Friday, February 13, 2015

No Grey No Shame

With all of the media frenzy about Fifty Shades of Grey coming out this week, there is a dividing line on my Facebook news feed with those proclaiming "I'm not ashamed, I'll be seeing it" to "You shouldn't watch it and here are 5 links to tell you why" and undoubtedly plenty more lurking in the background who secretly plan to see it or don't plan to see it and don't want to stir up opinions by stating their preference.

So here's the bottom line for me.  Hold on to your hats if you've come here thinking I've got a preachy, Bible filled reason why you shouldn't see the movie.  I read the first book in the series.  I caved to the curiosity the summer it was released when everyone was talking about it.  I have a long standing relationship with romance movies, novels, chick flicks and what my husband calls "woman porn" - all with the same outcome...girl ends up with guy in the end, usually after some type of sexual encounter that makes you feel all ushy, gushy, flushed and dreaming of prince charming to sweep you off your feet and whisk you away forever.  It's true and you know it - women are sucked in often times by the happily ever after notion and unrealistic expectations that it takes to get there. 

I watched a news segment this morning with 5 middle aged women (I'm 41 - I can say middle aged and realize I am included in that group) gushing over the books and movie and all aglow about seeing it together.  One of the newscasters commented - I'm all for letting your freak flag fly as long as no one gets hurt.  The next segment was about the expected rise in sex toy shops for handcuffs and ropes and riding chaps...well...you get the idea. 

Here's what I know about my personal experience with the book.  After reading the first, and a few pages into the second...I felt a nudging of the Holy Spirit reminding me that everything I do should be for the glory of God and that reading those pages, bringing that into mind and more importantly my marriage was not something I needed to be apart of.  I discussed it with my husband, almost in confession of reading the book, not to apologize but to say out loud (claiming it out loud if you will) that I was walking away from the words, mental images and unrealistic notions that reading books like that and watching movies in the same kind bring and instead opting to keep those intimate thoughts, conversations and desires solely for our bedroom between us - within the boundaries of our covenant marriage to each other ONLY.

If you're rolling your eyes, yet still reading on, hang in there with me a few moments longer.  I have watched my share of LMN movies, read my share of trashy romance novels and had plenty of ugly cry moments of "why can't I find a guy like that" and "why doesn't anyone love me that way" as a result of it.  I made a WHOLE BUNCH of bad decisions along the way in my life - giving more of myself up than I should to "get" a guy to like me, or "keep" a guy interested in me and I wish I could take it all back, erase it from my mind and my past...but that's not possible.  But I would love to spare someone the heartache of it all if anything I write here can do that.

Our God loves us so much and His desire in our lives is to be our one true love - unconditional, unwavering and perfect.  Not what you think of when you set out to watch a chick flick or read a romance novel?  Of course not - the world longs for us to follow the ways of the world - desires of the flesh and all of the marketing, purchases and money that can be made from it included.  Yet, filling our minds and hearts with all of those things often ends up in lonely nights, one night stands and poor decisions that lead to heartache.  I learned this the hard way, trying to fill a hole in my life not meant to be filled by Christian Grey or some doofy guy I met and just "knew" he was the right guy for me. 

I am so incredibly blessed to have my husband in my life.  I love him in a ridiculous way and am truly honored to be his wife - and I seriously mean that.  I want to honor him and our marriage by keeping it free from the crap the world says is entertainment, just for fun and harmless.  Ask a wife how harmless pornography, online sex chat rooms and extramarital affairs were in her marriage and I'll bet she won't say it was all for fun and made her feel all happy, loved and desired.  Pornography isn't just x-rated stuff watched by dirty old guys.  The very definition is printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings. 

"Rather than emotional feelings"...many women (myself often included) are driven by feelings...and I'm not saying if you watch this movie you'll go out and have an affair and ruin your life because your husband can't be Christian Grey or whatever hunky guy you've read about in a romance novel.  But why bring it into your life in the first place?  Is it really what you want in your life?  Would you watch it if Jesus Himself were sitting next to you in the theatre?  I certainly know I wouldn't.

Why not guard your mind, your heart, your marriage (even if you aren't married - your future spouse) by keeping those images, those ideas out of your life.  It's amazing how much time we can spend reading, watching tv, checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on and on...but we "don't have time" to read our Bibles?  To be a part of a group Bible study?  Our lives on this earth are so fleeting...but having a relationship with God and growing, learning, changing as He lives in and through us...that has eternal promise.  We will mess up, make poor decisions, do things we know we shouldn't.   But we make choices every day.  Cheeseburger over fruit, watching tv instead of spending that hour on the treadmill, sleeping fifteen more minutes even though it means we will be yelling at everyone in our house to hurry up or we'll be late. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes not.  You won't go to hell for watching the movie, eating a cheeseburger or not exercising.  But we are called as believers to set an example - to rise above the world's craziness and live the way His words call us to.  Just because we CAN do it, doesn't mean we SHOULD (read 1 Corinthians 10 for a good basis for this, especially verses 23-33)  And that folks, is where the rubber hits the road.  You make your decision, I've made mine.  And I'm not ashamed to say - I choose NOT to watch this movie.

