Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas Concert

Last night I performed with the Jackson Area Community Band at the annual Christmas Concert. We have a new conductor this year and Tom Grant has really raised the level of the ensemble a notch. We were challenged with more difficult music than what a community band normally plays and Mr. Grant is also a very expressive conductor which requires us, the musicians in the band, to react musically to exactly what he shows us physically. Tom Grant is one of those conductors that has a talent to play the band itself like an instrument.

A good conductor can take whatever ensemble he/she is leading; orchestra, band, brass choir, string ensemble, and "play" it like an instrument. I love performing under conductors like that! Many people think that all a conductor does is stand on a podium in front of an orchestra and move a stick up and down...oh, a conductor is so much more than a metronome!

A conductor studies music and interprets a written composition much like an artist interprets life. When the conductor is in front of an ensemble, his mission is to pull the music out of the written page and bring it to life. The musicians are trained to do similar things, however, the conductor's responsibility is to get every single player interpreting the music the same way. The conductor will often do this by expressing himself physically, either with facial expressions and/or arm motions and sometimes his entire body! Seeing some of the facial expressions and body language of these conductors can help you "hear" the music they are interpreting.

One piece that was a particular challenge to me was The Procession of the Nobles. I think it was probably a challenge to most every band member because it is technically difficult...lots of double-tonguing (fast tonguing technique accomplished by mimicking "da-ga-da-ga" on the instrument) and many, many notes! I say take a fast tempo, that way the bad notes don't last as long! LOL

We also played a beautiful piece called O Magnum Mysterium. It is one of those pieces when performed well, the listener will be absorbed into the music. I get goose bumps. It's amazing. It was composed for voices, but the transcription for wind ensemble is very beautiful as well. Wow. Very powerful.

I'm looking forward to the spring session of JACB now! Woohooo! I love music!

Monday, November 28, 2005

I'm Offended!

The Bible says the world will hate us. We get in trouble for "offending" people by public displays of our faith. But, what is it called when the public takes a holy holiday and makes a mockery of it and those who choose to celebrate it for the real Reason it started in the first place?

Tonight, I once again was reminded as to why I don't buy into cable television. I can't even stand most of what's on the only channel I DO get! The Christmas commercials make me so angry. I see nothing about Christmas. It's all about the "holiday" season. I am offended!

(Imagine the sarcasm in my fashion show announcer style voice.)

And now (da ta da daaaaaaaaa!) cast your vote for the Anti-Christ "Happy Holiday" commercial of the day!!!

Happy Holidays from the Tennessee Lottery

Buy a lottery ticket and bring life to your dull, lifeless gifts this holiday! Just attach a lottery ticket to your wrapping for that final touch with a gift that keeps on giving! Oh and the new trend this year is to decorate your holiday tree with the Tennessee Lottery bulbs! They come in greedy gold and envy green!

Happy Holidays from Victoria's Secret

Celebrate Christmas with the devilish temptations by Victoria's Secret! See the model. See the model prance. See the tempting, taunting seductress on her bed wearing the latest seductive negligee! Oh, and guys, be sure that your are very good this year and you might get a surprise visit from the voluptuous Mrs. Claus in her itsy bitsy teenie weenie Santa teddy. (Excuse me! I have children who watch television!)

Cast your vote in the comments section. Please note that the winner will receive an all expense paid trip to an eternity in Happy Holiday land where you will find no Christian...and no Christ for all eternity!

Happy Holidays to all those who choose to celebrate Christmas without Christ.

Merry Christmas to those who love Him.

There, now hopefully nobody will be offended.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy Holiday

I've really been experiencing a personal conviction about Christmas this year. There has been a big commotion over recent years regarding calling Christmas what it is. For years we have watched movies, cartoons, and listened to music that reminds us about Christmas. Often times they start out with celebrations of Santa and presents and then they turn into a lesson about the "real" meaning of Christmas. Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving, not receiving. It's a time that we celebrate God's greatest gift, Jesus.

For years Christians have been battling the secular world (in all of it's political correctness) to keep the freedom to display nativity scenes and other such things in order celebrate the One who was born to save the world. We battle a world that says that we're "offending" them. We're "pushing" our beliefs on them. Hello? Christmas is a celebration of CHRIST!??? It's a Christian celebration, a Christian holy day...or it's supposed to be anyhow.

In corporate America, today, many shopping centers avoid the use of the word CHRISTmas. Instead, they sell holiday trees, and use the idea of Santa Claus and presents to entice shoppers to spend spend spend. I've even heard a really stupid sounding advertisement over the television that sings, "We wish you a happy holiday. We wish you a happy holiday. We wish you a happy holiday and a happy new year". Give me a break! Do these advertisers realize how ridiculous that sounds? Nevertheless, Christians (including myself) are amongst the many shoppers participating in this madness! Secular society has stolen a Christian celebration. Or, perhaps we've just given it away by joining in on the wrong idea of what the holiday should be about.

