And we didn't think anything more of it.
I quickly learned that there was more to the story when I stepped outside to take out the trash... there in the front yard was 1/2 of our tree. No longer standing as it should, rather totally sprawled out across our yard and ON the neighbors driveway. Yikes. How did that happen?
So I sit here, missing some work, waiting on the landscapers to help me take down this tree and get it out of the way and blogging about it. Above are the pictures I took of the event this morning. One is from our driveway. That's the neighbors car and their driveway that the tree lays all across. The second photo is one of where the split happened. The third picture is a shot from the backside of the tree, it's from the angle in front of the neighbors house. The fourth shot is from our sidewalk look straight at the tree and back at our house. Kelly and I tried to move the 1/2 tree, it doesn't look too bad, but it wasn't happening. It's definitely heavy.
Below is a pictures of what is left of the tree after the emergency clean up. We will soon have everything that is left done away with. Thank you SOOO much to our buddy, Carper for helping us out this morning!!!
Friday, August 22, 2008
I mentioned that these three boys in my life are often a handful... tonight I was thinking about it, and here is a quick summary of some of their behaviors towards me: one likes to stick his butt in my face and lay on top of me; the other likes to attack me at times, especially when I'm laying down in bed; and still the other constantly wants to hump my leg.
Can you guess which boy does which behavior???
Match A, B, and C with one of D, E, and F.
A. MY HUBBY - KELLY
B. OLDER BROTHER PUP - KODI
C. THE YOUNG PUP - DEXTER
D. LIKES TO STICK HIS BUTT IN MY FACE AND LAY ON TOP OF ME
E. LIKES TO ATTACK ME AT TIMES, ESP. WHEN I'M LAYING DOWN IN BED
F. LIKES TO HUMP MY LEG
Please put your answers down & I will gladly give you an update of the correct matches in a week or so.
*** UPDATE ***
Kelly likes to hump my leg.
(ha. seriously, it's comical, one of our funny moments).
Dexter likes to attack me at times, esp. when I'm laying down in bed.
Kodi likes to stick his butt in my face and lay on top of me.
So that's A/F, B/D, and C/E.
Thanks for the Levatino's who took the quiz. :)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you
Come on now
Let's all celebrate and have a good time
We gonna celebrate and have a good time
Well... have you heard about the KELebration????
Yep, that's right KEL-ebration. Like Kelly Celebration. Yeppers... my hubby cracks me up. Last night, before bed, Kelly attempted to get me to rub his feet. Mind you it was almost midnight at this point & I was having none of it. I wanted to sleep AND he's getting a massage for his birthday on Monday. A full HOUR massage, so I was thinking he could deal until Monday and use as much of his hour as he liked on his feet.
So, having been shut down, Kelly went to plan B, he quickly announced, "don't you know it's my birthday?"
To which I responded, "It's not your birthday til Monday, and you get an hour massage then, you'll be okay."
"But it's August, it's my birthday month. We should celebrate all month long!"
I then gave him that wifely look, like 'seriously?'
And he then busted out with "It's a Kelebration!"
"A what?", I asked in a high pitched voice.
"You know, a Kelebration. August is my birthday month, we should celebrate all month, it's a Kelebration."
and then he busted into song. Yes, into a Kelebration song....
You can imagine it, can't you? He actually sang it all the way through. Hilariously wonderful!!! "Kelebration! Kelebrate good times, come On!"
Here is a random shot I just took of the pup & me. It's been awhile since I've captured a picture of Dexter. So here he is. Growing up, like a weed.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
To be honest, my response to what he did was, "you're really trying to get in trouble aren't you?" ha. I thought, wow.
So this is what he did, and I'll tell you how it went.
Mom LOVES to take goofy pics. Really goofy pics. We (Kelly, Robin, Kelsey, and I) love it because it cracks us up. But sometimes we're trying to get a cute shot, and there it goes - mom's tongue sticks out, or she squinches her face up in a goofy way, or she cocks her head to the side really oddly. It never seems to fail, 95% of the time we get a goofy shot of mom. We've begun to collect these hysterical shots and use them against her.
