Friday, December 26, 2008

How was your Christmas?

Here's a glimpse into mine:

From my 7 year old daughter who wrote her own letter:

Der Santa Class,

I whant a Addi amaranken girl doll. I whant a Kit amaranken girl doll. The books whould be grate to. And I whant littlst pet shop. Have a very Mary Crimiss!

I love you!


From my 5 year old son who dictated his letter:

Dear Santa,

I would like a monster truck, a transformer and that is all. I am glad you are not on Satan's team because neither am I. That's it, I'm done.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I am fortunate to be a member of such a great family. I often tell my in-laws I would have married Dan just to be a part of the group. But as it worked out I happened to fall in love with their son so there was no moral dilemma.

At the end of every day I'm a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, in-law, and friend. Most days I wonder how I can juggle so many hats. But today I'm thanking God for every one of those relationships. As if the birth of Christ weren't enough, he has seen fit to give me gift after gift in the people I love. For me, it's been that kind of Christmas, which makes it one of the best I've had. The trick is to maintain that focus every day.

I have a sneaking suspicion that conviction is a gift, too.

So that's my Christmas story. What about you? What was your Christmas like?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

May the hope and peace of the first Christmas fill you this Christmas. God's blessings to you and your family today and always.

Love in Christ,


Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Contest Winners Deb and Karen

Deb & Karen, runners up for the photo caption contest, I need your addresses. My in box was wiped out by mistake. The mistake being that I am a moron. Thanks. (

Christmas Has Descended at SFL Headquarters

As I type this there are 300+ brand new legos scattered all over my office floor.

An attempted art project is on the floor, too, but my daughter is in tears because she can't figure it out.

And somewhere in a CPA office across town, the man I love sits a little prouder today. He got Marvel Super Hero pajama pants from his son.

What about me? My mother gave me the jammiest jammies ever. They're fuzzy and have pink candy circle patterns. The top says "sweet" in big pink letters and has ruffled trim. Apparently I am turning 3 this Christmas.

All of that is to say we're in full-blown Christmas mode. My family came in Saturday. Tomorrow we leave to go to Florida for 10 days. When time allows I will write shorter, SFL style posts until after Christmas day. Then we'll get back to business.

But for today I'm enjoying some undivided time with my family. You go do the same.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I may not know this family personally, but I know they need our prayers. Desperately.

Mark Lamberth sustained a severe brain injury from a dirt bike incident about a week ago. The complications are scary. The situation is huge. But if we're all in God's family through Christ we can ban together through prayer. So that's what I'm asking of you today: Consider offering a prayer on the Lamberth family's behalf.

Follow this link, Pray for the Lamberths , to learn the whole story.

Jon Acuff's Birthday Is Friday! Yippeeee!

In addition to today's post we have some very important business.

1) Be sure to send your card, even if it's late it still counts! My husband took a Christmas letter from a relative, scratched out their names all through the letter, signed our names and sent it to Jon. It's spectacular. And that's just how easy this can be. Here's the address.

2) E-mails & Facebook messages are the second point of attack. But don't send these until Friday morning. Think we can make his e-mail read "inbox full"?

This is gonna be awesome!

What's Your Worst Christmas Gift Ever?

You know how I feel about class and culture on my blog. But do you have any idea the lengths to which I'll go to bring you such quality? It's not uncommon for me to sift through merchandise at Stumpy's Food Mart, only to second guess what I should purchase. I lay in bed at night, tossing and turning to answer this pivotal question: Is it TACKY enough? Do you know how hard it is to decide between a pooping reindeer candy dispenser and pickled eggs, harvested fresh from the jar by Buzz, the hairy gas station attendant?

So, it is in this vein, that I simply must tell you all - I'm sorry, but the pressure was too much. I won't be purchasing Christmas gifts for all of you this year.

But I will do the next best thing by showing you what I was going to send. I hope you like it.

Don't leave yet! I have a question. What is the worst Christmas gift you've ever received? Go ahead and dish. I won't tell.

P.S. I'll meet you over at SCL tomorrow morning for a good scoop of crazy. Come on, you know you want to...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HELP! Christmas Women's Ministry Ideas Needed!

I'm in the process of writing about women's ministry at Christmas time. Believe it or not I've run out of ideas. So, stereotypically speaking, what crazy ridiculous stuff happens during Christmas in women's ministry? What have you experienced? What have you seen? What gets women's knickers in a twist? What do you avoid like the plague?

Let's stir up some insanity....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winning Caption - And Runners Up

Twas the night before Christmas
Santa wanted to get smashed
But he was stuck taking pictures
With this pain in the....
- Teamstrand

Congratulations to Teamstrand! It's just like everyone's favorite movie "It's A Wonderful Life": "Mommy, teacher says, 'Every time a disco ball blings a blogger gets free things!'" So, in the spirit of The Season, Teamstrand will rake in The Classy Christmas Crap Pile.

But I'm not out of love yet my friends. That's right, there are some runners up. Each will receive a special SFL consolation prize. Here they are in all their glory.

Santa's inner monologue - "I am so getting out of debt this year. I can't take much more of this crap..." -Pastor Swish

Opening the church Christmas card, Elder Smith knew the New Year would bring some staffing changes at First Grace Baptist Community Bible Church Fellowship. -Deb (it was the church's name that went on and on that wowed one judge)

The results of Prancer's broken leg are proving quite disastrous. -Karen

If your name is on the list send your address to

Thanks to everyone who played along....both with the contest and my delusions... You guys rock my blog every day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jon Acuff's Birthday is December 19!

December 19 is National Jon Acuff Birthday Day. In order to celebrate Jon's birthday we need to send him some cards ASAP. 10 cards would be nice. 50 cards would be exceptional. But 200 cards - well that would be downright annoying. So that's why we're shooting for 200. To pull this off we have to work together and do 2 things:

1) Send Jon a card, or two... And it doesn't have to be a birthday card. Got a leftover Sympathy card in the bottom of a junk drawer? Perfect! Have a Christmas card you just got in the mail? Scratch out your friend's name and write yours in. Whatever option takes the least amount of work for you, pursue that option. (Please be sure to include your user name, too.)

2) Put the word out on your blog! Tell people what we're doing and how they can get involved.

Here's Jon's address:

Jonathan Acuff
PO Box 4522
Alpharetta, GA, 30023

And just in case some of you are thinking, "This is stupid!", I have one thing to say: YES, you are correct. And that's why we're doing it.

We've got to work fast! Post on your blog today!

CONTEST LOOT & Judges: It's Not Too Late!!

When it comes to contests on Stacy From Louisville there's one standard I will not compromise: class. You know, as in classy, or en vogue. My thought pattern goes something like this: "If Sassafrass labored to capture the essence of this photo, I should reward him/her according to the effort set forth." So, it is in that vein that I present to you the best seasonal merchandise The Dollar Tree, Wal-Greens, & Stumpy's Food Mart have to offer. Please say hello to...

