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Tonight I saw a friend’s Facebook post where she used the phrase “A servants heart” and it got me thinking. In what ways am I showing a servants heart?

There’s the obvious answers of taking care of my family and friends, but those are things we should all be doing no matter what. No, a true servants heart goes deeper.

The key, I believe, is in being sacrificial. No, not actual sacrifices like at an altar; sacrifices of your wants to take care of others needs.

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When was the last time any of us actually did this? Moreover, did it with a truly joyful heart? See, the sacrifice loses its meaning if you dwell on its loss. Giving up your seat on the bus, but then complaining how much your back now hurts isn’t showing a true servants heart.

I thought about this tonight because I am in the midst of being sacrificial for the benefit of others. The trouble is, I keep dwelling on the time I am missing with my husband, the wine I am not able to have right now and the sleep I am foregoing, but desperately needing. Why?

I am truly happy to help. I didn’t bat an eyelash when asked. It wasn’t even a QUESTION in my mind to say yes! And yet…

So how can I follow through this entire sacrifice with a servants heart? Number one, I need to get over myself. The whole point of me being here, instead of home, is so a husband CAN be there for his wife; so the children have normalcy in a chaotic time for them. And I want wine??? Please.

Number two, I need to lean more on Gods desire for my actions than my own. Only He knows what is best for me right now, and if He didn’t want/need me right here, right now, I would not be here. His plan is so much greater than the one I could conceive.

Number three, I need to relax. So I lose a little sleep! So I save my liver a night of intense filtering! So I see my family for a few less hours! It’s minor. Those things are fleeting, but the time I gave to this family is everything to them!

Is my servants heart restored? Mostly. I am human after all. I still want my version of tonight, but I am much happier to give it up to help those who truly need it. And that…that is the bottom line.

Don’t beat yourself up for wishing you didn’t have to be sacrificial. Just try to change the lamenting to fond wistfulness!

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Nearly 15 years ago I became a mom. There’s a lot the books don’t prepare you for. One of those items is breastfeeding in public. It’s going to happen. That bundle of joy needs food almost all the time. So inevitably you will be grocery shopping, or out to eat, or at your older child’s soccer practice and your new baby turns into Audrey 2 from “Little Shop of Horrors” screaming “FEEED MEEEEEEEE!!!!!!”

What’s a mom to do?

Lately, a movement has taken hold that is promoting breastfeeding awareness. There’s even a hashtag of normalizebreastfeeding. I never knew people considered breastfeeding abnormal. What this new movement is trying to establish is that one does not need to cover up while breastfeeding because the act is a natural and necessary part of life. That baby needs to eat, so it’s no big deal for a woman to expose her breast to whomever is nearby.

As a mom of three, who had to breastfeed in public on multiple occasions, if find this line of thinking weird. Not because I am embarrassed about the fact that a baby needs to feed, not even because I object to nudity. No, I object to this stance because I don’t want my teenage son, who’s going through puberty, to see boobs when he’s at lacrosse practice, or the library, or while we’re out to eat.

These moms that feel they don’t need to cover up must have husbands that don’t mind sharing their wives bodies with just anyone. Hear me out. Husband and wife are connected to one another by various means, but the most intimate is that they know every curve, inch, imperfection, line, dimple, and shade of each other’s bodies. That is a beautiful thing!! Why would any husband be ok with the random person at the food court getting to see that which is only meant for him?

Yes, breastfeeding is natural and necessary. However, so is going to the bathroom, sex, and bathing. I assume the moms who feel it’s ok to whip out the boob, are less likely to say they would go to the bathroom while everyone watched. I am nearly positive none of those moms would find having sex with their husbands a public matter. Bathing? Well, hey, who knows where the line is drawn?

My point is this: yes, breastfeeding is natural. Yes, it is necessary. Yes, it is going to happen in public. Still, there is no credible reason why a mom can’t use a cover up for privacy sake. Some of the ones now are really cool! They tie around your neck and have a wire loop so you can keep an eye on baby. The material is lightweight and comes in all kinds of patterns and designs.image

Ladies, take pride in showing off your baby, not your boobies! Keep your body sacred for your husband. You can nourish your child in public without exposing yourself. I did it with my three, and not because I am a prude, or embarrassed about my body. I covered up because no one asked to see my boobs, and I am not one to share something if no one asked for it.

Recently, my middle child turned 10. Her wish was to have a real party. This may not seem an odd request, but her birthday is December 30th. While we are always able to make a big deal out of her birthday, it is not always easy to get even a few of her friends together over winter break for a party.

