Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chick-Fil-A controversy

There are many views out there on same-sex marriage, and I have spoken on mine before, but I just want to comment on the Chick-Fil-A debate right now.

When people heard that the C.E.O. of the chicken restaurant spoke out against same-sex marriage, the immediate outcry was to boycott the fast food chain. I was a little incensed that people would think they could keep a restaurant from coming to a city because of the views of its C.E.O. no matter their beliefs.

I am proud that people have spoken out in favor of Chick-Fil-A, even if they don't believe in what they stand for. Even the most-liberal leaning ACLU said that judging Chick-Fil-A for being against same-sex marriage is the same as wanting to barr a restaurant for being in favor of homosexual unions. I was flabbergasted when I saw the ACLU standing up for a Christian company.

Again today, Christian leaders in Chicago spoke out against mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said that Chick-Fil-A's views are not Chicago's views. Some of the church leaders in the area said they were Chicago residents but had differing views from Emanuel and he shouldn't speak for all of them.

The country is split 50-50, almost exactly even, on the debate of same-sex marriage. I don't think that either side is going to change the mind of others. However, I did love this quote by the Rev. Charles Lyons in a FoxNews article on the subject today.

"If the thought police come to Armitage Baptist Church, we will meet them at the door respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die on this hill, holding a copy of the Sacred Scriptures in one hand and a copy of the U.S. Constitution in the other."


Even if unpopular, I'm proud of people who stick by their convictions, when they're God's convictions anyway.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Storing up treasures in your heart

Luke 2:51 says, "And Mary treasured up all these things in her heart."

Life is a little bit like a piggy bank. We have chances to deposit into our hearts and times when our emotions take away from our treasure stores in our hearts.

It's probably more common for women, but sometimes our emotions just make us see the worst in life. A Facebook friend of mine recently wrote that she took her daughter to Red Lobster to try shrimp for the first time, bought her school clothes and even went to get their nails done together. Then her daughter threw a tantrum because they "didn't do anything fun" that day.

Those are times when our emotions are exhausted and we feel like our efforts just aren't worth it. It takes from our treasure stores in our hearts.

However, if we stop to take the time to store up treasures in our hearts we will have enough to spend on the days when life doesn't go like we want it to.

When something happens in my life that makes me smile, I try to really take note of it and remember it. I try to store it up in my heart.

When Nate said "I love you" when I remembered not to freeze the steaks we bought, we he called himself my "hubby" even though we're not quite married yet, those little moments are times these past couple days that I have tucked into my treasure store.

Then at the times when it seems like I keep messing up and Nate couldn't possibly love me or when I am so frustrated with him, I can take a couple of those stores in my heart and remember the good times. Without those memories stored up though, I might dwell on only the bad situations.

We all forget, even important things. I want to continue to consciously try to make memories that will stay in my heart forever.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What does "going well" mean?

In the "New Day New You" devotional by Joyce Meyer, she focused today's message on Deuteronomy 5:29.

The Scripture says, "Oh, that they had such a heart them always to fear me and keep all my commandments that it might go well with them and with their children forever."

She said, "If we will simply listen to the Lord and do what He says, things will go well for us."

In one way, I agree with Meyer. If we just obey God, everything will work out for the best. However, in another way, I think people take this too literally. People think that just because they become Christians and live good lives that everything will be perfect.

We will all encounter problems in our lives. For instance, many of the apostles were beaten, harassed, thrown in jail or even killed for following Christ. That wouldn't be exactly what we call things "going well."

However, they all ended up with a close relationship with the savior of the universe and an eternal home in heaven. That means everything ended up perfect.

So don't think that just because life isn't perfect that means your relationship with God isn't right. What God thinks is life "going well," isn't necessarily what we think. Just remember that if we follow God and obey his commands, everything will end up the most perfect way that we could ever imagine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Time spent in nature

I love taking photos of nature, because I get to just bask in God's creation. It's a personal experience that makes me smile and admire all that is around me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

She was almost there

We lost my aunt Linda to a battle with cancer more than two years ago. Sometimes it seems weird that she's not around.

For instance, when Nate's mom asked how many siblings my mom had I said, "Three brothers and a sister, who passed away." I almost forgot that she didn't have a sister anymore.

