Friday, March 30, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - I Saw It!


 Ok, I have to admit that I have been affected by the Hunger Games addiction.  I love these books.  I first read them (OK I actually listened to the audiobooks) last year after I got my iPod Nano.  I loved them.  They were not only well written, but were very intriguing.  They made me think about reality TV shows.  

I will admit that I watch a lot of TV.  In fact, growing up I watched a lot of TV as well.  However in the last 10 years I have been seeing reality TV take over regular TV.  Growing up and into my twenties sitcoms were what people watched, now it seems that people want to watch other people make fools of themselves or try to "Out Wit, Out Last, and Out Play" each other in various game shows.  I admit I watch some of these shows and get tired of seeing people whine about their "glamorous" lives, false marriages and where to dry their wigs.   I don't need to see how supposed "Housewives" are earning a living or spending copious amounts of money on shoes (I can watch myself do that if given a chance).    Unfortunately, reality shows are cheaper to produce than sitcoms, they don't require actual actors or writers.  Unfortunately, we are actually watching these shows.  

The people from these shows are now becoming the new stars (think Kardashians or Kate plus).   They are the news makers in the actual news not just the tabloids.  These are the people our children are growing up imitating.  This scares me.  Especially upon thinking about the Hunger Games.  When do we get to a place where image is more important than integrity and hard work?  When do we get to the point that it's OK to watch people dying on TV for enjoyment?  When do we get to the point where the game shows we watch become actual killing games (that quote from Survivor would take a new meaning)?

I am not writing this in judgment of anyone.  I have actually watched many of these shows at one time or another.  But the Hunger Games have made me question what I am watching and am I watching for enjoyment (The Amazing Race) or shock factor (Survivor/Keeping Up with the Khardashians? Am I watching because I might learn something (Pawn Stars) or because someone might say something stupid (remember Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica)?   Is this something that I could let my kids watch or would let my kids watch?  

I did a blog post on this subject a few years ago called "Be Careful Little Ears."  Upon rereading the post I am remembering how the Bible calls us to live in Ephesians 5:1-20:

At the end of the passage, God instructs us how to live:
  • Avoid everything not of God & expose them in truth and love;
  • Be careful how you live, making the most of every opportunity in your lives;
  • Understand the Lord's Will in your life, through study and prayer;
  • Do not get drunk, but be filled by the Spirit; and
  • Sing songs of worship together, always giving thanks to God.
I am going to try to vet what I watch more carefully.  To make decisions that not only honour God, but also shows that I could let my kids watch.   Not that I would let my kids watch everything I watch, there are shows that are just not appropriate for them.  What I should be watching should be reflective on the type of life I am living and the person God created me to be.  

What are your thoughts on reality TV?  What are your thoughts on the Hunger Games premise?

PS:  I saw the movie and highly recommend it!

Come link up today and share your randomness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Pakistan

Pakistani woman charged with blasphemy after refusing Islam(Source: Compass Direct News)
 A young mother who angered relatives when she refused to deny her Christian faith has been falsely accused of blaspheming Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

Shamim Bibi, the 26-year-old mother of a five-month-old baby girl, was arrested by police in Khichiwala, Bahawalnagar district, in Punjab Province on February 28 after neighbours accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad -- an offence punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Shamim's brother and brother-in-law say she was wrongly accused because she had resisted pressure from her husband's sister as well as her nephew and niece to convert to Islam just four days before her arrest.

A local leader claimed that Shamim's neighbours told him and other Muslims that they had heard the Christian woman making derogatory remarks about Muhammad in her courtyard. Shamim's brother-in-law says after gathering information from an accuser and the neighbourhood, he found that neither accuser was even present at the time of the alleged remark. The Superintendent of Police Investigation also acknowledged that one of the two witnesses had admitted to not being present at the alleged "crime" scene.

Please pray that the accusers will recant any untruth and that Shamim will be freed.

Please pray that her infant daughter and her husband, Bashir Masih, will remain safe and will soon be reunited with Shamim. 

Pray that Shamim will keep her eyes on Jesus, persevere in her faith, and not grow weary or lose heart (Hebrews 10:32-39; Hebrews 12:1-3).

