Smooth as a baby’s… well, you know.

Back in January my in-laws treated all their adult children and spouses to a weekend getaway. Part of the weekend was a spa day for the ladies, and I mean to tell you it was one of the best most relaxing experiences I’ve had in awhile.

I picked a facial as my spa treatment that day. Now there’s nothing like a good massage, I agree. But as I’ve gotten older my skin has taken a serious turn into crazy-land, complete with daily flaking and adult acne from time to time. (I mean, seriously. Isn’t it enough that we have to deal with that all through puberty? Why in the world do we have to deal with it again later in life? I shouldn’t have to share Clean & Clear’s Acne Spot Treatment with my 15 year old son.)

clean

Anyway, my esthetician – let’s just call her my spa chick because that word is just too hard to say – was amazing. In just one hour my spa chick took my dried out, scaly, one pimpled skin and made it as soft a newborn baby’s rear end. I was completely amazed at the transformation, and I’m not easily impressed where my face is concerned. She gave me step by step instructions and then recommended a few additions to my skin care regiment (which previously consisted of an Oil of Olay make-up wipe and some moisturizer) that would keep my skin looking and feeling better.

She didn’t make me sign a commitment letter, she didn’t say I had to use only the products they sell, she didn’t force me to practice the daily routine in front of her. My spa chick just provided me with amazing care, and made gentle recommendations knowing I would keep that new glow if I simply listened to her advice and followed her instructions.

You know, Jesus treats us much the same way. He gives us unconditional love and provides instructions for every single life issue that can happen to us. He doesn’t force His way on us, but demonstrates how we should live through His example. Jesus is always there with perfect wisdom and guidance, providing peace and understanding we just can’t get any other way.

The only way to experience that peace and understanding is to get to know Jesus and follow the example he laid out for all of us so many, many years ago.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:22-25)

I’ve been doing everything my spa chick told me to do, and the result has been smoother, pimple-free skin.  Experience God’s love – listen to His advice – then put it into practice for the best possible results every day!

Blessings!
Leigh

 

I Am An “Offensive” Christian

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my new reading binge. In my efforts to become more edumacated (yes, that’s a real Southern word – look it up) I was reading about the attempt of a Christian movie company to raise funds for their project entitled “I Am A Christian.”

This movie chronicles the events of a Sudenese woman who refused to recant her Christianity in the face of a death sentence. Sounds like a pretty interesting movie to me – I mean, how did she do it? What did she endure by taking a stance? How did she live through it?

So the production company Christian Lives Matter attempted to raise money via our ‘ol pal Facebook (which, ironically is one way I distribute my CHRISTIAN blog – at least for now) by creating a promotional ad that read:

“Are you a Christian? We challenge you to change your profile picture to this ‘I Am A Christian’ photo for one week! Change your picture now, and challenge your friends to do the same. Stand up and declare Yes, I Am A Christian!!!”

 I am a Christian

You wanna know Facebook’s response? It is just so precious…

“Your ad wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines for language that is profane, vulgar, threatening or generates high negative feedback. Ads can’t use language that insults, harasses or demeans people, or addresses their age, gender, name, race, physical condition or sexual preference.”

Excuse me?

What, exactly, is so offensive about sharing the Gospel of Jesus with other people? When, exactly, does this supposed harassment take place? Is that before, during or after I share how much God loves a person, forgives all people of all sins and offers everyone who believes in Him a place with our Creator for all eternity? How does posting a picture declaring “I Am A Christian” promote profane, vulgar or threatening feedback? Does that picture insult, harass or demean people? And I simply don’t see how it addresses their age, gender, name, race, physical condition or sexual preference either.

Someone please help me here.

We Christians have felt the heat of persecution rising in this country for quite some time. And many out there in this great land of ours have told us to “hush, y’all” and keep our religion to ourselves. You wanna know something? I’m a little over that, in case you can’t tell.

Yep, it’s pretty dang offensive to try and keep people from burning in hell for all eternity. Really, we Christians should just let people live on in a life of shame, guilt, depression, addiction and filth and just stop trying to save people from satan’s eternal vacation destination known as “Hell’s Lake of Fire.”

What Facebook officials (and sooooo many other people out there) don’t understand is it is EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE to let satan run rough-shod over people and sign them up for a life outside of the love and the grace Jesus Christ offers.

But hey, I’m just a backwards southern momma from the redneck state of Alabama. What do I know?

