Posts made in May, 2011

Parenting Blog #1: The Paradox of Parenting

Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Family, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Parenting Blog #1: The Paradox of Parenting
After taking some time to think about the CHAOS I’ve endured at work the past month,  I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the parents… Yep, ALL THE PARENTS! This is for the good ones who delight in their children and over-invest themselves at times and the bad ones who just leave the child-rearing to the television until all hell breaks loose and everyone else is to blame…
I’m a young parent, and perhaps you’ve done this longer and better than I have… but, as you probably guessed, I will speak on it anyway. One thing is certain. Parents aren’t teaching respect, kindness, and honesty to their children nor do they observe it in their own lives… and half of teaching is being the example.
If you noticed, I titled this “Parenting Blog #1″ which means there will be more to follow… but for now here are a few guidelines I try to observe when raising my own children and when nurturing my students:
  1. Kids come first, but only some of the time. You do realize that one day they’re going to get up and leave you, right? That’s what they’re supposed to do! So you can’t pour ALL of yourself into them. Of course small children need much more attention, but even they can learn to sit still and talk to God quietly for a few minutes so you can have a few moments of peace. (SB: Yes, God really comes first. And if you’re married, your hubby should be second… yep, he comes before the kiddos even if he acts like one of them. After all, you picked him.)
  2. You know your child best. You carried them, you watched them grow, and over time you were able to identify their gifts and challenges. Play to their strengths and teach them how to overcome their challenges. Perfection is NOT the objective, but excellence is key. My daughter loves to use lots of different colors in her artwork, and while I’d never discourage that, I do want her to stay inside the lines. Am I limiting her creativity? Not at all… I’m teaching her that she can be creative within the boundaries that she’s given. We’re not going to create mess and call it a masterpiece.
  3. You don’t know your child half as much as you think you do. If you’ve ever said “Oh, my child would NEVER do that” chances are your child DID do it and KNEW you wouldn’t believe it. As children grow, they become masterful at manipulation and deceit, but we have to make it hard for them to succeed. You can pour all of your self into them, and they could still disappoint. If someone tells you something unpleasant about your child, consider the source and the possibility before becoming defensive.
  4. Right is right. If your child is right in an ugly situation, defend them.
  5. Wrong is wrong. If your child is wrong in an ugly situation, defend them, then discipline them. The “hell-naw-you’re-not-about-to-embarrass-me-like-that” speech is always a good one.
  6. Divide and conquer. Most situations aren’t black and white. Usually there’s a mixture of feelings, perceptions, and miscommunications involved, BUT it’s our job to help our children sort it all out. Children don’t have all the skills they need to make the right decision every time, but they need to learn them. Start with respect and kindness because they are always RIGHT. 
  7. Life is not a Disney movie. It is my firm belief that Disney screws us all up and makes us think we can do and be anything we want. While that sounds nice and gives us warm fuzzies, I don’t want a doctor who can’t do basic math… and let’s face it, not all of us are good at math. While I enjoy Finding Nemo and Tinkerbell as much as the next mommy (*sarcasm here*), I need to steer my kids in the direction where they are gifted. Most children have many interests, but are only good at a handful of things. Wherever you find their talents and giftings is where your child will be most confident, and confidence brings success.
  8. The other parent can do the job, too. Moms can be so critical of dads. I know I am at times… but when I disagree with something my childrens’ father has done, I talk bad about him to God, then he and I discuss it. (…nasty IM ensuing…) In many ways neither one of us is right or wrong. Just a few days ago, he called to tell me that the five-year old had to write sentences for talking in class. I could hear her sobbing in the background because I had warned her that she would be punished if it happened again. Since it was his weekend, I thanked him for calling and asked him to tell her that I wasn’t mad. Then I told him I felt it would be best that he handle the situation since she was with him. What a big step for me! Normally, I’d threaten to tighten up her behind when she came back home two days later… but what good would that really do? I would forget, she wouldn’t, and then I’d be a pushover. (Note: It’s better to be the bad guy than a pushover.)
  9. Your child is you. You ever look at your kids and wonder if you were as goofy, silly, and obnoxious as they are? The answer is YES! Go ask your parents! My son, at seven, has the same exact fears I had at seven. Briana gets in trouble for talking just like her dad did. It’s undeniable, so be understanding. Consider what your parents did to raise you, and apply it if it worked. Dismiss it if it didn’t.
  10. Be creative, patient, and affectionate in your child-rearing. What more is there to say?
My one little blog won’t change every parents’ approach to raising kids, but I hope that you will at least, being the perfect parent that you are, pass this on to someone else who is less gifted than you. (I will be soooo ticked if someone sends this to me.)
After all, those of us who are a little touched, i.e. krazy, need a little help from time to time.
Your cybersister,
Alana
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Goosebump Christianity

