Saturday, December 31, 2005

Melissa's House


Mickey and Melissa
Originally uploaded by susanlprince.
Katie, Tif and I went to Melissa's house in Medina,TN last night to hang out. We had a lot of fun playing Apples to Apples and Spoons.

I never realized how physically violent the game of spoons can be! I fell onto the floor twice trying to retrieve a spoon! That game is cut throat! Whew!

This is a picture of Melissa and her daughter McKenzie (sp?) but we all call her "Mickey". She's so cute!

Click the picture to view more scenes from our wild night at Melissa's.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Retailer Appreciation Day

After having worked 36 of the last 41 days I am officially exhausted. I'm so thankful that the holidays are nearly over, and at least the big gift giving holiday already is. "Calgon, take me away!"

The fact that banks were closed for three days in a row last week...and probably again this week, along with many businesses closing for the holidays has me thinking about all their "extra" days off. I want that. I want extra days off too!

I propose a holiday for any and all retailers who worked long hours stocking their stores to capacity, cleaning-up after disrespectful customers leave a mess in their wake, and serving all customers to the best of their ability even when some customers with poor attitudes only deserved to be handed a lump of coal and pushed out the door.

Retailer Appreciation Day!

I propose it be a day that everyone else has to work...office workers, federal government employees, and anyone else that normally has days like Independence Day, Labor Day, President's Day, Arbor Day... (just checking to see if you actually read this far! LOL)...you know, all those "no mail today" days, and retailers get the paid day off!

Hmmmmm, when should it be? I say make it a Friday! A day that people would notice us when we aren't there! A day that people get their paychecks and won't have anything to spend it on!

Nah...it would never work. Our society is built on greed...not appreciation. That would be too much money not being spent on stuff we don't need.

Retailer Appreciation Day.

It sounded so cool at first.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Firefox Extensions

Since installing and using Firefox, I have added some extensions to help me customize the browser and play around with some things to simplify my Internet life. Two of those extensions are the Bible Toolbar and Resize Search Box.

One such gadget I've discovered is the Bible Toolbar. It is useful to bloggers like myself that frequently post scripture or constantly use the Bible resource Bible Gateway.

This extension adds a toolbar to the Firefox browser and makes searching the Bible Gateway a snap. What I also like about the Bible Toolbar is that you can toggle the toolbar to show/hide with one simple click. You can install the Bible Toolbar now by clicking here.

Another nifty extension I have found is one that resizes the search box on Firefox. That box was annoyingly small and I set out to find a solution for it today. I came across a bunch of things that wanted me to:
Add the text below to the userChrome.css
/* Make the Search box flex wider */
#search-container, #searchbar {
width: 400px !important;
}
and to make that easier I was to download Chromedit which will not yet install with Firefox 1.5.

I don't give up easy and I found a simpler answer that is compatible with Firefox 1.5 here, and works great!

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Mother, A Babe, Five Loaves and Two Fish

It was a damp, rainy Christmas day. In spite of the dreary weather, the joy of Christmas warmed our hearts as songs of praise filled the room. I sat in the second row and pondered a painting on the screen before me. It was a picture of Mary staring into the eyes of the Son of God, her Son, the Christchild. I couldn't imagine what she must have been thinking. Was she like the average mother who stares in wonder and amazement at her new baby? Probably. Did she ponder that this child is the very One who would one day be her Savior? Perhaps.

It's amazing how a person can get lost in thought. But, what stole my attention the most was thinking about the mother of God in that painting. There she sat, holding her precious God-child, staring into His helpless little eyes as he was probably grasping tightly onto her forefinger with his tiny fingers. As tears filled my eyes, my thoughts came to the mother Mary. This same mother, cradling her fully dependent, helpless, precious child, would one day stare into his lifeless eyes, hold his lifeless body and perhaps even grasp his lifeless hand as she sat there, helpless and fully dependent on the Son of God who just died for her own salvation.

The child, Emmanuel, Jesus, grew into adulthood. One day, while preaching, his disciples were concerned because there were so many hungry and they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus blessed the food and the disciples passed it out. There was more than enough food for all. "They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over." (Matthew 14:13-21)

After the Christmas service was over, I stayed to help with coffee clean up. Before we were finished, I found myself inviting five additional guests to my home for Christmas dinner. Two of them were going home with no plans until much later that evening. The other three were going to have dinner at the local House of Pancakes. Much to my surprise, they actually accepted the invitation!

I began to feel a bit anxious on the way home. I had only had an hour and a half of sleep after staying up all night making Christmas preparations. One of those preparations was the presentation of a very special family Christmas table for dinner. I had been collecting for this for several weeks, from gold chargers, to gold flatware. I even made special napkin rings out of grapevine and garland. I wanted them to be surprised and excited to sit down for Christmas dinner at a beautifully elegant table. I set an extra place for the Founder of the feast, the Reason for the feast, the Christ, my Savior.

