Thursday, February 9, 2012

My house is a wreck!

I babysit a little girl, Ella, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  She arrives around 7 am.  When Brynnen gets up around 7:30 the chaos begins.  I'm only 1/2 kidding.  We have breakfast, and play, have snack and play- if it's nice outside we go outside or to the park, we come back and play- you get the idea.  This continues until lunch time.  They eat and take a nap- and I take a breath.  Ahhhhhh, with a smile on my face.  Then comes the clean up.  Some days, whew- I don't know what I was thinking letting them play without cleaning up.  Oh yes, now I remember...

I was convicted of neglecting the girls to clean house- neglect is probably not the right word, but I would let them play alone and do everything I needed  wanted to get done.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's healthy for kids to play alone, but I was missing out on a lot of fun, teachable time.  I was convicted.  That's when I decided we could play and play and I would clean while they napped.  We had/have a lot of fun :)

So, couple months ago Ella came like normal, it was probably a Monday, because I like to relax on the weekends (by relax I mean not clean)- sometimes it shows.  Like that day.  Ella showed up, when Brynnen woke up she had a fever- or Ella developed one?  I don't remember, but one of them was sick, but it didn't stop them for a minute.  We played all morning, about lunch time I realized how messy my house was:  I had started laundry, so there was a pile of clothes on the couch, toys all over the floor, dishes in the sink, cluttered counter, mail- you name it, that day was out of place.  As I was evaluating I hear DING DONGGGG (doorbell).  ????  Who is at my door? I wasn't expecting anyone, maybe just a packa...nope, Ella's dad (& sister)...RIINNNGGG (my phone doesn't ring- but you get it), Sara, Ella's mom was calling me, letting me know Joe, Ella's dad is getting Ella. (thanks for the warning Sara!).  He was already there, so we laughed and hung up.  OH.MY.WORD.  I let them in.  Completely mortified.  I don't like people in my house when it's messy- let alone dirty like a tornado hit it- especially someone that trusts me with the well-being of their child.  I wanted to say "It's normally not like this, I clean during nap time- I promise I'm not like this!"  But I didn't- I got Ella's stuff & and acted like no biggie.  When they left I vowed then and there my house would stay picked up.  NEVER would I be caught off guard again.  I make the girls clean up whatever they play with and put back toys when they are done.  Weekends we do the same.  Now, when that doorbell rings, I am confident and will (hopefully) never again be embarrassed by my actions-- or lack of them!!

I share this humbling story because it fits our lives so well.  I'm sure we can all think of a time we just weren't ready for something.  a deadline, a presentation, a trip, a visitor....  Last week our Pastor preached on Matthew 24, the end of days and the unknown hour for the return of Christ.  This incident has been replaying over and over in my head since.  What if my house represented my life and/or heart condition and the unexpected door bell ring was Jesus returning-  would I be ready?  Or would I be overwhelmed and embarrassed.  Is my heart and life so cluttered with "stuff" that I would have to again say "It's normally not like this, I "clean" during quiet time- I promise I'm not like this!"   Only that time no one gets a second chance or a vow to do better.  We don't get a warning phone call, e-mail, status update or tweet letting us know when to be ready.  We must stay alert, hearts & minds ready for his return!

 1 John 2:28 "...continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming."  I thought that was very fitting.  :)

God doesn't care how "messy" you are- you don't have to clean up first, give your mess to Him, he can handle- He will help you work through it, clean it up and most importantly- He is the only way you can be ready!

Matthew 24:44 says "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."  Today is the day to start "cleaning up" and vow to be ready when He comes.  That's what I am doing--we can do it together!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Good intentions aren't always enough.

You've probably read or heard me say something about my thoughts on TOMS shoes.  Well- I will explain in as few words as possible.

I think TOMS shoes are super cute, I've heard their comfort is incomparable, AND they give a pair of shoes to the poor with every purchase- clearly a win-win right??  Yes, if you are Blake Mycoskie the founder of TOMS.  I research most things that I purchase, so this was no different.  I was pretty surprised at the findings of this company I would be supporting.

First off, I think $54 for a pair of casual shoes is completely ridiculous.  However, I reminded myself, they do give away a pair of shoes for every pair ordered.  In that case it's $27 per pair, I could talk myself into "helping" out the poor for $27.

Next up, what is this company about?   Most people (myself included) probably don't research company backgrounds.  I knew everyone just loves Toms, but why?  I had heard a few things about the company, one being a big ordeal with Focus on the Family (FF), which is an organization we love and support, but I needed to see myself.  You can click here to read an article on what Blake (TOMS founder) had to say about FF.  If you google it, you will find hundreds of articles.  Basically he (Blake) doesn't want to partner with FF, even though the impact of the partnership would help SO many more people in poverty! A website,, spear headed the attack with a band of pro-gay, anti-Christian people.  This group was upset about the partnership & Blake speaking at an event for FF.  They and threatened to stop buying TOMS products- seriously, over the biblical beliefs and claims Focus on the Family upheld.  He (Blake) told the gay community he was sorry, and started "distancing" himself from FF.  Too bad Christians didn't have the same response and stop purchasing TOMS because of his "remorseful apology" to the gay community and actions toward FF. 

That alone would be enough for me to cancel my shoe-buying endeavor, but there's more.

Mycoskie (TOMS founder), seems to be a Buddhist.  I've never actually read a comment of him claiming it, his blog talks about various books he has read written by Buddhists (blake's blog) and his favorite quote is from Gandhi, the most famous Buddhist (blakes bio) - not to mention on that "bio" link (on TOMS page) it shows 4 stages of evolution, each in TOMS shoes....and no mention of Jesus or even Christianity. 

Does being Buddhist make your product or ethics awful?  No, but I think people/Christians don't know the entire story of what they are purchasing.  I would rather invest in something a little more substantial.  Support a good cause, that holds my same values- not an over priced, outsourced, swayed by sales or others that wear it, product.

I've done research, and don't like the results.  I have chosen to purchase PAEZ shoes, I like the company and honesty, you can click here to read about them.  They are not a Christian based organization, they make the original shoes from Argentina, where TOMS creator got the idea, made by locals in Argentina (where TOMS was first produced, and then moved to China & Ethiopia).  PAEZ shoes are cheaper than TOMS, whose  start at $54 and go up to $98!  PAEZ are about $25 up to $38.  Wait!  Don't forget the pair for a pair offer TOMS has.  After all, it's the good intention that sold us on the shoes anyway, right?? Solution: Soles4Souls.  Christian organization. $1 for 1 pair of shoes to be donated to the poor.  So you can take the additional $16 to $29 you save from purchasing PAEZ instead of TOMS and go to Soles4Souls.and donate multiple pairs of shoes!

BOTTOM LINE: for $54 (or less) you can have an awesome pair of shoes, hand made in Argentina-where the shoe originated, keeping jobs for the locals- boosting their economy, donate 16-29 pairs of shoes through a Christian based organization, who is not ashamed to work with organizations with a high moral, biblical foundation.    Sounds pretty good to me!

PS- I have no vested interest in the sales of either company- this is purely my opinion and research.