The SFL 2008 Classy Christmas Crap Pile

The CCCP Contains the following:

One Super Dooper Reindeer Pooper - Ever seen those fancy candy dispensers that save your money and reward you with a nice gumball? This is nothing like that. It's one of Santa's reindeer helpers. When you push on his head he poops out Jelly Bellies! You can take it into work and giggle to yourself as you eat the candy. When your friends ask what's so funny you can say "Doody." (Which is a fun word to say and not used nearly enough in the English language.)

Fruit Cake - I have never eaten fruit cake. I am allergic to wheat. But I'll bet you're not! Do you know what a Christmas gift pack be without fruit cake? A Hanukkah pack. Just saying.

A Musical Christmas Tie - The tie says "Let It Snow" and plays "Silent Night". For no extra charge it's packaged in Mylar. I'm pretty sure you could leave that on there when you wear it, you know, just so you don't stain it.

One Disco Ball Ornament - Cause nothing says "class" like cut pieces of mirror stuck to Styrofoam. True story: When I purchased it the lady said, "Would you mind if I wrapped it separately? It's so pretty I wouldn't want it to break." Yeah, me neither.

One Pink Flamingo Ornament - A flamingo in a bikini with Santa boots. You'll be the envy of the neighborhood.

Jelly Belly Flavor Candy Canes


A Crisp $1 Bill (not pictured) - because "Christmas Shoes" MP3 downloads are 99 cents on Amazon!!

So there you have it, the Classy Christmas Crap Pile. Now that you've seen the prize it's important to know you have the rest of today and tomorrow to caption yesterday's picture. Enter as many times as you like.

Now, let's meet the judges.

Meet Judge #1: Paula Abdul
Miss Abdul, please describe yourself...
Paula Abdul (a.k.a. Stacey) is bright and thoughtful with a side of smartmouth. She enjoys coffee, books, taxidermy, in line speed skating, and collecting photographs of T.G. Shepherd. Humility is not her forte.

(I've known Stacey for 20+ years. She's got a huge heart and smells 83% better than most people. And that's her brother in the picture.)

Meet Judge #2: Wicked D.O.P.
And what does D.O.P. stand for? Danced On the Pulpit. That's right. In junior high, during a lock in, she mounted the pulpit for a mambo. She didn't know she was being video taped until the footage was revealed to over 200 people, including her parents. Good times.

Meet Judge #3: Curtis Honeycutt
Curtis, of Stuff Christians Like fame, is the winner of the heaven contest. Curtis has an awesome site called Just Wallpaper. He also has the skills needed to judge a photo caption contest. (Those skills being "literacy" and "super scroll down powers".)

So there you have it. All the makings for one fantastical contest. Hope you enter! And even if you don't win the mother load there may be a few honorable mentions. With SFL you never can tell.

In the meantime what's the worst Christmas decoration you've seen for sale this season?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CHRISTMAS CONTEST! (Or Hooray! More Lame Prizes!)

When it comes to SFL there's nothing I love more than my readers. (Well, that and a good Christmas letter.) So, in the spirit of giving, I want to bestow some fantastical gifts to you, my readers. But you've got to work for it.

Below you will see a charming Christmas photograph. Your job is to caption this photo. Enter as many times as you like. The contest runs from today (Thursday) through Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. The judges will select their favorites and narrow it down to one lucky winner.

Judges and contest loot will be announced and pictured on Friday. Good luck!

Caption This Christmas Photo:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That's an interesting question....

My daughter just asked me, "Mom, do you use mind control on your blog?"

My dear readers, how would YOU answer her question? Please leave your comment for her.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Shoes

I hate the song "Christmas Shoes". And apparently 82% of you feel the same way. No, I have not seen the movie or read the book. So other than the song itself I have not real framework for the story. But based on the song alone here's what I gather...

There's a kid with a sick mom. She's going to die. So instead of comforting her as she dies he decides she won't be able to get into heaven unless she's well dressed. (Some women's ministry programs operate on this same premise. Just saying.) So he goes out to Footlocker on Christmas Eve. Instead of selecting a nice, sensible Hush Puppy, he selects some red, crystal encrusted Dior heels for about $450. He gets up to pay for the shoes, and even though he knocked over a 7-11 on his way over, he doesn't enough coin for the bling. So he deviously cons the guy behind him in line out of some mad cash. He buys the shoes. He shoves the receipt in his pocket. And laughs all the way home. He's taking them back the day after Christmas and pocketing the proceeds.

That's the way it should be anyway. I mean, seriously, people! Who wrote this song? Nobody, I mean N.O. O.N.E. ends up with a Christmas this ridiculously tragic. I don't know if there are world religions that offer divine merit based on footwear, but maybe that's what they were thinking.

I toyed with putting the song and video to "Christmas Shoes" up today. But I wouldn't want you to think I endorse such behavior.

Instead I'm putting up something pretty spectacular to get the "Christmas Shoes" chorus out of your head.

(Could you hurry please? Daddy says there's not much time...) (and yes, I wrote that from memory and I have no excuse for myself)

So, what's your least favorite Christmas song?

Thanks to Marni for the clip!

Monday, December 8, 2008

How To Sabatoge A White Elephant Gift Exchange

Over the years I have become a connoisseur of White Elephant Gift Exchanges. (Hereafter referred to as "WEGE". And yes, it's pronounced like you're thinking.) Every time it's the same. For the entire 4 hours before the event I develop delusions that maybe - just maybe - this year I might win big. Maybe I will take home a Pillsbury Dough Boy carved out of Velveeta. Or maybe a jar candle that smells like "Jumpsuit Elvis". Or anything fiber optic. The anticipation makes my palms sweaty. But I never get the good stuff.

Know what I usually walk away with? CRAP. By "crap" I mean: 1) a stupid gift that's really a piece of land-fill fodder, 2) a stocking full of broken dreams.

Truthfully, WEGE brings out the worst in me. It's the gift stealing that upsets my delicate demeanor. If someone steals my gift I get this overwhelming desire to bludgeon them with a light-up, plastic molded Christ child from the tacky yard display up the street. That's right. Come up against me and I'll drop you like Santa down a chimney.

But not anymore.

You see, I have discovered that WEGE is not about the gifts. These days my goal is to sabotage the game.

Let's set the stage. All of your Sunday School class is gathered in some one's home for the festivities. Holiday sweaters and egg nog abound. People are enjoying themselves. Then it happens. A choleric woman wearing a Santa hat, too much blush and dangly miniature Nutcracker earrings stands. She calls for every one's attention. No one listens. She calls again. Same response. Suddenly, her smile dims, the veins in her neck bulge and she screams, "Merry Christmas!" with all the grace of Gene Simmons.

