Thursday, June 30, 2005


Katie, Justin and I went to see "Annie" last night. It was put on by the The Jackson Recreation Children's & Teen Theatre. I wasn't really looking forward to going, but it was rather obligatory since Tiffany has a part in it as an "extra".

We all went to support Tiffany and I wasn't too thrilled about being there at all. I've never seen "Annie", but I HATE the song "Tomorrow" with a passion! I don't know why, I just do! I have also never seen the musical before and really had no desire to.

So, I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed it! The first act was so good! I laughed so hard at some parts I was shaking the entire row of seats trying to not be loud and obnoxious. The young actress who played "Miss Hanigan" was VERY GOOD! She had me laughing out loud so much!

The little girl who played Annie was amazing! Great little actress and boy could she sing! The whole cast did so well with it. They grabbed my attention and held it for the duration of the production. Bravo!

Afterward, however, that was a different story. We followed the cast, and Tiffany, over to Perkins for the "cast party". We were none too thrilled to be going out this late, it was after 10:30 when the cast arrived at the Restaurant and close to midnight before the food orders arrived. Katie, Justin and I were sooooooooo bored! It's amazing what people will do to amuse themselves just trying to pass the time. We sang the "Bored Song" that we created impromptu. We took some pictures of each other making weird faces and laughed hysterically at ourselves. We even audio-blogged:

this is an audio post - click to play

That about sums up the cast party for the three of us!

Sunday, June 26, 2005


In SaLT with WaLT (small group) today, we discussed unfaithfulness. The study author, Bill Hybels, pointed out that when people are asked to make a list of the things they do not like about some people, unfaithfulness often tops that list. I said to myself that's not something I would think of right off that bat!

But Hybels went on to explain that when you say things like "I don't like how so-and-so says one thing then does another" or "it really irks me when people say 'count me in' but when the chips are down they say, 'count me out'". Then there are always those promise breakers.

One thing Katie has taught me is to never make a promise. She says promises are too easily broken. Also, making promises isn't biblical. Breaking a promise is unfaithfulness, and so is simply not doing what you say you are going to do.

Matthew 5:33-38 "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long
ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But
I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by
the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the
Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair
white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything
beyond this comes from the evil one.

Simply let your 'yes' by 'yes' and your 'no', 'no'. If you say you will do it, do it! It is that simple! If you can't be trusted with something as simple as that, what is it you can be trusted with? If you say "I'll help you paint your house", then you better be there to help with paintbrush in hand! If you say "Sure, I'll go with you to the movie next week", then you better be there with your friend! Oh, here's one....have you ever said "I'll pray for you"? And have you prayed for them?

If you feel a need to say "I promise I will do it", or you say "I'm not gonna lie", what does that mean about anything you have said prior to you prefacing what you now say when you "promise". Tom shared in class today that one of the people he used to work with had a habit of saying "I'm telling you the truth, the truth here" anytime he was telling a story or something, and Tom always wanted to ask him if he normally lies, since he feels he needs to emphasize that he is telling the truth this time. So, I live by Katie's idea to never promise anything. I try to do what I say I'm going to do as well.

Something else that was noted in class today when we read the Matthew verses aloud, "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No', 'No'; anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Anything beyond that is from the evil one! He will trap you into unfaithfulness!

That was something I hadn't noticed before, and then in class today Katie verbalized the importance of the end of those verses we read. She said that when those verses are taught, the end is usually left off, and because the ending is often ignored, the teaching "let your 'yes' be 'yes'..." loses its punch.

It has always made sense that if we go beyond our "yes" by trying to validate it with "swearing to God" or "making promises", it is from the evil one. Feeling the need to validate something with a "promise" or "by swearing" actually invalidates everything else you say! That's powerful insight! But then to consider that doing that is from the evil one, that is not something to take lightly at all! It is precisely how significant faithfulness is to God, and why deceit is attributed to the evil one!

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Friday, June 24, 2005

My Latest Concerns

First of all, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Battlefield 2 arrived in the mail today!

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It arrived a half hour before I leave for work! I'm not going to install it now because I will not want to go to work if I do!

Next thing...Calling all techies...I have these two movie (.mov) files. They are quite large, the one is over 100 mb. I'm new to this, but what is the best way to resize the file so it is smaller and can be sent through email, or uploaded to a server for people to download it from?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What Makes You Laugh?

My friend Katie tells me that she never knows what will set me off. She is referring to the things that make me laugh. Apparantly, at least this is what Katie beleives, I laugh at stuff "normal people" wouldn't laugh at.

So, I'm 38 years old and Larry the Cucumber makes me laugh! He is sooooooooo funny! Here's a sound clip of Larry describing how God made all the stars out of nothin'.

I also laugh at Katie a lot, she is really funny! Sometimes she is hard to follow because she PWEs a lot, that means she has "playing with eyeballs" moments, ie; she changes the subject a lot and does it without warning. We can be having a real heart to heart, and then out of nowhere she'll say something off the wall like "boy, moths sure do stink when they burn!" Where does she come up with this stuff!?!