For much too long now, Christians have bought into the greed centered commercialism that Christmas has become. Just a couple days ago, on Black Friday,in all the greed and madness, shoppers everywhere trampled other shoppers while trying to get the best deals. There were injuries, fights, stealing, and all in the name of "Christmas". What a joke.

Amongst the many shoppers in the stampedes, I'm sure were many Christians, also trying to get the latest and greatest gift at the lowest price. I believe that Christmas has been a thing of the past for a very long time now. We have been celebrating a holiday...not a holy day. Christ hasn't been a part of Christmas for a very long time. Retailers realize it. I only hope that soon, Christians catch on.

Over the next year, I will be reconsidering how I celebrate the holiest day of the year. After a lifetime of Santa and presents...along with reminding my children what Christmas really should be about, it will be difficult to change things. I will be praying for God to show me how I can stop worshipping Him and "Santa Claus" too. I really want my Christmas celebration to be about Jesus and giving. I want to say goodbye to the holiday and hello again to the Holy Day. I have really had an awakening this year.

American Family has sent out a petition against retailers who are leaving Christ out of Christmas. I say let the retailers have their holiday! But let us, brothers and sisters in Christ, remember the HOLY day...and celebrate it as if unto God. After all aren't we supposed to do all things for His glory? We have been created to worship HIM! Now is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to give Christmas back to Christ. Celebrate the Gift and not the presents. It's okay to give gifts, if it is done with the same heart that God gave us His. Let our gifts bring Him glory.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Then" is the Important Word

I have been listening to the messages of Pastor Richard Sipe of First Baptist Church in Marshalltown, IA. The focus for the past three weeks has been John 15:16.

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."

The first week he teaches about the fact that Jesus said "you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit". The things we encounter in life are because Jesus chose us and that we should have God Purpose Driven lives.

In the second week, we learned about bearing fruit, "fruit that will last". Christians do not grow the fruit, Jesus grows the fruit, we just need to bear it. We need to remain a living branch attached to the vine, and the fruit of the Spirit will do what it will produce fruit.

It is very important to understand that Jesus chose to give all Christian's the provision of the Holy Spirit, and every Christian has fruit, the fruit of the Spirit. Each Christian has been given spiritual gifts to build up the make the Body strong, not the individual, but the Body. Jesus chose to give us these things, Jesus chose to provide us with these things.

Now, read the verse again and take note of a four letter word, the connective term: then

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."

If you understand that you did not choose Jesus, and that He chose you, and that He appointed you to "go and to bear fruit, fruit that will last...then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command, love each other", your prayers may be different. When you understand the role of the Spirit in your life, and what it means to bear fruit, then, and only then will you understand what "then the Father will give whatever you ask in my name" means.

As you bear fruit, you are to love others. In fact, bearing fruit would inevitably mean you are loving others...that God is showing His love to others through you! As you love other people, the second fruit comes, and you will have joy. When you have joy, it will lead you to have peace. Peace will lead to patience! If you want to have patience, start loving other people!

Think about it, when you are impatient, you are all stressed out and tense. You need peace. If you want peace, get the joy that comes from loving other people. So if you want patience, love other people!

As you start having patience, you will have kindness toward other people. Kindness will lead to goodness flowing out of you. Goodness is following the ways of God, or obedience. You want to be obedient? Start being kind and good to people. You want to be kind? Have patience. You want patience? Have peace. You want peace? all goes back to loving others.

So when you have goodness, and you start doing the things of God, and doing them consistently, it will lead into faithfullness. Through that faithfullness, there will become an air of confidence in your life and so you'll have an air of gentleness. Gentleness will lead to self-control.

Do you have a problem with self-control? The Bible says if you love others, joy will come. Out of that joy will come peace, and in that peace you will have patience. If you are patient, you will show kindness and goodness. Doing the things of God, you will develop faithfullness which leads to gentleness and self-control.

That is the fruit of the Spirit. If you prayed your prayers through the fruit of the Spirit, would your prayers be different? God desires for us to know Him more, and if we pray in the Spirit, and start our prayers asking to know Him more, and to understand His ways and His purpose, maybe He will start revealing Himself to us and also some of the specifics of our lives to us, to help us understand. God will always answer prayer.

"Then the Father will give whatever you ask in my name."

The apostle Paul prayed a lot for others. He understood what loving others meant and therefore was an intercessor in prayer. Pastor Sipe warns against using too much "self-cessory prayer". We should strive to make others a focus of our prayer lives, and be an intercessor for those we love. Loving others will bring joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfullness, gentleness and self-control. "Then the Father will give whatever you ask in my name".

"This is my command: Love each other."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

Yay, I've just finished working my tenth Black Friday and I survived.

Shopping FrenzyPeople are crazy this year! C'mon, fights? Stampedes? Really now! This is getting totally out of hand!

Video 1 Fight!
Video 2 Stampede!

