The Force has Awakened…. in me


Don’t worry.  No spoilers.

Well, unless you’ve never seen the original trilogy or the trilogy of prequels that followed/preceded.  But no “force awakens” spoilers.  I promise.  Though I desperately need to process that with someone, lol.

Anyway.  Here we go.

The house I grew up in may have been different from yours as a child.  At my house, we didn’t own the original Star Wars trilogy.  My Mom had seen them in the 70s, and I’m not sure about my Dad.  I know my Mom had liked them.  But they certainly weren’t what we’d call fans.  My brother and I didn’t play with sticks and pretend they were light sabres in the backyard.  Some would say we were robbed of an experience that shouldn’t have been taken from us.

When I was in high school, I very very briefly dated a guy.  That’s not the important part of this story, though.  What is important here is that he found out I had never seen Star Wars… and he kind of freaked out a little.  He loaned me “A New Hope” and told me my job was to watch it, and call him as soon as I was done so we could talk about how much I loved it.  It actually, thinking back on it, kind of reminds me of the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Stella admits that she’d never seen Star Wars, so naturally because Marshall and Ted are obsessed, she has to.  Long story short, I fell asleep on the couch because I found it boring.  Also I wasn’t really into sci-fi… or… kind of secretly was, but didn’t want to be, because I didn’t think it was cool.  And also — my limited exposure had been to things like Star Trek – Deep Space Nine… which was lame.  Voyager was kinda ok… my Mom and brother are Trekkies.  I figured if sci-fi was those things, no thank you.  Then Stargate happened…. that was a whole other world.  Anyway.  I’m getting off track.  This happens when I write late.

I had to call my boyfriend and tell him that I fell asleep, and couldn’t get into it.  From that point forward, I just kind of figured Star Wars wasn’t my jam.

A couple years ago, some friends from church wanted to have a Star Wars night and watch the original trilogy.  I said I wasn’t into Star Wars and couldn’t stay awake.  They countered that I was a teenager, I was naive about the world, and that… most importantly… I was alone, with no one to keep me into it.  I agreed to give it another shot.  We started with A New Hope.

I fell asleep again.  On the couch, sitting up, surrounded by like 10 other people.

I woke up a few times throughout.  Just in time for “these are not the droids you’re looking for” and the trash compactor scene.

I had to run out after A New Hope, and my plan had been to come back after my appointment, but since I’d fallen asleep, I decided to just bail and not watch The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi.

Fast forward several years and I’m now attempting to date a completely different guy.  He goes on and on about how excited he was to see the new Star Wars (the Force Awakens) and “what did you think?  Surely you’ve seen it by now.” We were talking just before Christmas at this point.

Well surely I had not.  “Actually, I’ve never seen Star Wars.  It’s just not my thing.”

Stunned silence.  It was just emails… but I could hear the stunned silence, lol.  “You’ve…. never seen… Star Wars?” Came back the reply.  Clearly rethinking his choice in women at this point.  That’s right.  I’m Stella.  And just like Stella wasn’t right for Ted, I wasn’t right for this guy.  And not because I hadn’t seen Star Wars.

I’m off track again.  Back to The Force.

I had grown tired of being one of the only people in the Western World, or at least in North America… who hadn’t seen these movies.  And I was getting tired of exactly that reaction. “you… haven’t seen… Star Wars?” as if I’ve been living under a rock these past 31 years.  For the longest time it’s been on principle.  If I’ve made it this long, surely I could have made it the rest of my life.  Surely.  Well, I blew that.

I gave in.

My best friend and I gathered all six movies, and we settled in to watch all 6 in succession (release date order, which was the condition of the friend who loaned them to me).  We finished all 6 in just under 15 hours, and that is how a Star Wars fan is born.  I can no longer go back to being the girl who’d never seen Star Wars.  That version of me has died.  It’s been replaced by a Jedi Master.

I live tweeted throughout all 6 movies.  That’s right, I kept my phone close through 13.5 hours of film and tweeted reactions.  Then, I compiled the best of those tweets into a Storified Story for you over here, if you’d like to see what it’s like to watch all 6 in a row.

