Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What Does it Take to Cross the Finish Line?

I heard an inspiring story on the news the other day.  A woman by the name of Asia Ford came in last place in a 10K race in Louisville, KY.  As a grossly overweight mother, she was determined to lose weight so she could take care of her children.  She began a boot camp and began training for the 10K.  She was losing weight and was determined to complete this 10K no matter what.

Around the fourth mile, she began having trouble breathing. Lt. Gregory saw that she was in distress and asked if she wanted a ride to the finish line.  Asia's determination to finish the race set in.  Lt. Gregory joined in, hand-in-hand with Asia and her son to finish the over two miles left.

Coming in last place meant nothing to Asia.  Crossing the finish line is what counted.  But quite  possibly, she couldn't have done it alone.

The story touched many.  Maybe because it really isn't a story about racing, but a story about life.  How many times have we needed someone to help us cross the finish line?

The true beauty of the story is this--Lt. Gregory offered a hand without question.  He didn't question why she was overweight.  Why she let herself get that way.  Why she was trying for a lofty goal.  He didn't judge her.  He didn't put her down.  He didn't ridicule her or taunt her.  He didn't question why this was important.

He simply offered a hand to help her to where she was going.

A simple lesson we can all learn.

Who can you be a Lt. Gregory to today?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Confessions of a Prodigal Son #Christian #movies

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post, however, as always, all opinions expressed are mine.  This post contains affiliate links. 

I can't remember how I learned of the Christian movie, Confessins of the  Prodigal Son.  It seems I heard about it shortly after I saw God is Not Dead.  Somehow, I started following Confessions of the Prodigal Son on Facebook  and looked forward to the movie's release as it seemed to have a powerful message about coming home to God.  I think early on, I saw a clip of the movie so before I go any further, I want to share one with you, so you can understand why I found this intriguing.

Maybe now you can understand why I jumped at the chance to view this movie before it's release date.

So many young people go through a phase as they transition to adulthood where they think they know it all.  Where they don't want to be told what to do.  Sean, in his first years of college, wants everyone, including his Pastor Father, to stop telling him how to live.  Then he lives the way he wants, does what he wants, all in the hopes of finding happiness.  Drinking, parties and a girl.  It's when he finds he has lost everything, that he has decisions to make.

This is a story of life.  I think so many viewers will be able to relate to this film.  Either they were a similar situation to Sean in their past or maybe they are still in it.  It's powerful message is that once we recognize our life is a story, we have choices.  Is our story worth being told?  Other powerful messages include that we all have to walk through something in our life and that many times, we live in a broken world that we have created for ourselves.  But, we can always go home to God.  It is a story of redemption.

As a counselor who has dedicated my life to helping young people, I truly believe that the messages in this film are so influential people will realize that they have the power to write the story of their lives.  And just because they don't like what is happening now or in the past, they can write a different ending.  I would recommend this film for high school age students and up and a great film for parents and young people to watch together.  It is also a great film for youth groups.  Don't get me wrong, I also think this is a great film for adults.  Even those who think they are living a decent life as it really gives you pause to think--What makes your story worth being told?  I even evaluated my life and my story.

Although I think historically, Christian films are not the greatest because of the lower budget, they definitely are getting better.  This film is a perfect example.  It also has a nice sound track.  The DVD will be released tomorrow, March 24th.  For $8.99 on Amazon, Confessions of a Prodigal Son is one film you don't want to miss, especially during this Easter season.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post, however, as always, all opinions expressed are mine.  This post contains affiliate links. 

Coupon for Fazoli's Snacks @FazolisSnacks

Disclosure: I received coupons in exchange for this post.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

When I moved to this area, I right away learned of a little restaurant that is very kid friendly--Fazoli's.  They actually started out not far from Cincinnati in Lexington, KY, in 1988 and have since expanded to 26 states with over 200 restaurants.  And now, they are adding to their success with a line of frozen appetizers and snacks that have the same restaurant quality people have come to love.  Their products are made fresh and frozen quickly to preserve the great taste and quality.  They offer Six Cheese Toasted Ravoli (yum!), Lasagna Fritata, Chicken Alfredo Flatbread, Parmesan Boneless Chicken, and Mozzarella Stuffed Mini Breadsticks.  As they say, from freezer to fantastic!  My kids go nuts for these and I love having something warm for them for an after school snack.

Anyway, they were recently chosen to compete in a Favorite New Product Poll for Refrigerated and Frozen Foods and you can vote for Fazoli's Snacks by visiting HERE.  You can also get a 50¢ off coupon by visiting HERE.  You can find Fazoli's Snacks at Walmart.

Disclosure: I received coupons in exchange for this post.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, March 9, 2015

She's Turning Into a Young Lady!

Happy Birthday to my sweet pea Camille, now 11.  She brings me so much joy!  She was tickled with a purse and goodies she won at a tea party fundraiser yesterday.  I had to smile at the grown up stuff she won.  She had fun being dressed up for the afternoon, but today is back to her casual tree-climbing playing in the yard clothes!

