Tag Archives: WorldHelp

7 Things To Do Before Seeing 50 Shades of Grey

50 shades

Although it seems that I’ve been posting about movies a lot lately (okay, this is only my second post about movies this month, but still…that’s more posts than I usually devote to movies), I promise, this is not turning into an entertainment blog.

I guess it’s just that the movies that have come out lately have snagged my attention, and for one reason or another, compelled words.

And today’s topic? 50 Shades of Grey. Of course. Isn’t this the only thing people are talking about right now?

The movie is about to hit theaters and, if anything like the book(s), will be wildly popular.

That makes me sad.

Let me be totally transparent with you from the get-go. I haven’t read the books, nor do I plan to. I will not see the movie.

I could devote this entire post to the reasons why I’ve chosen not to read the books or see the movie. I could tell you all about the Biblical reasons and how I believe that sex belongs only in marriage, but there are a zillion posts out there that have pretty much said what I would say, like this one, written by a pastor and literary agency mate of mine. Read it. It’s full of truth and grace.

You’re going to make your own choices about these books and movies regardless of what I have to say, but I hope you’ll briefly consider a few things—things I think you should do before you go see this movie.

  1. Consider whether or not your movie ticket dollars could be better spent.

Instead of paying for a ticket to this movie, perhaps you could put the money toward bills that need to be paid. Maybe it could go toward groceries or clothes or something else in your life. Perhaps you could be a blessing to a stranger today and use those dollars to “pay it forward” while you’re out and about—purchase the order for the person behind you in the drive-thru, etc. Maybe you could give the money to charity for a cause worth fighting. Check out WorldHelp’s child sponsorship program. Do something with the dollars that will either make a positive difference in your life or the life of someone else.

  1. Talk to your spouse or significant other.

The vast majority of ticket holders for this movie will be women, so ladies, I’d like to challenge you to have a real conversation with your husband or boyfriend about this movie—about how they feel about you seeing it. Does your husband support you? Is he aware that this movie promotes graphic sexual situations based on pain as gratification? Have you discussed with him the reasons why you enjoyed the books (I’m assuming you did if you want to see the movie) and why you want to see the movie? I want you to consider how you might feel if your husband went out to see a graphic sexual film because he was “turned on” by the premise or by one of the characters. I think you should discuss this with your man and give him the opportunity to share with you any feelings he may (or may not) have on the subject. Open conversation about difficult topics is a positive attribute of a strong relationship (something I think the characters in the 50 Shades story-line sorely lack). PS, check out one of my favorite relationship bloggers for more.

  1. Consider how seeing the movie (or reading the books) will have a positive impact on your life.

Will seeing this movie, in anyway, make you funnier, more intelligent, more compassionate, more aware of others, kinder, more devoted to helping people, or set your mind, in any way, on positive things that will help you grow spiritually?

I think we can ask ourselves the question above about a lot of forms of entertainment to help us weed out things that fill our brains with garbage, taking up the room we could be devoting to things that help us grow as humans; things that connect us to other people, not in a way that makes people appear as sexual beings, but as human beings with brains, hearts, and souls that are valuable to humanity and precious to God.

  1. Question your definition of love.love

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day—the day when all the world gets mushy and gushy about love. And yet, while we’re all thinking about hearts and cupid and giant teddy bears and boxes of chocolates, too many people are walking around saying that the relationship portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey is a love story. I disagree wholeheartedly.

Love is not someone who spends lots of money on you.

Love is not jumping into bed with a person you hardly know.

Love is not sexual gratification from pleasure in pain.

Love is not one person’s needs being met at the expense of another’s.

Love is not sex slave and dominant.

Love is not sex.

Love is not what this movie is about. At all.

Love is commitment. Love is devotion. Love is a man who makes a woman feel like a princess and a woman who makes a man feel like a hero. Love has nothing to do with money. Love is beautiful and kind and patient and not prideful. Love is sacrifice. Love is what a strong marriage is built on, and most strong marriages have very healthy and not-at-all boring sex lives.

Before you see this movie—question whether or not you’re justifying by calling this a love story.

  1. Invite your grandma.

I’m not even going to tell you to consider what Jesus would think if he was with you in this movie because folks, he IS with you in the movie. God is everywhere and He sees all things. That being said, I want to just encourage you to invite your grandmother to go with you to see 50 Shades. Would you feel comfortable sitting by grandma during “those scenes?” If not, question why you’re comfortable going at all.

