Friday, June 29, 2012

Charlotte's Bucket List


To do

Milk a cow.
Have a full blown chocolate pudding fight.
         (I have already had a jello one…
but my legs got stuck together like a mermaid.
Explode something in the microwave. On purpose.
Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant.
Get a picture with someone who is famous.
Be completely irresponsible one day.
Take a cooking class and bake crème brulee and not burn it.
Sit in a natural hot spring
Mush a dogsled
Shoot a bow and arrow at an animal
(But try and miss because that would be so sad if I hit it.
 I would probably cry)
Own a pair of Jimmy Choo flats.
Own a black lab.
Style my hair into dreadlocks for a whole summer.


Jump in puddles during a thunderstorm.
Touch the Great Pyramid.
Swim with dolphins.
Go to a movie by myself.
Give someone my autograph.
It may have been on a check at a grocery store but still…
Have a blog.
Race someone in a car.
         (Do I still have safety-first nightmares about it? Yes.)
Wash my hair in a waterfall.
Wink at a stranger.



p.s. What’s on your bucket list?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Red Flags in Dating

Red Flag: Noun. A social faux pas seen in dating that should scream “WARNING” to you and your future decisions.

Below are what we think are some big time red flags.

His mom cleans his room, does his laundry and buys him back-to-grad-school clothes at Brooks Brothers.
 If prince charming has not been weaned off of mama and that childhood umbilical cord has not been cut, you are in for a treat.

Just wants a bride.

This is a spooky one. It’s like he has a cut-out ready and is just waiting for you to poke your head through. Are you a female? Are you breathing? Perfect. Want to get married?

Not going to school.

You want to marry someone who is smart. You don’t want to have to make tough decisions like house prices, insurance adjustments and child discipline alone. Marriage is a team sport.

Talks badly about ex-girlfriends.

Sure we don’t have warm fuzzies about all the people we used to date, but there is generally a feeling that you both messed up a little. So if he constantly bashes on old girls and everything was their fault you eventually might be added to that “long list of traitors who don’t understand”(Thanks T-Sweezey *) 

Has to look at his phone/FB newsfeed/World of Warcraft status like it’s his oxygen supply.

All we can say about this one is run. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! You want a real boyfriend. Not a virtual reality one.

Mean to the little people.

When we say little people we mean the people who do not give your date any social or monetary advantage such as clerks, waiters, strangers in line at the movie ticket place, children, parking lot attendants…

If your date can’t see that these people are important and that he needs to make them feel a little better about themselves then don’t waste your time.

But these are just a few…What do you think are some big time red flags ladies? 
You have to tell us what to watch out for!

Painting the Town Red,

Gert and Char

Where is Your Faith?

2 Corinthians 5:7
"We live by faith, not by sight."

I think far too often we miss out on God's goodness and blessings simply because we don't believe he can.  I myself have doubted some of the biggest movements of God in my life, and if I wouldn't have eventually taken the faith jump, I doubt I would be as close to God as I am.

People hate change, we hate our fears, and we hate stuff we can't understand.  

Ironically, that is everything God is.  He is constantly moving and active, ready to do the next big work in our lives (if we will let him.)  His name cancels out fear and so he lovingly desires to walk us through our fears to bring us closer to him and help us overcome fear with love.  And finally, his mysterious majesty is what makes him so beautiful, so powerful, and so wonderful to gaze upon.  Deuteronomy 29:29 says there are some things about God that we simply will never understand, and I think that's beautiful!  Wouldn't you be easily bored with a God you fully understand all the time?

The great thing about God is you will never figure him out, and you will eventually learn he has no set way of doing things.  Fallen humans and society give us rules, guidelines, and orderly social structures, not God.  God never said we have to do things exactly as our older siblings or best friends.  He never said life was going to be easy and without challenge.  Our God is not a boring God!

He begs us to close our eyes and blindly jump with him wherever he calls us.  He desperately longs to take us on the adventure of a lifetime!  In fact, that's what we agree to when we sign over our life to him through salvation.  Sadly, most of us quickly die out on all that crazy adventure stuff and settle for the much easier, less-risky, day-to-day routine that society and Satan are promoting.

Safe and predictable is fine, but that requires no risk, no heart, no vulnerability...No Faith.

