Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cds Start at .01!

I'm starting to auction off my CDs. I'm going through my collection to streamline and declutter my home. I'm not looking to make money, (although that would be nice!) which is why I start each item at .01! I charge for shipping, but that's all. I won't sell anything that is not in "like new" playable condition so go see my Ebay Auction and see if anything there interests you. I will be selling mostly pop/rock, christian, and gospel. I have a pretty eclectic collection that includes a lot of jazz and swing, so I'll probably auction that off eventually too.

PLACE A BID!

You can check what is up for auction often simply by clicking the "Shop Ebay With Me!" button in the column to the right.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This Stinks!

I've been a member of Cleanfilms.com for the last 9 or so months. I've really enjoyed the opportunity to view films that I would not otherwise watch because Cleanfilms edited out all the innappropriate language and gratuitous sex scenes and unnecessary violence. It was so fun looking forward to the next film coming in the mail.

But, today, I received this in my email:
It is with great regret that we write to inform you that Clean Films is going out of business soon. As you may have heard or read, after three long years of legal struggles, a judge in Colorado has ruled that we cannot sell or rent edited DVDs anymore. While we thought very strongly about appealing the decision, the potential costs and risks to the company, its customers and shareholders was just too great. Accordingly, we have agreed to close our doors after a brief winding-up period.
Apparantly the Hollywood types have decided that it is censorship, tampering with art, or something, and sued Cleanfilms and similar companies. It's a shame. Some argue that it is illegal, but it is not according to the Fair Use Act which allows individuals to edit films for renting and/or buying as long as it is accompanied by an original copy of the movie. It's the same law that allows for parodies and things like that. It is totally legal.

Cleanfilms gave me and the framily an opportunity to view films we wouldn't otherwise watch. It allowed us to view movies like Shawshank Redemption without the language that a 13 year old shouldn't be exposed to, or a 40 year old doesn't want to hear. We could watch other movies minus the sex scene that really has nothing to do with the story anyway. I'm gonna miss Cleanfilms a lot.

When will we Christians unite? When will we stand on our faith? When will we refuse to pay $ for violent, sex crazed movies laced with horrendous language? Hollywood thinks we want the stuff they are churning out...and frankly, why wouldn't they think we want it?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Drivers Ed

I had tears in my eyes as I sat in the passenger seat of my jeep. Today I experienced something that very few single, never-been-married-or-had-kids people, ever get to have the pleasure of enjoying. Justin earned his driver's permit and I took him out for some practice today.

Did I say "pleasure of enjoying"? I may have meant to say ADRENALINE SURGE!!!!!! Nah, actually, he is doing quite well. We only pulled out in front of one car, ran one stop sign, beeped at one crazy person walking in the middle of the road, and suffered whiplash at one stop. Wow, that sounds bad. I must say I exaggerated on the pulling out in front of a car, it was a little close, but nothing that caused a panic attack. Justin will be a fine driver with some practice and the confidence that will come from gaining experience.

I literally did have tears at one point because this young man is growing up. I have no idea what I ever did to deserve the privilege of being a part of a young man maturing into adulthood. Today I was teaching him how to drive! Me!?! I was there at one of the monumental moments in a young person's life! Sometimes I just feel so blessed it is overwhelming. That is why the tears came. Oh, he didn't know it, he was occupied watching the road. My eyes welled up and my heart swelled and all I could do was thank God for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this kid's life.

Sometimes I feel so privileged and at times I wonder what God was thinking choosing me for this special job?

It is not every single person who gets to have a framily. It is not every "not the mom" that gets to teach Drivers Ed. It bloggles the mind!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Don't Love It, I HATE It!