If you read this far - bless your heart - it was a long one...but it's been on my heart and I'm throwing it out there. Have questions?  email me (sdmorgan73@gmail.com) I am happy to discuss based on what I know, what I've learned from the Bible and what my husband and I feel is best for our marriage.

Hugs and love from chilly SC,
Stephanie



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Breaking and Failing and Hoping and Praying

NaBloPoMo January 2015
 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Have you ever tried to break a habit and failed? What made it so difficult to break?

Can a habit be something you DON'T do?  If that's the case, I have tried to break quite a few habits and failed.  I excel at NOT eating healthy and exercising, NOT sitting still for devotional and Bible study time, and NOT staying on top of my housework.  Three things on my goal list for this year and three habits I hope to break - i.e. get INto the habit of doing.  The difficulty of all three boils down to commitment.  If it was simply a desire to WANT to do these things, I would be rocking it!  But making time, making it a priority, is where I struggle greatly.  I am trying to finagle my schedule in such a way to build in time for the important things this year and reduce the likelihood for shortage of time to be the reason for not achieving my goals.  It's early in the month yet, but I am encouraged by the realistic goals I've set and really hope and pray that I'll be able to check these things off the list each month and get into some great habits this year!

Blessings,
Stephanie

Monday, January 5, 2015

Habits - which is my worst?

NaBloPoMo January 2015
 
Monday, January 5, 2015    Tell us about your worst habit?

Well, this is a fun Monday morning post!?!  Call yourself out for your worst habit...yay! I have plenty of bad habits.  I used to bite/peel my fingernails, and to be honest in times of great stress, I find myself picking at them even in my forties!  I leave shoes all over the house, kicking them off wherever the mood hits me, and it even drives me crazy, but I still do it.  But I guess those aren't really that big of a deal.  I am going to go out on a limb and say my WORST habit is lack of motivation.  Is that even a habit?  I'm not sure, but it's my blog and I'm am going to go with that.  Laziness might be another word to describe it, but that word doesn't ring quite true because while I have lazy days like many do, I have many productive days as well.  I would say being AND staying motivated is an area I truly struggle with.  After working from home for nearly 18 years with a home daycare and chaos from basically 6:30am to 6:00pm - I spent many evenings overwhelmed with all that had to be done and one tired woman trying to get it done.  I think some of the bad habits started with undiagnosed depression after my parents passed in 1996 and I was simply trying to keep my sister and I afloat.  I was simply SO overwhelemed and then rolled all of that into a bad marriage and trying to finish college and it was just too much for my brain.  I don't want to make excuses, because I really do hate excuses, however, I think I have this underlying feeling of if it can't be perfect, I don't even want to try and then the cycle begins again.  I want to have the motivation to just get it done, and many days  I do.  But there are many day that I just fall short of hours and a little bit o' gumption to finish my to do list.  I am trying to be more task minded and not try to do the whole house, or scrapbooking project or yard work renovation in one day - rather breaking it down in tasks I can complete and have the satisfaction to check something off the list.  So here's to 2015 and checking the small things off the list in hopes of seeing big results in the end.

Blessings to you from SC,
Stephanie

Friday, January 2, 2015

NaBloPoMo January 2015
 
 
Friday, January 2, 2015 Do you usually keep your resolutions?
 Tell us about a time when you were particularly successful.
 
I am pretty sure the only resolutions I've ever kept for the whole year has been in the years I vowed not to make any resolutions at all.  Partially because I set pretty lofty ones that require a WHOLE lotta discipline and that's where I lack greatly.  So therefore I can't post when I was successful as I can't think of when I was.  So how about this - I will share how I am going to do my best to fix that this year!  I have my calendar printed out, my google reminders set and have somewhat of a game plan for the items I mentioned in yesterday's post.

So here's how I hope to be more committed to 2015's resolutions:
I have joined up with NaBloPoMo to blog 5 days a week, my husband and I have discussed our plan to eat healthier in 2015 (working on the menu is yet to be completed), I've selected my Bible study on my phone to start on January 1st and have my journal ready to go for notes and thoughts as I work on my Bible study and prepare for the ladie's group study I co-lead on Tuesday mornings.  I have a tentative plan for cleaning out my house by spring and still not quite sure when new items will go in the Etsy shop - my latest projects are wood signs, so that will probably be the items to add next!

Here's to a successful 2015!

Blessings from SC,
Stephanie

 


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolutions

NaBloPoMo January 2015
 
Thursday, January 1, 2015
What are your resolutions for the new year?  Tell us how you picked them.
 