I wasn't concerned about the food so much as where I would put everybody. I remembered how Jesus fed the 5,000 with just five loaves and two fish. So, I left it up to Him to provide enough to eat and I knew He would. He not only provided but actually took His place amongst us.

While our guests were seated at the elegantly decorated table, and my family sat at a simply decorated card table with no candles and mix/match dinnerware, tears filled my eyes once again. I began to recognize our Special Guest. My heart awakened to the presence of the baby, Emmanuel, the One Who was once embraced as a babe in the arms of Mary. The One who captured her full attention as her precious new baby and as her dying Lord. I became aware of the same Emmanuel, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, present in the midst of the 6 hungry souls gathered around the table in His honor.

There is a parable which teaches that when we feed the hungry, clothe those who are in need, and care for the sick, we are feeding, clothing, and caring for Jesus. This Christmas, I got to feed the hungry. The funny part about it all is that I was also fed by them, and by the Spirit amongst us.

After we finished eating, there were so many leftovers that I was trying to send it home with our guests. There was enough food in my refrigerator from that meal alone to feed my family for at least a week. Perhaps it would have filled 12 baskets.

Merry Christmas

Picky-Eaters Unite!

I've been meaning over the years to post on this topic, but never did...that is until now. I was inspired to finally do it when I came across a post at Beanhead Babbles. Beanhead has posted a couple of "top 10" lists and one was the "top 10 things that annoy me". It was #5 that struck a chord in me:
"When someone makes a big deal out of the fact that I am a picky eater."
I am a picky eater! It is annoying when people make a big deal out of it too! Being a picky eater has it's consequences and this post addresses some of those. Here are some issues that arise from having a "food phobia" or being a picky eater:
  • dread dinner invitations by friends and colleagues
  • feel very uncomfortable at church fellowships because everyone else is eating and you aren't
  • cringe at the term "potluck"
  • dread business luncheons/meals
  • feel like you trouble people preparing meals as they try to accommodate you
  • really limit what restaurant your large party will eat at when planning meetings or get-together as they try to accommodate you
  • feel guilt because you drive your parent's crazy because they often have to cook two meals
  • Always have to order meals at restaurants to certain specifications or you won't eat at all
  • never learn to cook
  • despise washing dishes because partially eaten food often triggers the gag reflex
It drives Katie crazy that there are two picky eaters in this household. Her son Justin is a picky eater too, and what makes it trouble is that Justin's and my pickiness are at total opposite ends of the spectrum. For example, about the only thing that kid eats is pizza...and I'm not kidding, pizza for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks in between.

Pizza repulses me.

Yes, it is true, I do not like pizza. At all. After a nuclear holocaust, if I were a lone survivor and the only thing to eat was pizza, I might eat it. I might eat pizza for a million dollars too. Any offers?

When I was a kid and whatever I was involved in at school was having a fund raiser, one popular motivator was that the person/class with most sales earned a pizza party. Oh yippee. Yep, that was really motivational to me. NOT!

There are some foods that absolutely disgust me and I don't even want to be in the same room with them. Two of the worst are onions and mustard. I despise onion. I despise mustard twice as much as I despise onions, maybe three or four times as much! I HATE MUSTARD! IT IS FOOD OF SATAN! (It bloggles the mind that all it takes is faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains.) Mustard is so very repulsive to me that I am grossed out at the site of a mustard container. I hate the color! I won't even touch a container that holds mustard! After all, that container houses the food of satan! (Remember, yellow is a sign of "caution"! LOL)

I do not like foods that have a lot of flavor or seasoning. I do not even like salt. I like things nice and plain and as Katie would say "boring". One of my friends pointed out to me that my problem may be that I have over-sensitive taste buds when I shared the following story. Her theory really makes sense too.

One day I was drinking iced tea at a restaurant. After sweetening it to my liking with Sweet-n-Low, I took a sip, and ick! My iced tea tasted like it was brewed with pepper! Well, it was so bad I sent it back and explained to the server what was wrong with it. The server was puzzled and I'm sure thought I was just one of those nuisances that servers must deal with, but took my tea away and brought out a replacement glass of iced tea. I tasted it and it was fine. I sweetened this glass with more Sweet-n-Low and when I took another drink, ICK! ICK! ICK! There's that pepper taste again!

Here's what was happening...on the table sit some condiments, seasonings and sugars/sweeteners. Do you know what those finely sifted sweeteners do sitting next to the pepper? They act like baking soda in the refrigerator and obsorb odors/flavors. The pepper was being absorbed through the packaging and into the sweetener. It was ruining my iced-tea! Now, I had the friend that I was with taste my tea and she didn't notice anything wrong with the tea. I now take note of where on the table the sweetener is in relation to the pepper and how all the condiments are contained.

I know that being a picky eater drives parent's crazy. Sorry. I wish it were different. I wish I could eat anything set before me. It sure would make life more comfortable for me and easier for everyone.