She announces it's time to begin the gift exchange. She's as jumpy as a junkie squirrel looking for a fix. The antics that will follow will twist her knickers something fierce.

Here are 5 ways to sabotage your next gift exchange. Let's hit the ground running, shall we?

1) Give away liquor. We all know that even mentioning alcohol in some church settings will get you blacklisted. So why not make everyone in the room uncomfortable right from the beginning? Chances are that though they may suspect you of bringing the Satan Water, there are at least 3 other couples they will suspect, too. One year my husband and I brought a 4 pack of wine coolers to a WEGE. But, to push the envelope, we removed one from the pack, leaving a note, "We owe you one." Then we signed the leader's name. Yes, yes we did.

2) Goldfish. Not the VBS snack. We're talking a live fish. In a plastic bag that you just purchased from the pet shop. Put the bag in a pretty box, add a container of fish food, and pray it doesn't die. Why a fish? Because a Golden Retriever is hard to wrap and has a tendency to pee.

3) Go Political. Did you know that not all Christians are Republicans? (gasp) Shocking, I know. Yet regardless of how you voted in the election there's always going to be someone who has a different point of view. So why not unload all your 2008 election paraphernalia? Bumper stickers, t-shirts, yard signs - both local and national. Throwing out phrases like "I voted NObama!" and "I can see Russia from my house!" will make everyone warm and cozy.

4) Is that my purse? This one is serious. I have done it but you've got to be slick. Take some one's purse, throw it in a gift bag, put it under the tree.

And speaking of family portraits...

5) The Christmas Photo. Know that Christmas letter you just got from your Sunday school teacher? The one with the dazzling photo and letter about leaning on God in the midst having irritable bowel syndrome? I say you take that photo, enlarge it to an 11x13 so it's good and grainy, roll it inside a wrapping paper tube, and slap on a bow.

I think I can say at least one of these suggestions would throw a wrench in your next gift exchange. I've done all of them, in one way or another, and it has been spectacular.

Sadly, I could only come up with 5 ways to derail a party. Surely there are more. Since you all are so funny I'll leave it up to you.

What is the worst gift you've given or received at a gift exchange? What gifts would stop you dead in your tracks?

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'll be back on Monday with some serious sass. So let's meet here then and we'll share some White Elephant love....but don't turn it into a fist fight. I've got enough love to share with everyone.

Am I benevolent or what? Feel free to answer that question...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Creation & Redemption

From the beginning God had a plan to send Jesus to die for you.

The same hand that placed stars in the sky and trees in the ground would eventually be pierced on your behalf. His blood for yours.

It's simple. It's profound.

From beginning to end, from creation until the end of time, from Adam to you; one name, one God-man: Jesus Christ.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6-8

God bless you today, my friend. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Alternative Christmas Letter

(The idea for this letter came from the comments section of SCL months ago. If this is your idea, give me a shout and I'll give credit where it's due.)

Christmas brings out strange behavior. Case in point, the traditional Christmas letter. You know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you've even sent one yourself, I know I have. It generally goes something like this:

1) Pay a photographer $500 for 1 picture in which every member of your family looks perfect. Usually this involves matching Polos and lots of airbrushing.

2) Write an exaggerated narrative about family events over the past 12 months. For example, "Jill learned to color" becomes "Jill, though only 2, shows artistic promise as she boldly experiments with color and design". Or, "Life really sucked this year. The fact that we never heard from you once means you're a jerk" becomes "God is teaching us to depend on Him in this season of growth".

3) Send the photo and the letter to people you haven't seen in at least 3 years. Why? Because they're uppity! Remember how they snubbed you after they moved to a nicer neighborhood? How they didn't invite you to their annual Earth Day Granola Munch? Those people deserve a filp o' the ol' Partridge In A Pear Tree, don't you think? The best way to do that is send a letter, where you look and sound perfect so they have to stop and wonder if snubbing you was such a good call.

I must admit, we get lots of these traditional Christmas letters. I don't think we ever snubbed anybody, but still, they roll in every year. Wanna hear a secret? (Lean in close to the screen - I'm whisper-typing.) We don't always read them. They get old and boring and...well...we really don't care how great a soccer player your kid is.....or how your new job as hot dog vendor at Weenie Time is a blessing....or how your new puppy, Mr. Poopsy Pancake, is so very, weary silly-willy....JUST MAKE IT STOP ALREADY!!!!

So, in response to the throng of Christmas letters that flood our mailboxes every year, our family has chosen The Alternative Christmas Letter approach. What you are about to read is the actual Christmas photo and letter we are sending this year. But I wanted to share it with you first.

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! We wanted to send you a letter to let you know what we’ve been up to this last year.

We still live in a house. It is in Kentucky. We live close to some family members, but far away from others. We try to get together. Sometimes it works out and we have fun. Other times it does not.

This year we all had birthdays. We have a tradition where we give gifts and have cake. Sometimes we have ice cream, other times we do not. We also blow out candles, which is nice. Every person gets cake because it is good to share.

Dan has a job. He works hard. He gets up, goes to work, works all day and comes home just before dinner. Most days he does this, some days he does not. On the days he does not work he is sick or it is a weekend or maybe even a holiday.

Both kids are in school. Our daughter wakes up every day. So does our son. They put on clothes, eat breakfast, and get in the car. She goes to school and stays until she is picked up. She also eats lunch nearly every day when she is hungry.

Our son goes to school some days, other days he does not. On the days he goes to school he has a good time. He colors some. He listens to some stories. He plays outside. When he is done he comes home. On the days he stays home he plays with toys and sometimes watches a video. But every day he eats lunch.

Stacy stays home some days. Some days she goes out to the store. She buys food and sometimes even underwear or shoes for the kids. Most days she makes dinner. Some days we eat chicken. Other days we eat beef or sandwiches. Usually there is a vegetable but not always. When dinner is ready we like to eat it. We use forks except for when we have soup.

We had all four seasons this year. In the winter it was cold for the most part. Some days it snowed. We would look outside and say, “Look. Snow.” We enjoyed saying this. Then we had spring. Some days it was warmer, other days it was not. Then summer came. When it was hot we would come inside. When we did this we might have a cold drink or say, “It’s hot today.” But we did not say that every day, just some days. Then it was Fall. We had colder weather. The leaves came off the trees. “Look”, we said. “Leaves.”

Some of you are nice to us. We try to keep in touch. If you send a letter we will read it. If you call we will answer the phone. We like to say things like “Hello” and “How are you?” Being nice is good.

It has been so good to catch up with you. Merry Christmas.

Have a nice day,

The Smalls

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What's He Preaching About?

I find the following clip very disturbing. This is beyond Bible college weird, and that's saying something. I can't help but think that I'm missing key information as I watch it. Some thing's got him riled up. Watch the clip* and answer this question:

What in the world is this kid preaching about?

