11/30/10

Oh, Oprah.

I swear, she gets me every time. With the tender shoulder to cry on, the recipes, the book club, the great hair, and the QUIZZES on the website?

Why yes, I DID need to spend my morning trying to figure out how charismatic I am, thank you kindly.

Apparently, I am "magnetic. You are extroverted and a natural leader, though you tend to attract enemies, too, precisely because you stand out from the crowd. You may sometimes feel burdened by the attention and the responsibility of having followers."

I'm thrilled to know. And now you want to know, too, don'tcha?

Whatever you do, don't shoot the messenger! =)
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11/29/10

Leftovers!

Anyone else have turkey leftovers?

Anyone?

We always have heaps of leftovers, since my family does Thanksgiving dinner BIG - as in, a bird large enough to feed a small country. That's just how we roll.

So we're doing the leftover turkey sandwich bit this week, and so far, I'm okay with that. For now, that is. By Friday, I feel like I'm going to need some serious intervention.

Happy Monday!

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11/26/10

[Black] Fashion Friday.


Thanksgiving tummy + 3AM wake-up call + mega shopping day = comfy clothes.

This is what I'm wearing today, and I make NO APOLOGIES for venturing out into the world in what is essentially pajamas. None.

Don't judge me, it's comfy. =)

Shut up hoodie - Juicy, EBAY! $48.25
Black VSX yoga pants - Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual sale, $19.99
Zebra tote - Can't remember? Have had it for years.
Nike running shoes - Champ's, $69.99
Silver, black, and pink jewelry - various purchases, about $30 total.

Happy shopping-leftovers-celebrating FRIDAY! =)
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11/25/10

Thanks For The Memories!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I'm celebrating holidays a little differently this year because I have a whole new family to add to my collection thanks to this husband of mine. So we're double-celebrating, which means definitely more food, possibly more crazy memories to add to my collection.

And I've got some crazies, like the Thanksgiving we had so many people at the house, we were sleeping on the floors. Or the time my sister and cousin got into a mud fight. Or the time I dropped a pie. Or the many, many times we've fought over broccoli salad.

Yep. Good times.

Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a good time, too!

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11/24/10

I'm Thankful For..


200 posts! What a crazy, eventful ride this blog has taken us on! Also, I'm thankful for a mom who cooks a mean Thanksgiving meal. And for pumpkin. And for fun new recipes like this one:

                                                             Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie
                                                                       Serves 8–10



Ingredients

2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (from about 40 cookies)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
5/8 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. melted butter
2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar , plus more for garnish (optional)
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°; place a rack in center of oven. Combine cookie crumbs, walnuts, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in butter and transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Press crumb mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and sides of pan (put a piece of plastic wrap on top of crumbs to keep crust from sticking to hands). Bake 10 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack.

In a large bowl, gently whisk remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt with rest of ingredients except 1/4 cup sugar, cranberries, and orange juice. The mixture should be smooth and have no bubbles. Place cooled piecrust on a baking sheet; pour in pumpkin filling. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon to smooth the top; transfer to oven. Bake until pumpkin filling is set but still has some wiggle in the center, 60 to 75 minutes. (If edges of pie get too dark toward the end of baking, cover them with aluminum foil.) Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, set aside a few whole cranberries for garnish (optional). Boil remaining cranberries with 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice, and 1/4 cup water until berries pop, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Press berries and cooking liquid through a fine strainer. While sauce is warm (not hot), spread across cooled pie with an offset spatula. Roll reserved berries in sugar (if using) and place on pie. Serve pie at room temperature or cold; it can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.


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11/23/10

I'm Thankful.


Ten things I'm thankful for today:

10. My health. In the past year, I've made more trips to doctors and hospitals than in my entire life. It's made me understand and appreciate the gift of health so much more clearly to know how fragile it is.

9. My jobs. Nothing is perfect, but we prayed long and hard about God providing ways for us to make extra money, and He gave them to us. And I'm thankful.

8. A strong network. Not only my close friends, but people I can reach out to for advice, recipes, conversations about life, love, and Jesus. And of course, my bloggy friends who keep reading and keep me going! ;)

7. Purpose. Living with purpose and goals is the difference between subsisting and truly living. I am truly thankful that I have a destination. It makes the living in-between goals easier.

