Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Song of the Daffodil Fairy

The Song of the Daffodil Fairy

I'm everyone's darling: the blackbird and starling
Are shouting about me from blossoming boughs;
For I, the Lent Lily, the Daffy-down-dilly,
Have heard through the country the call to arouse.
The orchids are ringing with voices
The praise of my petticoat, praise of my gown;
The children are playing, and hark! they are saying
That Daffy-down-dilly is come up to town!

~~ By Cicely Mary Barker

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Song of the Dandelion Fairy

I thought this poem was fitting for spring! We can all relate, can't we? :)

The Song of the Dandelion Fairy

Here's the Dandelion's rhyme:
See my leaves with tooth-like edges
Blow my clocks to tell the time;
See me flaunting by the hedges,
In the meadow, in the lane,
Gay and naughty in the garden;
Pull me up---I grow again,
Asking neither leave nor pardon.
Sillies, what are you about
With your spades and hoes of iron?
You can never drive me out---
Me, the dauntless Dandelion!

by Cicely Mary Barker
creator of Flower Fairies

Gossip: Part Four

For the past four days I've been blogging about the topic of gossip.

I've referenced Sheri Rose Shepherd's book, Fit for Excellence, and her the three forms of gossip she discusses: "general gossip", "silent gossip" and "godly gossip".

In this final post on gossip, I'd like to list the five questions Shepherd poses to herself before speaking about others (pg. 137):

1. Why am I sharing this information?
2. Will it hurt someone's reputation?
3. Will it benefit the person listening?
4. Am I willing to let others use my name as a reference?
5. If God were visibly present here with us, would we continue?

If we keep these five questions in mind, we'll most likely never say something negative about someone else. Instead, we'll make an effort to say positive things!

Shepherd leaves us with an important thought to remember: if someone will gossip to you, they'll most likely gossip about you (137)! Let's all make a special effort to lift each other up with kind and encouraging words and leave the judging to the only One who is qualified to judge us: the Lord Jesus.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How I Cleaned My Washing Machine

Let me begin this post by saying that I am under no obligation to endorse the Tide name or brand...I just have a really great experience to share! (And, I want to have the following information put in writing somewhere for future reference!)
Believe it or not, even the appliances we use to cleanse things need their own cleansing now and then. I would have thought that idea was a given but I was laughed at recently by a friend who insisted she'd never heard of actually cleaning a washing machine. Go figure.

So, for quite some time now my washing machine has been super stinky. I always had to make sure and get the clean clothes out of it right away before they began to take on that stinky sock smell.

I've scoured the internet looking for ideas. Several websites mentioned different concoctions of vinegar, lemon juice, bleach and more---a
nd I tried all of them that I found---but none seemed to work. I checked with Heloise but her information wasn't much different from what I found online.

The above-mentioned conversation took place in th
e presence of a third friend who, at the time, informed me that there was an actual product out there called "washing machine cleaner". She encouraged me to look for it at Walmart.

I had been meaning to look for said product for the last several months but kept forgetting. The other day, I decided to check for it online. That's when I discovered Tide Washing Machine Cleaner.

According to the Tide website, our washers get stinked up with all kinds of nasty things like oils from our skin, body and environmental odors, and filthy film from the dirt and grime on our clothes. These things rub along the inside of the washer and then rub onto each load of clothes we wash. The washing machine cleaner is designed to pull up all that nasty stuff, leaving your washer smelling great and free of the smellies.

I finally did go to Walmart and buy a box. It cost me almost $7 and came with three monthly treatments. According to the directions, if one hasn't used the product before then it should be used once a week for three weeks and then every month thereafter. After running a treatment through, I thoroughly scrubbed all surfaces outside the drum with Formula 409 cleaner.

My washer is now sparkling clean and smells so fresh and nice! I think the product was well worth the price and am happy I bought it. The only problem now is the fact that my washer now smells so nice that I don't want to wash anything in it and risk getting it dirty again!

Gossip: Part Three

"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison" ~ James 3:8

For the past couple of days I've been discussing the topic of gossip. In Sheri Rose Shepherd's book, Fit for Excellence, she names three types of gossip: "general gossip", "silent gossip" and "godly gossip". In this post, I will discuss the form of gossip known as "godly gossip".

In my opinion, this is the most detrimental, as well as disgusting, form of gossip. It is with this type of gossip that we can effectively discourage a fellow Christian, help destroy a ministry, or even aid in the eventual turning from the faith by not only the one we are gossiping about, but also the ones we are gossiping to.

"Godly gossip" is when we preface our story with something like, "I'm not really a gossiper but I wanted to tell you this so you can pray" or "we really need to pray for sister so-and-so", and then we proceed to run her reputation into the ground all in the name of "prayer".

I believe this form of gossip disgusts the Lord. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, we are encouraged to "exhort one another and build each other up." In my opinion, the best thing to do when faced with a "godly gossiper" is to politely remind him or her of this truth and then just walk away.

