Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm Accepted

My oldest nephew just turned four. He's adorable, funny, smart and inquisitive, as most kids his age are, but lately he's been asking a question that has surprised me; a question that has made me think carefully about life, God and the inner need we all have to be loved and accepted by those who matter most. His question is simply, "Daddy, am I your favorite?"

It may seem like an odd question for a 4-year-old to ask if you don't know his family. You see, Caedon is the oldest of three (soon to be four) boys, and as you can imagine by brother and sister-in-law have their hands full. It's easy to understand then why my nephew would see the other boys as a rival for his daddy's affection given that my brother can't possibly devote all of his attention to just one of them. But what truly amazes me about the question he's asking is that it indicates that at four years of age he's already grappling with the inner need to be loved and affirmed! This isn't because my brother and sister-in-law don't show their affection enough or do their best to ensure that Caedon is made to feel secure, but rather his question is an expression of that insecurity we ALL struggle with in life. We all need to know that we matter to those we look up to. And fortunately for my nephew, there is no shortage of praise and affirmation from my brother when the question is posed.

But what if my brother and his wife stopped there? What if my brother and sister-in-law never took the time to introduce my nephew to the One who truly matters most? I truly believe that they would fail my nephew if they neglected to introduce him to the unconditional love of the Heavenly Father. While the love and acceptance of our parents is crucial not just in childhood but even as adults as we venture into the world, there is a love and acceptance that is even more life-changing and eternal. The love of God. You see, human love can fail. We can mess up and disappoint those around us, and even in some cases cause those who matter to turn their backs on us. But the love of God never fails. His acceptance of us is unconditional. What is left for us is to choose whether or not to accept it and the grace He so freely gives.

While I want my nephew to be affirmed and built up every time he asks his daddy “am I your favorite?”, what I want more is to know that my nephew is being pointed to the One who can offer him eternal security. I want to know that my nephew can look beyond the validation of his parents and peers, and find his worth in the One who created him. I want to know that someday soon he’ll be asking God, “am I your favorite?”, and finding the arms of the Father open wide for him as he finds peace in a love that truly will last forever.

I may not be rich. Don't wear fashion clothes. Don't live in a mansion. Don't have much that shows. Never won a contest in popularity. Don't have much to offer, but Jesus still loves me. Never set a record in sports agility. Never was magnetic in personality. That don't really matter, I'll do the best I can. Cause there's a God above me Who Loves me like I am. If you think you're a loser when you fail, it seems, at everything you do. Just remember there's a Saviour, and you are worth enough He gave His life for you! I'm accepted. I'm accepted by the One Who matters most. ~DeGarmo & Key

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Mind is a Scary Place

While this may not be a huge revelation to my husband, those who don't know me well may be surprised at what I am about to reveal: my mind is a scary, scary place. In fact, if left to my thoughts and imagination long enough, I could honestly be certified insane! While some have deep thoughts about religion, politics, or their journey in life, when I sit down and attempt to journal or blog my mind goes on a funky tangent of bizarre ideas, unusual questions and generally odd wonderings.

My husband believes that it is this oddity about me that probably drew me to the now-ended show Gilmore Girls. While secretly I had to admit that I could relate alot to the characters of the show, and mainly with Lauren Graham's character "Lorelai Gilmore," there was one episode in the final season that 100% confirmed my husband's suspicisions. This scene had me crying with laughter and
finally admitting that he was right. The episode was called "It's a Big Bad of Weird in There," and without further explanation of what goes on in my mind I leave you with the following lines from the scene to sum up:

Rory: Sounds like you're overthinking this. Maybe if you just put pen to paper --
I tried that. I thought, I'll just sit down and write whatever comes. No judgment, no inner critic -- boy, was that a bad idea.
Rory: Really? Why?
Because my brain is a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. "I'm writing a letter. I can't write a letter. Why can't I write a letter? I'm wearing a green dress. I wish I was wearing my blue dress. My blue dress is at the cleaners'. 'The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.' Casablanca. Casablanca's such a good movie. Casablanca. The White House. Bush. Why don't I drive a hybrid car? I should really drive a hybrid car. I should really take my bicycle to work. Bicycle, unicycle, unitard, hockey puck, rattlesnake monkey monkey underpants."
Rory: "Hockey puck rattlesnake monkey monkey underpants"?
"Exactly! That's what I'm saying. It's a big bag of weird in there!"

Saturday, June 23, 2007

For the Love of Movies...

My husband and I love movies. We watch the Academy Awards every year, we spend much of our vacation time -- especially at Christmas and New Years -- catching up on movies we couldn't fit into our busy schedules, and we faithfully watch the AFI (American Film Institute) television specials "top 100" series when they air.

Personally, I get my love of movies -- especially older movies -- from my grandmother. As a child she introduced me to the wonders of actors and actresses such as Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Audrey Heppburn, and Cary Grant. Her love for film was contagious, and from her I have come to appreciate movies I would have never otherwise seen. Movies reflect the culture and attitudes of the day. Movies, like books, can take you to places you've never been and allow you to experience things you wouldn't normally experience. Movies find the kid in all of us. Movies can make us laugh, and even cry. But most of all, movies allow us to dream.

This past week Sherman I enjoyed watching AFI's 10th anniversary edition of the top "100 movies" of all time. We determined that we had watched just under 1/2 the movies on the list, and decided that it would be fun to spend the summer trying to watch the ones we hadn't see. Have you seen all 100 on this list?

