Monday, November 29, 2004

Are You a Christian?

Matt wants to know, Are You a Christian?

Some of what he asks:

What make someone (YOU) decide to call himself or herself a Christian?
To YOU, what is a defining characteristic that would lead you to say, "Yes, I am a Christian!"? I am assuming for many "devout" Christians this will be a fairly simple question. I would really like to hear from people who consider themselves "marginal" Christians (not marginal people, mind you), those who don't consider themselves devout.

Matt is curious to hear some answers to his very good questions. Head on over to his POST and add your answers in his comments section. He'll appreciate it I'm sure!

I want to answer his question, and some of the comments he's getting, but I"m too tired right now. I'll have to come back to it later. It's something for me to ponder though and I do want to say I never "decided" to call myself a Christian. I turned over my life to Christ.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Adding To the Growing List of Stupid Questions

Ok, I'm sorry, I do not believe that the only stupid question is the one that isn't asked.

There are many stupid questions, and truthfully, they wouldn't need to be asked if people simply thought about it first!

Since I am getting many new visitors via Blog Explosion, a tiny bit of "prep" is in order.

I am a retail music store manager and sell CDs, DVDs, and Games. In retail, we deal with the public on a daily basis and are usually never lacking in stupid questions. One winner in our "stupid question of the month" was a person who walked into the store and heard the music playing, saw the Top 20 selling CDs in front of them, picked up a CD and inquired "is this a music store"?

Today we have another one:

A person enters the store, again hears music playing overhead, sees that we sell CD and asks "What are you using to play the music?"

The answer:

"uhhhhhh, a CD player"

Friday, November 26, 2004

The "Future" of Home Computers

This is an actual picture from Popular Mechanics magazine in 1954. Scientists from RAND Corporation built this model to show what a home computer might look like in the year 2004. I would have had to build on an additional room to house that puppy!

I thought it interesting that the caption says "that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work..."

**UPDATED ON 11/23 - ACK! I was duped! Thanks to The Infamous Mike (who didn't leave his web addy in his comment) but left a link to Snopes, that shows the above "magazine picture" is a hoax! I normally catch this kind of stuff!

He also left a link to an interesting site at Worth 1000 where there are many examples of "edited" art and photos!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey, Turkey, Turkey!

I'm so excited about turkey that I festively prance around the house singing the "turkey, turkey, turkey song" (I wrote it, ASCAP hasn't called yet.)

It's been known to put people on the floor laughing. Maybe you have to know me? I dunno, but I present for your listening pleasure (or not so much pleasure) the "Turkey, Turkey, Turkey Song" aka "The Gobble".


Katie celebrates the day by cooking. She is a great mom and homemaker (although she would probably disagree) and what makes it even better is that as she is slaving over the hot stove and making such wonderful creations as these, I get to blog and play. This is the life! (Actually, I did help a bit by cleaning some of the house today, I'm not totally useless! LOL)

Here's a pic of her turkey snacks made from cherry cordials, cookies and candy corn. Aren't they cute?

One Thing I Am Thankful For

If I had to be thankful for just one thing, I would be thankful for adoption.

Of course, adoption encompasses a many great things in my life. For one, I was adopted by two of the most loving parents the world has known. Always there for me, no matter how old I am, I still need my Ma and Pop! When I have good news to share, I just have to let them know! When I have decisions to make, I want their advice. If I am ever in need, they are always there. I am so blessed.

For two, I have been "adopted" by many people throughout my life. I live far from my home that was Hinckley and Medina, Ohio and because I work retail, getting home for the holidays is next to impossible. Today I have been invited to eat with Carol, as I have been for the past couple of Thanksgivings. In prior years I was invited by the McDonough's, but they have since moved to Texas. I sure do miss them over the holidays...I get all melancholy for them. I am also invited to share dinner with the Gushee's, but since I can't be in two places at once, I choose instead Carol's. Last year I also ate with Tommye and visited with her family for awhile. So, even though I can't be at home in Ohio, I am not at a loss for sharing the holidays with "family".

