I believe that motherhood is definitely one of the most beautiful miracles there is to behold! If you are a mom, I want to wish you a very happy and blessed Mother’s Day!!! ~ Cece
In Honor of those suffering and those who perished from the tragic events that occurred in
Boston, Massachusetts on April 15, 2013
“Now faith is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
In one simple question lies the answer that could change your life forever. When I was one, I hoped for attention. When I was 5, I hoped for a new doll. When I was twelve, I hoped to not fail at anything that I tried. When I turned 15, I hoped for my favorite singer to serenade me and sweep me off my feet. When I was 20, I hoped to fit in and be accepted. When I turned 30, I hoped to change the world, but not change myself. Now, having recently stepped into my 40th earth year, I finally have hoped for and received something worthwhile and certain.
I hope that the moments that will end up defining my life will not be the messes that I have made in my lifetime, but the messes that I have overcame! But most of all, my hope is for…..peace, my hope is in peace, my hope has covered my life with peace, and I can only wish the same for the rest of mankind.
So, what do you hope for? Make it something exceptional. Because what I have learned is that, what you hope for is, indeed, what defines how you live. Therefore, throw out everything that keeps you from that hope of all hopes. Be no longer entangled by those things that never really mattered in the first place, and you will be certain to find the you that will give new life to yourself, your family and your world. The Hope of Christ is the greatest hope you could ever introduce into your life and the lives of those you love.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace where there is hatred, let me sow love where there is injury, pardon where there is doubt, faith where there is despair, hope where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy.” ~ Anonymous
I’ve chosen to write about this subject not out of desire but more so to voice concern because the problem we face today with finding an answer to gun control and violence simply affects us all and can’t be ignored. Call me paranoid if you’d like, but I have a tendency to scan my surroundings these days a lot more closely than I use to because of being haunted by all of the stories of gun violence that have taken up residence around us and our families.
I actually prefer to camp out at home or make a simple trip to a friend or relative’s house on any given evening rather than spending it at an over crowded mall or outdoor venue. I prefer it because I know the crowd, and I don’t have to be concerned that a fight or shooting is going to break out over spilled nachos or stepped on toes! The move toward stricter gun control regulations has been in the rear view mirror for quite some time. But, what really concerns me is, “Do the people who are making and pushing for new gun control laws to be passed really know anything about how guns are purchased in the first place, not by the common law citizen, but by the criminal minded individuals who have brought us to where we are today?”
One article by Stephanie Pappas made a very good point that new gun control regulations can do little to nothing about the whopping 300 million guns that are already in circulation within the United States. Yes, this is a very scary thought, and not one to take lightly. What we certainly don’t want to see is the law-abiding citizens unable to purchase a gun while those with intent to harm can continue getting weapons by the dozens. In the study done by Dr. Eric Fleegler on dissecting whether or not gun laws really prevent deaths. He compared the number of gun deaths with the number of gun safety laws in each state. The laws were divided into five categories and each state could score from a 0 to 28 depending on the number of laws enforced. The state that scored the lowest for gun control regulations was Utah which had a zero, while Massachusetts came in at 24, which was the highest. Although more thorough research needs to be done, it is worth while to report that states within the top 25% of gun legislation had a 42% reduction in gun deaths compared with states who were at the lower 25 % and had a 70% increase in gun violence. Fleeger points out that he can’t prove that the gun laws are the cause of the lower rates of gun violence, but the findings are definitely worth further investing.
The rapper, Snoop Dog, has even joined the move for more gun control by releasing a new song called , “No Guns Allowed,” in response to the Sandy Hook school shootings. He hopes that his lyrics, if heard by someone thinking about taking a gun to school, will cause them to stop and “think about what he was doing.” He went on to say how easy it is for a person to get their hands on a gun including himself, and “it shouldn’t be that easy.” The truth is that young people, guns and gang violence have been going on for years, but suddenly now, it’s been decided to crack down on an issue that has taken its toll and has taken the lives of far too many innocent victims.
