Saturday, May 31, 2003

Post ID

WOW! See that post ID number on these new Blogger posts? It's like 18 gazillion digits long! I guess they are planning on having every person in the universe start blogging and they didn't want to run out of numbers! LOL

Oh, and the permalink problem appears to have been beans.


Hmmmmmmmm, apparently archives are now automatically republished when I publish every post. Interesting. This will probably help that permalink problem on the old Blogger.

For Now

For now I am posting. Blogger is in the process of upgrading to Dano. Dano will be new an improved (supposedly), but right now I am not able to publish a single blog on the old Blogger site so I migrated to the new. Blogger is saying that they will migrate everyone when the time comes. What does this mean?

I'm not sure.

I migrated over here and for fear of my archives being overwritten or something when Blogger gets around to the migration, I created a link to Old Archives and a link to New Archives. I'm not exactly sure how this migration will work, but I am fairly certain that what I post on my main blog page will be overwritten. I'm attempting to keep republishing my archives so I won't lost posts. I will be very sad to lose posts.

This whole thing wouldn't be a problem if the old Blogger didn't break down on me. For some reason my template disappeared and went bye bye, so everytime I tried to publish a post it would error and not let me. Since I can't live without blogging, I just had to do something so I took matters into my own hands and I hope I don't regret that later!

Blogger Template Troubles

Who knows if this post will show...Blogger is trouble these days. Posting will be light until Blogger is back up again.


I seem to be doing ok at BlogShares, especially since I have no clue what I'm doing! LOL

I figure 3220.75% growth in net worth this month is pretty good!

Wish I was this successful at my real investments...which actually have been doing better with the upswing in the market lately.

'Blog! The Musical

This made me chuckle. Thanks to the creativity of one Victor J. Lams may I present: 'Blog! The Musical

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Kayla was over today. She's a 5 year old, soon to be 6 year old, who visits with Tiffany and they play together. Katie is a professional cake decorator and told Kayla's mom that she would be happy to bake a special birthday cake for Kayla.

Katie showed Kayla some pictures of birthday cakes. A lot of them had flowers and fun designs on them. Tiffany then told Kayla all about the "tie-dye cake" that Katie decorated once for her birthday and Kayla decided that the "tie-dye cake" was the one she wanted too!

Katie asked Kayla if she wanted the "tie-dye cake" and Kayla responded "yes, tie-dye is my favorite color".


I am not a missionary. Well, some would say that I am, but my mission field is my home and my place of work. I am not a missionary that travels to the far reaches of the earth cutting my way through the jungles of Borneo (or tropical rainforest -- only 2 levels of vegetation right? Flashback to my southeast asia college course...AAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!) or to the frozen tundra of the north pole region. I just received an email from one of my SaLT group leaders whose daughter Laurel does all of those things. She is an AMAZING young woman and is currently profiled on the North American Mission Board website.

Missionary Spotlight on Laurel Burrough

I've had the privelege of meeting this young woman after her mission trip in Southeast Asia ended and before she ended up in the Great White North. Laurel is a great instrument of God and is an inspiration to me, and I'm sure to many. I know her mom is so proud of the Godly woman her daughter has become and I attribute a lot of that to the parenting that Tommye, her mother, and her father did. It's weird to introduce Tommye and Mike, her husband, to people. LOL

Remember to pray for missionaries.

Guess Who?

Great idea! over at cre8d journal. Check it out! I assure you that you will find this interesting.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Bruce Almighty

Author: Katie

Please tell me if this is too loud. Sue gets to sleep in today and I don't want to spoil it. I guess I won't be writing anything in all caps today. That would be too loud. lvq (laughing very quietly). Speaking of laughing........I used to think that Liar Liar was the movie that made me laugh harder than any other the first time I saw it. Well, Jim Carey has oudone himself this time. In my opinion, Bruce Almighty makes Liar Liar appear to be depressing. (please pay attention to the words "in my opinion") The movie starts out on an instant note of laughter and it just keep building from there. There was one particular news scene that had the whole theater laughing so hard that you could almost hear people gagging. I had to stop myself just to take a breather. The only time I wasn't laughing was when I was crying towards the end.

Sue is up now so I can turn up the volume and actually LOL now! LOL!

There are some sexual connotations and language issues as usual with this type of movie. But this slowly sets the scene for the awesome redemptive quality that eventually comes through. I wouldn't recommend parents taking young children to this movie before actually viewing it themselves first. However, when it comes out on video I'll let my kids watch it with me and I'll skip through the one scene of sexual implication (it is implied that something sexual is going on but no nudity or sexual acts are shown).

This is a spoiler alert! If you don't want to know any particulars about the movie then skip this paragraph.

Jim Carey starts out as a news reporter (Bruce Nowlin?) getting all the corny interviews. His main concern in life is getting the news anchor job. When that falls through, he goes on an insane rampage blaming God for everything wrong in his life. The next important thing to Bruce (besides himself and having stuff) is Grace, his live-in girlfriend (oh, and I might add....getting the dog to use the bathroom OUTSIDE). Bruce is a "good guy" who never intentionally tries to hurt anybody. However, his obsession with the anchor job seems to be the catalyst that brings out the evil nature that lie in every man (or woman to be politically correct). Bruce is your typical "lost" person looking for something to fill the "God shaped hole in all of us". (I might mention that that Plumb song is actually played in the movie.) So, his character is pretty common to any man before receiving redemption from God.

The character of God played by Morgan Freeman is superb! I believe it is the closest portrayal of God's true character that I have seen in a comedy so far. (He didn't even smoke a cigar as did George Burns in the Oh! God! series.) God (the character) has a sense of humor and most of all, he never points his finger of accusation or condemnation. The movie has been criticized by some Christian critics because God never points out Bruce's faults (the fact that he is living with his girlfriend, uses bad language, etc...) I think that is one of my favorite aspects of the movie because God doesn't come into our lives to point out our faults. God is portrayed as the loving God that He is! This God is loving, merciful, forgiving, and funny. He is a servant not an all powerful "strike you down" God like many movies depict him. His nature is portrayed even better through the ways in which he shows himself to Bruce........through HARDSHIP! He answers all of Bruce's prayers....HIS WAY... not the way in which Bruce expects. Another very funny part of the movie was when Bruce is hearing all these prayers and has to figure out a way to organize them all so he can listen to them clearly and answer them. You've just got to see that part! LOLOLOL When Bruce is given the powers of the Almighty, he decides that to save time and make everyone happy, he answers "yes!" to all prayers. The result of this was that all 250,000 some people won the state lottery. Each winner walked away with a grand total of $17! LOL

Another spoiler alert! (This could be a big one so beware!)

I think one of the most touching parts in the entire movie comes in the end when God asks Bruce ito pray. At first he has a hard time and God responds to his prayer for world peace and an end to hunger with such humor. It is then when Bruce prays the most unselfish, from the heart prayer. Then, God asks him if he wants Grace to come back to him (double meaning). Bruce's response at first is "Yes." But then he immediately changes his answer to no. He tells God that he wants Grace to have a man who will treat her better than he did, and will love her the way she deserves to be loved. He tells God that he wants her to have somebody who will always see her the way that he does at that very moment...all the time, through God's eyes. WOW! I'M GONNA CRY AGAIN!

