Sunday, January 17, 2010
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Congrats to Amy16323! I will be emailing you for your mailing address so we can get your gift to you!
As a THANK YOU for everyone who entered, Whimsical Wares is offering 25% off any item in their store. Just enter code "WHIMSY" in the comment section & 25% will be refunded through paypal. Thanks to everyone for entering!
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Enter for your chance to win this wonderful VALENTINE'S DAY gift set from Whimsical Wares! Gift set includes 2 travertine tile Valentine's Day custom coasters and 2 hand-etched wine glasses! A great way to celebrate with someone you love!
Here is how you enter--you can have up to 3 entries by following below directions:
1) Visit Whimsical Wares etsy store and view the other items for sale http://www.etsy.com/shop/ruthie5573
2) Leave a reply to this post on my blog with your email address AND one other item that you would like to have from Whimsical Wares store.
3) For a second entry, subscribe to be a FOLLOWER of my blog by clicking on the link at the top right corner of my blog. Leave a 2nd reply saying that you are a follower and you will be entered in the contest a 2nd time--increasing your chance to win!
4) For a 3rd entry, write a post on your blog about this contest & leave another post on my blog with a link to your blog entry.
A winner will be chosen by random number selector program on Sunday, January 17.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Healing Choices: Authentic Friendships
By Rick Warren | Thursday, October 22, 2009 | 2:12 PM EDT
“But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:7-8 NCV).
In Biblical fellowship, we should experience authenticity.
Authentic friendships are more than superficial, surface-level chit-chat. They involve genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing.
These friendships develop when we get honest about who we are and what is happening in our lives. They develop when we share our hurts, reveal our feelings, confess our failures, disclose our doubts, admit our fears, acknowledge our weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer.
Unfortunately, this level of authenticity and intimacy is the exact opposite of what we find in many churches. Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, we often become involved in pretending, role-playing, politicking, superficial politeness, and shallow conversation. We begin to wear masks, keep our guard up, and act as if everything is rosy in our lives. These attitudes are the death of real friendship.
It’s only as we become open about our lives that we experience authentic fellowship. The Bible says, “If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other . . . If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves” (1 John 1:7–8 NCV).
The world thinks intimacy occurs in the dark, but God says it happens in the light. We tend to use darkness to hide our hurts, faults, fears, failures, and flaws. But in God’s light, we can bring them all out into the open and admit who we really are.
Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection, and being hurt again.
Why would anyone take such a risk?
Because it’s the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” (James 5:16 MSG).
Sunday, September 27, 2009
While I love staying in touch with friends and their day-to-day lives, my close friends will continue to be close friends whether or not I am on the Internet. While I furiously surf the web and update my Facebook status, I wonder what I might be missing of greater importance. Like investing further in the lives of the people who share the same house as me--the children who are watching cartoons behind me while I'm trying to find friends from high school on the computer. Or, more importantly, spending time with my husband! My son recently asked me "how come you're always on the computer mom?" Whoa, that's a wake-up call! How often do I tune out the people I love the most and instead choose an empty relationship with online people I don't really know?
Does that mean I will no longer blog or jump onto Facebook? NO! It just means that I'm finding some irony in my choices...and the choices of others. How easy it is for us to think we have deep and meaningful relationships with complete strangers or people whom we've never met in person--all through the internet or email. What a easy place for us to hide--we can be whoever we want to be with people we don't really know, people we don't talk to face-to-face. They don't have to see the yuckiness of our own lives. Yet, on the other hand, I see some some people think it is completely okay to spew their personal relationships and private details all over blogs and Facebook--what are they thinking? What happened to privately seeking help professionally or through true friends verses the public forum of 400 facebook "friends?" I am rambling...but here is the article that is really worth reading...
We still must have human contact
Two girls from Australia were recently trapped in a storm drain. They had a cell phone with them that had a connection. The two girls chose to update their Facebook pages to convey their status as being stuck in a storm drain and in need of help. They never used the cell phone with a connection to actually place a call for help.
Ridiculous, but it raises the question about how social media are changing not only the way we communicate, but what we communicate.
The other day, I was on my Facebook page while at work during my usual post-lunch motivational delay. During that time of day, most posts from at-home parents are about the need for nap times and most posts from those at work are also about the need for nap times. But on this day, one of my Facebook friends, a woman I went to high school with (but was not close to then nor now) put up a string of posts just minutes apart outlining that her husband took their baby and left her. The angst of the posts struck me deeply. Watching her self-worth diminish through her string of comments set off my internal alarms. This woman was not in a good place. She needed help, but her other Facebook friends were responding with superficial responses about getting a drink or a better husband. Only one or two responded they would pray for her. But they were all posts. Given the short timing, I did not get the sense that anyone was calling this person.
I was truly concerned for her well-being and safety. I considered all the options. Did I want to call her? That seemed an intrusion, and, regardless, I did not have a phone number. Did I want to post a serious response on her page? That seemed more of an addition to the problem. Finally, I sent her a private e-mail through Facebook stating I was concerned and giving her a list of area counselors who might be able to meet with her on short notice.
After agonizing about this exchange, her next posts within 30 minutes were the following:
* He’s at his parents
* I’m in carpool line and about to run out of gas. Great.
Someone responded they should get their children together for a playdate. Nothing else was said.
A few days later, a post appeared that she and her husband could get through anything together if they stayed a team. By the end of the whole saga, I was not sure what most horrified me—that Facebook was her chosen medium to announce the breakdown of her marriage, the casual and playful responses of her other Facebook friends, or that the whole incident was treated the same as my post that sneezing while your mascara’s wet makes for a bad start to a day.
Would this woman have really walked into a room of 400 friends and acquaintances and made the same proclamations? Would they have responded like they did online if she had? I don’t think so, I think the safety (and distance) of the computer erases emotions and emotional growth.
It’s easier to text someone you know at a social function than speak to someone you don’t. It’s easier to send back a quick and angry em-mail than to call to resolve a conflict. It’s easier to post a critical comment than to engage in actual conversation. In taking these easy ways out, we are losing the ability to learn how to govern ourselves—both in real public and in public forums like the Internet.
The electronic exchanges fail to establish a set of social norms that translate to in-person contact. Were those same exchanges to take place in real time in front of a group of others, the room reaction would dictate future behavior….
We need to ensure that those coming of age in this instant-messaging era still know how to communicate well and in person. The computer screens and cell phones provide a layer of protection when 'speaking' out and lack of regulating feedback.
Ultimately, I believe in her anguish, my Facebook friend was reaching out for comfort in the only way she knew how. How sad, though, that the first thought for a connection was through the Internet. Electronic hugs have not been invented.
Crying on your computer just makes it wet. Human contact is still a necessity and, perhaps, even more so in this electronic age.
--Abigail Lounsbury Morrow The Birmingham News September 27, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
We have all faced such moments--times when we recognize anew that we are called to a journey that will shape us and change us. The journey has the potential to heal us or harden us. It will harden us if we attempt to do an end run around the desert, valley, or craggy peak where God compels us to walk. It will soften, break, mold, and heal us if we choose to take sorrow and suffering by the hand and walk by faith into the damage of our past, the struggles of the present, and our fears of the future.....
God promises us redemption, but his sacred path leads us away from safety, predictability, and comfort. Any attempt to fly over the dangerous terrain or make a detour to safer ground is doomed because it will not take us to God. Instead, it leads to a host of other idols that can't provide us with the confidence of faith, the dynamic of hope, or the passion of love we so deeply crave.