Tonight, I went to see The Force Awakens.  In 3D.  At first, I thought it was kind of a betrayal to the originals, because they were able to accomplish so much with so few special effects at their disposal in 1977.

But…. I changed my mind.

And now there’s a void in my soul where watching Star Wars used to be.

You know that void you feel when a show on Netflix ends after you’ve binged on it, and you have to wait a devastatingly long time for the next season?

I feel like that with Star Wars.

Guys, I know I’ve only been a fan for 72 hours, but I’m gonna need Episode 8 now.  Like… right now.

I felt kind of like this when I got to the Netflix end of White Collar…. but that was a little different, because there was another season still, and I didn’t fancy waiting, so I bought it on iTunes.

I also felt a bit like this at the end of Chuck.  Like there was a big, gaping hole in my life, haha.  But that was also different, because I knew Chuck wasn’t coming back.

Side note:  if you’ve never seen Chuck or White Collar, get on it.  They’re epic.

But alas, even though I can’t actually discuss The Force Awakens anywhere on Social Media because I would hate to spoil that movie for you, I have to say….. Go see it.

And if you’ve never seen Star Wars, you need to.

As the friend who loaned me the movies said:  “They’re iconic.  They defined a genre of film and heavily influenced an entire generation.”  (I’m paraphrasing, but this is the gist.)

Lastly, if you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet… go.  Now.  Do it.  Then talk to me so I can process.

PS while I have willfully ignored the impulse to talk about the plot of the new movie in this post, I can’t guarantee others in the comments will be so kind.  Please read any comments on this post at your own risk.

Worship Changes Everything


Darlene Zschech is one of the big names in the Hillsong music group, and if you’re like me and you went through high school youth group singing every single song that Hillsong United has ever put out, you likely already know who I’m talking about.

I’m part of the worship team at my church, and I’ve been involved in music ministry in various capacities since I was about 12.  Or at least, that’s as far back as I remember it.  I may even have been younger.  SO when I saw a book about worship by Darlene Zschech, I was excited.

This book is filled with scripture references about worship — and not just about singing — but about just ascribing to God the worth that He is due.  Why worship?  Because He is worthy.  I expected the references to David, but I didn’t see some of the discussions about Saul or Hosea coming as readily, and it’s been nice to have my eye drawn to places it isn’t normally on this topic.  Zschech takes readers through the most practical way to worship I’ve heard — listen for God.  Lean into God.  Be aware of and in tune with His presence.  After all, that’s what He wants from us, is our worship and our communion with Him.

I’ve enjoyed this book, as it’s a fresh and honest look at what worship looks like when it’s lived out through every moment of every day.  I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

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I received this book through Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest review.  My opinions are my own, and I did enjoy this book.

 

Vendetta


Oh my goodness… if I could give a book a 6 out of 5 star rating, I would.  I was on the edge of my seat from the first chapter in.

Vendetta is a whodunit mystery about a girl who’s been abducted, and the special agent, Nikki Boyd, who gets assigned to the case has a personal history with these types of cases, so it hits close to home.  She has to navigate through her own emotions in order to be the best cop she can, and save the life of the girl who’s been taken. Lisa Harris crafts characters who are easy to love right out of the gate.

I read quickly, but not often, so it typically takes me a week or two to finish a book.  I finished this book in 24 hours because I couldn’t put it down.  I read til about 2 am one night, then got up the next day and read until it was done.  And then I was sad, because it was done.  I did not see the ending coming, and that made me very happy.  There’s not much worse than a predictable mystery.

If you’re looking for an easy read, but a good, suspenseful read, I urge you to give Lisa Harris’s “Vendetta” a try.  In the meantime, I’ll be anxiously awaiting Harris’s next Nikki Boyd book, because I desperately want to follow along with those characters.

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I was provided with a copy of this book through Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to give positive feedback.  I legit just loved this book that much.

Buy it here.  Or here.

