Monday, June 8, 2009

"I Believe I Can Fly"

Do you ever feel like you're trapped in a hopelessly ordinary life? The tedium of your day to day responsibilities weighs you down like a millstone around your neck when you think of the dreams and passions you had in your youth. Maybe you dreamed of being a social activist, a political leader, a missionary, or a well-known writer, and now you're just an average Joe with an average job and a family to take care of. With all the routine busyness of everyday life, you've stopped pursuing or even thinking much about your grand dreams.

Maybe you do still cherish some secret passions, but have stopped believing that you will ever achieve anything. You doodle endlessly in the margins of your notebook at staff meetings, but don't take the idea of drawing for a living seriously. You send money to World Vision, but never go yourself to see, hear, touch the people in desperate need. You write songs that you might share with a few friends, but don't take the leap of pursuing a record deal. Do we listen to the voices who tell us that it's easy to succeed at the ordinary, and impossible to succeed at the extraordinary? It's easy to fall into this ordinary, everyday hopelessness.


Contrary to the messages of mainstream society, extraordinary individuals are not merely an elite few. Every person is, in some way, extraordinary. I don't mean that in a trite "everyone is special" (translation: no one is special) kind of way. I'm sorry, but not everyone is smart. Not everyone is good looking. Not everyone is even a good person. But each and every person has a gift. And you may not believe this, but I believe each person was created for a purpose. A unique gift to fulfil a unique purpose, in your own place and time.

If you don't already know what your gift is, you need to take some time to get to know yourself better. If you have some good friends, ask them what gift they see in you. A lot of us, though, know what our gift is - what we need to do is believe that it was given to us for a reason, and then intentionally find a way to really use it. Get your gift out there in such a way that it touches as many people as you possibly can. Do yourself a favour and stop setting mental limits on what you can achieve.

Think like a 3 year old. A 3 year old doesn't know about the law of gravity - he thinks that with the right cape he can jump off a chair and fly. Okay, you will say, but a 3 year old can't really fly. That's true, but according to the laws of physics, neither can a bumblebee...and yet it does. So don't assume it can't be done, just go for it. I can't guarantee that you won't get some bumps and bruises, you probably will. But wouldn't you rather take a few scrapes and find yourself achieving things you thought were impossible, than to take the safe and ordinary life and never accomplish much?

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Child Of Virtue

Lately I've been letting my girls watch TV a little more, to wind down for nap time as well as to distract them before dinner. I know it's not the best thing for them, but it has been good for me for a couple of reasons. First (and most obviously), it helps me maintain my sanity during times when the kids are prone to crankiness. Second, since we don't actually have television per se, they are watching videos and DVDs that I have picked out for them. Shows like Franklin, Winnie The Pooh, Davey & Goliath, and the ubiquitous (in our house) VeggieTales. Shows that make me think about what I am teaching my kids.

It has got me thinking about values education - how we can raise our children to be children of virtue. Children who are truthful, kind, compassionate, helpful, patient, generous, and courageous. Maybe this is shooting for the moon, when we adults can't even live up to these on a daily basis. Do you think it's unrealistic? At least no parent would say these goals are undesirable! Even the public school system has acknowledged the need for "character instruction" in young people, and has incorporated into the curriculum things like mandatory volunteering and anti-bullying workshops.

For me, I am fully aware that a school curriculum or children's show cannot ease my responsibility to train up my children in the way they should go. Nonetheless, it is great for Boo to be able to watch a show that demonstrates honesty and respect, rather than so many of the garbage cartoons on television that show self-absorbed characters with no respect for authority. One show that I really like is Adventures From The Book Of Virtues by PBS. Each episode focuses on one virtue (such as Generosity, Friendship, or Honesty) and uses folk tales, legends, poems and more to teach children how they should behave. The stories are interesting, often humourous, and the animation is engaging. I wish I could find more videos in this series!

The other side of this, however, is where I am challenged. As a parent, my children will learn most thoroughly from my own example. It's not enough to tell my children how they ought to behave, I need to model it in my daily life. If I want honest children, I can't lie about little things to try to get them to do what I want. If I want them to be respectful, I must treat my husband and others with respect. I can't badmouth the cop who gave me a speeding ticket (hypothetically speaking) or argue about their Daddy's parenting methods in front of them. If I want them to be friendly to people who are different than them, I need to associate with people who are different than myself. And harder still, if I want them to be hardworking, I need to demonstrate hard work with cheerfulness.