Maybe it is fitting that many retailers are no longer "allowed" to say "Merry Christmas" since the mayhem in the stores and on those videos has nothing to do with the birth of our Lord and Savior anyway.

I wonder if the three kings of "orient" who travelled afar, stampeded over each other to present their gifts the Christ?

I don't see how people can believe in evolution...that man evolved from seems to me, humans are evolving INTO animals!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

At First I Was an Egg, I Was Petrified...

* * UPDATED * * 11/15/07

For whatever reason, American Greetings no longer posts this card. But, thanks to jth1963ut, we can all enjoy this Thanksgiving Holiday tradition again by clicking here. (I've also edited the links below to reflect the change in "venue". )

You just have to see this American Greetings Thanksgiving Card! LOL

You'll never hear "I Will Survive" the same again!

"Ain't choppin' my head to the floor!"
I just got in trouble again for eating more of the turkey...the one that didn't survive! LOL

Find a Human

I saw this on an ABC news video and think it can be very useful for those who call customer service and would like to speak with a human.

The Cheat Sheet to Find a Human was devised by Paul English through trial and error. Check it out, you may find it useful too.


I just got "in trouble" for sneaking some turkey.'s soooooooooooo good!






Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tuesday Is Chooseday

Today's meme to jump restart this blog is brought to you by Tuesday is Chooseday:

    Would you rather:
  1. have a "get out of jail free" card OR "win second prize in a beauty contest" card? I don't think I'd ever need either! I won't end up in jail and I wouldn't enter a beauty contest!
  2. have the power to give people paper cuts OR satisfy their hunger? have the power to satisfy their hunger...hmmmm, maybe God has given me that power!?
  3. eat a plate full of daisies OR four full hams in one sitting? I wouldn't eat the daisies because I was taught "please don't eat the daisies"! I don't think I could eat four full hams! Maybe yams, but not hams!
  4. get hit with a golf ball OR a football? I've been hit by both...the football hurt much less! I'll take the football!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tornado Warnings and DVDs

Yesterday in Jackson, TN, the tornado sirens wailed for a good part of the late afternoon. My store was closed for about two and a half hours because the mall asked us to close and head to the corridors. Well, my backroom has a small room that is just as safe as the corridor so my crew and I felt confident in staying in the store and keeping abreast as to the weather conditions so if need be we'd take cover. The mall is NOT a storm shelter, so we are at our own discretion.

What amazed me is that people were actually out driving and coming TO the mall. Tornado sirens are being sounded all throughout the city, you really can't miss it. Do people honestly say to themselves "hey, a tornado's coming, let's go shopping!" at times like these?!?!

Tornados killed people in Jackson just a couple of years ago! It is fresh on many people's minds, that tornados are not things to fool around with.

A man was running from the parking lot, having just parked his car, to the mall holding the hand of his toddler daughter. Uh, dude,...the mall has been closed for the last hour and the sirens are wailing and why are you shopping at a time like this?...let alone taking your visibly frightened daughter out in the rain, thunder, lightning and wind while the sirens are blaring?

Then, when the warning finally ended, and I felt safe enough to leave to drive home, I lifted the gate to the store at the mall entrance and a guy, who has been sitting out in the mall for the last two hours, tried to enter! I said "we are not open" and he said "y'all have the new rasslin' DVD, Bret Hitman Hart?"

"Yes" I said as I lowered the gate and looked around at the rest of the stores that were CLOSED, with all of the gates DOWN.

<-- accent="thick southern drawl" -->"I sho do weaish I had thaet there DeeVayDay"<---/accent -->

Ummmmmm....let's or DVD? Life? DVD? Life? DVD? hmmmmmm?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Retreat Journal Entry Day 2

November 5, 2005
7:30 am

(...after being awakened by a horrible nightmare about a snake that wouldn't let go of my leg, then a horrible car accident.)
....I was going to take a nice luxury bath this morning but the tub stopper wasn't working so I decided to go to breakfast and deal with the tub later. I actually clipped up my hair and went to eat with NO MAKE-UP! I found the most beautiful spot to eat breakfast. Oh My! I think a storm is brewing. It's very cloudy and suddenly VERY windy! But at the same time it's very beautiful...a beautiful fall morning.

So, after some praise time and getting the tub fixed, I came here where it's now too windy to continue so I'll stop for now and have some more quiet time with God.

1:30 pm

I am in the most beautiful spot right now. It's on the other side of the cove where I had breakfast. This is about as perfect as it can be. There's a beautiful breeze. I can hear leaves falling (and see them of course) all around me. I have to watch out for the occasional acorn to the head though. "Ouch!"

On the way here I asked God for lots of peachy oranges and reds in the foliage. (There wasn't much of it on the way here.) As I look around, I see peaches, reds, and bright yellows in the trees surrounding me! I've been worshipping all morning! Therefore, I'm not getting alot of Bible study done at this point.