I laugh at her kids at times, Tiffany can be really witty at times. She's the most fun when she's not trying to be funny! Justin can be dorky, but he makes me laugh. One night I laughed so hard because Justin was having trouble getting a load of wash keep from going off balance. He'd adjust the load, wait a second before walking away, and then as soon as he reached the door to leave, BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, and the washer stops. One night he adjusted the load in the washer about three times and never made it out the laundry room door! On the fourth try, LOL, I laugh just remembering it...(and it's one of those things that probably won't be funny to the reader because you just had to be here!)...he shuts the washer lid, resets the machine and it starts the spin cycle. Justin waits a second, and then takes off running from one end of the house to the other and pauses in the hallway leading to his bedroom. I didn't understand what was going on, but he had my attention! When he stopped in the hallway, he froze in a pose with his body heading toward his room, but his head cocked to one side as he listened for the off balance buzz signal from the washer. After about three seconds, he pumped his fists and said "YEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!" LOLOLOL The washer was home free from that point on!

I laugh at sarcastic humor and wit. I'm not really impressed with slapstick comedy or stuff like that. I need intelligence. I get that from people at work, who can be very witty at times! They make me laugh, especially when we talk about some of the whacked customer issues that inevitably arise. For example, people walking into the CD store and asking "Do you have CDs?" or better yet, "Do you sell maps here?". (Why would I carry maps? LOL)

There are many things that make me laugh. Laughing is good for the soul,and it is a gift from God. It's healing and refreshing to let out a good belly laugh now and then...what makes you laugh?

Embrace the Mystery

The framily went to see "Herbie Fully Loaded". Well, actually Katie, myself, Tif and Katie's mom went to see "Herbie", but Justin and his grandpa went to see "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". I think the women had the best of the draw today!

"Herbie Fully Loaded" has some sentimental value to me. "Herbie" was one of the very first films I remember seeing in a theater as a kid. According to the International Movie Database, "The Love Bug" was released in 1968, so that would make me two years old when I saw it? Is that even possible for me to remember? My two grandmas took me to see it at a local theater in Canton, OH many many many years ago. I remember that the VW bug, Herbie, was at the theater on display too! That was so cool to see as a kid! "Herbie Rides Again" was release in 1974, but I know I was younger than eight when I saw the first Herbie movie. I just can't believe I have a memory from 1968, it would also ruin my belief that my first memory was the moonwalk as shown on tv at the moment it happened.

Sorry, I digress. So I really enjoyed "Herbie Fully Loaded". It was fast paced and didn't have any long drawn out scenes that bored me. There was action, sport, humor and since Herbie takes on human characteristics, it is easy to like him and want to root for the underdog.

Some of my favorite lines from the movie are some great one liners:

"I'm being carjacked by my own car!"
"Embrace the mystery that is Herbie"
"For a car, you aren't a very good listener"
This movie was just plain fun. Clean, family fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Extraordinary Faith - Women of Faith Conference 2005 (Saturday PM)

Chonda Pierce performed after lunch (I think, I'm getting all these things mixed up! Oh well, it's not the "when" but the "what"!) and if you haven't seen her live, you need to! She is absolutely hilarious! LOL She even revealed a bit of herself playing off of Sheila Walsh and her story about Spanx! Pierce rolled right over the top of her when she showed us her belly! LOL It was hysterical and I'm sure it embarrassed her children in a major way! This was my second time seeing Pierce and she never fails to make me laugh outloud. As a matter of fact, a few years ago I watched one of her videos and was laughing so hard that I recorded it on the computer and emailed the file to Katie. I still have it...want to listen? It's a soundfile of me cracking up at a Chonda Pierce story about her family camping and the noises they hear in the night. You know how you can get "spooked" at a strange sound far off in the distance? Well, as the family tried to comfort one another (as near as I can remember), someone said "that's the sound of wild bears eating the flesh off live animals." It was so funny! She reacted by humming "Kum-ba-yah", which you can make out in the soundfile. I can just see that happening on a camping trip!

Then we heard from Lucy Swindoll. She shared a very humorous story about a time in her youth when she "taught" her brother how to "smoke"! LOL She rolled up some paper, had her younger brother put one end in his mouth, told him to inhale and swallow when she lit the other end. She lit it and flames shot right up and burned Chuck's lips and tongue! LOL Well, it's funny to them now! LOL It's funny to me now! LOL Lucy claims that she is the one that first got him "on fire for God!" Her gift to the women in attendance at the conference was a match, because God will keep you smokin'!

We then had a mini concert by Avalon. It was so fun! I know a lot of their music and was most excited to hear Adonai and Testify, a CCM favorite of many. I got a little nervous when they completed their set and walked off without doing Testify, but they couldn't make it down the steps off the stage before they were headed back up to perform the classic amidst a thunderous applause. They were so energetic and their performance was so much fun! I took some video of those performances with my digital, but didn't upload it to the blog because of the size of the file, but if you want to see it, just email me and let me know. I'll be happy to send you the files!