If you are a Christian this should make you sick to your stomach.  Why?  Because you are missing the entire point of your salvation.  Salvation was never meant to be fire insurance.  It was always meant to be a commitment of laying down "me" and picking up the unknown adventure of faith, hope and love.

In America I think we have mastered the art of half-doing all of those, and faking that effort itself.  
"If the good Lord is willin' I'll get that new job I applied for!"  These words are often spoken, but is there any real risk in applying for that job, or was it something that person did for his own desires?  Did God boldly call this person to move from one job to the next, or are they tired of the people they are working with?  Has this person stopped to fall on their knees and seek God's will for them in the work place?  Or are they half-heartedly taking God into consideration.  Perhaps we shouldn't claim such things if our heart isn't 100% behind the statement.

I'm with C.B. Matthews on this one, American Christians have mastered the art of being fake, and it makes me sick to my stomach.  Not only am I sick for God, because he deserves much more than one tenth of our devotion, but I am sick for the fakers, because they think they are living a full life and they aren't.  They're safe and happy attending church once or twice a week, smiling and shaking hands with their neighbors and fellow citizens, but where's the Faith??

They don't even realize what kind of adventures they are missing out on by clinging to the idol of comfort and security.  God doesn't call us to that!  He calls us to "GO" and "WALK" and "DO" and "TRUST."  In fact, Bob Goff just wrote a book called "Love Does."  I love his tweets because they cut right to the point.  Faith without works is dead.

But wait, works without faith is dead too.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fake Christianity: Book Review

Do you ever look at the American churches and want to vomit?  I do.  I get sick of seeing people live, breathe and die in a church without ever really dancing with God.  It hurts me to think that they are missing the entire point of our faith.  They do all the rituals, but they have missed the life-changing passion of a relationship with Christ.

In the book "Fake Christianity" author C.B. Matthews discusses this very topic and gives practical advice on how each individual can make a difference.  Matthews uses a direct, punch-ya-in-the-face approach which gives the book a raw passion that breaks through to reality.  Although very convicting, this book is full of truth and spiritual correction.

I was given the book by a close friend who personally knows the author.  The book was so enticing I finished it in one day and discussed the book with my friend shortly after.

Towards the beginning of the book he makes the point that most Christians care more about serving others than serving Christ. I love this quote from the book: "Are you more concerned with watching your nightly television shows instead of spending time with God or doing work for Him?  Are you so wrapped up in life and everything that has to be done that you never have a family devotional with your family?  Do you ever spend time in God's word or in prayer to Him for more than just superficial reasons?"

If  you are looking for a pleasant read that will make you feel good about your walk with Christ, you need to look elsewhere.  This book is challenging and perpetrating to the heart, however this is exactly what American Christians need.  Matthews says nothing that is out of line with scripture, nor does he come across as judgmental or prideful.  He is simply sharing the truth of the Bible with a generation of believers who have overlooked the tougher parts of the faith.

In seven chapters Matthews covers topics such as lies, emotions, actions, and spiritual warfare.  He discusses the fundamentals of walking with Christ and challenges the reader to implement these practices in every day life.  One of my favorite chapters included specific advice for youth, parents, and grandparents.  I had never seen that done in a book before and I thought it was quite powerful, despite the fact that I fit none of these categories really.

C.B. Matthews is director of a small campus ministry in Colorado where he lives with his wife and three children.  Matthews holds a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Master's in Family and Marriage Counseling.  He also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

For a convicting read that will sprout humility and growth, I recommend this book.  I feel that it is appropriate for believers of all ages and I will say that it is a fairly quick read.  You can order "Fake Christianity" online at WestBow Press or (links embedded.)

Article first published as Book Review: Fake Christianity C.B. Matthews on Blogcritics.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Black Widow in Dating


Memories of old boyfriends are like walking into a spider web.

You can’t see anything, but you feel the horrible, ghostly impression that something is still encompassing you, despite your efforts to shake it.

Break-ups are tricky. But regardless of the ending, they all started the same.

You met.
You liked each other.
Somehow exchanged numbers.
Started flirting.
Started going on scooter rides.
Started thinking about each other a lot when you weren’t with each other.
Started kissing.
Started calling each other cute nicknames that you thought were clever at the time.

Then the trouble started.

