So much more…


I just got back from the national conference for the company I work for. It’s a direct sales jewelry company, so one would assume we would be learning all about the latest line, sales techniques and how to grow our businesses. And while we did see the new jewelry line and get a few tips about working our business, the vast majority of the weekend was about us. The people.

The theme for the week was “Count it All Joy.” Over and over again we heard about how to find joy, what joy is and how to share joy. We had guests speakers that focused on finding joy in the hard times, and finding joy in our marriages. We had leaders in the company talk about how joy is always within reach and that sometimes our attitude is the only thing standing between us and joy. They talked about how joy can be shared, providing hope for others. They shared how joy gives us a reason to keep on hoping even when we are struggling with what life throws at us. They taught us how you have to have joy if you’re going to enjoy the journey. They told us the difference between happiness and joy.

It’s incredible to me that they spent so much money and time, pouring into us as people… they could really truly, honestly care less about selling. It’s not about the sales for them, it’s about the people. How can they help people find hope and joy. This is the third conference that I’ve been too, and each year it’s been the same. It’s amazing and it’s refreshing. It’s empowering and encouraging. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year and even though it’s non-stop busy for three days, I leave feeling re-energized.

They’ve shown me what it means to operate with integrity, to never compromise my beliefs, all while focusing on the people around me, looking for opportunities to provide hope and joy. Being a part of this company has made me a better person…

This little jewelry business that I have? Is so much more than a business….

It’s a Zorse!


It’s the last day of Spring Break. Yay for the return of routine! Anyway, this year we didn’t go anywhere for a family vacation (like normal) but we did take our youth group down to Kentucky to visit the Creation Museum.  If you ever get a chance to go, DO IT! It was awesome. There’s a ton of information, and they deliver it in a way that is easy to understand. Awesome. Plus, they had a petting zoo that had a Zorse and a Zadonk! They were sooo cool.

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The brown one is the Zorse (A horse and a zebra mix) and the grey one is the Zedonk (a donkey and a zebra mix). These two are brother and sister, they share a zebra daddy. (Talk about ‘blended’ families!) Anyways, really cool creatures.

One of the coolest things at the museum was the Noah’s Ark exhibit. They had a section that was about 1% of the total size of the ark, and it was HUGE! They are currently building a life size representation of the Ark that they hope to have open next year, and if it’s anything like the Museum, it’s going to be AWESOME!

I won’t share anymore about the museum, so I don’t ruin it for those that haven’t been yet. (But you need to go… so cool!) I’ll move on the rest of the trip. We had 22 people, 6 leaders and 17 teenagers. Somehow I ended up with 5 of the 7 girls in my hotel room. Let’s just say, there was a lot of laughter and little sleep…. But it was fun. (Although I was very thankful to get back to my own bed, in a quiet house.)

It was interesting being on the other side of youth group trips. I never really thought about all the logistics of getting (and keeping) that many people in vehicles, tickets, food and lodging. Plus making sure the parents had the necessary info as well. In high school, all I remember was telling my parents that we had this or that trip coming up and it cost this much. So it was kinda fun being on the other end.

Although it was a long weekend, accented by little sleep, it was a blast. I’m so glad we have such a good bunch of kids in our youth group, and I’m looking forward to more trips and events with them.

 

100_2115Another pic of the zorse and zedonk…. just because… they’re awesome!

 

 

Can They Be A “Christian”?


Be warned, this is a VERY controversal subject and I welcome all feedback, but please keep it respectful.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing case regarding same-sex marriages. The conservatives are hoping that Proposition 8 in California (which bans gay marriage) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are upheld. The liberals are hoping that both are repealed, meaning that same-sex couples can get married and have that marriage recognized.

Personally, I don’t think that we as Christians should really care. So what if a couple, that happens to be gay, wants to get married? There are bigger things to worry about than what the government decides to do. As Christians, I believe that our role is to pray for our leadership. Not get worked up over the fact that the government isn’t acting like a Christian. And that leads to a greater question….

Can a person be gay AND be a Christian?

Think about it. Is it possible for a person to be gay and yet still claim to be a Christian? Can someone who is clearly sinning in the eyes of God, claim His mercy and grace? The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. And someone who is in a relationship with someone of the same-sex is, therefore, sinning against God and is unforgivable. They are to be discriminated against and hated. They are to be feared. They are social pariah. Right?

That’s what the church teaches anyways. But let’s ask a few more questions:

Can a murderer be a Christian?

Can an adulterer be a Christian?

Can a divorcee be a Christian?

Can a thief be a Christian?

Can a liar be a Christian?

Can someone who has premarital sex be a Christian?

The list can go on and on. All of the above are sins clearly defined in the Bible, yet we find many people who fit this description in the church. Why does the church feel the need to pick out certain sins and label them as “BAD”. Aren’t they all? Since when is one sin greater than another? Since when does living with your boyfriend/girlfriend (gay or straight!) before marriage become a bigger sin than getting a divorce? Since when do we have the right, as Christians, to tell someone they are living in sin and NOT extend the same grace and mercy that was extended to us?

We are ALL sinners. Period. No matter what the sin is, we all do it. As Christians, it is not our job to judge others. It is not our job to tell someone they are never going to heaven. It is not our job to shun someone because of how they live.

It IS our job to love them. To show them grace. It is our job to show non believers what it means to be Christlike. Who cares that they are sinners?

All these people are in the church, and the church is worried about how the government isn’t acting “Christian.”  I don’t focus on what the government does or does not do. I don’t have the time or energy to worry about it. There is a much bigger calling on my life, and on your lives. We are called to love one another. Regardless of religion, race, handicap, sexual orientation and everything else.

Love. Period.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Again, please keep it respectful, but I welcome all input.