Resolutions perplex me somewhat...every year, bazillions are made and bazillions are broken, but we do them anyway, right?  Kind of like that Monday morning plan to "eat right starting THIS week" or "work out EVERY day this week"...and by Tuesday we are like nah - I'm not feeling it :)  But I have committed to this blog challenge and have a few resolutions I'd like to try to commit to. If it's written in italics does it count?  I'm not sure, but here goes! 
  1. Blog more - hence the google search and finding the NaBloPoMo challenge!
  2. Healthier lifestyle - we are going to try IVF one more time this year, or we think that's the plan, before I turn 42 in November (my doctor's cutoff age) and I'd like to slim down and walk more, providing for a healthy pregnancy as much as I can.  I won't promise any Biggest Loser results, but 50 pounds would be awesome.  We shall see.
  3. Get my childhood home ready to be put on the market.  It's the year it has to get done.  No more stress over property taxes and cleaning out the mess and mowing the grass and checking the mail...it's just gotta get done.
  4. Add new items to my Etsy shop SmallTownGirlDesign at least twice a month.  I am planning a crafting day every other week to get items made to list, and hope I'll be able to squeeze more days in as the year goes on!  But twice a month is my start goal.  I'd love to do once a week, but that may be ambitious in January, so I'm keeping it realistic.
  5. Bible study and journal regularly - I start off with a plan, but fall off quickly.  I have built this time into my schedule for the new year.  I don't promise daily, but I'm hoping for a few times a week!
I am going to stop at 5.  I probably have more I'll try to do.  But that's a nice round number and it's doable.  Happy New Year to your families from Lake Wylie, SC.  May God bless you all richly!
 
Blessings,
Stephanie

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blog Challenge - Accepted!

NaBloPoMo January 2015
Ok, blogland friends - I have accepted this challenge through NaBloPoMo - you can read about their site here.  It requires me to post Monday through Friday, so we shall see! I have listed the prompts for the month below! Happy New Year everyone!

Blessings,
Stephanie

Thursday, January 1, 2015
What are your resolutions for the new year? Tell us how you picked them.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Do you usually keep your resolutions? Tell us about a time when you were particularly successful.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Tell us about your worst habit?
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Have you ever tried to break a habit and failed? What made it so difficult to break?
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Do you have any good habits that were hard to start but you're happy you worked to build them?
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Tell us about the habit you wished you had. What stops you from trying to build it into your daily life?
Friday, January 9, 2015
Do you think you have more good habits or bad habits?
Monday, January 12, 2015
Do you enjoy repetition, or do you always need change?
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Do you tend to order the same thing at restaurants? Or do you like to jump around the menu?
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Do you need to always find new music, authors, or actors, or do you stick with what you already know you like?
Thursday, January 15, 2015
If you had to read the same book year after year after year, what would it be?
Friday, January 16, 2015
Similar to yesterday, if you had to watch the same movie every single month for the next 10 years, what would it be?
Monday, January 19, 2015
Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." What do you think he meant by this statement?
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Twyla Tharp said that creativity is a habit. Do you agree or disagree?
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Hippocrates famously said: "Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm." Add one more important habit to his list.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Olympic medalist Jim Ryun said: "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." Where do you find the motivation to start a new habit?
Friday, January 23, 2015
Mary Martin said, "Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes." What do you think is the difference?
Monday, January 26, 2015
Do you feel chained or released by your habits?
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Tell us about your morning routine. What is one thing you want to change?
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Tell us about your night routine. What is one thing you could never imagine changing about it?
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Do you think of yourself as a creature of habit or a change monster?
Friday, January 30, 2015
Are you still keeping the resolutions you made at the beginning of the month? Why or why not?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Blues

I love the Christmas season.  I really do.  And usually by now I have the tree up, the porch decorated and a smattering of d├ęcor throughout the house.  This morning I sit with fall decorations just taken down last night, storage tubs still sitting behind the couch and two more floral arrangements and wreath to dismantle and find a home for.  No Christmas in sight.

I have actually bought a few presents already, and the Christmas music has been playing in the car and around the house.  But for some reason, I am just not in the Christmas mood yet.  I am pretty sure it has to do with how overwhelmed I feel at the moment with everything in my life that "needs" to be done with the limited amount of hours I have between now and the end of the year to do them.

I miss my daycare kids and the holiday traditions we had, decorating the tree, making silly crafts for them to give to their parents...I recently saw a reindeer hand we made one year on a Christmas tree picture posted on Instagram and it made me smile, but also a little sad too.  Sad because I want that for our family...a child to have traditions with, to share our story with, pass our history on to. 

Maybe that isn't God's plan for me, or His timing isn't exactly what I had hoped.  This is yet to be seen.  I am just not in the let's decorate it with glitter and bows and pretend it's all okay place today.  Or yesterday. Or last week.  Well, you get the point.

I have been mulling over this passage of scripture from Hebrew 19:13 and following.  Trying to focus on the promises of God to never leave me nor forsake me and work things for His good in my life.  So that's where I leave it for today.  Praying that God's direction and plan for my life will be the forefront this Christmas season.  And everyday beyond that.

The Certainty of God's Promise

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham,[b] having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.