*Stacy From Louisville will not be responsible for adverse effects of repeatedly watching this video. Prolonged exposure may cause skin burning, ticks and twitching, spontaneous speaking in tongues during work hours, nightmares, and blindness from degenerated retinas (similar to staring into an eclipse or watching UFOs). Should these symptoms persist please contact Eastern KY Pastor via the comment section.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Christian Is YOUR Santa?

Perhaps one of the most hotly debated issues around Christmas is whether or not, as Christians, we're supposed to tell our children about Santa. You know as well as I do that this determines your worth as a parent.It's kind of like the whole Amy Grant situation. As the years pass, I can't remember if we're still supposed to be mad at her or not. To El Shaddai or not El Shaddai; that is the question. Same with Santa.

Once, in a women's group, I mentioned taking my kids to visit Saint Nick. As soon as I said it, one mom said, "We choose not to lie to our children. If we lie to them about Santa they'll think we're lying about Jesus. Then where would we be?" She made a good point. As my kids and I keyed her Mercedes later that day I couldn't help but wonder if my children would be scarred for life because of Santa Claus? Was I doing irreversible damage? I lost a good 20 minutes of sleep that night wondering...

That was 3 years ago. Today I have come to my senses. I know that not everyone will agree on the issue of Saint Nick, but we have to admit, he's here to stay. So if by chance you find yourself debating whether or not to take your kids to see Santa this season, you've come to the right place.

In order to help you distinguish Christian Santas from heathen ones I have devised the following points system. Before taking your child to see Father Christmas observe him according to the following scale. Add and subtract points according to your observations.

The Stacy From Louisville Christian Santa Assessment

Santa says, "Merry Christmas!" +4

Santa says, "Happy Holidays!" -2

There's a nativity set up beside Santa's chair. +3 points

There's a nativity set up beside the chair with a fiber optic reindeer as the focal point. -3 points

There's a baptistery every child must be dunked in before he can speak to Santa. +2 points

A kid nearly drowned in it because an elf took a cigarette break. -4 points

Santa has a tattoo of a cross. +1 point

Santa has a tattoo of himself. -2 points

Santa says, "Truth is, I'm not real. Not at all. But Jesus is real and He loves you!" +2 points

Santa wears a t-shirt that says, "My Boss Is A Jewish Carpenter". +2 points

Santa wears a t-shirt that says, "I like your cookies!" (I'm talking baked goods here people! Get your mind out of the gutter!) -2

On the back of his sleigh Santa has a big Christian fish and 8 smaller ones for each reindeer. +2 point

On the back of his sleigh Santa has a rusted out bumper and inappropriate mud flaps. -2 points

For Christmas Santa gives your son a polyester suit and a scholarship to Bible college. +4 points

For Christmas Santa gives your daughter an ankle-length skirt and an Mrs. Degree. -4 points

Santa smells like soft notes of sweet baby Jesus and candy cane. +3

Santa smells like Hickory Farms and cigarettes. -2

Santa just got back from a mission trip. +2

Santa just got out on a work permit. -3

So, how did your local Santa score? Perhaps you saw other questionable behavior. What guidelines would be deal breakers for you? Help me add to the list...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful Much?

(This post was written last night, Thanksgiving Eve.)

Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28: 6-7

While window shopping today I saw something I decided I just had to have. They were Christmas ornaments. $10 would purchase 2 of the collection of 15 ornaments. Sure, I've got tons of ornaments at home, but still. As I looked longer at the selection before me I became frustrated. Suddenly 2 ornaments didn't seem like enough. As I rifled through the selection anxiety crept up. How could I have them all if I only had $10? I wanted them all!

Though my experience in the store may seem trivial to you, it was not to me. We're talking about stupid ornaments, right? Still, something about it rocked my core, forcing me to ask myself: Am I thankful for what I already have?

For a split second, completely surrounded by sparkly this and plastic molded that, I stepped back from myself just far enough to hear the Holy Spirit. "When will it ever be enough?"

You know those moments in movies when the world spins and the character stands motionless amidst the confusion? That was me. With an ornament in each hand I realized there would always be more situations like this one. True, next time it might be a toy for my child, a book for my collection, or $4 coffee, but even then, what constitutes "enough"?

The cursor blinks, waiting for me answer that question. So here I go.

The truth is I don't look at what's around me as though it is a gift. Instead, I take many things - people, food, clothes, humor, relationships - even Christ - for granted. I live life assuming there's always something out there that can improve upon my current circumstance. I've bought into a lie that says "enough" is defined as "a little more than what I've got now".

This skewed perspective has perverted my thinking about what God has given me. These are a few areas of unthankfulness I've discovered:

I should be thankful God has given me a home to bless others. Instead, I see carpet that needs replaced and a couch with lumpy cushions.

The Lord has placed dozens of women around me every day. But I've been known to embrace loneliness instead. What's more, I've called it being thankful for time to myself.

Of course I have a car and it runs well. But the bumper's dented from an accident. It's embarrassing. But not as embarrassing as my attitude about it.

My husband is fantastic. But he won't mind if I ignore him while I catch up on e-mail, again. Or will he?

My Bible is forsaken for a novel. Then later that day I wonder why God seems so distant. And why I don't feel satisfied.

And this evening, I thought I had "extra" money. But if Jesus is Lord of my life, is that really my money in the first place? Instead of answering that question I contemplate 2 ornaments, frustrated because I can't have more.

I guess you could say I'm the girl in the corner with the glass half empty. I'd die of thirst before realizing there's water right in front of me. Being less than thankful can do that.

As I put the ornaments down, He drew me back to see so much more than the display. Very clearly I saw this truth: I need nothing. Until I am thankful for every stick of furniture, every shirt I wear, every food I eat, every relationship that crosses my path - until then, I don't need another distraction. All I need is Him. For me this will be a discipline of thankfulness and self control; to listen to God and say "no" and ignore a world screams "MORE!"

Maybe reading this isn't what you expected for Thanksgiving. It wasn't what I expected! Yet it was just what I needed. For that, I am more thankful than I can say.

What about you? What are you thankful for today? What's gone under the radar that deserves an attitude of praise, starting today?

Come join me today at Stuff Christians Like!

Need a little sugar? How about The Jelly Bellies of Christendom? Come on over for a free sample!

And look what Erin made! This is fantastic! Erin, I heart you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

In Search of Christmas Ideas!

I'm ready to deck the halls with some sarcasm, aren't you? But in order to serve it up properly I need your ideas. What topics would you like to see me write about in December? Don't be shy! Leave your blog fodder here.

And, by the way, guess who's taking the reigns at SCL tomorrow? I'll meet you there, and here. Two places at once, it can be done!

Stuff Stacy Likes for Christmas - What do you like?

(All links are now in working order thanks to Dan, my tech savvy husband. And no. You can't have him for Christmas. Don't ask.)