The last speaker of the conference was Marilyn Meberg. She shared about laughter. She told us some very funny stories, but one part of her presentation was not planned for, and it received the biggest outburst of laughter of all! LOL She was sharing a story about one day when Lucy came to visit. (Lucy Swindoll and she are very close friends, and live in the same general neighborhood.) She told us that "Lucy came to the door, and some of you may not realize this, but Lucy suffers from frequent outbreaks of ringworm. She came in, looking rather clear, and we chatted for awhile." By this point, it was obvious, or rather curious, to those of us who have heard these speakers multiple times, that the whole ringworm thing was bizarre. We listened to her story and it ends up that when Lucy leaves, she decides to drive in reverse all the way home. The audience roared through the entire description of Lucy, sitting poised at the wheel, telling Marilyn through the open driver's side window, "I'm backing home!" And she did! She backed out of the drive and started heading the two blocks to her home in reverse! LOL Marilyn, not quite sure what to make of this, gets in her car and starts down the drive to catch her. She shares about the surprised looks on the men's faces at the road construction site, when the two cars, traveling very slowly, and nose to nose, go past on the way to Lucy's home! LOLOL

So, after that humorous story, Marilyn relays the fact that in the green room, prior to coming out for this segment of the conference, Jody McBrayer, from Avalon, said to her "I'll give you $100 if you can work the word ringworm into your talk." Well, Marilyn did it flawlessly! I was a bit relieved too! I hate to think that poor Lucy suffers with ringworm!

Marilyn's gift to us was the sound of laughter. Actually, all of the Women of Faith Speaker Team give us that gift. The creative, and often humorous way they have to share a message with us is remarkable. God really gifted those ladies and I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to see them, listen to their wisdom, learn from them, and get a Word from God through them. There is always so much to absorb after attending a WOF Conference that blogging about it just doesn't do it justice.

My hope is that next year I can attend the conference with my mom. I really think she would enjoy it, and I already know that I would! It would be so special to me to spend that time with my mom and go to the conference when it hits Columbus next year in April. I may have to plan my vacation around that weekend! Woohooo! I get excited just thinking about it!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Extraordinary Faith - Women of Faith Conference 2005 (Saturday AM)

On Saturday we awoke, got ready, then headed into St. Louis. After a quick Denny's breakfast, we arrived at the Saavis center. We arrived at just about 9:00 AM, so the place was pretty close to filled up by then, in time for the praise and worship set to begin the day. It was good that we arrived at that time because we could see what seats were available on the lower level and take them, so our friend who is so afraid of heights, would be more comfortable. We found some pretty decent seats with a good view!

After praise and worship, the morning began with some prayer and the "buzz" from Thelma Wells. She dances and swirls up to the stairs and onto the stage while an animated bee buzzes around her on the big screen to the music "Flight of the Bumblebee". She's so full of energy and joy! From her website: "Wells' signature bumblebee analogy (bees are scientifically not supposed to fly!), "The Buzz" buzzes through the Scriptures, capturing special meaning for women who are struggling to find hope and purpose in life." She had three "buzz" segments throughout the weekend and at the end, when all of the women present "gifts" to the attendees, Well's gave us all three spoonfulls of honey. The first one was most meaningful to me because she says "God will give you all the time you need to help you get the things you need to do done." It was basically a reminder to me that we shouldn't overfill our lives with things we don't need and get stressed when we can't get it all done.

We heard from Sheila Walsh, the first speaker of the day, and she shared a message about God being in control. At times she humored us with likening it to all the contraptions women use to "control" thier bodies, especially as they age. Her gift to us was a pair of spanks! LOL Walsh has a way of reaching in to someone's heart and opening up the deepest parts of it with her words. She shares so much encouragement and insight that it is truly amazing. What makes her able to do this, I think, is her hard experiences in life and the lessons that she has learned through her depression and her years of treatment for it. She shared a special story about finding a new psychiatrist after her recent move. She told us she only needed to see a psychiatrist once every six months and her intention was to be obediant to that because it allows her to get the prescription for her medication for depression. This new psychaitrist was someone she knew from her past in a different capacity, but he asked her something about her relationship with her father. He asked her if her father, who at a time before his death, was ever abusive to other family members? The mood of the entire arena changed when Walsh confessed that "no, he was only that way toward me". Apparantly he suffered from some type of disease, a mental disorder, which caused him to be quite mean-spirited and abusive, before his death. Walsh shared that his abusive treatment of her has eaten away at her for years and years after his death because she couldn't figure out why her dad hated her so much. The psychiatrist said "no, you have it wrong. People like your dad, in his condition, seek out the people who they know will love them no matter what and lay it all out on them." That changed everything for Walsh. She told us that her dad was right, she did love him no matter what.