He was acting weird.
You started to feel unsure.
Why wasn’t he calling you back as fast as usual?
You started having DTRs every other week….
….which progressed to once a day…
….which progressed to one of you saying:

                  “I think we should take a break”

“I’m just not sure how I feel right now”                       
                                                 “Well, what are you thinking?”
                          “I’m sorry.”

        “Are we gonna start seeing other people?”

To make sense of the haunting skeletons in your closet, we’ve created a…
Old Boy Toy Do and Don’t list:

Don’t delete their number.
Do Z-list them.

Don’t throw away all memorabilia (pictures, notes, old concert tickets)
Do burn at least one of their possessions they forgot at your house.

Don’t delete them as a friend on Facebook because that’s tacky. Gotta keep your cool.
Do purge your phone of saved text messages from them.

Don’t go after one of his friends.
Do say the name of the date that is picking you up over and over again so you don’t accidently call him old boyfriend’s name.

Don’t contact him for any reason. We are girls. We can come up with good reasons. But don’t do it.
Do at least one drastic thing after you’ve broken up:
            A new hair color
            5 new pairs of shoes
            Spontaneous road trip
            Train for a half marathon
            Buy an iPhone

And lastly, remember,
            No man is worth your tears,
            And the one that is, won’t make you cry.

Just Kidding.

Go saran wrap his car.

Spraying for spiders,

Charlotte and Gertrude

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Vow: Book Review

In February of this year I posted an article called "Sacred Secrets Behind the Vow," in which I posted my review of the movie and my anticipation to read the book afterwards.  In that post I mentioned a Fox News article that interviewed the real life couple from The Vow.  In that interview the couple mentioned that their story had been nothing short of an act of God, and they gave all due credit to him, despite the layout of the Hollywood film.

Lucky for me, I have a dear friend who bought me the book for my birthday, and in three days I finished the entire thing and fell much further in love with the couple's story.  As I had suspected, the couple was much more grounded in faith than the movie mentions.  In fact, the book is categorized as Religion/ Christian Life/ Inspirational.  It's a Christian book.

Praise God that this story has made its way into the mainstream literature and film industries.  Spread the word that Jesus is King! 

The story in the book is told from the husband's point of view, Kim Carpenter, which I think makes it all the more powerful.  First, he starts out by explaining how Kim and his wife, Krickitt met each other.  (You have to read this because it will definitely surprise you.)  Their meet-cute displays nothing less than God's sovereignty.  God knows who you will marry, when you will meet them and how.  You don't have to go looking for a mate, because God already picked them out.  Even in the oddest of places and the farthest of cities, if God wants you to be together, it will happen.  Remember that.

After walking through the dating process, engagement, and wedding, Carpenter goes on to explain what happened in the first three months of their married life, and how those events changed their lives forever.  A devastating car wreck left Kim and Krickitt in critical conditions soon after their big wedding day.  While Kim was injured badly, he healed much easier than Krickitt, who had to spend many months in therapy and rehabilitation.  Kim describes his struggles, faith, persistence, and endurance as he fights for his wife, juggles medical bills, and helps coach Krickitt back to normal.

Finally the book shares the story of Kim and Krickitt's second courtship, engagement, and wedding, and how the media quickly became another huge entity in their lives.  The book ends with the present day story; filming the movie with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, raising kids, and growing closer to God and one another every day.

Throughout the story Kim continuously gives praise and thanks to God, the real author of the story.  I was surprised to find out that the story took place almost 14 years ago, and yet God is still using it for his glory. In fact, the couple published their first book of this story in the year 2000.  It is twelve years later and they just published an updated version--how beautiful!  

Kim and Krickitt's story is one of God-honoring perseverance and commitment.  It shows us the true depths of promising to love someone forever and hold on to that love as long as both shall live.  It models the metaphor of Christ and his love for the church, and the beautiful shower of grace and forgiveness that comes with that.  The Vow is not just a love story, it's a God-story.

For a quick read, a heart-warming story and a faith-filled adventure, I highly recommend this book.  I also suggest watching the movie too and making your own comparison between the two.  Both are fantastic and both are God-inspired.  If you've read the book or plan on doing so, comment your thoughts below!

Article first published as <a href=''>Book Review: The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie</i> by Kim Carpenter, Krickitt Carpenter, with Dana Wilkerson (</a> on Blogcritics.