Thursday, October 30, 2003

Do I Have A Life?

I shouldn't be blogging. I should be doing homework. Fact is... I don't blog anymore because I always have homework or housework to do. There is always something. I occasionally check emails or catch up on Sue's awesome blogs and read with sinful envy while wishing I had time to write the stuff I ponder like Sue does. It causes me to wonder.......Do I have a life? I have spent the last three years of my life with my face buried in a book or cleaning a house. I never have time to do the things I enjoy and when I take the time to do them I am eaten up with guilt. Sue says I spread myself too thin when I do the things I enjoy. Truth is......I do. So now I am to the point of not doing anything again. I just do homework and housework. I'm going nowhere with my life. I am working hard trying to earn a piece of paper that says I have some kind of knowlege that I don't feel that I have. I just study to pass tests on information that is soon forgotten.

Sometimes I just feel like I am chasing my tail. I'm running around in circles going after something that I'll never catch and accomplishing absolutely nothing along the way. In the process I find myself getting very dizzy. There are so many things I want to do...but there is no time. There are so many things I need to in the time that I do find, I try to get some of the needs taken care of and I find the wants still waiting to be fulfilled. The biggest thing I want to have time to do is write. I have several books I want to write. I wonder if they will ever come out of my head and make it on to paper. I'm not getting any younger. If I'm going to live my life I better get started!

I want to blog about the awesome day I had while sitting in a radiology waiting room (I was having tests) but that will take a long time (something that is not very free to spend these days for me). I met several people who touched my heart in a way I will never forget (unless I go senile). I did see that in spite of the fact that I may have no life, whatever it is that I do have, it was very blessed by those people (if that makes sense). I do have a life because I realized yesterday that it was changed because of a few very special people who are fighting just to stay alive. That is their focus in life. So yes I do have a life. I just hope I'm not wasting it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Woman who hid grandkids given custody after having been jailed this past summer for interfering with the custody order.

Some parents just should not raise kids. I admire the sacrifice this grandmother made for her two grandkids. She, in my opinion, earned the grand in grandmother.

Poor kids.


In college, my trumpet professor shared a bit of wisdom with me one day as I struggled through a lesson I wasn't prepared for. He said "Potential is just a word".

I don't know why I thought of that, but I did, driving to brass choir rehearsal tonight. I guess it was because I was listening to a young woman lament about the man she might marry, who is very unmotivated and "doesn't have any goals in life." She stated she wants to be a stay-at-home mom and have a husband who will support his family. She justified the situation, and possible marriage to this guy, because he has "potential". I thought potential is just a word. I was thinking that if only she had that bit of wisdom she would possibly save herself from making a big mistake.

That was a great tidbit of wisdom I gained one day so many years ago. I wonder if that saved me from making some bad decisions in life. I bet it did. It also serves as a healthy reminder that potential isn't anything.

Then I started thinking about all the other bits of wisdom I accrued just because of the people that have crossed my path in my lifetime.

I had a very awesome band director in high school during my senior year. You know he is good because he is now conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble. It's a very prestigious group and now they have a great conductor to boot! Actually, they probably have never had a bad one. Anyway, one day Mark Scatterday said to me "don't be afraid to get where you are going in life because of who you know." At the time, as a young adult in my senior year, I was ready to take on the world and anything I got in life was going to be because I EARNED IT! Well, while hard work is important, I have learned that sometimes the "breaks" you need come because you know someone in the right place at the right time.

Now, I have a useful piece of wisdom for you, NEVER try to use tub margarine instead of stick butter when making caramel popcorn. Trust me, it won't work. LOL

So, what are some bits of wisdom that someone gave you during your lifetime and how has it impacted you? I'm curious to know so blog about it and let me know in the comments, or post your response in the comments here if you'd like.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Back to Work

Vacation is over and today was my second day back. As I tried to get some things back in order I thought to myself It is amazing that I have been able to keep things in order and stay caught up this year, Christmas should be cake.. Then I said out loud "Oh wait! I still haven't caught up from last Christmas!"

I thought It is amazing that I am able to get done all that needs to get done around here, and then I said out loud "Oh wait! I get very little done. What's amazing is all that corporate expects one to get done!"

I think I need a vacation! I was having conversations with myself at work today.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Dry Spell Part II

Tubbs in his comment to my last post said "as much as I'd love to believe that dry spells are impossible in the Christian life, I have to admit to their existence." When I am "high" in the Spirit I can't ever imagine being in a valley. When I am on that mountain, the valley seems like it doesn't exist because as I look out over the horizon, I can't see the valleys, all I see are the many peaks that lead to that horizon.

God gives us the mountains to get us through the valleys.

You know that passage in Isaiah 40? C'mon, the one about eagles wings?

"31 but those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

Do you know what Isaiah 40:30 says?

I thought I'd look up the word "faint" on the Bible Gateway and I discovered that in the NIV there are 38 verses that contain "faint" or some variation thereof. Some actually refer to men of God being faint or fainthearted. Glad to know I'm in good company, although, I wouldn't declare that my spiritual state is exactly faint at the moment. A bit weary and tired, but not to the point of total exhaustion enough that I would faint, or stumble.

Job grew faint. David even writes about being faint in his psalms. Jeremiah was faint. Being "faint" is talked about in Ezekial and Jonah as well. Being faint of heart is not anything that is new and Christians are not exempt from feeling a bit dry. We know God is here, lavishing His love on us. The only reason we may not "feel" it is because we are not allowing Him to be our life. I know that I stand in the way of that and I can't blame anyone but me.

It is a good thing that as a Christian I don't live my life based on "feelings". Sometimes I just live in obedience. God will bless that. I know He will. I will "soar on wings like eagles"! There is joy, it's just hidden right now.