After a short break, we came back to hear another "buzz" from Thelma Well's, and then another sketch from Nicole Johnson. This sketch was probably the most meaningful to me, of the three she performed. This sketch was based on the story of the woman who had a condition that caused bleeding for twelve years. Johnson just has a way of taking you to that scene, as it plays out and giving the audience a unique perspective on the story.

Her character in this sketch was a woman who is really unhappy with life, and part of her unhappiness stems from her infertility problem. She plays "Bible Roulette" (open the Bible, expect a word from God, put your finger down on the page, and that is the Word!) She happened upon the story of the bleeding woman. Johnson pointed out that the woman in the story must have been infertile, afterall, she had been bleeding for twelve years! She also noted that this condition made her unclean. Being unclean in that culture meant that the woman could touch no one, and no one could touch her. Anything that the woman touched because unclean, therefore she had to be very careful not to taint anything. Because of this, she most likely led a life as an outcast, comparable to maybe an AIDS patient today?

The bleeding woman was miserable, yet, along came this man named Jesus. He was known to heal people. She had faith that simply by touching his cloak, specifically the tassles on the bottom that represented the Law, she would be healed. Johnson took us through some of the thoughts this woman may have had as she followed him and tried to reach him through the crowds that were gathered. The woman was probably very nervous and afraid, afterall, she is unclean and could not touch anyone. For her to touch Jesus, or even just his cloak, meant that she would be breaking the law. She probably kept a low profile as she approached, and maybe even pretended to pick something up off the ground as she brushed the hem of Jesus' cloak.

After she touched it, Jesus asked "Who touched me?" Jesus knew who had touched him, because he felt it, he felt the power leave Him. Johnson shared that Jesus didn't need to know who touched him, but He wanted the woman to acknowledge that He had touched her. When Jesus asked "Who touched me?" He was really asking "Who was touched by me?". The woman, trembling, came from the crowd and fell at His feet. She bragged on Jesus and why she touched Him and how she was instantly healed. Jesus told her that her faith healed her. What an intriguing and creative way to see that story! It blew me away! Wow! That Nicole Johnson is absolutely amazing!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Extraordinary Faith - Women of Faith Conference 2005 (Friday PM)

Four women from church and myself made the trek to St. Louis for the Women of Faith "Extraordinary Faith" Conference on Friday and returned late Saturday night. This was my fourth conference in a row, because after the first one, I just can't not go to them!

As we conversed at dinner last evening, I asked each of the women what part of the conference was most meaningful to them and why. Women of Faith conferences are so neat because we hear from all six women of the wof speaker team, and because they all have varying backgrounds and experiences to share, all women who attend will be able to be touched by the words, and the encouragement, from at least one of the speakers. Another thing I noted in the conversation we had about our most meaningful parts of the conference, was that as soon as someone mentioned a part that touched them, it was so easy to agree "yeahhh, that' was goooood too!" I will share about the experience I had in St. Louis, but my perspective could be totally opposite of someone else's, and in fact, it probably is. I love those wild women of faith!

The five of us took two cars to St. Louis, and I always enjoy these opportunities to spend hours with people on the drive to a conference because you get to "bond" with people that way. It's inevitable that you will have conversation and get to know these people simply by sharing and learning about one another. It was no different this trip and God is so good, oh, that he put these special people in my life!

We arrived hungry in St. Louis at around 5:00 and had just enough time to check into the hotel and get going into the city for the start of the conference Friday night. We hoped to stop for a quick bite to eat, and we did eat at TGIF's, then headed to the Saavis Center. We missed the praise and worship session that started the conference, but we did arrive in time for the meat of the night's festivities. Dramatist Nicole Johnson shared a message in a creative way about being a "pajama princess" and comparing how as little girls we are our daddy's princess's, and how our perception of God is sometimes determined by our relationship with our daddies. Her sketch destroys the myth that God is anything like our earthy dads, to the point that to our heavenly father we are his daughter, we are a princess. He will NEVER leave us. He loves us unconditionally! That is a FACT we can know and be encouraged about! Her gift to the women in attendance at the conference was a tiara. Wear it an know Whose you are!

Nichole Nordeman took the stage and performed for us. She is one gifted songwriter and we heard songs from her Dove Award winning album "Woven and Spun". "Legacy" is a favorite of mine and I sure was glad to hear that live. What a great storyteller as well. Nordeman, alone at her piano, has such a stage presence and a command of the audience, that when she speaks, she has our attention. It is hard not to anticipate what she will share next, and then to discover how vulnerable she is, and how Brave she can be, all at the same time...whoa. It was such an honest and real performance of her music, that documents her life. She gives the listener a glimpse of her triumphs and also her spiritual struggles. The same struggles all believers face at times.