I'd recommend this movie because it is fun! It is one of those movies that I want to see again because the one-liners went by so fast I'm sure I missed something. The character of God was played so warmly and he taught Bruce some very valuable lessons in such gentle ways. What struck me most was how Bruce even with all the power of God, in wanting to get his estranged girlfriend back, asked God "How can you make someone love you without affecting free will?" THAT'S a GOOD question!

Saturday, May 24, 2003

A Graduation

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I went to a graduation ceremony this evening. I hadn't been to a graduation since my own way back when. Scratch that, I did see my youngest sister graduate from high school years and years ago. Anyway, I looked forward to seeing Nikki graduate, but I can honestly say I wasn't anticipating all the boring speeches I was going to have to sit through.

Hang on.....yummmmmmmmmm, *slurp* grape slushie! Had a hankerin'. I'm thinking that they need to put warning labels on slushie cups..."Warning: Accelerated consumption may cause brain to freeze"

Ok, now back to my regualary scheduled blog. The processional began with all the usual pomp and circumstance (whatever that means) and soon the superintendent was delivering is message to the graduating class. Next we heard from the class essayist and the salutatorian. Finally we were up to the last speaker who was this young man named John William Crawford.

Young Mr. Crawford began his speech thanking the superintendent, administrators and then his parents for loving him and providing support as he grew. He told of a story from two years ago when his older brother was giving his own valedictorian speech and how he set the goal in his mind to follow in his brothers footsteps and have the opportunity to stand before his class and speak to them.

He spoke kindly about his Godly parents and his brother and how they helped him in his spiritual walk. Wait a minute...back up! Did you say spiritual walk? Yes, I think he said spiritual walk. Mr. Crawford continued..."but no one has been a greater help to me in my spiritual walk than God." Ok, now it was getting interesting! Suddenly this valedictorian address was changing direction.

This is the graduation ceremony of a city school. Southside in Jackson, TN. Secular, and what I heard tonight from John William Crawford blew my mind. He shared the story of the missionaries going to Ecuador that were all killed, yet had missionaries return later and eventually accept Christ. This courageous young man presented the gospel! THE GOSPEL! at a SECULAR high school graduation! This was getting exciting!

He went on to share how God gives him hope in this dark world and God is his foundation when the world falls apart. His charge to the graduating class was to chose between heaven and hell. He encouraged the class to listen and respond to God's call on their lives. He pleaded for them to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Did you get that part about it being a secular high school?

I wondered as I drove home if I would have the courage to stand up in front of my peers, non-christian peers and/or co-workers and say what this young man did. I concluded that I don't believe I do, but then again, if the Spirit moved me..."I can do all things..."

I prayed that God would bless John William Crawford. The hand of God is obviously on this young man.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

A Backwards World

Author: Katie

Today on the news I heard that schools were dropping classes like baseball, band, music...etc... because of lack of funding. Teachers are getting laid off and class sizes are growing. Janitors are losing their jobs and teachers are having to sweep and take out the trash before going home each day.

Later today, another program was on. It was a sports program. A couple basketball stars were being interviewed. One of them had just signed a deal with some sneaker company. He is getting paid $100,000,000.00 for signing the contract. Now, I'm not a sports person at all. I may have misunderstood and that may have been his contract to play. In any case........I think America has things backwards. That could pay the salary for a few band teachers and sports programs in school. What will the kids do that want to go to college to major in music or sports? What kind of scholarships will they be able to earn if they have no experience from the highschool level? What about the lousy salaries that over-worked under-paid teachers get? I think every famous, multi-billionaire athlete should sponsor a school and donate to help that school educate children in the basics as well as the arts. It's the same way with big name actors and actresses. There are so many wealthy people who have more money than can be spent. So, why not use it to help public education? It's the future. What will it be like when these kids are running our country? Things in this world are so messed up. So unjust. So........backwards.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Knock and It Shall Be Opened

Author:  Susan L. Prince

Do a cartwheel and it shall be holey. Tif just did a cartwheel in the house. Cartwheeling is forbidden in the house. She claims kidsanity I guess. Bragging about the award she got from the superintendent for good grades, she promptly demonstrated how smart she is! LOL 

She did a cartwheel and put her foot through the door. She is okay. The door is not. It now has a hole about the size of a heel print in the middle of it. I mean middle. Couldn't have had better placement if we had measured and aimed.

I hung a sign I just printed over it. "This is a holy door".

I think they should offer kid raiser insurance for homeowners.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

To Speak or Not to Speak

Author: Katie

Sometimes the Christian walk can seem defeating. I witness, share the gospel, try to live my life as an example and teach others to do the same. Yet, it has been years since I have had the opportunity to lead somebody to Christ. I can't think of a single time that anybody has changed their ways because of my example or the words I have shared. So, I get to feeling defeated and I begin thinking that this is all pointless. Nobody listens. Nobody cares. In fact, I think more people blow me off than ever heed a word I say. So, am I wasting my time? Why should I bother? Poor me. I'm a failure.

The truth of the matter is found in the Great Commission. God calls us to: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20).

Nowhere in this commission does it say that people will listen, or that they will learn, or that they will obey. Nowhere does it say that we have to make them hear, see, or learn. We just have to teach and baptize those who believe. Then we should see to it that believers are discipled.

Sometimes I get this all out of whack. I feel like a loser and useless in my faith because I do what I feel I am called to do and don't get the results I expect. I feel so defeated. How arrogant! As if their decision to recieve Christ is based on anything I have done!!!

It is my job to present the truth and to pray believing that God will bring fruit. However, it is not my decision or God's decision to make them accept the Truth and live by it. It is the decision of that person. God gives us all the freedom to choose. He will not bring fruit from a seed I have planted if the seed falls among thorns.

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

It isn't up to me to make anyone believe. I will not ever save a soul.

"For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith [alone]--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of GOD-- [alone] not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph 2:8-10).

By going into the world and proclaiming the good news and teaching others to do the will of God, baptizing those who believe, and following up with discipleship, we have fulfilled the Great Commission. So, what if they don't listen? What if they laugh? What if nothing happens at all? What if they get angry and rebuke me?

Matthew 10:14
"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town."

Mark 6:11
"And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them."

Luke 9:5
"If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them."

Don't track the dirt around with you. Don't let it weigh you down and drag your step! Don't let it fester your mind and make you feel like you are useless. Shake it off and move on to those who will listen. There is somebody out there that will. There is somebody out there waiting on God to send ME! So, I will keep on keeping on for my Lord. I will tell of His love and teach others to obey His commands. I will hold my brothers and sisters accountable to Christ for the music they listen to, the things they say, the places they go. I will not force them to do anything. I will not judge them. That is not what I am called to do. But it is my responsibility to hold them accountable because they are setting an example of Christ. A lost world is watching........closely. We are to be witnesses with our lives as well as our words. It does no good to talk the talk if we're not going to walk the walk. Our life is how we witness without words. Our lifestyle is our greatest testimony. How we live sends a bigger message than what we say.