During the recent large-scale victory of the democratic gun bills in Colorado, the state where at least two mass shootings occurred including the Aurora movie theater shooting 8 months ago, and in 1999, Columbine High School, there were many sighs of relief. Governor John Hickenlooper just days ago signed the bills that will take effect July 1, 2013 for universal background checks to include gun purchases between private parties and sales that occur online. A fee will also be required for these background checks. There is also now a limit on ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. One thing is clear, it’s a desperate time, and it has caused us to turn to desperate measures to prevent anymore heart wrenching tragedies like the ones that have occurred over that past 15 years. Ivan Moreno writes, “Colorado lawmakers succeeded while members of their party stumbled in other states.”
Many of these new bills are a shot in the dark to try to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands. However, at least, efforts are being made. Gun shop owners and advocates need to understand that when human lives are at stake, these types of compromises don’t kill anyone. Guns, however, do when placed in the wrong hands. These laws are a step in the right direction, and until we see an end to the random acts of violence that continue to spread throughout cities and communities both big and small, both rural and urban, we all must take notice, we all must take precautions, and we all must take more time to care about what is going on beyond our own backyard because as we have witnessed, no one is immune from being a victim of gun violence. Let us arm ourselves in good sense and prayer that together, we can take back our communities and make them more safer now than ever before!
When I tune in to the latest news headlines and hear stories about a young, successful and promising Olympian killing his girlfriend, towns being paralyzed by mother nature’s merciless outpouring of winter snow storms, and mortar shells exploding and killing innocent bystander in Damascus, Syria, I have to pause because it’s too much to process at one time. The local and world news today is difficult to digest when you have a conscience. Most of all, I shutter at the thought of having to raise my children to some day let go of my hand and enter into this same precarious world on their own accord.
With our children’s hands gently placed in ours for the present time, I created Familymill so that you and I would not easily forget the value and importance of these days. I created Familymill to give others a sense of sanity when sanity has nearly been lost, to give parents, children, husbands and wives, etc. a safe shelter to come to and find something warm, welcoming and soothing to the human spirit awaiting them.
I say all of this because I wish that I could greet you more often, but my life too, is filled with pressure, stress, and everyday obstacles to overcome. However, that has not kept me from enjoying the opening of today’s gift! I hope that you will try to remember with me that life can still be lovely and every bit of beautiful even when it is not easy. Simply focus on the gift of just having this day which is opening now for you!
I love when I get to hold a brand new baby or when my friend and I can put a smile on each other’s face after experiencing pain, or dedicating an hour to a math assignment with my short-tempered son only to find that it all paid off with a great test grade. We all have to endure the bad, but while we are enduring the bad, let’s agree to never take our eyes off of “the gift”.
Finally, as I’m sharing in the same struggles and delights as you are and although you may not be hearing from me quite as often as before, I will continue to bring you more “familymilled encouragment” straight from my family to yours. It will just be delivered in smaller doses! For now and for later, enjoy your days, keep experiencing life in new ways, and your journey will be one that dreams are made of!!!
Just a few days ago I had the pleasure of celebrating my 40th birthday amongst my beloved family and friends. I don’t know why, but I have no problem celebrating anyone else’s birthday, but when it comes to my own, I would much rather pretend like it was just another ordinary day. Could it be that I’m in denial about getting another year older? No, I don’t think so. Is it that my life is not what I imagined it to be by the time I turned 40? No, it’s actually full of more richness than I ever could have imagined. It’s not full of richness in money, but in meaning which is the true fabric of happiness! So why do I not want to celebrate glorious, wonderful me on my birthday? I think it has to do with my perspective. For me, birthdays at this age are more of a time to give thanks rather than be showered with gifts and attention! However, those around me see it as both, and I guess I can’t blame them since I love to celebrate others too, just not myself!
I have no problem turning 40. In fact, there is something about it that I absolutely love! There is a certain unstated eloquence about a woman turning 40 that I’m not sure exists quite as strongly with any other age. There is something about 40 that is tailored in class! I believe it’s all of that lovely “beautiful mess” that I went through for 39 years that has brought me to a new and more accurate awareness of the importance of being grateful, graceful and meaningful in life!
