I’m Not Perfect… I’m Priceless

My dear friend Staci Stallings is visiting us today with a special message for us, without further  delays I’ll let you enjoy this delightful read…

By: Staci Stallings

My almost-ten-year-old daughter got a little too much of her mother in her.  What is it with this perfectionist gene?  You’d think one generation would be far plenty for it to run its course and leave us alone.  Alas, it has not.

My gorgeous, lovely, loving, wonderful daughter got this one in spades.  I first knew this the year she took violin lessons and adamantly REFUSED to play for anyone she knew.  When Grandma came over, we begged and pleaded and bribed… to no avail.  She simply would not play a note lest she not sound just perfect and reveal to all the world that she was anything less than.

We battle this monster in school.  She has all-A’s for now.  And truth be told, I’m not looking forward to that streak coming to an end.  (I still haven’t recovered from MY OWN three-week cry-fest when I got my first B in 5th grade.  Don’t laugh.  Trust me, it makes it worse!)

With the beginning of volleyball, we are wading once again into the deep waters of perfection psychosis, and I have to be honest with you–I would have thought that since I’d been through this one, it would be easy to diagnose and treat in my own child.  Sadly, I was mistaken.  The diagnosis has been easy, but wow is this thing hard to heal.

Tonight on the way to volleyball, my beautiful, kind, wonderful little girl spent most of the trip in tears.  “Why does everyone think I have to be perfect?”  “They don’t.”  “Yes, they do. If I do one little thing wrong, they yell at me.”

Now, really.  How do you argue with that?  Because too often we do sound like we’re yelling.  Our corrections sound to a delicate perfectionist like we don’t or won’t love them if they aren’t perfect.  It’s such a vile, rotten trap.

On the way home later, we were hashing out the whole perfection thing again because this time it was the coach who yelled, “just because I missed one serve!  I got all the others.”

I finally made this simple observation.  “You know, you’re not perfect.  You’re priceless.”

That stopped her. “What does that mean?”

“It means you are not perfect.  You have chips. You have flaws. You make mistakes.  But God and Mama still believe you are priceless, and no matter what, that will never change.”

Strangely she stopped arguing and crying at that point, and inside, so did I.

Maybe I’m not perfect, but God says I am priceless, and who am I to argue?

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2008

Thank you Staci for those wonderful words. Guys, don’t forget to enter into our Valentine’s book giveaway. Go to the top and give us your email address for a chance to win one of three copies of “Love Letters to my Queen Bride”. The winners will be picked on Valentine’s day and announced on Friday February 17th.

To add sweetness to the pot, you can get your copy of Growth Lessons for $1.99 until Valentine’s day (better than chocolate).

Find Staci online:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/StaciStallings @StaciStallings

Facebook profile:http://www.facebook.com/staci.stallings.author

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spirit-Light-Author-Staci-Stallings/266593276699576

Technology in our relationship with God

So I arrive at church, lighter than I usually do these days. I used to carry this big bag with my bible and my notebook, but not anymore. I sit no farther than the third row and see the person next to me with their Ipad getting ready for service…it’s a new world out there.

The reality is that technology has change the methods that we use for worship and bible study. I can’t deny that I have jumped into some of those wagons and I’m not sure that I could turn back unless I had to.

The internet has invaded out lives, which is not necessarily a negative thing. It has allowed us opportunities that we didn’t have before. You wouldn’t be reading this article if it wasn’t for your access to it. It has allowed people with physical challenges to be able to be ministered to, evangelism in other countries and yes easy access to the word.

Like I said at the beginning I was always carrying a bible around. I had my big bible by my nightstand (which I still use), then another one for church and a smaller one in my purse. Now I use the YouVersion app on my phone, which I admit has me spoiled because I can search for a scripture in whatever language I want and version I want within seconds. I also committed to read the bible in a year as one of my New Year Resolutions. My phone alerts me at the time I scheduled to do so and shows me the corresponding scriptures of that day, this means that I can do that if I’m on my lunch break, stuck waiting at a doctor’s office or sitting in my living room. Yes, I can do that with a paper bible, but not everybody carries one of those all the time and let’s be honest, our cell phones have become a limb in our lives.

It also allows me to give a scripture to a friend in need because it has a search option for those times where I know what the scripture says but not necessarily where I can locate it.

Is everyone on board with these methods? No. I still get weird looks when the pastor says “look up in your bible Ephesians….” and instead of a book I get out my phone. It makes me want to tell the lady two seats to my left, “it’s my bible, no I’m not playing Angry Birds or texting my BFF or even taking your picture to post it on Facebook, although right now it would be hilarious” Which by the way I don’t understand Angry Birds so I don’t play the game anyway even outside of church, but I digress.