I know what a difference Jesus has made in my life. I know I’m not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But I know who loves me the most, who laid down his life for me, who forgives me, who is always there for me, who will be waiting on me one day when my time here on this earth is over with outstretched arms and a room prepared just for me. (And on a side note, I’m really hoping my room is full of doughnuts, pasta and cake. Being gluten-free will drive you to pray for really strange things…)

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)

And so excuse me, Facebook if I desire for everyone to know the love, and the forgiveness I’ve experienced. I’m just doing what my Creator, my Savior, my Provider and my Healer has asked me to do. Shame on me for wanting to see life change that only Jesus can provide. And dadgum it I better stop trying to win souls over for Jesus so that they can spend eternity in heaven. Yep, I better stop my offensive living right here and now.

But I won’t. Will you?

Blessings!
Leigh

Locked Out… Again

Last Tuesday I lost an hour of my life that I’ll never get back. My husband was out of town, so I went to his office to pick up a specific package for him that was being delivered. I unlocked the back door, let myself in and put down all the packages that were left by Mr. UPS man. I figured I would go out the front door, so I locked the back door, grabbed the one package I needed and headed for my car. I thought I’d be the good wife and go get his mail before I left, so I set down the one box that I needed, went out the front door, got the mail and headed back in – no, wait – the doorknob isn’t turning – oh, no, no, no tell me I did NOT just lock myself out of my husband’s office!

Oh yes I did. No package. No keys. No phone.

Because where was my phone? In my car.

Which was locked.

Years ago this predicament would have done me in for the rest of the day. But today I chose to laugh out loud at myself (which frightened the lawn guy next door) as I meandered down the street and walked into a local realty company and asked to use their phone to call my dad. Yep, I’m 48 and I had to call my dad to bring the spare key (which is labeled in big black letters on the keychain thanks to the last time my daughter did the same thing. You’d think I would learn.).

And while I was sitting on the porch waiting on my dad, I started thinking about another time I was locked out.

I was at work in Atlanta, and my babysitter was at my house 45 minutes away with my 6 month old baby. I received a frantic call from her saying she had put my daughter in her swing, then went out the back door to give my dog some water. And, yep – the door shut behind her and she was locked out.

OK imagine new momma trying to work with a whole lotta guilt already piled on her back for leaving her baby trying to process the fact that her baby is now IN the house alone (true, she couldn’t actually go anywhere because she was only 6 months old and strapped in a swing) and the babysitter is OUT of the house. I grabbed my purse and keys, screaming something unrecognizable to coworkers as I sprinted to my car in 2” heels. And can I just say, it’s amazing how fast this momma bear got up GA 400 to get to my baby. It wasn’t any 45 minutes, I can promise you that.

And when I got to my house, with no spare key anywhere, looking at my screaming baby (the swing had stopped swinging a long time ago) through the window I did what any momma bear would do.

I found the biggest rock I could find and I smashed in a window.

Window

‘Cause you see nothing – and I mean NOTHING was gonna separate me from my baby. It would take a lot more than some glass to stop me from getting to the one who needed me to hold her, to love her, to soothe her and let her feel the security that momma was there.

Jesus does that for his children, too. He will come to us and rescue us no matter where we are. Nothing can separate us from His love. No sin, not even our past – nothing can ever separate us from the One who loves us the most.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

That is some serious reassurance. So if you’re hesitant, a little unsure of whether Jesus will still love you and be there when you need Him the most, don’t be. He’ll always love you, always come for, even if He has to break a little glass.

Blessings!
Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Out of… Everything

Last Tuesday was the straw that broke this momma’s back. I had to dig through all the travel-sized containers of shampoo, conditioner and lotion from various hotels to find something most people don’t totally run out of:

IMG_3278

Toothpaste.

I mean you can usually squeeze just enough out of any tube to get you by for just one more brushing, but we had been doing that for a couple of days and the last tube looked like it had suffered the fate of being ironed to death. So I scrounged around in the basket and found a tiny tube of toothpaste. Success! Then I got in the shower only to see a travel size bottle of shampoo that my husband had to dig out of the same basket that same morning. Right then and there I thanked Jesus my husband travels with his job and that he occasionally squirrels away some very good smelling travel sized shampoos and tiny tubes of toothpaste.

