This Beautiful Inheritance

Monday, June 29, 2015

For the Ciminos, McDonald's is a Family Business

The FTC requires me to tell you that I am a brand ambassador for McDonald's of Central Arkansas. But mainly, I talk about McDonald's because I (and my kids) love the place.

"A lot of folks think we're a machine," local McDonald's owner Louis Cimino said about his company. "We're really not a 'hit the button and a hamburger comes out' business. The folks that work behind the counter are people."

He should know. Louis started working at the McDonald's his father owned when he was 13 years old, in hopes of buying a pair of Air Jordan tennis shoes. His dad, Sam Cimino, bought his first McDonald's in Hollywood, Florida in 1985 after flipping burgers as a crew member for 22 years. Both Sam and Louis found their wives working alongside them in McDonalds' too. Louis and his wife Jennifer were married in 1997.

Louis, his wife Jennifer, and their two children
For the Ciminos, McDonald's is and has always been a family business. In 2004 the whole family packed up and moved to Arkansas to purchase six new stores and grow the family business. After selling three stores along the way, the Ciminos currently own three in central Arkansas. Louis runs most of the stores' day to day operations, while his father and sister run the office.

Yet McDonald's is not what Louis Cimino is known for. In fact, few people even know it's a part of his life. His "public job" is a captain with the Cabot Fire Department, which is more than full-time by itself.

"It's a way to give back," Louis says about firefighting on top of everything else he does. He's a person who loves to keep busy, which he said everyone does. "I'm just doing it in many different areas."

Louis and his wife also sell Advocare, a line of physical wellness supplements, and Louis offers nutritional advice and coaching to his clients. And when he's not selling Advocare, working at McDonald's or on shift at the fire station -- he's running. In the last six years, Louis has run an outstanding 32 marathons, 28 half-marathons, a half iron man, and many triathlons.

Louis Cimino wears many hats
Louis said he hopes to debunk the myth that you can't be a healthy person and love McDonald's. "I tell them it's all about the choices you make," he said. "The bottom line to being healthy is 80% what you eat, but you have to be active. It's making good, better, and best choices. I enjoy eating the Big Mac but I don't eat the Big Mac every day. The [McDonald's] menu is very diverse. You can get well rounded meals."

Louis is proof that that is true. And his family is proof that there's more behind your burger than a pushed button and a conveyer belt. There are real people with real stories and real American dreams. The Ciminos are just one example of how McDonald's has helped people achieve theirs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You Have Beautiful Feet, Mom!

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! -- Isaiah 52:7

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.
 
 
Have you ever told your children how much God loves them? Have you explained to them that Jesus died for their sins? Have you prayed with them or read them Bible stories? Then the Bible says your feet are beautiful! Obviously this isn't talking about our natural feet (goodness knows, my toenails are neglected!), but our "spiritual feet" are beautiful because we are proclaiming the good news exactly where He wants us to -- in our homes!
 
Lately I've felt a little "fresh fire" if you will in my passion for motherhood. I don't know if it's summer and the long days with my kids or the fact that my oldest will start Kindergarten soon, but I'm just feeling so thankful for the privilege of being their chef, chauffeur, disciplinarian, hug-giver, booty-wiper, and a million other things. Before having kids, I often struggled with whether I was "evangelizing" enough. Am I doing my part to make disciples? Well then God gave me my very own little disciples, right under my roof. Their soul-shaping is left up to me and their daddy and it is the opportunity of a lifetime.
 
I hope you too realize the enormous privilege you have in sheltering, shaping, and discipling your babes. And I hope you realize that if you're fulfilling the role God's given you, even if it's just doin' the mom thang, your (metaphorical) feet are BEAUTIFUL!
 
We recently got a new book from Tommy Nelson called Jesus Calling for Little Ones. This version of the best seller by Sarah Young is so sweet for little hearts, and it's a great tool for reminding kids that Jesus is with them every second of every day. I remind mine before I read it that these words are spoken as if Jesus was speaking right to them. The phrasing is profound but simple enough that they can understand and be impacted by His words. My girls really loved this book and it got us talking about how Jesus/God can possibly be everywhere at once. He's in China and He's here in my living room? YES! Big concepts but great discussions -- just more stepping stones on the path to shape our kids.

 
To win a copy of Jesus Calling for Little Ones, leave a comment telling me why you're passionate about motherhood or one thing you do to teach your littles about Jesus. Then enter via Rafflecopter below.


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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Daddy Loves You So Much! {Giveaway}

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Who loves you, little pup? Who loves to play with you? Who loves to toss and catch the ball? Your Daddy does, that's who!


How does Daddy care for you? By helping with your boots. First, grab your socks and tug them up. Then off to school, we scoot!


What does Daddy love to do? Give you great big hugs! I love it when we curl up close and cuddle nice and snug.