After Nordeman, it was time for one of my conference favorites, Patsy Clairmont! Woohooo! That woman is such a spitfire and has a wit like you wouldn't believe. She usually keeps everyone in stitches throughout her speech, yet wraps it all up into an impacting spiritual truth. She shared with us a couple of stories that involved some risky behavior on her part, one was riding a bike and another was cross-country skiing. The story of the bike involved a memory on how exciting it was to receive a brand new bicycle as a gift on her birthday as a youngster. She was so excited to ride and it was so freeing and that for a kid, riding a bike is the "closest you can get to flying". Later on in her adult life, when her youngest son was a teenager and still at home, she got another bike. Against her husbands warnings to "be careful" and "slow down", she mounted the bicycle for a relaxing ride with her son. She began to head down the hill that her home was on. It was so freeing and the houses were going by like a "kaleidescope", a rush of color, and then she said "I saw my house" and then she "started to panic". She knew that just beyond her house was an obstacle that she was going too fast to avoid. So, she hit the brakes. Nothing happened when her feet applied them, because this was not like the bicycle she had as a youngster, this bike had hand brakes. Again, not heeding her husband's instructions about how to safely apply hand brakes, she forcibly squeezed the right brake and managed to make herself actually fly! She went airborne and slide across the concrete of the walk, until she was a pile of flesh that came to rest only upon impact at the doorstep. Her son came running and and asked "are you okay?" and all she could say were three words..."did anybody see?". LOL Patsy shared the story of David and Goliath in a very unusual way and made the point about what comes after someone becomes prideful. We all know what happened to Goliath! She also encouraged us with her words about David's faith in the Lord, his extraordinary faith. It is the Lord's battle! He has already declared victory! Trust God!

Patsy shared about a time her husband warned her about the difficulty in cross country skiing. She told us he said "if you don't come back, I'm not going to come for you until spring!" When Patsy shared about her cross-country skiing incident, well, just imagine taking on that hill for the first time and going down a bit too fast. Oh, and the lake at the bottom? But, that's not much of a problem because of the line of trees before the lake! Now imagine cruising down that hill on skis that don't have hand brakes! Patsy was so funny in that skiing stance while she imitated a panic in depressing the non-existent hand brakes! LOL Her gift to us was a bicycle, and she was quick to point out it had coaster brakes! The bicycle was to remind us that when we get too puffed up and take things into our own hands, when we try to take control over the entire situation, when we try to fight the battle on our own, we will most likely fall at some point. Pride always comes before a fall.

Avalon took the stage to perform their hit "Everything to Me" on Friday night as somewhat of a "teaser" for their performance scheduled for Saturday. I was looking forward to hearing this group live, and especially looking to hearing "Testify" and "Adonai" live. Good stuff!

That was it for Friday night. When we went to leave, we quickly discovered that one of our party was deathly afraid of heights. Why does this matter, well, it matters because we were seated in the nosebleed section of the arena! I mean nosebleed! Gwen had us all go down before her so she wouldn't feel the pressure of having to move along because people were behind her, and then she slowly made her way down while maintaining a death grip on the hand rails. She was obviously terrified, so we vowed that we would attempt to find lower seating the following day. We noticed that there were a few open spots in the arena so we didn't think it would be a problem. I had no idea how afraid of heights Gwen was, but I can see how terrifying it would be for someone with that issue. The picture can not capture the feeling of how high we were! That illuminated spot in the center is the stage! People looked like ants!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

No, It's Called a Check Tier Limit

A customer came in to purchase a PSP in my store yesterday. Cool! $$$!

She was going to purchase the game system a game and a magazine. Yay! Then, she pulled out her check book. I politely said "Before you fill out a check, I need to let you know that I can not accept checks written for more than $200.00."

She looked at me like I was joking. I said "I'm sorry, I can not take a check for more than $200."

She told me she couldn't get the items and left the counter so her friend could make her own purchase.

Then her boyfriend/husband started ranting. "That's discrimination! This is a black thing isn't it? Isn't it? Huh? Well, isn't it? It's a black thing! It's called racism!"

I said "No, it's called a check tier limit." (My register won't accept a check payment for more than $200, it is impossible to override.)

Then he proceeded to mock me and tell his girl friend that I could take the check, I just won't because they are black.

I just roll my eyes and shook my head. Some days I think that there is not much more ignorance that I can take. It is amazing to me that people pull the "race card" over every, little, insignificant thing and so many times it has nothing to do with anything. I just wish they understood that they hurt their own "cause" when they start spouting that stuff! They really make themselves look ridiculous!

I said "it is company policy to not accept checks over $200." Then they said "Let's see that policy!" So, I pointed to the policy sign on the register well. I read it to them as the woman followed along with her finger "Checks are only accepted up to $200".

That still wasn't good enough for the man. He still continued on calling me racist saying I was discriminating. Now the next thing that they decided to complain about was the fact that the display I had at the counter was obstructing the view of the policy. They not-so-politely suggested that I should move that display so people could see the policy.