Example: during the Christmas season there was a office depot Grinch thing where you can add a face to it. Kelly found a shot of mom sticking out her tongue and stuck the picture onto the Grinch's body. The Grinch danced all around and did this funny jiggy. It was so funny! I can still see the ending move with mom's face on it... it's this whole body shake thing. ha ha. So funny, wish I had it to share again here. So now we refer to odd pictures of mom like these as the "Grinch shots".
Well, on Friday a new "add your face to this thing" popped up. The McDonald's Olympics Face of Glory, or something like that. Yep, you guessed it, Kelly tackled it and put another Grinch shot of mom up on there. I'll let you judge the hysterical nature of it for yourself, or if he should get in trouble.
After watching it, as I mentioned before, I said, "you're trying to get yourself in trouble, aren't you?" ha. What do you think? Could most men send their mother in law images like this of them and get away with it? So what do you think was mom's reply?
"You are sooooo bad" with a smiley face.
See!!! He can get away with it. What a son in law... He sends goofy shots of her on random Olympic bodies, and on GUY'S bodies nonetheless, and she still shows a smile and cracks up about it. They have to have a good relationship for him to get away with this kind of stuff. I love it. I think mom loves it. I think it comes down to the fact that she knows he loves her. And THAT, is awesome.
My family is crazy. I love em!
Ps. Later in the evening last night we received a Face of Glory video of Kelly, from mom. ha! I'd post that one too, but I do not have access to the link to attach it.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I am experiencing this endeavor currently - lack of sleep. From my bright eyed puppy dog that is ready to go each morning at 5am, to my sister's bachelorette party this past weekend, to the Olympics that I cannot get enough of - my sleep is quickly becoming deprived.
Dexter - the puppy, isn't becoming the spawn of Satan again - thank goodness, but has found a new desire to get up at 5am. Each morning, I hear him start to whine about 5am. I ignore it, he starts to bark, and bark some more, until about 530am I cannot take it anymore. I get up, totally exhausted, and make my way to his kennel. I let him out, take him to the back door, he runs out to the backyard, pees something fierce, and makes his way back into the house. This is where our wills clash. I say and want him to "kennel up" and go "night, night" again. Dex, however, wants to get up and groove. I win, but he tells me that he is not happy.
So I find my way back to my bed, Kelly sleeping soundly on the right, and crash back into the soft sheets. And then it happens again, 6:00 - 6:10am - Dexter really wants to get up and eat. He barks and barks and barks. I get up, Kodi follows, and we have breakfast. After breakfast, Dex runs to the back door and I get about 15minutes of silence with him outside until the day truly begins. So that's my lack of sleep with my puppy.
Then you have THE OLYMPICS. Wow. I can't get enough of them, but I definitely feel it the next day. From swimming to beach volleyball to men's gymnastics last night, I was on the edge of my seat. So tired, yet waiting for the final results - does USA get a bronze in men's gymnastics, or do we fall short? What will it be? So tired, but so wanting to know. We did it! yay!!!!
The Olympics are addictive. Summer Olympics only happen every 4 years, so you've got to take advantage while they are on the tub! I'm loving it. Kelly and I park on the couch and watch: we cheer, we chant... it's great. But the next morning, I know I didn't get to bed until way after 11pm.
Current Olympic Metal Count (8/12/08 - 930pm):
Gold: 8 , Silver: 7 , Bronze: 8 = 23
Gold: 13 , Silver: 3 , Bronze: 5 = 21
Gold: 5 , Silver: 6 , Bronze: 1 = 12
We've got to stay ahead of the Chinese! They kicked are tail in synchronized diving - both guys and girls - so that was 2 extra gold metals right there. We ended up placing in fourth in both, so we didn't take a metal home for either of those. If Phelps keeps his work up, that'll be a few more golds for the tally.
Here is a SLEEP QUOTE to complete my post:
"The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late." ~Charles Caleb Colton
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
On gmail, you have a chat function (like aol chat or msn chat), but it's automatic with those that also have a gmail account. It's a really great feature. A quick way to interact with folks if they are online the same time you are.
This morning, I smiled really big about Kelly's tag line.
It reads: "Got me a sugar momma...and I love her...life is good!"
He's right, about the "life is good" part. Life is good. God is blessing us each and everyday, providing for our needs as we go. My hubby starts school this month, going back to college full-time, so our family income has been reduced, but God continues to provide where we need and we are super excited about it all.