Thank you for this beauty and this place. Thank You for this time with you. I sit here in the midst of Your Glory that surrounds me (and occasionally falls on my head). I praise You for music, for my mouth and ears...for all my senses that are soaking all of this in! You have walked with me today and arranged for everything to be perfect. I am surrounded with romance straight from the Lover of My Soul! I feel Your embrace everywhere I go. It's so comforting here in your arms. I feel your breath in the wind and your majesty surrounds me.....There is truly no greater love than this! You sent your Son to die so that I could have this experience today. It's because of Him that I can know You, walk with You, and talk with You. Thank You for your tender love and mercy!


Monday, November 14, 2005

Where Have All the Friends Gone?

Where Have All the Friends Gone?

I found mine! I am the most blessed!

Women's Ministry

I can't say how many times I have thought about the way I hate that a career can often limit the time a person has with God in His Word. I have told Sue so many times that my dream would be to be able to be in the Word of God all day and still earn an income. Yesterday, a friend brought to my attention that there was an ad in the classifieds for a Baptist women's ministry director. I'm applying for the job. Women's ministry is my passion and my calling. I have absolutely no doubt about it. I never knew how, or in what way for sure, but I know that I am called to minister to special needs that women have. Woman to woman. Serving God by serving others. I can't imagine how wonderful it would be to have an income, be able to care for my children, and to live my dream at the same time. I really really really covet the prayers of all of my brothers and sisters out there. Pray for me that I'll trust Him, whatever the outcome....even if I don't get the job. I do feel like there are so many others out there with more experience, bigger degrees, better recommendations, greater popularity....but God is God and He knows who the right person is for the job and that's what I am praying for...that the right person will get the job...whether or not it is me. I'm also praying that if it isn't me...that I will have the right attitude and accept that with grace and thankfulness. God's will be done that He may be glorified!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Anticipating Worship


A "little birdie" told me that the praise team has worked up a worship song I suggested a few months back and that the church will be led into worship through The Revelation Song this morning!

It is one awesome worship song and a perfect fit for the message on Isaiah today.

Woohooo! Listen to a sample here! Get more info here!

It is glorious! Our God is AWESOME!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Focus and The Lord's Prayer

Our Father
Which Art In Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name!

Getting and especially staying focused is probably one of the most difficult things for a Christian to do, especially when in the midst of heavy spiritual warfare (which is most of the time for Christians).

So, often I lose sight of my purpose, which is to glorify the Name of God. I am supposed to be serving "wholeheartedly, as if [I ]were serving the Lord, not men (Ephesians 6;8)".

Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will Be Done
On Earth As It Is In Heaven

I am supposed to concentrate on letting Him mold me and use me in bringing His Kingdom to Earth, in shining His light through me. I am a tool in the hands of God! When I stay focused, I become a light in the darkness of those who are lost. He uses me to bring His Kingdom to Earth!

Beware of your enemy the devil who "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter5:8)".

Satan is constantly stirring up distractions, (chaos, illness, depression, financial insecurity, hobbies, parties, obsessions, bitterness, selfishness, pride, even ministry and giftedness etc....) in the lives of believers in hopes to cause us to lose focus. Even the most focused person can be distracted immensly without even knowing it. Just because a person stays focused in life doesn't mean that he/she is focused on bringing glory to the Name of God. As Christians, we should regularly be asking ourselves in our daily tasks, conversations, situations, "How is this bringing glory to the Name of God?"

Give us This Day Our Daily Bread

The word, bread, is often used in reference to need. We need food to live, but as food brings us the nutrition we need to have the energy and wellness to stay alive and active, so also does the Bread of Life (who is Christ Jesus) provide nourishment for our spirit. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, one of those temptations was make bread from a stone. Although Jesus was probably famished, he responded with, "Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:3-5)".

If we want all of our needs met, then we must focus on the Bread of Life Who is Christ our Lord and Savior, the "Word made flesh" (John 1:13-14). He is the Only need that we really have. When we are focused on The Word, He offers His load for us to carry instead of our own. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt 11:28-30)."

Therefore, we are laying our most desperate needs at His feet, and trusting Him to provide. We should worry about nothing...but place our focus on Our Daily Bread. This is how we glorify the Name of God.

And Forgive Us Our Debts
As We Forgive Our Debtors

This particular translation uses the word debts in the place of sin. Other translations may offer words such as transgressions, trespasses, or iniquities. All of these words refer to some type of shortcoming, or failure. Regardless of the word used, we must remember not to focus on our sin but on the One who forgives. In doing this, as Christians, we should also remember that we are to practice that same sacrificial forgiveness (displayed on the cross) towards those who have disappointed, hurt, cheated, or damaged us in some way. Often we feel these people owe us something, whether it be an apology, gratitude, money, whatever. Our focus is on self. If we focus on Christ, the Bread of Life, then we will see others through His love, compassion, and forgiveness. We will obey the first and greatest commandment to love God (Mark 12:30), and subsequently obey the the second, to love others (Mark 12:31). When loving others, we forgive. We glorify the name of God, our Father, in Heaven. We free our souls from carrying feelings of bitterness, guilt, or shame that come as a result of unforgiveness. Hallowed be His name!