Book Review: Chew On This by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson

My newest weight-loss strategy: read through one of Eric Schlosser's books once every few months.

A few years ago, I happened across a well-traveled copy of Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and was disgusted by his vivid descriptions of the filthy conditions of meat-packing plants, as well as what actually goes in to the food we eat.

In Chew On This, Schlosser manages to not just inform, as well as disgust, the reader of the dangers and filthiness of the meat-packing and fast food industries, but the dangers of soda consumption, and the soda industry's plot to boost their sales to children as well.

While the book was written for the 9-12 age bracket, I think that it is a much more clearly written book as opposed to Fast Food Nation. There are just enough facts to inform the reader, but not so many that it turns a reader off from boredom.

The book is filled with many interesting and surprising facts. For instance, did you know that a Chicken McNugget has more fat per ounce than a burger? How about that fast food places, for years, disguised the fact that their fries were fried in beef fat? How do you think those vegetarians out there took to that revelation?

I guarantee that anyone who reads this book will think twice about stopping off to pick up a quick bite at a fast food restaurant. The time one saves by eating at a joint like that is minuscule compared to the extra years one would live by avoiding it all together!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gossip: Part Two

As 1 Corinthians 15:33 states, "bad company corrupts good character".

In Sheri Rose Shepherd's book, Fit for Excellence, she discusses three different forms of gossip: "general gossip", "silent gossip" and "godly gossip". In this post, I'd like to address the second form, "silent gossip".

This is probably the form of gossip that I have most often and most recently participated in. "Silent gossip" is the type of gossip that we participate in simply by being in the presence of a gossiper. We don't have to say a word; but our refusal to defend the gossipee or walk away from the conversation confirms that our heart is turned toward the gossip and not toward the Lord.

I will admit, I usually feel terribly uncomfortable in this sort of situation but don't want to "hurt anyone's feelings" by walking away in the middle of the conversation. Instead, I find myself giving the gossiper some sort of pat response like, "well, that's too bad" or "hmm...I don't know...". I need to work on being bold and either speak up in defense of the one being talked about or walk away when the conversation begins to turn to gossip.

Like Shepherd points out, if someone will gossip around you, surely they will gossip about you. Be careful little ears what you hear---and, just as importantly, be very careful regarding with whom you choose to spend your time!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gossip: Part One

In Proverbs 18:21 we learn that the power of life and death is in the tongue. With our words we can either build someone up or tear them down.

I thought about this verse last week as I was reading Sheri Rose Shepherd's book of random thoughts, Fit for Excellence. Shepherd describes three types of gossip: "general gossip", "silent gossip" and "godly gossip". Surely, we've all been guilty of at least one of these. I know I've participated in all three forms at one time or another.

In this post, I'll address the first form of gossip: "general gossip". "General gossip", says Shepherd, is the kind of gossip that takes place when we gossip about people, groups or churches that we don't personally know. A perfect example of this kind of gossip is the publicity surrounding "Octo-Mom". Even before this poor woman's entire life history was made international news, many people were forming opinions and stances regarding her situation. My question during this entire spectacle has been, "why is it any of our business?"

No matter how anyone feels about the issues of public assistance, reproductive assistance or single motherhood, the truth is that no one really knows all the details and truths surrounding this woman except for her. Furthermore, why has no one focused on the positive and miraculous in this story? According to all known records, this group of babies has survived the longest of all octuplets ever born! That is something to celebrate!

This kind of "general gossip" has no place in the hearts or the speech of Christians. Forming opinions about people with whom we have neither a personal relationship nor a full knowledge of their situation is judgemental and immature.

As Shepherd states, "Unless we are part of the problem or the solution, our concern should always be to build up the body of Christ, whether we know them personally or not!" (Shepherd, 137).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fit For Excellence! by Sheri Rose Shepherd

I just finished reading this encouraging book tonight and wanted to share a little about it here. I first read it about 4 or 5 years ago after seeing Sheri Rose in person at a women's conference in Western Oregon.

Sheri Rose Shepherd's ministry is to women who are living in bondage to their pasts. She especially focuses on how this bondage affects a woman's health; specifically her weight.

Sheri's book is more than just a weight loss strategy...in fact, you'll find very little that speaks to dieting directly. Instead, Sheri focuses on the emotional ruts women find themselves in which keep them from maintaining their bodies in a way that is pleasing to God.

There is a lot of great information in this book but after reading through it again this second time, I've found that it seems a little disjointed. I think Sheri Rose could have taken about three specific points and written three separate books, addressing each in more detail.

I think most women would find Sheri's story of going from an overweight, drug-addicted teenager to Mrs. USA, very inspiring; however, though Shepherd focuses heavily on spiritual health, I don't feel this book gives the reader a clear plan for physical health. There are many little "snippets" of information thrown in here and there but a separate work focusing mainly on the eating plan would be more beneficial to someone seeking to follow in Shepherd's footsteps.
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