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This year, I vowed to make it happen!

 

In October, we picked the venue. In November we bought the invites. A week before Winter break started she delivered the invites. I got one RSVP. Now readers, please don’t fret!!! We knew of 3 girls coming to the party already, so to have one more confirm was awesome!

 

The tricky part was the cake. You see, I have a shoe problem. By problem I mean I can see 15 pairs of shoes from where I sit, and I know there are at least 8 more out of my line of sight. I also may have just purchased a pair of Mukluks from a friend…but I digress. My point is, I have somehow transferred my shoe passion to my 10 year old. So much so, that when we were looking for cake ideas, she saw a picture on the internet of these amazing high heeled cupcakes. Guess what cake she HAD TO HAVE?!?!?

 

So, being the wonderful mother that I am, I gritted my teeth and said “Of course darling! Mommy can make that for you!”

 

Now, I do have a background in baking, and my decorating skills aren’t terrible, but the task at hand was daunting. Still, it was her 10th birthday and dang nabbit, I was going to give her what she wanted.

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I have included some pictures of the cupcakes, not to brag, but to show you what 3 hours of baking/frosting making, 2 hours of assembly and 1 hour of transportation looks like from the determined mother.

 

I hear parents say all the time “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my child!”, and I can safely say, this is true for me!

 

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It’s late. I am exhausted. 4 trips to the kids school and a sports meeting have left me little time to reflect on today.

But…

This day creeps up on me every damn year. And even though I can recall every moment of it 12 years ago with insane clarity, there is one moment that defines the day for me. When my husband came home from work and saw me sitting on the floor, holding our not quite one year old son, sobbing as I watched the images over and over again on the little 13 inch screen tv we had, he didn’t wrap me in his arms. He didn’t pick up our son and tell him mommy was ok. No, what my husband did was the most heroic thing he could ever do.

He marched across the room, turned off the tv, unplugged it, took it in our bedroom, came back out and said “No more for you.” It wasn’t done out of hate or sadness or even love. It was done because he knew it had to be done. Because he knew I didn’t have the strength to do it myself. Because if I watched that plane hit that building one more time, I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

Sure, I was shaken to my core about all the events that day, and the implications it all held for our country, but my husband’s simple act that evening saved me. I was able to sleep that night. And I was able to get up the next morning, and every morning since.

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Last night I was watching Glenn Beck. He talked about a defining moment when you changed a major thing in your life. He said that if you didn’t have an exact moment when that change occurred that you could point to, you most likely didn’t change a thing but the words coming out of your mouth.

 
I’m not sure why those words resonated with me. Perhaps because I have fundamentally changed so many things in my life over the last 5 years. Perhaps because I can recall every time I made the conscious change in my thinking. Regardless, I know my journey has been one of transformation for me and not for others.
 
See, before 2008 I was wholly liberal. Abortion was a woman’s choice, illegal immigrants were just looking for something better and government was my friend. Only, that’s not the whole story.
 
My beliefs were shaped…no, I allowed them to be shaped…by those around me. When Reagan ran against Mondale, I only knew about Mondale. And I only knew about Mondale because his running mate was Geraldine Ferraro. This is important because my mom fancies herself a feminist and my sister’s name is Geraldine. So clearly, that ticket was the better of the two.
 
My first time voting was for Bill Clinton. I was so excited to vote and I wanted to make my parents proud of me, so I voted democratic all the way. I even wore a t shirt that said something akin to “Everyone should vote!” I don’t believe that anymore either.
 
In 2007 I went to work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was exciting! I had my mother’s love and encouragement, and I was working toward helping make history. Then Obama happened.
 
I guess I should thank him. Without his presence on the political scene I would have never questioned anything. But question I did when I saw people bussed into my precinct to vote. When I heard the Union members say they were barred from voting if they had Clinton materials in their hands, or said they were voting for her. And most of all, when Obama said he wanted to “fundamentally change the United States of America”. That scared me.
 
I love this country fiercely. I have lived in two other countries and traveled extensively. While I enjoy going other places, I can’t imagine living anywhere else but here. We have freedoms almost unheard of elsewhere and diversity galore. If I want to live somewhere tropical, or desert, or arctic, I can. So to hear a potential president say that all needed to change made me sit up and take notice.
 
It also made me take stock. This man represented my core beliefs…and I didn’t like what he was saying. So I made everyone in my life shut up, I closed myself off from people and I read. I read articles, books, the constitution and blogs. I studied the pros and cons of several “hot topics”. But mostly, I listened to the other side. 
 