6. Humor. It'd be so much harder to keep an eye on the prize without a little levity in between. For the moments where laughter spills out and fills the dark voids with a little bit of sunshine, I'm thankful.

5. A financial plan. Having a plan [and a hubby sticking to it with me] to be debt free is liberating, and I know that reaching our goal will mean even more reason to celebrate stewardship.

4. Friends. I'm priviledged to know some of the best - people who have stood by me through tests and pain and happiness and flurries of accusations that threatened to destroy my sanity. What sanity I have left, that is. I'm thankful for those people - they keep me believing in humanity.

3. My family. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little biased. I'm convinced that I have the BEST family. For real. The most WONDERFUL nephews, the most AMAZING parents, and the AWESOMEST family ever. And if you knew them, you might agree. They rock.

2. My husband. Truly the best thing I never knew I needed, he's my love, my friend, and my balance. I've been blessed. Not every day is a picnic in a rose garden, but every day IS a treasure. We're growing closer and stronger every day - and a little more in love, too. I'm keepin' this one! ;)

1. A loving, gracious Savior. I don't want to know what life would be like without Jesus in it. No matter where I go or how I change and grow and become, He's there. He's my Guide, my Rock, my Comfort, my Provider, and my Friend. I'm thankful for His mercy, grace, and love - because trust me, I've pulled some doozies, and love that covers all of my craziness is worth a lifetime of thankfulness.

So.. What are you thankful for?
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11/22/10

A Week Of Thanksgiving.


It's more than great food and days off of work and family get togethers. It's even more than a precursor to Christmas.

Thanksgiving is a chance for us to lay aside our selfish, egocentric ideas of our own independence. Contrary to what we may make of our own abilities, none of us are here because we've pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

That's not how it works.

As a nation, we tend to see ourselves as fiercely independent. Throughout the year, our holidays reflect a rousing sentiment of bravery and pride and standing our ground. Independence is a part of our lives - even reflected in our moral fabric.

But this holiday is different. From the beginning, it has represented thankfulness. For help, for friendship, for an extended hand, for another harvest. Nothing about Thanksgiving relates to our own abilities, and it's both humbling and rewarding to acknowledge that none of us have made it to where we are today without help.

As Christians, this holiday is especially poignant to us, because it represents all of God's provisions and blessings and mercy and answered prayers.

This week, I'm reflecting on my blessings, and I hope it inspires you to do the same. [I'm also taking names and kicking tail, but that's not as inspiring. ;)]

Join me for a week of thanksgiving, and maybe a slice of pie, too. =)

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11/19/10

Fashion Friday.

I love Ross'. LOVE them, in all caps. I snagged this Max Studios dress there for $29.99 awhile back, and aside from being a little longer [mid-kneecap for me], it's a dead ringer for the Sophia Grey dress from Coggles, which will set you back a little matter of $430 or so.

Cheap is lovely.

It's super versatile and has potential for every season, but here's how I'm wearing it for winter. As much as I love accessories, I tend to keep my jewelry low-key when I have bright shoes AND a bright purse in the mix.

Dress - Ross', $29.99
Mustard slouch bag - Given to me by a friend!
Blue booties - Joey brand, also Ross', $14.99
Black opaque tights - Walmart, $4.99
Gold bird rings - Hippie shop! $6.99 for the pair
Gold hoops - I can't remember, but they're purchase-able from anywhere.

Happy Friday!

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11/18/10

Black Friday Fever.


I knew it would happen someday. I dreaded it. I feared the day.

But I knew it was coming.

And here it is. THIS IS THE YEAR. I'm officially making plans to take part in the craziness that is Black Friday.

Cue the doom music now.

I've never, ever taken part in the melee that is a black Friday sale. For the good of all people, really, since I will CUT A HOE for taking the last Polly Pocket and ruining my Christmas list, but also, because I am NOT A FAN of waking up before the sun comes up, not even for cheap electronics.

I am also NOT A FAN of sales leaders and showing up with 237 other optimistic shoppers to find 3 flat screen tvs at the advertised price.

Yeah. It's kind of a jungle out there, y'all.