I said "you are right, it should be in view, but I have to have those free samples displayed. There is only so much room on the counter. It is rare that people write checks in here anymore, because most people now use debit cards. My associates all know the policy, and just like I explained it to you before you began writing the check, they would inform any other customer the same way."

The friend that the couple came into the store with wrote a check for $164 and as we closed the transaction, that woman apologized to me for the way her friends were behaving.

As they all three left, I could still hear the couple grumbling about the discrimination.

You have to love retail!

(Since they are from out of state, I am confident saying that the check the one woman wrote me will most likely bounce. I'll have to update this story when I get the bad check list in a month or so.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Can You Handle the Truth?

This is a post in which I strongly encourage comments from our readers.

I have been observing the world around me a lot lately and I have come to discover a new pattern or trend that seems to be infecting society. It seems to have root in the idea of the power of positive thinking. It is my opinion that this idea stemmed from the school of thought that says give everybody on the team a trophy just for showing up, that love should never be tough, that bringing truth to light is complaining and not constructive, therefore it should never be done, etc....

No matter how well intended this may have been in the beginning, I believe it has gotten so out of control that most of society (including a good part of the church) is looking at the world through rose colored glasses and avoiding anything that may cause pain or discomfort in any way.

For instance, when a person sees a problem and brings it to the attention of somebody who can do something about it, often that person is labeled as being negative, a complainer, or a troublemaker. As a result, it's common for that person to be ignored, or avoided altogether and their concerns are often dismissed. Nobody does anything to deal with the issue and the problem gets bigger. It seems that people are in the mindset that if we ignore our problems they will go away. If we pretend they don't exist they won't.

Another thought that has come to my mind is in regards to the blind followers of those who know the issues but feel like nobody else needs to because it would "spread" the negativity. So, they try to figure out how to solve the problem and discourage anybody who might know of it. Those who know of it are encouraged to keep it to themselves or told that they are wrong.

I write this out of personal experiences in my own life. I see a problem, I want to fix it, so I bring it to the attention of those "in charge" and offer some suggestions. However, I am quickly cut off, and told to hush and frequently labeled as complaining or negative.

In the meantime, the problems continue to exist and are getting bigger before my very eyes and I can do nothing to stop it. I see so many others like me who try to take a stand and they get beaten down to the point that they give up. I'm getting that way myself. They feel like nobody is listening and nobody cares....perhaps they are right. Many times, they give up and stop caring themselves.

Positive thinking and speaking is a wonderful idea that should continue to be encouraged, but, not to the extent that truth is denied or ignored. There is much suffering going on in secular society and the church body as well. It is so unnecessary and could be avoided if we would all take off our rose colored glasses and take a good hard look at the real picture. Then perhaps we can face the issues, deal with them, heal, and move forward as a wiser, stronger, and healthier generation.

It's true that ignorance is bliss. But, it's still ignorance. It's time for the church to set the example by not painting a pretty picture, by not hiding behind righteous deeds and works when the heart is wounded. We must heal from within before growth can begin.

Sue posted earlier on numbers. I agree totally with her. Numbers are important. But, they should not be counted just to make an impression. Each number represents a person and each person represents a soul. It's not the numbers that matter, it's what we do with them. Are we going to turn the hurt, sick, and dying souls away just because they might notice something wrong and dare to speak about it?

Sometimes, in an attempt to keep from hurting another, we are careful not to say something wrong. Or even worse, we turn a deaf ear. We live in a society that will take great lengths to avoid pain and stress. In the process of doing so, are we actually creating even more pain and stress? What if we start paying attention more and consider legitimate concerns? Then we can see the core of the problem, attack the source, and perhaps bring about healing in that life whether that life is a person, a church, a company, or a government. Truth hurts, and the process of healing can be very painful...but the consequences of avoiding the truth are much worse. In a nutshell, avoiding the truth is synonymous to living a lie.

Monday, June 06, 2005

We Were Visitors

Katie and I visited a new church in Jackson yesterday. We visited Promise Church. We decided to visit some other churches in the area because right now our church, Northbrook, started a series on marriage called "When a Man Loves a Woman". I think it is good that the church is recognizing that marriage in America is in crisis and it attempting to educate it's flock about God's intention for marriage.

The marriage series at Northbrook is scheduled to go a total of thirteen weeks. 13 weeks! The entire summer! Katie is wanting so bad to be married again someday, and last weeks message was a reminder that she isn't and it was difficult for her to listen to it. She has read many books on a Biblical marriage, attended so much marriage counseling when still married, and has read God's word on the subject as well. It is hard for her to sit through an entire summer listening to messages on marriage, which really aren't relative to her life at the moment.

Messages on marriage really aren't relevant to my life either. I am single and I have always been single. I can't see myself ever being married, not that I'm ruling out the possibility, but it is not something I really dwell on or feel that I need to sit through thirteen weeks on messages on.