Lead Us Not Into Temptation
But Deliver Us From Evil

Asking God to lead us not into temptation in this verse does not necessarily suggest that we should not be tempted. Temptation in this verse is most likely referring to being tested. "Parallels with ancient Jewish prayers, and possibly the Aramaic wording behind this verse, suggest that the first line means: 'Let us not sin when we are tested' -rather than, 'Let us not be tested'" (The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament, Craig S. Keener). The biggest cause of falling into temptation is the loss of focus. When we take focus off of our selves and refocus on Glorifying God's name, we cannot be overcome by temptation.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.(1 Cor. 10:13)."

Sometimes when we fail God by giving into temptation, we cry out, "Lord, why did you put me in this position? You know I am weak in this area!" I praise God that when I am weak, He is strong! "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."' (WOOHOOO!) "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12: 9-10)!!!"

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)." When we are focused on Him, He will deliver us from evil and His Name will be glorified!

"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil(Luke 11:1-4)."



It's all about God!

amen (so be it)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Have You Ever Forgotten To....?

Have you ever forgotten that you made coffee in the coffee maker? And let it sit for days? or possibly weeks?

Our coffee maker is in a rather inconspicous place in the corner of the kitchen, and it is not often that we use it, especially when the weather is warm, so it goes mostly unnoticed.

Today, with the morning air having a bit of an autumn chill, I decided that coffee sounded good. However, my mind was quickly changed when I walked over the the coffee maker and saw this:

Oops! I forgot to clean the coffee pot the last time I used it...about two or three weeks (or maybe longer...I really don't remember!) ago! ICK!

Well, my food phobia kicked in and Katie *insert fanfare* came to save the day!

She swooped in and calmly said "oh, it's just science" and immediately secured the area and began decontamination procedures.


I busted out laughing at that "oh, it's just science" comment and just had to post about it! But, what's a post like that without descriptive pictures to accompany it?

The pot itself was bad enough, but then the coffee grounds needed combed! Ugh!


Coffee makers now come equipped to turn off automatically so if you forget you don't burn your house down. Now they need to add an alarm...kind of like the one on my answering machine that beeps every minute or so until you check the messages (if there is one). I need a coffee maker that beeps so I remember to clean it!

So, the lesson for today is:

Always be sure to clean your coffee pot immediately after using.

And, if you happen to forget to do that, just remember:

"It's only science"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Sacrifice of Praise

James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. I asked God to help me this morning as I was overwhelmed by the darts being thrown in my direction. Shortly after my last post, I told Sue how I was feeling. That's when she told me what was written in her last post. The part I heard stopped me in my tracks. I heard in my heart the voice of my Savior whisper to me, "my child, embrace the darts as I embraced the cross." Sue said my entire countenance changed before her. I don't know what she saw on my face but I knew in my heart, that God had used her to speak to me. God is amazing. He does want a personal relationship with each and every one of His children and we are all precious to Him. I lifted my heart to heaven and offered a sacrifice of praise to God in the midst of spiritual warfare. He heard my cry and rescued me...almost instantly.

It's true, you can't worship God...truly worship Him...and not be consumed by His presence...the light overtakes the darkness and it can not exist in the presence of true worship. I am blessed. I see things so clearly when I see them through His eyes.

Father, help me to keep my focus in the right place. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Spiritual Armor

Ephesians 6:10-20

Should the spiritual armor a Christian "puts on" be like a hard shell, an exoskeleton, or made of steel?

I've been wondering if sometimes our armor should be soft and absorbant, something that would absorb the airbag deployment.

A sponge that is totally dry will not absorb won't until it is somewhat damp. That is why when you buy one at the store it is pre-moistened. A totally dry, and hard sponge will not absorb what it was designed to do.

When the arrows from the evil one fly at us, we want and expect our spiritual armor to deflect those arrows. But what if instead of blocking the attacks from the enemy with a hard plate of spiritual steel, we absorb them, and embrace them, like Jesus embraced the cross.

Flaming Arrows

The enemy is lurking about like a roaring lion seeking to devour and destroy me. Calling all prayer warriors! The flaming arrows are coming so hard and so fast. It's hard to stand. I get up and they hit again. I'm down and they keep striking. God is wonderful and I praise Him because He is my victory and He will get me through this and I will be stronger. I praise Him because in the midst of all of this...there is Hope! Father, I will praise You in spite of it all because You are my constant and You see the real me!!!! And I AM BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

He Is Still With Me

Many times when a person goes on vacation, they get home and have the blues because they miss wherever it was that they were vacationing. They miss the people, the sights, the feeling of escape and rest.