Help me Lord to not be eager for money.
1 Timothy 6:10
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
It's been an expensive year thus far, and these are my "griefs":
  • $2200 sewer main replaced
  • $1000 dental bills AFTER insurance
  • $1500 car repairs (and they are both in the shop again this week!)
  • $150 plumbing leak/shower install
  • $75 lawn mower repair on BRAND NEW $380 lawn mower
  • $900 refrigerator replacement
  • $300 digital camera replacement (yes, that is a want, but the enjoyment I get from it offsets the other financial issues!)
$6125 in unplanned expenses for 2006. I'm ready for next year NOW!

All of those are incurred expenses. What I still need to deal with are:
  • The tailight assembly on my car that is being replaced tomorrow.
  • The A/C in the other car that has NO FAN at all...no air moving AT ALL! Anyone notice the heatwave going on these days?
  • The mysterious holes in the roof of my house, which by some miracle, are not leaking at this point. How light can pass through and water doesn't I just don't know. It bloggles the mind!
  • The shaping of the landscape of my yard to help with drain-off by a landscaper who knows what they are doing, as well as finishing putting gutters on the house. This is all in an effort to keep the problem I had with my sewer main from repeating itself.
  • My carpets and upholstery are being cleaned tomorrow because my dog decided that he didn't like when I left him here on my trip to Ohio, and is now rebelling. He has decided that he doesn't really need to go outside to do his OUTSIDE BUSINESS! Ugh! I have to re-housetrain my 16 year old dog! No, he is not incontinent because he is being very secretive about making his "deposits", if he were having medical issues, I'd be able to catch him in the act. Besides that, he is still asking to go outside throughout the day.
  • The tree (branch) that fell and demolished the yard swing. I need to get help cutting the thing up and removing it. I don't have chain saws and tools like that!
So, I've decided to start selling off my CDs and some books on Ebay. I'm not really looking to make mega $$, but even a little extra $$ could help with a treat now and then. I'd be happy with having $$ for a good cup of coffee. And, selling on Ebay is kind of fun, so, it's a nice change of pace. Even if I do sell Alien Fashion Show for .01 cent, it is still money coming IN and NOT going OUT!

Regardless, I praise God that I am fortunate to have small holes in my roof, car troubles, trees falling on swings, no A/C while I live in the peaceful land of the USA. I could have a hole in my roof because of a bomb.

Isreal Flat (Photo:Reuters)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Single Parenting and Rest

Busy MomWhere does a single mom go to get rest and quiet her soul?

I can't think of a single person who would choose to be a single parent. I don't think anybody asks for it. But, sadly enough, single parenting is becoming more and more the norm in the present day. Some parents are single due to the death of a spouse but, the majority are due to the distructive forces of divorce.

There are so many complications and struggles that I've had to face as a divorced, single mother. The biggest struggles come with finances and child rearing. God has blessed me by providing for me to stay home with my kids more than most. But this isn't always easy. In fact, at times it seems almost impossible.

Trying to find the balance between how much time to devote at work, and how much to devote to being with the kids can seem hopeless without God's intervention. The world (and many Christians sadly) says that I need to work full-time and get benefits so that I can provide my kids with a good life.

This is true. But, just what is a good life? Is it being available for their after school activities without being too exhausted to cheer them on? Is it having time to sit and converse, listen, and share our struggles? Or, is it making sure they have nice clothes, ipods, cell phones, and we musn't leave out the expensive youth trips and sports camps! It's so hard not to get caught up in materialism and the world's idea of success. That seems like the good life when in reality, things become idols. Stuff becomes bondage. And the corporate ladder can be the biggest thief of time and energy spent.
Matthew 6:19-21
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
All loving parents want the best for their children and they should. It's figuring out what is best that's hard. Guilt is one of the biggest battles I have as a single mom. If I work full-time, I feel guilty because I don't have the energy or availability to participate in my kid's lives. I'm responsible for the income, the cooking, cleaning, shopping, errand running, and bill paying. At the same time I'm the chauffeur, cheerleader, physician, psychologist, teacher, and more. I have a tendency to sacrifice personal rest and pleasure in order to maintain "stability". Then, when I do take time out for me, I battle guilt. If I don't work full-time I feel guilt because of the things we have to do without. So, where is the healthy balance?