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.
He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion.
He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Friday, March 23, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Best.....Title.....Ever!!!!


This last month I have been hearing the best titles of songs or books. I am not talking about ones that make you think or are quirky, I'm talking about ones that make you want to sit down and laugh. I often wonder what people are thinking when they title something. It's like naming your kid. Take for instance Gwenyth Paltrow and Chris Martin, they named their first child Apple. What were they thinking? Is it an inside joke. Is it that they are hoping that their kid will be sweet like a Golden Delicious (hoping she doesn't grow up to be sour like a Granny Smith).

I know when I name a blog title, I take some thought in the process. What is the blog about? Is it serious? Is it silly? What do I want people to come away with? The same applied when we named our children. Nicole, Thomas and Samuel. We wanted names that weren't that popular. That were traditional and strong names. Names that people would remember. I also wanted names that had strong meanings:
Nicole – Victory of the People
Thomas – A Twin
Samuel – His Name is God
Ok, so Thomas' entomology isn't necessarily a strong meaning, but I have always loved the story of doubting Thomas. Sometimes we need to question so that the answers can be revealed to us.

Sometimes words mean different things for different cultures or regions. Last week while Sam was watching the Wiggles I heard them singing “Let's Have a Barbie on the Beach.” I had to think about it for a minute. What were they having? I thought this show was rated G. Then I remembered in Australia and England barbie is slang for barbeque, not an anatomically incorrect doll or the name of some girl. I had to phone my girlfriend up to tell her what they were singing (she's a linguist major) and we both had a good laugh.

May favourite title though has to be a book I found on Ereader News Today. It was called “If my Body is a Temple, Then I Was a Megachurch!” AMEN brother!  I had to post that on Facebook PDQ when I saw it. I bet from the title you can tell what he was writing about. When I posted it, everyone loved it. It struck a nerve (the laughing one) with many of my friends. How could you not want to read this book? Now if it was called “How a Christian Lost Weight” or “Christians are Fat Too” would it have intrigued people to read the book? Probably not. I notice that the title of a blog post can increase my readership for the day. The more funny or intriguing a post is the more readers I have. With so many of us having 100s of blogs in our Reader, we need to quickly decide what to read, just like a book. If the title doesn't grab me, then I'm not going to pick it up or click on it. Sorry, it's true. I bet you have never thought of it that way. Why do you pick up books? Because either the title intrigues you or the artwork does. Same with a blog. I've written some great posts, only to see that no one has read it. Unfortunately, we are in “buyers market” in the bloggy world. If we can't “sell” our posts to our readers, they won't get read. Good thing that I'm in a year of contentment and just being able to post is good enough for me.

Have you heard of a good post, song or book name lately? What are you're thoughts on naming posts?

Come link up with the randomness today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Egypt

Islamists in Egypt use Rumours to Attack Christians
(Source: Compass Direct News)

Tensions remain high in an Egyptian village where several thousand Muslims went on a rampage on February 12 over a false rumour that a church was holding a 14-year-old girl against her will in order to convert her back to Christianity. Sources said that between 2,000 and 5,000 hard-line Muslims, most of them from the Salafi movement, harassed Christian villagers in Meet Bahsar in the Nile Delta, attacked a church building to "save" the girl, damaged a priest's house and then destroyed his car. The girl was not in the church.

The girl's father, an ethnic Copt who converted to Islam, had stirred the crowd up on the mistaken notions that his daughter had converted to Islam and that Christians had kidnapped her. It was unclear if the girl's father was merely mistaken about her location or if he intentionally misled villagers.

The Salafi movement is made up of extremely conservative Muslims increasingly known for their hateful rhetoric and attacks against churches in Egypt. The Salafis have used rumours of kidnappings or relationships between Christians and Muslims to incite other attacks against Christians.

Please pray the Lord will use those in authority to protect Christians in Egypt.

Ask the Lord to strengthen the faith of believers during this time of unrest in Egypt.

Pray that Egyptian believers will rejoice in the opportunity to grow in Christlikeness through the ongoing opposition they face (James 1:2-4). Pray that the Spirit will move in the hearts of this girl and her father.

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.
 He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion.
 He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Monday, March 19, 2012

Messy Monday - Teaching Through Misguidance

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us. 