 

31 goals


I turned 31 two weeks ago.  It felt just like any other day.  There was no fanfare, no trumpet blowing, no life-changing ‘a-ha!’ moment to signal that another year had come and gone.  Just some loving friends who made sure I wasn’t forgotten, took me out for dinner, went to wander around the local art gallery’s Christmas light display (which was bizarre with no snow…. weird), and then to Starbucks for a gingerbread latte.

It was lovely.

But at dinner, my dear friend Laurel encouraged me to set 31 goals, as I turned 31.  She said it’s something she started doing at around 27, and she’s really enjoyed it.

To me, it seems almost like having to make 31 New Years Resolutions, because my birthday is a mere 3 weeks from the moment when the entire world notices that another year has come and gone, but that’s neither here nor there.  I’ve decided to take Laurel up on her suggestion, and I’ve decided to set 31 goals.

I’ll check back in around this time in 2016 and let you know how I did

  1.  Read 40 books (So far this year I’m at 22 of the 25 book goal I set for 2015.  I think I can pull it off.)
  2. Write every day (summer 2016 — I’m not going to Camp for the first time in 6 years.  I think writing about SOMETHING every day is a solid aspiration).
  3. Be generous.  I’m not limiting this.  I just want to be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit and do what He tells me to with the money and time I’m blessed with — things like helping refugees and caring for the homeless.
  4. Actually use my Instagram account.  I just revamped it yesterday.  Follow me if you’d like: @epicwings84
  5. Love deeply.  Who cares if I get hurt?  Hurts heal, but regret takes longer.
  6. Learn to chord on my mandolin
  7. Learn to chord on my guitar
  8. Keep playing the violin
  9. Not hide my piano in its carry-case/bag, but actually play it every once in a while.
  10. Create a music nook in my basement — because 6, 7, 8, and 9
  11. Watch all the Star Wars movies.  I’ve never done it.  I want to know what they hype is about.
  12. Actually read my Bible.  I haven’t figured out what this looks like yet — whether I start a plan or just read, but I want that to be a Dec. 31-Jan. 1 deal, since I already missed my birthday goal start by 2 weeks.  Details to follow.
  13. de-clutter my home.  It’s so cluttered.  I can’t handle it.  I will be removing clutter, filing clutter, giving away and selling clutter.  And if I manage to pull out enough to clutter to have a sale of some sort, I will donate the proceeds to somewhere important — probably to refugees.  They hurt my heart and I want to help everywhere I can.
  14. pray more — not in a “God, this situation sucks please fix it” kind of way.  In a “I lean into the Spirit because the Spirit is in me, and let’s do life together” kind of way.
  15. Start running again.  This is a tentative, hopeful goal.  I don’t know if I can do it, because I wrecked my ankle a couple years ago.  When I stopped running, I then gained a bunch of weight, which leads me to 16….
  16. Lose 50 pounds.  Or more.  But at least 50.  But healthily.
  17. Eat good food.  Goal # 16 does not have to mean I don’t eat good food.  It means I stop eating sour keys and chips.  Seriously — big vices right there.  I just got a Ninja professional kitchen system for Christmas.  And a veggie Spiralizer for my birthday.  And a sweet frying pan.  I seriously feel like I can make anything.
  18. Learn.  I keep saying “if I were to ever go back to school, I would study….” Well, I’m not going to go back to school.  I haven’t paid off round 1 and 2 yet.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t just learn.
  19. do something adventurous and scary.  I haven’t decided what that is going to be yet.  Time will tell.
  20. Play more — do the things I love even if they seem a little childish and like a waste of time.  Like colouring.  Or playing in the rain.
  21. actually stick to my budget.  At the end of August, I created a spreadsheet that’s been really helping me watch where my money is going.  This needs to continue.
  22. Choose love.  Where I can judge, be snarky, be rude, or even just be apathetic… I must choose love.
  23. Practice my French.  I’m not teaching it anymore, and this is the third year in a row that I haven’t been using it regularly.  I don’t want to lose it.
  24. Drink water.  This sounds so cliche and ridiculous, but it’s something I really, really, really need to do.
  25. Take my vitamins every day lol.  See 24.  Also, I’m running out of goals.
  26. Take time to watch the sun both come up and go back down.  I tend to ignore the sunrises, because I firmly believe I should be sleeping, but they’re a part of the natural process, and their beauty is just as profound.
  27. Install a dog door in my back door so Kloe has freedom this summer — something she’ll miss not going to my Mom’s for 2 months.
  28. Road trip somewhere (in Ontario) that I’ve never been.
  29. Write a song.
  30. eat way, way less refined sugar
  31. Choose joy — life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