Dry Spell

It's amazing to me that even during what I call a spiritual dry spell, God still manages to use me. I will never understand him.

I received an email from a friend yesterday and she shared some difficulties she is going through spiritually. I was sitting there reading it thinking me too, me too, I totally understand, man, I could have written this! In it she thanked me for listening and understanding and shared some new discoveries she has made recently through a book I loaned to her simply because it was interesting and I thought she might like it. I wasn't trying to "teach" anything at all. I just passed along something that I liked. God used that as much as he's used my words to her. Amazing.

I am reminded about the apostle Paul and how he often wrote letters to encourage the churches in different cities. He wrote from prison and I got to thinking that while we read about his joy in Philippians and about how he finds himself content even in the worst of circumstances, I wonder if he sometimes wrote those encouraging letters trying to encourage himself? I mean, I can often say nice things to help people through a tough time. I will write notes that encourage others. I will send a card with a simple "I'm praying for you" and I can sometimes just listen to a person share their troubles. All the while, I am sharing "words of wisdom" that I sometimes don't follow myself. I share scripture, God's promises, even though I myself don't apply those promises to my life. I find it hard to believe that every moment that Paul was beaten almost to death, or sat in prison for great lengths of time, that he rejoiced in each moment. I am sure there were times he felt beaten down and tired. He had to feel stressed out just like I do at times, but he always knew where and to Whom to turn. He drew on God's strength when his was faltering, but I don't believe for a minute Paul never felt drained. I think writing those letters, which ended up in scripture, was somewhat therapeutic for him and God used that in Paul's life just as much as He did in the life of the Church.

I can be in a spiritual dry spell and yet God continues to use me in the spiritual lives of others. I am blessed by that immensely, and I am also humbled and at times ashamed.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

80s Music has me hooked! There's a lot of stuff to do here, but I'm partial to the trivia "Name that Artist" game in the 80s. I do pretty well if I do say so myself!

I've played a number of times and probably average a score between 600-700, but my best so far is 836!

The Stereo

My parents brought a rack stereo system when they came. It is my dad's old Technics rack stereo. It's a nice system, AM/FM reciever, dual tape deck, 6 CD changer, graphic equalizer, surround sound. It's all good. It's all big. VERY BIG! I have a nice sized living room that is home to two sofas right now and two comfy chairs. It is possible, but it is going to take some creativity to rearrange the place to get all the equipment set up.

I got motivated just now to try to figure something out with the set up. Ummmmm, I moved the VHS cabinet. I decided that was a bad move. Now I have to move it back. I'm not motivated anymore. I think I'll wait for Katie.

The Greyhound Bus

I bought a house last night and my dad was elated that the Greyhound Bus was included in the purchase. What the? He just kept remarking that "it is a good thing that bus is included Sue, it is a great investment." He just kept smiling and bragging about it to everyone.

I'm so glad it was a dream.

Friday, October 24, 2003


There are many things I love about the church I attend. One of them is the humility that is on display there. The church I attend is filled with many highly highly intelligent people...of which I am not! LOL It is also filled with very very very talented people...of which I have some talent, but not when compared to the writers, musicians, lawyers, technicians, mothers, etc. that God has brought together at that place. What's cool about my church is that "comparison" I made in the previous sentence just doesn't seem to occur there. It is understood that whomever God leads to Northbrook was brought there for a reason. Northbrook aims to find out what that is, from being a prayer warrior to building a kitchen and from teaching the children, to visiting the sick, and from discipling new believers to leading worship...God uses people in our church and will as long as we continue to let Him. Sometimes a person needs Northbrook just to heal from a hurting heart, and Northbrook welcomes that too. I love that place!

If you are a talented musician, you will be asked to use that talent to glorify God by singing, playing, writing songs or whatever. If you dance, you will be able to worship God in movement. If you are an electrician, God will put you to work rewiring the kitchen or fixing the blown fuses. If you are a teacher, eventually God will find a place for you to use that gift in our church by teaching about Him and His ways. No matter the "ministry" God gives a believer in our church, no person is held in higher regard than another. Each recognizes the importance of each person's spiritual gifts and their talents. No one is better than another. We are all parts of the same Body.

This has been demonstrated to me over the years in various ways. One way is how I can look around the church and not be able to tell who has money and who is struggling financially. There is none of that "snooty" attitude because we are all of one Body. I also notice it simply through the people who open up their homes for our SaLT Groups. These small group studies meet weekly at a person's house and often food is brought by those in attendance to share a meal together and fellowship. This encourages relationships which is one of the principle foundational purposes of Northbrook. Those people who are so willing to open their homes have a great gift of hospitality and sometimes I will hear someone say, I don't see how God can use that? Ummmmmmmmm, open your eyes! We are glorify God by worshipping and studying in your home...and then I will get "this is the home God gave us." I can appreciate those with the gift of hospitality because it is way way waaaaaaay down near the bottom of my list! LOL

Our church probably has now about 150-200 members yet we consistently see 300-350 people attending service on Sunday. We have a PLT (pastoral leadership team) at the church and the 7 or so men share the leadership responsibilities. Four of them I would consider the main teaching pastors and each week we hear from a different PLT member as they give the morning message. Last week our full time pastor and his family was out of town. I noticed that while we missed seeing them in church, nothing was really different about the service. At a prior church I attended, when the "main" pastor was gone, there was a substitute in place, so the pastor's absence was noticed because the routine was interrupted, Northbrook, because the pastoral leadership shares ALL the responsibility, the wheels keep turning and never miss a beat. I think that is how God intends a church to be. It is He that sustains it, not one pastor.

