Friday, February 28, 2003

Eminem and Sunday School

Eminem...I'm sorry. I do not think he is an artist a Christian should be listening to.

It is one of these things that I sometimes get very convicted about at my job. I sell CDs. Some CDs are good, some are not good. While I know God has me where I am at and I feel completely in His Will, it is sometimes difficult to work in a secular place. But when my assistant asked me one day why I don't go work at the Christian bookstore I said "Who would I witness to there?" She responded (keep in mind she is an non-believer) "yeah, that's true." I see the cover art and I hear the lyrics that are anything but, and many times the opposite, of Godly.

Philippians 4:8
'Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.'

Proverbs 15:26
'The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him.'

2 Corinthians 11:2-4
"I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough."

Titus 1:15
"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted."

Luke 6:45
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks."

What comes out of the mouth of this star, Eminem, is hatred, bitterness, disrespect and plain disgusting stuff. He is hailed as a great "musician", songwriter, and his story as told in the movie "8 Mile" is one of "hope and perseverance" from his bad childhood through to his stardom. He thrives on hate and many of his lyrics specifically target people, politicians, other musicians, and most notably his mother.

Here is a great exchange between a reader and a Christian reviewer.

Yesterday a woman, possibly about my age, entered my store and purchased the "More 8 Mile" soundtrack. She was all excited about it too. She is collecting anything and everything Eminem. I told her that the "8 Mile" DVD was coming out on March 18th and she could reserve a copy and with the reservation she would recieve an "8 Mile" movie poster. She was telling me how much of a fan of Eminem she was and when she saw my expression she noticed that "you are not a big fan of Eminem are you?" I told her firmly "no".

The woman continued on to justify her interest in Eminem. "I really like his story, from how he has gained success from such a horrid upbringing. It's inspiring"

She also volunteered this tidbit of information. "The sad part is" she said "is that I teach Sunday School."

I had to agree with that and replied "Yes, that is sad. Very sad." I went on to say "We all have choices in life. We can choose to live in the light, or walk in darkness. Eminem is in darkness and chooses to stay there. His lyrics are not healthy at all. He talks from anger, bitterness and hate." She agreed that he is in darkness but waited for me to go get her her movie poster.
As I handed her the poster I said "It would probably not be a good idea to hang this up in your Sunday School room" and she laughed and said "no, no, it's not going there!"

This has bothered me ever since. I fought the urge to say "What church do you go to? I won't be going there."

I am far from living a perfect life. Instead, Christ led it for me. I am ashamed at times by my thoughts and my actions. I am constantly weighing everything against the Word of God. I ask forgiveness from God when I sometimes wish I could walk around doing whatever I wanted to do, listening to whatever I want, seeing whatever movies I want, saying whatever...but then I hear that "still small voice" remind me that "you already do that." I am listening to whatever I want. I want to listen to music that glorifies God and stimulates my heart to prayer. I watch the movies I want, I read the books I want to. I have freedom, and there is no freedom without discipline. I am learning that God will deal with the discipline, and the freedom, that other Christians have in their walks and that I can only be concerned with mine. By God's Grace He has given me the discernment to recognize evil and flee from it. He has given me the forgiveness when I have failed. His Blood continues to cover me and all believers, so that I can not, CAN (not may) NOT be held in bondage.

If Eminem loves the fact that "everyone" hates him, and he pushes the line with each new song...why is he enjoying his success? And what would he do if everyone loved him?

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Better Day

Yesterday was not good. My assistant manager is gone. She moved to Florida. She was special and I appreciated her more than anyone can know. She carried a lot of my burden at work and now I am left with an inexperienced trainee in her place. Stress.

Corporate is demanding waaaaaaaaaaay too much out of me. Stress.

Planner, which takes 4 days to do accurately, is due tonight. I haven't started it. Stress.

Shipment from last Friday still isn't out. Another shipment due in tomorrow. Stress.

One of the people I wanted to hire, took another job. I am short staffed. Stress.

It's raining and the $1600 I spent making the necessary repairs to waterproof my bedroom was worthless. The water now comes in more than before. I have now spent another $50 on a Shop Vac to extract the water from the room and will need to replace the wall to wall carpeting. So, for $1600, I got more expenses and a wet room. I've been sleeping in the laundry room on my futon mattress. The dryer keeps me warm and the vibration is rather comforting. Its the BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ that scares me half to death when I am sleeping! When I called the guy to demand my money back, he told me that since he has to pay for labor and materials and did in fact do the work, that he would send me back half. So, for $800 I got more expenses and a room. I'm not gonna cash that refund check. I'm talking to a lawyer. Stress. (Like I have money for a lawyer!)

Spent some money on needed car repairs, more money than I wanted to spend. Stress.

I'm almost out of hot chocolate. Stress.