 

We’ll chat at the end of 2016 and I’ll let you know what I accomplished.  Do you have any goals?

The Road to Becoming


I’m a touch late with this review.  Whoops!  But it was a book I had to make sure I read!  It was so good that for hours on end I found myself not wanting to put it down.

Jenny Simmons used to be in a Christian band called Addison Road, which was apparently pretty well-known, though I guess maybe I’d switched to Country music by that point?  I didn’t know her story.  I didn’t know who she was.  But her book has changed that.

Jenny Simmons has written a delightfully deep, but also enchantingly funny, and heart-warmingly charming book about her life on the road specifically, but about how that led to being able to find God when she felt completely lost.

She talks about being on a road that she feels is going nowhere (and I know I’ve been there before), about barely being able to function some days, and about total meltdowns in grocery stores.  She shares the revelation (though it shouldn’t be a revelation) that God comes to us and speaks to us when we’re still, when we’re listening quietly, and when we’re tuned in to hear His voice… not when we’re clanging about and wanting Him to scream from mountain tops.

I feel like this book has given me permission to own my grief when things go wrong for me.  Many times, I’ve been in a position similar to Jenny’s, though under different circumstances (which she makes abundantly clear will usually be the case), and have felt through those hard times that no one cared, and that I didn’t have a right to be upset over the loss of _____________.  Whether that was a job, a home, a car, a friendship, a relationship, a pet… whatever.  No one gets to tell me how to grieve, and my ability to grieve the way I need to will let me move on when I need to instead of months or years later.

I would encourage anyone who’s ever felt like they were stumbling around through life, not really knowing the path that lies ahead, to check this book out.  It’s so candidly written, it almost feels like I sat down for coffee with Jenny Simmons and we shared our life stories.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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I received this book in exchange for my honest thoughts as part of a review program from Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in conjunction with Baker Publishing Group.  I was not required to give a positive review (though I can’t say nice enough things!)

Murder at the Courthouse


*post publishing disclaimer:  I’ve tried to get this so the spacing is correct, and it doesn’t seem to matter what I do, it won’t put spaces between my paragraphs.  If you’re seeing this, too, please know I didn’t do it on purpose and I tried to fix it.  Anyway, here’s the book review….

I just finished reading “Murder at the Courthouse” by A. H. Gabhart.  Ann Gabhart has crafted a wonderful mystery here, which will have you guessing throughout the entire novel.

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When Miss Willadean finds a body on the steps of the Courthouse — the body of a stranger, no less — nothing in Hidden Springs will ever be the same.  Everyone tries to come up with a theory for the deputy, Michael Keane, but they’re all as far-fetched as the one before.  The man was a stranger, and no one knew why he was in Hidden Springs or why he ended up dead.
But when more tragedies strike the sleepy town of Hidden Springs, it all gets a little too personal, and the quest to find the killer leads our deputy on a quest for information you won’t see coming.
Well, I thought I saw it coming…. about half way through the book.  But Gabhart did such a great job of casting suspicion in so many places that I second-guessed myself right out of my theory.  It turned out that one of my theories ended up being correct, but I sure won’t tell you which one.  You’ll have to read it.
This book features a crime you don’t envy Deputy Keane for having to solve, as well as excellent character development and back stories — releasing just the right details at just the right times.
If you’re looking for a wholesome and well-written mystery to keep you on your toes, Ann Gabhart has given that for your reading pleasure.
I highly recommend that you pick up a copy today…. though I also recommend that you not start if you have somewhere important to be in the couple hours that follow.  Especially toward the end of the book, it’s gripping and you won’t want to stop.
I received this book as part of a review blogger program with Graf-Martin Communications, in conjunction with Baker Publishing Group, and I was not required to give a positive review.