Another thing I find cool is that the worship team rarely has the same person leading worship from week to week. We have a pastor that organizes the worship, but each week someone else is designated to lead. It is rare to see the same group of musicians and singers leading worship two weeks in a row. This provides for an outlet for the worship team to share all the responsibilities and it helps keep the church out of a "rut". It is not the same thing from week to week. Each leader has their own style and so we end up having great variety in style of worship from week to week. I never know what to expect.

Oh, this is funny...last week, Chuck...the worship programming pastor was leading worship. We started with a great praise song and then had our time to greet one another. After about a minute, the worship team lead us into another great tune and then one of Chuck's guitar strings broke. That is usually not too big of a problem so he said "Ok, we'll try this one with 5!" so he started the worship team and we started singing. It wasn't sounding too good so he actually STOPPED the music! LOL Then he got a new string and as he was restringing the guitar he said "We never had two times of fellowship during a service. Go find three people you've never met and ask them their name, how many kids they have and where they work." LOLOL It has become known as the "guitar string fellowship"! LOL It was so fun! We rolled with the flow and God was right there in the midst of it all. I met some new people too!

Speaking of the talent in that place ... songwriting. We are blessed to have some great songwriters in our Gathering Place and Chuck is one of them. I was spending time today putting together some clips of songs from Northbrook's Worship CD to get uploaded to the church website. I ran into some technical difficulty there...but I thought I might be able to have some luck here. One of my favorites is the song "The Gathering Place" written by Chuck Maxwell, one of the founding pastors of the church. He wrote it, I believe, when the church building was opened a few years ago.

The Gathering Place

Click here to listen to a clip

Blocks and steel

Filled with hearts that feel

Drawn by the love they can find here

Paint and glass

Look on children who ask

Questions of teachers they know care

Lights and sound

Spread Good News around

Just tools of communication

We use this space

As a gathering place

To make a divine connection


Everytime we gather there's a chance for life to change

Everytime we scatter we go in Jesus' name

Our God is not confined to this one time or space

His Body comes together (3rd x - we find strength together) in this gathering place


An empty tomb

To a crowded room

We gather because Jesus lives

Even though

It was long ago

We know He still forgives


People come our way

With hearts that are empty and alone

We must be

a real community

A place that they can call home


We must shine like the stars in the heavens above

They will know we are Christians by our love

Copyright 2004 Northbrook Music

I love that song because it sums up what Northbrook says it is and I have seen it prove itself to be. Not perfect, but always looking Godward. Not perfect, but it does call Christ its leader.

Not perfect. Humble.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Do You Ever Feel Holy?

I have had days that I have felt holy. Yes, holy. Me...I have felt holy.

It has been a long time since I have felt holy. I want to feel holy again.

I am not saying that I am holy. I am not holy. But, sometimes I have felt so close to God that I feel holy. It is not my holiness, it is His.

What does holy mean? Apparantly it has a number of meanings...the one that is closest to what I am trying to say I think is the meaning "consecrated: set apart for religious purposes" or "saintly: devoted to the service of God"

God called me into His service. He set me apart.

God is holy, that is, He is set apart. Set apart from all else to be worshipped and glorified. All He calls to Himself are set apart, and through Christ and His sacrifice we are made holy. It is God's holiness that sets us apart. It is God's holiness that I feel when I feel holy. It is when I am closest to Him that I feel set apart. Afterall, the Creator of the Universe knows me by name and knows the number of hairs on my head.

These days I have felt distant. I haven't felt that "holiness". Why? It is because I have forgotten that He set me apart. I have forgotten that He is holy and I should set Him apart in my life. God is holy and therefore I should set Him apart from my everyday activities and spend time with Him. Only Him, for he is holy. When I do that, He blesses me, for I am covered in His Holiness. When I spend time with God, praying and talking to Him alone, His holiness is overwhelming. I can feel His presence and know that He is with me, that He is my protector, my Father and the Lover of my soul.

I can walk in full confidence that He is in control and watching over me. I can enjoy His presence as He intended me to and I can feel holy.

Last Day of Visit

Today was the last day I had to spend with my parents while they were here visiting. We went to my dad's favorite place for breakfast, McDonald's. I'm so glad they travelled from Medina, OH to eat out at McDonald's! It was a good breakfast though!

The morning with the kids and Katie at school, Mom and Dad and I just sat around talking. It was good communication and I enjoyed every second with my parents.

Then we went to a matinee and watched the movie "The Runaway Jury". WOW! Good movie! It had me guessing all the way through and kept me somewhat confused. I want to go see it again now that I know how it ends so I can put everything all together and have it make more sense this time through. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys John Grisham stuff and a good mystery with suspense.

After the movie we headed out for the daily trip to Walmart and then back home. We chatted some more and then headed to dinner with the entire framily tonight. Then it was time to come home. We talked awhile and then watched the movie "Joshua". That is a great movie!

Just a few minutes ago they left. I am so sad. I miss them already. They leave for Ohio tomorrow and I won't see them again until sometime next year. My heart hurts. I love my parents so much, and they are so far away.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Veggies and Shrubs

I had a grand day with my parents!

First Katie and I went to breakfast at Cathey's Restaurant in Trenton, TN. It is one of my favorite places to eat breakfast because they have plain and simple home cooked food. I most enjoy the shredded hash browns, so much so that I order a double order of them! YUM! I like them because they are from real potatoes and not seasoned with anything at all. Just fried in butter and that's it. They are so good. I like things plain. I am a very picky eater (it's a curse) and I really like bland stuff, some day I will have to blog about my eating "disorder".