Spark Something Good and Warm Your Heart! #sparksomethinggood

Disclosure:  I received a gift from Duraflame for sharing my spark something good.

It was my day off and I had a million things to do, and naturally, that entailed stopping at the grocery store.  I just needed a few items, fortunately, so I hoped it would be a quick trip.  However, once in the store, I was pretty sure I had a digital coupon for diapers.  And while I no longer need to purchase diapers for my children, when they are on sale and I have a coupon, I pick up a package or two for the St. Vincent de Paul collection at church for the needy.  This won't take long, I thought.  As I was in the aisle, I wanted to double-check to make sure the digital coupon was still valid.  As Murphy's Law would have it, the store app wasn't working.  So, I try going through the internet browser.  I was able to log in, but then I got a message that the site was having problems.  I go back and forth from the app to the browser till finally, things work.  Yes!  The coupon was valid and the diapers were on sale.  Now I have to make up for lost time.  As I approach the checkout area, I quickly scan to see which register had the shortest line.  I push my cart into a line behind one woman who already has her items on the conveyor belt.  Then I notice the dreaded.  She is in a deep conversation regarding something with the items.  I hesitate.  Do I stay in this line or try for another?

Patience, I tell myself.  God wants you to be patient.  So I stay.  Then I hear a bit of the conversation.  The woman has clothing items and is trying to add the prices before the clerk scans them.  She says, I don't know if I have enough money for it all, but if I don't, I will just have to ask you to take off something.  And I hate to have you do that because I know it is a hassle.

The clerk rang the items and gave the woman the total.  The woman swiped a card to see how much was on it.  Nothing.  "It didn't work," the clerk said.  Let me get this other card.  "That card also didn't work," the clerk retorted.  She began digging in her purse.  Let me find the other one.  I know there is money on that one.  I glanced at my items to purchase, which included chocolates and plush bears for my girls and husband for Valentine's Day.  Things I could do without if I had to.  I opened my wallet and said, "Don't worry, this one works," and swiped my card.  The woman hugged me with tears in her eyes.  She told me I didn't need to do that.  She asked if she could get my address and send me the money.  I hugged her back and told her to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else.

She took her bags and left.  As I walked through the parking lot, she approached me and once again offered to pay me back.  She went on to say that she was a single mother and just got a job and needed the clothing for work.  She showed me her purchases; a few t-shirts she could wear to work, a special wallet that she could keep on her at work (no purses) and a t-shirt for her son.  She insisted she pay me back when she gets her first paycheck.  I told her no need, to just spread kindness and love to someone else.  She couldn't tell me enough times how much this meant to her and hugged me again.

She left with her heart glowing.  And me?  It was the best $52.60 I had spent in a long time.  It left a warm place in my heart on that cold day.

I should clarify that I did not intend to blog about this for the simple fact that I don't want to sound like I am bragging of my good deed.  However, the very next day, Duraflame contacted me with their #sparksomethinggood promotion with hopes of people doing kind acts and challenging others to do the same.  My hope is that you find inspiration in this story and that you decide to "spark something good" for someone else.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Leave a positive message on a sticky note for a friend or stranger.  I love posting messages on public bathroom mirrors
  • Bake some cookies for the mail carrier or an elderly neighbor
  • Leave a positive message on a co-worker's desk
  • Mail someone a card
  • Visit a nursing home resident (check first--many will let you know residents that don't get visitors)
  • Pick up the tab for someone behind you in the drive-thru

Let me know if you #sparksomethinggood and don't forget to tag it on social media!

A Quick Easy Fix for Small Tears in Screens

As we start opening the windows again, we may notice tears in screens.  If the tear is small, a quick and easy fix is to simply use clear nail polish on it.  The polish can seal up small tears to keep bugs out and to keep you from replacing the entire screen.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Had an Incredible Time @Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus Legends #RinglingInsider

Disclosure: I received something of value from Feld Entertainment as part of their Insider Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

What better way than to spend the day with the family than at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  This has become a family tradition that we all love, even the adults.  The Ringling Circus is simply phenomenal and makes us laugh, bite our nails and sit at the edge of our seats.  This year's show is Legends.

There are so many things I have grown to love at the circus.  The Ringmaster, Jonathan Lee Iverson, is simply awesome!  He has been with the circus since 1998 and is a natural.

I have also been fascinated with the elephants, although I, along with others, am glad to see that they will be phased out of the show.

Another thing I love is the action, color and choreography of the show.  Fine arts combined with strength, endurance, agility and daring feats all performed to perfection.  The show runs so smoothly that if you aren't on the lookout, you don't notice them setting up for the next performance.

I also love the band.  I catch myself looking over at them quite frequently, noticing the excellence in their performance that is so key to the show.

Our family truly loves this show and it has become a wonderful tradition.  My girls are still young, but I can envision us 10 years from now going to the circus still.

There is still time to catch the circus at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati on Sunday, March 8, 2015 or other venues around the country.  Click here to purchase tickets for a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performance in your area!.

Disclosure: I received something of value from Feld Entertainment as part of their Insider Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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