Love Yourself

Did you know it’s totally ok to love yourself?  It’s in the bible, “Love thyself” 1Bonnie 1:1. Ok, that might be in the apocrypha.

Anyway, I wrote a song about loving myself and not letting the world use me as a punching bag.

 No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper,
    and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their vindication from me, says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:17

Hopefully, you will see the wisdom in this and listen to the song and then tell all your friends about it. (Share it on Social Media and the Social Media Fairy will bring you a golden basket of unicorn kisses! So don’t forget to Like, Comment and Share!)

xoxox

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Dear World I’m Going Back

 

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When God speaks to you through Ricky Bobby…

sphe-talladega_nights_2006-Full-Image_GalleryBackground-en-US-1484000554780._RI_SX940_Movies speak to me.  They have since I was a kid.  It’s really just stories in general, but being a visual thinker, movies and television have always had a huge impact on me.  In fact, when I write my own stories, I’m generally just trying to describe the pictures playing out in my head.  So it’s no longer a surprise to me when I receive revelation while watching a movie.

Even one as stupid as Talladega Nights.

Don’t get me wrong, I laughed my hiney off watching this movie tonight.  I needed to laugh.  It’s been a rough few days for me.  I try extra hard not to be, but I’m a very dramatic llama sometimes.  And as the meme says, “sumbody dun brokt” me.  Or rather a small army of “sumbodies”.  drama llama

I’ve been experiencing different forms of rejection from people I love for a while now.  And, even though I need to build a bridge and get over it (thank you Hannah Montana), it still hits me where it hurts and makes me eyes choke out tears.

Tonight, watching Ricky Bobby pray to “baby Jesus” over and over again did my heart a giant world of good.  If I can do it somewhat succinctly, I want to try to explain why.

Without going into too much detail (or any really), let’s just say that some people don’t agree with some things I believe and I don’t agree with some things they believe.  I think that pretty much sums up all arguments, ever, over all of time.  But you get the idea.

The real problem (at least for me) is that I worry that what I believe affects my relationship with God.  I really want to follow Jesus.  I want to be one of the scruffy, common, uneducated disciples traipsing around the desert with Jesus, breaking all the rules and changing the world.  I live in fear of being a Pharisee, thinking myself righteous and holy while in actuality living a life of selfishness and pride.  I live in fear of being so self-deluded that I believe I walk among the righteous, when in fact I am walking straight into the gaping maw of Hell.

But this is flawed thinking.

This kind of thinking is changing the beautiful words of Jesus from:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:35

To:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if your theology is perfect and you have interpreted my words precisely.

John 13:35

How often I have quoted John 13:35!  I love this beautiful verse.  I have tried to live by it.  But I fail.  Oh how I fail!  I stop measuring my discipleship by love and start measuring it by my theological prowess.  And let’s be honest, I don’t have much TP (theological prowess) to begin with.

I’m not the only one.  A lot of us measure our worth as disciples by our understanding of scripture and how well we follow the “rules” as we understand them.  We read our bibles, devotionals, listen to sermons, read books to further our understanding of the “rules” God has “set out” in His word.  We each develop a new set of commandments that we live by based on what we have learned over the years.

And then we become deeply devoted to these commandments.  So devoted that we begin to fear for our loved ones who don’t adhere to these commandments.  Even if our loved ones are doing their very best to follow Jesus in the only ways they know how.  Even if our loved ones are as deeply in love with Jesus and committed to Him as we are, just doing things differently.  We’re afraid that loving Jesus and desperately trying to follow him isn’t enough.  Because, as we established above, we’ve changed the definition of disciple unwittingly from love to knowledge.

I’m not saying all this because I’m judging the people who’ve hurt me.  I’m saying all this from my own personal experience.  I’ve done all of this.  I’ve changed the meaning of discipleship from love to knowledge.  I’ve been afraid that loving Jesus and trying to follow him isn’t enough.  I’ve made my own set of commandments and judged others for not living by them.  Over and over and over and over and over…

As I grow and change and evolve, so too do my “commandments”.  They must change because my understanding of scripture has changed, my vision of Jesus and God has changed, so my commandments must change too.  And the cycle begins all over again as I judge others by my new set of rules.

ughUgh.  I’m getting tired just thinking about it.  It’s so terribly boring and pharisaical.