People who love food and will eat anything just can not possibly comprehend the effect having a "food phobia" has on a person. I know it is hard to even conceptualize the fact that some people are repulsed by certain foods, but think about it. Even people who say they eat "anything" probably have some food, even if it is just one, that they choose not to eat. Maybe even possibly dislike. Imagine disliking almost everything...it is no fun.

Most church "fellowships" are really excuses for eating. They are what I call "food functions". I hate "food functions". Why can't we just have Bible study? Why can't everyone eat at home and then come to church to fellowship? or study? or pray? Well, "food function" usually means "potluck" which is another evil term that picky-eaters hate. (Why do I never hear messages/sermons on gluttony?) At functions like this it is inevitable that the picky eater will be asked "why aren't you eating?" and then one feels obligated to answer, to which the host/hostess or person inquiring will respond with a list of alternative en tree's of which none are appealing. I hate when attention is drawn to my "disorder". LOL Once I came up with a great reply...especially in Baptist circles..."Oh, I'm fasting." It worked! But, then you have to repent for lying! LOL

If there is a picky eater in your life my advice to you is love them despite. If you can't or won't accommodate them with a meal/food they will eat, let them sit there. Picky eaters are used to watching others eat. We won't die missing one meal or so. In fact, most American picky-eaters could probably live for months off of our body fat! LOL If you see someone at your church fellowship not eating, it is not necessary to ask why they aren't eating. Most people know where the food is, and if they want some, they can help themselves. If they aren't eating, it is because they are either fasting, ill, or they are a picky-eater who wants to be left alone.

I look forward to heaven because I won't be a picky eater there. I will like pizza! I will order for delivery! Woohooo! No one delivers grilled-cheese sandwiches!

If you are a picky-eater...you are not alone!

Picky-eaters unite!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

THIS is a Framily!


Framily Christmas Dinner
Originally uploaded by susanlprince.
We went from the four of us to five when we invited our neighbor, Miss Virginia, over for Christmas dinner...

...then God had other plans! There were ten of us sharing the meal by the time Christmas dinner was served! TEN! Talk about blessings!

After the initial concern being that we wouldn't have enough food, it turns out that we had TOO MUCH! Many guests took some food home with them and we will have plenty of leftover potatoes, turkey, ham and other goodies.

The only thing better would have been to have had my family from Ohio, and my sister and neice and nephew in Las Vegas, here to share the meal with us.

Christ is and always will be in our Christmas!

Will We Have Enough Food?

I just asked Katie "Are we going to have enough food?".

With a very affirming "yes!" she said, "He fed 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish."

You see, we originally planned on sharing our Christmas meal with an ederly and lonely neighbor, Miss Virgina, just as we did last year. Moments ago, plans changed at church however, when one couple mentioned they had nothing special planned for the day. Katie then invited Harry and Paula over for dinner too.

But, that's not all...Vern, Vina and Miss Katherine were heading to IHOP for Christmas dinner. NOT ACCEPTABLE! So, Katie invited them as well.

Our meal for five suddenly swelled to a dinner for twice that!

We are scurrying about making new table settings and room for our special guests. How blessed we are! Tiffany is busy peeling potatoes, Justin and I are busy tidying up (I'm on break), Katie is glowing as this is the kind of thing she was made for, and in a few minutes, we will gather in His Name.

Framily Christmas 2005


Christmas Tree
Originally uploaded by susanlprince.
I just got all emotional.

I have a framily for Christmas.

(Framily: Friends + Family This is a term I coined a few years ago to describe Katie's family (herself and her kids) and me, the friend, and our unique living situation. It has become a part of our everyday language, so much so that people from church will refer to us as a "framily". The neat thing about a "framily" is that any friend of the "framily" is a "framily member"!)

Gifts are nice and all, but nothing beats being surrounded by people that love you. Spending the holiday with the special people in my life is priceless.

Nothing beats knowing you are loved by family and friends, those who live close and those who live far away too.

Nothing beats knowing that we celebrate the birth of our Savior this season.

That's what makes this the most wonderful time of the year, because we take time to remember that and to remind each other how much we love them.

I love my framily!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Yay or Nay?

Yay or nay on the new header?

Only One More Day

*sigh*

Only one more day. Tomorrow, actually, today (I'm up too late!) is Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas everyone!

The last shopping day in 2005.

This elates me.

:-)

Whew, I'm tired.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Why Was Jesus Baptized?

Why was Jesus baptized?

My SaLT group is reading The Jesus Creed; Loving God and Loving Others by Scot McKnight, and you can learn more about him at his blog The Jesus Creed.

We are really taking a critical look at this book and the topic this past week really had the discussion going. It was from Matthew 3:13-17, when John baptized Jesus.