Many churches have the ability to stream their services nowadays and have several campus where people are just gathered in a room watching a big screen and experiencing the same service. The ability of those streaming’s allow people who are sick, in hospitals, nursing homes, vacations or mission trips to be united with their congregation in a different way.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love my paper bible. I’m a romantic and to me sitting at the feet of my Lord to pray and spend quiet time with him means my big bible, my notebook and silence. At the same time the technology is catching with us and more and more we will see people utilize bible apps in gadgets for their needs.

As always I like to know your thoughts in this topic. How has technology changed the way you study the Word of God? Do you feel that it makes any difference for you to read the word from a screen than from a paper Bible? 

Talking about technology, remember you can still grab your eBook of Growth Lessons for 1.99 just today and tomorrow. If you have an Amazon Prime account you can read it for FREE! If you rather have the paperback you are able to obtain it for $9.99 Grab your copy today.

WF: Thank you and Book Giveaway

After eating a week’s worth of food in one sitting, remembering why you don’t call your Aunt Molly the rest of the year and standing in the cold outside pushing through the crowd to get a towel for 99 cents, it’s time to settled down and refocus. Yes it was fun or stressful but was it really what it was all about?

If you didn’t have the opportunity between pies, turkey and the sales, you have another chance today to just stop for five and a half minutes and understand how blessed we are.

Author Kristen Lamb said on her blog on Wednesday about the things she was thankful for and I wanted to share those because it really places things in perspective.

“I am thankful for all the laundry I have to do, because it means I have clothes to wear.

I am thankful for the dishes that need washing, because it means I didn’t go hungry.

I am thankful for the big electric bill, because it means my home has lights and heat.

I am thankful for the sheets that need to be changed, because it means I own a bed.

I am thankful for all the reading I have to do, because it means that I am literate.

I am thankful for the car that needs an oil change because it means I don’t have to walk miles and miles to get what I need.

I am thankful for that parking space waaaaayyyy out in the back, because it means I don’t have to park in a handicapped space. I can walk.

I am thankful for the garage that needs to be cleaned out, because it means I am blessed with plenty.

I am thankful for the chores to be done, because it means I have family who love me enough to travel to see me.

I am thankful for the litter-box that needs cleaning and the dog blankets that need washing because it means I have pets who love me unconditionally.

I am thankful for the split ends I have, because it means I haven’t lost all my hair to chemo.

I am thankful for the Christmas cards I need to send, because they could as easily be funeral announcements.

I am thankful for the traffic snarls that catch me, because the body the firemen pulled out of the fatality accident could have been me.

I am thankful for the gutters I need to clean, because it means that I have a home.

I am thankful for all the Christmas shopping I have to do, because it means I am not alone.

I am thankful for my less than perfect thighs. It means I didn’t lose my legs in a car accident or to an IED.

I am thankful that I sometimes have doubts and confusion about my future and my purpose when I think of the lives cut short before they ever had a future.

I am thankful for the government I like to gripe about, because I don’t fear going to prison or being shot if I disagree with my country’s leadership.

I am thankful for my freedom and the amazing men and women who put their lives on the line to protect it.”

So sit with me and enjoy this video that also places in perspective the things we need to be grateful for and sometimes take for granted.

May this so called Black Friday shines the light of God in you. As a token of my gratitude to all my readers I’m giving away two copies of my new book Growth Lessons. So if you comment on this page, post this link on your Facebook page or tweet (‎#99centevent #blackfriday Growth Lessons @NatyCMatos http://tinyurl.com/3pzxopg RT & you could win free copy #book #giveaway) I’ll put your name in a hat and you can win the copy of the book.

If you tweet more than once, your name will go in as many times as you tweet it! The same with the Facebook postings. The winner will be announced on Monday here at The Rising Muse, so you have all weekend to increase your chances.

Enjoy your family and be safe

God bless you!

Can routine affect our purpose?

Routine is an element that could prevent us from embracing the new things that God wants to do in our lives. No matter how free spirited our lives may be the most disorganized of us has a routine. We get up, go to work or school, we have a hygiene routine, eating routine, a schedule. After all the hours outside of our house, we then return and do mostly the same things, clean up, eat, and entertain ourselves (television, internet, games, Facebook). The day ends and we have not given God a minute of our time.

Some people have included God in their daily routine somewhat, but if something comes along that changes the things we usually do, we have the tendency to present resistance. I know that God has woken me up in the middle of the night with someone’s name. He usually wants me to go and pray for that person. I have to admit that I have not always been obedient to that call. How many times have you ignored that voice when you know in your heart that you needed to do something for someone or in obedience to God?

This reminded me of the parable of the Good Samaritan, when people bypassed helping someone in need in order to make it to the temple on time. Stopping there would have affected their routine. I have found out that when I get out of myself and actually allow God to alter my routine, I get more blessed than any blessing I can be to anyone else. Let’s decide today to give our daily schedules to God everyday and let his will be done.

