So… I saw Bad Moms, and I laughed.

In case you don’t have any clue what movie I am talking about, here is a promo shot:

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First, I’d like to admit right out of the gate I didn’t walk into this movie with naive expectations.  The trailers gave a pretty good indication that there would be some inappropriate humor.  Second, I am not planning on giving away any spoilers.  There were definitely some parts I thought the movie could have lived without, not only for the story line but even in the presentation.  Sometimes it could go too far.  Third, there were some parts of this that were REALLY unrealistic when you are talking about any group of moms.  Lastly, there were also a LOT of truths.

Overall, I laughed and I laughed hard.  At one point I laughed so hard (as I was taking a sip from my straw) that I pushed air through the straw, which caused a small tidal wave in my cup, and that resulted in my drink landing in my eyes.  Which just caused a whole other fit of laughter for myself and those sitting around me.  I laughed until I cried and my stomach hurt.  Yet, there were some moments that I nodded in solidarity.  There were moments that were uncomfortable.  And, yes… as I said before totally unnecessary.

What I want to write about (and I’m up for conversation too) is WHY a movie like this not only resonated with moms but was drawing us in like moths to a flame.

My first thought is probably the most obvious, there is an enormous amount of pressure on moms to be it all, do it all, and do so perfectly.  Whether it is the perfect birthday party, bento box lunches, or simply making it to every school and sport activity… we feel the pressure.  We notice so much of what is around us, like the mom who has the perfect hair and make up in the parent pick up line… when we were struggling to get out of the house with a bra under our pajama shirt.  We see the kids with the perfectly styled hair, accessories, and sparkling white sneakers…. and we just spent the last 40 minutes looking for eyeglasses or a belt.  Other moms dropping their kids off early, and we are 10 minutes late because we had to go back home and pick up the flute that was left behind… or because our darling child took 15 minutes to brush her teeth.

How do these moms do it?  We cast shade in their direction, but really we are asking ourselves… why can’t I do it?

I think there are a number of moms who have run the scenario through their head of just saying no.  No to the requests by the husband, kids, school, coaches, etc.  An opportunity to just walk away from the pressure and enjoy life again.  To make the choice of not being the perfect mom anymore, and instead be the bad mom.

This brings me to my second thought, as you watch the trailers you see a group of women having fun. We are not talking bunko party fundraiser fun, but the kind of fun we had as teenagers  and young single adults.  The fun we had when we didn’t care what others thought, where it was ok to be silly, and there was an expected freedom in the general knowledge we were going to make mistakes and bad choices.  It takes us back to a time when we didn’t have to be an adult, and could just let loose and be free.

With motherhood came some sort of unwritten code of conduct, that we couldn’t be silly anymore.  We began to take everything too seriously, including ourselves.  Let’s face it, books and the advice of television “experts” reinforced this.  Reminding us over and over again that it was time to grow up, put away childish things, and get our heads out of the clouds.  As we did this, many of us sent fun sailing away for good.  We stopped smiling, we stopped laughing, and we stopped being silly.

The movie Bad Moms called out to that free spirit inside of us, that desperately wanted to laugh… and laugh hard.  So, it pulls out all the stops.  The women let loose in a way we couldn’t, and we live vicariously through them.  They say the things that roll through our minds & do the things we secretly wished we could.  (Ok, maybe not all of the things they say and do, but you get the point).

I also believe this appeals to Christian women so deeply because of the bar that is set for our expected behavior.  If other moms are feeling the pressure to be perfect in their every day life, Christian moms understand the additional expectations put on the Christian mom.  To have perfect children that love Jesus, quote the bible, volunteer with the elderly, and gladly donate all their birthday money to the missions fund.  To be women who are serious about the study of the Lord, leading small groups, inviting women over to mentor and pray together, to dress in simple clothes, and be ever diligent in our choices of entertainment.  There is a pressure that all of our time should be so seriously focused on Christ, that we can’t let loose and laugh until our sides hurt.