McKnight points out that John was confused as to why Jesus came to him to be baptized. He goes on to say:
"But Jesus is baptized anyway. John's baptism is for repentance, and Jesus doesn't need to repent. Clearly, then, if Jesus doesn't need to repent, then he must be repenting for others, for us."
He continued:
"Because in so 'repenting for us,' Jesus begins to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit for his followers. John baptizes with 'water,' but Jesus will baptize 'with the Holy Spirit and with fire.'"
In conclusion McKnight states what he believes is "clear":
"Jesus is baptized to repent perfectly so God can send the Spirit to empower us for our vocations."
Any thoughts?

Christian Carnival: Christmas Edition 2005

The Christian Carnival is posted at The Bible Archive this week. There is a lot of good stuff listed there so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dilemma

After returning home from my most amazing retreat with my Lord, I found myself laid off. This lasted from the first week of November until yesterday. Surprisingly enough, I had a peace that surpassed all understanding during my time off. I felt that it was necessary and that somehow, God was growing me through this process.

I loved being more available to my family. I was able to cook, clean, and run errands with almost no stress at all. I was able to spend more time with God and re-evaluate my priorities. I got my home in order and decorated for Christmas. I was also more free to reach out to others and volunteer more at church. I even got to decorate the church for Christmas! I headed up the whole thing (because nobody else wanted to..lol). Yep, me and my team of one. Thanks Venice!

I have been dying to reorganize and give our home a deep cleaning and I got to do just that. I felt that my kids were better behaved and my relationship with them as well as God was growing stronger. It was a wonderful experience.

I've only been back to work for 2 days now and I'm already seeing things slip back to what they were before. Having more money, to me isn't worth the sacrifice of quiet time with God and a well run home. But, at the same time, I do have bills to pay. Something needs to be done. I'm really praying for God's wisdom on this. In my heart, I want to be able to be home to serve my family, my church, and our community. But, financially speaking, that's not possible. However, cutting back the hours of work may be something to consider.

It's hard being a single parent. I have a roomy (Hi Sue!)who helps me far and beyond the call of duty. I often wonder how those single moms do it who don't have anybody like Sue to help them.

I can't believe that I'm actually missing being laid off! I don't want to slip back into the stressed out, exhausted, depressed, sad excuse for a mother and Christian that I was before my retreat.

Somehow, I have to find a way to balance time with God, running my home, and having a career because work is not an option for me now. I truly understand how a person gets trapped in an abusive situation, flees, and then returns. It's nearly impossible to make it, especially for women, and even more if those women were homemakers prior to the end of the relationship.

I don't know what I would have done if God hadn't provided a friend to help care for me and my children. What about those who don't have that special friend? Those people work two and three jobs. Their kids are often left to care for themselves and even the parent in some cases. This is such an injustice without an answer...well with the exeption of one possibility....

Father, I lift up all the single parents who are struggling for survival, especially in this season of celebration. I pray that we will turn our eyes to You, and find refuge in the shelter of Your wings! Father, provide our needs and bless us with wisdom and blessings of all kinds as we turn to You. And, Lord, I pray for wisdom to make right choices. I don't want to slip back into the slump You just lifted me out of. Help me to stay focused on You and Your will. I pray that my life will bring You glory. I ask this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

I Made An Appointment

I made an appointment for a dental visit. Standard cleaning and evaluation...however, I figure it is time to get that crown put on since that root canal I had done two, or was it three, years ago? I'm bad about the dentist.

I also know I have an issue with one of my wisdom teeth. Yes, I still have those, at least for the time being, although I have a little less of one right now. Nothing major, at this point just a cavity, and hopefully it will hold out until my appointment on the 31st of January.

"brusha, brusha, brusha!"

Sunday, December 18, 2005

SaLT with WaLT Christmas Party


Salt with WaLT
Originally uploaded by susanlprince.
Here's a picture of us at our annual Christmas party at Karen and Walt's in Martin, TN. It's a long drive, but well worth it!

Great people! Great fun!

You can see a bunch more pictures by clicking on the photo at the right.

I'm so blessed to be loved by these people! I can't wait to see them all at church tomorrow!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Songs That Describe Me

A meme.

This was fun and different than other memes...it required some real thought and at times creativity. (I recommend choosing am established band/artist with a lengthy repertoire to give you some real options for answering these questions.)

Grabbed from Rob's MySpace. (Rob is an ex-student of mine...fine drummer he is!)

....

Choose a band / artist and answer ONLY in titles of their songs:

1. Choose a band/artist:

dc talk

2. Male or Female:

That Kind of Girl

3. Describe yourself:

Jesus Freak

4. How do some people feel about you:

Godsend

5. How do you feel about yourself:

Heavenbound

6. Describe your ex boyfriend / girlfriend:

Help!