  1. Read about how the actors feel about the movie.

This article was interesting. It appears that the actors from this movie don’t even like each other and also disliked pretty much everything about the movie. The actor playing Christian Grey mentions that he had to take a long shower after filming before he could touch his wife and young child, presumably because he felt dirty from filming. Gotta wonder why that sort of filth would appeal to anyone. (However, if they truly hated it all that much, I have to question why they’d sign on for it at all.)

  1. Consider some alternatives.

There are tons of movies that you could watch that are far more romantic than 50 Shades of Grey will ever be, because unlike 50 Shades, they are actually romantic, not just about sex.

A few suggestions: Becoming Jane (one of my favorites), Austenland (hilarious!), A Walk to Remember, The Princess Bride, Say Anything (my husband’s suggestion), Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility (yeah, I love Jane Austen), P.S. I Love You, The Vow, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (a classic fave), The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, etc…there’s a VERY long list of alternatives.

I’m not asking you to agree with me that 50 Shades of Grey is not a good movie for anyone to see and could actually do harm to your relationships and your outlook on love, marriage, and healthy sex.

I’m just asking you to do the things above and see if you might decide that you have better things to do with your valuable time and money.

Share with me: What’s your favorite romantic movie?

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Filed under Just For Fun, Romance, The Christian Walk

The American Bubble: A Follow Up To American Sniper Post


What a rollercoaster the past week has been. How does one even begin to follow up a blog post that has gone viral? Never, ever did I imagine that when I wrote out my thoughts about American Sniper (took me all of 20 minutes), millions of people would read them. A few hundred? Sure. But millions?

Thanks, y’all, for reading. Thanks for sharing, and thank you for commenting and reaching out to me. I am truly overwhelmed and humbled.

I found the reaction to this post quite interesting. As I read through the comments, there were several themes that stuck out to me, many questions raised, and a whole lot of gratefulness for our military members who have so honorably served and are currently serving our country.

I won’t address all the themes, comments and questions in this post because it would take forever to write and even longer to read (I’ll try to get to them all eventually), but I do want to address one thing first—the American Bubble.

There were strong reactions to my suggestion that many Americans live in a “bubble.” While many of you whole-heartedly agreed with me, others of you were very quick to point out that no such bubble exists, and perhaps I’m either too quick to jump to conclusions about our American culture or I’m just plain delusional. For those of you who think the latter, the only response I have is: thanks for reading the blog. 🙂

I argue that the American Bubble is very real, and far too many people live inside it.

First off, let me define what I believe this “American Bubble” is.

  • To me, the American Bubble exists for those who are unaware of history, religion, culture, politics, economics, and current events and how all of those things are tied together throughout our world. I don’t mean Americans need to be scholars in these areas, just have general awareness.
  • The American Bubble exists for those whose greatest concerns in life are trivial matters—those who are perfectly content with accepting that life exists only inside of their own understanding; that their world is small and needs to stay that way.
  • The American Bubble exists for those who believe that one human cannot affect the life of another for the better.

Let me expound on that last statement. Far too many people believe that their impact on the world is too trivial to make a difference. They believe that they can’t do anything to make the world better for others, so they might as well not even try—in fact, some go so far as to flat out ignore the plight of others in various parts of the world because they see it as “too sad” or “just too uncomfortable.”

And I think that’s the essence of the American Bubble—comfort.

Too many people are unwilling to move their hearts and minds outside of their comfort zones in order to accept the reality of the world and attempt to do anything to make the world better.

Two points I want to make here:

  1. I do not believe that most of these folks in the Bubble are purposefully ignorant. Many of them simply haven’t been taught.

I was privileged enough to grow up as an Army brat with parents who openly discussed religion, geography, history, and current events, among other things, around our nightly dinner table. I was lucky enough to have the kind of upbringing that exposed me to all kinds of people and places, opening my eyes to the beauty of the world at an early age.

Not every kid grows up like this. I’m very well aware.

In my years of experience as a high school Social Studies teacher (throughout my career I have taught US History, World History, American Government and Comparative Religions), I often find myself shocked at the lack of knowledge high school students have. They have no base for understanding the Social Studies for two reasons: their home situation either doesn’t allow for them to have exposure to these things from the adults or older people in their lives or their parents are in the American Bubble and simply don’t know enough to talk to their kids about these subjects.

Social StudiesAnother problem is that Social Studies is the most undervalued subject in American education. Just ask any elementary teacher. When they are out of time and need to cut something, what’s the first to go? Social Studies. Why? Because our education system places so much weight on math, science, and reading that there’s no time left for the valuable lessons Social Studies brings to making a well-rounded student. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying math, science, and reading aren’t vital—Social Studies actually ties into all the other subjects in a vital way, too, if given the opportunity). Middle school and high school are the same way. In my state, we require only 3 credits of high school Social Studies to graduate, while all other core subjects require four.