How does Daddy teach you? By showing you the way. Scoop up the snow and pack it tight! You're learning while you play.


When is Daddy patient? When something spills or breaks. I know you didn't mean to. And we all make mistakes.


When does Daddy make you laugh? All day and all night long! With our games and funny faces and silly made-up songs.


When does Daddy comfort you? When you're feeling sick. I'll make you comfy cozy. Good sleep is just the trick!


What can Daddy share with you? Surprises big and small! Like twinkly lights of fireflies -- we wonder at them all.


How does Daddy guide you? By sitting down to read. We'll learn how much God loves us and to care for those in need.


How much does Daddy love you? More than you'll ever know. With each tickle, laugh, and snuggle, my love just grows and grows!


The words on this post are from our newest Tommy Nelson book "Daddy Loves You So Much!" This is a super sweet book featuring adorable pictures of daddy animals and their furry babes. Just in time for Father's Day, this is the perfect book for dads and their littles to read together. To enter to win, leave a comment telling me what your kids' dad does best (or if you're a dad, what you love doing for your kids!). Giveaway ends Monday, June 15.



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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Play Date With Ronald McDonald!

The FTC requires me to tell you that I am a brand ambassador for McDonald's of Central Arkansas. But mainly, I talk about McDonald's because I (and my kids) love the place.

We met him! Last week the girls and I met the guy in the big red shoes, Ronald McDonald himself! I'm 28 years old, and this was the first time I'd ever met Ronald. So the girls and I were all equally excited! When we showed up at McDonald's, we weren't sure what to expect. We didn't know if Ronald would just shake our hands and say hello, sit down and chat over some McNuggets, or what. But he ended up doing a whole awesome magic/learning show for all the kids. It was so fun!


During his show, Ronald emphasized three things: imagination, reading and sharing. He encouraged kids to use their imaginations to play and make believe anything they want! He also encouraged reading and visiting your local library to discover all different kinds of books. And sharing. Because when you share with others, everybody wins.


Ronald also did a lot of magic tricks that wowed me as much as the kids. He was pretty smooth!




Ronald also handed out paper smiles, played with the kids in the Play Place, and answered any questions their little hearts desired. My girls asked him where he lived. "McDonaldland." In case any of you were wondering!

We had a genuinely great time. My girls talked about Ronald for the rest of the day... and are still talking about him! "He was so cool!" They kept saying.

And I have to agree!

pictured with one of my girls' cutie friends :)

Friday, May 22, 2015

There Are No Perfect Families {What We Learn From Josh Duggar}

I'll be honest. I held the Duggar family up on a pedestal of perfection just like many of you did. In my eyes, they were the epitome of holy living and raising your family RIGHT. They may not have been Jesus, but they were as close as earthly possible... The kindness they showed toward each other. The respect their kids showed adults. The obedience. The love. I knew my family would never look like the Duggars, but it was a model worth striving for anyway.

source: Duggarfamilyblog.com
And then yesterday, we learned about this. Josh, the oldest Duggar child (who is now married with three kids), had been accused as a young teenager of molesting several girls. The details are all still fuzzy, but we have reason to believe it may have been his sisters.

When I read the news, I was at a loss for words. This can't be. This is the perfect family! Each child has been taught so well. They love Jesus so much! What about the pedestal?!

But nearly as quickly as those thoughts entered my mind, others nudged their way in. "You've seen this happen before, Kelcie. No one is above reproach. There are no perfect families."

I reflected on another instance from just a few months ago. I was reading a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers -- someone I admired, looked up to, and shall I say it, held up on a pedestal. In my mind, she was a consistent, goodie-two-shoes, lifetime Jesus follower. And then in her post, she dropped a bomb. She had once had an affair. What?! I was angry. Hasn't ANYONE out there lived righteously consistently without any large stains or scars, I wondered. I was riled up, and I started planning my next blog post -- something about "living a life of integrity" where you never fall into "major sin."

But then God stopped me. What is "major sin," He asked me? I couldn't respond. Because I knew the answer was "all of it." Her affair, in the eyes of God, was no worse than my condescending tone and belittling of my husband. And though it repulses me, Josh Duggar's sin is no worse either. Sin is actually an old archery term, which refers to missing the mark (the bulls eye). Missing the mark at all, whether by a little or whether by a lot, is still sin. Plain and simple. Each and every sin misses God's mark of perfection.

So I'm realizing that (surprise, surprise) there are no perfect families. (The Duggars would be the first to tell you this and said so in their statement.) There is but one perfect person worthy of a pedestal whom we can pattern our lives after without regret or fear of misstep --

Jesus Christ. He is perfect! And He will never fail us!

You know that old saying that used to be posted on church reader boards: "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." Well, that's so true. The world is going to rip the Duggar family apart over this discovery, and it breaks my heart. They are not perfect. They are just forgiven. And yet, they are people of integrity. Despite trials, they have walked faithfully with the Lord, accepted His grace and guidance, and always done their best to follow Him.