For three, I got to do some adopting myself! Katie and her kids are such a wonderful blessing. Sometimes when I think about my life as a single woman and I never would have imagined sitting through band concerts with my chest swelling with pride for Justin, my "not-the-son", playing drums or Tiffany, my "not-the-daughter", singing a solo in the Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever. Sometimes I just get all teary-eyed thinking about the responsibility God gave me in caring for this framily. It is not always easy, and in fact I stress a lot, but in the end, I know and treasure this wonderful blessing.

For four, and the One thing I am most thankful for, is my adoption into God's Family. There is nothing in the world more precious to me than knowing He calls me daughter, His own.

The one thing I am thankful for today, if I had to pick just one thing of the many things I am thankful for, is adoption.

The One True God

I just began reading a guide for one of my SaLT group studies. It is called "On the Prophets & Kings of Israel" and put out by Focus on the Family. I was just reading the introduction to the study and found an interesting statement, so I thought I'd share.

In the introduction, the author is giving a brief overview about God's relationship with His chosen people, the Jews. It tells the story of the Hebrew people being led to the Promised Land and how God was using them to work out the beginning of His plan of salvation. "The nature of God's covenant relationship with His people demanded a place where their faith could be exercised and displayed to all nations so that the world would know of Yahweh, the true and faithful God."

By New Testament times, the Jewish people had been removed from the Promised Land, mainly due to Israel's inability to live obediently before God. During this time in an effort to recommit to God, new patterns of worship developed and experts in the Law emerged. There was a new focus for the Jews, but the Promised Land was now home to many other groups of people. Did this change the mission of God's chosen people? No...the mission remains the same, they were to live so that the world would know that their God was the one true God.

The Promised Land was the area, the "crossroads" where major trade routes were, in which the Jews would live obediently and serve Him as the world watched. Unfortunately they failed in their mission.

The mission has since been passed on to Christians. The study guide then speaks of how Christians today still think of the Promised Land by spirituality the concept as presented in the Bible. "Instead of seeing it as a crossroads from which to influence the world, modern Christians view it as a distant, heavenly city, a glorious 'Canaan' toward which we are traveling as we ignore the world around us. We are focused on the destination, not the journey."

It goes on to explain how we, as Christians, have separated our spiritual walk with Him from our responsibility in the world.

I believe that in many cases this is true. I think we have given away our responsibility. In America, it has led to many horrible things. As the world changes around us, Christians for too long have remained silent. It is now taking its toll in the form of removing God from almost every aspect of American life and when that happens we end up with abortion, gratuitous sex and violence at the movies, on tv and in video games. We end up gluttons and a people without purpose. Great empires fall when they lose purpose. I read yesterday that a school in CA is banning the declaration of Independence! Is that not a sign of a nation losing its direction?

As I read the news I start to consider the possibility that as the Jews failed to remain obedient and uphold their part of the covenant, Christians are failing too, and just as the Israelites began to refocus their energies and reclaim their faith, I see the same happening with Christians.

I see Christians banding together and trying to change some policies and attempting to stop actions that would remove God from the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States, and other similar things. More Christians are becoming involved in governmental positions and are working to change policy. I also read in the news today that in Europe, over a million Christians signed a petition that calls for their Christian heritage to be recognized in the EU constitution.

Christians need to be faithful to God right now. We need to live by faith and be obedient to Him. The world is watching us in this place, at this time. Our mission today is the same mission God gave to the Israelites, we are to live obediently within the world so that through us "the world may know that our God is the One True God."

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

2.5 Billion Pixels

I'm in the market for a digital camera...a nice one.

I want one that does THIS!

2.5 billion pixels...amazing! I could even read the license plates on the cars! WOW! Go check it out HERE!

Found via Garfieldt's blog.

Blog Explosion and Blog Surfing Habits

The Sisters' Weblog is getting more traffic, but does that mean anything?

I've been enjoying surfing some new weblogs discovered via Blog Explosion. Blog Explosion does in fact "explode" traffic to your site, but does anyone linger around long enough to read any of its content?

Does anyone linger around long enough to respond to its content?

Does anyone linger around long enough to sign the Guestbook and say hello from wherever they are from?

Everyone has their own purpose for blogging. Mine isn't necessarily to get hits, although I'd be lying if I said I'm not interested in seeing people actually visit this blog.