Confession… I saw the movie on opening night.  It’s taken me almost a month to admit I saw it, because frankly… I expected to be judged for it.  I was worried about what my church friends, my readers that look to me for wisdom, the women or leaders who are reading through my blog trying to decide if I would be the right speaker for their next women’s event… what would these people think of me?

I learned something from the movie though… my eyes were opened to how long it had been since I had laughed so much and so hard.  I realized how seriously I take myself and made the decision not to.  I embraced that silliness is okay and even healthy for my kids to see.  I made the decision that I wanted to laugh more, but with those whom I am the closest to… not a theater full of strangers.  I want that girl posse who has my back, in the most biblical way possible… and who will be silly with me.  Women who know how to laugh, smile, and stop trying to be something that is impossible to attain… perfect.

All of those parts of the movie that I thought were unnecessary, they don’t have to be part of my life.  But the good stuff… I welcome it.  We are all GOOD MOMS despite our imperfections and the times we muck things up… because we are LOVING MOMS.  In the end that is what matters.  The Lord didn’t call us to a life of misery, but of fulfillment and joy as mothers… and laughter.  So much laughter.

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Song of Songs – Talk About an Earworm!

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Yesterday evening, I completed Song of Songs.   Talk about an earworm!  I can’t get these words out of my mind.  Whew, that is some steamy stuff.  As Dr. Juli Slattery pointed out at an Authentic Intimacy event…. Proverbs 31 Woman has nothing on the Bride from Song of Songs!  This Shulammite Bride is a hot mama, who is hot for her hubby…. and vice versa.

These scriptures are beautifully written illustrations of their love, affection, devotion, and desire for each other.  It was also quite revealing to the fact that many of us as wives are no different than she is.  When we first meet “our man” we see all the dazzling things about him, and we fall head over heels.  Then, we get married and it’s exciting and new.  But there comes a point where we are just “too tired” and “too burdened” by our daily lives that we just can’t… we are not interested.  We send this man away, and unfortunately even if we recognize our mistake… it may be too late.  But not always… we can rekindle those feelings for him.  We can seek him, reconcile to him, and restore the relationship to what it once was… and even better.

Last week, in an entirely unplanned but related sermon topic, my Pastor said that when counseling couples… when he can get them to start talking about what first drew them to each other, he can see their body language change.  The folded arms will drop, the sour faces disappear, the distance between them will close, and they soften to each other.  However the point is not to restore the relationship to just before things went south.  Instead, it is to reconcile them both into a place where they want something even better.

I’ll be honest, there were definitely moments throughout the reading where I felt the sting of conviction.  I have had my moments where I turned my husband away.  Probably more than I realize, and without a doubt more than I’d like to admit.  If you asked us how many times, truthfully my husband’s account would stand more accurate than my own.  It is really easy to justify the why nots…. too tired from a long day, too stressed out from rearing the kids, etc.  Even the Shulammite Bride had her excuse, she had already gotten herself ready for bed.

This is not to say that there are not times that we legitimately have reason.  It is also not to say that this gives a man (even our husband) an excuse to not respect our wishes.  In Song of Solomon her hot hubby didn’t pressure her… or force himself on her.  He didn’t make her feel bad, or less than a woman for it.  Her regret for turning him away was from within her and not out of a sense of duty unfulfilled… but deep love for him.  She felt so bad, she went off to find him and was broken when she couldn’t.

I’ve felt that way before too.

What is interesting about this for me, is that when she does find him… it’s an immediate reconnection.  He doesn’t hold it against her, but instead affirms his love for her.

Now think about all of this in our intimate relationship with God.

We are drawn to Him.  We love Him.  We desire Him in our lives.  We boast to others about Him.

But do we not make excuses for why we couldn’t go to church, pray, or read His word?  Too busy?  Too tired?  It’s too late… or too early.  Not enough time?  Too many places to go?  Too many distractions to tend to?

Then, we recognize our mistake and we run after Him.  When we are reconciled to Him, God doesn’t hold it against us.  He welcomes us back into His arms and loves us. God is only as far away as we want Him to be.