And that’s it right there.

Watching Ricky Bobby pray his ridiculous and completely hysterical prayers tonight, I realized that we’re all just trying to follow God the only way we know how, well those of us who are trying to follow Him anyway.

And I realized what a hypocrite I am, what a Pharisee.

What I realized is that anyone can be a Pharisee – conservative or liberal.  A Pharisee is just someone who believes that perfect adherence to a set of rules makes you holy and righteous and definitely holier than those who don’t perfectly adhere to those rules.  The rules actually aren’t the important part, it’s how well you adhere to them that matters.

Dang.  Mind explosions.

I was a big, weepy mess before we watched Talladega Nights.  I honestly didn’t think it would cheer me up.  The world was completely ending.  (I’m a dramatic llama, remember?)  And I really didn’t expect to have a huge revelation that would lead me to shift my thinking in a major way.  But it did.

Thanks, Ricky Bobby, for helping me to remember that we’re all just trying to follow Jesus in the best way we know how (those of us trying to follow Jesus anyway).  NONE OF US WILL EVER GET IT PERFECTLY RIGHT.  But if we are truly His disciples we will endeavor to love one another.  That is how we will know we are His disciples, by our love for one another, not by our perfect execution of our interpretation of scripture.

People have hurt me, rejected me because we don’t necessarily believe the same things, but that’s ok.  They’re just trying to follow Jesus the best way they know how.  I can love them even if we don’t agree.  I can love them even if they don’t love me.  Well, I don’t know if I can but I know I can try.

#gofast

 

Need input, Stephanie!

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*Not Wall-E.

Nick and I have talked about doing a little show at our house for a while. And right now, I’m working up a set list of my original songs.

I have over 50 at least right now. (I haven’t counted for a long time.) And I’m definitely not playing all 50+. So if you have a favorite one of my originals (not covers) let me know and I’ll see if I can add it to the set.

Check out some of my songs here. Obvi, not all my songs are there, and tbh, most of the recordings are terribly made on my iphone. But whatcha gonna do?! I’m not a professional musician, I’m a professional mom!

Anyway, drop me a line, text me, FB, IG, carrier pigeon, something. I’ll let you know when we have a date set. Woot. Now, feed me input.

*For those who don’t know, that is not Wall-E pictured above. That is Johnny 5, who is very much alive, bozo.

A new song and a question

Working on a new song this evening.  Fun times.  The song is below.  But, first, I have a question for you: who would come to my house if I did a show and played some of my songs?  I have a lot of songs and most of them no one but my family has heard.  I’d really like a play them for people some time.  So I guess I’m just curious, would anyone come?  Drop me a line if you’d like to come to my house and hear some of my songs.

Here is the song, btw:

I’ve Known Jesus That’s How I Know

 

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Fire in my bones (Sorry, Chris Pine)

Ok. So we finally watched Wonder Woman today. I know we’re a little late to the party. And I know countless blog posts have already been written about this amazing movie, most by better writers than me. But, never fear, none of that is gonna stop me from writing one too!

So I cried. Like really cried. Like my daughter Meghan was concerned. Haha. And you might be surprised by which scenes made me cry. (Or you might not be, heck, idk.)

SPOILERS AHEAD: ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE… *ruddy mysterious sound*

I didn’t cry when Steve died or when he said “I love you”. (Sorry, Chris Pine.) TBH, I wasn’t all that impressed with Steve. (Sorry, Chris Pine.) Chris Pine did a great job playing Steve and he is probably the only reason I didn’t utterly hate Steve. (I mean, how can you hate James T? Am I right??)

This was the first time I cried:

I’m getting misty eyed just watching this GIF.  (Pronounced “ghif” not “jif”, I don’t care what you say.)