My defining moment? My husband had Rush Limbaugh on. I can’t tell you the topic or what was being said. What I can tell you is that I commented on it, and 2 seconds later Rush said EXACTLY what I had just said. Whoa…talk about a 180. I agreed with Rush. No, Rush agreed with my opinion! After all, I said it first.
 
I had found what I truly stood for. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought. My conclusions were my own. They came from an obscene amount of research and questioning. It’s hard to rattle someone when they come to their own conclusions, and I am NOT going to be rattled ever again!
 

ImageWhen Disney gets ahold of a classic narrative, you just know they will do something truly special with it. Tonight I was allowed to screen “Oz the Great and Powerful”. Special doesn’t even begin to cover what this movie is.

Confession time people: I am a HUGE “Wizard of Oz” fan. I have read the books and I pretty much have the movie memorized. I tell you this so you understand my bias in writing this review.

Let’s start with the basics. The screening I went to was in 3D. Now, I’ve seen “Avatar”, “Tron:Legacy” and “Superman” in this format. All were fantastic, but they have NOTHING on the use of 3D in “Oz”. The opening credits alone are worth the price of admission, but then…oh my…then you enter Oz and the spell binding artistry takes it to a whole new level.

To say that “Oz” is a pretty movie is an understatement. From mountains, to raging rivers, to the Emerald City, each frame is a new feast for the eyes. I felt like I saw colors that I never knew existed in a land that even my best dreams couldn’t conjure. Truly, Disney outdid themselves in the effects department.

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Now to the plot of this film. It is the story of how the Wizard ended up in Oz, what he had to do to prove himself worthy and (of course) the tale of the Wicked Witch. There are old familiar characters made new like Glinda and the Munchkins. Even though you know what they are like in the original, these representations are fabulous, albeit quite different!

Overall, the movie kept a good pace and engaged the audience fully. What the plot lacked was made up for in the performances and the visual effects. The only true critique I can give is the end of the film. No, no spoilers here, but it seemed as if they weren’t sure how to finalize the events, so they created three endings…and put the audience through them all. It was the only time I felt the movie dragged at all, which is a shame.

For parents looking to take their little ones, I say not under the age of 7 at least. There are some scary moments and the winged monkeys are quite terrifying. There is some adult humor, but it would go over most kids heads. That being said, I believe this is a great family movie. Something for everyone!

On a five star rating system, I would give this 3.5…maybe 4. The references to Baum’s original books and the 1939 film are seamless and fun for a fan. Even though we all know essentially how this story will end, they did a good job keeping you in suspense throughout. A few script issues and the ending issue keep me from going full fan girl and giving it a 5.

With money being tight nowadays, I know people are being choosy about the movies they go see in the theater. DON’T miss this one on the big screen!!! It is made to be seen that way! And spring for the 3D too. You won’t be disappointed.

Having been on Facebook for many years, and Twitter for just over a year, I have had to learn a whole new way to disagree with people. Through trial and error, I have come up with a fairly simple way to deal with family, friends, twitter/fb “friends”, stalkers and trolls.

Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting some do s and don’t s when confronted with opposition.

Let’s start with the easiest foe on the list: the ever-so-lovely troll.

For most, a troll is merely annoying, but occasionally they can turn nasty and relentless. It is at this point that you must acknowledge their existence and shut them down.

If your troll is using proper grammar (and that is a big if) and speaking in a somewhat civil tone, I highly recommend challenging them in their facts and knowledge. A simple “Interesting point. Now where did you get your info? Sources please?” should suffice.

More often than not, this is when the troll engages in name calling and accusations that YOU are the one who is wrong. When this happens, just site your sources and do try to use small, monosyllabic words to make it easier for your poor, disillusioned troll.

One of your most effective tools against any type of troll is the screen shot. You see, tweets, posts and comments can be deleted, but a screen shot lasts FOREVER!!!!!!! Trolls will put up a brave front, but when even they realize they have gone too far (ie: threats and really bad information) they tend to remove what makes them look bad. Don’t let them get away with it!!!! Learn how to screen shot from every device you own. Also, the shots come in handy for another form of fighting: Using the troll’s own words against them!

See, what trolls do best is try and steer the conversation to a topic of their choosing. That’s fine, but it’s when they also start messing up their own talking points where screen shots help. You can refer back to them quickly and you can repost/retweet them to highlight the troll’s ineptness.

Of course the best way to lose a mild case of the trolls is to not feed them. But let’s be real…a troll makes your day when you can out wit, out argue and simply out them for the idiot that they truly are! So fight smart and WIN!