On Friday, November 28 all of hades will unleash it's occupants. They will assemble at places like Wal-Mart and Target with crazed looks in their eyes. No matter the temperature they will line up at the doors at 3 a.m. If you think their breath is showing just because it is 5 degrees below zero, think again. It's the smoke and sulfur from the bowels of hell coming up from their lungs. And when the store opens it's doors the onslaught of demon-possessed, WWF educated individuals will push, shove, trample, and swear their way through the first official day of the Christmas shopping season. I am, of course, talking about the day after Thanksgiving.

I must admit, there's a rush that comes with all the insanity. That's why this year my daughter and I are hitting Berean Christian Stores at 7 a.m. for Webkinz for a penny. I just explained the whole concept to her. "You're going to sleep in sweats and at 5:45 I'm going to come get you out of bed. It will still be dark and kind of in the middle of the night. I'll buy you hot chocolate at Starbucks. Even if it's so cold you want to cry we're lining up outside the door as soon as we get there. You may hate it but if you want one you're coming with me. UNDERSTAND?" Perhaps this is a bit extreme. Aren't we talking about a Christian book store? Well, I ask you this: Have you ever seen an angry Christian? I know that's difficult to imagine, but think hard. The only difference between an angry Christian and an angry non-believer on the day after Thanksgiving is asking for forgiveness after swearing for jumping in line. You know it's true. (Probably because you and I shared choice words in the Kohl's sweater department Christmas of '06. I want you to know my daughter loves that snow globe I yanked out of your cart. And yes, it was worth it. Please forgive me.)

So, in my effort to keep you away from my Berean Webkinz sale, I have assembled a list of some of my favorite Christmas gifts. Most are available on-line so I'll give you a link whenever I can.

Stuff Stacy Likes For Christmas 2008

Toby Mac - Alive And Transported
This live CD/DVD combo are everything you love about Toby Mac and more. If you've never seen Toby Mac live he's amazing. The CD and DVD capture the essence of his music and ministry - it's electric and passionate. My personal favorites are "Lose My Soul" (with American Idol's Mandisa), "Gone","Irene" and some old school "In The Light" and "Jesus Freak". Seriously excellent. Also available in an MP3 download. ..."I say 'Diverse', ya'll say 'City'!"....

Electronic Wireless High Frequency Key Finder
I could lose my keys in the ignition. My husband would say the solution is to be more dedicated to putting things away. Well, I love him, but we all know that's not gonna happen. Four different color coded receivers will beep when the main remote's coordinating button is pushed. A loud beep from 60-80 feet penetrates walls, couch cushions, toy boxes, etc. 2 receivers are key chains, 2 are flat for say, a wallet, or to attach to the TV remote. Or your 12 month old when he learns to walk. I do not own this but I am asking for it this year. It's worth $40 to not be late because I can't find my keys. Or my computer monitor. I HATE when that happens.

MyPublisher PhotoBook (This will take you to their site for a buy one, get one free book!)
THIS is the gift that everyone will love! I have done two books - a trip to Disney World (400+ pictures plus narrative text) and a trip to Florida (about 70 photos with captions only) - and given them away. Such quality! The photo clarity and professional binding are exceptional. Be as creative or as minimal in design as you like. The programs are easy to follow, worth your time and fun. So reasonably priced, too. You'll want to do one every year. This is my favorite gift on the list. Here's a page from my Disney book.

Shoebox Greatest Hits & Misses
If you like sarcastic, hysterical, "I can't believe you just said that" humor, this is the book for you! The coffee table book is 229 pages of Shoebox greeting cards. They are insanely funny! The format is very relaxed, the illustrations come from the actual cards, and the writers of the cards make funny notes about the creative process. But the best thing about this book is sharing it. When I purchased it 2 years ago I started getting it out when friends came over, with the condition they had to sign their name below the their favorites. This is great for a group of girlfriends. Can be found on-line and in Hallmark Stores.

We all know Christmas gifts come and go. Here's one that will make a lasting Kingdom difference. World Vision has a spectacular Christmas gift giving program. For nearly any price range (there are gifts less than $30) you can purchase a gift for a needy family in the world. Then, World Vision will send you a card to give to the recipient, for example, "In your name, 2 chickens were given to a poverty stricken family in Haiti. These chickens will provide nutrition and income through egg production..." Gift options include clothing, animals, emergency supplies, seeds, farming tools and education... Through the link you can have the gift catalogue sent to your home. What a way to get little ones involved.

Of course, none of these gifts may be to suit your taste. If that's the case, there's always every one's favorite holiday movie. So good luck with that.

What gifts do you suggest for Christmas? What's missing from my list? Name them and leave a link if possible.

(Special thanks to my friend, Stacey!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SFL's Egg Noggy, Super Bloggy Christmas Picture

Well bless my heart it's time to celebrate Christmas here at Stacy From Louisville! (infer giddy, girly clapping and shrieking) Don't you just feel all sugar plumy and egg noggy thinking about it? In little more than a month all of Christendom will celebrate the birth of Christ, even though He wasn't born on December 25th. But we won't let that stop us, will we? That's right, obscured facts never stopped us before so why should Christmas time be any different? And I love that I get to celebrate it with you. It makes me want to roast chestnuts in your general direction.

Since you're the world's best blog audience I'd like to play a fun game today. I made you something special and here it is.

Caption This Photo:

There's so much to work with here, the only limits are your own creativity. Like I always say, the more ridiculous the better. And if you put a thick layer of God sauce on it, well,...that would be a Christmas miracle. (Or, perhaps a Festivus for the Rest of Us?)

Oh, dear readers. What a Christmas season this will be!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Missions, Bible College Style

In Bible College I had to memorize, in order, every city in all of Paul's missionary journeys. At the time it seemed like an insanely pointless amount of information. Thus, I chose to boycott. So much so that when it came time to take the test I scored a mere 67%. With that I think I schooled that professor, don't you?

(In all fairness, I now see the error in my thinking. I was a junior year youth ministry major. It wasn't until my senior year that I discovered that teenage substance abuse directly correlates to Paul's missionary voyage to Macedonia. Who knew?)

Speaking of missions, my junior year I signed up to take a class called Cross Cultural Communication. The professor teaching this course was stellar. He was a cultural anthropologist, an expert in Hebrew culture, and a contributor to the footnotes of the NIV Study Bible. He was one of those professors who could rock a tweed blazer and smelled like a cross between Greek mythology and black coffee. He was cool. Unfortunately, when that semester rolled around, he was called away to the Holy Land to unearth something amazing. Much to my chagrin I got to unearth something equally amazing: his craptastic replacement, Professor Laffy Taffy.

He was not an anthropologist. He was not an expert on culture. But he did have missions experience: one month in England in the mid 80s. That's right, my friends. Laffy. Taffy.