"What would Jesus do" should never be considered cliché. It should be a question we ask ourselves in every situation, every decision, every day.

I should not feel defeated if my words and example fall on deaf ears and blind eyes that are that way by choice. I should not consider it wasting my breath to speak to those who do not listen. I am not accountable to them. They are not accountable to me. We are all accountable to God. Therefore, I will speak even when they refuse to listen. My words may cause my brothers to hate me, but it is a sacrifice I must be willing to make for their sake simply because I am called by God to do so. Just as salvation doesn't come from anything I do, neither does the lack of it. However, the lack of a saved soul could be on my hands if I don't share the gospel with unbelievers. I also may be held accountable for not holding a brother or sister in Christ accountable. Whatever happens after my part is done is up to God and that person. I can not fail if I do what God has called me to.

(I bet I'll have to come back to remind myself of this many times in the future!)

A Stranger and a Prayer

Author:  Susan L. Prince

Once, about a year ago, Katie and I were on "vacation". We were in Medina, OH visiting my parents and one morning, before heading over to mom and dad's, we ate breakfast out. Before the meal was served, Katie and I prayed. When we finished praying, a woman, who had been seated in the booth directly behind me, approached our table and asked if she could join us in prayer. She sat down beside me and she prayed a beautiful prayer. Then she went back to her seat and that was that. A neat blessing I remember still.

Monday, May 19, 2003

I Remember

Author: Katie

I remember watching The Love Boat and Fantasy Island with my grandmother on Saturday nights. Sometimes we would crochet while watching. Mimi had a black Chihuaua named Chicky who would sleep under a blanket beside her anytime she was sitting down (she also had a Calico cat named Pinky and my grandfather had a white and black Chihuaua named Tiny and a tiger cat named Spit). I would spend the night at my grandparents house and Mimi would make a nice bed for me out of her couch. She would wrap the cushions in sheets and tuck me in really tight. I also remember watching Lawrence Welk with her when I was really young. At the end when they would sing "Goodnight, Sleep Tight, and pleasant dreams to you...." In my nightgown, I would stand up and sing along. Mimi would sing with me. We had such a special relationship. I miss her so much.

In the middle of the night I would always here my grandfather (Bumpa) in the kitchen for a late night snack. Sharp cheddar cheese and crackers. He would always tease me like he wasn't going to share. But after playing along and begging him for a few minutes, he would share a snack with me then send me off to bed. Oh, and Mimi's spaghetti was the best. On Thursday nights she had spaghetti and on Saturday nights it was steak and beans with a slice of sharp cheddar on the side. Bumpa cooked a mean steak. I wonder if there will be steak and spaghetti in heaven? If so, I want Bumpa and Mimi to cook mine!

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The Mailbox

Author:  Susan L. Prince

One day grandma pulled into a parking place by the mailbox downtown. She asked me to get out and mail the letter she had. No problem, right? wrong.

I was in my early teens at the time and I had never used a mailbox downtown. You know, the big blue ones with the USPO eagle emblem on the side? I had been raised in the small, quiet community of Hinckley, OH and I had a rural route mailbox. One that sat on a pole at the end of the drive and when you open it, you place inside the letter going out, and then you raise the flag to let the driver know there was something being mailed.

Well, I said to grandma "sure!" and got out of the car. I went up to the mailbox looking for the slot to put the mail into. I didn't immediately see one so I went around to the other side. There wasn't one there either? So I investigated further going 'round and 'round the big blue box. Grandma yelled something from the car, don't remember what it was, but she was trying to direct me as to how to put the mail in the box! LOL I never did figure it out on my own. Grandma got out of the car, came over to the mailbox and opened a door to put mail in. The handles for those doors are hidden! LOL

That's my memory of the mailbox.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Prayer as a Weapon

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I worked on my lesson tonight. Each member of our SaLT group was assigned to do one of the parts of the Armor of God. I said "I want an offensive weapon!" (they asked, "why, because you are offensive?" LOL) and I asked to do a lesson on prayer. I found some interesting stuff about prayer and also went back to some old studies I have done to gather my info. I wanted to show prayer as a weapon in spiritual warfare and also the power that is in prayer. I don't want to mess around with little handguns...I want to show the big weapons! I want to reveal the atomic bomb of prayer!

After demonstrating how prayer is an effective weapon, I wanted to look at the best example of a prayer, Jesus Christ.

I decided to look at the ways and whens of Jesus' prayers and the results of those prayers. This is a summary of what I learned.

Refueling and gaining strength: Jesus often retreated to the mountain side or the garden to pray alone after teaching and healing. He did this to "refuel" and to learn God's Will for his next move. (Mark 1: 5, Luke 5:15)

Avoiding temptation: Jesus taught about prayer (obviously) and made sure it was understood that prayer was the way to avoid temptation. (Matthew 26:41, Luke 22:40)

In Luke 6:12 after praying Jesus came down from the mountain and chose His disciples. That was a pretty important step in his ministry! They would be the ones to carry on His teaching.

In Luke 9:28 after praying he was transfigured before the disciples there with him. His face glowed and clothes became bright. That's a pretty powerful prayer and open connection to the Father!

In Luke 3:21 we learn of Jesus' baptism and when Jesus prayed, "the heaven's opened" and the dove descended to Him. What I find interesting as well is that in Acts 7:54 Stephen prayed as he was about to be stoned to death. When Stephen prayed he saw the "heavens open". Eventually his spirit went to be with the Lord.

Prayer causes the heavens to open. Heaven opened to allow the Spirit to descend on me when I prayed to receive Christ. At my death, the heavens will again open to receive the Spirit back. cool.

If prayer opens the heavens, OPENS THE HEAVENS, why don't we do that more often? Prayer is very powerful! Heaven opening is a direct connection to God, the Creator of heaven and earth...HE OPENS HIMSELF UP WHEN WE PRAY TO HIM! That is pretty awesome! Prayer moves mountains, opens the heavens...THAT IS MORE POWERFUL THAN AN ATOMIC BOMB AND IT IS AVAILABLE TO ALL CHRISTIANS, who are called to pray, and PRAY EMPOWERING PRAYERS!

PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Praise

Author:  Susan L. Prince

About two months ago I receive this email from a former co-worker:

I am writing you this because I know you would want to know about this. I got a call from Brad the other day, he told me he had gone to the doctor for an exam relating to his problems with acid reflux. When the doctors were inserting a probe into his esophagus they found a tumor. They have since found out that the tumor is cancerous and that he also has cancer in his lymph nodes as well as his liver. The cancer is a stage four cancer which is the most advanced. He is going to recieve radiation and chemotherapy but as far as I can tell it does not look good. I just found this out yesterday and am still in shock. Now might be a good time to pray for him because he is going to need a miracle to walk away from this one. Don't know what else to say...

Well, my friend came to the right place! Prayer has power! I don't use it enough...but when the weapon is big sometimes you don't need too "trigger" happy! Brad is a non-believer, or at least was the last I knew. I worked as his assistant and tried to be a good witness for Christ. At the time I left he was seeking, but only "skimming" the surface. I don't think he has ever gone farther than that.