Not everyone wears their age well. To wear it well, you have to be willing to embrace your life and all of the calamities within; yes, your calamities and everyone elses! Take time to share a smile, to laugh and to love especially when you are not in the mood to do so! Forcing peace to prevail and loving others in unexpected ways is what it is all about. I love how Arthur Katz puts it in the book, Ben Israel:
God knows that what may be ultimately right to do is beyond the reach of my wisdom. Every prayer is filled with requests for His guidance and direction. In the months to come I will be alert for His voice. I am learning to make mine not so strident that it would drown His should it come.
And, indeed, His voice has always been present, but now at the age of 40, I am a much better listener when He speaks! Children have a better ability to focus as they grow older and their ears become trained to listen! The same holds true with us! Welcoming God’s voice in my life has liberated me to finally be the woman I have always chased after and never quite knew how to become! Now, I can finally say that I have acquired greater wisdom, and it is truly the best birthday gift that I could ever ask for!!
My soul is stretched out in space, in personal commitments, in concepts and ideals, in faith and unbelief, in moral passion and animal hunger and in many other ways. In the process of being drawn taut, I am also being made.
Allowing my entry into the forties to forge me into a new and more fruitful design is where you’ll find me these days! I don’t know how much more living I’ll get to do; but, one thing is for sure, the days won’t be wasted on pleasing and pitying myself. They will be ripened days full of improved balance and increasing bountiful promise!
A great Dr. Seuss book from Amazon.com to try out or put a smile on the face of a dear friend:
There’s always a first for everything! Today it’s Familymill’s first ever movie review! My children and I love to enjoy great family films together, and I’m guessing so do you and yours! Therefore, I thought I’d share my recent experience taking my son and his four energetic friends to see the movie, Parental Guidance, for his 9th birthday celebration. It was not only a film that was packed with laughs, it was also packed with great thought provoking moments that would make a mom, dad or grandparent quickly realize why we dedicate so much of our time to our kids and grandkids and why it’s so important to keep trying even when we sometimes make mucho grande mistakes! The important thing is to never stop learning from our encounters and to never stop loving our sometimes frustrating and more often fabulous Familymill!
The movie centers around grandparents who don’t get to see their daughter nor their 3 grandchildren very often so they agree to come to town to babysit for a week while the parents take a long overdue trip away. Only, the daughter has very little faith in her parent’s ability to manage the children. Also, her modern day parenting techniques are rather difficult for her parents to abide by, especially her father. In the end, everyone learns a valuable lesson about the value of forgiveness, second chances, and giving our children room to figure out some of life’s issues on their own. I give Parental Guidance a Familymill Five Thumb Rating from my son and each of his friends!!!! Not only was it entertaining, it was clean and free from the 3 v’s: violence, vampiness and vulgar language! Most people don’t take notice of closing credits, but I happen to love the song called Home by Phillip Phillips which was played during the credits along with real pictures of the actors who starred in the film and their real families, a lovely touch!!! It’s nice to know that Hollywood, on occasion, does still know how to make movies that the whole family can enjoy with few edgy scenes and maybe even take home an extra lesson or two about the great value of family life in the process.
A great site that I often turn to in order to help me decide whether or not a movie is safe for family viewing is The Dove Foundation movie reviews. They also thought highly of Parental Guidance and gave it a 4 out of 5 dove rating. So, grab the popcorn and a comfy seat, and enjoy a good movie that’s worth the receipt!
“Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one” ― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
I am certain that no man can explain in only a few words the journey that God places us on once we realize with all of our heart that it is God who holds the key to self discovery! The man or woman who makes this discovery can prepare for an amazing journey ahead! A.W. Tozer gives us a glimpse of light to reveal what God is after. Just like you and I when we birth a masterpiece, whether it’s our children or a literal work of art, we want to perfect it so that it can realize its full worth and potential. In that same way, God is constantly reaching out to us so that we can be perfected in Him, and finally, see life the way it was meant to be seen without our transgressions fogging up the lens!
For more dynamite discoveries dive into: