Fun Finds For Everyday #9

shelaughs-februaryfunfinds

So this may be soooo last weekend, but did y’all catch that Superbowl?? I admit, I didn’t watch most of it (I know! I know! But since my two least favorite teams in the entirety of the NFL played each other, there was no happy outcome for me. I’m a Saints fan, so I can never support our biggest rival and the Patriots? No thanks). BUT DANG. No matter how much I dislike the Pats, that was a comeback and gotta give respect to Brady and crew. On that note, let’s share some things that do make me happy!

1. Be The Good T-shirt. I love the message and the simple creativity. I need to remind myself of this a lot these days.

2. Music Sheet Art. I need this. It’s creative, beautifully done and such a reminder. I actually have no idea if the artist is selling these, but oh, would this be beautiful on my mantel.

3. Our Sister, Our Daughter Print. Apparently I’ve made this the art edition of fund finds, but isn’t his beautiful? Plus proceeds help Preemptive Love. Let’s continue to celebrate the beauty in people.

4. Instax Wide 300 Instant Camera. Blame nostalgia, but ever since instant cameras started making a comeback, I’ve wanted one. I have no idea what I would do with it, but it would be awesome having one. So if someone gets me one, I won’t be sad. Also, my birthday is in July.

Any fun finds in your world?

Little Letters | Edition #23

little-letters-meme

Dear Blacklist,
Well, you just went ahead and ruined my productivity. I was only supposed to watch an episode or two one day after work when my brain was spent. But what happened? I couldn’t stop watching because I NEED ANSWERS!! And quit adding more questions kay? #NeedSeason4

Dear Joshua Project – Unreached App,
What a great find you are from the app world! Bringing people groups to pray for is never a bad thing.

Dear Former San Diego Chargers,
Can we talk about your move? I admit my feelings are completely neutral (I only care when you’re playing my boys), but why? And the logo, for real?

Dear Death,
I went straight for it, in the mix of a light hearted post. But let me tell you something, you may break our hearts here on earth, but you don’t win.

(I would love your prayers for friends back in California. Heidi fought a courageous battle against cancer and is now free from it and with Jesus. Please be praying for her husband, young daughters and family. Thank you!)

Dear America,
What in the world?

Dear Internet,
You have made me cry in sadness and frustration many times these past few weeks, but you have also given me hope. There’s good in this world, and…it’s worth fighting for.

Dear Refugees,
Please know there are many fighting for you and I love you with all my heart. I won’t remain silent. (If you are looking for organizations to partner with, here’s an excellent list from Jennie Allen)

It’s been a strange and weary start to 2017, so please feel free to share what’s happening in your life – the hard, the funny, the lighthearted!

Gladiator | Moving Musings

(Moving Musings are some of my thoughts on some of the all-time greats in cinema. I love story and the power that comes with it, so I thought it would be fun to occasionally post about them. Also, there shall be spoilers. If interested in past Movie Musings, just click here!)

Movie-Musings

(Before I dive into my discussion I want to say this: I had this post scheduled months ago. The last time I watched Gladiator was for this post and it was when I still lived in Texas. With life, I never got around to posting it until now, so onward).

Gladiator

First things first: Y’all I LOVE this movie. It has all the pieces in a story that captivate my attention. A hero driven by something greater than himself, a purpose, a perfect soundtrack that stirs your heart as soon as you hear it….I just love it. Even the phrase Maximus likes to say is one of my favorites, “Strength and Honor.”

And if you didn’t know, my cat’s name also happens to be Maximus. And this scene? Mic drop.

(This may have also been the recording to my voicemail in my early days of cell phones. I thought I was such a cool college kid in 2000.)

This movie also has one of my favorite all time movie quotes:

“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”

Now onto our main characters: Commodus and Maximus. Of the quote “strength and honor,” one had both, one had neither. One thought it was okay to have a society that fed off of death. How disturbing that a whole culture rejoiced and thrived off of human life fighting to the death for entertainment. The other? He fought to keep the dream of something more beautiful alive; a Republic. A nation for the people.

© 2000 - Dreamworks LLC & Universal Pictures - All Rights Reserved

© 2000 – Dreamworks LLC & Universal Pictures – All Rights Reserved

Also Commodus is ridiculously creepy. Why else didn’t we like him? He was a coward, he cared only for himself, created laws depending on his mood and had little care for the people of Rome, the people he was supposed to be serving.

Yet, on the other hand, soldiers and gladiators alike trusted and followed Maximus, many to death. Why? He had honor, integrity, he put others before himself (and why Marcus Aurelius wanted him Emperor), loved his family and was brave (among other attributes). He was what a leader should be.