I have been trying without success to contact Brad by phone. Unfortunately he never has his cell phone on and that's the only number I have for him. I finally did get his home number and plan on calling today.

Here's an email I received yesterday from the same person, who is a non-believer by the way, about the situation:

Sorry, So much has been going on I haven't even been checking my email. I talked to Brad last week and he said that it was the first day he felt like himself in awhile. They had his dosage to high and it was really messing him up. There is good news however, the numbers they check from his liver were actually down into the normal range. I was pretty surprised by that so maybe all the praying you are doing is working.


Monday, May 12, 2003

What Song "Does It" For You?

Author:  Susan L. Prince

When Tony commented in my "Death" post, he reminded me of something. He reminded me of how music can have a profound affect on someone. Much of this post I copied from my reply comment, but I thought it might be interesting to post here.

Tony spoke of the hymn "How Great Thou Art" and how he needs to stand for that one. I agree! That hymn is also one of my favs, which is saying a lot because I usually don't enjoy anything written before 1990! I stand during that one too! Once I was the only one least for a little while, everyone eventually joined me.

"Amazing Grace" on bagpipes at my aunts funeral had another profound effect. She loved the bagpipes. When I learned she was going to die from cancer within months, I said "she'll have bagpipes at her funeral" and sure enough, she planned her funeral and was going to have bagpipes play Amazing Grace. She died a bit sooner than expected, but a week prior to her death I sent to her the story behind the song. I don't know if she knew its history before that or not, but I know she knew it for the last few days of her life. The song has taken on a whole new meaning for me...and bagpipes? Whoa! I tear up at the slightest sound!

My aunt, when I was a kid, took our family to the Scottish Games in Wooster, Ohio one year. I watched some interesting contests and all - day - long all I heard were bagpipes. I'm not sure they have such a "sweet sound" LOL but after having heard them all day long, my ears were ringing. That night when I came home I remember mowing the lawn and the sound of the mower was bagpipes bagpipes bagpipes! LOL That sound has a tendency to stick!

I'm curious to know what song(s) "does it" for you?

Sunday, May 11, 2003

The Holy Spirit?

Author: Katie

I just told Sue she has to let me blog right now! I asked her if she was doing anything important and she replied, "Nothing more important than you" and got up from the puter. My friend is so awesome.

My daughter asked me to lie down with her until she fell asleep tonight. We've had some issues to deal with today and we needed some mom and daughter time. As I laid there I thought about my salvation experience. I also thought about a movie I saw today called "The Other Side of Heaven." It was a true story about a missionary who went and spent three years on an island with its non-Christian natives. He went there to bring the gospel message to them. What got me to pondering is when I started thinking about each person who accepted Jesus and converted to Christianity. Each person changed immediately upon salvation.

This got me to thinking about St. Augustine's testimony and how drastically his life changed. As I read his explanation of his transformation, I could identify it with what I experienced when I got saved. In fact, I think that every believer can identify…after all people have been writing music about it for years and it all pretty much tells a similar story of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

It also makes me think about church this morning. I asked my pastor why God chose Paul to be the one who brought the “Good News” to the Gentiles. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. I basically wanted to make note of the fact that God had all these apostles who he could have chosen but instead he chose a persecutor of Christians. Okay, so, what could have been His reasoning for this? I know our thoughts are not like His and I may be wayyy off when I say this but, could it be possible that God chose Paul simply because of the fact that He persecuted Christians? I mean, what better way to show the power of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles?

Anyhow, back to the movie……

The changes that took place in the individuals sent a message to those who were questioning the gospel message. One by one, a Christian community began forming. Dysfunction and occult practices became function and worship of the One True God. A pagan community was transformed into a loving family of believers. More missionaries were birthed who brought the good news to other lands.

What is it that happens when a person sincerely asks Jesus into their life? What is it that causes a person to totally transform? Sometimes it happens gradually and others take a bit longer. But, eventually, for all believers, a total transformation takes place. And it’s the same story for everybody. To quote an old hymn, “I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” That’s the testimony of every true Christian believer (to one extent or another).

And so it goes…….

All around the world people are giving their hearts to Christ. Lives are changing and communities of Christian families are forming.

We all have our different interpretations of this scripture or that. But those who are born again are one Spirit, one body, one church…..we are the body of Christ. We all have one purpose and we all “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the message that the world gets of us. Since we are still human and we have a limited amount of knowledge, we make mistakes, and set a bad example of Christianity. But the heart of the church…….the sincere believers who desire to follow hard after Christ and work to set a good example…..this is what it’s all about.

So, what is it that actually happens when we pray that prayer? How is it that a people of all nations, languages, colors, and creeds do one simple thing, pray one simple prayer, and instantly become one with the rest of a body of believers? What is it that makes a person instantly decide to turn their backs on their old way of life and embrace something that is contrary to the way they have always been taught to live? What is it that gives us a love that can never be more fulfilling, satisfying, complete, and perfect? Could it actually be the Holy Spirit of the One True God that the Bible speaks of? Just a ponderable.

Saturday, May 10, 2003


Author:  Susan L. Prince

A young woman came into my store yesterday. She was browsing over in the Christian music section and since I am an "expert" in that area I asked if I could help her find something. She said she was looking for a song called "Farther Along". I had no clue what that was, and if I don't know a song in the Christian section, it boggles me. I then asked "is it southern gospel?" and she said she thought it was. (That explained it, I'm a CCM expert, NOT southern gospel!) Christian music was kind of new to her so all she said "it sounds kind of old timey." 

I went to look up the song and found that it has been done and redone many, many times. I found a recent release by Russ Taff that contained the song and gave it to her to sample on our LVS. (Listening and Viewing Station) She started crying...barely able to maintain control and suddenly, very quickly took the headphones off and said "that's it, I can't listen anymore."

Obviously seeing my reaction to this somewhat unexpected behavior she explained "my sister and my mother were killed in the tornado. This is the song they played over my mother's body."
I had nothing to say. My heart hurt for her. I didn't know what to do. I did nothing, but whisper a prayer for her.

A Citywide Night of Prayer, Worship & Encouragement

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I've never participated in the events of the National Day of Prayer. Katie was all excited to hear about an event planned for the evening out at a small ampitheater at Casey Jones Village, a quaint tourist attraction in Jackson. We decided to go and hope for a nice evening.

The event was billed as "'A Call to Come'" A Citywide Night of Prayer, Worship, & Encouragement from local speakers of all denominations" We were under the impression that the evening was going to be packed full of praise and worship music and a time to lift up prayers for our lives, our community, and our nation. The evening did bring together many people from all different denominations. It was a blessing to see all sorts of people and experience different forms of worship all in the same place. The speaker who started off the evening laid the "ground rules". She said that God calls us to worship and worship comes in many different forms. She asked people to respect the ways in which other people worship. "Some people shout, others are quiet, some will dance, some will simply tap their toes, some will raise hands, some will be still. As you worship we ask that you are respectful of those around you. If you choose to dance or use flags or banners, please move off into the areas set to the side to worship there. If you see others worshipping in ways that are different to you, we are asking you to respect that. Worship is for the Lord, so those of you who are not here to worship God, you may be offended by what you see. We are asking that everyone 'get over it'". At this time we were told to look to the person next to us and say "I'm over it" and this was used as a reminder throughout the evening that this time of worship was for the Lord and not some display for ourselves. I thought that was cool.

Next we heard from the band that provided the music for the evening. They played some popular praise and worship tunes that people seemed to really enjoy. Many people did choose to wave banners and worship God in that way and I had never seen that before. It was beautiful. Some danced, some shouted and all of it was pleasing to God I'm sure. These were brothers and sisters enjoying being in the presence of God.

The first speaker shared the testimony about how this night got put together and it was rather interesting to hear about the visions she was given years ago. She shared about the different steps that were taken, not only by her, but by others God had obviously guided through His Will to bring the community together for a "Prayer Center". Jackson now has a "Prayer Center" and it is "opening tonight" for all to "come". The ultimate goal of this prayer center is to eventually have Christians in Jackson praying for the needs of the people and the community and the nation 24/7. Starting now, on Wednesdays, the Prayer Center will be open to go to an to be prayed for or to pray with others who come. I think it is a great thing and it is not to be denominationally is simply a place to pray. No labels other than "child of God". Since Wednesdays are my and Katie's "God day" we may have to go check it out.

Now this is where the evening started to lose me. Hearing the testimony of how it all came about and seeing this "Prayer Center" idea was all pretty neat. Then we had someone stand and basically try to convince us about why this is important. Christians know prayer is important and those seeking God can see the happenings in the world and how bad things can get. We were given statistics about sexual abuse, about divorce, etc., and they were being used to persuade us to "come to the prayer center". Then we had a prayer that asked God to reveal his will and open the hearts of people to allow them to hear the call." It started to sound like what I call a "pray-fomercial". Maybe my heart is too critical.

We heard from the band again and about this time it was getting late, after all it is a school night and Katie's kids were with us. Many people started to leave, and we decided too as well. I have no idea how much longer the praise and worship continued and how much longer the event lasted. I thought the evening started out well and I hope that there are more opportunities for the entire community to come together to praise God for the awesome work he is doing in our lives and in our community. God is calling us to inherit this land! He is calling us to take it back from the thieves, the abusers, the wicked! We do need to pray! If we pray...He will move and we will hear Him! He will use us and He will do mighty things. We will get our families back! We will get our neighborhoods back! We will get our cities back! We will get our nation back! It starts when His people pray.

Friday, May 09, 2003

The Old Has Gone and the New Has Come

Author: Katie

Well, I finally mustered up enough courage to visit downtown Jackson yesterday. I didn't see the heart of the city because it was blocked off. I did drive around the rest of the area though. It was really creepy because at times, I wasn't sure where I was. It was so different and disorienting. I went by these vacant areas. I knew that at one time something had been there but I couldn't remember what it was. I have seen tornado damage before but not like this. Not in the middle of a city like Jackson. I lived in Selmer when the big tornado came through in 1991. I thought that was bad but this, being in the city, was far worse of a disaster than anything I ever thought I'd see personally in my lifetime. It looks like there is no way we can ever recover. It seems impossible but with God.....anything's possible right?

If I had known Jackson was going to be destroyed last Sunday night, I probably would have gone to town on Saturday and soaked in some sights, taken some video, and taken photos because there is no way it will ever be what it was. On the bright side.........this is a time for new beginnings. Even though it seems impossible now, one day (hopefully soon but probably not) Jackson will be restored, rebuilt, and renewed. The communities are really pulling together to meet the needs of those who have suffered loss and people are working hard trying to get cleaned up. Although we mourn the loss of our tranquil city and it's citizens, we anticipate new beginnings and have hope that Jackson will be restored to a new and improved city, better than before with a new hope and a closer sense of community.

What Is It?

Author: Katie

Today Sue came to watch Justin march. The Strawberry Festival lasts a week and ends with a parade on the last two days of the festival. For a short while, I walked with the moms behind the band. I watched as my son played and marched in front of me. What is it that makes a mom get a lump in her throat when she watches her child perform? What is it that causes a mom's eyes to well up with tears as she watches her daughter gracefully float across the stage using her God given gift of dance to worship? Even more….what is it that causes the “not the momma” to react in the same manner the "momma" does?

I get so moved when I see the bond Sue has with my kids. I remember how we were instantly connected when we all met in person for the first time. I remember how our hearts were torn apart when she went back to Iowa. There was something unusual going on inside all of us. “All that I can say is its God.” God was at work fulfilling His plan in our lives and we had NOOOOOOOO CLUE! He truly is the foundation of this friendship. After all, what else would cause a single, free-spirited woman to be willing to sacrifice the life of quietness and freedom to move to a place of chaos, where she has never been, and take on the responsibility for a family she didn’t ask for or create?

Sometimes we get on each other’s nerves, but over all, we have an awesome friendship….framily. I used to have a rule (and still do with one exception) that friends should never become roomies because it could be the downfall of the friendship. Not in this case! NosireeeBob! The support and patience my friend shows to us is beyond compare. The sacrifices she makes each day to see our needs met is unbelievable. What is it that compels her to care for us so? She is not obligated to do this! When I tell her that she simply replies with, “I am obligated to God and I am here because God wants me to be.”

Who am I that I should be so blessed? Every day I have something to be thankful for. In the worst of situations, this provision for my life is something I can always praise God for. The Bible teaches that we should offer up a sacrifice of praise to God in all situations. Even if I could find no other reason, I could truly it in at least one faithful servant of our Lord. …."susanlprince".

On the other hand, I am so blessed that I can find many reasons to praise Him even in the direst of circumstances.

To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, May 08, 2003


Author:  Susan L. Prince

Yesterday I went to the elementary school to see my friend's daughter perform "Helen of Troy". She did such a good job with her lines and looked all beautiful and "Egyptian" in her costume. It was fun and I was proud. I got tears watching her do so well. She's not even my kid!

Tomorrow I will see her boy perform with the marching band in the Strawberry Festival Parade. I will have tears watching him march. I had tears at his concert a month ago. I am so proud of him. He's not even my kid!

I'm the "not the momma" but we are all framily.

What is that feeling of watching a kid grow and accomplish something new? something they work at and do well? Why do I get tears? Why does my heart swell? I've fallen in love with those kids. It's a God thing.

Strawberry Festival

Author: Katie

Today, I was a proud mom again. I am so blessed. I saw my son march in his first parade at the famous annual Strawberry Festival. The band was great and I had tears! Every time I watch him in a concert or any type performance, I am extra blessed because of how God provided for him to be in band. He didn't have an instrument and I couldn't afford one. The teacher connected me up with a lady that had a drum set. I tried to arrange to buy it from her and she said "No, my son has no use for it and I just want to know it's being used." She told me that I could give it back when he was done with it if it was in good shape but not to worry about it. Just another provision from my Father. One of many daily provisions. I don't think the people who gave us the drums will ever know how blessed my life has been since they gave that drumset to my son.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Spiritual Journey

Author: Katie

Each month the Ministry to Women (M2W) at our church interviews one of the women in church. There is a list of questions we have to answer and this month, I had the privilege of being the interviewee. It helps members to get to know each other better. Since this works at church, I thought it might be fun to blog about it. What might be even more fun is hearing back from other bloggers. So I'm going to post my Spiritual Journey in hopes that others will send me an email or just post answers to the same questions in the comments section of the Sister's blog. Here it is:

1. As you look back, when do you first see God at work in your life? I believe God has been working on me since day one. I believe he worked through both of my grandmother's prayers. He saved me from many bad situations before I even knew Him as my blessed Savior.

2. Was there a turning point, a decision to turn your life over to God's will? What helped this along? Did anything make this more difficult for you? There were actually two turning points in my life. The first turning point was when I asked Jesus into my heart. I was at an after school presentation about freedom and liberty. I had no idea this was a "religious" event. I think it was planned that way. They demonstrated the sound of the nails pounding in Jesus' hand and all I could do was visualize myself hammering them in. I was so broken. It was then that I started attending church, but I ran into difficulty because I didn't "fit in" with the youth group. I eventually went back to the group of friends that I "fit" with and slowly backslid into my old lifestyle once again. The second turning point was after my son was born. I re-surrendered my life to Jesus and I have been growing in His grace ever since.

3. How long have you been devotedly trying to please God with your life?
I have been trying to please God with my life ever since Justin (my 13 year old) was a baby. That was when I really started living for God seriously for the first time.

4. Is there a special spiritual practice that enables you to feel you have connected with God? I feel closest to God when I am lost in worship at church. Many people communicate better with God when they are alone. It's just not that way for me. I feel his love and presence enveloping me when I stand in the midst of my brothers and sisters to worship in my heart and with my voice, our voice (the church). I think it's the "one accord" thing that does it for me. I especially love when I am singing with the praise team because I can see the glory of God in the faces of those who are also worshipping in the big room. They reflect on me and the Spirit in me dances. I look forward to Sunday mornings.

5. Is there a special place where you go to feel God's presence? I love to go to Pickwick (a beach on the Tennessee River) and lie at the edge of the peninsula. I don't have that opportunity anymore because it's so far away. That is my favorite place to go. I can use all of my senses to examine the work of His hands there.....especially if I have raisinettes with me (They enhance my sense of taste)! When I can't be at the river (which is most of the time), I seek his presence on the swing under the dogwood tree in my back yard.

6. What is one aspect of God's nature that you dearly love? I dearly love His immeasurable, indiscriminating, inconceivable, unfathomable, unconditional, pure, holy, perfect LOVE. That no matter how far or how long I stray, He is always ready and waiting with open arms for my return. It's the greatest love affair of my life!

7. What is an aspect of living this Christian life that you find especially comforting? That God is the Provider. Every time I look back over my life, I see His provision. He even provided for me before I knew Him. He has a plan for my life and it began before I existed. He has provided for the fulfillment of that plan all along. I took things in my own hands several times and knocked things off course a bit (well maybe a little more than a bit….okay, ALOT), but He has always been there for me, gently loving me back to the straight and narrow path that leads to Him. When I look back over my life I am in awe at the work of His hands. He is my blessed Jehovah Jireh (The Provider) and I am His beloved. I don’t know why I find myself worrying all the time. Will I ever learn?

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Jesus Freaks

Author:  Susan L. Prince

Katie cleaned off the counter in the kitchen. While she did it she mused "We are abnormal. We are Jesus Freaks" and I said "what are you talking about?" and she said "How many people do you know that as they clean off the counter they remove 4 bibles, 2 bibles study books/notebooks, and 2 books about the bible?"

I love Jesus because He first loved me. That freaks me out! Jesus Freak!?!

I have bibles. I have bible studies. None of it displays the state of my heart. I need my Lord. I need Him to run my life. Why do I keep trying to run my own life and leave Him out of it? He is there, I know that. I don't totally ignore Him. I pray daily, but I'm not giving Him enough time. I'm not giving Him my whole heart. I hate that I hold back from Him! Why am I so stupid?

I just want my prayer life back and I'm having difficulty.

Storm Damage that I Witnessed

Author:  Susan L. Prince

It's official. The tornado that ripped through downtown Jackson, TN has been classified an F4, which is a pretty bad tornado. Of course seeing the path of destruction it left is evidence to how bad it was as the pictures I displayed below can testify to.

The mall where I work is north approximately 1-2 miles north of the area that was directly in the path of the twister. Power is still out at half the mall and on my way to work it was necessary to be cautious at intersections as most traffic lights are still out. Crews were out working on them though so hopefully traffic, at least north of downtown, will resume as normal soon.

Mostly what I saw on my drive in was that many trees were uprooted or had snapped. Some had obviously fallen across the roadways, but had been cleared to allow road traffic. A couple of homes I saw were damaged due to trees falling on them or wind damage, roofs with missing shingles and siding stripped in places, so I could only imagine what things are like the closer one gets to downtown. I did see that a new warehouse that was underconstruction in recent weeks had collapsed. It was a huge structure that had all the support beams up and one wall, but all those beams are now lying in a pile and have crushed the construction equipment that was parked below it. It really was an awesome site to see that huge structure from the other day lying there mangled like a poured out box of matchsticks.

As I approached the mall I noticed that a lot of signs to the surrounding business had been broken out or were simply gone. The Old Hickory Mall sign had some damage and giant metal sheets were hanging from it. The tree that greets me as I enter the parking lot was gone, and the little grassy "island" had already been landscaped with few small shrubs there to replace the tree. The mall parking lot has lost trees to storms every year that I've been working's starting to look rather sparse.

Mall security let me in the mall and I got into my store. My asst. called to say that he heard the mall was closed, but I said "Mall Security" just let me in" but I went out to ask for the official word and sure enough, the mall was closed because only half of it had electricity. Luckily, my store had power, so I could get in and do some work. I called in a couple of other employees and we worked on stuff. It was fun to do that without the customers there! My DM said "good, you'll be able to catch up!" I said "Bob, I will not catch up." and he said that at least I could get some stuff done. I would need an entire week with no customers coming in to catch up.

When I went into the backroom of my store and called my DM to tell him we were again closed today, I smelled a familiar odor. Musty, know, that wet carpet smell? I stepped down hard and splash! The carpet was soaked in my office. I went to check the rest of the backroom and there was about an inch of standing water near the backdoor and down the walkway. I could see a water line on the shelving unit which tells me that at some point between the storms Sunday evening and today, there had been at least 2 inches of water on that floor. I think the hard rain and wind forced water to come in under the backdoor, or around the frame. That's all I could surmise. No damage though and that's a good thing.

So, basically I was virtually untouched by the storm. My hearts go out to those that lost loved ones and lost their homes. I started thinking about their houses...most will get insurance money and their homes rebuilt, however many have lost treasures. They have lost pictures and yearbooks. Furniture that has sentimental value and was passed down through the generations. A lot of "stuff" has been lost, but it's those special things that a person holds dear to their heart and can never be replaced that hurts the most. I'm praying for these people in Jackson, that they might lean on the Lord during these moments of incredible loss and hurt. I pray the He will draw them all close to His heart and that they all seek Comfort from Him.

I hate tornadoes.

