...welcome to my ramblings...


Be Present

Yesterday I was reminded by a close friend about the importance of telling your loved ones you love them & how important it is to really be present when you are with them. Wow. What wise and important words. We all have crazy busy lives. Some of us may live close to our loved ones, but maybe we don't see them as often as we should or even as often as we'd like. We say we are there for our family & friends, but are we really? Even when they are right in front of us, are we really there, listening, making memories?

Over Thanksgiving, I was blessed to spend time with some of my loved ones, but I was missing a lot of them. Those who I was unable to be with were on my mind. I hope I was present with the ones I was able to see. With technology & the prevalence of smart phones, it is so easy to get sucked out of reality & to not be present with those who are right next to us. I try to remember to not let my phone be my escape, but sometimes it's easy to just virtually join someone else instead of facing the people you are with - for whatever reason.

As I was reflecting on what my friend said, I wondered if I am present enough with the people I see every day, not just with my loved ones, but do I really see the person & hear their replies to my questions about how they are doing? We often ask others how they are, even strangers, but do we really pay attention to their reply? It is so easy to get caught up in our own stuff we have going on - to get preoccupied with the lists of tasks we need to complete - especially during this holiday season. As the year comes to a close, I am going to challenge myself to really be present with everyone I come in contact with...if you know me, you might know that is really hard for me. It's easy for me to be present with those close to me, those I love, but to really be present with every person I come in contact with is very difficult. Maybe it's because I'm somewhat of an introvert, or maybe it's my disdain for drama & conflict, or maybe it's my loathing of small talk - whatever it is, this challenge will not be easy!

Feel free to join me. Also, please give me grace if you are one of the people I come in contact with...it's so hard for me sometimes!

(I realize it's been a little over two years since I've posted any new blog posts...maybe I need to change that...anyone interested in reading more blog posts? I'll try to keep active.)


Someone asked me what I thought about this Starbucks thing...

Honestly, I still can't believe this is a thing. If you would've told me last week, "Hey Steph, by this time next week, there will be a massive group of Christians outraged over the design of a Starbucks cup. They are boycotting Starbucks, claiming Starbucks is waging a war against Christmas." I would not have believed you.

Seriously, when did we get to this place in our Christian faith, where we believe it's our job to constantly be on the defensive? It's my belief that we are to walk side by side everyone, not just fellow Christians, but everyone, and we are to lift them up by loving them, encouraging them, listening to them, engaging with them, sharing joy with them, being there for them in times of sorrow - you know, basically being as much like Christ as humanly possible. Not to constantly battle anyone who may have a slightly different approach to something - even something as simple as a coffee cup design.

Getting back to the coffee cup - to claim that Starbucks is somehow taking Christ out of Christmas is ridiculous. Has Starbucks ever had an image of the manger scene on it's cup? Or even an image of a host of angels singing a proclamation of Jesus birth? Or maybe they've had an image of a star being followed by a group of shepherds? Did I miss it when they had an image of a pregnant Mary riding a donkey? NO! No they've never had any images on their cup refering to the birth of our Savior...which is why Christians celebrate Christmas. Right? In all honesty, this cup is probably the one most reminiscent of Christ. It's red, blood red. Remember how Jesus died on the cross? Remember the blood he shed? Maybe the real problem here is that most Christians have taken Christ out of Christmas. Maybe instead of calling out Starbucks, we need to look inside ourselves and see who we worship. (Talking to myself here, too.)

There's also a group who have chose not to boycott Starbucks, but rather are choosing to lie to the baristas when they tell them their name. I'm guessing this group can't boycott Starbucks, because they have a strong addiction to their Venti Caramel Macchiato. So they believe they are somehow sticking it to Starbucks by still going in to order their favorite beverage, still paying the high coffee prices and raising Starbucks profits, but they are becoming the baristas favorite customers (she said sarcastically), by telling them their name is "Merry Christmas". Some are asking the baristas to draw a Christmas picture on their cups. Really?! Is it not enough for these customers that the baristas are making sure to give them their extra pump, no foam, non fat, soy, extra hot beverage?!

I just cannot believe this is actually a thing.

If you have a problem with a certain company, that's fine, don't give them your business. But when you are a Christian and you make false claims and spread them around so others will do the same as you, what kind of name are you making for Christianity? That name is already tainted enough. Must we continue to make it worse?

Ok...rant done.


Lots of thoughts all jumbled into one post...

So many words flood my mind. So much I can't explain. I don't understand how so many who love God just can't seem to get along?! Why does it have to be "us" & "them"? Why do we have to have all of the "answers"? We don't know the answers. The only answer we really know is God (and some don't even know that...let them learn in - don't force it)! That's it! Plain & simple. The arguing is just silly. It's just ridiculous. It really is just getting in the way of the main thing. We NEED to love one another - that's it! Why do so many play the "game"? Why?? Don't try to make your brother/sister feel guilty. Don't guilt people into making a choice. If you feel guilt, resolve it & then rejoice in it. Joy - that's what we need to shout about! That's what we should be singing about! Can we stop being mopey, guilt-ridden Christians - that's not what it's about!! I don't remember reading sadness & guilt as fruits of the Spirit. I don't recall pompous & arrogant as fruits either??!! Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control --where have they gone?? What is up with our Christianity of today? Seriously, we need to stop pointing fingers & telling others how wrong "they" are & how right "we" are - it's just ugly.
<**gets down off of soapbox**>

Sorry for the rant - I just had to get it out & then felt compelled to post it. Love you all! Thanks for reading!


Proud mommy moment...