Today, was better. I walked into my store this morning and it was clean. Not spotless clean, but my new assistant had tidied up the backroom and mopped the floor! Even scraped up old price stickers and made it look good! I was pleased! He did a great job! That set the mood for my day! I called him at home on his day off to thank him and tell him how much I appreciated that!

Walking into that backroom this am motivated me to continue the effort and clean up more around the store. My store is so hard to keep alphabetized and organized with the lack of labor hours and the trouble LVS has started and it seems so defeating. Today, I alphabetized the entire VHS section and organized it and priced it accurately! Wooohoooo! I am proud of that effort today! We actually have a new sales planner due today, but I decided that my store needs more organizing right now than all this pricing stuff. How can I accurately price anyway when stuff is not where it is supposed to be! I fixed that today. At least part of that.

My new FT Key came in today. She came in to get her paperwork and part of it requires a form that has been updated. I don't have the updated form, so I called another manager from a store in Memphis. He is going to email that to me. I also called hoping to "vent" and he was obliged to listen. I also asked him what I may be doing wrong and he said that all managers are feeling quite overwhelmed right now. I wasn't doing anything wrong, I simply don't have enough labor hours to get done what is required. It didn't help my situation in anyway except to know that it isn't me. I was affirming that I was doing all I could to stay afloat. So, I felt a little better and then Chris said "and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better". That was reassuring. I'm exhausted!

I'm really excited about my new hire. I think she will be fun and will do a great job! I sure do need her too!

When I came home, my friend had dinner prepared and we all sat down and ate together as a framily. Even the neighbor kid was with us, (as he usually is for spaghetti) he says "Miss Katrina makes it better than my mom!" It's good to share meals.

Tomorrow my DM will be visiting. He is behind too. I know this because he is not catching all I am behind with! LOL He is supposed to help me out some, but it won't be enough. I would need at least 40 extra hours a week to get caught up, and stay caught up. That just won't happen. I guess I will just go in and work like I'm working for the Lord, even though corp. expects me to work like I AM the Lord! LOL

Got an email just now from Mom who was giving me an update on my Grandma who is in the hospital. She will be released soon and is accepting the fact that she will probably not be going back to her apartment, but to assisted living. She is very weak and needs some help. More help than my parents can provide for her around the clock. But, the situation will hopefully be a good one for my Grandma. She just hasn't been the same since Grandpa died almost 4 years ago. Her heart is still broken and she misses him terribly...married almost 65 years!

So, all in all, today was a better day. I prayed on my way to work. My friend prayed for me too. My SaLT group is praying for me. My mom prays for me. Lots of prayer day was good. My attitude was better. Hmmmmmmm? Connection? I think so. SO WHY DON'T I PRAY MORE OFTEN? duh.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Encounter the Non-Believing World

Author: Katie

This is something that I came upon by clicking a link. It makes my heart hurt so bad because it does contain some truth.


Spent a morning a few days back reading the last three chapters of the New Testament and came to the conclusion that anyone believing in such voodoo must be illiterate and whoever wrote it must have been quite unexceptional... you'd think Jews- who have such a great literary tradition- could've mustered something with a bit more flair. I'm quite glad secular consumerism has displaced the theological meaning once attached to seasons such as Christmas and further pleased that more people have read the Ikea catalogue than the Bible.

I see so many writings such as this and such warped thinking! This person doesn't claim to be a saved person (as far as I know) but, some people say they are saved by grace and then write such horrible stuff about the Bible and God....where's the grace? It's so obvious in their teachings that they don't have the discernment of the Holy Spirit when they read the Bible. They warp the meaning of scriptures and turn them into horrible ugly things and say that God says that we are supposed to be this way! Even Satan can quote the scriptures. I have read blogs from Christian people who portray God to be like Saddam Hussein! I feel sorry for those who are searching for hope and fall prey to these evil teachings that are straight from Hell.

Sometimes I wish God would grant me a gift to change the world. The Bible says that with God all things are possible. However, I need to be realistic. I know I can't change the world but I can help by reaching out to one person at a time.

Father, I pray for those who are searching to fill that void created only for you. I pray for those who are deceived and practice deception using the Bible. Lord, protect them from the evil misinterpretations of your Holy Word. I pray for your wisdom and discernment in my life when I read and speak of the Truths in Your book. Help me to make a difference for You. In the name of the most holy, precious One who died so that I might live, Amen.

There's Something About the Rain

Author: Katie

Sue and I have been struggling (not with each other) lately because of the rain. I'm sure we've mentioned the fact that it has been seeping into one of our rooms and has been wreaking havoc on our lives. Every time it rains I get this feeling of dread and I curse the rain. I even told Sue I was about to start praying for a drought (I haven't so if one occurs please don't hold me accountable)! Anyhow, today I got this e-mail. It was a forward from one of our regulars. Most of the time Sue just deletes them (which is not such a bad thing since most of them have been circulating for years and we get repeats all of the time). I delete them too if I don't have time to read them. Usually though, I skim through to see if it's worth reading and if it is, I will read it. Today I came across a fwd that really was applicable to my life. I had tears. So, I thought that I would put it in my blog to spare all of you anti-fwd people another annoying forward. Here it goes.......