7. Describe current boyfriend / girlfriend:

I Don't Want It

8. Describe where you want to be:

In the Light

9. Describe how you live:

Day by Day

10. Describe how you love:

Luv Is a Verb

11. What would you ask for if you had just one wish:

The Truth

12. Share a few words of Wisdom:

Take it to the Lord

13. Now say goodbye:

Free at Last

...

So, how about you? Describe yourself with song titles either in the comments, or on your own blog and leave a link/trackback so we can check it out!

Grammy Nominee = DAY OF FIRE!

Josh Brown's mom stopped by my store today to purchase every copy of the Day of Fire CD I had in stock.

She also shared with me some great news!

DAY OF FIRE IS NOMINATED FOR A GRAMMY AWARD! Woohooo!

They are nominated for Best Rock Gospel album...and I think of the others in the category, Day of Fire should take the win!

The others include:
  • Until My Heart Caves In (I like AA, but was unimpressed with this release.)
    Audio Adrenaline

  • Higher Definition (ummmm, rock?...I don't think so! Great rap album though!)
    The Cross Movement

  • Day Of Fire (GO! GO! GO!)
    Day Of Fire

  • Truth Is Fallin' In Tha Streetz (I'm not even familiar with this one! Looks like hip-hop.)
    Fresh I.E.

  • Dichotomy B (why are these hip-hop CDs nominated in the gospel rock album category?)
    Grits


Some other good news: Josh Brown is featured on a Christmas collection this year called Come Let Us Adore Him. This CD includes contributions from Krystal Meyers, Jars of Clay, Bebo Norman, Danielle Young (of Caedmon's Call), Third Day and others.

I think Josh Brown and Day of Fire are making a huge splash in Christian Rock and are here to stay!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Play Your Drum

The Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simeone Chorale is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It started to play in the car today on a burned disc I made of some Christmas favorites. When the brummm brummm brummm started I turned up the volume, but Katie grimaced and expressed disinterest in this song.

I was puzzled, how could this be? I said "whaaat? This is one of my favorites and I can't listen to it and not tear up!" I decided Katie must not get out of this song what I do, so I decided to explain it to her and maybe give her some insight and perspective she has not considered before. After I was done, she admitted that she now hears the song differently and wants to hear it again!

While the song played, I would stop the player now and then to emphasize the lyric and what it means...what it means to me. (I don't know if how I interpret the song has anything to do with the author's/composer's inspiration or thought that was meant to convey, but it is what I get out of the song. This is solely my own interpretation.)
Come, they told me (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
A new-born King to see (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
Our finest gifts we bring (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
To lay before the King (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum
rum-pa-pa-pum, rum-pa-pa-pum)
So to honor Him (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
When we come

Baby Gesu (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
I am a poor boy, too (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
I have no gift to bring (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
That's fit to give a King (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum
rum-pa-pa-pum, rum-pa-pa-pum)
Shall I play for you (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
On my drum?

Mary nodded (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
The ox and lamb kept time (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
I played my drum for Him (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
I played my best for Him (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum
rum-pa-pa-pum, rum-pa-pa-pum)
Then, He smiled at me (pa-rum-pa-pa-pum)
Me and my drum
The first verse of the song basically sets the stage and this young boy was told that these people were traveling to see a newborn baby who would someday be a king. People are bringing all sorts of gifts to honor him.

Now this is when the song gets really interesting!

"Baby Gesu, I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring that's fit to give a king" The kid identifies with the babe because he sees Him as "poor". He's born in a stable, wrapped in cloth amongst the beasts of burden, and it's cold. The boy probably thinks that this kid is in need of some of the gifts that are being given to him, yet, because he is a "poor boy too", he didn't bring anything. He didn't bring anything at all that would be worthy to give a king. I wonder, was the boy embarrassed? Was he curious as to what the fuss was all about? Maybe he felt somewhat self-conscious that all these people were there bearing gifts, and he had not one thing to give. Did the boy feel ashamed? Unworthy perhaps? Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel unworthy..unfit to see the King?

Imagine that...having nothing to give Him. We do have NOTHING to give Him that He has not already given everything to us! But, there is one thing we can give Him. The one thing we can give to God that He doesn't first give to us is praise and worship. So, the boy stands before the baby in a manger, with no gift to give Him, and asks him "shall I play for you on my drum?"

I had to stop the player at this point! Think about this...The kid says he has "nothing", but he has everything God has gifted him with. The kid plays a mean drum! So, what does he do with the gift God gave him? He gives it right back to God! I LOVE THAT! God gave us all gifts...we are supposed to give them back to Him! It is called worship!