Things Remembered

Author: Katie

I can't believe how much damage can be done by moving air. The picture of the church that has been shown and talked about so much, is very misleading. The wall that is seen is all that is left. If you were to walk through the front door you would be walking right back outside. There's nothing behind the front wall. This building is one of the oldest buildings in Jackson. The plan is to rebuild...starting with the front wall. The pastor of the church was on the news last night and he said that as long as they have one wall, the church still exists. They will begin there and build around it. Of course those are my words since my brain doesn't retain much after about five minutes!

I first moved to west Tennessee in 1980. I have lived here steadily since 1990. I lived in McNairy county when a huge tornado swept through in 1991 (I think). Fortunately, I was out of town when it hit. Since then, McNairy county has recovered and grown beyond what is was prior. Over the years we have had several tornadoes but, it seems that from the late 90's up until now, there have been so many more than all the years before. The damage has been the worst. It really hit me for the first time just this morning. I have never been a frequent visitor of downtown Jackson, but I have been there several times over the years. Sue and I eat breakfast at Steinley's sometimes (across the street from the courthouse). It's funny how people take things for granted. I never really took notice of Jackson's historical landmarks. Last fall I was downtown alot since my daughter was in the Christmas play at the civic center (which was also badly damaged). I didn't stop to realize what a beautiful area it was. I never really observed it much. Tiffany did. She said she feels like she is in New York City when we go there. Cracks me up. That's what happens when you raise a kid in the sticks! Maybe someday I'll get to show her New York City. Okay let me bring myself back from the tangent I am taking off on (I do that alot). *Katie does the reeling in the fishing pole immitation* Today, my heart broke as I watched the news and remembered what our town looked like just a few days ago. There is no way it will ever be the same. On the bright side, downtown Jackson will get a new face. New beginnings are always nice. It's going to be a long hard recovery but we will have an even better, new, improved downtown area when it is all said and done and who knows, maybe even a community even closer at heart.

It's funny how in the midst of a tense situation, a person can always find a reason to laugh. Yesterday, I broke my glasses so I had to go to the vision center at Wal-Mart to get them repaired. As soon as I got there........tornado warning!!!!!!!! I ran through the wind and rain with my daughter and her friend. I held my umbrella in my hand folded up (since I knew it would be useless to use it). As soon as I entered the building (through the eyecare center, since the main entrance was barricaded) they sent us to the center of the building near the fitting rooms. When things were at their worst, I managed to squeeze the girls and myself in this one small fitting room with a woman named Debbie and her son, Nick. (We thought that since we were in such small quarters, we might as well be on a first name basis.) While we sat there listening to the storm and the heavy rain pounding on the metal roof, somebody banged into the wall from the other side....really hard! All five of us nearly jumped right out of our skin! So, in the midst of the chaos, we all started laughing pretty hard. I don't know if anybody else had the same idea we did (to hide in the fitting room), but we didn't feel we would be very safe in the open if a tornado came through and things started flying everywhere. I can honestly say that I never thought I'd spend time in Wal-Mart like that! I also never imagined spending time in the fitting room with a total stranger.....especially when she had her adolescent son with her!

Thinking back to the other night....

It was the creepiest thing to watch the news. The tornado was hitting right at the news station. They were broadcasting from the hallway. We could hear everything going on but we couldn't see the broadcasting team. Sue and I watched and listened as the hail (some tennis ball size) pounded the "sound proof" building and if you listened carefully you could hear the howling winds at some points. We sat here wondering what kind of damage was being done at that moment as we watched and listened. It was so eerie. There was no way to know how bad it was until the next morning (yesterday).

I haven't been out to see downtown personally yet. I only have the same pictures as the rest of the world. I think about the 200+ people taking shelter at the Omen Arena. I sit here safe in my home thinking about how they have lost everything........and most are thankful just to be alive. I have this desire to do something, anything just to participate in comforting, helping or anything that will show comfort and support to those who have suffered from this horrible tragedy.

It seems so weird to see downtown on Good Morning America. My relatives in different parts of the country are watching Jackson TN on the news. They have called to check on us frequently. I am so blessed....So blessed.

Anyhow, as you sit here reading this, I ask that you stop and pray for those who have suffered loss during these tragic storms. I also ask that you pray about the severe weather that is still forcasted to come. As for this sirens, no warnings....That in itself is such a huge and welcome relief! What a frightening past few days we have had. I can honestly say that I have never been a part of anything like it before. I can't help but wonder why these things hit all around my neighborhood and never actually hit us. Only God knows. I'm just glad it's over (for now anyways).

Monday, May 05, 2003

On My Way to Work...

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I might just see a sight like this, that is of course if power is restored and the mall opens tomorrow. Jackson is currently under another Tornado Warning. This has been going on for 20 hours straight. It's getting old.

View down Highland

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Author:  Susan L. Prince

Hayden, the 7 year old neighbor kid is over. He has been walking around with a sheet of paper. I'm not really pay attention to what he is doing, but now and then he sits to write on that paper and will say "75 - 76 - 77.." and Katie asked him "Are you writing all those numbers?" and Hayden said "yes, I'm going 1 to 99 for now" and then he excitedly continued "I can't wait until I get to twenty-five thousand"

Pictures of Tornado Damage - Jackson, TN 2003

Author:  Susan L. Prince

Here are some pictures of the damage in downtown Jackson, TN. There are more pictures here.
This is a picture of a semi overturned on the major through route, Highland Ave. in Jackson, TN.

Semi on Highland

Damage at a downtown store antique store called "Two Silly Sisters".

Damage to a local business

Damage to Mother Liberty Church downtown. This is a historical building in Jackson built by liberated slaves in the late 1800's. The front of the church you see here is the only wall left standing. If you walked in the door, you would end up right back outside. The pictures are so misleading because one only sees part of the picture. Because it is the front wall of the church, it can be rebuilt and still maintain its historical building status.

Mother Liberty Church

This is the Post Office. Again, a misleading picture. The building is destroyed, what you see is all that still stands until the wrecker crew gets there. Some may not be getting their mail today, or the next day, or the next....

Post Office

Night of the Twisters

Author:  Susan L. Prince

Last night we watched the storms until 1:30 am. That was after they hit to our north and to our south. It was scary. Downtown Jackson on the south side was hit bad. 14 dead in Madison county is what the reports are but since the newpaper building was damaged, no paper until late today. It is being printed out a Union University because of the damage at the Jackson Sun. News is sketchy.

I am thankful that the storms apparantly missed us. Part of the shed out back blew off, but it doesn't appear to be anything that can't be repaired. Tornados hit in our county, north of here. We did get the kids in our "tornado shelter", the designated place in the house that we go during storms. It gets so scary during the wind and rain.

Today I am thankful I was protected and I am praying for those affected by these storms. Looks like the threat for severe weather will continue for most of the week.

Wonder if the mall is open today? I will have a day off if not. It seems kind of weird to be open for business on days like today, but the "wheels of commerce must continue to turn." It does seem that sometimes people who run retail businesses, for example the mall, won't close if there is money to be made. I would close, but I'm not in charge.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

What I Did

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I asked What Would You Do? earlier and now I will tell you what I did.