My retreat to be with God is so different than going on a vacation. It's totally cool because even though the scenery is a bit different and life still goes on when I return, the One I went on vacation to be with is still with me! He's still talking to me and I'm falling deeper in love every day.

When I got home, the environment was a bit different, but God has shown me how special I am in that when I go out into my own back yard, there are trees full of my favorite brilliant fall colors and all of the basking I did at the lake I am continuing to do in my own back yard. It's not only about the trees and what I can see with my eyes however. That's just an added blessing to the way God has been speaking to me and continuing to change me.

He has been showing me areas in my life that need to be worked on and things I need to confess to Him and others. As I sit in my back yard, watching the beautiful leaves fall, I think about how his blessings are showering down on me. He is changing my heart and moving me forward in my walk with Him.

It's funny how we think we need things but when we let go and trust Him, He shows us what we really need while also taking care of what we think we need at the same time.

On a different note, (perhaps this is another blog). While basking in His presence and listening to the song, "Held" by Natalie Grant, I was once again compassionately moved in my heart to think of the parents of John Parrish (my son's former classmate who was killed in a car accident a couple weeks ago). The song talks about how hope is birthed from tragedy. My heart has gone out to that family so much. The hope I have found in from this tragedy is a new relationship with my children. I've had a rude awakening to how quickly life can change and how every time my children walk out the door, or hang up the phone, that may be the last chance I have to say, "I love you."

I have always been one to say I love you as the last thing when I leave those I love or hang up. I mean it every time I say it as well. But, now, it means even more. God has used this during this time of growth to help me to see that I need to be more patient. I need to not get so stressed out because I run here and there and have to do all these things that aren't so fun because my kids are involved in things that take away from myrest time. I still don't enjoy all the running around but I do it without all the complaining and whining. I'm so ashamed of how miserable I was towards them and how I snuffed the joy right out of the things they love to do. So, I say "I love you" every time I drop them off...after I have whined, complained and grumbled about how much time they take out of what I enjoy doing. Man, sometimes I can be so darn selfish!

Another area where I feel change coming about is in my attitude towards somebody who hurt me really bad last year. I have fought off bitterness ever since. I have to keep forgiving and keep forgiving...but now I think I am the one who needs to seek forgiveness for the grudge I have held...even though I denied it, even though I felt I had the right. God tells us that we are to love Him first and then love others. That's the first and greatest commandment (Mark 12:30). If we love God we will automatically love others. And, when we love others, we are loving God.

I said to somebody the other day, "It's the others part I have trouble with. Some people are just hard to love." I realized the instant I said that that if it's hard to love others, then I have a bigger problem to be concerned with than my relationship with that person. If I can't love others, than something is terribly wrong with my relationship with God. Something needs to be fixed in my personal life.

Getting back to the Natalie Grant song, "Held"...

In the midst of the struggle in our life, whether it is the death of a loved one or the loss of a job, I can find the peace and hope I need in the arms of God. "This is what it means to be held when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive." Without our tragedies, we would not be able to lean on God. Without our tragedies, we wouldn't know the blessing of God's rescue from the midst of our trouble. Our tragedies glorify God because they cause us to turn to Him so that He can hold us and let us be in the midst of his most Holy, Perfect, Loving embrace.

Last weekend, on my final night of the retreat, I laid on the floor of a docked tourist boat staring at the stars. The winds were blowing and the waves were tossing the boat. There, I found the Peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of rough waters. This is what it means to be held.

My weekend retreat has passed, but I didn't leave behind what I found there. He is still with me...holding me, teaching me, loving me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Earth is Full of His Glory!

I remember it like it was yesterday! Oh, it was! What a wonderful weekend spent basking in the glory of God! The whole purpose of my weekend was to awaken my heart

and soul from this terrible slump I've been in. I took this time away from the real world so I could really focus and spend time getting know God more. I had so many things

on my heart and planned on spending alot of time praying about these things. Instead, I ended up spending most of my time worshipping. The weather, the colors of the

leaves, the lake the was all so perfect. It was as if my environment was sympathizing with me the entire weekend. I will spend the next few days sharing some of my journal entries from the moments I was there.

DAY ONE 11/04/05

Well, finally, here I am sitting on some steps at dusk. I'm finally here writing about my day so far. I would have been here much sooner but I locked the keys in my trunk

when I first got here. The ranger (lady) came and rescued me! She asked me to pray for her son to find a friend (or two or three). So, I will add that to my prayer list this

weekend. The trip out here was peaceful and wonderful and as I listened to God speake to me through Pastor Sipes, well, that with the beauty and all the brilliant fall colors...moved me to tears a few times. It's getting too dark to write so I'm going to have dinner then head to my room for some quiet time. It's 5:20 pm.

(8:00 pm) Well, plans changed. This weekend is about God so my schedule and time belong to Him. Instead of spending ite in my room, I had dinner (seafood
every Friday night seafood night...EVERYWHERE???) Anyhow, fish on fitting!