One of the most enjoyable things about blogging for me has been developing some online aquaintances. Some blogs I have been reading for two or so years. During that time period, one "gets to know" other bloggers because you have been "following" their life for a good period of time.

Blogs attract a certain readership, and eventually you start to "know" your "audience". From time to time comments are left and dialogue begins which can serve to deepen the online relationship, as thoughts and ideas are exchanged. When tragedy strikes the encouragement pours in, or goes out. When the wedding occurs we share some of the bliss. When the new born baby arrives we "hear" all about it. I actually think about some bloggers during the day, wondering if they are doing better or if they got that job they shared about.

I'm not sure any of that is happening with the thirty second visit from a Blog Explosion surfer.

I guess what Blog Explosion can do is increase the chances of making more online contacts. I know I have found a couple of sites that I will most likely end up adding to my blogroll.

I visit a lot of sites on a daily basis. I usually read most of my blogroll, and now that I have been checking out Blog Explosion, I have found a wealth of new ones. I do not often leave comments at other blogs, I'll read...ponder...move on. Now and then I do leave comments if I am so moved, or want to take the time to do it. Usually though, I catch up with that blogger's life from that daily post, and continue on.

So, I'm curious, what are your Blog Surfing Habits:

What are your blog surfing habit?

How do you find new sites?

What determines if you add a link to your blogroll?

Do you make mention of your visit via comments? tagboard? guestbook/map? email?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

My Heart Took a Picture

After we sat in small groups and shared what we were thankful for, the church celebrated communion.

As music played after communion, people were sitting quietly in prayer and thanksgiving. Katie pointed out to me something that was so beautiful and tender, I choked up.

A young couple is expecting their first child in a month. She is seven months along and it shows. She is a petite woman and right now she is all baby!

After communion she sat in the chair with her head bowed in prayer. My eyes followed down her arm to see her hand gently resting on her husband's shoulder. Her husband was on his knees to her left, his head was bowed, resting on his wife's side. His hands were tenderly and lovingly resting on her abdomen as he was "holding" their child awaiting birth. It was such a tender moment to witness between husband, wife and unborn baby. My heart took a picture.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Tear-Jerker Alert

One of the most touching posts I have ever read:

Mostly Risible - An open letter to my dad

I Want My VCR!

It's official, I HATE DVDs!

The first DVD I purchased after my dad gave me his DVD player was Dances With Wolves. I took that DVD back to exchange it for one that would play!

During various other DVD viewings of other movies, it skips and sputters or just plain stops.

You can't fast-forward because it skips entire scenes then. I hate that.

I want to go back to VHS. Sure, now and then the tape was bad, but at least you could usually get past the bad part...with DVDs, you end up either stuck, or skipping entire scenes.

It takes about four hours to even get to the feature because of the whole big production that is made out of the menu. It's a MENU! A menu...that's it. Big whoop! Why can't I just start the movie!

There, I feel better now.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

New Blog Directories

I've noticed a couple of new Blog Directories popping up recently at different sites I've surfed across. I've found Blog Explosion, Blog Catalogue,, and the Blogs By City Directory.

One that really has potential to increase traffic to your blog is Blog Explosion. It's a pretty sophisticated directory with bidding for banner ad time and earning credits for surfing member blogs. I still haven't figured it all out, but it has given me a new way to surf blogs. I've also noticed more hits daily to the Sister's Weblog, but I wonder if any are return visits? Blog Explosion requires a visitor surfing your blog to stay a minimum of thirty seconds, very few of those that surf this blog manage to stay beyond that. I know that when I surf blogs, I can usually determine whether or not I want to stay to read it within ten seconds, so I don't need that full thirty, but I stay to earn that credit. LOL I do think this nifty directory with some new fangled ideas woven in will catch on and who knows what will become of it.

While gandering through Blog Explosion I did "bookmark" some sites I ran across. I found something there that held my interest so I'll be making return visits. These are some of blogs I found that were noteworthy (at least to me):

  • Almanac of the Mundane - Photography and photojournals, Politics (conservative views and parodies), Religion (notes on scripture and culture), Music (songwriting and the Autoharp), Technology (Java and internet programming), Leisure, Money, and any other mundane topics.