In order to find a healthy balance, I have to know my priorities. Where is my heart? Is it on God first? Or is it raising my kids? It's funny how people will try to constantly remind me that my first priority should be my children. Thank you! Yes, my children are my first priority, second only to God. I know that the most important thing I can do for my kids is to know and do the will of God. I need to be an example to them of how God wants us to live and sometimes that can be the most difficult part of single parenting.

The first and greatest commandment is found in Mark 12:30, "...love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength". That should be easy right? Not for me! Loving God means letting Him have my entire life and being! Loving God is total devotion. Aside from my many moments of selfishness, pride, and other downfalls...all too often I worry and this isn't a display of my devotion. It shows a lack of faith and trust.
Matthew 6:25
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
I worry incessantly about the kids having school supplies, plenty to eat, entertainment, and more. All my worrying brings about nothing more than stress, irritability, exhaustion, frustration, and depression. It hinders my relationship with God and my children. It doesn't solve a thing.
Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6: 33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Action is what moves me from here to there (glory to glory as Beth Moore would put it). So, what should my plan of action be? All too frequently, it's to try to figure out what to do on my own instead of reaching out to God.
Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
I just love how God's word is alive and active in my life! I love how scripture compliments and fits every concern, every situation. I love how it breathes life into my spirit and nourishment to my soul. It gives me peace and rest when I feel like there is no hope of ever finding such. So, why do I save prayer and Bible study as my last resort? Why do I get angry because He doesn't answer me? I pray and want Him to speak to me immediately without any effort of seeking answers in His Word. He speaks to me everything I need to know or hear through the Bible. I don't hear because I don't listen! I don't find because I don't seek.
Matthew 7:7
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Being a parent is the most important calling I'll ever have. I'm responsible for molding an entire generation and those to follow. That's a pretty big responsibility to mess up! That alone can be loud enough to disquiet the most gentle spirit. Yet,I constantly try to do it on my own without Him. Apart from Him I can do nothing. I need to trust in Him with all my heart and lean "not" to my own understanding. I can't bring quiet to my spirit because I don't seek the Peace that transcends all understanding.
John 15:5
I am the vine, you are the branches; if a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Proverbs 3:4-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
I get so confused. I feel so pressured. I take the weight of all of this upon my own shoulders instead of laying my burdens at His feet and leaving them there! Every single day I struggle to just cast my burdens on the One who loves me perfectly, the only One who can give me rest.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Matthew 11: 28-29
Then Jesus Said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls."
As perfect as His Word is. As wonderful as He is. I often diminish my Lord to a mere genie of sorts. "My wish is your command!" Oh brother!

I call myself a single parent, but it doesn't have to be that way. I don't have to do it alone. God is the perfect husband, father, brother, even a mom when the time is right. He is everything I need. He knocks on my heart's door but I don't hear him through all the "noise" that I let my life bring. He wants me to be still. He wants me to let Him quiet my spirit. Then and only then can I hear from Him. He is my only hope and my only help in times of trouble. I only have to ask, and seek to find what I need to do everything. I truly can do all things when I realize that I can do nothing alone. Because it is only with Him that I can do everything.
Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I have all that I need to do everything that I need to do. Christ is truly everything I need. He equips me with everything I need for doing His will (see Hebrews 13:21). I give Him all the glory because I can do nothing on my own. I don't have to and I shouldn't want to! I've seen what I do on my own and I know that nothing good is possible apart from Him. But, everything is possible with Him.

Single parenting is a mountain twice the size of the one couples have to climb. But, God moves mountains without a flinch! Trust Him and see.

I pray that He will....
equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:21).
Finding quiet for my soul as a single mom is something I have to let Him do.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Needs a Caption!

When I was home in Ohio on vacation, I rummaged through some pictures in the desk drawer and photo albums. This was one of the precious pictures that I happened upon, and it deserves a caption!