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Being Saved, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Goosebump Christianity

“See that your believing is right, and if it is, you have no reason to doubt.”     -Rees Howells

Welcome to the Belief System Checkpoint. Warning! Your toes will be stepped on. Please remove your Steve Maddens and secure your feet with a pair of steel-toed boots. Go ahead… I’ll wait. Actually I need to find my own because I’m going to need them as much as you.

Now I am not pretending to be a theologist, minister, or even a philosopher. I am simply an imperfect woman who is madly and desperately in love with Jesus. Does that qualify me to make some of the statements I’m about to make? Pretty much, because I’m tired of all the foolishness we do in Jesus’ name that has nothing to do with Him or His Word. Don’t like it? Get your own blog, talk bad about me, and redirect the traffic to me so others can follow me too. (I said all that with a smile.)

I read my Bible pretty often, not always everyday, but at least several times a week. I don’t just read the verses and keep it moving. I meditate on them… talk about it… ask questions… wait for the answers… on and on. Being a critical thinker means I have to verify that the Word someone is teaching me is the truth. Not to mention, God has blessed me with an AWESOME mentor… shoutout to Apostle Demontae… that promptly and sometimes painfully whips me into shape. He’s a very patient man. :)

Over the years I’ve heard some krazy stuff… and the only reason I can think people would say any of it is to give folks goosebumps. I like a good goosebump and spine chill as much as the next person, but is that really evidence that GOD is in it? Too often we get caught up and sensationalize a matter and miss the point. 

So here are my top seven favorite goosebump-giving LIES that have been told to churchfolk that need to be EVICTED from our doctrine…