Jesus on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Continuing some of this technology talk, I was going through a phase of condemnation about my quiet time with God. Every morning I try to at least read a verse and meditate on it, but I usually don’t find that verse in my actual big bible on my nightstand. I felt bad thinking that because I was not opening the book all the time I was not doing enough.

First of all, I discovered that reading the Word of God is for me and not for God. I always felt that reading the bible was my ritual of worship and that it was done to please God, so I would read some, kind of like you read a billboard on the side of the road and my duty was done. As I’ve grown in my faith I’ve realized that although reading the Word of God it is an act of worship, it’s my heart and meditation in the Word what makes it an act of worship. Also, the bible is my manual to seek God’s wisdom and will for my life, so it’s actually for me that I should read it.

I had this idea that in order to do it “right” I had to do it with the actual big paper book and that’s why I was feeling bad about it. So I stopped being religious about it and realized that I had been reading, meditating and studying the Word of God, it was just in less traditional ways. So I wanted to share with you some of the ways I do so, maybe it will help you expose yourself more to the Word.

  • Biblegateway.com- Sometimes when reading the word you get a particular message about what God wants to say to you, but sometimes you want to know about what the bible says about a specific subject and it can be hard to find things, especially if you don’t have too many memorized scriptures or if you’re like me that I know the bible says something about that but I don’t know where. This site has a keyword search field that makes it very easy to search by topic or keywords.

            This site also has daily newsletters that come to your e-mail and are very educational.

  • Bible.com- it’s very similar to the one above. To me the distinction is that this particular site has some bibles studies about some very specific topics.
  • Twitter- Yes, believe it or not twitter has several “tweeps” that post scriptures all day. If you have a Smartphone and you have twitter on your phone, you can follow these people and wherever you are you can meditate on a verse. There are people who actually pray on Twitter everyday, twice a day (@Virtual_Abbey) some of my favorites are: @TopBibleVerses, @GreatBibleVerse, @DailyVerseTweet, and @Gods_Lighthouse You can stop and meditate wherever you are. Of course there are pastors, preachers and speakers who are on Twitter that also post very good things, but I’m focusing on those who just post scriptures. (side note: and if you’re on twitter I hope you’re following us as well @therisingmuse)
  • Bible on your phone- most people have smartphones these days and there is a free bible application available for most of them. I have a blackberry and the one in my phone not only allows bible reading in most popular versions, but it allows keyword searches and has some bible studies as well.
  • Facebook- I’ll be honest, I don’t use this one. I do have facebook on my phone, but I rarely look at it, but I’ve seen in some of my friends news feeds some bible verses pages.

 So being a technology geek should not keep you from feeding your soul.

 Do you know of any other sources and want to share? Feel free to comment we would love to hear from you…

Blessings

Facebook News Feeds, really?

Yesterday was the big day, Super bowl XLV where the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers were going for the grand honor of being the best of American football for 2011. Congratulations to the Packers on their win. Disclaimer to all football fans: I know very little about football, so forgive me in advance for any wrong terminology used in this post. The subject is not football anyway.

I like to watch the Super bowl, just because of the commercials. Advertising agencies get very creative with these mini movies that have very little to do with the products they’re selling and more to do with the entertainment of the viewers.  In between commercials I admit to be smitten watching the Puppy bowl on Animal Planet. It makes more sense to me to see the puppies playing, no offense, that’s just my preference.

The thing that came to my attention was the commercial for the new Chevy Cruze.  Their pitch was that the car reads your facebook status while driving. Really? I know social media plays an important role in our modern life, but our facebook news feed? Is that how shallow we have become as a society? Just like a friend commented sarcastically, “Of course we need to know that our farm is ready for harvest”. One thing is to reunite with friends, have fun online, but we are creating a new undisguised addiction that could be unhealthy for both children and adults.

People have lost their jobs for things they have posted in social media or the use of it during inappropriate times. We see commercials were families at the table are not communicating; instead they are using text, e-mail to communicate when they are in front of each other, and we laugh at those commercials, but that’s becoming our sad reality. Slowly we are buying into a culture of alienation. There’s no time for family, prayer, creativity, reading or to look at ourselves, we’re too busy being entertained.

Not to be a hypocrite, I have a facebook and twitter account. I look at my Blackberry more times than I should. I play Farmville and Café World, but I do enjoy a good conversation with a friend or a family member. I like to have silent times to actually place my thoughts in orders. I like the silence in the sweet presence of my Creator who doesn’t speak through the noise. All this is kind of hard when you spend your time entertaining yourself with other things. I think that like with other things moderation and balance are the key word here and we’re losing sight of it.

Just my opinion.

Disclaimer: images taken from the internet, they are not mine. Page me if credit required-therisingmuse@gmail.com