I watched in amazement as the two women trampled over the poster. I was silent. I was disgusted by their total lack of respect. These women weren't blind. They were physically able to walk around the poster. They totally disregarded the fact that it was a poster about to be displayed and walked right over the top of it. They creased the corner and didn't even seem to notice any of it. They could not NOT notice it!!!!!!!!!!! IT WAS A BRIGHT GREEN POSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They turned to face me and asked if we had the new Ginuwine CD. It was at this moment that the two women noticed that something was disturbing me. I'm sure the ire showed on my face. With pursed lips, and biting my lip and I just couldn't look them in the eye. I said rather sternly, extremely short, and labored through my somewhat clenched teeth, "yes...I believe we have that CD". I walked to go get it with a puzzled sort of smart-alec, I-can't-believe-they-did-that look on my face and I overheard the one lady say "wow, she's in a bad mood today!" and both of them walked out of my store.

I was glad they were gone. Sorry I lost a sale, but glad they were gone. I didn't need their business.

"Some Tips"

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I've heard or seen somewhere that servers at restaurants are not impressed by the tipping habits of church goers. Sunday afternoon after church is a busy time for servers, lots of gluttony going on. I decided to ask my server if this was true.

I asked "Who tips better...the Christian after church on Sunday, or just regular folk during the week?" and she wasn't sure what to respond at first. I think she may have been hesitant because she didn't want to offend with how she answered, but she proceeded to say "Honestly?" "yes" I said, and she continued "Definately the 'regular' people during the week tip better. We work are butts off on Sundays and tips are light. Any server here will tell you the same thing. Business is slower during the week, but the tips are much better." So, there you have it from my own spontaneous poll from someone who knows.

I thought that was a sad commentary on Christian behavior. I don't expect Christians to lavish gifts on servers, but to be stingy and non-appreciative is unacceptable. There are servers who are not deserving of great tips, but most are very hard-working, and at very least deserve the minimum 15% tip. I look at restaurants as great places to witness. What kind of example do bad tips leave? If servers know that Sundays are bad tip days because that is when the church goers eat out, what is that saying? Christians have a label. "Bad tippers." I don't like it.

What Would You Do?

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I've blogged about my experiences working in retail before and now I am curious as to how I should have handled a certain situation recently. I'd also be curious to know how other's may have dealt with it and what maybe Jesus himself would have done.

I was in the process of replacing an outdated poster in the easel at the front entrance of the store. The poster is approximately 2 foot X 3 foot. It is not overly huge. As I was removing the old poster I had laid the new poster on the floor next to me. Yes, I was at the front enterance but the poster was next to me and there was plenty of space on either side that customers entering would see it and be able to easily walk around it.

Here is what happened. While taking out the old poster two women came into the store behind me. I turned to my right as they walked in and right across my poster. Both of them did this, as if it weren't even there. The first woman caught the corner of the poster and didn't even seem to notice. The woman behind her walked across and managed to crease the corner that the first woman had folded upwards with her step. I stood there stunned, amazed at the total disregard for that poster, the store and me, as they marched on in.

How would you react to this? As a Christian, what would an appropriate response to this be?

Saturday, May 03, 2003

What a Difference a Day Makes

Author: Katie

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding...." (Prov. 3:5)

SCHOOL'S OUT FOR THE SUMMER! WOOOHOOOO!!!!! Now maybe I can blog more! Today, I was wondering what to blog about. I couldn't come up with anything. Earlier, I got a phone call from my daughter who spent the night with a new friend. They are going to a birthday party together today and Tiff needed some money to get a present. I had already spent 2 hours talking with Tiff's friend's mom last night when dropping Tiff off. What a wonderful lady she is! She told me this awesome Cinderella story about how she and her husband came together. I didn't get alot of details because both of us are talkers and we have a tendency to go off on a tangent that leads someplace else so we never really finished any particular subject. That's okay though because I know at some point we will go off on a tangent from another discussion that will finish the ones that were unfinished in that discussion. Does that make any sense? LOL I LOVE IT! Anyhow, today, I met this lady's husband. He is a professor at the college I attend. I had seen him before but, I don't think we ever spoke. What a charming person he is! Wow! I feel so optomistic about life while talking to them. They both have children from previous marriages and the ages of their children are from 30 down to age 4 or 5! They are the most fascinating people! I hated leaving both times I have been over there. I would love to have an entire day just to sit and chat with this awesome couple.

He (the husband) had such awesome uplifting, encouraging words to say. One thing he said that really made an impact was right after I told him that I really messed my life up in the past and have been known to be a poor judge of character. He said that one thing he says often and lives by is that it's not important who you were (for better or worse). It's who you are now and where you are going that counts. He used the example of a man who was a football star in highschool and brags about it........has been replaced by another star now. What is important is that that man is doing something good with his life today. It makes sense. The past really DOESN'T matter! The only time I should look to the past is when I want to learn from the mistakes I made and know what NOT to do today.

I mentioned to this couple that since I had been a poor judge of character in the past I have learned not to trust in my own decisions, but to let God guide me in my decisions today and every day. He told me that I needed to surround myself with new people and meet my friends at church (in opposition to night clubs and bars) and perhaps attend a symphony. It was like a confirmation that I am making good choices these days. (To God be the glory!) God has given me an awesome church family full of healthy people ( and many of them enjoy symphonies). I haven't had the opportunity to attend a symphony but it has been a desire in my heart for a very long time! So, I have a short term goal to attend the symphony before the end of this year. Well, my first goal is to get some form of income generating. My long term goals.......stability for my family, education, career, writing a book....??? I have many. I am so happy simply because I have goals....reachable goals that I know, with God's help, I can achieve.

I struggle with forgiving myself for the ways I messed up my life. I find that I repeatedly have to forgive myself. I still suffer the consequences of my poor choices. But, the day is coming when those consequences will have no affect on me anymore. With God's help, I will have rebuilt my life and reached beyond the consequences of my past. I think the most important thing to do every day is to pray for God's guidance and ask daily for His wisdom and discernment in all my choices. It's important to involve God in everything I do every day. I don't think it is a funny coincidence that I have met this family. (Any more than meeting Sue was a coincidence). I am so blessed! I believe with all my heart that God is doing another awesome work in my life and that these people are tools that He will use to mold me and who knows? Maybe He will even use me in their life somehow.

When visiting with this couple, I mentioned the fact that I want to write a book at some point in my that will be a helpful tool that will allow me to contribute to society after I am gone. I don't think the husband realized that I heard him when he said, "Just one?" (That's a blog for another day).

Today, I rejoice that God has opened the door to yet another adventure in my life. I don't think these people realize the impact they made on my life today. Even if I never see them again, I will ponder our conversation and the words we shared will make a difference in the rest of my life. It's not like the words they said were new news to me. It's not like I haven't heard anything like this's the timing, the presentation, and the heart of the person behind the words that make a difference. It served as a reminder and confimation to things already pondered and perhaps even discussed. I have to remember to trust Him. It also has made such an impact because of where God has me in life today. I can trust Him in my personal struggles. He is with me! He always has been, and always will be.......even to the ends of the earth!