  1. God knows my heart, so if I do this He’ll forgive me. I’ve said this so many times… and even now I catch myself. But if I’ve done something I shouldn’t have, that means something bad is in my heart. And, yes, God knows that. Does it exonerate me from the consequences? Nope. Does it mean God is tolerable of my sinful nature? Absolutely not! God’s grace is not a license to sin, but it will change our sinful nature to a righteous one. In the meantime, let’s just call sin what it is and repent. There’s provision through repentance, but not through manipulation and deceit. And the heart, above all, is deceitful. Yeah, that’s Bible. 
  2. If you don’t tithe, you’ll lose your job. I heard this when I was church-hunting a few years ago, and I was tempted to stand up and shout “The devil is a liar!” That would’ve been wrong of me, so I waited until things were settled in the service and grabbed my children and our coats and rolled out. What the preacher really meant was that if the people didn’t pay their tithes, he wouldn’t be able to put the four-dollar-per-gallon gas in his Escalade. Other than that, I will refrain from making commentary on tithing other than to say that what I tithe is between me and God. No one needs to know how much I make per year, so that part of the envelope is left ____________. (I just lost a lot of readers.)
  3. The “RAPTURE” in general. I have always been taught that there was a rapture and one day Jesus would crack the sky and all his people would be taken out of here. About three years ago, I heard for the first time that this doctrine is questionable at best. I debated with some folks until they finally helped me understand that the word “rapture” is NOwhere in the Bible. Yes, Jesus will return but we don’t know for certain if that’s before or after the tribulation. The problem with this doctrine is that it makes for lazy Christians. What reason do we have to war against the kingdom of darkness if the Lord is going to show up and zap us out of here in a blink of an eye? Why would he tell us to fight? “Peter, go buy a sword so you can hold it on your big comfy sofa and watch TBN til I come and rescue you from the world the devil’s made a mess of.” Nope… that’s not what He said. Granted, I don’t want to be here when all the water turns to blood either… but if I have to, then I need to be prepared.
  4. You’re not supposed to judge. I hear this so much because, yes, I’m a little judgmental. It seems the only people that know this verse are the people who don’t want to do right. Yeah, I said it! Stop quoting this one Scripture if you don’t believe the rest of Bible. And the Bible does say not to judge or you will bring judgment upon yourself, and, boy, is that true! But the Bible also says that we know each other by the fruits of the spirit that are produced in our lives AND one day we will judge the angels. So for me, I’m careful to pronounce my opinion as to whether a person is right or wrong, but I do speak to their actions. Simply put, some things are wrong, and I’d rather someone tell me and save my soul from hellfire than to turn their head and let me fall. Then there are folks who feel like you’re judging them just simply because you want to do what’s right. That’s THEIR problem!
  5. A prophet’s words will always confirm what God already told you. Again, I was raised to believe this, but the more I grow in the Lord, the more I discover that it isn’t always true. Then again, I’m not getting words from a parking lot prophet. Sometimes when I get a word through a prophet it does confirm what God has told me. Other times it’s something I’ve never even considered. Why would God do that? Because I’m a person that’s imperfect and may miss it unless my mentor tells me… I’m not looking for God to match what I already think and make me feel all gooey inside. I’m listening for guidance and direction to make the right choices in life so I can fulfill His destiny for me. And honestly, if someone tells me what I already know, they’re not much of a prophet anyway. JMHO…
  6. Name it! Claim it! Word of Faith has made this euphemism (in)famous. I grew up in a Word of Faith church. “If you want that car, go put some oil on it. Demand it from the Heavens!” But who are we to demand anything? Jesus didn’t respond to the rich man who demanded He perform a miracle. He responds to those who inquire of Him in sincerity, humility, and faith. When the Lord Himself needed a divine intervention, He gave thanksgiving to the Father Who opened the Heavens, and then Jesus made a request that was within God’s will. I can’t imagine anything stinking more in the nostrils of the Almighty than our self-serving sense of entitlement.
  7. God, give me a sign! Oh, I know… we ALL get weak. I would looooooooove a sign right now, but signs are for nonbelievers. You do believe right? Then walk by faith! Walk in the spirit, not the flesh. He is faithful to direct and guide. Just obey each baby step… (personal rebuke embedded here). You will find confirmation as you go, but there’s no sense in being a Gideon in every life situation. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for asking for a sign. Again, we’re demanding God to appeal to our insecurities when He’s asking us to grow up. If I asked my son to take out the trash, and he didn’t do it but told me he was waiting on a sign to see if I really meant what I’d said… You get my point.

I don’t mean to take your goosebumps away, but bad doctrine is a faith-breaker. If you think that God is one day going to do something that His Word never promised He would do, then you will lose faith in Him. And really, the problem is your (my) belief system. Not God.

Goosebumps are often a by-product of feeling God’s presence, and the only way to guarantee that you feel it more (which is the only thing in this world that is ultimately satisfying) is to obey Him. Sometimes I don’t feel Him right away when I pray for others, but once I start, He’s there. He’s looking for growth and initiative… much like your boss. But God pays better!

So how can we fool-proof our faith? First, read your Bible and meditate on the Word. Second, become Spirit-filled if you haven’t already, and pray in the Spirit if you have. The Holy Spirit will trigger us to seek for truth when you hear something that’s not quite right. Third, trust the Lord to keep you. He is able to keep us from falling.

I know I’ve said a lot, and some of it may have hurt. I’m sorry… really I am. But the wounds of a friend are valuable. I don’t want you going through life believing a bunch of lies, then get to Heaven and see what could have been. No more kraziness, people… only the truth should reign in our hearts.

I’m coming out of krazy, and I’m bringing all the religious, uptight, stiff-necked, blessed and highly-favored, folks with me…. ya’ll pray for me! This might be my most difficult battle yet.