I was happy to introduce Faye, the "best waitress in the world" to my parents. Faye is always very attentive to us and has gone out of her way to serve an outstanding meal to us each time we come for breakfast. Katie and I haven't been out there for about two weeks because we've been watching the budget a bit closer, but when we went today we asked Faye where she was this past Monday when we ate there? She said "I had a stroke." We were caught off guard with that one for sure. She said her right arm is still not working right, but she has gained most of her feeling back on the right side of her face. Katie wondered why she had a stroke and Faye said "a migraine brought it on." That was not welcome news to Katie a migraine sufferer herself. Faye said hers was also brought on because of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. So, Faye's life has changed. I asked her if she needed anything, if all her needs were taken care of. She said like what? Katie asked if she needed help with meals? cleaning house? I added "scrubbing toilets?". Faye just laughed and went on serving customers even in her limited mobility. Try being a one armed waitress! This is why Faye is the "best waitress in the world"!

After breakfast I took my parents over to my store to meet some of the people I talk about. That is always fun and after that short trip we headed over to Walmart where mom bought me a new weed whacker. Mine broke at the beginning of the summer so the weeds definitely needed some attention, especially around the mailbox.

Also, Mom and Dad got me some new shrubs to replace the ones that died from the Harry Potter spells I cast on them. The Harry Potters spells you say? Well, here's the thing. The neighbor guy has a bush at the edge of our property line. It is a huge ugly overgrown things with a giant weed growing all throughout it. It hasn't been pruned in years and the tentacles reach out from all angles and obstruct my view of the road as I try to pull out of my driveway. It is an eyesore and it needs to go. One day, we formed a came shortly after watching an HP movie...cast a "treeiss removis" spell on it. So I did! Everytime I backed out of the drive, I said "treeiss removis" and pointed toward the bush. That wasn't working. Someone from a blog I commented on once suggested that the spell might not be working because I wasn't using a wand, or the precise "flick" or "twist". LOL All this proved to me is that the "sorcery" in HP was not real at all and that was really disappointing because I really wanted that bush gone!

A few weeks later I noticed that the leaves were starting to turn a yellowish color. I watched them for a few days and then they went brown. They were dying. The problem was that it was NOT HIS bush dying IT WAS MY SHRUBS! My beautiful shapely shrubs that majestically sat in front of my front picture window! Two of them died! I had them removed one day. Since that moment I have had one shrub left standing and it made for a very uneven picture of the house! It looked rather stupid. I never did figure out what went wrong...why the "spell" I cast reversed onto my own shrubs! Could it be that the neighbor had place a "treespellis reflectis spell" on his bush? Regardless, my shrubs were all dead and/or dying. Today my parents replaced my dead shrubs. YAY!

Mom and I cleaned up the front yard by doing some light gardening, shrub planting and weed whacking. It sure looks a lot better, except for the neighbor's ugly eyesore shrub at the end of the drive. LOL

It was time to come in and what may prove to be the landmark of the visit occurred next. I introduced my parents to Veggietales. They know I'm in love with Larry. As a matter of fact, my mom brought me a dancing Larry that sings "The Hairbrush Song" and got a good kick out of that. Together we watched "Josh and the Big Wall" and my parent's seem to really enjoy them! I love Veggietales!

The whole framily sat down to a ham dinner that Katie lovingly prepared and dinner was gooooooooooooood! After that Katie and the kids headed to church and Mom, Dad and I sat around talking and sharing some laughs.

I'm having a good time with my parent's on their visit and I am so happy and so thankful to have them! I can't wait for tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

My Parents Are Here!

YAY! I am so blessed. Today, my parents arrived for a visit. We spent the afternoon together just talking and laughing and sharing. Then we went to dinner. I have great parents!

I had brass choir rehearsal tonight so they retired early and went to their hotel. That was probably a good thing since I'm sure they were tired out from travelling the past couple of days.

Tomorrow I am treating them to breakfast at Cathey's Restaurant in Trenton, TN. I LOVE breakfast there because the absolutely best waitress in the world works there. Her name is Faye. She is so attentive and kind and goes above and beyond what one would expect of a server.

So, that's a wrap!


I had a meeting at my store tonight. Afterward, my DM, myself and my asst. hung around to finish up the deposit and take it to the bank. As we were at the gate ready to leave the store, my asst. turned the key to start the motorized gate so it would open up.

She turned the key, the motor sounded and the gate didn't move.

It became apparant rather quickly that one of my other keyholders that left the store prior locked the latch from the outside of the store out of habit.

We were stuck!

The motor keeps going, but the gate wasn't moving. It had pulled up just enough that the latch wouldn't come unlocked with the manual lock. Two of us jumped onto the cage like wild animals and tried to use our weight to pull down the gate enough for the other to unlock it. No such luck. We tried a few times, but it wasn't budging.

I ran back and tripped the fuse so the motor would at least turn off and not burn out. I got an old shelf to help give us a platform to stand on to try to help weigh down the gate, but the shelf just broke when we jumped on it. I was beginning to fear I was stuck in my store all night!

Finally we went around the back and came around the front. By the time my asst. and I made it around, my DM had the thing unlocked! I don't know how he did it, but he did.


Well, that made a memory! Three grown adults hanging of the front grill like rats in a cage! I'm glad no one had a camera! I felt like I was at the zoo!


I can't wait for this sanctification process to be over for me. I just don't have the patience and wonder if I even have the endurance. God is not going to allow more to happen to me than I can handle, but it's getting close to a breaking point. I am no Job.

Monday, October 20, 2003


Ok, so Emode says my IQ is 126 and apparantly that's pretty "impressive", so it says.

If I'm so "smart" why do I sometimes behave so stupid?


I have a major pride problem. I keep waiting for other people to fix it. I can't fix it.

My pride problem is hurting other people.

I hate my pride problem.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Corrupt Christian Music

This post at blogs4God led me to the Corrupt Christian Music site.

I often wonder sometimes about the musicians behind the Christian music. I mean, what are they really like off stage?