On the Bookshelf, 2016

2015 is coming to a close, and if you’ve learned anything about me thus far… I like to read.  So, in case you are still contemplating your 2016 reading list… here is a sneak peak at mine.  There is a combination of books, including ones I think deserve a re-read.

I’m sure I will be adding some things to the stack as 2016 progresses, but it is a start.  HA!

For what it is worth, none of these are advertisements or sponsored suggestions.  They are not affiliate links, so I am not making any money off the recommendations. books2016

Since I am completing my Bachelors in Divinity, and I know that I will be continuing in ministry of some sort, I really wanted to take a look into the functioning of the church as a whole.

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I also got my hands on a book I’ve been wanting to read on Women’s Ministry and material that may prove to be a good resource for beginning a discipling program.

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I’m also going to be revisiting two books I’ve already read.  Mere Christianity is a text I read earlier in my walk, and I’d like to read it from new more mature eyes.  Authentic Intimacy is coming to my town in January and I want to stay acquainted with the materials as I promote it with churches, leaders, and women I encounter.25qbooks merextian

I’ve definitely been focused on my personal relationship to God, especially now in a light of transition.  I know that God has something in mind, and sometimes I get a bit afraid.  Afraid of what He is going to ask of me, afraid I am not worthy of the calling, afraid I will fail, etc.  I’m looking forward to these 3 books (and yes, 1 doesn’t come out until Feb 2016… don’t covet they neighbor’s books. )  Technically I read one of the books already, but I actually want to take my time and go through it again.

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After reading Don Whitney’s Praying the Bible, I want to explore my prayer life more.  I also have a heart for revival, and realized that in all of the past stories I have heard about revivals… they all started with a prayer group starting somewhere.  Prayer is a powerful tool in the belt of a Christian.  I long to understand how to use it to the fullest capacity.

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I am daily studying the scriptures directly, and I firmly stand on that being the primary way to study scripture.  However, I have always found blessing in other resources.  Two that I have heard great things about have made it to my list this year.  I’m not sure if I will attempt these on my own, or put together a study group (as of right now I already lead a Women of the Word study), I guess I need to pray about that.

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The other thing that is big on my agenda for 2016 is getting a better grip on my health, which I have known means reigning in my diet.  Having an autoimmune based thyroid condition means that I am constantly fighting against my own body.  It’s been a hit or miss on what works best for me, and I’ve been blessed to find an amazing doctor this year who helped me on the medication and supplement end.  Recently I was introduced to a plan by a friend, and I’ve heard good things from others with my condition.  So, I’m going to give it a try.  I bought the book & a cookbook.

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And to cap it off, I got another cookbook.  One thing most people don’t know about me is that I read cookbooks just like I would a novel.  I love them.  In fact I had so many cookbooks at one point, I had to pair down.  One of my favorite cookbooks was the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook, which is all about bread.  Great… but when the doctor tells you that you need to be gluten free… bread is a no-no.  Boooo.  Well, it turns out the authors came out with a NEW version that includes GLUTEN FREE recipes.  WOOOOOOO.   Merry Christmas to me.  If the gluten free recipes are anything like the original recipes, you’ll find me comatose in the corner … bread crumbs strewn about.

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So… what books are on your 2016 reading list?  Use the comment section to recommend something you read this year, that I MUST read.  Link to your blog with your 2015 or 2016 reading list.  Or, share which of the books I recommended jumped out at you as one you’d like to read.  Join the conversation, and let’s fill the bookshelves!  And you never know… there may be a drawing or two in the works!

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#Write31Days – Post 19 – Surprise, Surprise!

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We all love surprises, well the good ones anyway.  It’s the long distance friend who shows up on your porch as a surprise.   Or, the flowers that your husband sends for no other reason than to let you know he was thinking of you.  For the woman who long gave up on trying to have a baby, the positive sign on a little plastic stick is the surprise of a lifetime.  Surprises come in all sizes, shapes, and reasons.

Not all surprises are welcome.