I restart the song where we left off. So now what is the answer? Can he play his drum? Here is this tired mother who just hours ago gave birth to a seven pound, ten ounce baby (Obgyn 1:1) and here comes this dirty, poor, young boy asking to play a drum. It is quiet. The babe is resting, the mother is still and kindly accepting the gifts coming to him from the respectful visitors, the animals are hushed and the night is still. All that is heard is the crackle of the fire warming the area and casting a flickering, dim light on the people, and here comes a boy and a DRUM! A drum! I'm sure Mary was thrilled with the idea of him banging a drum! Imagine a kid coming to play a drum at the next baby shower you attend! Drums are not usually welcome at those events! LOL

The next verse is one verse that blows me away...Mary nodded. This is a nod of affirmation from a tender-hearted mother, and then the boy begins to play. Creation joined in when The ox and lamb kept time. (Psalm 96:9 "Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.") The moment was filled with praise and worship because one young boy played his drum, offering the gift God gave him back to His Lord. The Little Drummer Boy was the first worship leader!

I played my drum for Him, I played my best for Him! That's all the kid knew to do! He gave it his everything too and here is where the music really begins to crescendo. The animals have joined in, the people bearing gifts are listening and clapping maybe and tapping their feet to the sound of the drum. The music continues to build to an intense climax and then the drumming stops. It ends suddenly with a decrescendo, a brummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm that fades away into silence. The little drummer boy stops playing.

Now the great pause!

Silence...for just a moment.

What transpires in that moment? The boy has just offered his best performance on his drum. Was it enough? Was it enough to please the king...the tiny baby lying before him? There is anticipation in the air...the animals are quiet, the gift-bearing crowd is awaiting the next moment, wondering if the boy's gift of drumming had any impact at all? Everyone is still and quiet waiting for something...anything...to happen next. Then....

(slightly slower tempo here to contrast the climax of the drummer's offering.)

He smiled at me,

Me and my drum.

That's the line that gets me every time! I can hardly listen and not have tears well up.

"Well done my good and faithful servant" is what that says to me!

The Little Drummer Boy is such an impacting story to me, and I enjoy the vocal interpretation by the Harry Simeone Chorale to help convey the tenderness, majesty, mercifullness and joy of this story. We come to the Lord with all we have, which without Him, is nothing. We deserve nothing. Yet, he gives. He gives us all we have. He gave us His One and Only Son, who died and was raised. We praise Him for that. We worship Him. We are to worship Him with everything that He gave us...our heart, soul, mind and strength! And a drum...or whatever else He has gifted you with! When you do that...He will smile at you. So, play your drum!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Faith Space


Woohooo!

I received my package of Disciple's Crosses today!

Wendy makes them and they are beautiful!

They come in a whole assortment of colors...I claim green! I knew the pink and hot pink would be hot too! The whole framily claimed their crosses today!

Plus, I have some neat little gifts to pass along!

Humbled

Ganns of Superblessed.com announced award winners today in his post The one with the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2005 winners.

The Sisters' Weblog was named The Blog On! Most Superblessed Christian Blog of 2005. The most exciting thing about this for us is what Ganns had to say:
Sisters' Weblog is more than a blog: it is a moving, living, breathing testament to God's glory, and for that I am superblessed, honored, and privileged to have known the authors behind this glorious online testimony to Jesus' power.
To know that this blog is an online testimony of Jesus' power is the best compliment! To God be the glory!

The other really cool thing is that this reward was renamed in 2005 to include the encouraging signature phrase "Blog On!" coined by Benediction. The Sisters' Weblog is in no way in the same category as many of the fine blogs Ganns' has recognized in his annual award ceremony, but to receive this honor, along with the kind words and with it the distinguished "Blog On!" title is humbling to say the least!

Go visit the sites of the other award winners listed here, and check out all of the outstanding blogs of the numerous nominees listed here.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Age of Opportunity

Teenagers.

AAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

Sometimes don't you think that "teenager" is a four-letter word? Actually it is TWO four-letter words combined! LOL That means 2X the impact! Ugh! LOL

I'm a "not-the-mom" which means I have no children of my own, however, I do share a home with my best friend Katie, and her two teenagers. (You can go here to read and understand how this came to be so.)

While I am not a "parent" I do realize that I have a great responsibility in the lives of these kids that God has entrusted me with, at least for a time.

I now understand parents in a way I never imagined I would. I now think things like only five more years and they'll be gone! or God please help me survive this!

Recently a lady that is mentoring Katie gave her a book called Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp. This book really looks at the parenting of teenagers from a very different perspective. The author, Tripp, says that the teenage years aren't to be survived, but basically to be embraced because they are opportunities. If we simply try to survive the teenage years, we will miss very special opportunities to minister to our kids, or in my case, my "not-the-kids", and experience many joys, victories and growth.

I've only read a minuscule portion of the beginning of the book and already it has transformed my thinking with this simple statement about the teenage years:
"These years are hard for us (parents) because they expose the wrong thoughts and desires of our own hearts"
Tripp explains that we hate the teen years because they expose who we really are. I read some of what Tripp writes and concluded that I am a Walmart Parking Lot Moment.
"The teen years are hard for us because they tend to bring out the worst in us. Parents find themselves reacting with accusations, guilt manipulation, and ultimatums, responding with a level of anger that they would not have thought possible."
...