When I went to the Corrupt Christian Music site, I found that I still don't know. That site is a joke to me. C'mon. It is exactly that kind of thing that I find to be embarrassing about Christians. The intent behind the site seems "noble", but it really makes me laugh at how petty it is. It borders on ridiculous the things the author(s) find unacceptable, and all the little warnings marked on each page are annoying and well, frankly, stupid.

I'm surprised that a person who is that fragile can function in society. I think I am with Jen on this one! I see red flags all over the place! One flag was how the author lists a bands influences. The influences are about the music. THE MUSIC! Not the lifestyle! Oh brother!

So today was the last time I ever plan to visit the Corrupt Christian Music site.

I notice that some of the font on that site is somewhat gothic in style. Goths celebrate the macabre, and the style of lettering is a totally unacceptable font to see on a Christian site! (*tongue in cheek. I in no way intend to offend goths!)

Ok, So It Was a Not So Great Investment

Well, after I bragged about the wonderful investment I made with PopUPCop, Michael pointed me to the Google toolbar which blocks popups and is FREE, and then Tony agreed and added that the Alexa toolbar also blocks popups and is FREE!

Drat! Were those toolbars around a year ago when I got myself PopUpCop?

Friday, October 17, 2003

A Great Investment

PopUp Cop by EdenSoft was something I downloaded to help with annoying Pop Ups. I hate pop ups!

I don't even remember how I happened across it, but I have used it for about a year. It's been very useful, easy to control and has prevented me from going insane. It is something the user can customize to block things at one site, yet not another.

It's the best $19.95 I've ever spent. Well, maybe not "ever", but it has been well worth it.

I'd recommend this product and just thought I'd pass along an FYI for those of you annoyed by pop ups! You can try it for thirty days free...I did and then couldn't live without it!


On the way back from Walmart, Tiffany (Katie's kid who is 10) observed a man flicking the ashes off the end of his cigarette. She asked "What is good about smoking? It just kills you."

I said "good question!"

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Remembering My Blanket

Blog Ideas: When you don't know what to Blog about. is where I came across an memory about a couch, my "security" blanket, and I Dream of Jeanie.

I used to suck my thumb, really bad. I think my parents were afraid my upper front teeth would stick out past my forehead if they didn't do something quick! When I was seven, they had an orthodontist install...did I say install? I said "install". That's not the right word...I had a "thumb crib" put in my mouth. It was like a tiny fork put in just behind my upper teeth. This "device" would stick my thumb any time it was placed in my mouth. Those nasty tasting fingernail biting polishes never worked, but the thumb crib did. Being stabbed worked!

Well, along with sucking my thumb I always had my trusty blanket with me. I remember that it was solid pink and had a really soft binding around all four edges. I loved that blanket and it went everywhere with me. I was like Linus carry that thing everywhere. Mom and dad tried to break me of that too. I was told that I could not take my blanket out of my bedroom until I Dream of Jeanie came on. I think at that time it came on tv at about 7:30pm. I would about die waiting for I Dream of Jeanie to come on! *humming to self ( Baaaa Da, Daa da da da dat, dah dat..)

I am now about to confess something I have told very few. If my Ma reads this post, she will know how I betrayed her when I was a kid. Here it goes... I would sneak my blankie out in the middle of the day and stuff it under the cushions of the couch. This helped me NOT die while waiting for I Dream of Jeanie to come on!

Whew. I feel so much better now that that is out. What a load off.

We Are Humbled

Superblessed has a list of the nominees for the " Christian Blog Awards." Ganns was kind enough to include Sisters' Weblog in a few categories and that blesses us! Thanks so much Ganns, I'm glad you enjoy our blog so much.

There are many other wonderful blogs nominated. Go check out the list and vote for your favorites.

I noticed a certain blog missing from the nominations...that would be!

There are 12 categories of awards. As I look over the lists I notice many of the blogs that I read are on there. There are also some new ones I will have to check out.

* Avoiding Evil was nominated and deservingly so. (Is deservingly a word?)

* So was What in Tarnation!!! which is a very entertaining blog and makes me laugh a lot and often!

* IreneQ of course, is a nominee. She maintains a very thought provoking and honest blog.

* Megan at her blog Insights has some interesting and thoughtful things to say.

* Over at Jax Place the reader can always find something interesting which is why I often check in.

* Darren at the Living Room has also been nominated and rightly so.

* Beth Sargent is a blog that I have recently started visiting frequently and would recommend you visit too.

* I also frequently visit In That Number who was nominated in the Favorite Christian Blog of 2003.

Now, I need to go back to the list of nominees and follow some links to some new reads! Woohoooo!

Oh, and of course, cast my vote for the Christian Blog Awards! You should too!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Restful Sleep, Collapsing Tents, Sailing Ships

Have you ever been so tired that as soon as you got home from that loooooong trip and boooooooooooring meeting that you immediately fell into bed and welcomed sleep? As soon as your head hit the pillow, in complete eshaustion, sleep came quickly. In the morning you awake feeling totally refreshed. "Sleep is a welcoming experience for those who need not fear the morning" is how Lutzer compares death for a believer, tired and worn out by the many years on earth. "Those who die in the Lord need not fear the unknown, for they fall asleep to awaken in the arms of God".

He also compares it like Paul did in the NT to a collapsing tent. Our present body houses the Holy Spirit of God, yet oaver the years, our "tent" becomes weathered by the storms. Eventually the structure will collapse and then it will be time to move in our mansion!

Paul also used an analogy in Philippians 1:23 that death is as sailing a ship. The word "depart" was used as in the "loosing of an anchor". So, as Christians are tied to this "dock" we call earth, or anchored in this life, once the anchor is loosed, we are free to be put out to sea. A new journey to a new world.