Being fired from your job is not the surprise you wanted this morning.  An unexpected death is the surprise that can change the life you had always anticipated.    Child Services knocking at your door because a neighbor saw your kids playing outside unsupervised, definitely not part of your plan for the day.  The phone call that your annual exam came back positive, and you need to see a specialist… not the surprise you want to share with your family.

Life is a roller coaster ride.  We have good days and bad.  There are days that go as planned, and others that couldn’t be further from how you imagined they would turn out.  Our lives can be changed and uprooted in the blink of an eye.   Not every phone call brings exciting news; nor does every piece of mail or email that comes your way.

It is easy to allow our thoughts to dwell on these negative circumstances, and forget all of the good the Lord has gifted to us.  Life is full of surprises, but the Lord is not.  He is constant, unchanging, unrelenting, and unmoved by whatever the world throws at us.  He has seen it coming, His Word has prepared us for how to respond, and He will be there to comfort us through the process.  In the end, He will be glorified… regardless of what it is the world surprised us with.

We are told….

Love your enemies.

Be of good cheer.

Live at peace with others.

Do not worry, or be anxious.

Do not be afraid.

Rejoice, always.

Think about whatever is lovely, pure, just, honorable, commendable.

Do not seek revenge, pursue love.

God wants us to respond in all things, in a way that honors Him.  Which means we respond with love, faith, trust, hope… we are to have a positive attitude, thankful in every circumstance.

This doesn’t mean we enjoy whatever obstacle or unwelcome surprise comes our way.  It means that we find our joy in the Lord, trust that He is working out a good thing, have faith that He will carry us through it, and are secure in our hope that He will be glorified in the end.   In spite of our circumstances, no matter how difficult they are, we respond with a positive attitude that reflects our assurance in God.  It is one of the ways that we show that we are not conformed to this world, but are different because of Him.  Our response is our light in a dark and dreary place.

We know that surprises will happen, because man is unpredictable.  We may not know when it is coming, or what it will look like… but we know that unexpected things are going to happen.  We can prepare for them by learning more of God’s Word, thus we will be better equipped in how we respond to whatever surprises come our way.

giveaway

For the rest of October, I will be giving away FIVE COPIES of Authentic Intimacy’s newest book, authored by Dr. Juli Slattery

25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask About Love, Sex, and Intimacy.

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You will receive ONE entry for each of the following ACTIONS:

  • Comment on ANY of my #WRITE31DAYS posts from the month of October
  • Retweet ANY of my #WRITE31DAYS tweets from the month of October.
  • Comment on ANY of my Instagram photos for the #WRITE31DAYS challenge, from the month of October.
  • Comment on ANY Facebook post related to my #WRITE31DAYS posts, from the month of October.

That’s it!  You get one entry for every action, the more you do… the more chances you get to win.

One copy per winner, thus FIVE winners will be chosen.

All comments and retweets must be in by MIDNIGHT EST October 31, 2015.

Winner will be announced on November 5th, 2015

#Write31Days – Post 3 – Tackling the Taboo

25questions5For too long we have avoided really talking about sex in the church.  And, I’m not talking about the youth group.  I am talking about a Sunday morning sermon (or series) that really dives into the topic.  It’s taboo. 

Some churches may find it to be inappropriate to talk about.  Or, that the people in their church do not need to address the subject.  They may even feel like it isn’t that big of a problem in the first place to spend time on the question.

Then we wonder why we have more people (not just teens) having sex without marriage.  We stand firm and address the topic of abortion, without ever addressing the subject that brings a person to the abortion clinic in the first place.  Sex.

In a time when we have children growing up in single parent homes…

In a time when films and television have stopped implying and now show sex scenes…

When songs on the radio have explicit lyrics and music videos are graphic…

When you can’t even pass through the check out line at the grocery store without knowing about other people’s sex lives…

In a time when we have immediate access to any type of pornography, at the click of a button…

IS IT NO WONDER THAT OUR COMMUNITY IS CONFUSED!