She had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Walmart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day. Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in.

"Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.

"What?" Mom asked.

"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.

"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain."

"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.

"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said
as she tugged at her Mom's arm.

"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?

"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. It was a time when innocent trust can be nurtured, so that it will bloom into faith.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But, they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But, no one can ever take away your precious memories...

So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

It has been said that it only takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

To quote one of those special people in my life........

"enuf said"

The Perfect Church

If you find the perfect church, go to it! But, you'll be messing it up!

Monday, February 17, 2003

Bye Bye Blackbird Part II

Update on the blackbirds. Today I saw a policeman with his arm jetting straight out from the window of the patrol car shooting flares into the air trying to chase the black birds out of town. Tomorrow I will expect them to be using a megaphone "ATTENTION ALL BLACKBIRDS...PLEASE EVACUATE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY."

I'm so glad my tax dollars are being used so wisely.

When I Dream

Author: Katie

I want to write a good book someday. It would become a best seller. I also want to write a song of praise to God and put it to music. Just one good one. I want to go on a missionary trip at least once...maybe more. I dream of riding a horse drawn sleigh through the snow in the mountains of Colorado near Christmas time. I dream of doing what I believe is the most stress relieving thing in the the piano while overlooking the ocean. If I could do that I would play my favorite hymns and contemporary Christian praise and worship music. I would be all alone in the room. Just me, my piano and my Lord. Oh Lord, take me there now!!!!!! Woohoooo!!!! I want to go on a cruise to an exotic island with beautiful mountains and waterfalls. I don't know if I'll get to do any of these things. But, I do know that I will try to do at least some of them. I hope I'll get to do all of them. It's what I think about during the few miraculous moments of silence I get every now and then. These are all things I hope to do but not the most important things in my life. I'm doing the most important thing in my life (next to God Himself) right now. I'm a mom.

A God Blog

Author: Katie

I see the Lord, seated on the throne, exalted, and the train of His robe fills the temple with Glory and the whole earth is filled with His Glory. Who am I that He is mindful of me and that the Son visits me?

I praise Him because He came for me and died for me so that I might live! He gave me beauty from ashes! He came to me to lift my spirit and to let me basque in His presence. And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficent for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. He delivers me from my enemies and makes my path straight before me. The Lord is my shepherd...I shall not want.......He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me to the still waters where He restores my soul. My cup runneth over. I absorb the warmth and love of Sonlight shining on me, in me. I will not look to the right or to the left but, I will keep my eyes focused straight ahead to the One who leads me down the straight and narrow path. Today, the key word is Glory. It is my prayer that He will fill me with His glory......... and to Him be the glory!


Author: Katie

I'm going home to Massachusetts this summer. It's going to be the first time in 5 years. I was looking at the weather map for that area today. They are about to have the worst blizzard in 7 years.....AND I'M MISSING IT! Anyhow, I went to a map to get a close up of the area I am going to visit. When I found the map, I saw the highways and cities I am familiar with. When I got to the part of the map showing Salisbury Beach and Hampton, I got this feeling of longing in my heart. I think it came on because of the ocean. I always took it for granted that the ocean was there. I didn't realize how special it was. There's something about the smell of the fresh ocean air that brings a spirit alive! (Actually, I don't know why the smell of dead fish and salt water should cause one to long for home.)

I saw all the cities I used to visit and work at. I could visualize where certain people's houses were. I remember Christmas past, snowy days, summers at the beach smelling the dead fish and salt water while listening to the squaking seagulls. Sounds wonderful doesn't it?? I can close my eyes and I'm there. I'm watching a planes fly overhead right now! It's dragging an ad that reads "Eat at Larry's Clam Bar". I love New England fresh fried Clams. Oh and Italian grinders! (These are also known as hoagies, or subs.) These things are so humungeous! They have a flavor all their own too.

My grandmother had 9 children, mostly boys. In fact, I think only two of them were girls. My Uncle Philip and Grammy are born again Christians. I can't wait to have conversation with them. I'm kinda nervous because most of my family members are not practicing Christians. I will definately have lots of opportunity to see souls added to the Kingdom of Heaven but, it will be scary because I don't think they are really open to that idea at this time.