A year ago, I wrote about Owl City`s version of In Christ Alone and the fact that they skip the verse regarding Jesus` death on the cross.  Last week on the way home from church this same version enabled me to have a teaching moment with the princess.

Sometimes I don`t think I do enough to teach Nicole about the Bible and a relationship with Jesus.  We don`t do regular devotions and I don`t read the Bible to the kids regularly.  I do take the kids to church.  I listen to Christian music in the van and home.  When I can I try to use what the kids hear or learn to teach them about God.

While we were listening to the song.  I told Nicole why I don`t like this version.  She of course asked why.  I explained that the version didn`t sing about Jesus`death.  I asked her why did Jesus die.  "To save us from our sins."  I then explained that when Jesus died all our sins were taken from us and we were made free from them.  That without Jesus dying we would still be enslaved to them.  "That would be silly mommy.   Jesus died for us." Spoken from her heart.  She knows it.  She gets it.

A version that I disliked enabled me to teach Nicole the truth.  Sometimes we don't know how much our kids get.  Sometimes they understand more than we give them credit for.
Saturday, March 17, 2012

More important than St. Patricks Day.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Millions of Irish people or wanna be Irish, will be eating corned beef and hash and drinking either green beer or Guinness.  However, today 39 women begin a 21 day, nearly 250 mile walk to commemorate the 39 years of Roe vs. Wade decision.  They are walking from the largest Planned Parenthood center in Houston, Texas to the courthouse that heard the original decision in Dallas, Texas.  

These 39 women are all in their 20s and represent different races and regions and reasons.  Some have had abortions.  Some are survivors of abortions.  Some are representative of people that are now questioned as having any quality of life.  They walk to bring awareness to the pro life movement and to pray over their footsteps as they travel.  When they arrive in Dallas on Good Friday there is an Esther Call being planned.  There will be a large outside communion service.  Everyone who is able to attend is invited to this service.  If you are available I would urge you to go and let your voice be heard.  If you are not able to attend I would recommend praying for these women and their walk.  Praying that God would hear our voices for those who cannot speak. 

There is a generation of children that were never heard and millions more waiting for someone to hear them and their suffering.   As a mother of children that some would argue have no quality of life, I say "Who are you to determine quality of life?"  My view of quality is different from yours and vice versa.  There are babies who are aborted because there may or may not be a possibility of a special needs.  Everyone has a right to life.  Everyone has a right to be heard, including the unborn.

Praying that in my daughter's generation, there would come a time when abortion is not an answer.  Not a solution.  Not an option.
Friday, March 16, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Mommy You Need To Get One of Those!


Hi, I'm Michelle and I'm here to tell you about all the products my children think I need in my house.  You can't live with these products.  If you don't have these products you won't be able to clean your house quickly, cook an egg without it's shell and melt a snowman with only a few cans of spray.  

Ok, I'm not going to tell you about those products but if you watch late night or cable tv, you can tell what I am talking about - infomercials.  They are worse than commercials lately, because my kids see them and the explanation of how they can make "my" life better and my kids automatically think I need the product.  Not that I haven't bought products from tv or from an "As Seen On TV Store."  Some have been good and some not so good.  

My favourite products have been:

Sham Wow

H20 Steam Mop
Sweepa Rubber Broom
A product that I haven't personally bought, but tried was:

The one I regret buying, even though it seemed like a good idea at the time was:

Body by Jake Ab and Thigh Rocker

Can you see what worked - the cleaning products.  The only complaint I had about my steam mop is that it died after 1 year.  That could because I was using it 2x a week.  I loved my mop and mourned it's loss.  I really do use my Sham Wow cloths all the time.  They do what they say.  I have been able to get out so much liquid spilt onto the carpet that we have very little stains because of split coffee (Sam did this Sunday.  I don't know what upset me more the actual spill or the fact that I missed my coffee.).   My rubber broom is amazing.  I love how it picks up hair and dust and works on all surfaces inside and outside the house.  My old hair dresser used them in his salon as it is great for picking up those little hairs.  