The biggest factor in my Black Friday aversion is probably that I'm so ridiculously giddy about Christmas that I'm usually in full shopping mode by October. Who needs it when you've already got everything wrapped and hand-stamped with Christmas cheer?

Black Friday is for grinchesssss. =)

But this year, I'm joining the ranks. Reluctantly. Because of our budget and general lack of trust funds and/or inheritances from recently-departed rich relatives, we're using strategic financial planning for everything Christmas related.

Right down to the last stocking stuffer, if you will.

Because I'm a planner, and also because I'm terrified of the process and of the power of my own determination [I don't want to spend Christmas in jail over a Polly Pocket] we're trying to get a jumpstart. It's a battle plan of sorts - figure out a way to use the #BlackFriday hash tag in every tweet from here until Thanksgiving in a bid for free Target monies, check out the leaked Target ads, the leaked Walmart ads, and the junk emails from Best Buy, JCPenney, and Old Navy for any potential hints at holiday goodness on the cheap.

And then we go in for the kill.

Uh, or, you know, wake up early and shop.

I'm requesting prayer and supplication starting right about NOW.

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11/17/10

Twinkly.


I ran across this slideshow from Yahoo of breathtaking photos of Italy taken from space. Of COURSE I loved them. Space photos + twinkly lights + ITALY?!?

Why yes, that IS how I wanted to end my Wednesday, thank you very much.

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11/16/10

iFun!

[image from failblog.org - clearly, lol]

Remember my hate for the iPhone's autocorrect?

REMEMBER?

Anyway, Dave Barnes [I HEART HIM] hates it too, and he blogged about it, and yes, I'm late to the game, but he's got some doozies.

Go on. You know you want to read them.

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11/15/10

Changing The Conversation.


I joined the BlogHer network awhile back in an effort to stay accountable to my blog. It's much too easy to recede into my everyday life, glossing over details that make my world so imperfectly perfect.

Apparently, the BlogHer network requires consistency in a blog. Imagine that, right?

I keep an eye out for things going on around there, and I'm loving the 'Own Your Beauty' project they're presenting - especially this article, which hit home with me.

The author talks of her reliance on her husband to define her, to provide an emotional tone for the marriage, and to affirm her own self worth - and of how destructive that can be.

Yikes.

How many times have I wondered what D's real opinion of me is simply because he isn't communicating an overwhelming love and passionate attraction to me at that precise moment?

Yeah. I might do that.

As much as I am committed to being a strongly interwoven strand in our matrimonial three-strand-cord, I'm not defined by what my husband is or is not saying. He's human, and I'm not going to lie, that's a lot of pressure to put on one human guy.

Especially when I have a perfect Heavenly Father who calls me His own. I'm beautiful, chosen, precious, valued, and treasured - because Jesus says so.

Check out the article - and the project! =)

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11/12/10

Fashion Friday.

I really, really love long sleeved tees with short sleeved sweaters. I don't have a good reason for this, aside from a love for layers that transcends all seasons and shapes, but I am all about this cape sweater from Old Navy. And, of course, skinnies and boots, because I'm nothing if not creative.

I've also been known to wear this combo with a knee-length skirt and opaque tights.

I know. Creative.

Also really repetitive. 'Cause these suckers are my winter STAPLES.

Cape - Old Navy, $29.99
T-shirt - Dillard's, $19
Jeggings - AE, $49.99
Boots - Ross', $19.99
Black and turquoise geometric jewelry - $28 total, Forever21
Plaid bag - Ross' [by Guess], $29.99

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11/11/10

This Is Why, This Is Why, This Is Why I'm....


I found a link to this site that cracked me up - and also made me a little hungry, but that's not something I choose to acknowledge or address.

Check out This Is Why You're Fat and see what I mean.

Just don't blame me if you start daydreaming about food. =)

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11/10/10

In The Weeds.

I recently took a second job serving at a finer dining restaurant. I was excited - almost ecstatic, really, at this new opportunity to meet people, the chance to have a job where I'm constantly moving [because OH, the WEIGHT LOSS that would be occurring!], ready cash to pay down a few choice bills, and the fact that this particular establishment offers health insurance. All amazing benefits to a job I felt could be performed in my sleep. Because we all know it's not rocket science. It added up to a shining, beautiful future in serving.