At our wedding, we plan on having a red rose on the altar in honor of my aunt who can't make it there. I know that if she could, she would be there in the second row, supporting and loving me. She always made me feel so special.

That's why one of the presents I got at my bridal shower last weekend was so memorable. I got a lot of presents and had many wonderful moments. However, when I opened a gift from my cousin's wife (she was Linda's daughter-in-law) I got tears in my eyes.

I picked up a set of heart-shaped measuring spoons that I thought were pretty but didn't think that much of until Mandi explained them. She said that Linda used to give her two sets of stuff, and she got two sets of these measuring spoons. She kept one of the tucked away and decided to give it to me.

I teared up, thinking how it was almost like aunt Linda got to be at my bridal shower after all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Colorado massacre should make us think

People crowded into a movie theatre in Aurora, CO, just waiting to see the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

That's when a man entered and started shooting. As of reports I've read so far today, 12 people were killed and more than 50 injured.

Nate and I were just in Colorado and drove through Aurora. And just a couple of weeks ago, we went to a midnight showing of "Ted" in our town. We never expected anything to go wrong in either of those places, and I'm sure that the people going to see Batman didn't expect anything except a fun time. Even the police who were called to the scene weren't expecting such a massacre to occur in their town.

Life is often not what we expect. My heart aches for the poor people who won't see their loved ones that they thought were just stepping out for a couple hours to see a movie. It would have been a shock to the system.

It's hard to think what to say at a time like this. I'm sure people will talk about this tragic incident for a few weeks and then they'll move on. It happened with Sept. 11, it happened with Fort Hood. People still think about these events but it doesn't change the way they live their lives right now.

When events like this happen I hope it makes us all contemplate how unexpected life is. We have to be prepared to meet our God, and we need to have made our lives right with him by accepting Jesus as our Savior. It's not something that we can put off.

Enjoy your life today, because you never know how much time you have. God has given us our days, our moments to enjoy and to serve him.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heat stroke

Holy moly, it's hot.

In the winter, I remember laying in my apartment under mounds of blankets not wanting to do any of my chores because I didn't want to leave their warmth. I longed for summer weather when I could run around in shorts and a T-shirt.

Today, I could take a little of the kind of weather that requires a sweatshirt and jeans. Even thinking about that right now makes me sweat just a little bit more. I can hardly stand to even wear shorts and a tank top around my hot apartment.

I always think it's funny how in warm weather we wish for cool weather. In cool weather we wish it would just get warm. I bet God just gets so frustrated listening to our thoughts, "You are never satisfied," he probably thinks.

It's true in more than just weather. We are so discontent all the time. For instance, when I don't have anything to do at work I sometimes wish I had something to make the time go faster. When I am crazed at work I wish that there was nothing on my to-do list. People wait and wait to get married, and then once people get married they do nothing but complain about their spouses.

Hebrews 13:5 says, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Let's be content with what we have today. Even if what we have is really hot weather!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I've got to stop judging

Don't judge a book by its cover.

I have to admit that I often judge people right away based on how they look. I'm totally willing to change that opinion once I get to know someone, but often people's personalities are just like how they dress, how much make-up they wear or how they do their hair.

This might not be a positive example, but when we were in Colorado this weekend I saw a couple of girls ahead of us in line for the O.A.R. concert we went to. Compared to a different group of girls who were next to us in the parking lot - with short shorts and crop tops - I thought the girls in front of us looked kind of nerdy.

Based on the one of the girls' lack of make-up, her high-necked T-shirt and her denim bermuda shorts, I would have expected her to be quiet and demure.

Then I overheard this girl's friend saying that the girl had admitted during a job interview to doing shrooms and acid. That surprised me, because I wouldn't have pegged her as someone who would have done drugs.

I really should stop judging people based on how they look. I don't want people to judge me, so I shouldn't judge others either.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Go with the flow

Nate and I went out of town this weekend, and we had some big plans.

However, all didn't go as planned.

For my whole life, I have been a planner. And I don't usually handle it well when things don't go exactly the way that I have planned then. Nate has challenged me during our years of dating to deal with everyday situations with grace and ease instead of anxiety. He is pretty calm, so I have tried to be as well.

When faced with a moment this weekend, I knew that I could dwell on the situation and get upset or I could say that this is what happened and go with the flow.

I went with the flow, and I know that I was much happier than I would have been had I responded in a different way.