Duck and Cover


It seems to me that every generation has one…. a ridiculous way to placate the masses that they’re all going to be ok when it seems that everything’s absolutely falling to pieces.

When I was in University, I took a course toward my degree called History of the Cold War.  If memory serves correctly, it covered the years 1940-1970.  The range sounds right… anyway, that’s not the point.  I found the course interesting, despite a professor who lacked the ability to hold the attention of a room full of young History majors.

I don’t remember a lot from the course anymore — it’s been a shockingly long time since I sat in a History lecture.  I do remember one afternoon though, when we walked into class and there was a video on the screen, paused and ready to start once lecture started.  Trust me, you think little kids get excited when they find out they’re watching a movie in class?  So do University students.

Especially movies that are going to have them laughing uncontrollably for 9ish minutes.

We’d been talking about the fear that was pervasive about being bombed.  Air raids were a very real threat, and since the world had fairly recently discovered how to go nuclear, it was even more of a fear-inducing possibility.  People built bomb shelters in their yards and basements, ready to run and lock themselves in lead-lined concrete to hide out nuclear winter at a moment’s notice.

Do you remember doing tornado, lock down, and fire drills when you were a kid in elementary school, so that you knew what to do in case of those emergencies?  I know I did, but if you were a kid in 1950s America, you might also remember Duck and Cover drills.

I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.  Maybe this wasn’t a real thing.  But that day that we got so excited about a movie in a 3rd year university lecture, we were given the impression that kids in 1950s America did Duck and Cover drills.

If you have 9 spare minutes, prepare to chuckle at the absurdity of the idea that ducking under your desk and covering your head would save you from a nuclear warhead dropping on your school.

Duck and Cover

But what we talked about in that lecture that day was the false sense of security that this PSA (Public Service Announcement) could offer to those who were panic-stricken.  What if?!?!?!?!?!!?

I went out for dinner with my Grandparents this evening, and they said they remember being concerned about being bombed, and Grandma said she doesn’t feel like it’s much different from the fear of refugees not being safe to let into our countries.

But what my Grandma and I talked about next is what drove me to write this post.  Governments and politicians are always looking for ways to convince people that they’re going to be ok in the face of conflict.  Without that skill, there would likely be chaos.  What gets said to try to instill that confidence depends on the politician.  Justin Trudeau (my Prime Minister) is saying he wants to bring in 10,000 properly vetted and secured refugees by the end of 2015 and another 15,000 throughout 2016.  Donald Trump (hopefully not the President of the US) is saying we shouldn’t take refugees at all, though he’d consider it if they were Christians………. This from the man who thinks Starbucks should be boycotted because their holiday cups are red this year, and not Christmasy enough.  For the love.  Really?  That’s another post entirely.

In the face of this, my grandmother has gone to Chapters and bought an Arabic-English visual dictionary, so that when her church is able to interact with the refugee family they’re sponsoring, she can try to communicate with them.  Even in the face of uncertainty, because what if?  Instead of ducking and covering, she’s stretching out her hands.

I want to be my Grandma when I grow up.  For real.  Through the whole conversation, I was so encouraged that there are still people in this world who want to be the hands, feet, and face of Jesus.  People who don’t want to slam the doors of the safety of this country closed because some extremists did some terrible, horrible things.

I’m reminded many times daily lately of the passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about feeding the hungry and caring for strangers, those who are sick, and those who are in prison.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 

Now, hear me.  I’m not saying fling the doors wide open, don’t do background checks, and leave the due diligence behind.  I’m not saying that.  I don’t believe that would be wise.

But what I am saying — loudly, and as clearly as I can — is that I refuse to let fear tell me to ignore the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the one needing clothes, the sick, or the imprisoned.  I refuse to let fear tell me that because there are risks, I shouldn’t welcome the chance to help a family of refugees start over.  Would I want the same treatment if I were in their position?  Yes.  Do I believe it’s what I’m called to?  Yes.