On another note, while I was looking for my "life is good" image to add to my post. I came upon another reason my hubby could say "life is good" even beyond what he's written on his tag line. This picture says it all.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I found this piece of artwork online this morning, and I thought - "wow! I have to post that today!"
Have you ever felt like that in the morning??? I sure have. Too bad I can't wear those cool slippers to work!!! ha.
Had to share. Hope it puts a quick smile on your face. And hopefully that look and feeling, if you feel it today, will pass by you quickly.
Here is my Bible tidbit & my constant reminder for the day:
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart. As working for the Lord, not for men. ... It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
Monday, August 4, 2008
Kelly and I joined a Sunday School class over a month or so ago at our church, and are loving it! What a blessing to be a part of this great group. Already, I feel more and more connected with this body of believers as we meet each week, and I cannot wait to really get to know them. What a blessing.
Currently the topic of discussion is very interesting. We're touching base on Spiritual Gifts. Now, I've done studies on spiritual gifts before, and have even taken spiritual gifts test. However, it's been awhile, and usually the study starts with "what are spiritual gifts?", then dives into "what are the possible spiritual gifts?", then we take a test and see what ours are... the end.
This time our Sunday School leader is taking a fresh approach for me. We started with writing down all the things we like/love on a piece of paper. At first this was a difficult task. It's kind of like asking the vast question, "tell me about yourself". Where do you begin? We wrote down anything, from sports, to reading, to hobbies, to people, we wrote it all down, who/what do you love? After writing those things, we then focused on this verse:
1 Peter 4:10-12
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
Using this verse as reference, Jay - our Sunday School leader - pointed out three things we should be doing with our gifts. 1. The fundamental purpose of our gift is to glorify God. 2. God has given us these gifts to serve each other. 3. Gifts promote unity not division in the church.
Our next assignment is where I arrived today, taking a spiritual gifts test.
These are my results. My top three spiritual gifts according to the test:
Hospitality (Acts 16:14-15). This website defines hospitality: This gift is the special ability that enables the Christian to provide open arms, an open house and warm welcome for those in need of friendship, a warm welcome, food or lodging.
Servant/Helps (Acts 6:2-4). This website defines servant/helps: This gift empowers certain Christians to willingly bear the burdens of others and help them in such a way that they can do their tasks more effectively. Like witnessing, this should be a calling for all Christians, but there are some who have a special desire to find ways to help or serve, and get great blessing from it. There seems to be a special desire to meet physical needs in the people who have this gift.
Exhortation (Acts 11:23-24). This website defines exhortation: This gift enables certain Christians to stand beside fellow Christians in need and bring comfort, counsel and encouragement.
So here I am, reading the descriptions of my top three gifts according to this test. Hmmmm.... I find myself asking, Is this me? Are those really me? If so, am I using them for God's glory? Does my job encompass me using such things? What does God want from me with these gifts? How does he want me to better utilize these?
I think sometimes it's hard to evaluate ourselves about these gifts, and easier for those around us to say, "yeah, that's you", or "ha! No, you're definitely not that". Ha. Bring on the comments.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Kelly's grandparents are in town, so if Kelly is well enough to get out of the house (his mother gave him bronchitis on her visit last weekend), we're going to hang out with Grams & Grandaddy tonight. I'm excited to see them. It's been awhile.
Saturday, bridal shower number two for my middle sister (Robin) is being held. It's a kitchen shower. They're great, we're all providing a recipe for the Bride-to-Be, and a gift that will help stock her new kitchen (it's her first actual kitchen, really). Then Kelly's dad is in town, and we're hoping to get away to visit him for the afternoon. Saturday night, a friend of mine from high school is getting married, so we're going to the wedding. I'll be going either way: with my hubby as a date (if he's well enough) or stag.
Sunday, we have our fabulous Sunday School, Church, some relax time in between or house cleaning, and a party to attend that evening.
Whooo, the weekend will be done with some quickness after all of that, right? But TGIF! :)
Oh, here is a fun picture to share for those that have not seen it. This is what we would call a "jumping picture". Our friends, Chuck & Mer introduced us to this over our June Florida vacation. What you do is count to three and jump. You can jump any way you like, as Kelly shows here. The photographer clicks the shot on the JUMP portion of the countdown and this is what you get. Talk about some fun and entertaining photos when you're done.