Happy Memorial Day!

May we never forget the ones who sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy. Please take a moment to pray for those who have lost someone in service to our great country.

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10 types of people you meet at the gym

gym stereotypes

Note: I will randomly be posting funny stereotypes on my blog in between my usual “Importance Series”, “Movie Mondays”, and other usual posts.

There are many different types of people who use the gym each day. Do you recognize any of the following? Or…can you identity with anyone on this list?

The Wannabee Bodybuilder – Watches his muscles in the mirrors, flexes, grunts, makes over-exaggerated movements. Perhaps he has a too-healthy sense of self. Telltale identifiers: wears tank tops to show off his “large” muscles, too-tight of clothing to enhance his build, and walks with inflated superiority.

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The Rebellious Participant – Doesn’t think that following instructions in a group fitness class is really necessary. She does her own thing, whether it be the exercises or the stretches. She even has earbuds in and listens to her own music and avoids all instruction. The rebellious participant has always wanted to teach her own class, so she does her own thing to get into practice. Telltale identifier: deliberately ignores the instructor’s workout prompts while partaking in exercises that have nothing to do with the class she’s in.

The Crabby Growler – Complains about EVERYTHING. Don’t even attempt to cheer up the Crabby Growler. Nothing works. For him, everyday is a bad day. Telltale identifier: his trademark permanent scowl and perpetual whining.

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The Bubbly Extrovert – Likes to chat with everyone everywhere about everything. On the way to the exercise machines, on the way from the weight room, during exercise class, and everywhere in between. Telltale identifier: She exudes happiness and bears an ever-present smile while waving enthusiastically to everyone in the vicinity.

Mister Musical Machines– Moves from machine to machine, never staying on one for more than five seconds. He starts with the treadmill before moving on to the elliptical, then the recumbent bike. His favorite childhood game was musical chairs. Telltale identifier: never wipes down machines in between hopping from one to the next, and moves so fast you can’t keep track of him.

The Vulture – She has it all planned out which machine or exercise bike she wants. EVERY TIME. Her name is on it in gold lettering. Touch her machine and your life expectancy will drop dramatically. Telltale identifier: Her gaze is fixed on her machine from the doorway, and she ramrods her way through until she has staked her claim.

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The Monopolizer – He thinks he owns the gym. That walkway between the ellipticals and treadmills? Yep, that’s his designated stretching place, even when the space meant for stretching is completely empty. Those weight machines in the weight room? They all belong to him. Telltale identifier: his personal belongings litter the gym, from his water bottle, gym bag, sleeping bag, and recliner. You can’t get around him, and must wait for him to move before reaching your intended destination.

Alexander Graham Bell’s great-great-great-great-great granddaughter – She CANNOT miss a call, so she makes sure she is always on the phone. And she talks loud enough so that you can have the privilege of enjoying her conversation above your own music, even when you have earbuds. Telltale identifier: she is the only one with her cell phone as an extra appendage.

The Walking Germ Spreader – He takes being generous too far and is only too happy to share his germs with everyone else via coughing and sneezing without covering his mouth. The force of his coughs and sneezes rivals the strongest of fans and you go home fearing you may have contracted some rare disease. Telltale identifier: He is constantly heard saying “It’s just allergies”.

What other stereotypes have you come across at the gym?

 

Movie Monday: Duma

movie monday duma

Once in awhile, I come across a little-known movie that is, in my opinion, a “must-see.” Duma is such a movie.

dumaSet in South Africa in the present day, 12-year-old Xan and his father nearly run over a baby cheetah while driving home on an empty stretch of highway one evening. They take the animal back to their South African farm and raise it as a pet. Xan mentions that when you give something a name, it then becomes your friend.  After trying to decide on a name, Xan finally decides to give his new pet the name of Duma, which is “cheetah” in Swahili. It isn’t long before a wonderful friendship begins between Xan and Duma.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this movie is the portrayal of Xan’s closeknit family. Xan’s dad, Peter, is sure to teach his son all he knows about building things and taking care of a farm (which comes in handy later in the movie). Peter spends a considerable amount of time with Xan and, together, they test Duma’s speed by racing alongside the animal with a stopwatch.  There is also a strong love and devotion between Xan’s parents, even when they are in the midst of tragedy.