He began his first lecture by laying the foundation for over seas missions: "clothing the natives." (his words, not mine) He was convinced that no matter what a person's culture dictated, no one could accept Jesus without being dressed. Especially women. He called it offensive and disrespectful to God.

As one class bled into another (and I say "bled" as in slow and painful torture) this lecture became a regular touch point for him. My toes curled every time. The text we were reading for the course opposed such philosophy, but I'm not sure he read the text. Or could. (Okay. That's bad and I apologize in advance.)

About three-quarters of the way through the semester we had a guest speaker. He was a lifelong missionary to a secluded people group in Africa. He was now retired and came to share his life story. He described, in vivid detail, medical missions and Bible translation. His story was fascinating. He ended by opening floor to our questions.

I raised my hand. (Like I need to tell you where this is going...) Though the details are sketchy, here's what I asked: "Given your career as a missionary I'm hoping you could shed light on an issue for me. When sharing the love of Christ with unreached people groups is it necessary that the women cover their nakedness in order to accept the Gospel?"

He grinned and related the following story.

When he and his wife first began their ministry in Africa a large portion of their financial support came from one particular church. He frequently sent that congregation letters to update them on how his work was progressing. On one occasion he sent several photos. The women of the church were horrified to see the women of that tribe were naked from the waist up. In response to the ungodly, offensive nature of the native women the church banned together to collect t-shirts for each one. The shirts were then sent to the missionary - as a surprise - for those impoverished women.

Several weeks later the missionary sent another letter to the church. In it he enclosed a photo. He relayed that the women were overjoyed with the colorful t-shirts. So much so, they CUT SPECIAL HOLES IN THEM SO THEY COULD WEAR THEM AND STILL FEED THEIR CHILDREN. The picture showed a large group of smiling African women wearing new t-shirts - with the front cut out.

Then he said: "Ironically enough, many of these women went on to accept Christ, with or without their new t-shirts."

I graduated over 10 years ago from Bible college. Those 4 years cost me about $30,000. Every time I get to tell this story I think it's worth every penny.

So what about you? What kind of shirt are you wearing today??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Real Men of Jesus, Part II

I read all your comments. Today this one struck me.

According to Rick the Rick the Polonian:
They need one for "Mr. We are Best Friends Though We Haven't Met Let Me Give You a Supermassive Bear Hug Church Greeter Guy"

This one if from another church. Here you go...

Mr. Hand Out The Bulletins And Say Good Morning to People Guy

Real Men Of Jesus

Ladies, still looking for that perfect guy who loves the Lord? Have you compromised your standards only to find yourself brokenhearted? Do you sit home alone on Saturday nights, eating brownies and cheese curls, watching Titanic for the 57th time? ("I'll never let go Jack!")

Guys, have you reached a plateau spiritually? Tired of Scary Elder pushing you into a corner or the janitor refusing to Pledge the pulpit to a lovely sheen? Looking for the extra somethin'-somethin' to give your ministry an edge?

Well, you're both in luck. Here at Stacy From Louisville I feel your pain. That is exactly why I have dedicated the last 24 minutes of my undivided time to bring slave to your wounds.

Because I've got nothin' but love for you I have expertly cut and pasted a remedy. Girls, THIS is the guy for you. And guys, THIS is what you aspire to be. No compromise, no wimping out.

What you are about to see will solve your problems, or your money back. That's right: OR YOUR MONEY BACK!* I'm not here to make money, people. I'm here to spread Holy Spirit sunshine. So turn up your speakers. Lean in close to the monitor and wait for God to speak. These. Are. Real men of Jesus.

*If not completely satisfied click here and file your complaint. Individual results will vary greatly. Application subject to interpretation. 1 in 1000 may experience adverse affects including itching, tingling, and spontaneous visions of blinking sequin holiday sweaters.

Mr. Really Really Really Long Prayer "At least God's still listening..."

Mr. Over-Emotional Worship Leader "Epileptic Seizure!"

Mr. Ultimate Ultimate Frisbee Guy "Sorry about your head wound..."

NOTE: Michael, a regular reader of SCL and SFL, is the genius behind these videos. Folks, we're in the presence of greatness!! Thanks Michael!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Falling Headlong

I love a good motorcycle ride, probably because it gives me a false sense of my own awesomeness. Every time Dan & I get on a Hog (that's right, I'm down with the lingo) I can't help but think, "Hey you nerdy Dodge drivers. I'm on a Harley. Be scared of me. Maybe I have a tattoo and belong to a biker gang, you just don't know. I might even throw ball bearings into your wood-veneered mini van." And so it goes until we hit a small bump and I cry for my mother.

One particular evening several years ago my husband and I rode over The Skyway Bridge (pictured here) on the Harley. The view from the top was spectacular - clear sky, deep blue water sparkling in the sunlight. On the Harley it was so much easier to take it all in - the wind on my face, the smell of the salt air, the rush of the 190 ft. ascent to the top of the bridge. The sense of freedom was unparalleled. Yet later that day, when it was time to return from our excursion, the bridge was not so welcoming. The heavy darkness of night, mingled with the raw, lashing wind and fatigue of the day, were hateful companions. As we started the bridge's ascent I was terrified.The gusts were so intense I literally huddled behind my husband to avoid their razored edge. Dan felt their lashing, too. When he yelled, "DO. NOT. MOVE." I instantly froze. We both knew the winds of the bridge were enough to lay down the bike and seriously injure us both.

It was a reality check. How could it be that something I loved so much had turned into something so dangerous? All the freedom was replaced with serious danger, that if ignored, could have killed us. The change of perspective was staggering.

Our walk with Christ can be like this. On some occasions He chooses to protect us from the harsh slaps of life. In His infinite wisdom He knows which battles we simply can't survive and so He provides a way of escape. We enjoy life unaware of the pain we've been spared. We live free.

But there are other times. Days, weeks, or months pocked by pain, disappointment, loss, loneliness, doubt, fatigue. It plays out many different ways...

The child you love walks a prodigal's path.
You were aiming for a promotion but got a pink slip instead.
There's a miscarriage.
You live in loneliness is so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Test results come back from the doctor. It's worse than you imagined.
God is silent when the rest of the world is screaming.

None of us is a stranger to injury. In those times we lay in bed at night, tears soaking a pillow beneath us as we look up at the blank ceiling. Wishing He would usher us away from our reality our lips mouth the word, "Why?" The stabbing from the enemy is all too real, but for some reason He deems us strong enough to stand and fight. And we may never know why, which makes it even harder to swallow.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of suffering - and trust me, I've had my share - there's something to be learned. In my life, when pain has reared it's ugly head I have so often prayed, "Jesus, just help me get through this." Over the years I must have prayed that countless times.

But then I stopped.

In a suffering moment, when I was dealing with a chronic pain diagnosis and some depression, truth zapped me like lightening from the sky. By praying, "God, just get me through this..." I was limiting Him. In essence I was saying, "All I want from you today Lord is just enough to get by."