All of these analogies were interesting to me, but the sleep one works best for me. When I am so tired at night and I lie down, I can feel my body begin to relax. It no longer is resisting the draw of rest. I coined a term with Katie one night years ago because we spend many nights reading the Word to each other. I will read one night, she will read the next. It's not unusual for the one not reading to be the first to fall asleep! I noticed one night that I can tell the precise moment when someone "submits" to rest. Watch someone someday! Moms have probably known this for years because of watching their children, but I never had seen it before. There is a moment when rest comes, when sleep overcomes you and the body just totally relaxes. Breathing changes, it's almost deeper. We "submit" to sleep. I liken that to what death will be like. Submission.

Christ submitted to death, only to overcome it! He went there first so that I do not have to fear it!

That moment just before I slip into sub-conciousness I can still hear what is going on around me. I can still think things, but I am also aware that I am on the brink of submission. It's a bizarre feeling that is hard to describe, but when I am overcome by rest, it is a welcome relief from the strain of the day. When Christ welcomes me home, that will be a welcome relief that surpasses any twelve hours of rest I have ever had! Woooohooooooooooo!

The Gift of Death

Erwin W. Lutzer in his book "One Minute After You Die" has some interesting things to say about death. I am finding some wonderful new things to ponder about what the Bible has to say about it also, with the help of this facinating book.

For those who embrace Christ, the bible presents death as a picture of hope. Lutzer explains in chapter three that "After Adam and Eve sinned, they died spiritually as well as physically. Sending them out of the garden, far from being an act of cruelty, was actually proof of God's kindness." I never looked at it that way. I have always assumed that being sent from the garden was a consequence, in fact, a punishment for the disobedience.

Lutzer goes on to explain that if Adam and Eve had then eaten from the other special tree in the Garden, the Tree of Life, that they would have been immortalized in their sinful condition. They would never ever have been able to qualify for heaven. God wanted them to enjoy His presence. When they disobeyed, they were sinful and no longer able to be in His presence because of the sin. God remedied that by taking them out of the garden, thereby removing the possibility of them gaining eternal life without Him. Imagine never having to face the finality of death although you were condemned to a pitiful existence. God gave Adam and Eve a gift. The gift of death.

"God prevented Adam and Eve from eternal sinfulness by gving them the gift of death, the ability to exit this life and arrive safely in the wondrous life to come." Lutzer goes on to explain that while to many, death appears to be an enemy, it is actually a friend because it is only through death that we can go to God.

This is why Paul classified death as one of the possessions of a Christian in I Corinthians 3:21-23. As we already know, Christians do not fear death, because it is only through death that we receive the gift of eternity.

Most Christians understand that death is the way into eternity, but I have to say, while I don't fear where I will be "One Minute After (I) Die", the actual process does concern me. I mean, I really would rather die just a peaceful death in my sleep or something. I don't like to think about the actual "how" I will go. I'd hate to drown, or suffocate in anyway. I also wouldn't appreciate having to be crushed to death in a trash compactor. I don't know why I fear that, but I do every single time I take cardboard out to the compactor at work! I think it is because one day I heard Paul Harvey tell a news story about a college kid doing something stupid like college kids sometimes do, and he thought it'd be fun to slide down the laundry chute. It wasn't the laundry chute. When the kid got to the bottom, the compactor he fell into was triggered automatically to compress. Lesson? Don't slide down "laundry" chutes. I'm horrified to imagine what the friends were thinking and feeling when all the "woohooooo's" turned into shrills and shrieks of desperation and doom. Then I wonder about what happens "One Minute After You Die"?

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Not of this World

I was reminded once again yesterday and most of today that I am not of this world.

I went to a business meeting in Louisville, KY. I go about once or twice a year to these District/Regional meetings. All the store managers from a few districts gather together for a day or day and a half to discuss "stuff". Basically it is all hum drum boring stuff with a few tidbits of real information thrown in. I particularly don't enjoy the meetings at all because all I want to do is be home. I can read, and to me the company could save a lot of money if they would just trust a manager to read the information. If a manager can't read and comprehend it, they have no business being a manager!

I digress.

When the first evenings meeting ends, it is time to "party". Many of the managers go out to eat and drink and do whatever. Not me. It's not where I want to be. I prefer my alone time in the room. As managers we only see each other once or twice a year so I do not really "know" anyone enough to call them friends or anything. Some of the managers seem to have good friendships and enjoy each others company at these meetings/social times. I must say that although "going out" with them is not what I want to do, I might like to be asked to join them. I guess they just know that I won't go so they don't bother asking, but it would still be nice to be invited you know?

At break times I usually go off by myself. Today I went out to Jeepers and read some of my book. (I'm gonna share some of the insight later in another blog.) I'm not missed by the group. It's not that I don't associate at all with these people, I do chat with them at the meetings and in the little breaks in between. I'm not totally anti-social, but, when it comes to actual "real" social interaction, I just don't fit. I can't fit.

The world around me at these meetings is sooooooo secular. I feel totally out of my element at times. When it comes time for the promo CDs to be passed out, I never rush to the boxes because I know that no one is going to take any of the Christian music or gospel CDs. (That's a plus! It's always left for me!) But, it's interesting to feel that way. I sit and listen to what is going on around me and I feel so removed. I keep thinking "I am in this world, not of it", and it is during times like yesterday and today that I am reminded of that fact!

Sometimes I have to admit, it makes me feel lonely and left out. Not that I have ever been one that "needed to belong" to anything, but that sometimes it's nice to be wanted. Sometimes it is just nice to be asked to join in the fun, even if it is not my idea of fun.

Then again, I did enjoy watching the History Channel alone in the room! I learned a heck of a lot about Wake Island and the fight for it during WWII. It will make playing Battlefield 1942 that much more interesting! Sometimes I wish I had more than one channel on my tv! See how weird I really am!? I don't watch tv!

In God We Trust?