I found some old pics of my parents and grandparents and just had to scan some. I emailed them to myself and have been doctoring some of them with the picture programs available to me, in order to restore some of the original quality of the picture. It's amazing what being able to simply add some color and sharpen a picture can do to give it new life.

I even found some old band pictures of myself and the most notable thing is how blonde my hair once was, outside of the fact it was over twenty years ago! That was back in the day I spent a LOT more time outdoors!

Anyway, this is my sister and her daughter sharing some quality time together, and I think it deserves a special caption. Leave your ideas in the comment section. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 09, 2006

SaLT with WaLT Fellowship


Melissa During the Egg Relay
Originally uploaded by susanlprince.
My SaLT group had yet another fellowship gathering last night. This time we gathered together with the Sikes SaLT and had an absolute blast! We had a great meal and then it was time for "Karen Games".

Karen, a beloved member of SaLT with WaLT, who also happens to be Walt's wife, keeps the parties we have very lively with her brand of games. She organizes us all together and pulls us out of our comfort zones, (or at least those of us who choose to participate) for some sometimes very unusual activities. Melissa is pictured here intently balancing an egg on a spoon during a relay race. I call that the Michael Jordan look, with the whole tongue sticking out thing going on!

I think one of the most fun things were the water balloons! The kids, and just about everyone else, had a blast nailing Keith with the balloons and he was a great sport about it too. Good time!

One of the unusual games was the Spoon Relay Game. In this race, a large cooking spoon is passed through the top of the participants shirt, down through their pants and out the bottom of the leg. Charles said "this looks crude", and it does...but it sure is funny! You can watch a video HERE and see for yourself!

I just love my church family!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

CD Cassette

A customer came in yesterday and asked with her very southern, southern drawl, "Do you have any CD blues cassettes?"

I inquired further and asked "are you asking me for CD cassettes?"

"Yeeaah" she said, "CD blues cassettes".

Would you like an 8-track vinyl record with that?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Its now Independence Day, 4:40 AM. Although my body is tired beyond any stretch of the imagination, I'm finding it difficult to find slumber for my soul. The restlessness I'm experiencing at this moment has been ongoing for quite some time. Some of this is due to health complications but, I think the majority of my restlessness comes from the deepest part of me, the core of my being that cant seem to stay focused on whats really important in life.

I find myself questioning what Im supposed to be doing. Am I doing the right thing? Ive lost a connection I once had with my Savior. Ive lost my childlike faith. So, I incessantly worry. This is the one thing I know God does NOT want me to do (see Matthew 6:25-28). I used to trust God with the most difficult circumstances. I remember the process of the divorce I experienced 5 years ago. I had so much peace during the worst time of my life. I trusted God and He took care of me. But, now, I don't even trust Him with the little things. Instead, I dwell on them day and night. I worry about not having an established career at age 38. I worry that I'm not making wise choices. I get depressed because things haven't turned out the way I hoped.

I find myself suffering from unhealed wounds due to spiritual battles I keep trying to fight on my own. I'm trapped in bondage to my own selfishness. I've struggled over the past year or so like I haven't struggled in many.

I find myself in utter despair over the fact that God called me to serve Him through ministry over twenty years ago and still I sit here doing no more than I was after surrendering to that call. In fact, it seems as though I am doing even less. In a previous Myspace post (June 17, 2006), I mentioned being in bondage to the call God has placed on my life. (I'm sure He's thrilled about that.) I know it was never His intention to place me in bondage when He called me to serve. He gave me a gift! What have I done with it? It hasn't always been this way.

When I was in my twenties I taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school. I sang in the choir, on the worship team, and even directed the childrens choir/theatre for a year. It was wonderful! I was blessed to lead several children to Christ. I learned all the ups and downs of serving in these areas. I experienced struggles and joys that were difficult and wonderful growing experiences. During this time, I don't believe I was experiencing the bondage that I am today. I believed it all to be a process of training for the original call to women's ministry. I was getting prepared.