  • Lost in Wisconsin - Just looking for a way . . .

  • BipolarDiary - Diary of a recovering depressed person

  • Paul's Ponderings - A Youth Minister's thoughts about God, Christianity, and Ministry.

  • Lockjaw's Lair - Opinions, happenings, essays and interests from a bookstore owning, amateur radio operating, libertarian, North Carolina ogre named Lockjaw

  • the outer... - Musings, views, reviews, comments on faith journey, business, ethics, leadership and life.

  • LeeN's World and the Random thoughts that come and go - My random thoughts of everything that's going on, from things that I support, to politics, to my daily goings on & sometimes adventures! Oh, I can't wait for my big adventure to start...

  • From the Hammock Brain - Just a little bit of everything that comes from my head. Sometimes it's political, sometimes it's about entertainment, sometimes just general observations. I don't do it every day, but when I've got something to say, I say it.

Some other directories I've come across that seem to be fairly new are:

  • Blog Catalogue - Your basic cataloguing of blogs by type

  • Blogs are indexed by type and then ranked according to clicks. I never do well with these type directories/listings. LOL

  • Blogs By City - Now this one has promise! At this posting, it lists only around 500 sites and it is organized by city, and these include major cities around the world. I believe you can add a city that isn't listed too. I think that is cool and eventually, as it grows, it will be easier to locate nearby least ever since GeoUrl went down "for renovations"

So, for those avid bloggers out there...have fun exploring some of these new blog services!

Carol. Church. Conviction. Communion.

Carol, a member of our church, was diagnosed with Lukemia a year ago. She was given less than six months to live. Now she is in remission, and living cancer free. Praise God!

Carol has no family at all in this world. She is alone. She is unemployed. She has little or next to nothing. Some of her possessions are in our attic, and many more of her possessions are scattered at various other homes for safe keeping. At one point the pastor contacted a local funeral home to make her arrangements because we were told by the doctors she would not last past the first of the year. That was 2003! The church has taken on the responsibility of paying some of her bills, like utilities, to keep her apartment available becaue she is bound and determined to leave the nursing home where she is now and live on her own.

Carol is a blessing to the church because, although she has really nothing in the way of material things to give, nor can she serve, she is an inspiration and example to us. She has conquered the cancer so far, and we hear stories of her dependence on her Father. He is all she has. We believe God has her in our church so that we have an opportunity to minister to her needs. He is using Carol to grow us.

Her treatments began a year ago which kept her in Memphis for weeks at a time. Every now and then she would be able to come back "home" to stay in the nursing home nearby. I'm sure it has been a very rough year for Carol.

It is her birthday next week, Thanksgiving time is here and just around the bend, Christmas will arrive. One of the women, or maybe a few, who have been caring for Carol over the past year thought it would be nice to celebrate with her. They organized not a "party", but a worship service at the nursing home.

Tonight, about forty people from church showed up at the nursing home and we monopolized the cafeteria and shared a meal together. We all had a chance to talk with Carol to catch-up . We sang "Happy Birthday" and then Carol opened the gifts we all brought her. One SaLT group pitched in to buy her a DVD player, so many others started her DVD library by giving her some movies. She enjoys movies and reading books, and we tried to oblige. She will hopefully enjoy those things and it will help her pass the time, until she can move into her apartment which we hope someday she will do.

We sang some worship songs, praised God and prayed together before sharing in communion. It was a wonderful time of celebration and reflection. We took church to Carol since Carol hasn't been able to attend church at Northbrook. It was really a special time.

As I sat and watched Carol enjoy the evening, I couldn't help but feel ashamed.

Carol is a sister in Christ. She was in my SaLT group. Carol sat directly behind me in church each and every Sunday. Carol had many words of wisdom to share about faith and such things in classes we sometimes attended together.

Carol is staying in a nursing home within walking distance of my house. I never once have gone to visit. She has been there most of the year. She is living right around the corner from me!

I visited her in Memphis a couple of times during her initial cancer treatments, but that was last January. I haven't been to see her since, until now. I was so convicted about this tonight.

A woman, with no family lay dying and suffering for the better part of the year and I went on and lived my life. I prayed for Carol now and again, but did I leave my comfort zone? No. I passed by on the other side of the road.