I’ll save the rest of my spiel on what’s wrong with education in America for another post. 🙂

My point is, young people haven’t been taught. Then they grow up into unaware adults and the cycle repeats itself. Is this in part due to our culture and our ever-constant shift away from the traditional family? I’m not sure. But I know many adults who just don’t know what’s going on in the world, how we got here, and what we can or should do about it. And I know even more teenagers who are the same way. Thankfully, as a teacher, I have the opportunity to do everything I can to education my students—and trust me, I’m making the most of that opportunity.

  1. The second point I want to make goes to the idea that far too many people believe they can’t make a difference in our world.

I’m certainly not suggesting that once we’re out of the American Bubble of blissful ignorance we should sell all our possessions and join the Peace Corps or become an international missionary (if you want to do that, awesomesauce!)—I’m simply suggesting that there are plenty of ways that we, even right around our own families and communities, can make a difference, and while those differences may seem small, they have a huge impact on the lives around us.

When I mentioned in my American Sniper post that Evil does indeed exist all over our world, I mentioned that we needed to combat it in all areas—from international war zones to the battlefields of our own hearts.

I believe this is one of the ways we improve the world—we start with improving ourselves. We must rid ourselves (as best we can) of hatred, greed, pride, and anger, and put our energies into helping and serving others.

**Side note: My personal belief is that the only way to be able to successfully do this is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. When you know Him as your personal Savior, combating this evil is so much easier because you have the tools with which to fight. I know there are some of you who won’t agree with this, and that’s okay. This is my worldview. Yours may be different. But if you are interested in learning more about Jesus or my worldview based on Christianity, please contact me. If you’re not interested, just remember that our goal is one and the same: making our world a better place.**

Whether you run the largest humanitarian organization in the world or you simply stop to help an older person carry their groceries to the car, the essence of improving our world lies, I believe, in ridding ourselves of the sin of pride (self-focus) and instead focusing our hearts on serving others.

Little things do make a big difference. Give kind words. Volunteer. Donate money. Sponsor a child (click here to check out WorldHelp for awesome child sponsorships).


Prayer can do mighty, mighty things, folks.

Some of these might seem too small and insignificant to make a difference, but I’ll tell you what—our God can do amazing things with the smallest offerings. There’s miraculous proof of that not only in the Bible, but right around us all the time. We need only look for it. We need only act on the opportunities we are given to serve others, even when we feel like they are not really opportunities at all.shaking hands

Because we live in America, many of us live in relative “comfort” compared to other nations in the world. We’re blessed in that. We’re blessed that we have opportunity and access to education and clean water. While these things are definite blessings, I believe that our access to comfort might have made many of us complacent to the realities of the world. This is an example of us living inside the Bubble—complacency.

And I believe living inside the Bubble, for many, is a choice.

Too many times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t watch the news. It’s just too sad.” Perhaps that’s you. Folks, I’m here to tell you that unless you keep up with current events, not only can you not come out of your Bubble, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the happy going on in the world, too. Yes, there is sadness. There is Evil. There is tragedy. But there are also stories of those who have popped that American Bubble and are doing whatever they can, even in some small way, to make the world around them better. That’s hope, folks, and hope is just about the best news ever.

Many of you let me know that you didn’t need to see a movie like American Sniper to come out of “the Bubble” because you were never in one.

I think that’s fantastic. And rare. I’m so glad that you are more aware of the state of the world and how you can affect it than many others seem to be.

I would like to think that I don’t live in the American Bubble. I’m too much of a student of the world for that. However, that movie jolted me into the reality of what our soldiers face during war time; what our soldiers currently fighting in the Middle East are facing right now. Perhaps you didn’t need that reminder. But I did. And I’m grateful for it because although you won’t find a person in the US who is more grateful for our military than I, I simply needed a reminder of the conditions they face during war time, the struggles they have readjusting once they’re home again, and the realities the families face when their loved one is at war. I was in the Bubble and I didn’t even realize it. I think that can happen to us, too. We get so caught up in our own lives that even if we think we are aware of what’s going on, all we’re aware of is self. That’s pride, and pride leads to selfishness, which is pretty much the opposite of what we’re going for here.

For me, American Sniper wasn’t only about Chris Kyle’s story—it was the story of every man and woman in all branches of our military who has ever had to face an enemy and how life-changing those encounters can be, not just for that person, but for all those who know and love him/her.

Even as a military brat who experienced a life lived with a father deployed to a war zone, I needed the reminder.