Is there reason to be fearful?  Probably.  But because I know I’m a child of the King, and because I know fear is not from God, I can safely acknowledge that God isn’t calling me to fear helping those in need.

Am I going to let fear dictate my actions?

No.  The cost of doing so is far too great this time.

Fear can not win.

This bothers me a latte…..


Alright, Western Christian World, please hear me.

The rest of the Western World thinks we’re insane right now.  INSANE.  Now, I say we very loosely, and ONLY because I know that there are many people out there right now shaking their heads because all the crazy Christians are at it again.  You see, the only interest I have in a Starbucks boycott is one that makes my preferred poison a little cheaper.  I have grown up things to buy, and in September I realized I spent 70.00 at Starbucks, and I freaked out a little.  The only good reason I have for a boycott is that my Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte, Soy, No Whip (with Laura written on the cup) costs $6.38 and that’s just crazy.

Not because the cups are red.

Certainly not because the cups are red.

But a pastor in Arizona has decided that it’s a fight worth fighting.

Let me ask a question:  When did Starbucks begin to define our relationship with Jesus?  Because Starbucks sure doesn’t define mine.  In my world, the only place where Jesus and Starbucks intersect is the place where I want to be able to be generous and helpful with the money I’m blessed with, and I can’t do that very well when I dump $70.00 in 30 days on coffee.  The end.

I typically like to stay out of these discussions — the ones where, as a culture, we seem to get all bent out of shape because someone said Happy Holidays to us instead of Merry Christmas, or because Starbucks didn’t put the appropriate number of Snowflakes and Reindeer on their cups this year.  Or maybe it’s because “O Holy Night” isn’t allowed to be sung as widely as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”  I don’t even care.  None of that gets in the way of my relationship with Jesus.  I’ve never been a “Keep Christ in Christmas” kind of person, because none of it ever will.  Christ has always been in my Christmas, and always will be.

And quite frankly, the fact that Christ is not the focus of Starbucks when they plan their November-December advertising campaigns does not surprise me.  You know what would?  A Nativity Scene on a Starbucks cup.  Because Starbucks is not a Christian organization, claiming to believe in or support the message of Jesus.  For the same reason that I don’t expect my politicians to deliver policies and laws that all line up with Biblical principles, I don’t expect Starbucks to advertise with Jesus in mind.  Not Starbucks, not Wal Mart, not anything.  Not unless somewhere in their mission statement they claim to be believers and supporters of the message of Jesus Christ would I expect advertising to reflect that.

Never mind that by very definition, those out there who are freaking out can’t even seem to figure out how to boycott…. I mean, honestly, go to Starbucks and tell the barista your name is “Merry Christmas” so they’ll have to write that on the cup?  The barista doesn’t care!  He or she makes minimum wage to serve you your coffee.  He is not the one who designed the red cup, nor is she the one who makes marketing decisions.  The very fact that you’re STILL BUYING THE COFFEE makes it not a boycott.

I’ve boycotted a few things in my day.  Starbucks happens to be one of them.  You see, last year, of all the atrocities, Starbucks decided not to run the Egg Nog Latte in Ontario.  I joined the #wewantboth Twitter movement.  I wrote angry emails.  And I never once gave in and bought a Gingerbread Latte.  I was done with Starbucks.  Until, of course, they caved under the #wewantboth pressure and released the egg nog latte in late November, and then I drank like 4 a week until Christmas.  #Confessiontime.

I boycotted Boston Pizza once because they charged me 2.00 for a little cup of mayonnaise for my fries when they wouldn’t have charged me at all if I used a whole bottle of ketchup.  They also didn’t tell me that was going to happen when I asked for it.  Granted, I didn’t like Boston Pizza that much to begin with, so I like to use that as a good reason not to go ever again, but it’s mostly because I just don’t want to.