Sadly, character does not come easily for any of us. I thank God, however, that I don't have to be perfect. I do have to be able to acknowledge my faults and work on improving myself. And I pray that as God works in their lives, as He works in mine, He will make up for my weaknesses and teach them the things that are as yet beyond me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Honey, I Don't Have A Headache Tonight

Father's Day is coming up, and this year, why not get something that YOU read (or listen to), and HE reaps the rewards from?

If you want to stop your marriage from fizzling and start it sizzling, I've got the answer for you!

He says, "you’re never in the mood." She says, "That's all you ever think about!" It’s a conflict as old as time. We’re told "opposites attract", but given time and circumstance, what once lured you in, can quickly lure you out.

But you don't have to be stuck in this trap!

Sheila's book, Honey, I Don't Have a Headache Tonight: Help for women who want to feel more in the mood, can help you solve this impasse! It's fun, real, and extremely practical.

I love this book, and I know it can help your marriage.

I know, because Sheila, the author, didn't always have a great marriage. She's not "talking down" to you. She wrote it as a research project to help herself. And her husband says he definitely liked the research!

So often we find intimacy difficult because men and women ARE different. Women wonder why men were created with the switch always turned on, and men wonder why women were created with so many different switches and no instruction manual.

Honey, I Don't Have a Headache Tonight helps us bridge this gap by helping us to understand our husbands better, get more energy, heal past hurts, and increase romance & respect in our marriages! You'll also learn why understanding God's view of sexuality can actually make you more in the mood--even if that sounds strange!

Filled with practical advice, Honey I Don't Have a Headache Tonight tackles these issues:

  • How change in the sexual relationship requires change elsewhere.
  • Why sex for women is often a "head thing."
  • How television is the biggest enemy to intimacy.
  • Why forgiveness and letting go of the need to be right is so important.
  • How self-image issues and past hurts can throw intimacy into a tailspin.
  • The repercussions of everyday energy zappers.
  • The threats to Godly sexuality.
  • The roadblocks of respect.
  • The cultural attacks on gender.

And more! And best of all, it's fun to read!

It's Sheila's Father's Day special this month, along with a 45-minute hilarious and practical talk Sheila's given on the subject.

But here's how you can win it! You have three choices:

1. Blog post. Just copy this post (or write your own), and enter it in your blog. Then go here, and fill out the form! Enter your email address and the URL of your post! Remember to include this bottom part in the post about how they can enter!

2. Share on Facebook. Just click the "Share This" button below to share on Facebook! It couldn't be easier! Then head on over here and fill out the contest entry, including your name on Facebook in the right spot.

3. Twitter Tweet. Or you can post on Twitter. Just tweet something like this:
Turn the heat in your marriage up! Win a free copy of Honey, I Don't Have a Headache Tonight just by tweeting!

Then head on over here and enter your email address and your Twitter ID!

It's that easy!

NOTE: Remember, to enter, you must fill out this form! It's really short (just your email and which way you entered), but I'll be drawing the winners from there!

Sheila will be drawing a winner one week from today, on next week's Wifey Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. EST June 10. So enter now to win!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm Taking Up Smoking!

In case you haven't heard, there's a new fad out there that is taking the world by storm... at least the teen and pre-teen world. Normally I'm not big on youth trends, but for this one I may make an exception. The latest craze is...? Smoking Smarties. Or if you're Canadian (as I am), smoking Rockets.

I'm not kidding, this is what the 8-15 year olds of America are really into. And as usual the media and school administrations are wayyy overreacting. Dire health warnings range from the ridiculous (smoking Smarties can give you respiratory infections) to the bizarre (maggots may nest in your nose)! And me, I'm just amazed at how the kids look to be the more mature ones in this discussion.

In fact, this pop culture phenomenon is one of the least unhealthy activities that kids could indulge in these days. "Smoking" candy is basically just crushing it up in the wrapper, sucking a bit of the sugary powder into your mouth (think Pixie Sticks), and letting the resulting cloud of dust exhale in little puffs of "smoke". No one is inhaling anything, and they're probably ingesting less sugar than if they were just eating the darn thing. Plus, as one kid points out, "it still tastes just like your eating candy."

Come on girls, all the taste with half the calories. I don't know about you, but I think I just might jump on the bandwagon.