© 2000 - Dreamworks LLC & Universal Pictures - All Rights Reserved

© 2000 – Dreamworks LLC & Universal Pictures – All Rights Reserved

What makes a leader? What makes a person the kind of person others will follow?

Furthermore, when I watch this movie, I often ask myself: What will my legacy be? Both Commodus and Maximus left very different legacies. Will I be remembered as one who fought for the people and where I put others before me? Did I give my life and heart to something beyond myself?

Lord, may the answer to that question be yes.

Have y’all seen this movie? Share some of your thoughts!

Fun Finds for Everyday #8

jan-she-laughs-fun-finds

I’m just going to go ahead and say I’m winning at New Year’s “goals” because this the the third week in a row I have a post up. Compared to the last few months, I feel like I should give myself a gold medal. Ha! Anyway, as always, I love “shopping” for fun finds, so hopefully one of these catches your eye!

1. Sisterhood Soap. I heard of Preemptive Love a few months back through some avenue of the internet and last month heard from the founder on The New Activist podcast. Then when everything happened in Aleppo last month, I learned even more about them and I have grown to love the work they do. These soaps are made by women who fled from ISIS and now have a chance at a new life.

2. Monopoly Travel Messenger Bag. Y’all, it’s hard for me to resist a travel bag. I cannot tell you why, but I love having all the options for bags. This one looks perfect for travels.

3. Compass Journey Ring. How cute is this ring? I love everything about. Simple, yet meaningful.

4. Corn Kerneler. Is this the most random thing I have ever featured on Fun Finds? Absolutely. But how nice would this be when eating corn?

How’s your year kicking off? Did you buy anything fun with your Christmas money?

Some Pick a Word, I Pick a Phrase

Are y’all into the “Word for the Year” trend? I truly enjoy hearing what word people choose and why, but as for myself? My first thought is how I can’t handle the pressure of picking one word for the year and second? Having to remember it the whole year kinda stresses me out too. Totally ridiculous, I admit. But nonetheless, welcome to my brain. But apparently I’ve become all about phrases.

Last year, while it was nothing official, “Aslan is on the Move” became my phrase for 2016. In January, I kept thinking of it and remember telling my community group how I felt that “God was going to move this year, you know, Aslan is on the Move!” I had quite a different idea of how that might have turned out, but as He often does, God totally blew my expectations and dreams out of the water with the move to Colorado (among many other awesome/hard/stretching things).

aslan-is-on-the-move

I wasn’t planning on picking any words or phrases for 2017, but then one of my favorite phrases and quotes kept popping up in different ways, so I went all in.

So for 2017, here’s my phrase.

“Courage, Dear Heart”

I promise I didn’t pick another Narnia quote on purpose. Although, I’m not shocked it turned out that way.

Not only for courage in my career and my writing (I made quite a few changes in my blogging schedule, newsletter, etc), but also for the great unknown. I know God is moving (thus why “Aslan is on the move” has officially become my life motto 🙂 ), but more than knowledge, I want to have the courage to trust that with all my heart.

I want to have courage to not be overwhelmed by what’s happening around me, but bravely step out and reach out to those in need, speak out against injustice and love like Jesus does. And like Jesus often does, a few days after I decided this, I came across this verse:

“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

courage-dear-heart

What’s your word of the year?

Why I Won’t Remain Silent About Racial Reconciliation

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Benjamin Franklin

I believe we are called, as believers, to reach out and fight for the marginalized and against injustice. Not only from around the world, but also those in our own society and culture. I know it can be touchy, it makes many defensive and is a hard topic, but we absolutely need to continue to educate ourselves on these topics and examine our hearts and continue to be the voice (and peace) of Jesus. When we stay silent, I believe we lose some of our witness and miss out on seeing God work in incredible ways.

It will come as no surprise that I’ve been burdened by what is happening in America right now. It’s a dark time for many people.

A couple months back there was a video that went viral and I decided to post it on Facebook (when it’s something closely connected to political views, I always pray before posting. It’s far too easy to post in anger and I don’t ever want to do that). It’s disturbing for lots of reasons, including this one quote that received a standing ovation and the Nazi salute: “America was, until this past generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance and it belongs to us.” (You can see the full video here), but I was surprised by some of the reactions. Instead of denouncing the video (which most people did), there was the “well this has been around forever, so…” as if that was enough reason not to call it out and stand against it. There were also comments that I was spreading hate by posting the video. I was genuinely confused as to how calling out hate was instead inciting hate.