I am the priest going down the same road. I am the Levite. I passed by on the other side.

Romans 7:19 "For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing."

Before accepting the Bread tonight, I asked God to forgive me of my selfishness and failure to show kindness and goodness.

Father, show me my sin that I might lay it at your feet.

Carol lives within walking distance. I should go for walks more often.

Friday, November 19, 2004

A Music Meme

Snagged from The Ministry Blog: Ooh; a music meme! and I thought it'd be interesting to tackle:

First Record Bought: It was a 45, remember those? Well, for those of you who don't, they were singles on a plastic/vinyl record back in the day. My first 45 was ELO's "Telephone Line". Hello...How are you? Have you been alright, through all those lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights?...FLASHBACK!

First Concert: My own 5th grade band concert! HA! No, for real...let's see...I think my very first concert was Barry Manilow on his Swing Street tour.

Favorite Music Movie: Well, I used to enjoy the Sound of Music, but since moving to TN, Katie's kid has watched it (and I'm not kidding) about thirty times. Now it grates on my nerves! I haven't seen too many music movies. There's Grease, but that movie is filled with a lot of crude stuff which knocks it off my favorite list. Ok, I'll go with Aladdin! Fun music, fun's my favorite! Actually, I just defaulted to it because I can't think of anything else that just stands out.

Favorite Music Book: I really enjoyed reading "A Hard Days Write", a book that catalogers the events and circumstances behind every Beatle's song. It was arranged chronologically and I found it an interesting read.

Favorite Songwriter: Jennifer Knapp, and she's dropped off the planet as of late. I keep praying for her.

Favorite Magazine: CCM

Favorite Album Cover: I've always thought the cover for Bob Seger's "Against the Wind" was so beautiful.

Favorite Teen Idol: I was absolutely fascinated with Andy Gibb! He was soooooo cute!

Artist Who Broke Your Heart: Ummmm, I don't think I've ever had my heart broken by someone I didn't know, although it was depressing to hear about Andy's drug problem, rehab, and subsequent death.

Artist You Will Always Believe In: I don't "believe in" any artist, I just enjoy his/her music.

Singer Who Makes Your Skin Crawl: Eminem

Singer Who Makes You Swoon: I'll get back to you on this one.

Favorite Sound: I kind of like the cowbell in the middle of the bridge of "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns & Roses.

Album You Will Always Defend: I won't defend it, if it's bad, it's bad!

Album You Own That No One Else Does: Icicle Works, at least they don't here in the states.

Classic Album You Own but Don't Like: Tracy Chapman "Tracy Chapman"...I think I listened to it once.

Artist You're Supposed to Like but Don't: Bob Dylan or Neil's a toss up, while I can appreciate the lyrics, I CAN'T STAND THE SONGS OR THE VOICES THAT GO WITH THEM! Ugh!

Song You Can't Stand by an Artist You Like: "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John...I hated that song the first time I heard and and that darn thing was a blockbuster. It was on the chart for what seemed like forever!

Band That Should Break Up: Dave Matthews Band...the time has come.

Band That Should Re-form: Journey, the Steve Smith, Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Ross Valory, and Neil Schon line up, as on the album "Escape". LOVE that album!

... and after thinking about it some more, I would love to see Edie Brickell and New Bohemians re-form!

Guilty Pleasure: I'll get back on this one too!

Favorite Music DVD: I don't really enjoy music DVDs.

Concert You Wish You'd Seen: The "One Day" Passion concerts with Chris Tomlin leading worship. I always wanted to attend one of those and missed the one in Memphis a few years ago. Drat.

Dream Collaboration: Since they are married, I'd love to hear a duet with Edie Brickell and Paul Simon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

On Being Fruitful

"They will know we are Christians by our ___________ " I bet most everyone can fill in that blank.

Love. They will know we are Christians by our love. Love is a fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and selfcontrol."

I'd like to broaden that and say "They will know we are Christians by our fruit".

I mean, won't it show? It should! The fruit should be so apparant, so obvious!

Ugh. I don't think it is always so obvious in my life. I read something yesterday that I want to share because it got me thinking.