And then Thursday night my sweet sophomore in college came home for the weekend, opened the pantry and sadly declared, “Wow. It’s really empty in there.”

Tell me something I don’t know, sister.

I haven’t quite mastered the whole working mom thing again. I used to do it full time, and then I did it part time, and then the no working, just mom phase and now the leap back into work mode has me a little – discombobulated.

So what if we don’t have toothpaste or shampoo? Who cares if the pantry isn’t full of Oreos, Ritz crackers and Pringles? And hey – I’ve only totally forgotten to pick up my son once since my job really picked up steam last month.

For an OCD, color-coded calendar, coupon clipping Momma, I’m a little thrown off by all this. I’ve got laundry still sitting in a basket since – well – I can’t remember when I did laundry – and I took a print of my grandmother’s out of a frame to have it framed and the old frame and glass are still sitting where I left them whatever day that was.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME???

I’ll tell you what’s happening – and I’m a little (more than a little) freaked out by this – the lack of toothpaste and shampoo, the full laundry basket and the frame with it’s 50 year old glass sitting in the corner simply isn’t bothering me.

Guess my OCD Club Membership just got revoked.

Going back to work has forced me to prioritize what’s really important and let go of all the rest. It’s a time thing, ‘cause we all know there’s only 24 hours in a day and this momma needs to be in a coma about 8 of those if I’m gonna have any chance of functioning the next day.

One time commitment remains the same, however. I take time every day to worship Jesus, thank Him for the day, commit the day to Him and ask Him to take me where He wants me to go. Some days I have a little more time to spend than others, but I’ve learned (the hard way) that nothing is more important than the time I spend with Jesus. No meeting, no grocery store trip, no school function. Nothing.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

If Jesus made it a priority, so should we.

And with that, I’m gonna hit up the CVS for about 20 large tubes of toothpaste – coupons in hand, of course – and one tiny tube just in case!

Blessings!
Leigh

 

 

Gettin’ Smarter

One of my goals in 2015 is to read more. Doesn’t matter what it is – books, magazines, newspapers – I just thought it was a good goal to set because normally the only time I read anything other than the Southern Savers website to see what is on sale at Publix is when I plow through 2 or 3 books while sitting on the beach over a long weekend.

So I thought I’d try to get smarter and I would read the Wall Street Journal. My college child subscribed to the WSJ last summer to earn bonus points in her econ class (whatever it takes, my friends) and I don’t think any of us ever took it out of the wrapper all summer long.

 wsj

For some reason we’re still getting the WSJ, and thanks to my sister-in-law I learned I could get it online and read it on my iPad. That was a serious A-ha! moment for me, because we OCD types do NOT like any residue left on our fingers from any product, and we particularly don’t like the feeling left over from newspapers and Cheetos.

The upside to reading the WSJ is I’m more informed about world events than I have been in a long time. Want to know what’s up with Greece’s debt? I’m you’re girl. Have a question about Russia systematically taking over the Ukraine? Ask away. Need help understanding net neutrality? Pull up a chair.

But there’s a downside to all of this too, and that is I’ve read way too much about what’s going on in the world, and it ain’t pretty right now. Christians, including children, are being persecuted, beheaded and crucified – yes, that’s right, crucified – at an alarming rate. Facebook now has 58 options when you want to choose your gender (I’m not making that up – look it up). And one of my favorites – the leaders of our government think it’s OK for Iran to gradually build up their abilities to manufacture nuclear weapons. (Has America forgotten Iran’s primary target is Israel?)

So if I think about all that I read for too long, I’d probably never go back out my front door. It’s a scary roller coaster world out there, and we’re all strapped in for the ride.

Sometimes I wonder, “Is this it? Is this the beginning of the end?” and I’m sure throughout history people have wondered the same thing. It’s not for me to figure that out – I ain’t got time for that. My job is to serve and love others so that they will experience Jesus through me and come to know Him as their Lord and Savior before the end comes.

And when I focus on that goal, and not the news of the world, the fear subsides and I can get on with my day knowing I cannot stop ISIS but I can make someone’s day here in Auburn, Alabama a little better.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

It is times like these that Christians can either shrink away in fear, or they can boldly proclaim their faith and through their acts of kindness and service bring hope to a world that so desperately needs it.

When fear starts creeping in we must trust in God’s sovereignty. Nothing is a surprise to Him, nothing catches God off guard. And we should not be surprised about what is going on in the world. We know satan fell from heaven and roams the earth and is the author of evil, lies and chaos.