"These year are hard for us because they rip back the curtain and expose us."
...

"This is why trials are so difficult, yet so useful in God's hands. We don't radically change in a moment of trial. No, trials expose what we have always been. Trials bare things to which we would have otherwise been blind. So, too, the teen years expose our self-righteousness, our impatience, our unforgiving spirit, our lack of servant love, the weakness of our faith, and our craving for comfort and ease."
The Walmart Parking Lot Moment is the the defining moment for me that exposed my self-righteousness, my impatience, my unforgiving spirit, my lack of servant love, the weakness of my faith, and my craving for comfort and ease. Guess where it happened? If you guessed the Walmart parking lot, you get a gold star!

I'm excited to dig into this book and learn more about how to embrace the teenage years and use the opportunities that arise to help Katie's kids grow into responsible adults that contribute to society and will glorify God in all they do.

This book doesn't seem to be a book about "How to Raise Teens", but rather a book about "how to Get My Heart Right While Raising Teens".

Friday, December 09, 2005

Keep it Holy

What is all this talk from many Christians who are finally noticing that Christmas has become secularized? "Happy Holidays" is not acceptable because the reason for the season is not identified? We hear that some retailers are requiring employees to say "Happy Holidays" so as to not offend certain patrons, and this has Christians all riled up?

In Exodus 20, the fourth commandment reads:
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Katie posted on this subject earlier and while it is upsetting to think about the fact that Christmas is so commercialized and that so much of the holiday season has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, the One and Only Son of the Living God, she did some research on the whole Christmas Holiday thing. Turns out that Christmas has it's roots in pagan celebrations. Not really surprising since I don't believe there are evergreens in the desert and the areas where Jesus walked, nor did the wise men arrive just after His birth (more like three years later probably). It is hard to discern the actual beginning of the Christmas celebration and holiday season because it seems to have come from so many different cultures and traditions and from times even pre-dating Christ!

This got us to thinking, and Katie said something rather profound:
"You know, it makes sense that many Christian traditions derived from pagan celebrations since no one is born a Christian. Everyone is born a pagan, one must be born-again to be a Christian."
I thought about this a bit more and started thinking about how in some ways it is ridiculous that Christians are signing petitions and "boycotting" Target and other retailers over the "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" greeting and for the fact that the Salvation Army bell ringer is no longer allowed to stand outside the stores.

What I find more ridiculous is that Christians don't seem to take issue with the flagrant breaking of the Fourth Commandment that tells us to work six days and rest on the seventh. We are to set aside the seventh day and keep it holy. KEEP IT HOLY!

Maybe Christians would have more of an impact on society if we actually did set a day aside for worship. An entire day devoted to the Lord! Prayer, fasting, praising, fellowship, loving others, studying scripture, etc. Not to simply attend church, then head out for dinner at the local steakhouse or buffet, but actually "remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy". "On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant...". Did you notice that part about your man/maidservant? I would take this to mean anyone who works for, or serves me...Christian or not, which would include anyone serving me...a retailer, or a waiter/waitress at the restaurant...any server!

If Christians haven't been responsible about keeping ONE DAY a week holy...how can we expect to keep an ENTIRE SEASON holy?

God intended the Sabbath to be a day of devotion to Him. Him alone. Not Starbucks. Not Burger King! Not Walmart!

Maybe if as Christians we actually started living a life that is holy and pleasing to the Lord, including setting aside the seventh day, the Sabbath Day, and kept it holy, we would truly make an impact on society. Maybe if retail business decreased noticeably on the Sabbath because Christians weren't shopping, and restaurants were noticing a decrease in patronage, and gas stations weren't selling as much gas because Christians were staying home, and families started spending more time together, society would begin to change.

Christians complain about how society is depraved, and that we live in a fallen world, and that it oppresses us, but, I can't help but ponder if Christians have no one to blame but themselves. We have not kept His Commandments. We have not kept the Sabbath Holy, and now He is allowing us to reap what we have sown.



Added 12/10/05

There are a plethora of posts from Christians on or around this subject of "Happy Holidays" and the "War on Christmas" in the Blogosphere. Blogs4God has neatly listed some of those in the article "What War on Christmas?".

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Framily Night Audioblog II

"Take Two"! because audioblog #1 wasn't up to standards...

Tiffany coughs on the puzzle...

Katie then complains about soggy puzzle pieces and being hot (because she doesn't want the world to know she's going through menopause...so...shhhhhhh)

Now there's a loogie on the puzzle! ewwwwwwwww


this is an audio post - click to play

Framily Night Audioblog I

This post features some audio from our "framily night". What is "framily night"? We coined the term "framily" because it combines friends + family. Since we are a combined friend and family home, we have "framily nights". "Framily nights" do not exclude anyone...any friend of the "framily" is a "framily member"!

Now for the post:

Ummmmm....