That is my goal too.



(Please refrain from turning the comment section into a place to bash and degrade the Duggar family. I reserve the right to moderate/delete/turn off the comments if needed.)


Friday, May 15, 2015

Ten Years Ago {My High School Graduation}

All the pieces of the puzzle had been laid out and fit together. Three years of honors courses. Twelve years of homework and studying and tests. More ballgames and laughs and projects and tears than could be counted. The work was complete, and it was the night of my high school graduation.

I was decked out: white skirt, white top, white cap and gown. Plenty of make-up and comfortable heels. As I made the trek across damp grass for our commencement ceremony, I scanned the sea of faces in the crowd. Did he make it? A handsome smile from behind the bleachers caught my glance. He cast me a small wave and walked hurriedly in, and I let out the breath I'd been holding. He was here.

We had been dating for four years, and just four months before, he'd put a ring on my finger and asked me to be his wife. But now? Things were rockier than ever. We were young and not sure what we wanted. And I didn't wear a ring with my cap and gown. But he was here. And I was finished with high school! Nothing was going to dampen my spirits on this night.


I and my 49 classmates, brothers and sisters actually, made our way to the 50-yard line. We took our seats and shamelessly wore our grins like earned badges of honor. A few kids pulled out the bottles of bubbles they had hidden in their gowns. Like kindergarteners they blew them over the heads of each other. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face if I tried. I didn't know graduation would be this fun.

Finally, it was my turn. I stood up from my seat, took my place at the podium, and prepared to give my valedictory address. A goal I'd set for myself in the sixth grade had come to fruition, and for the first and only time in my life, I had the full attention of my entire class, as well as the majority of the town. There was only one thing I knew to say:

"Jesus loves you. No matter what you've ever done or ever will do, He loves you."

I said more too, I'm sure, but I can't remember what it was. (Ten years, apparently, is quite a while.) I remember I spoke slowly so I could hear my words on top of the delayed echo in the microphone. And my stomach did backflips wondering if my Jesus-talk would be well-received.

I'll never forget mingling with friends and family on the field after the ceremony and hearing the football coach tell my dad. "That was perfect. She said exactly what needed to be said."

Again, I let out a sigh of relief. And I praised God for His faithfulness in my life.

Every night of my high school years, I had laid in bed and prayed that God would help me be a light in my school. Then I got up the next day and faced gossip and bullying and drama and depression and wondered whether a city on a hill really cannot be hidden. Because I felt bogged down, to say the least.

So it was humbling and joyous to think that I had finally taken full advantage of the platform God had given me. Whether I had always been a light in the daily darkness, I didn't know. But that night, I had approximately four minutes in the spotlight, and I did my best to reflect it back on Him.

Over the next year, all the frayed and ragged edges of my life got tied up into neat, pretty bows. I went off to college and made some of the best friends I've ever had. I grew closer to my parents and closed the chapter of high school angst we had shared. I received a message (on this new-fangled thing called Facebook) from a high school classmate who apologized for making my life a living... And I got re-engaged and married to the love of my life, with whom I'll soon celebrate nine years of marriage.

Over and over, God has proven Himself faithful. Looking back, I can see His hand in every trial, valley, and ounce of teenage drama. And though I was far from perfect, I'm thankful I served Him as faithfully as I knew how. And when it mattered most, on the night I'll remember forever, I was able to give Him a small bit of the glory He really deserves.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mommy Loves You So Much!

I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Who loves you, little one? Who loves to play with you? Who loves to swing you up so high? Your Mommy does, that's who!


How does Mommy care for you? With soapy suds, my sweet! I love to wash your giggly face and clean your wiggly feet.


How does Mommy help you grow? By filling up your tummy with foods that make you big and strong and taste so very yummy.


What can Mommy share with you? Look all around and see- the starry skies and fireflies God made for you and me.


Why does Mommy teach you? Because it's so much fun! And when you learn to do new things, you light up like the sun.


When is Mommy patient? When things don't go as planned. I'm proud of how you like to serve and lend a helping hand.


How does Mommy comfort you? With hugs, my baby bear. Whenever you feel sad or down, you'll know how much I care.


What does Mommy love to do? Share happy times with you. You make me smile from cheek to cheek. I love to be with you!


What is Mommy thankful for? More and more every day. We have so many blessings- let's show our thanks and pray.


How much does Mommy love you? More than you can measure! My heart grows bigger every day- you're my greatest treasure!


The words on this post are from our newest Tommy Nelson book "Mommy Loves You So Much!" This is a super sweet book featuring adorable pictures of mommy animals and their furry babes. With Mother's Day coming up, this is the perfect book for you and your littles to read together. To enter to win, leave a comment telling me what you most love doing for your children. Giveaway ends Monday, May 4.

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