Northbrook does recognize that much of it's congregation is single, divorced, or widowed, and has some messages on being single and/or being single again. I spoke up to another member about the fact that this series doesn't really interest me (and no, I don't decide to church hop when the message doesn't appeal to me, but I feel thirteen weeks is a LOT of talk on a subject that is not pertinent to my life and may never be.) and was told, "well, it can help you in any relationship" and I'm sure much of what will be discussed, could be applied to any relationship. I said "yeah, then why is the series called "When a MAN loves a WOMAN?", and not "Biblical Relationships"?. Here are some of the titles of the different messages: "A Christian View of Sex, Marriage and Living Together", "The Bedroom: Battleground or Playground?", "Learning to Serve: Meeting Your Wife's Deepest Needs", "Learning to Serve: Meeting Your Husband's Deepest Needs", "Keeping Christ at the Center of Your Marriage." All but maybe the first one listed simply doesn't have relevance to a single. I don't think I would take such issue with this for a month, a few weeks, but THIRTEEN WEEKS?

I love the fact that the church is going to tackle some difficult subjects in this series, like pornography in the marriage and in the single life, but so much of it I just don't feel will apply to my life, and Katie isn't really interested in hearing much of the same stuff she has already studied either.

So, we thought this could be an opportunity to see what some other churches are doing. I found Promise Church through the Willowcreek website. Northbrook is a member of Willowcreek so I thought to find another church to visit within that association.

We went to SaLT with WaLT as usual because I love that group and can't stand missing it if I don't have to. It just so happened that yesterday, because of the time of service at Promise Church and SaLT with WaLT meeting time, we could do both.

When Katie and I arrived at the Promise Church, I immediately recognized it as the same building where one of our friend's works in the realty business. On Saturday night, the church members gather to set up for Sunday service, then after the service, they tear down and put it back together as a realty office. Interesting.

We arrived about 5 minutes late and pulled into the drive. Then we pulled back out, not sure if we really wanted to do this. Then I said "If we can go to the VFW for a concert, we can go in a realtor's office for church!" So, I pulled back around into the drive, parked and got out.

We heard the worship music being played and as we approached the door. We entered and found a seat, in the front, because that was the only place I saw available immediately. We joined in singing praise songs and I was looking around to get a "feel" of the place. I noticed a few people with hands raised and eyes closed lost in worship and I liked that there was a freedom present there to worship. I do have to say as well, that I didn't see a lot of smiling faces though. I just think that when one is in the presence of the Lord, that while there is awe, there will be happiness as well.

The songs were familiar contemporary songs so it was easy to join in a sing. After the music ended, there was prayer and it was a very passionate prayer given by the minister. After that it was time for coffee and donuts. I found that to be quite interesting, that the fellowship with the other people in attendance happened mid-service, in-between praise music and the message. During this time people are encouraged to grab coffee and chat with some new people. Since Katie and I are new, I was expecting people to come to us and introduce themselves, but I was rather disappointed that only one person did. We went up to a couple and introduced ourselves, but that was only because Katie knew the man from a previous job. There were only maybe 50-60 people in attendance, so I really expected people to notice that we were new faces and take interest, but that simply didn't happen.

The message delivered by the minister was good and it was about leaving the past behind and moving on to the things God has planned for you. I enjoyed it and took some notes, especially on the "pop quizzes" of life, things like people cutting you off on the road, long lines at the grocery, cable going out and then "mid-terms"; a change in income, relocation, etc. The "finals" are the scary ones; divorce, loss of a loved one, natural disaster, etc. The minister talked about how will one ever make it through a "final" if you are tripped up by a "pop quiz"? Good message that made me think about how I react to the "small things" in life.

After the service we left and headed back to Northbrook to pick up the kids. I'll miss next week because I'll be working, but sometime in the future I'm hoping to check out the Vineyard Church in Milan.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

My Birthday Number One Song List

Just for fun I thought it would be interesting to see what songs were #1 on the charts on my birthday each year since 1966. Here's the list:

1966 - Wild Thing - The Troggs
1967 - Light My Fire - The Doors
1968 - Hello, I Love You - The Doors
1969 - In The Year 2525 - Zager & Evans
1970 - (They Long To Be Close) To You - The Carpenters
1971 - How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - Bee Gee’s
1972 - Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O’Sullivan
1973 - The Morning After - (Song from the Poseidon Adventure) Maureen McGovern
1974 - Feel Like Makin' Love - Roberta Flack
1975 - Jive Talkin' - The Bee Gees
1976 - Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee
1977 - I Just Want To Be Your Everything - Andy Gibb
1978 - Miss You - The Rolling Stones
1979 - Bad Girls - Donna Summer
1980 - Magic - Olivia Newton-John
1981 - Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
1982 - Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor
1983 - Every Breath You Take - The Police
1984 - Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
1985 - Shout - Tears For Fears
1986 - The Glory Of Love - Peter Cetera
1987 - I Still Havent Found What Im Looking For - U2
1988 - Roll With It - Steve Winwood
1989 - Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx
1990 - Vision Of Love - Mariah Carey
1991 - (Everthing I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams
1992 - This Used To Be My Playground - Madonna
1993 - Can't Help Falling In Love - UB40
1994 - Stay (I Missed You) - Lisa Loeb
1995 - Waterfalls - TLC
1996 - Macarena - Los Del Rio
1997 - I'll Be Missing You - Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
1998 - The Boy Is Mine - Brandy & Monica
1999 - Genie In A Bottle - Christina Aguilera
2000 - It's Gonna Be Me - NSYNC
2001 - Bootylicious - Destinys Child
2002 - Hot In Here - Nelly
2003 - Crazy In Love - Beyonce
2004 - Slow Motion - Juvenile feat Soulja Slim