I just have to share this:

My boy is so talented & works really hard. It is so great to see final products that make you feel so proud. This totally made me tear up. Love this!  Peggy Sirota & Steve Bauerfeind & Amy Ulrich & everyone at Prettybird productions made this an incredible experience for Aaron. I am so thankful to all of them for helping my boy to feel so comfortable & have so much fun doing what he enjoys. Thanks also to Paloma & Alysa at Paloma Model & Talent. They are amazing & I consider myself blessed to have found them to help us navigate this business.


I'm mad...because he's mad...

     This morning, an hour after we'd dropped Aaron off at school, my 2 year old, Layla said, "I'm mad, mom!  But I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at Aaron." I asked her why she was mad at her brother, he wasn't even here and he hadn't done anything mean to her this morning.  She replied, "I'm mad at Aaron because sometimes he gets mad at me, because I get mad at him, because he gets mad at me..."  I began to realize that she wasn't really mad, she just wanted to pretend to be mad at someone and since he sometimes makes her mad, he was an easy target since he wasn't around to defend himself.

     As I began to think about my daughter and her displaced anger, I thought about how many times we as adults, as people, get angry.  How many times we get angry for unknown reasons. How often we project our hurt and confused emotions onto others as anger. How often we have displaced anger.  So many times in life we hear someone might be angry with us from another person, so instead of talking to the person, we just hold it inside and get angry at them, for being angry at us. Other times we feel like someone is angry with us, so we get angry at them, because we feel if they're angry at us, we have to be angry at them. Or even still, our friend or loved one will talk to us about a person they are angry with and we feel we need to be angry with them too, because if they are angry at our loved one, well then they must be angry at us too!  Oh help us, Lord.

     Please understand that I am not saying anger is bad. Anger is a feeling, like all feelings, we are allowed to feel it and will feel it many times as humans. However, it is just that, an emotion. We feel many different emotions throughout any given day. This is how we were created. The problem lies in holding onto our anger. So often we hold our anger, because we are really hurt and are afraid if we let go of our anger we will end up hurt again. Anger helps us to believe that we are no longer vulnerable and that somehow we are now safe, because we've put up this anger roadblock. But holding onto anger is not ok. Holding onto anger will create a war within our own heart and mind.

     The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9 "Do not let anger upset your spirit, for anger lodges in the bosom of a fool." Ouch...did your read that? Don't let it upset our spirit?! Oh man, that's hard. How many times have you allowed anger to completely change your day, your mood, your spirit? I'd rather not count, thank you. In Ephesians 4:26 it says "'Be angry, but do not be willing to sin." Do not let the sun set over your anger." I've heard the last part of that verse quoted often, but I've rarely heard the first part, "do not be willing to sin." Um, does that mean I can't sit in my anger and plot against whoever has made me angry? I can't just block that person who made me angry out of my life? Life would be so much easier if we could do that, don't you think? If you make me mad, I'll just block you out of my life, hold my anger for you inside and if I ever see you, I'll just completely pretend you don't exist....if only. Thank God He doesn't block me out when I make Him angry!

     As a Christian, I am so glad I don't have to process all of my anger by myself...cause if it were left to me, I wouldn't process it at all!  I'm so thankful that I have a God who is bigger than any of my anger issues.

Wow...that was a lot from just a little statement from my 2 year old. Thanks for reading...


Let's suck it up & get real.

People don't wanna grow. 
People don't like change. 
Growth is change. 
Faced with change we're forced to get real. 
Real can get ugly.
Real can hurt.
Real can be embarrassing.
Real can be hard to swallow.
Real has to happen before growth can happen.
People really wanna grow;
We're just afraid of getting real.


So, I think I had an epiphany...

      I grew up in church. I've been in church my entire life. I'm proud of the heritage I have and I'm very thankful for my parents and their belief to bring up their children in church. I want to bring my children up in the church too. I grew up watching those I love serve in the church. I began serving in church at a young age. I continued serving in church into adulthood. After some time, I became bitter and cynical; I was angry with people in the church. I wanted to know how they could call themselves "christians" yet just sit on the sidelines and watch. How could they come to church and, in my opinion, do nothing?
     I decided to take a break from serving so much. I thought it best to take a step back, maybe visit other churches and just do my own version of sitting back and watching, like those who I had become so angry with - of course, that didn't help much, maybe just put a band-aid on a gaping wound. However, during that time I stepped out of the center of it all, I still desired something more; I still desired God's will for my life and I still do today. That time has made me realize something major; I think I had an epiphany.
    I started to think about the church I had spent most of my life in. All churches have their issues and I'm sure they're all basically caused by the same thing - people. If I think back from the1980's, when my family started attending the church I grew up in, through today, I can pinpoint relationship issues, people issues, that had a detrimental effect on the church as a whole. All of the people within the church may not have all been involved, nor did they always even know there was something going on. As I look back though, I can see people leaving, people getting upset, people getting bitter about something someone said to them or something someone did to them or something someone didn't say to them or something someone didn't do to them, etc. Lots of hurt feeling, lots of emotions, many relationships ruined and many people leaving the church - not just this church, but the church in general. It's sad. I've seen this my whole life, so honestly it's nothing new to me & it's probably not new to you.
     Here's where it gets interesting. I recently had an "aha" moment, an epiphany if you will. Some of you have probably realized this long ago, but please, humor me. What if one of those times people didn't leave the church, or this church? What if instead of getting angry or bitter, we realized that it's not about what someone did or didn't do; what if we realized that all of this drama is caused by the enemy? What if one day we all realized that all along, Satan has been at work, trying to destroy the potential of this church?! What if we realized we are all in this together - really, I mean we all say the words, but what if we really acted as if we are family? Can you imagine how we could squash Satan, instead of letting him continually squash the work of our Lord? 
     I'm going to start looking at people differently. It's hard, but if we just drop our expectations of how we should be treated and just start really loving people - including forgiving and really forgetting - we would be surprised and in awe of the amazing things our Lord has in store for us, as well as for His church.