I also boycotted Subway because the Sandwich Artist wouldn’t give me extra green pepper on my egg salad sub when that was the only vegetable I wanted, and said she’d have to charge me double vegetables.  That lasted until the next time I wanted a sub — and the next time I had a different sandwich artist and she seemed to be ok with me wanting extra green peppers instead of anything else.

All this to say — I’m guilty of boycotting restaurants and establishments for unbelievably stupid reasons.

But boycotting Starbucks because they’re waging a war on Christmas?  That’s absurd.  Donald Trump suggested a Starbucks boycott over it, so…. count me out.

However, Ellen DeGeneres did get in on it, and the result was, as usual, awesome.  If you’re not an Ellen fan, just don’t watch the clip… but… satire at its finest.

I am genuinely concerned that we all look crazy.  Can I wave a “I’m not crazy” flag?  There is one portion of Christians who seem to see a war on Christmas everywhere, and may even genuinely believe that they are being persecuted.  Well…. they’re not.

So if you’re one of the people who believes that Starbucks has personally affronted you in some way this season, please keep reading — because I have compiled a wide variety of sources that show just what people think of us right now.

If you’re one of the people who think that believing in Jesus means I am in with the Starbucks boycott — please understand that for a large, huge, giant number of us… this is not true.  Even Candace Cameron Bure got in on the posting action this morning — to confirm that red Starbucks cups have nothing to do with the Christian worldview of Christmas, and that Starbucks is delicious.

Starbucks War on Christmas?

It’s a red cup, folks.

Until Starbucks puts a baby Jesus or nativity scene on the cup while saying Merry Christmas, then pulls it because they say it’s offensive, let’s talk. I don’t remember Starbucks ever being a Christian company, do you?

A Santa, a snowflake, some holly, a polar bear, some jingle bells or plain red cup don’t define Christmas for me as a Christian. My relationship with Jesus does.

So, I will joyfully sip on my Starbucks coffee, in a plain red cup, and instead of complaining about the lack of decorations, I will lovingly share the good news of Jesus Christ with friends and co-workers or anyone who’s willing to engage in conversation.

Merry Christmas to all!

Just…. don’t we have better things to worry about?


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Another Facebook user (Austin Blood) says:

This morning I saw something on The Today Show that absolutely blew my brain. Apparently Starbucks has redesigned the look of their annual holiday cup and people are up in arms over the change. Like, REALLY up in arms. As in folks are so furious that it’s become national news.

Seriously?

Over a cup?

I guess these stiffs are angry because they feel this year’s cup doesn’t accurately represent the holiday season. Gone are the snowflakes, snowmen, and mistletoe from years past and in their place is a simple red cup with a green Starbucks logo. As a result, Starbucks now stands accused of waging a war on Christmas.

ARE YOU PEOPLE FOR REAL?

We’ve got ISIS planting on bombs on passenger planes, children being sold into sexual slavery, millions of Syrian refugees wondering where their next meal will come from and you folks are screaming about a cup?

If that isn’t absurd, I don’t know what is.

Tell me something…

How does this even begin to compare to the REAL problems we face? Like the single mother who struggles to put food on her table? Or the grief-stricken father who’s losing his son to cancer?

There’s absolutely NO comparison.

And it’s only because your life is so blessed and carefree that you even have the luxury of getting your Rudolph the Reindeer knickers in a twist over something so petty. So Starbucks redesigned their cup with a minimalist theme. So what? It’s not a war on Christmas, an assault on your belief system or an attack on traditional values. It’s a cup. Plain and simple.

So here’s a thought for you…

Instead of trying to change the cup, be thankful you can afford the cup. Trust me, the fact that you’re even standing in line at a Starbucks means your life is pretty damn good. So focus on that instead. Life is way too short to get your panties in a wad over something so petty and insignificant.

So now that we’re clear, won’t you join me for a Starbucks coffee with a side of holiday cheer? I certainly hope so. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your shiny red cup.

All the best,

Austin Blood

and while I don’t like the way words like “you people” are thrown around, I have to say, I agree with everything he said… including the picture he posted with his post. #areyouserious?