Not so much with the glitter, though.

My first month, I had 5 days off; two of those were because I was ill and could possibly contaminate the food.

And the insurance? It bleeds so much cash every week from my employer-provided debit card that I literally don't see a paycheck. At all. That's probably because we're paid $2.13 an hour [minus taxes], so the amount we're required to pay in to the company insurance provider far exceeds anything I might actually bring home.

And, of course, we're all threatened with termination if ever caught 'running the clock'. As if servers have some kind of wicked conspiracy to steal an extra $.15 from the company.

The work, while certainly not rocket science, is difficult. Servers have to choose between conserving steps and piling too much onto a tray or running back and forth from the kitchen at breakneck speeds to procure extra napkins, dressing, tabasco, ketchup, bread, silverware, water, etc, etc, etc. My wrists ache constantly, my knee slips dangerously, and one ankle has already rolled several times while rushing through a slippery, crowded kitchen to get the cheesecake for the lady with the stinkeye at table 12. I can't get into a standing position without pain anymore. Mornings after a long night shift are especially bad - my bones ache like a 90-year-old's.

The people I've met are great; I've only been yelled at a few times by other servers, the kitchen staff, a manager, and a hostess. And of course the customers. They're a joy, too - about 7% of them. We know the good ones from the bad ones immediately - stereotypes may be politically incorrect, but they're spot-on in the serving business.

The other 93%? They're the ones who tip about 7%. Or less. I can't tell you how many times I've been stiffed by a guest, or insulted by such a small tip that I instantly regret ever having checked on the table, brought a refill, or engaged in small talk about subjects I couldn't be less interested in. Even being stiffed nicely is still demeaning and irritating - smiley faces drawn onto your check or verbal pats on the back don't pay my bills, folks.

This isn't to say that I'm bitter and cynical about everyone - there are just enough kind people in this world to remind me that everyone isn't rotten to the core. Things like the $25 tip on a $25 check with the written note 'God bless you! Thank you!' I recently received help to keep me sane.

But I won't be doing this for long. As a second job, it's much too physically demanding, and the stress of dealing with the very poorest of manners tends to wear on a person.

What I do know is that I have learned just how much kindness a server deserves, just how difficult people can be, and just how much patience I still need to deal with these crazies, because Heaven help me, I'm having a hard time smiling when I refill that iced tea these days.

It's probably 'cause I'm in the weeds.



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11/9/10

He Makes Me Smile.


Me [to D in a random conversation]: "I really don't want to go to work [my side gig] tonight. I'd rather canoodle on the couch and watch a movie with you.

D [much later, coming into the room where I was laying down for a nap before work]: Hey, baby, I came to fadoodle!

I love this man. =)

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11/8/10

The Race Debate.


Just so we're clear, I firmly believe that there is only ONE 'race' - the human one. I despise the use of the word 'race' to identify skin tones as separate classes. But as much as I despise it, the world tends to divide itself that way. And as wrong as it may be, people tend to identify strongly with those who are closest to themselves in appearance.

I have to say that I'm thankful for an upbringing that encouraged love for all people, because the things I've heard from judgemental, self-righteous people offering unsolicited advice about separation of races could fill a book.

But I digress.

In 2008, when Barack Obama was sworn into the white house, people of every color celebrated at the historic moment. Although President Obama's politics differ vastly from mine, I was as optimistic as his supporters at the evidence of changes in the country.

The first black president in America. A huge stride in equality for all people.

But the changes he pushes are taking a toll on the nation. Relations between black, white, and hispanic people are dissolving, creating strong dividing lines where lines had been erased before. A recent study suggests that 'race relations' are actually deteriorating in America since President Obama took office.

Polls conducted by the Rasmussen group have shown a marked decrease, and that breaks my heart. As moral, intelligent human beings, we should be able to separate politics from skin tone, individual intelligence from a group mindset, and love from hate.

I hope that the president feels strongly about the changes he is enacting, because they're destroying our nation's unity.


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11/5/10

Fashion Friday.


Have I mentioned I love winter? And sweaters? And boots? And winter?