I had to ask myself, "Is that really all I want from God?"

Or in times of suffering is it possible to take advantage of God's closeness and fall head-long into Him? Maybe when He wasn't giving me peace, He gives me Himself instead, thicker and richer and almost tangible. Maybe He isn't far away at all, even if the answers to my questions seemed unreachable.

Am I suggesting a change of perspective is a cure all? That all the loneliness or pain will disappear if we ignore it? No, not at all. What I am saying is, at least for me, I can throw myself into my pain and make it my god or I can run headlong into Jesus Christ and saturate myself in Him, banking on the fact that He'll teach me in my circumstance, even though He may not take it away.

The reality is, with Dan and I riding the Harley, we could have wrecked the bike for thousands of reasons when we rode that day. There didn't have to be a bridge involved, but there was and not ascending the bridge wasn't an option. To make it to the other side alive I had to swallow my fear, sit tight in spite of it, and ride it out. We had no choice but to throw ourselves into it. Would I do it again? Probably not. But I did it once and now I have a story to tell. I think that's worth something.

The circumstances I find myself in every day - my grandma's illness, dealing with physical pain or fatigue, my mom rejecting Christ - are painful, to varying degrees. But for now, those circumstances will not change, they are what they are. But if I can fall headlong into Him again and again, I can cry and know there's comfort. I can ache and know He's healing, though maybe not physically. I know that I know Him and rest in Him, even if it means ascending another dark, lashing hill.

And one more thing: I can write these words to you with a clear conscious and a firm resolve. And a heart full of praise.

But that's me. What about you? Can you throw yourself into Him today? Let's tell each other how we're going to do this.

OK, I'll go first. Today I'm going to read 27 out loud. And I'm going to serve Christ by serving my son, instead of myself. Whether I feel like it or not.

What are you going to do today to throw yourself into Him? Maybe this will give you some ideas as you prepare to leave your comment below...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Come Join Me On Facebook!

Will you take me back??

Hey SFL readers! I've been gone tending to family matters. And while my grandmother is only marginally improved, I've decided to hit the ground running. That's right, I'm firing up the jets for Stacy From Louisville - and just in time for the holiday season! So break out your sequin holiday sweaters because the shenanigans are about to commence. In all seriousness, I have missed you a great deal! I hope you're still out there...

In the meantime, I'm on Facebook: Stacy A. Small

It was only a matter of time, you know. I've already been stomping all over Jon's wall like I own the place, but that doesn't surprise you, does it? I'm always thinking up new status updates that are crackpot wacky but without all of you it's pointless. Please join me soon!

And spread the word. In the blog world - Stacy's back!!!!

Again, will you take me back? I've missed you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Life In A Nutshell

First, a thank you.

When I posted that there was a family crisis I was blown away by the number of you who committed to pray for me and my family. Your support is more valuable than I can say. When pain washed over me in the past few days I was able to read your comments and steady myself. Thank you so much!

Now, an update.

This is my life in a nutshell.

My grandmother is in a rehabilitation facility. That's Medicare speak for "crappy holding tank until they can decide what to do next". A doctor contacted my parents today to inform them that my grandmother's condition is, "Very serious." Then he went on to tell them, via answering machine message, he couldn't remember my grandma's name and he hoped he was leaving a message with the correct family. Nonetheless, the doctor's right.

So I kind of feel like toast.

Though the earthly prognosis isn't good, the eternal one falls in our favor. So that's where I'm resting for now.

So again, I thank you for your prayers. And I look forward to getting SFL up and running again. We've got ourselves a crazy community going on and I sure would miss you if you weren't around!!

Thankful for you,


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When It Rains It Pours

Perhaps you remember Monday's post about my grandma's declining health...

My grandma had a heart attack last night. She was in the hospital when it happened. She will be in the hospital for - well, I don't really know how long. She's conscious and in good spirits but her strength is very low. Though I don't know what the future holds I think my grandma is the bravest of the whole lot of us.

In light of all of this I'm taking a few days off. I'll be heading out of town soon to be with my family.

I'm out of words so I'll leave it to one of you: I think Eastern Kentucky Pastor had it right: pack an umbrella.

In His Grip,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quote of the Moment

When speaking of Jesus, Garret Keizer said,

"Smite his cheek, and he turns you the other; slap the dignity of the house of prayer, however, and he turns over a table."

What about you? What's your favorite quote of the moment?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Let It Rain

At 84 my grandmother is the most Godly women I have ever known. Yet tonight she's barely 100 pounds and languishing. Hospital corridors and unanswered questions flood my mind as the swell of the waves threaten to drag me below the the water's surface.

It's amazing how one phone call can change so much.

On Wednesday morning of last week the rain started. We hastily packed bags and headed two hours north. At that point all I knew was that she had fallen and couldn't get help. What I later came to understand was that she was so weak it took her over an hour to crawl to the phone to get assistance.

The situation we're in comes as a surprise to no one; she's been deteriorating for years with congestive heart. But, trust me, there's no such thing as grieving in advance. Yet unlike so many crisis situations I've faced in the past, I'm facing this one differently. Here's why...

God's plans baffle me. The fact is, I waste brain space when I do any more than trust Him moment by moment. There's no way I can control any of what's happening around me. So I'm not going to cause myself more grief by pretending I can.

Unlike other crossroads in my life I'm not running away this time.

In fact, I say, "Let it rain." Even if the floods overtake me, He will never let me go. And though rain may hide my tears, He's no less aware of each and every one.

He's big enough & small enough - at the same time - to be in every facet of life. He's in me and my grandma. And that right there is a reason to hope.

I've learned, whether we realize it or not, every day is a crossroad for each of us. Every day we must decide. Do we choose to rest in Him or try to rest without Him? I've tried walking both paths and the second choice has never given me the strength to say, "Let it rain." What I've had to come to realize is that I'd rather be soaking wet in God's rain than drowning in a flood of my own undoing.

Today, come what may, I'm going to rest in Him. Even in the rain.

How about you?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jacked Up Jack-O-Lantern CONTEST WINNER

Founding Member Pumpkin
This pumpkin eats pastors for breakfast, and because he is one of the founding members of the church everyone lets him. Founding member pumpkin has not found a pastor yet that he didn't like to chew on, and he has spit out every pastor the church has had since the first one in 1953....

Congratulations Steve, you are the official winner! It was a tough call. The vat was so thick with sarcasm that I could scarcely lift the ladle. But when all the judges had sampled their fill of mockery, Founding Member Pumpkin came out smelling....well, like pumpkin guts, actually, which is good in a rotten vomit kind of way. E-mail me at to claim your mullet gift o' rama. And I think I speak for all SFL readers when I say please, please assemble the costume and send us a picture.