Sue will be thrilled that I blogged.......especially when she sees what I blogged about. I'm sure this will stir up debate but then again.......that's what I do! So here it goes......

I believe that all Christians should protest to have "In God We Trust" removed from American currency. It is a false statement and makes Americans out to be hypocrites! American Christians trust in God but we have no voice! There was a time when the Constitution was our voice but the same constitution that held up the morality in America seems to be losing moral value as it seems to be interpreted more liberally over time (personal observation only). Anything moral seems to be unconstitutional these days. There is a new movement to have anything to do with God removed from any government building, function, or public event. The ban against God is getting almost as bad as the ban against smoking! I think it is a false statement for our currency to say "In God We Trust" when it seems that a large part of America would like to wipe Him out of existence. Maybe it would make a statement if Christians stood up and protested against the hypocracy of this statement on our currency. We should demand that this lie be removed or that America starts living up to what it claims on its currency. I'd just be interested in the reaction that would come from that.

Friday, October 10, 2003

The Friday Five

the friday five: "

1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones? Not as much as I used to. I won't pay for cable, so I get one station here locally. There are very little opportunities to watch sports. Since "my" teams wouldn't be programmed, I have little interest anyway.

2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes? Cleveland Indians and the Browns are my favorite teams because I grew up on them. I don't watch them because I basically have no tv, but when I have the chance I can listen to them on WTAM 1100 "The Monster on the Lake" out of Cleveland. One day I hope to actually witness them win a Championship!

3. Are there any sports you hate? I can't say "hate", but basketball annoys me at times. "A bunch of men running up and down a court with squeaky tennis shoes" is how one of my friends describes it. I do think the basketball season is too long and the playoffs take forever, so that annoys me.

4. Have you ever been to a sports event? Yes, I've seen the Indians play and the Browns at the old Municipal Stadium which is gone now. It's been years since I've been to a game. The last one I was at would have been the Iowa Barnstormers, an arena football team. Cool thing is Kurt Warner was the QB at the time!

5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?" I was in marching band for four years in high school and two in college. I know it's not a "sport", however, if you've ever been in marching band, you know full well that it is an athletic activity. Also, I played a lot of softball. I played since I was nine years old until my back surgery put an end to that "career" when I was about 24. I loved softball and played on any and every team that would have me! I miss it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

What's That?

A woman came into my store yesterday and asked for a CD by the artist "Stree Twiz". I had not heard of this particular artist so I asked her again what the artist's name was. She slowed down and said "Streeeeeeee Twiiiiiiiiiizzzzzzzzzzzzz".

Hmmmmmmmmmm I thought for a moment. I was absolutely unfamiliar with this artist so I asked the woman to spell it. She said "S-T-R-E-E-T -W-I-Z-E". I said "Ohhhhhhhhhh, Streetwize!". She gave me a puzzled look and said again "Stree Twiz!".

I found her the Streetwize CD and she was happy. Ignorance is bliss.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

The Sabbath

Another awesome message today. "Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy".

George has some interesting illustrations for us today. My favorite was the metronome. He explained that God has rhythm. God created rhythm. There is rhythm in creation. Day and night, orbit of the earth, the seasons, etc. While George was explaining this, the metronome kept beating time in 4/4 time. He began to sing "The Wondrous Cross". It was neat. George said that God gave us bodies that need rest and that we need to have a regular pattern of rest. That was something I hadn't necessarily thought of like that. If we keep pushing beyond that point where we need rest, our work suffers.

We need physical rest, but we also need spiritual renewal. This is why the Sabbath makes the "Top Ten List". It is VERY important to God. We are to remember to take our rest and use that time to renew and strengthen our relationship with Him. We need to keep that day holy, or "set apart". It is profane to make the Sabbath no different than any other day. The Sabbath is a special day. A Holy Day.

Why is it we forget the Sabbath? Why is it we get so caught up in "catching up" with work, with homework, with work work...that we often profane the Sabbath? Even if I have a day off from work, my mind is often at work. Katie is always holding me accountable on that one! She'll say "STOP THINKING ABOUT WORK! IT IS YOUR DAY OFF!" The Sabbath needs to include trusting God.

We need to trust God enough that work won't get out of hand on our one day off. We need to trust God enough that if we skip the housework today and instead spend time with him, that the ceiling won't cave in and the floor won't sink. We need to trust God.

George suggested that one reason we don't keep the Sabbath Holy is because we don't trust God. Seems simplistic, but as I think about it, I have to say I agree.

Why don't we trust God? He has never errored. He has never let me down. It's really stupid that I don't trust God enough to take a rest!

Battlefield 1942

Well, I finally did it. I knew that when I hit "install" I'd be in trouble. Sure enough I was right. I installed "Battlefield 1942" and I'm hooked. Can't stop playing. I have stopped for the moment because I need to eat.

I'm still learning the game so I haven't gotten into the strategy or anything like that. I seem to do well with the enemy in hand to hand combat, but I manage to get blown up by the enemies bombing raids. I guess I think I'm invincible. I need to learn to hide better.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Post Removed

I want to apologize to Andy Patton over at Shot in the Arm.? The post that was originally here was in and of itself bad blogger etiquette, and for that I am sorry. I should have handled the situation that arose differently. I made a mistake.

Andy is new at blogging, so head on over to his blog and give him some encouragement! A Shot in the Arm is just what you need!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Welcomed to the Family

Last night was an awesome night of worship at our church. Wow. I love that place!

Three men were baptized, two very young men. It was so great to listen to their faith stories. At Northbrook, baptisms are done a bit differently than I've seen done in other places. Each person shares their faith story. It is often a very moving story about how God worked in their lives and drew them to Himself. Last night's stories were no different. When one person has finished sharing, the Body is asked to share words of encouragement to the new believer. Many stand to simply say "I love you and I'm so proud of you" while others stand to share Scripture. It is a time when the Spirit is alive and moving in the Body and joy is felt by all. It is a time of celebration and words just don't do the experience justice. I hate that. It's an unbloggable event!