Duma is void of anything objectionable (there is a situation with “cultural” medicine practices, but nothing explicit); however, there are several intense scenes that will frighten younger viewers. When Xan embarks on an adventurous journey and a promise he made to his father to return Duma to the wilds where he belongs, Xan encounters the harsh elements, wild animals, a stranger, and near death due to a lack of water and food. Parents will also want to discuss Xan’s choice to leave on his own to help Duma find his way back to the wilds, rather than solicit his mom’s help.

Duma is one of those movies that I hadn’t heard much about, but that I am glad I purchased. Themes of family unity, forgiveness, loyalty, loving your neighbor, and grief all play integral roles in this movie. I highly recommend it for everyone ages 12 and over. (NOT recommended for those under 12).

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see Mom Approved Movie Reviews.

 

5 ways to make your child feel loved

5 ways to make your kid feel loved

We tell our children we love them often – and our words are important. But how can we put action to those words and show them we love them? Here are five easy steps.

1. Pray with them. We pray corporately several times daily as a family – in our family Bible studies, before meals, etc. However, one of the things I have found especially important is to pray separately with each of my children as well. In those quiet times we prepare to spend with the Lord, I ask each child what specific prayer requests they have for others, for themselves  – are they struggling with a subject in school? Having difficulties with a friendship? Dealing with an illness?

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2. Spend time with them one-on-one. These moments are some of the most precious. My oldest daughter and I both love to write. We brainstorm ideas together, have “inside jokes” about a writer’s life, and discuss “problem characters.” My youngest daughter and I ran a 5k to raise money for breast cancer last year. It can be, but doesn’t have to be big events. Sometimes the littlest most ordinary times together make the best memories.

3. Listen. Really listen. So many things compete for our attention. Work duties, household chores, other children, etc. When we look our child in the eye and really hear what they are saying, we are showing we love them. I have personally found that the car is one of the best places to strike up conversations. No ear buds, no smart phones, no TVs. Just great conversations (unless, of course, we are all joining in singing with our favorite Christian artist on the radio! :))

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4. Find out what’s important to them. Recently my youngest daughter told me that she really appreciates when I plan out the day ahead with her. She enjoys knowing exactly what we’ll be doing that day and helps her to prepare.

5. Discuss the easy and the hard topics. We, as parents, should be the first line of information for our kids. We’ve always had an open-conversation-policy in our house where our daughters can discuss whatever topic they’d like, as long as they do so respectfully. We’ve had some fantastic talks about fun topics, but also some great discussions about the hard things: drugs, eating disorders, politics, abortion, etc. Be sure that your discussion topics are always age-appropriate.

In James 1:17, we are told that every good gift is from above. Children are such a gift and a blessing that the Lord has given us. May we, as parents, be worthy.

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Movie Monday: God Bless the Broken Road

movie monday god bless the broken road

A gifted singer, Amber Hill takes seriously her role in directing the choir at church. She and her young daughter, Bree, are counting down the days until their husband and father returns home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Unexpectedly one day while in church, Amber receives the news…her husband, Darren, has been killed in the line of duty.

Her life changes in a moment.

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Things take a dramatic turn for Amber and Bree. No longer interested in relying on God or anything to do with faith, Amber tries to get by on her own. Bree still attends church, but without her mom.

Cody Jackson is a race car driver given a second chance. Can he take the time to listen to advice and have a teachable spirit? Will he be able to get his career back on track? When his path crosses with Amber’s, will he be the friend she so desperately needs even though his heart might wish for more?

God Bless the Broken Road is a story of faith, love, and patriotism. It is a story honoring our vets. It’s a movie that shows the reality of what one faces when a loved one loses their life while serving their country.

This movie depicts the struggles even Christians face when going through difficult times. It does so effectively and realistically.

Excellent background music, which included the likes of MercyMe, Hawk Nelson, Citizen Way, and Audio Adrenaline. Micah Tyler, one of our family’s favorite Christian artists, makes an appearance in the movie and sings a couple songs as well.

There are a few intense moments depicting Darren’s last moments on earth. However, there is nothing objectionable in this movie, and it’s appropriate for older tweens and up. My only recommendation? Be sure to have a box of tissues nearby.

I give God Bless the Broken Road a full five stars out of five.