I wasn’t feeling particularly emotional (or so I thought) and suddenly I found myself weeping uncontrollably as Diana ran head first into the fray and all the fire power concentrated on her alone.  My chest felt tight.  I know how that feels, I thought.

Sigh.

Ok, so obviously I don’t know how it feels to stand in the middle of No Man’s Land during The War to End All Wars with almost nothing to protect myself except a dope shield and some dope armor.  (Wonder Woman’s stuff is dope, yo.)  I say I know how it feels because it’s a metaphor, my darling.

From the time she is a young girl, Diana is held back, lied to, and generally not supported by those who say they love her.  Her mother lied to her because she is trying to protect her or something.  Nick and I have always just told our kids the truth – the good, the bad and the ugly.  I know a lot of parents don’t subscribe to that type of parenting and that’s cool.  You do you.  I am not judging anyone’s parenting style.  Except, of course, fictional mother, Hippolyta, because she’s fictional and it helps my point.

Soooo, anyway, Hippolyta lies to her, always knowing the real power that lies inside her daughter.  Hippolyta begrudgingly allows Antiope to train her and she gets a point for telling Antiope to train her harder than anyone has ever been trained in existence.  But she loses points for not doing the one thing I believe all parents are meant to do, prepare her child for adulthood.  She might let her train, but she definitely doesn’t want Diana to grow up.  She doesn’t prepare her for what’s really out there.  She just keeps hoping that if she holds Diana back enough, nothing bad will happen.  Sorry, Mum, nothing happening makes for a very boring movie.

Then she meets Steve.  Ugh.

Stuff happens, they leave Themyscira.  Yada, yada, yada.

After she gets off the island, it’s now Steve’s turn to hold her back, every step of the way.  (This movie should be called, “Wonder Woman: No One Believes You Can Do Anything”.)

Sure the whole “fish out of water” sequence is funny, trying on clothes, not knowing what things are, etc.  It’s the little mermaid.  Everyone laughs.Image result for little mermaid gif

But aside from that, there’s a decent chunk of movie where it’s a lot of telling Diana to sit down and “let the men handle this, sweetheart”.  (I know he doesn’t actually say that.)  Honestly, I think if she wasn’t such a hurricane, he never would have taken her along.  I’m not sure he ever had any intention of helping her.

So when she’s finally had enough and she charges out onto the field, despite being told “no” a myriad of ways by Steve (who treats her like a naive child), something inside awakens.

I know how that feels.  I have felt lied to, held back and generally not supported at times in my life.  I have felt alone, like no one has my back as I run into the fray.  Whether or not I was actually alone doesn’t matter.  I felt alone.  And I think all of us have.  I think all of us know how it feels.

I think all us have, at times, felt that we were being told to “sit down and let the men handle it”.  I think we’ve all felt a desire to do more, be more, and been told it’s impossible.

And what’s sad, is that a lot of us will just sit down and shut up.  A lot of us won’t do more or be more because we’ve now internalized that it’s impossible.  I think a lot of us want to be Diana, running into the fray with our shield, pushing back the darkness that threatens us and others.  But we don’t run because we’re afraid.  We stay in the trenches because that’s what we were told to do.

No one believes in Diana.  But she goes anyway.  She helps anyway.  She runs into the mud and blood, brandishing her shield, her shield, not her sword, anyway.  Yes, there is evil to fight, but her quarrel is with Ares, not man.  We wrestle not with flesh and blood, my beauties, but with powers and principalities, with darkness, not each other.

It take it back, someone did believe in Diana from the beginning.  Antiope.

And the only person who ever truly believed in Diana, Antiope, dies in her arms on the beach of Themyscira before Diana’s even had a chance to prove herself.  If you ask me, Antiope is the real hero of the movie.  Without her, would there be a movie?  Without Antiope encouraging little Diana (behind Hippolyta’s back, btw), would she have learned to believe in herself as fiercely as she did?  Or if Antiope had backed off and left Diana alone as the Queen of the Amazons wanted, would Diana have internalized a notion that she was fragile and not meant to have a fire inside her bones?

Antiope saved the whole friggin’ movie.