Honorable Mentions:
Jon Acuff gave props to Rob's "When Church Janitors Go Bad"
MCTC loved mistymorningmountain with the Joel Olstein/John Piper parody
SFL would also like to recognize Miss Hannah for the Home School Mom bit (classic AWANAs)

On a side note, SFL has been up and running for almost 3 whole months. You know, readers, you mean so much to me. It's time you knew just how much...(dim lights, cue Luther Vandros music)...

I feel so much better about myself...

Monday, October 20, 2008

He's The Glue

Oh yes, I forgot today is his birthday. As he's walking out the door for work common sense jolts me and I yell "Happy Birthday!" Then I give him a hug and he laughs. He's the glue that holds us together and like I've said before, I definately married up. I don't know how I got so lucky, but this I can tell you. 15 years ago when we first met I knew I was done dating around. I would say, "I found a good thing" but that would be an understatement. It's better said, "A good thing found me." We're riding life's rollercoaster together and so far neither one of us has puked so I'm taking it as a good sign. Here's our song. It was played at our wedding but it ain't your typical wedding song. Regardless, it still rings true...


Sunday, October 19, 2008

CONTEST LOOT & Judges: It's Not Too Late!!

It's not very often that a pumpkin can change a life. Until now. Here you have it - The Jacked Up Jack-O-Lantern Contest Prize. Let me outline for you the ins and outs of the prize pack:

1 Mullet Wig
That's right, you read it correctly. Say it with me, like it doesn't hurt to own up to it, "Mullet wig!" Often defined as "Business in the front. Party in the back." This wig is your ticket to the high life. ("high" as in drug induced stupor) But like all good Christians we must take the concept of the mullet and put God sauce on it. So, I submit to you, "Mullet: Presbyterian in the front. Pentecostal in the back." There. I feel more holy just typing it.

1 Screaming Pop-Up Plush
Complete with rubberized hair and super loud, electronic high pitched cackle this is the most annoying thing I could send in the mail besides myself. The best thing about the laugh is that it will serve 2 functions:
1) It's perfect in tone and pitch for women's ministry events. That doesn't mean you have to attend, I'm just saying...
2) Use it in church service every time your pastor tells a lame joke. Let this thing laugh for you and trust me, he'll stop. Or quit. Use your own judgement here.

Zit Poppers Candy
The package reads, "Plump & Rich, OOzy Gushy Goo Filled Zit Gummies You Can Burst In Your Mouth. Zitlicious!" You can actually take these candies and pop them near your friends and strawberry flavored puss will fly out. Trust me, people, you can't buy this kind of popularity. (Or maybe you can, at Target.)

Then there are other goodies like Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape, Happy Bunny Stickers, and a Hose Nose slime filled candy that was left over from the Bible College survival pack. And other various crap, too.

Meet Your Contest Judges:

Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like
Dan Small, CPA
More Cute Than Crazy, a suburban housewife living the dream (with the help of an occasional margarita)
Stacy From Louisville

In the event of a tie all judges and contestants will meet at Big Lots in Milwaukee. All contestants will be blindfolded and tied to each other with bungee cords. The prize pack will be thrown up in the air and all contestants will be left to their own devices. No shoving or swearing, we will be in public.

I'm extending the voting until Monday at midnight! It's not too late to caption the pumpkin.

Winner of the Jacked Up Jack O Lantern will be announced on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jacked Up Jack-O-Lantern CONTEST

(This is a contest, ergo "contest" in the title. Read through the post and find your assignment at the bottom. Good luck!)

I don't know if Little Boy Jesus ever went Trick or Treating. There's just some things Scripture doesn't speak to. But I can imagine LBJ (Little Boy Jesus, not Lyndon B. Johnson) dressed as a camel or Buzz Lightyear or Gene Simmons. (or not) He's carrying his empty gourd hoping to score some mad candy and hummus as he celebrates Halloween, Nazareth style. Surely, though, there were some people who weren't into Halloween, even then. No pumpkins, no costumes, no candy, no nothin'. I have this theory that's what initially caused the rift between Him and the Pharisees. Yep, I'm blaming anti-halloween stingy candy uppityness. Cheating LBJ out of taffy and tootsie rolls was a big mistake. Huge.

Fast forward 2000+ years. The same thing happens, but with a holy spin. At church last week I overheard one woman talking to another, saying, "I take the pumpkin, carve a cross instead of a face, put a lit candle inside, then turn off all the lights and pretend we're not home when people ring the doorbell. That's how we do Halloween." It was a really animated conversation. Though I can't be sure I think I saw her pull the template out of her bootleg Coach purse. If I would have been thinking I would have snapped a pic with my camera phone. I always miss out on the good stuff. Dang it.

If there's one thing we need around Stacy From Louisville (besides common sense) it's a shout out for Pumpkin Carving Ministry. It's a spiritual gift, but a secret one. It's true. Okay, it's not true but it sounds good so I'm going with it. The point is, pumpkins, like any good squash or root vegetable can represent cross sections of Christian culture. For example...

Pumpkin a la Women's Ministry
See how happy and smiley? It wants to hug you and help you find a pretty corduroy jumper for your next night out with your husband. Sexy. If this beautykin could talk she'd say, "Hope to see you at the fall women's retreat!" To which I'd probably tell you it's okay to convert, just until the first snow falls.

Church Greeter Pumpkin
This smile, permanently plastered to his face, is there just for the purpose of saying, "Good Morning!" 50,000 times in a row. Plus, he spits a little every time he talks. Nice. If you don't have a good experience at church he'll find out about it and force happy pills down your throat until you change your story. But be careful! If he spots a visitor, or - heaven help us - a nonbeliever, it's all over. They'll need to pull out the pepper spray and run. Fast. This is church. You're going to be happy and like it, or you're gettin' jumped by this guy. P.S. He's got bad post-communion breath. Aw snap.

Youth Group Pumpkin
Oh, for shame! You mutant, hormonal, sarcastic teenagers. You won't get into any notable Bible Colleges if you keep this up. And girls, you can just forget marrying a pastor with pumpkin posterior humor. This is serious. I'm taking away your pot if you don't stop. (Not that I advocate pot. I only advocate mooning pumpkins statues.)

Pastoral Staff Meeting Pumpkin
Are you in vocational ministry? Do you ever feel misunderstood? Ever long for the safe haven of your office where you can surf SFL archives? I know your pain. I used to be on the vocational ministry fast track. It never worked out for me, though. To this day I still can't figure out why...

Caption Contest Pumpkin
Now it's your turn. Caption this pumpkin scenario. Be creative, or sarcastic, or whatever it takes to win big. You've seen in the past that I do some fun contests. ("Blog Fodder - Contests & Giveaways" will show you what I mean.) So here's your chance. Contest runs until midnight Pacific time on Sunday (October 19). Judges will be announced and a picture of the prize will be posted over the weekend. Here's hoping....