Life isn't perfect but it can be pretty close if you just take it one day at a time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Signs from God

I didn't take this photo, but I wish I would have.

I love seeing hints of God in everyday life, like this cross in the sunshine behind the flag.

On Sunday, when we were boating I looked up at the sky and a shooting star went right across my field of vision. It completely perked up my night as God sent just a little reminder to me of his beauty and glory.

Sunshine, lightning, shooting stars, rainbows, a smile - God makes himself known in many, many small ways each day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Small actions

Sometimes living in a small town is kind of nice.

I was impacted at the grocery store tonight. I ran in just to get some brat buns for the meatball sandwiches I wanted to make for dinner. Walking by the check-out line, a man with a full cart motioned for another person with a less full cart to go in front of him.

Then when I went outside to get back in my car, buns in hand, another man got out of his vehicle, grabbed a group of three carts stranded in the parking lot and pushed them to the store.

I was listening to the radio the other day and the speaker said that he heard a man say that Christians, wherever they are, should leave the place better. I don't know if the men at the grocery store were Christians, but I love that they were leaving their world a little better.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Shed a little

You can tell exactly where Novie has been lately.

With the horrible heat, her hair has been falling out like it's its job. I can hardly wear dark colors anymore unless I stay far away from her or bring a lint brush with me wherever I go.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not be without dog hair on me for the summers for at least the next 10 years! It's OK, because I love my dog.

As easy as it is to tell where Novie has been, it can be good or bad when people can tell where we've been.

Although we don't leave hair behind as markers, well unless you're a girl with long hair - then you're bound to, we definitely leave behind signs of where we've been.

When we leave someone's presence, they often will talk about what they have just experienced. They can say, "That Kiley sure is a sweet person. I wish I was more like her." They could also say, "I've heard Kiley talk about being a Christian. What's the point though? She's not any different than me!" Or they could just not say a word about me, because I made no impact at all.

God has given us lives to use for him. We should be leaving behind his fingerprints, his "hairs" wherever we go.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Small town stories

For work, we're doing a section in our newspaper about growing up in this area. It's actually nice this year that I know a few people to turn to when looking for ideas. I think I'm actually becoming part of the community!

When I interviewed one of my subjects earlier this week, she said, "I've had a wonderful life here, but I don't really know if I have stories people will want to read about."

She has some wonderful stories though. I told her that I believe everyone has a story to tell. Even if the story is just about the simplicity of life. Here's a little sample (with the name and place changed for privacy):

"Letterton offers the perfect small town life.
And it’s a life that Janice Lepp never wanted to move away from.
The week of the Fourth of July, Janice sat in the Acorn Ridge trailer she and her husband, Kent, use as a vacation home and remembered the wonderful life she has had in the area.
She was born at the nearby Tinsdale hospital, in a building on Ash Street that now houses apartments. However, she spent her childhood living in Letterton.
From age 2-8, Janice lived on Main Street in Letterton and spent her time playing with her brother, Nick, who was 11 months younger than her. They even dressed the same, in clothes that their mom made for them.
'We thought we were twins, because we were dressed alike,' Janice said. 'We thought that’s all it took.'
The downstairs of their apartment building was a restaurant, and the kids played in the garage where the empty pop bottles were stored. They even took some and sold them at the local drugstore so they could buy candy.
Nick and Janice also loved to play hide and seek. One day they were playing, and Janice couldn’t find her brother. She remembers leaving him and going to find a snack instead.
'He had hidden in a refrigerator,” Janice said, and it was one that locked from the outside. “Luckily a maintenance man heard him hollering and pounding.'"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Spoiled dog

Seriously, I think it's a really good thing that Nate and I got a dog before we had children.

Our dog is already spoiled beyond belief, and she's not even a year old.

She sleeps with me all night, and she hogs the bed too. She likes to be as close to me as possible, so by morning I end up sleeping on the edge and she is in the middle, on my pillow usually too.

When I am working, she tends to whine or jump up on me so that she can have some attention. If I sit down on the couch with the computer, she will lay down on my lap or step on the computer so that she can be close to me.

If I look at the computer and don't touch her, she just makes noise until I start paying attention to her.

I think it's good we didn't start off by spoiling our children so much!

I know her actions are all out of love, but sometimes we tell her "Don't love us so much!"