One man's testimony was especially moving. He spoke about his abusive childhood in a "Christian" home. "Dad demanded we attend church and when we'd come home he'd drink and starting beating on us" was what Bill shared. He therefore blamed God for everything and turned to alcohol and drugs himself. When he met his wife, he stopped the drugs...for awhile and then stumbled back into them. They separated and he entered rehab "only to win her back" but one morning he went outside "to smoke". He saw the sunrise "and that's when God saved me". Just like that. I thought that was cool! Then it was time for his church family to share words of encouragement. What I noticed about what people shared was that while many shared scripture about how God is always there for you, people offered to be a support system for him when times get tough. No one sugar-coated the Christian life for this man and simply offered their prayers, their support for times when life may not be so good. He is newly out of rehab and there may be times he backslides or is tempted greatly, we wanted him to know that his church family loves him and will help to carry his burdens. His family needs much support to as they all adjust to life with this "new man".

Bill's son also was baptized last night. That was neat! John David is a young teenager (I think) but is always smiling and so many of the youth kids shared about how they loved him so much. They loved the laughter he has brought to their lives and encouraged him to keep his joy. They encouraged him to stay in the Word. He soaked it all up. His face probably hurts today from all the smiling! He was so cute when he shared his testimony because he shared about the time he was talking to Chuck, one of our pastors, about his family all being save, all except for him. John David then said "so we fixed that!" LOL To see a father and son baptized was a true blessing. Their family is forever changed.

Katie and I, mostly Katie, talked to the couple afterward. I had watched the mother, the wife, through much of the testimony and sharing of the words. She was about to burst I think, but remained calm and tears were constantly welling up in her eyes. She is filled with joy and it was so awesome to watch as God blessed her last night. Her name escapes me right now, but when I came over she said to me "YOU were the one who first welcomed us into Northbrook." I am a FIT member (First Impressions Team) and at times I greet. I make it a priority to hunt out the new faces and introduce myself. I also try to give them some info about the church, things like where to take the kids, etc. I sometimes grab the nearest SaLT leader and introduce them to help get them "plugged in". Most of all, I like to make people feel welcomed, wanted and loved when they come through the doors. She affirmed in me that being a "greeter" is a VERY important function in a church and not a job to be tossed off as something small!

The other young man that was baptized was saved at a Student Life camp this past summer. His family are long time members of Northbrook...(longtime at NB is a few years) it was neat to watch a kid who has grown up with the church to come to know the Lord and profess his faith through baptism.

After the baptisms, the family broke bread. We shared communion and before we "ate of the Body" we were reminded to examine our lives. I thought about my life looks to God. Looking at my life through God's eyes isn't always a pleasant experience. I saw many things that aren't cool. I prayed for forgiveness and a fresh new start. I ate of the Body. I thanked God for His forgiveness and mercy. I thank God that He gives me a fresh new start each day. I drank of the Blood. I thanked God for the church He has me in. I asked Him to use me for His glory.

It was a very worshipful experience last night at FWF, First Wednesday Fellowship. The first Wednesday each month we gather to eat together and worship. Some nights worship is praying together. Some nights worship is baptism. Some nights worship is communion. Some nights worship is gathering together in His name. All nights are worship and I pray that the heart of Northbrook keeps seeking His face.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

One Minute After You Die

"The other day I was browsing in the travel section of a bookstore. Potential travelers were buying maps and guidebooks on Hawaii and Europe. Some were purchasing booklets to help them learn some phrases of a foreign language. No doubt they had saved their money, blocked out their vacation schedules, and purchases airline tickets. All that just for a two-week journey.

I wondered how many of them were giving at least that much attention to their final destination. I wondered how many were reading the guidebook, studying the map, and trying to learn the language of heaven. Europe and Hawaii seemed so much more real than the unseen realm of the dead. And yet, even as they planned their vacations, they were en route to a more distant destination."

The above quote is from One Minute After You Die by Erwin W. Lutzer. I have only read the introduction to the book and it reads with a certain urgency.

"Those who find themselves in heaven will be surrounded with friends whom they have known on earth. Friendships once rudely interrupted by death, will continue where they left off. Every description of heaven they have ever heard will pale in the light of reality. All this, forever.

Others--indeed many others--will be shrouded in darkness, a region of deprivation and unending regret. There, with their memories and feelings fully intact, images of their life on earth will return to haunt them. They will think back to their friends, family and relatives' they will brood over opportunities they squandered and intuitively know that their future is both hopeless and unending. For them, death will be far worse than they imagined."

The idea of living with regrets is bad enough when as human, as finite creatures, we can only comprehend a temporary state of existence. Imagine living with regret forever. Forever! That there would be no end to that feeling. Consider a time you hurt someone you love and never asked for forgiveness, that is such an ill feeling, yet, apart from God, that feeling will remain forever. That ill feeling will permeate your soul for all eternity. I think about times when I am not necessarily living in God's peace, for whatever reason, and how I live with a hopelessness. I live with things eating away at me. I never have stopped to consider that I have always thought of those feelings as being temporary. I always know that God will bring me through it. The introduction to this book has made me try to imagine what it would be like to have those feelings forever. To have to live with memories, regrets, darkness and ill feelings for eternity, forever, is really a scary kind of thought...But true. Those feelings would not ever cease to consume the soul. Not ever! What hopelessness! In this life we can sometimes muddle through the "not-so-good times" by thinking that "tomorrow is another day" but what if tomorrow was never going to come? What if our temporary existence suddenly passed on through to eternity and we were stuck with those poor decisions from that moment on?