I do. And as much as I'm holding out to wear my summer clothes a little longer, a tiny drop in the temperature had me running for the cable knits and cardigans like a woman gone mad.

I'm still loving dresses over jeggings, boots and jeggins, and scarves. They're stable trends that manage to look classy and on POINT at the same time, and we all know how important those two things are to an outfit! =)

Sweater dress - Old Navy [last year] $29.99
Jeggins - AE, $49.99
Boots - Dillard's, can't remember the price to save my life.
Grey leather bag - Marshall's, $29.99
Crimson trilby - Rue21, $7.99
Black and gold scarf - thrifted, $1
Black and gold jewelry - Kohl's, total cost $34

Happy Friday!

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11/4/10

For Future Generations.


Oh, internets. You're giving me SO MUCH TODAY!

In keeping with my kid-themed thoughts, I present to you the ultimate tool in baby naming. Cutting edge personalization and on-trend selections make it THE PLACE for all your naming needs.

For instance, will you be rearing a future televangelist? Are you looking for a name that makes people feel weird? Do you feel in your heart of hearts that your child is destined to be a plain jane or average joe?

Whatever you believe the case may be, you can be sure to have the right name on hand for your precious bundle of hellfire-and-brimstone-and-donations-please joy when the time comes.

You're welcome.

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A Little Guidance.


I overheard two mothers chatting about their mad parenting skills recently, and of COURSE I formed an opinion about their conversation which had nothing to do with me.

OF COURSE!
I'm not a parent, but it's something D and I both look forward to becoming. And when that time comes, my opinion will be fully justified. Until then, of course, it's just an opinion.

But I digress.

Woman A [red shirt, khakis, not that I was being nosy or anything] loudly described her parenting methods to Woman B [sundress, needed a tank top, that's all I'm sayin'], saying things like 'she knows what she wants' and 'we want her to do what she wants to do' and 'children will make the right choices if you let them'.

Woman B's voice didn't carry as well as her friend, but it doesn't matter, because Woman A's opinions left me deep in thought, wondering how anyone aside from her stands being around a presumably untamed, uncontrollable child, and how she projected her voice from three booths away, and also, most importantly, since when is shaping your child's future a crime?

I might be terribly old fashioned, but I believe parents have a responsibility to mold their children into respectable, moral humans, and believe it or not, your pre-teen does NOT have the wisdom to make the decisions you're allowing her, Woman A. When she is far more concerned about Silly Bandz than moral obligation, why are you giving her the chance to slide into a self-centered, hedonistic mentality where everything is right because she says so?

I hear that you get what you dished out to your parents when your own kids come around, so I know that D and I are in for a wild ride, even if we only inherit the mouthy, sassy genes from my side.

That's not including the stubborn, closemouthed genes from him.

But strong will aside, there is no WAY that our children will be running the show. It's unfair to ask that of them and it's unfair to make the world endure that kind of torture.

Children need parents, not enablers. Kids need to have respect for authority and morals, and sadly, those things seem to be falling out of fashion in favor of selfish indulgence.

And that, my friends, deserves a spanking. =)
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11/3/10

Christmas Listing!


It's almost the most wonderful time of the year - if you're like me and obsessive about gift giving, that is.

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I love everything about the holiday season, from the cooler weather and turning leaves to the hot drinks and family time. And the Christmas lights, because OMYGOODNESS, SHINY!

Ahem.

But my favorite part of the season is buying gifts for the people I love. It brings me the best kind of giddy joy to find the perfect gift. What can I say? It moves me.

I'm terrible about hanging onto surprises, too. That's why Christmas starts early around my house. I honestly cannot handle the suspense of having unopened gifts to give. It's torturous, and by December 1st or so, I'll be begging anyone and everyone to JUST OPEN ONE.

I told you it was bad.

This year will be a unique Christmas, because it's our first married holiday season. Also, our gift list has doubled, so there's that, too. =) I've started looking for possible gift ideas because I am nothing if not thorough [or maybe bored, but that's beside the point]. I have a blast shopping for the individual people in our families, but my big issue is that I really want to gift each little offshoot of our families with something small from us. We didn't have a wedding so favors/hey-it's-from-MARRIED-US! gifts never happened.