The world is a dark and scary place, but it doesn’t have to keep anyone gripped in fear, for the God we serve is the beginning and the end, the way, the truth and the life. He will never leave us or forsake us, and there are people around you that need to hear that today.

The world needs you. Be the light of truth and the point of hope for someone today.

Blessings!
Leigh

Helpin’ a Brother Out

I’m writing to all you young mommas out there. Let me clue you in just for a minute. Your sweet, devoted, new daddy of a husband does NOT want to go to the grocery store with you. (You’re welcome, new dads.)

He may say, “Sure, sweetie – I’d love to go to Kroger while Duke is playing basketball,” or “You bet – I’d much rather roam the aisles of Publix with you than see if Rory will make the cut this week,” but he doesn’t really mean those sugary sweet sappy words flowing from his new daddy mouth.

He doesn’t.

Truth be told, he’s agreeing to whatever is on your new momma agenda because he is absolutely terrified of the postpartum hormones surging through your body. He knows the gunpowder keg is full, the fuse is short, and he walks around day after day with a lit match in his hands hoping he doesn’t drop it near your extremely short fuse.

New mommas will argue this point making statements such as, “Aren’t we supposed to do everything together as a new family?” (NO) “Doesn’t he enjoy spending time with me and our new baby?” (NOT AT KROGER) “Don’t you realize he doesn’t care as much about _____________________ (insert favorite sport in the blank) now that we have a baby?” (WHO ARE YOU KIDDING)

Give a brother a break, why don’t you.

You might be wondering what in the world prompted me to write such a post. Now that I’m back to being a working momma, I do the one thing I vowed I’d never do again unless it was absolutely necessary. That one thing would be going to the grocery store on a Saturday.

grocery

Yep, I’ve had to break my own vow and head out to Publix or Kroger on a Saturday morning, and it is there that I see new dad after new dad halfway slumped over a grocery store cart, his head mere inches above his new baby’s spasticly kicking legs, slowly prodding down every aisle after the young momma like a sleepy old dog on a very short leash as she ponders whether to buy pureed sweet potatoes or mashed up peas for that precious new bundle of joy in the cart.

I’m not sure why young mommas (or any age mommas – or any woman at all for that matter) want their significant other on a grocery store run with them. I’ll do just about anything to go by myself because having my husband go with me is like having an out of control appendage to keep up with while I’m there. It’s attached, and I should be in control of it, but it goes wherever it wants and picks up items not on the OGL – the Official Grocery List. (“Where’d he go? Where’s the cart? Why are you at the other end of the aisle? No we are not getting that – because it’s not on sale and I don’t have a coupon, that’s why…”) It’s not fun to go with me. I’m on a mission and I’m a real, “Nope. Not in the grocery budget” kind of buzz killer, not unless it’s a buy one get one or I’ve got $1.00 off coupon in my purse.

I know, I know – what in the world does this have to do with Jesus? Not a lot, really. Not a lot except I’m a little older (ok a lot older), a little wiser than most (not all) new mommas, and I’ve learned some things along the way that I think would help new mommas out, like don’t make your new daddy husband go to the grocery store with you (or make his experience so painful he’ll never ask to go with you again).

We all need people in our lives to give us some perspective, to help us see things we don’t see in our own lives. We need older, wiser people in out lives to give us sound wisdom and guidance so that we take as few wrong turns as possible along the way.

The book of Proverbs is full of verses on wisdom. “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,” (Proverbs 13:1) “…but wisdom is found in those who take advice,” (13:10) “He who walks with the wise grows wise.” (13:20)

I’m blessed to have both my parents still living, still married to each other, and they live on the street behind me. Many would say I’m spoiled, and I’m not arguing that point. It’s been very easy for me to ask one of them, “What would you do?” and get a pretty solid answer, anything from “Do you think she has colic?” to “Which fridge should we buy?” to “How did y’all pay for college and still have money leftover to eat?”

Maybe your parents don’t live close by. Or maybe they do but their advice ain’t the greatest. My suggestion is to seek out older members of your church – ones who have been around the block a time or two and have weathered a few storms, and ask them your “What would you do” questions. Their wisdom may just save you from making a mistake – silly or devastating.

And I’ll see all you new mommas – WITHOUT the new daddies – at Publix next Saturday!

Blessings!
Leigh