I can't wait to sit on the ocean side eating fried clams and onion rings! And then there's Napoli Pizza at Salisbury Beach. It's going to be June so I should be able to actually stick my feet in the water for a minute or two before they freeze off. I want to see a lighthouse on the ocean and have my picture taken by it. Oh I am so there right now it isn't even funny. Well, it is funny in a way because I am in my pajamas! It's going to be awesome because God is going to be there with me! I will be able to see things in a whole new and differen't way! Wooohoooooo!!!!!!! I've walked those beaches hand in hand with that special someone. But now I get to walk those beaches with the Lover of my soul!!!!!!!!!!! That will be an AWESOME experience!

We're supposed to go camping in the mountains. (My Dad's idea of camping is staying in a cabin and I have no objections to that!) I love the mountains but I have mountains here. I am mostly looking forward to the beaches. I'm hoping to take a day away at the beach with my cousins at some point. But, I do want to have a nice quiet walk with my Lord as well.

I'll get to see the neighborhood I grew up in. That is going to be a big heart tug because my grandparents practically raised me there and they have passed away. The last time I was there, their house was abandoned and falling apart. It was so sad. It may not even be there when I go back this time. I think I will really shed some tears. Then, I will go visit my grandparent's gravesides and leave them flowers. I have tears now. I was so close to them. Especially Mimi (my maternal grandmother). She had a swing in her front yard. We often would sit there and crochet in the spring and summer evenings. I remember watering her flower gardens and arranging the ducks on the front lawn. We also would laugh at the birds splashing in the birdbath. Oh and my brother and I used to love drive Bumpa's tractor around the yard. Sometimes we would offer to haul menure just to drive the tractor. Okay, I guess this is probably getting to be a boring read for most so I will end this blog. It's time to come back down to earth and face the tragedy of housework and homework that awaits me today. Thanks for taking a walk with me down Memory Lane. I hope it wasn't too boring.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Bye Bye Blackbird

During the past few days the police have stepped up patrol in our neighborhood. It is an older neighborhood and many old people live here, so it is a very quiet place. It is very unusual to see police cars going up and down this dead end street with sirens wailing and lights flashing and the spotlight shining in various places throughout the area.

It was rather unsettling so Katie called the police station to find out if there was reason for concern. I was thinking escaped convicts? robbery investigation? I wasn't sure, I just wanted to know if there was any danger.

This is what she found out. People have been calling the police because of the blackbirds. For some reason this winter the town has been overrun by millions of blackbirds and the police are driving around sounding their horns, wailing the sirens and flashing their lights in hopes to make them go away.

This disturbs me.

I don't know what disturbs me more, that the police are taking time and energy to try to scare the birds away (which is having little or no effect) or that people are actually calling the police about this!

I guess I should be comforted to know that nothing more exciting like mayhem and murder is going on, and that the police have time to chase birds.

Only in TN! (It is one experience after another living here!)

Thursday, February 13, 2003

A Heart Thing

For the past year or more I have been loving God with my mind. Studying studying studying His Word through reading, in-depth bible studies and listening to messages on the radio, at church, or conventions. I was even reading my Baker's Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics for fun!

I have been longing to feel His Presence more. I have been missing something and couldn't really figure out what. Then, one day a week or so ago, Katie said to me "What you need is more 'heart' stuff". I thought about that and I think she was right. I have been so busy with learning the Word, chapter and verse, that I wasn't getting the stuff "between the lines". I would turn on the radio only to hear teachers give me more lessons. I would avidly take notes at church. All this is good stuff, but I was missing the "heart stuff". While it is always important to love God with my mind and be able to give a reason for the hope that lies within me, it's more important to spend time with Him. Praying. Loving His heart with my heart.

So, I have somewhat changed my approach and returned to some of the things I was doing when I felt so close to Him. I am forcing myself not to turn on radio preachers, but instead l am listening to music that glorifies Him. I am playing music that lift Him up and lyrics that lift Him up and praise His attributes. I have always listened to music, but lately I've been giving more airtime to talk radio. It is helping, especially with all the great new Christian Music out there. I can't get Jeremy Camp's debut CD out of my player! It's got some beautifully written music that is heart tug stuff and reminds me about how awesome God is. How He took our guilt and shame. How he can't love us more than He already does, no matter what we do. How He is always there for us, always.

I have also tried to keep my nose out of the apologetics books and into books that will help me discover God's heart. The book I have been reading today and is really pretty awesome about how God can work in our lives is a book written mostly for teens. It is "The Journals of Rachel Scott". Talk about having a heart for God! This book makes me laugh through tears! It's funny, it's a heart-tugger, and it examines the relationship of one special young woman with her Creator and Lover of her soul. I highly recommend this! It's such a quick easy read and it will touch you.

I am also really making an effort to spend more time in prayer with him. Amazingly, the music I have been listening to actually helps to encourage conversation with my God. I am so thankful for the life God has given me and HE NEEDS TO KNOW IT! It is not always easy, but with Him it can't be impossible. I do love Him so much, and I need to spend more time with Him!