Your cybersister,

Alana
Photo by Glen Van Etten
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How to Shamelessly Catch a Guy at the Gym

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Being Single, Dating & Relationships, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized | 3 comments

How to Shamelessly Catch a Guy at the Gym
After about three months of working out regularly, I’ve taken a few notes on things women do to get a man’s attention. Some of them, as ridiculous as they are, actually work! So, ladies, if you’re looking for a special, health-conscious fella to play with this spring and summer, this is how you MIGHT catch his attention. If all else fails, at least you’ll get a good laugh at yourself.
Individually the steps aren’t so bad, but put them together, and you’re sure to make a fool of yourself…
  1. Wear the tightest, brightest workout clothes possible. To draw attention to your body of course! Whichever parts are more flattering, that’s where you put the color. So, yep, bright pink right across your super booty… that ought to grab some attention as soon as you walk in the door.
  2. Put on perfume… lots of it… in those key spots. If you’re really working out, you’re going to get a little sweaty, but nothing covers that briny scent like a double dose of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue. Believe me… he’ll notice.
  3. Lipgloss and messy bun are a must! Ok… I do this, but for good reason. I don’t go anywhere without lipgloss anyway, and the bun keeps the hair out of my face. But a messy bun will send the message that you’re there to workout, not show off. So you look “focused” but still hot. Plus you’ll need the bun when you get to step 6. Hold your horses… we’ll get there.
  4. Find a treadmill with a tv. I will explain later…. Just do it!
  5. Get on the treadmill and program the incline to the “climb the sky” setting and walk! (There’s no way you’ll get me to run on a treadmill… Have you seen the videos when people fall off? Not cute!) If you’re really working it, hold on to the top of the machine. It makes your waist look super slim… And every so often make sure you add a little jiggle or sway to your hips. You may not be able to look behind you, but I guarantee someone’s watching.
  6. Turn to ESPN and shout strategically at the tv. This is the killer move that is ONLY for women who are serious about snatching up a dude. One of my BFF’s in college discovered that a guy she liked became more interested when he thought she liked sports. She’d watch SportsCenter before visiting him, and then once she was at his house, she’d watch it again with him and scream at the bad calls along with the commentators. Yeah, he bought it. I’m not saying go this far… but if you’ve managed to land on SportsCenter or some game, then pick a side (i.e. choose a color) and yell at the tv. It’s amazing what a strategically-placed grunt can do for piquing a man’s interest.
  7. Every few minutes take down your bun and shake your hair loose. Then quickly twist it back up. Men love hair… especially if it’s real! But whatever you’re working with, shake it out a little. Then, seamlessly twist it back up into your messy bun and keep going. Something about wet, messy hair… (But beware of the sensible woman that may be next to you. She may get tired of your shameless ploys for attention and snatch you and your messy bun off the treadmill.)
  8. When you’re finished your workout, slowly bend over and streeeeeeeeeeeetch. This move is only for the advanced and serious mate-seekers. If a man stops and speaks to you after watching you bend over, ignore him. He’s no good… But yeah, you did get some attention. That’s what you wanted, right?
  9. When you’re finished, take a slow, deep sip of water and let out a big sigh when you’re finished. I actually did this one day when someone kept staring at me. I was trying to ignore him, but the water went the wrong way. I ended up choking on the water and coughing it up onto my white t-shirt. He started talking to me, and of course, I couldn’t talk back. All I could do was cover my wet, white t-shirt and get out fast.
  10. When all else fails, go get on the leg machine that works the inner and outer thighs. Do you really need to ask why?
So, ladies, you see… all you need is a little shameless behavior mixed with your womanly wiles, and you too can make a fool of yourself at the gym. Honestly, any man who is attracted by this behavior will easily be swayed when a more shameless sister comes along. So be careful of the attention you seek.
I’m seriously coming out of this kraziness, and I’m a little bit tickled when I see other women indulge in it. Here’s to hoping for their sanity as well as my own…
Your cybersister,

Alana

P.S. After writing this, I observed the MOST shameless thing I’ve ever seen a woman do! One of the female trainers was working with a gentlemen on a weight machine. I overheard them chatting about tattoos, when she turned around, pulled up the back of her t-shirt, and revealed her *ahem* TRAMP STAMP. She proceeds to ask the man if he can read it, and bends over so he can get a better look. Poor guy… silly lady.

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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