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If you love drama as much as I do, here’s some solid advice on creating it & keeping it!

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 6.46.26 PM1. Be a fixer. Get up in everybody’s business. Hear somebody has a problem? Go get your cape… SuperFixer to the rescue! Your immediate family can just wait. Kids these days have gotta learn patience anyway, right?

2. Don’t just read the countless online posts about religion & politics. You simply must take time to read the comments as well. You’ll have certainly found drama & a multitude of opinions…. and possibly a few new vulgar words you didn’t even know existed. The comment section is not only very educational, you can bet your butt you’ll get a great dose of humanity in all its dramatic flare. You went looking for drama and boy, you went to the RIGHT place! #fistbump

3. Be easily offended hurt & hold a grudge. Don’t sleep tonight so you can play over & over again in your mind how this person has wronged you. And they THINK they’ve gotten away with it! Pfffttt! Being offended (aka pissed off) creates its own form of drama; the over-emotional, angry, manipulative kind of drama because people won’t see it coming! {Cue sinister laugh. See I got your back, DramaLover}

You need to give them a piece of your mind, girlfriend. You’re tired of rude people in the grocery store, on the highway, in your house & at Christmas dinner.  I say if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! After all, you can’t just let people walk all over you. That ‘turn the other cheek’ thing Jesus said, that was just conjecture or a parable or something. You’re the victim here, and it’s time everybody knows it!

4. Stay glued to CNN, FOX news, and MSNBC which I’ve heard stands for More Snooty Nonsense by Creeps.  And if this isn’t enough, by all means, please keep dear Nancy Grace & her adorable southern charm blaring through your house all day, bless her heart. It’ll create just enough tension in your home sweet home to send at least one kid crying to their room. You’re welcome.

5. Be a narcissist. Wikipedia (a trusted news source) defines a narcissist as one who is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige, is vain and mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and others. Yes, definitely strive to be one of these people.

6. On the other end of the dramatic spectrum… Try to make everyone like you. Because as a narcissist you know deep down they adore you. I mean, who couldn’t, right?

Say yes to every volunteer opportunity both at your child’s school & at church. Oh, and volunteer to lead a committee which will plan every single detail of your town’s upcoming Friendly City Days. You simply must do these things so that people will KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are a good person! Be prepared though by purchasing lots of Kraft Mac & Cheese, frozen pizzas and canned peas because your family won’t be seeing much of you. That’s alright, they love you no matter what.

7. Go into debt. Big debt. This is America, right? Home of the Free? You bet your Chase Credit Card it is! You are meant to live the American Dream, so why wait til you can afford it. That’s what credit card companies are for. Duh.

8. Spend your hard-earned money on you & yours. All of it. And also some you don’t have. See #7. You worked your a$$ off and hell will freeze over before you consider giving it to those who most likely will buy booze with it. They got themselves into the mess, let them get themselves out. And seriously, are kids really starving in Africa? It’s a marketing scam to make non-profit CEOs richer. CNN said so.

9. Be impulsive. Say whatever comes into your brain before you lose the thought. People love people with no filter and talk incessantly.

10. Hang out with people who love drama. Birds of a feather, man. Birds of a feather.

Here’s me again in my non-sarcastic self. It doesn’t last long so I’ll say this quickly (oh, see what I did there? darn it!) Seriously I hope you’re enjoying these Surefire blog posts and reading them with a light heart. I would LOVE your input and ideas! How do you avoid create drama in your life? We all do it! We might as well laugh at ourselves… or each other. That works too.

Shine On!

Danielle 

ps. stay tuned. My next post will not be satirical. But I do want to share a huge opportunity with you to help make some big dreams come true for some of my friends. No, it’s not an MLM. #pinkyswear

I’m a bit giddy over this guest blogger, y’all. I sorta have a blogger-crush on her. Andrea & I have become fast friends through the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For The Love, coming out in August. We are thoroughly enjoying all aspects of this journey within the Launch Team of 496 gals & 4 guys we call the #bandoffour (bless ’em, Lord for they are indeed strong, secure men!). I’ll be talking more about all that on another post. But for now, read this incredibly insightful, inclusive & sincere post that had me saying, “ABSOLUTELY, GIRL, AMEN!” a few times. Thank you Andrea! Shine On! 

hypocrite

This morning I woke up in sort of a panic. I usually have my best ideas, most important thoughts or take care of unfinished brain business from the night before right as I wake up. This morning the unfinished brain business panicked me a little.