"So take my life, take my mind, take my soul, take my will....I give it all to you!" TAKE MY LIFE!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

** UPDATE **

I recently learned that the person I blogged about here died from a heroin overdose. Sad.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Do I Expect Too Much from Christians?

While Katie is coming up with solutions for world peace, I just want to speak my piece! I work in a CD store. We have these nifty LVS (Listening and Viewing Stations) that allow people to sample music from most any CD in the store. It's a pretty awesome thing and it really is neat! You want to hear the new debut from Jeremy Camp?...scan and listen! (Then buy cause it's great!) or the new double live CD from John Mayer?...scan and listen! (Then buy cause it's great!) How about that new Audioslave? ...scan and listen! (Then buy because it ROCKS! all except for that "Set if Off" rocks, but I would prefer and edited version. Why do some bands ruin an album for me because they include one or two objectionable words? Would the quality of the recording suffer if they just left them out? In the case of Eminem it would because there would be no lyrics at all! )

Sorry, I digress...the original point of this blog was to answer the question "Do I expect too much from Christians?" What got me wondering is that the wonderful LVS machines in our store have caused a bit of a problem for store organization. Everything is alphabetized. When a person removes a CD from it's proper place to sample it at the LVS it does not make it back to its proper place. To attempt to come up with a solution, we made "sample pockets". Those pockets are directly below the LVS machines and are marked "Put Sampled CD's Here". Some people use them appropriately, others act as if they don't notice them. Cds are ending up everywhere throughout the store.

I sell mostly urban music, so the rap section is the most travelled and the most used. There are rap CDs everywhere and it is so difficult to stay on top of keeping the sections alphabetized and organized. It is very distressing. Then, I notice another section that gets pretty messed up. It is the gospel and contemporary Christian music section. This irritates me in some ways moreso than the rap section being all messed up. I thought Christians were to be respectful. I don't ask people to put the CDs away...I ask them to drop them in the pocket where they already are! Then I am wonder if I should even expect more from a Christian?

Does God expect more from a believer?

Christians are sinners, but we are striving to serve Him. Are we serving Him the best way possible when we aren't respectful of things, and of others, in even the smallest of ways? I get irritated when people that I am waiting on are using their cell phone and still expecting me to find the CD they are looking for. I am there to help people find what they want and to suggest other things, but I am not there to shop for them. This is a rude behavior and as Christians we should be aware of it and how it effects those around us. Should Christians care about rude behavior? Should I be more bothered by the fact that a Christian didn't say "thank you" when I help them pick up their dropped books, then I would be a non-Christian? Do I hold Christians to a higher standard? Should I hold Christians to a higher standard? Do I hold myself to a higher standard?
Katie posted that Christians should "Love God and love others". Christians should be known by our love. That is a pretty high standard. Does your love show? How? I think love shows in many ways...including through respect and courtesy.

The next time you are at Walmart and decide not to get those refrigerator magnets you picked up a few aisles back, don't just set them anywhere. Give them to an employee or take them up front, or even put them back where you got them. It isn't a great "I have a dream" speech or anything, but it is showing respect in a small way for the work others do. It's humility. Humility is a Christian standard. No? Do I expect too much?

Monday, February 10, 2003

Solutions For World Peace

Author: Katie

I think I have found the answer! I know how to aviod war with Iraq! I know how to solve world hunger and how to have world peace! It's so simple! But then again, to our disadvantage, we are all human. Anyhow, if every single person on earth puts God (The one and only true God, I Am, Jehovah) first, and if every single person loves his neighbor as himself, and if every single person puts the needs of others as being more important than there own, and if every single person loves his enemies (which means nobody would have any) and if every single person put self on a shelf, all our needs would be met. Everybody would love everybody....true love, Godly love.

Nobody would be angry because somebody else got the promotion. Nobody would be jealous or envious. I think that if the two most important commandments were filled, all the others would automatically follow. There would be no need to break them. If every single person loved God first and others as himself/herself (c'mon now, we must be politically correct.....oh brother!), would anybody covet their neighbors wife? Commit adultry? Steal? Kill? Use the Lord Almighty's name in vain?

Throughout the Bible we read about people like the Pharisees where everybody works so hard to obey the rules. There's millions of them! They get off track and lose sight of the two most important commandments. Love God and love others. It's that simple. Or is it simple?