1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca
4. Raging Bull
5. Singin' in the Rain
6. Gone with the Wind
7. Lawrence of Arabia
8. Schindler's List
9. Vertigo
10. The Wizard of Oz
11. City Lights
12. The Searchers
13. Star Wars
14. Psycho
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey
16. Sunset Blvd.
17. The Graduate
18. The General
19. On the Waterfront
20. It's a Wonderful Life
21. Chinatown
22. Some Like It Hot
23. The Grapes of Wrath
24. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
25. To Kill a Mockingbird
26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
27. High Noon
28. All About Eve
29. Double Indemnity
30. Apocalypse Now
31. The Maltese Falcon
32. The Godfather, Part II
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
35. Annie Hall
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai
37. The Best Years of Our Lives
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
39. Dr. Strangelove
40. The Sound of Music
41. King Kong
42. Bonnie and Clyde
43. Midnight Cowboy
44. The Philadelphia Story
45. Shane
46. It Happened One Night
47. A Streetcar Named Desire
48. Rear Window
49. Intolerance
50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
51. West Side Story
52. Taxi Driver
53. The Deer Hunter
54. M*A*S*H*
55. North by Northwest
56. Jaws
57. Rocky
58. The Gold Rush
59. Nashville
60. Duck Soup
61. Sullivan's Travels
62. American Graffiti
63. Cabaret
64. Network
65. The African Queen
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark
67. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woof?
68. Unforgiven
69. Tootsie
70. A Clockwork Orange
71. Saving Private Ryan
72. The Shawshank Redemption
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
74. The Silence of the Lambs
75. In the Heat of the Night
76. Forrest Gump
77. All the President's Men
78. Modern Times
79. The Wild Bunch
80. The Apartment
81. Spartacus
82. Sunrise
83. Titanic
84. Easy Rider
85. A Night at the Opera
86. Platoon
87. 12 Angry Men
88. Bringing Up Baby
89. The Sixth Sense
90. Swing Time
91. Sophie's Choice
92. Goodfellas
93. The French Connection
94. Pulp Fiction
95. The Last Picture Show
96. Do the Right Thing
97. Blade Runner
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy
99. Toy Story
100. Ben-Hur

Friday, June 22, 2007

Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover!

Ever heard of Paul Potts? Chances are if you have been watching the news or entertainment headlines you have. But I was introduced to him today thanks to a colleague who told me his inspiring story. Intrigued by the story, I went home after work and quickly logged on to YouTube to see what all the fuss was about. I get it now.

Born in 1971 in the South Wales, Paul struggled with self confidence early on thanks to the bullying he endured from other kids at school. According to interviews he's done recently, he found singing as a way to escape the bullying and slowly began to love opera. In 1999 he entered a music contest and, although he did not win, he did place and took home some money which paid for singing lessons in Italy. But his dreams of an operatic career were shattered in 2003 when an accident left him bed ridden for two years. He was told he's never sing again.

In 2003 while on the road to recovery he met and married his wife Julie and started working as a mobile phone salesman. Struggling with his self confidence and yet still dreaming about singing, he told his coworkers about his love for singing opera. They encouraged him to audition for "Britain's Got Talent." And that's when the world was introduced to Paul Potts:

He may not look like he has much to offer, and even he admits that he's still working on rebuilding the confidence that was stripped away from him by the bullies of his youth. But with the support of his friends and wife who pushed him to follow his dreams, Paul Potts is a testimony to all of us. Don't judge a book by it's cover, and don't let adversity keep you from being who you were born to be.

P.S. For those unfamiliar with Paul Potts, as I was, he went on to win "Britain's Got Talent" and has signed a recording deal. Watch for this 36-year-old diamond in the rough... we'll be seeing a lot more of him!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"You're It!"

Apparently I've been "tagged." I didn't realize it until I logged on, by chance, to Meghan's blog, but none-the-less "I'm it"! The rules are as follows:

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4. You may need to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

So here it goes:

1. I am a neat-freak, especially when it comes to my house. Everything has its place, I clean constantly and find joy in cleaning and seeing the house spotless.

2. I was a horrible child. Between the ages of 6 and 9 I gave my parents a serious run for their money. They actually wondered at some point if I was demon-spawned! ;-) Through those years I cheated, stole, lied, abused, bullied, etc. and even got a boy in my 3rd grade class expelled for something I claimed he did (but he didn't do).

3. I love public speaking but am horribly shy and avoid crowds. Given the opportunity to address a crowd on a topic I am passionately about, I enjoy the challenge of crafting and delivering a message. And yet, I avoid crowds, hate being the center of attention and do everything possible to blend in and not be noticed on a day-to-day basis. Strange, I know.

4. I dream of opening a bed & breakfast/inn somewhere beautiful and welcoming people from all parts of the world.

5. If given the opportunity to quit my job and be a stay-at-home wife (and someday mother), I would quit without a moment's thought. I love being home, caring for my hubby, and supporting my hubby in his ministry.

6. I have a spicy "chocolate chilly pepper marriage!" We are both strong, stubborn, independent people, which makes our marriage spicy; but we are committed, totally in love and passionate about our marriage which coats it in chocolate!

7. I never thought I'd be a pastor's wife, let along serving in a Chinese Church! I certainly don't feel like a pastor's wife...

8. I have eaten guinea pig, climbed an active volcano, straddled the northern and southern hemisphere at the same time, lived through military coups, earthquakes and mudslides and felt the sting of tear gas. Such is the life of a missionary kid! Whoo hoo!

I tag Jenny, Drew, Jim, Andrea, David, and Salla. That's it.