I started this blog just a few days ago and am feeling a bit insecure about it all. I’m writing stuff here that I know is true, but I woke up wondering if I really believe it… if I really live it. You know those people you live with who really see you ALL the time and then read what you write or listen to what you say and shake their heads wondering who you are because you’re not the same person they know? You know those people?

Well, that’s how I felt this morning. Like a big ol’ smeared mascara-eyed, bed-headed hypocrite. Because… well… I am one. So I felt like I needed to put this out there for anyone reading. Well, if anyone is reading, I try not to write what I don’t live out or at least try really hard to live out. I try to tell a part of my story, what’s going on inside of me, and it not seem like I have it together and or know it all because I certainly don’t. Just ask the people I live with. They’ll be happy to tell you I don’t have it all together. On second thought, maybe don’t ask them… just take my word for it.

I’m a professional mask wearer at times and in certain situations. I rarely let my guard down. My vulnerability braveness level is incredibly low. I’m a perfectionist in a lot of areas and wearing my mask is one I quite competently excel at with very little effort. Most of us do. Isn’t that what a hypocrite is? The word hypocrite comes partly from the Greek word, hypokritḗs, referring to a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what she is not. Oh, did I step on some toes there? Yeah, mine hurt too.

A former pastor, who shepherded us so well in our early years and who we still love dearly, has given us some of our best quotes and sayings over the years. One time he was preaching about being called a hypocrite and he boldly said in his Texan accent, “Well, we’re all hypocrites! And I’d rather be in heaven with ’em than in hell with ’em!”

Let’s face it (pun intended), we’re all hypocrites. It’s a human condition for which there is no cure this side of heaven. Thank you, Eve… We’re all fig leaf wearin’ fakes. Hiding behind something. Not wanting to be seen or fully known. But wanting so desperately to be seen and fully known at the same time. Yeah, thank you, Eve… Some of us have our masks plastered on so tight that it would take a high-pressure power washer to get it off. So… if we’re going to do it, let’s do it together. Let’s be hypocrites together, shall we? Authentic, call it like we see it, mask wearin’ hypocrites.

But let’s at least be hypocrites who try. Hypocrites who love other hypocrites. Hypocrites who love Jesus. Kind hypocrites… always kind! I’ll write what’s on my heart. It will all be as true as I know it to be. I will try to live it out as best as I can and I hope that you will too. If you catch me being a hypocrite, point it out to me in love but expect that I’ll do the same for you because after all, it takes one to know one. Oops… did I get your toes again?

On wearing masks… I recently started reading a book by Jamie George, Love Well. He wrote this in the introduction,

“Stuck, unsure, and without direction, we live out a masquerade, hoping desperately that someone will love us and accept us when we pull the mask off.

Until we tell the story of the mask, we will never take it off.

Until we find someone who is fully present, who listens to understand, we will keep hiding.

When we tell our stories, and when we are truly heard, we begin to clean out the compost of our souls. We then begin a journey of subtraction. We courageously begin to take off the emotional armor that we have collected until we can find childlike wonder again.”  ~Love Well, Jamie George 

If we are going to be hypocrites, if we are going to wear masks, then we are still better together. But let’s also work towards pulling them off. Together. Let’s empty our plates and tell our stories. I think, no I know, that there are hearts out there that need a fill-up. I know this because mine is one of them.

Empty. Fill. Repeat.