The solution to World Peace is simple........Love God and love others. Period. Problem is, we can not humanly do this. However, if God were first in all our hearts all of the would be simple wouldn't it? So we have a solution, but one that doesn't appear very realistic. It would be easy for God to force us all to love Him. But, instead, He gives us the freedom to choose and all of mankind (ever since the garden) has chosen self first. It's hard not to. It's instinct, natural. We are born sinners. There is hope though. Jesus. He never sinned. He truly thought of God and others first. As Christians, we alone can't see world peace obtained because there are many unbelievers in the world. Also, unfortunately, even those who believe still struggle with selfishness. For Pete's sake, how many wars are fought in the Name of God? Seems hopeless doesn't it? However, if we do our best to model the One who died for us, we probably will not establish world peace, but one by one, we will reach out to those unbelievers and change the world, one lost soul at a time. We will encourage and lift up other believers. We can set the example for others to follow. It's not anything we will do in our own strength, but His. For it is by GRACE we are saved through faith alone, not of ourselves. We cannot boast for Christ took our place.....a gift from God alone. Neither by works of righteousness or anything we have done. But by the blood of the spotless Lamb through faith in God's own Son.

I need to pray more.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Hot Chocolate, Peanuts, and Aunt Pat

It's cold. I'm gonna drink some hot cocoa. *ding*. YAY! The microwave is done heating up the water. Swiss Miss, instant cocoa....yodeleheehoooooooo!

Mixed and ready to drink! *sputter, ack cough* ICK! IT'S NOT HOT! It's luke warm! This just won't do! BRB...

Ok, NOW it's hot. YAY! I'm drinking it out of a Peanuts mug. I like this mug. It reminds me of my Aunt Pat. Anything Peanuts reminds me of her. She died almost two years ago. The family misses her. I miss her. I inherited her jeep, which is a nice vehicle, but I'm not sure it meant a whole lot to her. She didn't have it very long. I'm thankful she thought of me when she desired to give me her jeep though. Can't deny that! I sold some of her things on Ebay...stuff like some collector's books and things. They were valuable books she never read, some never opened, so they didn't really have sentimental value to her. I am more thankful for her Peanuts collection. She loved Charlie Brown and the gang! She wanted me to have her Snoopy stuff! :-)

She collected lots of Peanuts stuff over the years. Calendars, mugs, sweatshirts, cards...almost anything Peanuts. She had saved calendars from the 1960's! She has one from the year I was born in 1966!!!!!! That's facinating in a way, that she saved all this stuff. So, I didn't leave the mug I'm drinking from in a box. I'm using it! Everytime I use it I'm reminded of Pat and the special woman she was. The mug pictures Lucy pulling the football away just in time for Charlie to miss it! It's the Charlie Browniest!

I miss Aunt Pat.

Suicidal Birds

On my way home today there was a bird on the side of the road. As I got closer to it I started to wonder if it was going to move. It stood there, facing me, almost in defiance. Why is it that a 3,000 pound vehicle racing toward a puny little bird wasn't intimidating? That bird was playing "chicken"! I came nearer and nearer and all of a sudden...I cringed and noticed that... I won! The bird flew away. WHEW! That was close!

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

So, I Read This Blog...

I read this interesting post at The Heresy and found it made some interesting points.

Consumption Ministry

"This weekend is the college’s big youth event. Unlike most of my associates here I find myself unmoved by this type of ministry. There are several purposes for an event like this and the primary one would likely be school advancement and recruitment. We hold big Christian parties at our college so that students will like our school and come here after they graduate. Other purposes include fostering spiritual growth in young people and having fun.

When we use flashy events to attract people to our ministry are we bringing people closer to Christ or to us? Each event needs to build upon the next. The event needs to get bigger and better and compete with what the ministry down the road is doing. The people that attend these events pay money to consume a product or service we deliver. People evaluate ministry with the same mindset they would use to purchase a car. What does it do for me? What is it going to cost? What are my options?

The church has slid so far in to consumerism it is nearly impossible to live out your faith without paying for it. If you want to be properly discipled it’s about $9500 a year here. You want to have worship experience? Go to a conference or purchase a CD. You want to teach people in your church? Purchase lesson plans and materials at your local Christian bookstore. Each ministry competes with other ministries to attract enough people and dollars so they can offer bigger programs with better facilities.

Money isn’t the primary issue for me on this topic. It’s the almost blind obsession to make our ministries bigger and “better”. Is the currency of the Kingdom of God larger, more impressive institutions or changed lives?

Lives are changed at ministry events. When I was in high school I was challenged and encouraged by the youth event at this very college. Do we point the immediate fruit these events produce as evidence for their continued existence? Do we have the courage to look a little deeper? What are the long-term consequences of doing ministry this way?

We offer ministry as a service to consume then we are surprised when people are unwilling and unable to contribute to the life of the community. How can we expect people to contribute to the life of the church when we train them to be consumers?"

I thought Leighton Tebay, "The Heresy" blogger, had some good points. I especially liked his last one. I never realized how much money I was going to need to go to church. I mean I can go and never spend anything, but then kids miss out on youth trips canoeing, bowling, and getting the badges they "earn". I would miss out on some awesome conferences that I do attend willingly, and I love going, but that price tag is something I need to sometimes really dig under the cushions for. I am not impoverished, but I live paycheck to paycheck. I am trying right now to help out a friend financially, and I get upset that I can't afford to send her kids to this camp and that camp. Many times churches will offer the "scholarship", but in one way that is simply a reminder of how much one doesn't have. It is another reminder of having to depend on others constantly.