Nads worked ok.  I just don't like the fact that you still needed the cloths.  I really love my Veet Stripless Wax.  I have to admit that a friend and me actually ate the wax.  They said you could on the infomercial.  It was like Kiwi Honey.  Maybe that's what they should have tried to sell.  That would have sold millions as well.   My ab rocker was fun to use but I don't think it actually worked to lose weight.  It was a great seat to watch tv on though.  

I think of the all the infomercials that I love, it is the new one with Vince from ShamWow  and Chop It fame.  It makes me laugh for numerous reasons when I watch it.  I may have to get me a Schticky!

Have you ever bought anything from an infomercial?  Did you regret your purchase or did you love it?  What is your favourite infomercial?

**NB:  I have not been paid or compensated for any of the opinions expressed in this blog regarding the products.  These are my opinions only and not of the manufacturers**

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Nigeria

Four Christians killed in bomb attack in Jos, Nigeria
(Sources: VOM contacts, Release International)

Four Christians died and over 50 more were injured after a car bomb exploded at the Church of Christ in Nigeria headquarters on February 26 in Jos, Plateau state. The Sunday morning worship service had just started when two suicide bombers detonated their explosives. One of the bombers was killed, while the other was later apprehended. The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attack, which sparked violent reprisals in which two Muslims were killed.

Boko Haram, which models itself on the Taliban, aims to impose radical Islamic law in Nigeria, including a more extreme form of Shariah in the north. To achieve this, observers believe the militants are attempting to destabilize relations between Christians and Muslims. The group has been stepping up attacks against the Christian minority in the north and has ordered Christians to leave. At the same time, the militants have been targeting Jos, the dividing line between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south.
Please pray that Christians in Nigeria will remain faithful to God, even in the midst of unrest.

Pray the Lord will give those affected by the violence the desire and strength to forgive their attackers.

Pray for those who are grieving. Pray the Lord will reach many in Nigeria with the truth of the gospel so they may repent and believe.

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.
 He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion.
 He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Messy Mondays - Lifting the Fog

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us. 

 I know I haven't written a Messy Monday's in a while.  There have been many messy Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays.....(.you get the drift), lately.  I have been hiding out reading.  In one of my free books I read called "Heavenly", I came across these lines.
Her eyes met mine, weary and hopeless.  I hated that look.  The mom I remembered before Abria was diagnosed was lively, determined, strong and never gave up.  This Mom I'd seen gradually worn down, sanded away until only tissue paper remained.

The book is about a family struggling with the youngest child's, Abria's, autism, specifically the eldest teenage daughter.  When I first read these lines I felt hit with a huge dose of reality.  They resonated deeply in my soul.  I have felt this gradual wearing down through the numerous appointments; meetings; new therapies; old therapies and meltdowns that have become part of my family's life.  The constant questions:  Are we doing enough?  Are we doing too much?  All of this is exhausting.  I'm tired.  I don't have enough energy some days to even think, let alone deal with it all.  Who suffers when I feel this way, not just me, but all those around me.

I am scared that if I don't get out of this fog that this is the person the kids are going to know.  Not the old me, the happy, go lucky me.  They are only going to know the stressed me.  The one who starts to stress with just the thought of going to the grocery store with the kids.  The one who is uptight.  Who is watching everything the boys do when we are going out, expecting the worse.  I know I'm not the only mom of a special needs child to do this.

I need to remember that God did not say I have to do this alone.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10  NIV
 He wants me to lean on Him.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV84
 He wants me to trust in Him for everything.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  Proverbs 3:5  NIV84

 He calls me not the worry.

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT

I need to not just know these verse in my head, but also my heart.  When I do I can know such blessings and know that I don't need to stress over the little things.  That He is in control and has bigger plans for my family than I can dream. 
Friday, March 9, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Books, Books, and more Books


As some of you may know, I love reading.  I love books.  I am an eclectic reader.  If it catches my attention I will read it.  Doesn't matter what it is.  Historical fiction seems to be the one that I prefer but I am willing to pretty much read anything.  I usually have 3 to 4 books on the go.  I guess that just proves that I'm so schizophrenic intelligent.  I can even tell you where I left off and the basis of the story of any of the books that I am reading.  When we go to the library, I have had to limit myself to taking out only 4 books at a time in case that I don't get to them.  My daughter now has inherited my problem and usually takes out 10 books every week.  I've had to start to limit her, but she usually has all her books read within 1 week. 
This year I vowed to read one non fiction book a month, specifically the many Christian living and study books I have bought over the years.  They take up at least two shelves of my book nook.  I have managed to do this, but I also vowed not to buy anymore.  This was all good until I hit the thrift shops.  I bought at least 6 new ones that I haven't read.  I justified my purchase with the fact that I will be donating them to the Church library once I read them.  I should just donate them and then read them in the future. 