Now, as I approach my forties, I've watched many young Christians (both in age and faith) jump right into service. Young women in their twenties have become great servants in ministry, speaking, writing, music, teaching, mentoring, or whatever the call. Yesterday, even, I read an article by a woman who has a ministry and a published book. She has only been a Christian for six years! Six years! I became so whiney when I read this. I even cried out to God, "Six years, God! What have I done with my faith? How come you can use her in such an incredible way but I just sit here? Why don't I qualify? What is wrong with me?" Me! Me! Me!

Today, when I awoke at oh about 3:30 or so, I was so frustrated because of my discomfort both physically and spiritually. I finally gave up laying there trying to do what wasn't going to happen (sleep) and went to the spare bedroom/laundry room. I began reading "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence. Its a bit of a difficult read due to the language of the day, but it wasn't so difficult that I couldn't get the message. It brought about great conviction.

Here I am a victim of my own selfishness, bound instead of blessed by the receiving a gift from God (a call to ministry), when I should be celebrating the freedom I have in Christ, the giver of that gift. I have been enslaved to the very thing that was intended to bring me freedom. The very thing that should be drawing me into His presence is being used as a tool of separation. As I've said before, its become an idol, an obsession that has taken over my life and is making me miserable. This obsession, over the past year or so has actually stunted my growth. It's affected every area of my life because it's kept my focus on what I feel entitled to instead of Who's I am. I should be obsessed with Christ and having a healthy, thriving relationship with Him, nothing more or less.

I talk a good talk when I get inspired. I know in my heart what's right. I share these things at any given opportunity. But, then there's the in-between times. I can be so self-centered! I feel like I'm going nowhere in life, a misfit who just doesn't belong. I dwell on the lies from the enemy instead of the promises of God and the Truth of His Word! I believe that I have no place in church. I don't qualify for anything. (I even apply this to my personal life in the area of finding employment. I'm either under qualified or over qualified. Over qualified is still unemployed! It still means I'm not qualified.)

I should be dwelling on the fact that I am a princess and His mercies are new every morning! I am beautiful and loved by God right now, right where I am, unemployed or not, single or married, serving in ministry or not, sleeping or NOT (just had to toss that in there). He loves me and thinks I'm beautiful even as I wallow deeply in the muck and mire of self-pity. Why isn't that enough? It should be.

My focus should be on nothing more than loving God. I should be concerned with nothing more than fitting thoughts of Him into every moment of every day. I should be conversing with Christ instead of making a curse of His call. I should see everything in the light of the cross. I should be laying my burdens on the One who died for me. Nothing else should matter. Fitting in shouldn't matter, finding my place shouldn't matter, a career, a house, my appearance, a husband, good health, even involvement in church activities should mean nothing in the light of Christ. That's where I need to be. Thats where I so desperately want to be, in His light. I just want to be at the point when I can lay all of this "stuff" down at the feet of my Savior and say, its all nothing in comparison to You. My first and most important call in life is to LOVE GOD. That is the Truth (Mark 12:30) .

On this early Independence Day morning, I am reminded that true independence comes from complete dependence on Jesus Christ. God help me.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Caller ID


Recently I noticed that incoming calls were no longer being identified by caller's name on my caller ID. Not even my own cell phone was identifying me by name, when I know that it used to, so I contacted Bellsouth about this.

Today I received a reply from Bellsouth. They explained that the fact that I was at one time able to see callers identified by name was because there was a trial period worked out with wireless carriers that allowed for names to be displayed with the incoming number. Now that the trial period has ended, all I can see on the caller ID is a phone number.

I replied back because I pay for a caller ID (NAME and number) service, and asked "what is the point of having caller ID service that won't ID cell phone callers by name, when 90% of the calls these days are from cell phones?"

I haven't heard Bellsouth's reply to that yet.