And, after all, it's CHRISTMAS.

ForSt.Nick'ssakes.

So far, my ideas are as follows:

- Bottles of wine. [table wine, at less than 4% alcohol, 'cause we're not sops! ;)]
- Something homemade - candy? OR granola! [LOVE granola and have some cute ideas for gift packaging.]
- Artscow personalized gifts. [labor-intensive but definitely meaningful.]
- Candles. [probably personalized]
- Gifts in a jar. [Maybe cocoa?]

...And that's about it so far. I'm hoping to find something that can be personalized, inexpensive, and meaningful.

That's not too much to ask of Christmas, is it? =)
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11/2/10

'Cause They Give Books!

I love it when I have the opportunity to give. Psychologists might call it repressed guilt, friends may call it crazy, and my husband definitely calls it expensive.

Which is why he'll be thrilled that my latest find is a totally FREE - except for the time taken to read the books online - project designed to give books to children who need them.

I already heart We Give Books.

Now if only I could get him to let me read a bedtime story to him. ;)

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11/1/10

Judge Mental.

I had a conversation recently that took me for a spin. In terms of food for thought, I've had enough leftovers for a week.

This conversation centered on condemnation, and the main point of contention has a lot to do with rules and precepts laid down in the Bible. Catch phrases like "It's not our place to judge" and "God is love" and "He's not going to let people go to hell" flew thicker than junebugs in spring.

It was an intense time, y'all.

Rules have been a problem pretty much since the beginning of time. Remember that one thing, that one time? Something to do with Eve, a serpent, and a forbidden tree?

Yeah.

The whole rule thing continues to be an issue. But in today's politically correct world, the concept of knowing right and doing wrong has taken an interesting turn. Lines between right and wrong and ideas of responsibility have begun to blur into a watered-down version of 'God is love' and 'don't judge'.

After all, it's not popular or socially correct to acknowledge a judgement seat, consequences, or a moral right to judge or regulate the actions of our fellow man.

I'm not gonna lie. I'm a boundary pusher. Possibly genetic, definitely controversial, it's a trait that's earned me countless spankings, untold heartache, and the occasional new concept that has shaped my growing, changing perception of life. That's why I feel qualified to recognize boundaries. I mean, someone with my experience in testing them should know one when it shows up.

I'm just sayin'.

And right and wrong? Those are definitely boundaries, and yes, that is my FINAL ANSWER. The Bible is as clear about those dirty little things God calls 'sins' as it is about redemption and grace. And although we're cautioned to avoid judging our fellow man by outward appearances, to work out our own salvation, and to give no thought to hearsay, the Bible never says 'accept everything from everyone because we all have a right to be what we want to be and still get to go to heaven'.

Which is the point my dear friend was making. And one I feel strongly about.

God is love. He is patient, longsuffering, and gracious. But by nature, He is holy and just. He is our righteous Judge as well as our loving heavenly Father. Romans 2:4-11 [NLT paraphrase] says this:

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself.

For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.

There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil, but there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good, for God does not show favoritism.

No matter how you slice and dice it, God's word is very clear about His expectations. He extends grace to us, but not without responsibility. We are commanded to self-regulate - to search our own hearts for sin and seek to align ourselves with Him. We're taught to pursue holy living through prayer and fellowship, study of the Word of God, and self-judgment that averts the judgment of God. 

Sometimes that hits a little too close to home. None of us want to look honestly into our own hearts and see the compromises and weak spots that leave us vulnerable to the influences of everything and everyone around us.

But it's crucial to salvation. Recognizing right from wrong, light from darkness, and good from evil isn't an option. That's why the thought of countless people professing Christianity and ignoring His commands in the same breath troubles me. Where is the line drawn when everything blurs into gray and evil things become acceptable and even protected by a blissfully ignorant, all-inclusive love from a mystical, far-away Almighty?

Why are we so quick to gloss over sins with an excuse, or a reason, or a quick nod to a God who will surely understand and forgive because He's good like that?

I don't want to live in a world without boundaries and responsibility, and I have a feeling that God doesn't want to live in a heart without them, either, so I'm taking a look at the things I endorse and especially that I take into my heart.

After all, I have the leftovers to live with. =)
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