Justin provides accompaniment music for this circus....

Katie says I sound "gay"...

...still waiting for something entertaining....

Do they have "odor blogging"?

I really don't think I can post this!


this is an audio post - click to play

Overheard...

Today I overheard part of a conversation between customers standing in line waiting to check out...
"I always buy my brother clothes for Christmas, but he never wears any."
I got a little chuckle out of that!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Firefox vs. IE6

Ok, the tabbed browsing is swaying me, but I do have some trouble with Firefox. I have resolved an issue with Firefox not loading new versions of pages and I am still trying to adjust to the look of the Bookmarks and also trouble with autofill.

One is the fact that it was not very simple to learn how to make the browser load a new version of a page on every visit. That really annoyed me but, I found out through a Google search:
Open Firefox and type about:config in the location bar. Find the setting for browser.cache.check_doc_frequency. Right click on this and choose modify from the popup menu. Change the value to 1 and the browser will now check for a new version of the page on every page load.
I don't know, it just seems easier to tick a box in IE.

My next issue is with the Bookmarks sidebar...I want the sidebar to close all open trees when Firefox is closed so when I open Bookmarks again, it is nice and neat again. I hate how it stays open and looks all chaotic. To me IE favorites has a much cleaner look with the folders, rather than a threaded tree.



*** UPDATE *** Bookmark problem solved! Go here!



The other problem I have with Firefox is autofill. I use the feature and enjoy it, however in IE6, I can delete individual entries from the drop down window in autofill. In Firefox, I have to "clear private data" in order to wipeout the stuff listed in autofill, which clears every single entry! I hate that! Sometimes I simply mistype something and it stays in autofill and I would really like to be able to delete just those individual entries in Firefox autofill.



*** UPDATE *** AhhHA! highlight - shift - delete takes care of this issue! Woohooo!




I have to say though that as I play around more in Firefox, I am finding it more and more appealing.

Healing Rain

I pray for healing rain to fall on the head of the person who STOLE MICHAEL W. SMITH'S "HEALING RAIN" CD FROM MY STORE!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Why Church Membership Doesn’t Matter

There's an interesting and rather in-depth discussion going on over at nakedreligion about why church membership doesn't matter. Read the post there and check out the comments.

I posted in there a couple of times explaining a little about the membership in the church I attend, and why I think church membership IS important and DOES matter.

The author of nakedreligion.com, BJ Berfalk, in his post says of his church:
"membership is essentially meaningless because of the behavior we’ve allowed to accompany what it means to be a member."
To me, it is very important to be a member of a local body of believers, and with that membership comes a huge responsibility and one that is not to be taken lightly. The church has to recognize the responsibility as well! With membership comes commitment...an individual's commitment to Christ and to the Body, and the commitment of the Body to Christ and to the individual believer. There must be commitment!

Berfalk notes in his post that the Rotary club "gets it" because if you don't participate in it's activities, you are no longer a member. Would a church do that? What if you don't participate in worship? or other ministries?

The YMCA "gets it" because if you don't pay membership dues, you are not a member. Are you a committed member of a church if you are not supporting it financially on a regular basis?

Does church membership matter? It should.

One commenter, Tom, posted:
Gee, don’t you remember reading in the gospel story about the membership class Jesus held for all the potential disciples?

Neither do I. Two thoughts strike me. First is from the Gospel According to Groucho: I would never join an organization that wanted me as a member.

Jesus did not hold membership classes, however He did handpick the disciples. Furthermore, did the disciples not realize the need to replace Judas after his “departure”? In Acts 1:21-26 we read about how Matthias became the next “member” or leader to carry out the apostolic ministry. To me, that does indicate a level of “membership”.

In today’s society we have many “church-hoppers” who never commit to anything. With no membership, there is rarely any accountability and something that membership allows for is time for relationships to build with other believers. Within those established relationships, there can be accountability, teaching, growing.

So if "membership is essentially meaningless because of the behavior we’ve allowed to accompany what it means to be a member" in the church, it is not only membership problem, it is a leadership problem.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I Asked a Soldier

I Asked a Soldier, or two, what a typical day is like for them. There is a response posted here.



If you have a question, you can ask a soldier too! It's pretty fun!



I am about as non-military as they come. I really don't know anyone close to me in the armed services, although my dad did serve in the army when he was young...and that was before I came along. I have much respect for those in uniform and I appreciate what GI Gotti and Mr. Matt have started with Ask the Soldiers because it gives me an opportunity to "hear" first hand from soldiers serving in Iraq. I highly encourage you to participate and ask a question or two!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ask The Soldiers

I found Ask The Soldiers surfing Blog Soldiers and was very interested to read this blog.

If you have a question that needs to be answered about the war in Iraq, Ask The Soldiers.

I figure the soldiers who are actually there, in the thick of things, should know. The two soldiers who are answering the questions are vowing to answer with the truth and brutal honesty.