.....I'm outside, downstairs on the patio under the stars and pines. The night sky is beautiful and the temperature is comfortably cool. I want to praise God now for the beauty of this day. What a beautiful gift He has given me.

(9:19 pm) God led me to Psalm 119 tonight. I began praying certain parts of the Psalm as I read it. The one I prayed last before moving to another Bible study was 119:40,

"Behold, I long for Your precepts, revive me in Your righteousness." Then, I began reading the introduction to Kay Arthurs "Lord, I Want to Know You" .....she says that the

Lord's book contains everything we need to know and apply to our lives. "These are precepts for life; through them we will gain understanding and as the psalmist says,

'Hate every false way.'" (Psalm 119:104).

(9:39 pm) Father, show me what you want me to do, Your will. I know You will show me because it is in accordance to that will. I know that if I step out in faith, You will give me an avenue of ministry, person by person or group by group, that will not only stagger my mind, but absolutely delight my soul.

This was the theme of the entire weekend. God set the ball rolling on Friday night and it just kept building from there all weekend.

Before I arrived at Natchez Trace, I asked God for something special just for me. I asked Him for lots of peachy and red foliage to be there for me to enjoy. It was everywhere!

On day one, God spoke to my heart almost immediately. He told me to stop doubting, that the reason I believe that there's got to be something more to life than this is because THERE IS! He told me once again to DREAM BIG! It's my calling!!!

Note: Today 11/07'05, a new friend, Gina, expressed her concerns to me regarding women's ministry and the lack thereof at my church. She told me she wanted to meet with me and pray about it at least once a week. We will also be doing Bible study together. We'll be using Kay Arthur's "Lord I want to Know You" as a study avenue of ministry, person by person. Amen.


So Jesus is tired after a hard day of healing and teaching and he needs rest. He went to a quiet place and just wanted to be alone to rest and relax.

A woman barges in on him and pleads for him to free her daughter from demon possession.

At first he says nothing and the disciples note to him their irritation with this woman who keeps bugging them to see Jesus. They urge Jesus to send her away.

Jesus finally responds to the woman but what he says to her puzzles me.

What he didn't say puzzles me too. He didn't say with gentleness "your faith has healed your daughter", or "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more", or "bring the child to me".

He said
"It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." (Matthew 15:21-28)

First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."(Mark 7:24-30)


I just don't understand that.

I think I'm missing something.

Then, I am very puzzled by the woman's response which was NOT "whaaaaaaa?". No, she replied,

"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." (Matthew 15:27)

"Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." (Mark 7:28)

I don't understand why Jesus responded like he did to this desperate woman. It seems so out of character, but then again, maybe not. As usual he used the encounter to say "I was only sent to the lost sheep of Isreal." (Matthew 15:24) to "affirm" what the disciples were thinking...then he did just the opposite for this Gentile...he freed the woman's daughter from demon possession. He showed the disciples listening to this dialogue that he was NOT only sent to the lost sheep of Isreal.

What I can't understand is the whole "bread, children, dog" thing? And how did the woman know to respond with the "crumb" thing? I really think I'm missing something.

I asked about it in SaLT with WaLT and attempts were made to help me understand, and while I understand the point of the story, I'm having trouble grasping how the whole conversation between Jesus and the woman took place, the whole "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs" remark is so out of the blue to me. Katie says I'm trying to make something more of it than there is.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Katie's Retreat

Katie has returned from her retreat to Natchez Trace State Park. I can't wait to hear about how God moved in her life this weekend and what she may have discovered about His plans for her.

I love this picture that she captured of herself sitting near the lake, leaning on a tree, pondering the beauty of creation. I chose it for the desktop background picture.

Click the picture for a larger view. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I've Lost the Kids

Katie is away on a retreat this weekend. I told her a few months ago...GO! I'll handle things, you need to do this.

So, yesterday she left.

Today, I've lost the kids.

It started last night. I picked up Justin from the football game and when I arrived he said to me "Stacy (a friend from church) is picking me up". Not good. I told him that I was there to take him home and he should call and tell her not to come. I also explained that he only needed the ride TO school...and he said "oh, I thought you were working tonight". As we have done all season, when I work on Friday nights, I pick him up from school afterward. I thought he understood this. Simple, no?

When he comes back out to the car he tells me that Bill, Stacy's husband, answered. Justin tells me that he asked Bill if Stacy had her cell phone and was told "probably not". That was that. (What I didn't realize at the time is that Justin only asked that one question of Bill...he didn't explain the situation!)