My friend, Susie, introduced me to Ereader News Today.  This site lists daily free books from Amazon for the kindle.  I have found quite a few Christian books on this site.  I just finished reading Michal's Window, which is an amazing book and well worth the read.  It is a different take on the story of Michal and David's marriage and love story and the consequences when we do not honour our marriage vows (be warned it is a PG17 novel).  Anyway, back to Ereader News, if you don't have a kindle do not despair.  You can download the kindle application on your laptop like I did.  It is a little awkward to read, but when you are engrossed in a book, you won't even notice.  This past week, I have been taking the laptop to bed and reading in bed, which is made especially more comfortable by the new fluffy pillows my hubby bought us.

Is anyone else on Goodreads?  I love this service.  It's a great for listing the books you have read so you don't read them again.  Or listing the books you want to read when someone recommends them to you.  You can also review books and read others reviews so that you can see if a book is worth reading or not.  I don't always agree with others reviews, but that is because we are all different.   I have it uploaded on my Blackberry so that when I am in the library and don't know what books to take out, I look for the ones on my to read list.  If you are on Goodreads, please feel free to friend me.  I love seeing what everyone is reading and what they think of the books.  My hashtag on Goodreads is michelleslomp.

What is everyone reading?  What is your favourite genre?  How do you find your books?

I can't wait to see what everyone's reading and your random fun as well.  Come join in by linking up today.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - It's been a busy week...


It has been a busy week this week, however, God has been busy.  I have witnessed or been told of amazing things that have happened this week.  Not that things this week haven't been stressful or there hasn't been some stories I have heard where there is sadness, but there has been joy and amazement.

Andrea, at My Cup of Joy, had a little baby boy.  He is quite cute.  He was born with a few complications during delivery but it sounds like both he and mom are well.  He also was able to have his surgery to correct his omphalocele today due to a cancellation.  He was scheduled for surgery for Monday.  God is good.

My friends mom had a angiogram and the doctors were able to do an angioplasty to clear some blockages to her heart on Tuesday.  Everything went fine and her mother is already doing better.  

Earlier this week I had Thomas' Specialized Services Meeting for therapies to assist him at home and in the community.  It went so well.  I am blessed to have these women involved in Thomas' life.  They are all focused on him doing his best.  I have also been able to do this within one month, when many providers have a year waiting list.  I also had an interview with a service provider for Sam's therapies for the fall.  It too went well.  I am excited.  I have one more interview in two weeks and will hopefully have this all organized by the end of the month.  This has been very stressful trying to organize this for the boys at the same time. 

I love when good things happen.  I love seeing God in action.  I love seeing His plans come to fruition.  It encourages me and brings me hope.  I know that sometimes things don't work out the way we think either.  I have heard of some stories of deep sadness this week.  However, though I mourn with these individuals, I am focusing on hope.  Focusing on God moving.  Trusting God's bigger plan that I don't fully know, nor do I get to see.  This is a place of contentment.  I place I have been trying to strive for this year and a place that I am getting comfortable in.  

How have you seen God work this week?

Now there is another thing to be happy about.  The winner of last week's giveaway.  I know I said that I would do it on Monday, but as I said it has been a busy week.  I want to thank Mrs. Miller and Jennifer for their pictures.  It was nice to see people playing along.  I am glad I am not the only crazy person to share what she looks like at 6 am.  I also want to thank the people who said I was brave.  It's nice to hear, but I still think it proves more how crazy I am. 

So the winner of the $10 Starbuck Gift Card is .....drumroll please.........

Shanda Oakley of A Pause on the Path.  

Congratulations and thank you all for playing along. 

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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