The American Bubble is a real thing. I would argue that it’s not just an “American Bubble,” but can be applied to anyone in the 1st world who refuses to acknowledge the realities of how current events, politics, economics, and religion play a vital role in how our world interacts and where we’re headed.

It’s never too late to get educated. It’s never too late to learn. Even if you are educated, it’s never too late to get a little reminder; a dose of reality to make you realize how blessed we are to live in this great country, where we have the freedom not only to choose whether or not to stay inside the American Bubble, but the freedom to do something, even something small, to serve humankind.

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Share with me: What are your thoughts on the “American Bubble?” Do you think it exists? Are you in it or out of it?

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Filed under Just For Fun, The Christian Walk

Lifesaving 101- How To Save a Child

I swallowed against the tears that burned my throat while I listened to the children sing.

Children from all over the world– Uganda, Nepal, the Philippines– representing the faces of the millions who are suffering every day from the most basic of situations– food to eat, preventable diseases, proper places to sleep, clean water.

I know about these problems–I’m pretty up to date on current events and global crises. I know that children all over the world, even here in our own country, suffer from situations that are preventable.

And in recent months God has been nudging me, pushing me, speaking to me. Do something.

Putting a face in front of me–a smiling child raising a little voice to God in grateful praise– well, there was no way I could win the war against the tears.

I looked over my 5 year-old’s head to my husband. Tears were streaming down his face, too.

This was God’s message to me in that moment–the time is now.

The children who performed at our church were from The Children of the World International Children’s Choir on their Overflow Tour, sponsored by WorldHelp. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. Perhaps you’ve seen them perform at a church or school near you.

If you have, I’m sure you have had the same stirrings in your heart– to see their faces and hear their voices– the ones who have been rescued. To know that there are thousands, millions more who need help.

But how can I help? I thought. I’m just one person. I can’t leave my kids and go on a mission trip to Africa or India. I know that I’m called to someday, but not right now. And as much as I’d love to open my home to every single kid in the world who needs love, it’s not possible. What can I do?

And God spoke. You don’t have to do everything–just do something.

I’m so blessed to be married to a man who has a heart for children. He works with them everyday as a middle school teacher, and when the leader of the choir group began speaking about child sponsorship to our congregation and what it could mean to the life of one child, I looked to my husband. He didn’t even take a breath before whispering a resolute, “Yes!”

Our family is now the proud sponsor of Carlos, a two year-old little boy from Guatemala. For $30 a month, we’ll be allowing him to receive three meals a day, clean water, medical care, an education, and most importantly, the message of Jesus Christ. Once our paperwork is processed, we want to sponsor more.

I don’t tell you this to brag about what we’re doing. I tell you this so that you’ll realize that $30 a month is all it takes to save a life and introduce a soul to the saving power of Christ. And there are millions of lives and souls who need to be saved.

We’ve made this sponsorship a family affair. Our oldest son was instrumental in helping to choose our sponsor child. Carlos was our choice because he’s the same age as our two year-old. As a family we pray for Carlos, we talk about how his life is different from ours, and what we can do as a family to help those in need. We want our children to be spiritually civic minded, aware of needs in the local community and internationally.

One of the major problems facing millions of children today is the lack of clean water. One of the little girls who sang with the choir, Brenda from Uganda, shared her story. She’s nine years old. She’s experienced hardships in her nine years that I will never, ever have to face. I’ve posted her story here to share with you.

Providing wells for the people who need clean water not only helps their community, it gives the workers means to share the Gospel with people who so desperately need to hear the saving words of Christ.

Not all of us are called to missions. Not all of us are called to be the hands and feet on the ground, but every single one of us are called to help.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Mark 6:15

I urge you to consider sponsoring a child through WorldHelp, making a donation toward the water project, or even donating toward Operation Baby Rescue.

What is Operation Baby Rescue? Check this out:

If you are interested in helping in any capacity, I encourage you to research the WorldHelp organization and read about their partnerships and work throughout the world. Not only are they saving lives, they’re saving souls. Use the link or click on the WorldHelp button on the right of this page.

If you aren’t called into the mission field, you can be an arm-chair missionary and save lives through your compassion, your love, your finances and your prayers.

Closer to home there are plenty of American children who need help.  Our church has created a program called Backpack Blessings in which we’ve partnered with one elementary school and every Friday we send children home with backpacks full of enough food to last them the weekend. We are trying to directly impact the lives of  physically, emotionally and spiritually hungry kids.

I encourage you to be resourceful–how can you provide the things that children in your community and the world so desperately need?



Share with me: In what ways do you and your family help in your community, your state, even internationally? Share your ideas–I might want to implement some of them into my own family and community!


Filed under Cool Stuff I Recommend, The Christian Walk