I can see exactly where it was that I started losing interest in pop music...1990. In 1999 I all about quit listening to secular music and the only reason I know what those tunes are is because it is my business.

The early eighties were my high school years, so those tunes bring back a flood on fond memories for me. The late seventies was "happy" music, when disco was king and I was the coolest person on my street because I had the soundtracks to Grease and Saturday Night Fever, still classics today.

In the early seventies I was quite young, but I do remember some of those songs because my grandma and my parents would often put a small AM transistor radio under my pillow, especially during thunderstorms, to help me calm down enough to sleep. I think my grandparents always had those transistor radios at the bedside, with those earpieces to listen, or they would tuck the radio under the pillow. Ah, a memory.

I don't really remember those late sixties songs because I was too young at the time to care, but it is obvious that most of those because rock music classics and will be heard often even today.

Amazing how music permeates our lives.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Joan of Arcadia

A few years ago when my parent's visited me here in Tennessee, during one conversation, my dad began sharing about a neat new show on CBS. I hadn't heard of it because I don't follow television and the one local station we get is an ABC affiliate.

What he told me about the show "Joan of Arcadia" intrigued me and so when I saw season 1 come into the store the other day, I thought here's my chance to check it out, so I made the purchase.

We had an unplanned framily night last night as I popped in episode one. Oh, what a wonderful show! My dad was right! This was a good one!

Right after episode one, we went straight into episode two! We couldn't get enough of the story lines, the laughter, the drama, the mystery, just the way the lives of the characters were all intertwined. It was now dinner time so we all went out for a bite to eat, and when we came home we watched the next two episodes! We completed disc one of season one! We all loved it!

The characters are great and there is so much humor infused in the show, as well as the drama of the interweaving of the lives of those characters. It's so fun and intriguing to watch and it's so easy to be addicted. I can't wait to come home tonight to watch more!

Hard to believe CBS canceled it. Then again, it isn't garbage, and that explains that, which is why I don't miss TV.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Numbers DO Matter

Numbers matter. In fact, one of the books in the Bible is titled "Numbers"! In all seriousness though, it is biblical to make mention the number saved.

Things I noted while going through the book of Acts on this subject:

- 25 times the word "number" is used in Acts.
- 15 times the word "number(s)" is used when referring specifically to people being saved.
- 2 times a specific number is used when referring to people being saved.
- 3 times adjectives (great, large) were used in regards to numbers when referring to people being saved.

Some examples:

Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand
were added to their number that day.

Acts 4:4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to
about five thousand.

Acts 5:14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were
added to their number.

Acts 6:7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased
rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 7:17 As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.

Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Acts 11:21The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and
turned to the Lord.

Acts 11:24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

This has been on my mind recently because I'm not seeing conversions happening around me. The baptisms I have been witness to have not been as a result of conversions necessarily, but re-dedications or "I thought it about time to be baptised" baptisms.

I used to be really put off hearing things from churches like "we baptised 9 last week" or "last year, our church saw over 900 come to the Lord!" because it shouldn't be about numbers! We shouldn't keep stick counts on things like salvation! We shouldn't "chalk up another one"! It shouldn't be about numbers! Or should it?

A healthy church is one that is functioning biblically and is teaching scripture and holding its members accountable when they fall away. A healthy church teaches the Good News, the GOSPEL, it shares the faith! If a church is functioning biblically as the early church did in Acts, THEN THERE WILL BE NUMBERS! There will be numbers added daily, weekly, monthly and yearly! If a church is functioning Biblically it would only be natural that God would use it to add numbers to His Kingdom!

ZERO is a number.

ZERO is what I've been seeing.

It is about the numbers.


I received notice today that Sisters' Weblog has been awarded the "TOP CHRISTIAN PAGES AWARD" for having "very beautiful site worthy of the award with good design, awesome graphics, creative artwork, and your content is informative, and accessible. A worthy enterprise and a positive contribution to the Web."

I'm not sure about the "beautiful site" part or "good design" or "creative artwork", but I'll take the compliment anyway and appreciate the good words about the content and it being a positive contribution to the web!

The award links back to the Kennish Prayer Pages, so go check it out and visit the beautiful site there. You will find a LOT of stuff and maybe even some links to some new reads as there are many listed.

Thanks so much for the award!