It is an interesting question about all the "consuming" Christians do. I think it is important to draw people to the church with interesting presentations and messages, but more importantly we need to make a connections...then establish relationships! We do need to feed ourselves spiritually, but is all of it really necessary? Do I need flashy lights and rockin' worship songs to build the relationship with my Lord? Is that how we get His attention? or ours?

Then again, I think about all the things the Lord did to get MY attention!

I'm not convinced that these types of ministries are right. I'm not convinced that they are wrong. It probably all boils down to...where are our hearts?

Brass Choir

Had brass choir rehearsal at Lambuth University. I am really enjoying that ensemble. We are playing a trumpet piece for 6 trumpets that is an arrangement of a Bach Fugue, the "Little Fugue" in G minor. It is so much fun! Very challenging, but I am loving it! We have some more work to do on it, but I think it is a great showcase piece. The group is made up of college students from all around the area and noble citizens such as myself. I'm thankful for the opportunity to play in this group. I was invited to play after the directors wife heard me play at a community band concert.

I'm starting my second full year in the Jackson Area Community Band. We are made up of all sorts of people, college students and ordinary citizens. It's a fun group and this season we get to perform "Bugler's Holiday" an old Leroy Anderson favorite. I've played the piece about 3 times before, so I opted to play 2nd part this time. Sometimes I enjoy playing the "inside" parts because it has a different challenge. When I've played in orchestras, I have usually been in a "supporting role" and I take that job seriously. Playing second part means making the first part sound good. It has new challenges. Instead of everyone tuning to me, I tune to the first part.

My trumpet prof in college used to say "I've had a successful rehearsal when the conductor says nothing to me". It's true. A rehearsal is for correcting areas that need work. If the conductor doesn't have to say anything to me, I must be playing my part accurately. It would be cool if my Christian walk were the same way, but I'm always being convicted!

Monday, February 03, 2003

Things Have Changed

Author: Katie

See, I told you I would blog when things changed and here I am. I'm feeling much better today. Thank you for those of you who responded by comments and e-mails and lifted me up in prayer. It really helped. I also attended church on Sunday and got the renewal that I knew I would. I love my church!

I am back to my normal self again. I have energy, headaches are under control and things have calmed down a bit. I really feel like God is going to deal with the situation regarding my children and other things. I just needed to vent and fstarted feeling better almost immediately after I did.

I have dreams, goals, and God has a special purpose for my life. All my dreams and goals are focused on that purpose. Right now, I just want to be a good mom to my kids and a good friend for my precious sister in Christ who takes such good care of us all. God had a purpose for her life and she is fulfilling part of that now. I know He has plans for her future as well but for now, she is here for me and my kids. I just can't believe how perfect God's timing is.

Sue asked a good question today. She asked me why it is that we are not supposed to rejoice when suffering comes to our enemies, but we are supposed to rejoice in our suffering. My answer..........because our God is awesome and His thoughts are not like ours. It seems that what we think is right and reasonable is usually just the opposite of what God teaches us. He sees the whole picture and knows what's best. Our minds are so finite and His is so vast. I did praise Him in my suffering the other day. I didn't feel like rejoicing, but I praised Him in spite of it. It really does help get my focus back on what really matters. It also helps me to see that things aren't always as bad as they seem.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

See, I told you I would blog when things changed and here I am. I'm feeling much better today. Thank you for those of you who responded by comments and e-mails and lifted me up in prayer. It really helped. I also attended church on Sunday and got the renewal that I knew I would. I love my church!

I am back to my normal self again. I have energy, headaches are under control and things have calmed down a bit. I really feel like God is going to deal with the situation regarding my children and other things. I just needed to vent and fstarted feeling better almost immediately after I did.

I have dreams, goals, and God has a special purpose for my life. All my dreams and goals are focused on that purpose. Right now, I just want to be a good mom to my kids and a good friend for my precious sister in Christ who takes such good care of us all. God had a purpose for her life and she is fulfilling part of that now. I know He has plans for her future as well but for now, she is here for me and my kids. I just can't believe how perfect God's timing is.

Sue asked a good question today. She asked me why it is that we are not supposed to rejoice when suffering comes to our enemies, but we are supposed to rejoice in our suffering. My answer..........because our God is awesome and His thoughts are not like ours. It seems that what we think is right and reasonable is usually just the opposite of what God teaches us. He sees the whole picture and knows what's best. Our minds are so finite and His is so vast. I did praise Him in my suffering the other day. I didn't feel like rejoicing, but I praised Him in spite of it. It really does help get my focus back on what really matters. It also helps me to see that things aren't always as bad as they seem.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Can I Get a Witness?

