Monday, October 17, 2005

The Gospel According to Cinderella

Disclaimer: To all the great theologians that read my blog, warning. This entry may not be the most precise in its theology, but it will not be heresy.

For my birthday, my best friend, Christie, gave me Disney's Cinderella on DVD. I have been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember, and the story of Cinderella was always one of my favorites. My Mom used to get me every Disney video the moment it made it out of the Disney vault (wherever that is!), so it was also special that Christie chose a gift that my Mom would have gotten me had she been here to celebrate. If you love Disney movies, this one is a must have, especially for the romantic. The DVD with all the extras is well worth spending the time to watch.

As I sat down to watch it a week ago, I couldn't wait to really get into it as an adult. The movie opens with the story of Cinderella - her Mom passed away when she was very young, her Dad remarried then passed away, and now she lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters, basically as a slave in her own home. The next scene shows her waking up in the morning to all her little animal friends and breaking into the famous song, "A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes." It's funny how God uses even fairy tales to get my attention. I thought, "Do I wake up with that positive of an attitude every morning?" Here's a gal who is living in the dungeon of a huge house and spends her days and nights toiling away at the mercy of her so-called family. Yet, she wakes up to the new day dancing around her bedroom and singing about her dreams and wishes. I normally wake up and hit the snooze multiple times, think about what I have to do for the day, stress about what I didn't get done yesterday, and stop long enough for a quick quiet time that slips from my memory by lunchtime.

Even though Cinderella lived under harsh circumstances, she didn't allow her environment to dictate her attitude. I find myself not only allowing my environment to rule my mood, but also allowing circumstances to influence my actions. This revelating scene caused me to remember a scripture I've known since childhood - "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24. I'd do well to recite that scripture a few times before hitting the snooze button.

Although it's a fairy tale, this story is full of other great reminders of my faith - the idea of the fairy godmother coming at Cinderella's lowest point, just as God comes in at 11:59 when we're faced with midnight doom. Or how anything we dream of or we do are merely rags, and God can wash over us with the redeeming blood of Christ and make us a new creature, just like Cinderella on her way to the ball. I chuckled when the King described the Prince's experience when meeting Cinderella, "He will catch a glimpse of her from across the room. The one predestined to be his bride." Ok, Prince Charming's family are reformed theologians.

I've always claimed to have the heart of Cinderella...always wishing, always dreaming, always hoping. Now, I'm going to strive to maintain that faithful attitude because I have a whole lot more to be hopeful for than a fairytale princess.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not a Jot or a Tittle...

Currently I'm doing a Bible study on my speech. Not my diction or articulation, but the contents of my speech, being aware of what I say, how I say it, and when I say it. This past week we studied different aspects of our speech that pour out from what is found in our heart. We learned the importance of encouragement, faithfulness, discretion, tenderheartedness, and honesty. While studying the honesty lesson, I came across a verse that took me back to my childhood days.

"Lying lips are detestable to the Lord" - Proverbs 12:22. When I was a child, every Sunday morning while I was getting ready for church a cartoon short would be on television - Jot the Dot. Jot was a, well, dot, that taught biblical truths. He was produced by the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission. Jot would change colors based on his emotions and experiences. I loved Jot...he was so innocent and I identified with him so much. Maybe because he was cute and round, I don't know. But, one of the episodes Jot found himself in the middle of a lie. And, that verse kept haunting him to remind him what the Bible said. I still remember the big LYING LIPS chasing him around to remind him. In the end, Jot told the truth and asked for forgiveness. I just remember thinking, "Wow, God sure doesn't like lying, so I better not lie." Even years later, I remember that lesson and scripture.

I miss Jot. Oh, Veggie Tales are great and tell wonderful Bible stories in a new and appealing way. But, the world needs more Jot. Simple, short episodes of Bible teaching that are written on the hearts of little ones never to be forgotten.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Mattress Flipping

One of the things about being single that can be discouraging are the household challenges you face because you only have one set of arms, eyes, and legs. Among the many things I long for in marriage is not only the obvious perks of a mate, but some of the more practical, albeit selfish, things. Like helping me hang pictures or do something that is easier done by two.

This weekend one of my accomplishments was mattress flipping. Now, this may not seem like a huge deal to some folks, but it is for me. I like to flip my mattress every 3,000 miles or so - or 300 naps - or however you want to calculate it. But, getting that full-size mattress flipped without tearing up my bedroom, or breaking lamps on nightstands can be a challenge. I decided to tackle it once again, and after a few interesting dance steps around my bed, the mattress was flipped. I was so proud! I'm about the only person that would get that excited about mattress flipping.

I'm blessed to have some great male friends I can call upon to do some of the heavy labor stuff that I just can't do. But, I'm not always dependant enough to ask. So, until the day comes I have a man to share my mattress, I'll just rejoice in the fact that I can flip it myself.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What is the World Coming to?

In my regular perusal of the mass of blogs I've bookmarked, I came across an interesting entry pointing to a new blog site. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I have to say that I'm very impressed with how this annual focus has really helped bring to the forefront our knowledge of this disease. Well, evidently there is a blog now that is conducting a "Blogger Boob-a-thon." You are asked to send in tasteful, discreet pictures of, well, you get the picture by the title of the blog, (I'm not saying that word again in my entry). This blog then posts the pictures and viewers can only see them by donating to the Breast Cancer Fund.

Ok, am I the only one that sees this as a ginormous issue? First off, the 'viewing' of that part of my anatomy is reserved only for medical professionals and my future husband, thank you very much. I have a real issue providing a picture of myself that requires payment to see....sounds a little "prostitute-like" if you ask me. What makes this "acceptable" in the world's eyes is, "hey, it's for a great cause!" So, does that mean if I work the local street corner on the weekends, but donate all my proceeds to International Missions, that makes it ok? I think not.

I'm sure these folks have the best of intentions to raise money for breast cancer research. And, I know many breast cancer survivors, so I'm extremely aware of the good this does. But, have we stooped so low as to have a pay-per-view anatomy parade to get folks to donate?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Reading is Fundamental

The entertainment news media is reporting today that American Idol winner, Fantasia Barrino, is illiterate. In her recently released memoir, "Life is Not a Fairy Tale" she admits that she had to fake her way through a lot of the scripted portions of the show. Frighteningly she signed many a contract and record deal after her win that she didn't read at all. The saddest statement she made was that she's never been able to read to her 4-year old daughter.

Ok, there are problems here on many levels. How in the world did someone get to this competition that couldn't even read? I realize that football players and other athletes do it all the time, but given the rigorous schedule these contestants keep, including reading and memorzing unknown music, I'm amazed that she survived. Second, what a sad testament to our school system. She dropped out of high school as an unwed mother, but she should have been able to read long before that. Third, if it hadn't been for this unexpected blessing of fame in her life, her daughter, Zion, would most likely have grown up unable to read. My love for books, reading, and writing came in the lap of my Mom who read to me constantly. So much that I couldn't wait to read myself.

Thankfully Fantasia is working with a tutor now to learn to read. More than her talent to sing, I hope her status of American Idol will help other kids out there come forward if they can't read and cry for help. America already falls behind many other countries in educational levels, it's time we get the train back on track.