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So, all this to say:  I’ve been trying to avoid Starbucks because of the cost, but just to satisfy some innate longing to not fall victim to this madness, I’d like to offer anyone who wants to join me in having a Chestnut Praline Latte this week, for no other reason than they’re delicious.

That’s all.

’til you kiss me quiet


oh, this song….. I sing this song at the top of my lungs in the car every time it comes on.

Have you heard this song?  To me, it means a lot.  I don’t know if this is the song’s intent, but it’s like an anthem for every girl who’s every been told she talks too much, and it gives me hope that some day I’ll find someone who will think it’s adorable, and who will shut me up by kissing me instead of rolling his eyes at me and asking if I ever stop talking.

Check it:

Footnote:  Jess Moskaluke has an unbelievable voice.  This isn’t even going to be a humble brag — just a brag — but I don’t normally find that I struggle to sing along with much that I listen to.  There are only two female artists I can think of in the country market that I really struggle to belt with.  One is Carrie Underwood, and the other is Jess Moskaluke.  Huge respect.

Here are the lyrics.

The Memory Weaver | A Book Review


Most of the time, when I read a book and there are lines in it that really hit me, I either underline them, take pictures of the page with my phone, or stick sticky notes in the book.

This book had so many deep, thought provoking lines in it about how we weave memories together, whether the memories are real or somehow got twisted in our brains as time passed, but ….. I couldn’t write any of them down or do anything about them.

This month got away from me, and in order to finish this book by the appropriate review deadline, I downloaded an audio book version of it so I could listen to it in the 11 hours I’ve spent in my car in the last 5 days.  I could not have read the book that quickly, so I am very thankful this month for a free trial of the Amazon Audible app, which gives you one free audio book and a month’s use for no charge.  If you try it out though, you’ll want to remember to cancel your Audible membership afterward if you don’t intend to keep it, otherwise it’ll be one of those things that slips onto your credit card without your remembering it happened until you get the bill.  I’m not speaking from experience on this particular experience, but it happened to me with Amazon’s PRIME free trial, so…. off I go to cancel my membership, haha.

Disappointment aside that I didn’t get to write down and share some of the stellar quotes about weaving our memories through our consciousness with you, I can tell you that I really enjoyed listening to this book.

I’m not sure that I would have enjoyed reading it, but I guess I’ll never know, now!

Here’s the excerpt:

Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now a mother of two, Eliza faces a new kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her mother’s grave–and returning to the land of her captivity. Haunted by memories and hounded by struggle, Eliza longs to know how her mother dealt with the trauma of their ordeal. As she searches the pages of her mother’s diary, Eliza is stunned to find that her own recollections tell only part of the story.

I love that this was based on a true story — the story of a strong woman fighting to sort out which of her memories of a traumatic past actually happened, and which are the result of twisted details and some imagination.

It was really interesting to me how Jane Kirkpatrick literally wove the memories through the story of Eliza’s present, mixing her past in so well with the current plot timeline.  It was also interesting to me how well edited the book was — making sure that the diary entries from Eliza’s mother were included in just the right places, which gave me as the reader/listener insight into Eliza’s life that Eliza hadn’t gleaned yet.  It was like learning about Eliza as she learned about herself.

I highly recommend this book if you like interesting writing.  The details were vivid, truly painting a picture.  For me, if I’m going to visualize a book, I need those details because my brain will otherwise not bring out a picture.  This is the first book where I’ve been able to picture the setting and the characters in a long time!  I found, too, that the details helped me bond with the characters.

I’m sure that so much thought, research, and time went into the writing of this book, and I have a huge respect for that.

If you’re looking a deep, thought-provoking read, head on over to amazon or your nearest Christian book store and pick this up.  I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Also — can I have the dress that Eliza’s wearing on the front cover of the book?  I know it’s not a real thing…. and I know it’s not in fashion right now, but I’d wear that everywhere…. except when I missed my sweat pants or my flared, intentionally tattered and ripped jeans.  I love 2015 :)

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I received this book as part of the Nuts About Books program with Graf Martin Communications, Inc. in conjunction with Baker Publishing Group, and was not required to give a positive review.