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Why I'm Boycotting Black Friday This Year

I'm so disappointed with the Black Friday promotion from stores that plan to have Black Friday begin on Thursday. I saw several commentaries that referred to it as Grey Thursday. Aptly named, because it's evidence of where our values have gone. We've greyed out gratitude and replaced it with greed. Cold, clutching greed as grey and chilling as a December sky that reaches down with sleet-filled arms and makes us want to stay inside and close the doors. 

Photo Copyright Michelle Rayburn
That's exactly what I'm going to do this Black Friday. I'm going to stay inside and close the doors against this greed played out in marketing that encroaches on the good within our generous souls. I'm closing my wallet and keeping it warm within my cold plastic from my wallet will benefit any retailer who chooses to promote the Grey Thursday greed.

Thanksgiving has been a day for family. A day when we can share a meal, watch football, play games, take a walk, or sit by the fire and reminisce. I pledge to keep it that way.

Perhaps it's easy to replace "Turkey Day" with "Gimme-Grab Day," but I cannot rationalize it when I look at the real meaning of Thanksgiving Day.

Many other bloggers are boycotting Black Friday this year. Will you join in the quest to preserve the sacredness of a holiday that represents heartfelt gratitude for what we have? Consider how marketing has crowded into our attitudes to the point where we will push and reach to grab a trinket before someone else gets to it. Will you stop the insanity and join my boycott?


Why Don't You Lighten Up a Little?

November 14 is Lighten Up Day. What could be better than a guest post from humorist Rhonda Rhea to help us lighten up? The following is used with permission from the author, so please do not re-post it without permission. I can't wait to review the book and tell you more about it.

Living in the Light/Dwelling in His Presence
by Rhonda Rhea
excerpt from Chapter 14 of:
 I admit it, I’m a cruise fan. I love everything about it. Especially the food. A cruise and overeating go together like a hand in glove. Well more accurately, they go together like a size ten hand in a size two glove. All the gourmet food you can eat, for crying out loud! I guess I was just asking for a trip back to maternity pants. I now refer to myself as “17 years post-partum.” The staff on the ship said the average person gains seven to ten pounds on a seven-day cruise. But then, I’ve always considered myself an overachiever.
On prime rib night, my husband and I were walking out of the dining room and, even though he was about to let his belt out a notch, Richie said he was thinking of ordering yet another prime rib. Another one! I figured that could cost him at least another two belt notches. I told him I thought that would be a mistake.
Get it? Prime rib? “Mis-steak”?
Anytime we’re going to overdo, though, it’s good to make sure we’re “overdoing” in all the right areas. First Thessalonians 4:1 talks about living right to please God and then it says, “Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” To do and to overdo. It’s an encouragement to keep growing. Not so much growing in the “bring on the elastic waistbands” kind of growth. But growing in maturity.
We grow as we seek to stay in the light, dwelling in the presence of the Lord, making sure our lives are for Him and all about Him. Our growth is not an option. It’s a command. Verse 7 in that same passage in 1 Thessalonians says, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”
Rejecting His instruction? Rejecting the Father Himself? Mistake of the highest order.
Growing in Him and dwelling in His presence results in a life in which growing “a notch or two” spiritually is a regular happening. The good kind of growth. And seeking that consistency in growth diligently.
There’s a lot at stake. Sometimes also a lot at steak.

Rhonda Rhea is a radio personality, humor columnist, conference/event speaker and author of eight books, including I’m Dreaming of Some White Chocolate, High Heels in High Places, and her newest, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? She is presently working on her ninth nonfiction book, scheduled to release in early 2013, and just this week got a yes from a publishing board on a two-book fiction deal co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea. Rhonda is a pastor’s wife and mother of five mostly grown children. She chuckles through the hubbub with pastor/hubby, Richie Rhea, near St. Louis in Troy, Missouri.

About Rhonda's Latest Book:
Book Cover PhotoHow Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?—Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation (New Hope Publishers, 2012). Author and speaker, Patsy Clairmont, calls the book “high voltage humor along with a biblical charge.”
In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prays, “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” One version calls it “light” that will “flood your hearts.” God shines so much of His light through Scripture so that we can see—we can have understanding.
For every person longing for a change, for everyone who is getting weary in a grisly struggle to make a particular change, God-given enlightenment makes possible real change in every way. Lasting change.
The God who is powerful enough to create light, then create the sun—the God who keeps the sun blazing and the stars and moon reflecting—that same God is powerful enough, caring enough, and detail-minded enough to light our way. He wants to show us the path of change, and He longs to light the way for us in His magnificent plan for our lives.
How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person is a laugh-along-the-way journey into that light through God’s Word. His Word? Now there’s some enlightening! And I hear enlightening has even been known to strike twice in the same place.


Spark: A Book Reivew

Have you ever participated in a 12-week group with the intent to change in some way? Perhaps it was a Bible study, or a new program. Have you ever noticed how few people really change by the end of such a program? The intent is there, but the change never happens.

In his book titled Spark, Jason Jaggard proposes that the reason the standard way we learn things leaves us unchanged is because we are not challenged to step out of our comfort zone and take risks. He says a spark is a choice, a small risk. Jaggard created what he calls "spark groups" that are risk-oriented rather than focused on information and teaching. Participants build a sense of community that creates accountability. Spark groups are made up of 10-15 people who meet once a week for five weeks. During their time together, each person chooses one risk that improves their life, or improves the world.It isn't program based, or heavy on how-to content. Instead, it's oriented around the group spurring and motivating one another.

Jaggard says, some people ask, "Why so light on content?" He answers, "you are the content." The content isn't in study resources but in the people who participate. It's their dreams, fears, problems, hopes, risks, lives (p. 68). On one hand it seems oversimplified, but on the other, it makes sense. The risk is an action. It's asking the participant to do something rather than think about doing something.

This book explains how to use the spark concept to motivate transformation. The book is a tool. Jaggard also has a website where individuals can register a Spark Group, and find resources and coaching.

Overall, the book is thought-inspiring. At times, it was a little repetitive, and I lost my momentum halfway through. However, the concept of a risk sparking change makes sense. I have an advance reader copy of the book, so it's difficult to tell if it looks like the final product, but the layout is different from standard. Instead of indented paragraphs, it's formatted in business style, left justified with spaces between paragraphs. It's a little different, but maybe trendy?

Although this is a book from Waterbrook Press, a Christian publisher, readers shouldn't expect this to be a deeply spiritual book. It contains illustrations from Scripture, and references to Bible passages, but it also contains expressions such as "hot dang" and I know some readers would be put off by something a little to "hip" for the conservative Christian crowd.

This book will give group leaders something to consider when leading a Bible study, starting an accountability group, or motivating a team. Those who add in the action step of taking a risk might be among the few who actually see change happen.

I received an advance reader copy of this book for review purposes from Waterbrook Press and the Blogging for Books program.


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