I'm reading a book by Anne Graham Lotz called "My Heart's Cry, Longing for More of Jesus". In chapter 7 she talks about being "fruitful through my connection". Here's an excerpt:

Have you been making fruit-bearing more complicated and difficult than it is? Have you worn yourself out until you are discouraged over the lack of fruitfulness in your own service and resentful of others for the fruitfulness in theirs? Then I have wonderful news for you! You can relax! Not only are you freed from trying hard to bear fruit, you are freed from trying at all! That's the secret!"

She goes onto to talk about how we complicate things. How often have you heard it said that in getting places in life it's all about who you know? As a matter of fact, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got came from a former teacher of mine who said "Don't be afraid to get where you are going in life because of who you know." Well, as Christians we know Christ! Now THAT'S a CONNECTION!

He is the vine, I am the branch. I am connected to Him. Without Him I can do nothing. Nothing. With Him...I can do nothing but bear fruit. Fruit of the vine naturally comes from the branch when there is a healthy connection. As Lotz goes on to explain:

"For a branch to have fruit-bearing potential, it must be alive. Since it has no life of its own, it must be organically attached to the vine so that the sap, or life, of the vine flows up through the trunk and into the branch."

Amazingly, or not so amazingly when it comes to God getting your attention, the message on Sunday affirmed this concept. Paul, one of the pastors, talked about sap being the life that is pushed up through the trunk through the branches. He talked about Jesus pruning off the "dead leaves"...our sins and struggles, and when we allow Jesus' lifeblood, the sap, to flow through us, the branches, that sap pushes off the dead leaves and new fruit springs forth. I was entralled by this illustration and how on back to back days I heard the same message from two different sources...naw, scratch that...same source, two different fruit-bearing branches!

So, what is my job? To maintain the connection. To pray, study and cling to Him like a branch that will die without Him!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

A Blur

Have you ever had one of those days that so many things went wrong, seemingly all at once, and it just wasn't surprising anymore when the next "bad" thing happened?

I'm not talking like world-ending bad things, just small things like everything you pick up you drop, not once but twice. The repair people leave after "fixing" things and later you find that the thing is still broken, but now there are additional problems created from the "fixing". All the "needy" customers bombard you with questions that vy for the "stupid question of the month" title, like "when do you close?" "We closed a half-hour ago sir" "oh, well, do you have the Barnyardigans?" Then the computer battery pack alarm begins to sound...BEEEEP! BEEEEP! BEEEEP! BEEEEP! BEEEEP! BEEEEP! aaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhhhh! Calgon take me away!

The day was so hectic and non-stop all day that it is all just a blur. I'm so glad it is today.

Today is a good day. I will be leaving soon for Union City as I will be performing again with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra. I am glad I get the opportunity now and then to play, and I'm looking forward to the drive and time to spend with my best friend. Yay!

Well, I gotta get going!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 08, 2004

More Information

Here is another failure in the welfare system. I was told that my children would only qualify for medical assistance if I agreed to taking legal action to make their father obey his court order to provide them with medical insurance. She then told me not to worry because nothing would really be done to see that this is followed through.

In a way I was relieved. I don't want this abusive person in our lives causing instability. At the same time...I wonder....why have me agree to something I have no desire to see fulfilled...nor does the government intend to follow through with?

Welfare Reform

For 3 years I struggled through college to obtain an associate's degree. Due to a failing local public school system, I chose to put off my education in order to go to work and enroll my children in a private Christian school.

Up until this point, I recieved aid from the government with food and medical. I also recieved a grant to help me through college. It was very hard because I had no job during this time so we did without alot. But, it was worth it to make the sacrifice...or was it?

In May I graduated the local community college with honors. It was such a day of celebration. Soon after that I applied for a job in banking...of which I didn't qualify for (even though I had held the very same job in my past without a degree or any experience). In June I managed to land a job that barely pays above minimum wage.

In August I lost my food assistance due to all the great cash flow coming in (I say that in sarcasm). Although I work full time hours, I am only considered part-time and do not qualify for medical benefits. If I did however, the benefits would require me to get another job just to pay for them. Today, I was told that I earn too much to qualify for state funded medical benefits. As a result, for the first time in 12 years, I am uninsured. It is the most miserable feeling.