Another recent news story was that of the hung jury from the Walter Scott Case. The trial for the officer who was caught on tape shooting an unarmed man running away ended in a hung jury. Sometimes I don’t even have the words, so I’ll steal them from this article written by Steven Hale of the Washington Post.

“Still, this case had video footage of a police officer calmly raising his gun, carefully taking aim and firing multiple rounds into the back of a fleeing, unarmed man and then handcuffing him as he lay on the ground. Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager claimed that he was in “total fear” during a struggle between the two men and that Scott had grabbed his Taser. But he was captured on video placing his Taser next to Scott’s lifeless body after the shooting.

One must wonder: What detail could be added to make Slager look more guilty of Scott’s murder — or at the very least, of manslaughter, an option that was available to the jury?”

My parents were in town visiting for Thanksgiving and we had many conversations about this (We also watched 13th, which I highly recommend). I asked my Dad about his experiences when he was in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s and how did he not lose hope? (He had to sit in the back of the bus, use “Colored Only” entrances and all the things you hear about. This isn’t something from the distant past. This is my Dad, only one generation before me). As MLK Jr. once said, it’s not the blatant racists who impede progress of moving forward, but instead those who are indifferent. My Dad shared about continuing to fight for what’s right and now that he is a Christian, also praying for the hearts of people and justice. It’s both.

I do not understand the justification, the brush off and the complete denial that our racial history doesn’t have deep impacts on our society today. I don’t get a lot of things about this, but most especially the silence. If we’re not talking about it in a loving manner, then the opposite side is only going to get louder. (Also, please read Just Mercy. Please.)

“Love is the motive, but justice is the instrument.” Reinhold Niebuhr

But as always, the Lord is good and He gave me a word.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

God doesn’t ask us to sit back and be silent about the things that matter. He did not make me timid (I don’t have to rely on my own strength. Yes and amen. “He makes us strong, brave, and unafraid”*) He gave me power (The Greek word dunamis means “miraculous power, might, strength”*), He gave me self-discipline (so I don’t become a loud unhelpful voice) and most importantly He gave me love, which covers all things.

And that is what I’ll continue to move forward in. The Gospel is true and God promises His Word won’t return empty, so I hold onto that and keep on fighting for justice. As Walter Brueggemann once said, Justice is “the re-ordering of social life and social power so that the weak may live a life of dignity, security, and well-being.”

Ann Voskamp (in a podcast with Jamie Ivey that y’all should definitely listen to it here) said something that stuck with me as she was talking about the Church and her new book, The Broken Way. She said that “we are the Esther generation.” An oh how we are – we are called for such a time as this. To care for the orphans, the widows, the refugee, our brothers and sisters who fear for their lives.

We can and need to be the light in this darkness.

“And [God] has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:19‬

“We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ll end with this:

lapeyrolerie

*From Liz Curtis Higgs’ 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart, page 43.

First Post of 2017!

15355716_10154751295158766_5699989684990598655_n

Y’all may have noticed, but since July, my blogging schedule (or lack thereof) has been, how shall we say, a hot mess. I was always behind, always rushing (and in some ways I think I missed out on really enjoying some books).

I even looked at my monthly goals and November and December’s top goal? SURVIVE written in all caps and underlined.

Was this going to be my life? Sweet Jesus I hoped not. So I took some time to think, pray and plan for 2017. I realized I needed to change because the road I was on was leading to non stop overwhelming and burnout. I’m not one who sees busyness as badge of honor so I knew I needed to make changes. Here’s some thoughts I worked through:

  • My new job – I love love love! It is definitely more involved though.
  • I could keep up the blogging schedule, but it drained me.
  • What did I want to focus on in my life? (Surprise to myself, one was working out. Running had always helped me think, relieve stress and stay healthy, but two things happened. My knee really started struggling with running (there went my Olympic running career 😂 ) and I moved to Colorado where running outside in CO was a big fat no most of the year and because #8Degrees)
  • The podcast was running at once a year, but it was something I really wanted to do more
  • I still love writing both blogs
  • There’s topics I want to write on, dive into, get into the mess with and it made me sad that I had zero energy or creativity left by the end of the week.

So through that several week process, here’s what I’m looking at for 2017:

  • Podcast! I have a big goal of 6 episodes this year.
  • Work on some advertising opportunities – there’s so many great sites out there that I’d love to share with my readers.
  • A new schedule for Books and Beverages at twice a week. Occasionally I’ll have more (like this week), but my commitment is twice a week.
  • She Laughs will be much better and actually have one post a week 🙂

I’m excited for what this new year will hold and praying for the Lord to continue to do big things! So Happy New Year everyone! I’d love to hear about your New Year and things you are looking forward to in 2017!