~Andrea

Please read more from Andrea here —> Empty Plate Full Heart

In light of recent public events surrounding the Duggar family, I encourage you to also read this beautiful, gracious post by Andrea’s daughter. These girls can WRITE! —> Grace and Social Media

 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10

andreastunzI’ve been a wife for 26 years. My husband, Tommy, and I did some of our best work in our 3 amazing gifts from God. I’m a mother in law of 2 stellar humans beings and a Gimi of one adorable little dude. I’m a homemaker, a traveler, a seeker, a writer, a pilgrim. I love cooking and sharing good food with others who love good food. I take pictures that tell a story, my story, God’s story. An almost empty nester. A fellow struggler. A fellow stumbler. In need of God’s grace. Oh, and coffee. Grace and coffee. Then I’m good. Oh, and a sunrise. Grace, coffee and a sunrise. THEN I’m good. Oh, and my grandson. Grace, coffee, a sunrise and my grandson. … you get the picture. 🙂 I have many favorite scriptures but my “go to” scripture which seems to encompass all I may be stumbling through or rejoicing in is always this: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

 

 

 

The Pickle of Authenticity

February 23, 2015 — 5 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.25.30 PMRecently, someone said to me, ‘I dunno Danielle, you might not wanna share all that.’ Which obviously led to my next thought, “I should TOTALLY share all this!”

See, I have a gift. A. Very. Special. Gift. Actually, I see it as raw vulnerability & authenticity.

That I can’t seem to control.

Even when I want to…

See, while I don’t do small talk, and I thrive on seeing others live out their potential… Sometimes being REAL with my passionate gifts well um, leads me astray from what may be considered… common sense.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.37.30 PMSometimes this ‘gift’ serves me really well. Orphaned kids around the world need a safe haven, education & an opportunity to hear about Jesus? How can I help? It’ll cost around $35K? Oh okay, no problem! My friends & our online connect community through Children’s HopeChest are simply THE MOST generous people in the world. $35K In six weeks? Cool! God can do that!!! (and HE did!)

But this gift of authenticity & vulnerability has also gotten me in more than a few pickles over the years. Don’t believe me?

maybe I shouldn’t tell you about the time…

… I went to Red Lobster with some girlfriends. I really wanted to order shrimp cocktail, but having never had alcohol, I just had to make sure. “I would like shrimp cocktail, please, virgin shrimp cocktail.”

Yes. I did.

I remember actually being proud of myself for a split second. I mean, hey I didn’t have to say nonalcoholic – I was totally cool because I knew to say ‘virgin’. My girlfriends were so kind, they stopped giggling about an hour later.

and maybe I shouldn’t tell you about…

… my mom’s favorite story to tell over and over. and over again… (well it’s a close 2nd to me being born 11.1lbs). When I moved from home at 18 for college, I did not know how to boil water. And I proved it by calling her to ask, ‘Soooo how do I know when the water is boiling? I wanna make mac & cheese.” I’ll never live that one down, will I, Mom?

Yes, I lived a very sheltered childhood existence in the backwoods of Kentucky.

Oh dear, I wish I could say I’ve matured. But this gift, y’all, it just keeps on giving!!!

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.24.00 PMAbout 6 months ago, while shopping at Sam’s Club, I went for the eggs at the same time as a fellow shopper did. Unfortunately, there were only a few cartons left to choose from. It wasn’t until he said, “No, you go ahead.” that I noticed his um, ruggedly handsome good looks. I’ll refer to him as SAL (Scruffy Adam Levine). It was that moment that I turned into a 14 year old girl, flipped my hair and subconsciously decided to be charming, “Well thanks! Looks like all the chickens went on strike, right? hehehehehehe”

#facepalm

He flashed his brighty-whiteys and said ‘Yep!’
Swoon…
you know, in a non-adulterous way, cuz I love my hot hubby. See picture below.

I turned around, put my eggs in the cart & we departed ways. I honestly thought I was so clever. I mean I love talking to strangers! Can I help it that the guy in the egg aisle is a cutie-patootie? I don’t discriminate; even if SAL was kinda/sorta/alotta handsome. I had merely been friendly. I can’t help it. I’m Southern.

I pushed the cart into the next aisle, looking waaaaaay too happy to be shopping, I’m sure. I was shocked when 90 seconds later that same guy started to walk up to me. Gulp, I wonder what he wants. Uh-oh, he’s a creeper. Oh no! A creeper! I’m such a dork. Why oh why did I have to be so charming!?!?