Just when I'm thinking time is running out and my chances at open doors are closing, God is there. Waiting. Probably anticipating the moment I walk a friend to the bank deposit drop. He knew what was about to occur. He knew! 

I have prayed for #1 on my Impact List for all the two years I have known her and worked with her. Yesterday a door was opened and a heart was receptive. It was God all God! She talked, I listened. I talked, she listened. SHE LISTENED! I talked more about my relationship with God than I ever had before with her! It was awesome. I got to share pre-God and post-God stuff with her and SHE WAS LISTENING!

It was such an awesome moment, actually about an hour, to share about God and His influence in my life. Relational evangelism! Building relationships! Nurturing relationships and sharing the gospel. WHAT A RUSH! I didn't quite get to the plan of salvation or anything, but THERE WAS A BREAKTHROUGH! IT WAS SO, SO....SO....AAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUHGGGGGGGGHHHH!!!!!! THERE ARE NO WORDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At the end of our conversation something else big...she said "thanks for the talk. We need to talk more and do dinner or something." THAT IS SO BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG!

I LIFT MY FRIEND UP TO YOU GOD AND ASK YOU TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO DRAW HER NEAR! I don't mean to capitalize to God, but I'M JUST SO EXCITED! Thank you for the opportunity to serve YOU. I stand in awe.

Saturday, February 01, 2003


Author: Katie

Warning! This blog is rated BD (borderline depressing)

I just had to write my thoughts. I need to vent or something I don't know. Life as a single (or divorced as Sue would call me) mom is really taking its toll these days. I feel pulled in a hundred different directions all day every day. Every thing seems so out of control and there's just too much going on for one person to handle. Just the basic chores of homemaking that I used to enjoy have come to be another dreaded thing on my to do list. I finally have classes that I can cope with at school and my life at home goes haywire! Child support is gone so I have to feel guilty for going to school now. I feel guilt all the time...for everything. I don't know how to get my priorities in order. God first family second everything else last.....blah blah blah. Sounds simple but is it really? HECK NO!

There's more involved to being a single (divorced) parent than just running a house and having a job......especially when the parent is also a student. The worst thing is that because I DON'T have a job, I feel like I should not be continuing in my education. However, this semester is paid for so, I'm going to finish it. My pre-teens are acting like full blown teenagers (at least my 10 year old is). I am not prepared for this! I just started reading books about teens and I get frightened when I read them. Problem is, I should have read them at least 2 years ago!

I think I'm doing the right things and they turn out to be wrong. I try to help and I hurt. I try to fix things and make a mess out of everything.

My daughter says that the world treats her so bad and she no longer wants me in school because I have too much homework. The weird thing is that I rarely do it when she is around. I wait until after the kids go to bed and before they get home from school. I do the house work and take care of meeting their needs when they're home. Sometimes I do get irritated and I act irrationally toward them because I sometimes do have to do homework when they are home. It's virtually impossible to finish it all when they aren't here. So, I keep looking for opportunities to sit down and begin my homework and as soon as I do it's "Mooooooooooom! " so, I get irritated because I JUST WANT TIME TO DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE! One of those needs are finding time to myself to just unwind. So, I finally get to bed, I finally close my eyes and I am awakened by nausea and headaches. Then I go to school and I take medicine to help my head and I can't stay awake because of the drugs and the lack of sleep at night.

I go to the Doctor and they just put me on anti depressants to control the migraines and it does slow them down a bit. However, there are these side effects.....................

Things like severe heartburn and stomach pain, digestive malfunctioning, lack of motivation to do anything because of heavy feelings of drowsiness, dry mouth, chapped lips, weight gain......and that's just one pill! FORGET THAT!

So, my Dr. is not happy with me and won't call in anymore pain relievers (which are only used in absolute emergency and rarely) until I get back on the drugs that were making me even more miserable than the headaches. I wasn't depressed before I took the anti-depressants. I didn't start feeling depressed until after I was on them. I'm depressed from the side effects.

I'm trying to figure out how to discipline my children effectively (please don't give me any ideas, I've heard them all!) and meet their emotional needs. Everytime something goes wrong in their life, it is because of something I've done wrong (that's the message I am getting).

My daughter seems to think she will have more of me if I quit school and go to work from 9-5. I think I'll do that over the summer so she can see just how much more she has of my time now than she would if I were working all day every day. I'll probalby have to continue to work anyhow if things don't get straightened out in the child support arena.

I just have too many balls to juggle and I'm not a good juggler anyhow. There is so much more to this than what I'm writing. I could write a book but not today. I guess I just need a few saints to life me up in prayer. Soon, I will be blogging about how things have changed!