 

 

 

 

3 things to do this month

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Looking for a way to make a difference this month? Check out these great ideas!

Ministry Opportunity #1: Sharing God’s Word around the world:

Do you have any extra Bibles (new or used), Christian magazines, tracts, non-fiction Christian books, or Sunday school supplies? Looking for a way to make sure they are donated to somewhere that is making a difference?

Love Packages is “a ministry aimed at putting Christian literature and Bibles into the hands of people around the world…We send them to ministries in many poor countries to distribute freely to people hungry for the Word of God”.

Not only does Love Packages accept donations of the above-referenced items, but they are also in need of monetary donations to enable them to ship the materials. According to their website, the average cost to ship one container is $4,200. They are also always in need of volunteers to assist in packing the materials.

For more information on Love Packages, please visit their website.

Ministry Opportunity #2 Showing the love of Christ to the least of these:

Gather your family and go shopping this Christmas (a bit early!). Operation Christmas Child provides boxes of toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to underprivileged children in other countries. Not only that, but through these boxes, precious children have an opportunity to know the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.

You can even build a shoebox online if you’re crunched for time.

All of the information for this amazing ministry can be found here. Please take special note of the items allowed (and not allowed!) in the shoeboxes.

Hurry! Collection of the shoeboxes takes place November 12-19. Drop off locations are available at the website.

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Ministry Opportunity #3: Putting together a foster care kit.

According to the most recent data, there are over 400,000 children in foster care (source: The AFCARS Report) in the U.S.

Many people will be able to foster a child. Some will be able to adopt a child from foster care. And several will be able to help provide clothing and toys to children in foster care.

A friend of mine who works with foster children and their foster parents told me today that some children arrive in their foster homes with nothing. Some have no clothing, not even underwear or pajamas.

Put together a foster care kit for children placed in emergency foster care by providing the following: new or gently used clothing, a new toy (stuffed animal, coloring books and crayons, etc.), and a book. Deliver the kit to your local family services agency.

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For more ideas, check out 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference.

What ways do you and your family make a difference?

what’s in a name?

what's in a name

When I went to vote in the primaries yesterday, one of the women at the voting table thought my name was Shirley.

Surely. Now, do I look like a Shirley? 🙂

It reminded of the time I was voting a few years ago and they thought my name was “Penny Dollar.” I’ve always been thankful I didn’t marry someone with the last name “Nickel,” “Dime,” or “Quarter.” But, I guess I never really thought about my last name being “Dollar.” I suppose I could blame inflation.

The most hilarious thing was that they announced loudly and for all at the voting precinct to hear, “Penny Dollar has voted!”

Yes, having a name like Penny is sure to garner interesting nicknames. In high school, a friend came up with the name (meant to be a sweet nickname, mind you) of Pinhead. It caught on and extended even to my family.

My fifth grade teacher (and one of my favorite teachers, I might add) never did realize my name was Penny. That entire year, I was known as Peggy! 🙂

My husband, Lon, has all sorts of misunderstandings about his name. We receive mail for Ian, Ron, Don, Ion, and Lom. I signed him up for the health fair blood draw and they had him written down as “Lawn.”

Speaking of silly names, I recently took a poll of funny real-life names. Here is a sampling of those submitted. Remember, these are all REAL names!

Anita Paycheck

Pilot Inspector

Ima Pigg

Dr. Paine (a real doctor – BTW, don’t think I want to go to him for treatment!)

dr. paine

Crystal Shanda Leer

Justin Other Mitchell (he was youngest in a long line of Mitchell children)

Dr. Relich (pronounced “Relish” and not to be confused with his relatives Dr. Mustard and Dr. Ketchup, LOL)

My Own

Dr. McClaws (a foot doctor)

Sunshine E. Day

Liberty Isabell

Justin Tyme

and the sibling groups:

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Lake Trout and Brook Trout (twins perhaps?)

One of the things I enjoy most about writing books is naming the characters. After all, I can’t let all those good names go to waste – names I would have used had I had 50 children!

I love nicknames, and no, I don’t even mind being called Shirley, Penny Dollar, or Pinhead once in awhile.

However, my favorite name? The name the Lord calls me – He calls me “His.”

What funny real-life names have you heard?