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If you pray for anything in the near future, pray that you can be an Antiope for someone and that someone will be an Antiope for you.  Someone who lifts up and doesn’t tear down.  Someone who sees unlimited potential in others and stokes the fire inside their bones.  Someone who believes in others.

Maybe the movie should really be called “Wonder Woman: No One Believed in You Except Antiope, Go Kill Ares and Make Her Proud”.

Antiope and this guy: heroes in a class of their own.Image result for you can do it gif

What’s crazy to me, is that even after Diana goes into No Man’s Land and slays and saves Veld whilst slaying, Steve still continues to “handle” her all the way up until the end.  He keeps holding her back and bad stuff keeps happening and the plot develops.  It’s almost painful to watch.  Finally, right before he goes off to sacrifice himself does he say, “you can save the world”.  Um, duh, dude, that’s what she’s been saying for the entire movie.  You didn’t get it because you thought you knew everything.  Surprise, you don’t.

So then I cried again, here:

When she’s fighting Ares, and once again no one believes in her.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, you may prove yourself to the world time and again and still some arrogant mustache is going to come along and try to put you back in your place.

Don’t let them.

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Baby could have got herself out of that corner.  She didn’t need Johnny to save her.  But she didn’t know that at the time.  She felt defeated, alone, humiliated.  Then here comes Johnny, being the Antiope.  He believed in her.  No one else did.  But he did.

Ok… Back to this:

We have all had our fair share of arrogant, know-it-all, mustaches who think they know what is best for us or they know our abilities and limitations better than we know them ourselves.  We’ve all had people in our lives who want to blow out our candle so that their candle will shine brighter.  Thankfully, most of the time, those people aren’t also a mythical greek god bent on destroying humanity and we can walk away from those relationships relatively intact, so to speak.

In the end, what made me cry when watching “Wonder Woman: The Woman No One Believed In But Antiope and Steve Near The End and Of Course Herself”, was seeing Gal Gadot so brilliantly portray a woman believing in herself and not in the typical narcissistic, type “A” kind of way that women who believe in themselves are generally portrayed.  She wasn’t climbing some corporate ladder looking out for numero uno or doing something certifiably crazy.  She was doing what she knew deep inside she was meant to do: help, protect, love.

What made me cry was seeing my internal monologue coming to life on a battlefield and seeing Diana climb out of the trenches and face the storm head on.  No one believed in her or supported her.  They tried to stop her and basically called her crazy for wanting to help others.  But she didn’t back down.  And she took a lot of fire while making her stand.  But she kept on standing.  She kept on.

What made me cry was seeing her look that mustache straight in the face, saying “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”  Even after already proving herself multiple times on the battlefield, she was still being told to grab some bench and sit this one out.  And she refused.  She snapped on her chin strap, didn’t bother saying “put me in, coach” and ran out onto the field anyway.  She never let anyone set her limitations for her.  Even when Ares has her pinned to the ground and she’s looking up at Steve’s airplane, I knew she was just catching her breath.  It wasn’t losing Steve that suddenly gave her the strength to fight again.  It was Ares trying to tell her who she was.  She wasn’t gonna let him define her.

I’m not gonna say that Wonder Woman is now my favorite movie or anything.  (My favorite movie will always be Strictly Ballroom with Resident Evil as a close second.)  But I’m really glad I finally saw it.  I’m taking a few lessons away from this one that I hope stick with me for a while.

  • Seek out the Antiopes in your life – the ones who encourage you and support you, while also training and guiding you.
  • Be an Antiope in someone else’s life – don’t set limitations for others, instead help them to find the fire in their bones.
  • Ignore the Steves who tell you to sit down and let someone else do it – believe in yourself, even if they don’t.
  • Don’t let anyone try to keep you in “your place” – push back, walk away, you don’t need that mustache in your life.
  • If you see Baby in the corner, grab her hand and lead her out – sometimes people need help to get out of the corner the mustache put them in. (This one’s not from Wonder Woman but I still learned it so it counts)

And I guess I can sum it all up just by saying this:

Believe in yourself and encourage others to do the same!

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