So Justin and I are sitting waiting for Stacy to arrive just to tell her to turn back around and go home. I'm feeling bad because this is an inconvenience for Bill and Stacy because the school is twenty minutes from their home. So, I'm thinking that it is very unfortunate that Stacy is on her way and I asked Justin again "Do we know if Stacy has her phone?" and he said "Bill didn't think so", and I asked Justin..."did you tell him the situation?" Justin said "". I told Justin to go (he has to use the band room phone because I don't carry a cell) try to call her anyway, and at least Bill, so we can catch her before she gets all the way here. He said "I don't know her number". Ugh! Boys! I said "Call her husband to tell her that I'm picking you up!" I started getting frustrated here because I couldn't figure out why Justin didn't tell that to Bill to begin with! Justin said "oh man, I didn't think of that!"

Justin comes back out to the car and says "ok, all settled, Stacy is turning around and going home." Yay.

As we pull out of the drive, Justin mentions something about Tiffany, his sister, not being home tonight. I'm thinking did I know this? So Justin tells me "Stacy brought Tif to the football game and then Tif left with another girl and said 'mom said it was okay'".

I asked Justin "Who is Tif with?" and he said he didn't know.


"Who is Tiffany with? What girl? Where is she at?"

He had no idea! I was getting nervous and upset because now I have no idea where Tiffany is! I'm not doing a very good job as the not-the-mom!

Then Justin finally says "'s coming to me...(as he is coaxing it up from the recesses of his brain)...Emily! She's at Emily's!"

Yay, I could relax then. I trust Emily's parents...but, I wasn't sure if I could trust Justin's information! LOL

I explained to Justin that he is the older brother and needs to be responsible for knowing the whereabouts of his sister and making sure she is okay!


So, today I knew that the youth from church were working on a a roof for a member of Northbrook. (They became quite skilled at roofing during a mission trip in the early summer.) Justin had made arrangements for transportation there. When I left I let him know that I would be home around 5:30 and he said "Ok". I am...home at 5:30 and no kids.

I've lost the kids!



I called Stacy and left a message on her answering machine asking "where are my not-the-kids?"

She just this moment called back to tell me they just got back from roofing and are famished. She was going to feed the kids and then Bill would bring them home.

I said "you don't trust me to feed the kids?" LOL

She hesitantly said "ummmmmmmm...."


So, the lost have been found! (and are now being fed)

Being a not-the-mom is tough work and I'm missing my friend right now!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Internet Introductions

Katie and I met Gina yesterday. We met for coffee at Starbucks and had a good time learning a bit about each other.

Gina "found" us while Googling Northbrook Church. She happened by the Sisters' Weblog, and emailed us to inquire about our church. It was fun answering her questions about Northbrook and ourselves, and then eventually meeting in person.

Gina was even inspired to start up her own blog! Sisters' Weblog spawn!

We had a really good time talking with Gina and listening to her "Jesus Story" (testimony). I think a good new friendship is in the making! Yay! She shared with us that she has the gift of hospitality and invited us to Thanksgiving dinner with her family! We are so blessed! That is actually our THIRD this year, so we had to decline Gina's invitation, but maybe we can do that another time.

The Internet can really be useful in bringing together new friends, and we discovered we had many things in common! Places we've lived, past occupations we've shared, current activities we are involved with, it bloggles the mind!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Jennifer Knapp

Good news from CCM Magazine which says that Gotee will be releasing the first ever live recordings of Jennifer Knapp this coming January 24.

Where is Jennifer Knapp? I have no idea...just pray. When there is any JK news though, you'll most likely here it here first!

I've Been Quoted!

I was contacted this week by a former employee, who is now a writer for the Jackson Today, a weekly paper in Jackson, TN. He remembered that I had talked about my experience playing Ring of Fire with the Johnny Cash Band, the Tennessee Three, at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame Festival in 2004 and wanted some info about that.

The Tennessee Three have an album that is up for possibly six grammy nominations! Huh, and I've played on stage with them! Woohooo! You can read the article about the grammy nods here and you will notice that I've been quoted! (yellow highlighted part that you can't miss!)

Dangerous Intersection

I thought it was a good idea for the road planners to build a dangerous intersection right there by the hospital's ER. The fire hydrant was a nice touch too.

The intersection isn't that dangerous if you pay attention. I wonder sometimes if signs like this should read..."stop, look left, look right, look left and move forward with caution, dummy, and you'll be fine!"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


This was the scene at the YMCA, Katie's place of employment. She won't be going to work today.

Everyone made it out okay and no one was hurt, but hopefully it will open again soon so Katie will not lose too many hours. Time is money, there is never enough of it!

Katie called me at work and said "The Y is burning!" Since Katie has a tendency to be very excitable, I imagined a small contained fire in some area and wasn't too concerned. But, then, over her cell phone I heard many loud sirens. I was then realizing that the situation was serious!

Then I looked out the windows of my store and could see black smoke billowing into the sky from the direction of where the Y is. It became a bit more frightening at that point.

Soon after the firefighters arrived on the scene things were under control and I could no longer see the smoke. According to the article in the paper, the Y may open yet this week, possibly even later today or tomorrow.