As my heart began to race, SAL got a little too close & quietly spoke surely to save me from impending embarrassment,

“Um, excuse me, but that’s my cart you’re pushing.”

For real. I subconsciously stole his cart.

Yes, I did.

While all the blood drained from my face… all I could muster was a jumble of words that included “this is one of the most embarrassing moments of my life… I’m sorry…” and something else I don’t even remember but I’m sure was very eloquently stated.

I grabbed my eggs out of his cart as quick as I could. Sure enough, my walk of shame led me to the end of the last aisle where my beast of a cart sat smiling, just waiting to humiliate me. I had left my cart at the end of the last aisle, like I always do when I have to grab something quick… I mean, Sam’s Club. Those carts are Beasts when they are full! I just wish I had remembered it before I decided to be so Southern.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.38.15 PMWhen I told my husband this story (doesn’t matter that it was a few weeks later), he shook his head, not even shocked that it happened because well he’s grown used to me embarrassing myself in front of random strangers… and his family… and the internet.

Yep. I’ve got a real gift, people. My gift of authenticity & vulnerability has followed me all the days of my life… even to the point of being accidentally drunk (hey, it was the Chinese guy’s fault). But alas, I believe I’ve shared enough of my gift with you today. 🙂

What are your gifts? Have they ever gotten you into a REAL pickle? Do they reveal both the best of you & well, the not-so-best? There should be no shame, for these are the gifts that make you unique.

Whoever you are, BE FULLY YOU! No one else can do it like you. Recognize your gifts, learn to love your quirks & embrace your vulnerabilities. In other words, celebrate the glorious creature that you are and…

Shine On!

What if you won the Worst Mother Ever award?

Lindsay Lohan’s mom did. How awful is that?