So, now that I have my degree, I am actually worse off than I was going to college and living off of the government.

I go to WRAP meetings offering hope to victims of domestic violence...telling them that they can make it without their abuser. Really??? Not in a system set up like this. Sure they can work two jobs and leave their kids with somebody else to raise. Sure they can come home in the evenings and try to make time for their children after a long days work...and after the dinner is cooked, the dishes are done, the laundry is done, homework is done, baths are done, and it is bedtime. Soccer? Sports? These are not things that there is time for. Fortunately, God has blessed me with a friend who helps so my children get these opportunities. But, what about those who have nobody?

There has to be a better way. There has to be a way the system can work by offering incentives instead of co-dependency. There has to be a way to teach and help people to get on their feet and actually take two steps forward without being knocked 10 yards back. Welfare is not the answer to is only a vicious trap to keep one there.

I know this...I have lived it. And even though I have no medical benefits....even though I have no finiancial aid...somehow...I will make it. I have God and He will get me through this. And I WILL learn how to help others do the same.

There has to be a way to make it possible for those who want to do what it takes to be self-sufficient (without sacrificing the children in the process). God knows the way...I pray He will show me. It has to change and with God's will change. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I covet the prayers of the saints...brothers and sisters in Christ...remember me.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Stupid Question of the Month

One of my co-workers shared with me yesterday the "stupid question of the month" that came from a customer.

I said "of the month?" and she said "it's too stupid to be the question of the day, it's definately for the entire month...maybe even more!" LOL

So what is the question?

Well, here's some background for those reading this that may not know what I do for a living. I manage an FYE store, For Your Entertainment. I sell CDs, DVDs and games. I LOVE IT!

Anyway, when one walks into the store which has a giant sign at the front that says FYE - MUSIC and MOVIES, the first thing one comes in contact with is the new releases for the week. Music CDs on one side, Movie DVDs on the other.

A customer walks into the store, with the new Jimmy Eat World CD blaring throughout the store, picks up a CD off the Top 20 endcap and asks (drumroll please.........................................)

Is this a music store?


As I posted last Wednesday, "Ignorance is curable, stupid is forever".

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Monster

God has given me the awesome privilege of leading a young abused woman to Christ this year. This wonderful friend whom I call my sister has had a very difficult life. She has some disorders of her mind and can make a person a bit nervous and even frightened of her because of the things that she does as a result of her illnesses. I was so afraid to reach out to her but God kept putting her in my life. Finally I surrendered and asked God to help me reach out to her and to help me to love her because I knew I couldn't do it in my strength.

He answered my He always does. Seeing her progress just because she has found love has blessed me beyond words. She still has issues with her illnesses and I am praying for her in that area. Regardless, God has taken my fear of her away and replaced it with love and compassion. She has become a wonderful tool of growth in the areas of patience,love, kindness, faithfulness, and compassion in my life. I have truly been blessed because of her.

Recently she gave me a book of poetry that she has written. It is a progressive book from before she met Christ until today. She talked about the monster living in her..lying to her, controlling her, abusing her. She talked about why she feels like she does an why she does what she does. She talked about a new friend that God has blessed her life with recently. I finally got inside her head and I seem to have a better understanding of what she goes through. I am so thankful for that. I also got to see how much her life was changed when she asked Jesus in her heart. She is not one who displays any emotion. It's hard to read her sometimes. But, the poetry really helped me to see that God truly is blessing her life.

Tonight I met another young woman like the first one only her illnesses seem to be worse. I don't know what to do to help her. I only know is that she needs to feel God's love and tonight I had the opportunity to be used in just that way. I held her in my arms and she wept so bitterly. I had no solutions to offer her for her problems. I saw her situation as hopeless. But, with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. God reached out to me through her tonight as my heart broke as I cried with her.

There is a monster and his name is satan. God please deliver these ladies from the lies he puts in their heads all day every day. Deliver them from their fears, self hatred and abuse. Let them see their worth in YOU! I want to be Your hands in their lives. Help me...use me! They need You! You are their only hope! Help me show them You in all that I do in their lives.

In Jesus Name,