As a child of divorce, my mother has been single the majority of my life.  My grand parents were separated.  I literally had no example of what a solid Christian Marriage looked like.  I had no concept of what a healthy sex life looked like in the confines of that marriage.  It’s something that has had a direct impact on my own marriage.  I am navigating unfamiliar waters.  What I learned about marriage, was what I saw on TV from the old generation shows like Leave it to Beaver and The Cosby Show.  Ask yourself, for kids today… what do the TV shows and movies they watch tell them about the reality of a healthy sex life in the confines of marriage?   Because, I can assure you if they are not seeing it modeled in their home… movies and TV become their reference material.

In addition we spend so much time telling teens not to, shaming sex before marriage… that when they enter into marriage they have no clue what is permissible within their marriage.  We have presented a polarization of sex to our kids and young adults that is hard to navigate.  There is so much sexual dysfunction in our world, and in the church, that we don’t know where to even begin.  If our Pastors are not answering the questions, we turn to ….  ?

Authentic Intimacy  is a ministry that has answered the call.  With their previous publication they have stepped right into the ring with the subject others are trying avoid.  This week their newest book, 25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask, releases and I’ve had the opportunity to get a sneak peak.

To book covers questions like:

Can I Be Single and Sexual?

Is It Wrong to Like Sex?

Why do Guys Care So Much About Sex?

How Do I Get Past My Shame?

It also addresses porn, masturbation, homosexuality, trust after betrayal, and so much more.  These are the questions that Dr. Juli Slattery gets asked the most often by women all over the world.  They are questions we all have or have had.

For those of us who are parents, this gives an insight into the questions that are rolling around the minds of our teens and young adults.  Questions they may be afraid to ask us, or we may be afaid to bring up.

With so much sexual dysfunction in the world, we can’t ignore the topic anymore.  We need to break down the walls, stop avoiding the subject, and really dig into what healthy sexuality is from a biblical perspective.

Today, author Dr. Juli’s podcast Java with Juli  has a great introduction to the what and why behind the book, and some other incentives you will not want to miss out on, just click the link below:

25 Questions Book with Dr. Juli Slattery

Authentic Intimacy will also be in Port Saint Lucie Florida, January 30th for a special one day conference!   Just click on the photo for more information!!!

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#25QuestionsBook – Chapter 3

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October 6th, Dr. Juli Slattery’s newest book 25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask about Love, Sex and Intimacy will be available for sale.

We all have questions, especially Christians on what is and isn’t ok or permissible.  The church as a whole hasn’t done the best job in answering those questions.  Talking sex in the sanctuary is still taboo in many churches.

That doesn’t stop the questions from entering our minds.  The internet makes a tempting place then to look for the answers.  But, what does God’s Word say on the subject.  Dr. Juli Slattery dives right into the top 25 questions she gets asked and answers them from a biblical standpoint.

This book is written for the single and the married woman alike.  A safe place to get sound counsel on those questions you may just be afraid to ask.

I’ll be sharing more about this book in the coming days!

25 Questions About Sex – A Long Overdue Book.

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I am really, really excited about this book.

The subject of sex is still pretty taboo in most churches.  Sure, it might be addressed by the youth Pastor… who reminds our kids NOT to do it yet.  It may even be addressed occasionally during a Women’s Conference or brunch,  where we are reminded we shouldn’t use it as a weapon.  Or, we may be instructed on how to get our grove back after kids.

But, is that really all we need to know?

NO!

There is so very much more, but we might be afraid to ask our Pastors.

They may be intimidated (or embarrassed) to bring it up on their own.

This leaves women (who make up 55-65% of our church bodies) in the dark about what a healthy sexual relationship is like, within the confines of a godly marriage.

Dr. Juli Slattery is going to dig right into 25 Questions that may be hard to ask, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking about them.

I am excited to be a part of a team of women who are going to be exploring this book, sharing our thoughts about it, and launching this book into the hands of women across the globe.

So, check back in soon… as we start this journey together.

“Our sexual questions shouldn’t be relegated to dark rooms and lonely nights. They need to be spoken and explored, holding up the Word of God as the standard of truth.”

#25QuestionsBook