It was bestowed upon her by TMZ, a celeb gossip/news company (okay, technically from an online poll TMZ held). TMZ is not known for their excellence in journalism, but they are well-known & have a sizable following. And now Dina Lohan is known. Not just for being famous LiLo’s Mom, but for wearing the label of “Worst Mother Ever”  for things like dropping her daughter off at a bar when she was supposed to be in rehab… yeah. Wonder if her younger kids ever use that award against her? Probably. I would have when I was a kid, for sure.

~~~~~~

This story is not to shame or judge Dina Lohan. Lord knows she needs prayer! Just an example to show that you are in fact NOT the worst mother in the world.

Besides the fact that you AREN’T, do you ever FEEL like the worst mother who walks the planet?

How about when your 2-year-old child falls head first, out of the cart onto the cement ground at the grocery store? Or when you get a call from the kindergarten principal saying that your kid threatened another kid with a pair of safety scissors? (pretty sure these two incidents are related somehow)

At times we all feel as though someone is about to hand us the Worst Mother trophy.

We screw up. We blow it. We scream.

We scold & talk to our precious child as if they were an idiot.

We spank in anger. We want to run away!

{I might need some confirmation that I’m not the only one who blows it.}

I can guarantee that all of you reading this blog love your kids. And I wouldn’t be going too far out on a limb to say you’d gladly lay your life down for them.

Just like we shouldn’t take all the credit when our kid scores the winning hit in the little league baseball game or invents the next Nobel Prize winning genetic code that stops cancer in its tracks… we can’t take all the credit for when things go wrong.

Moms, don’t allow your guilt to suck out the joys of motherhood. Realize you & your kids are gonna make mistakes: some more embarrassing than others ~ some with life-altering consequences.  It’s in those times that our kids need our love the most, not our shame.

We should strive to be the best examples, but lets allow for screw ups.

Tantrums will be thrown in public.

Naughty words will be blurted out in front of your MIL.

And don’t even get me started about what the kids will do! 🙂

Love them through their humanity ~ the good, the bad, the ugly. In that process of letting our kids be human, how about we do the same for ourselves? When you blow it, go to God, and your child, if necessary, and ask forgiveness. Teach them by example to forgive & move forward.

Release the burden of ‘motherhood’ guilt. Chances are no one is going to show up at your door and slap you with a “Worst Mother Ever” award. Unless you’re Dina Lohan. Yeah. We need to pray for that woman! 🙂

I wanna hear from you!

Have your or your kids done something lately that have made you feel as though the paparazzi might chase you down with an award you DON’T want? 🙂

Shine On Sisters!

I wonder what Simon’s Momma used to say to him as a little boy… I bet she never uttered the words, “Now be nice, Simon.”

Here are 3 Life Lessons Simon has managed to teach me. He’s that good.

    1. Nice is for Phonies – People want to hear the truth (not always about ourselves, but for sure about others!) I’d rather know what someone thinks about me any day, as have them lie to my face. **It takes guts to be honest & wisdom to say it with tact.** While Simon could work on his tact, he is completely honest and usually for the benefit of the contestant. {Side Thought: Have you noticed that people with a strong English accent can get away with saying pretty much anything? And darn it if I don’t suddenly have the urge to buy some magic household tool I don’t need!}
    2. Fashion doesn’t matter. The dude wears black, white & grey exclusively and people still like him. Goes to show you actions speak louder than fashion. If the people you’re around judge you by your clothes, you need to find new people.
    3. Be original. Originality will get you through to the next round, even when you forget the words! How many times have we heard ‘be yourself’? My immediate thought is how can I be myself when I don’t know who I am? Well, I think it starts with doing something you love without worrying what other people’s responses are gonna be. We must think outside the proverbial box. I had to do this when I started blogging. I literally had to stop caring that I might offend someone because I have an opinion. It’s not that I want to offend people (okay, sometimes). But at my core, I need to be true to whom God made me & what purpose He made me for. There is freedom in living out your originality!

We will miss you & your monochromatic wardrobe, Simon. Thanks for being your rude self all these years.

So go into your summer with a renewed commitment to be honest & original. And while you’re at it, teach your kids the same. Show them that honesty & originality matter more than playing nice. By the way, 90% of the time NICE is code for “Be average & don’t make any waves. Lie if you have to. Water your opinion down so much that you don’t have one anymore.” And then we wonder why we don’t know how to be our original selves.

I think we can all benefit from hearing other perspectives. What’s one subject you’ve decided you don’t have to be nice about?

Shine On Sisters!

ps. Give extra love to the people you hold dear this Memorial Weekend.

Idol Gives Change…

April 23, 2010 — 1 Comment

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H0EY4Rrpf4]

Have you ever played the High/Low Game at dinner? Each family member shares what their best “high” point of the day was, as well as their worst “low” point, while enjoying the delicious pot roast you whipped up (or scarfing down McDonald’s in the car on the way to soccer practice). It’s a great way to bring the family together after a long day apart. And some of the answers might surprise you!

Yesterday I shared my Low Point of Idol Gives Back which aired on Wednesday evening. I told you the shock I received when I realized my little boy was watching a scantily clad Fergie shakin’ what her momma gave her and then some. I want my boys to grow up seeing women as beautiful, priceless, worthy of respect, not objects to obtain for their own entertainment. This incident just reminded me that I need to continue to guard their hearts by more closely guarding what their eyes see.

Now that I’ve gotten over the shock, I’d like to share with you my High Point of Idol Gives Back.

High Point: Carrie Underwood performing “Change”

Here are a few of the lyrics, but please watch the video. The entire song & Carrie’s performance are truly moving.

~~~~~

Don’t listen to them when they say

You’re just a fool

Just a fool

To believe you can change the world

Oh the smallest thing can make all the difference

Love is alive

Don’t listen to ’em when they say

You’re just a fool

Just a fool

To believe you can change the world

~~~~~

I hope that this encourages you as well, to keep believing, keep working, keep striving to make a difference in your realm of influence. But also I hope you’re willing to look foolish for the sake of embracing people who seem unlovable & forgotten by the world’s standards. Jesus did just that. For the sake of the unlovable & forgotten (you & me), He looked foolish and became like us, even sacrificing His very life for ours. We’re in good company. Now, who you calling foolish?

Keep Lovin’ Moms!

P.S. Thanks American Idol for raising millions of dollars to make a difference in the world. Next year though, I think we can all do without the booty-shakin! 🙂