Sunday, January 28, 2007

Has Anyone Ever Told You That You Look Like...

Do you look like a famous celebrity?

Are you ever mistaken for Julia Roberts?

Brad Pitt?

George Clooney?

Paris Hilton?

I'm not!

But I happened across a fun site where you can upload a pic and have a scan to determine which celebrities you resemble.

Check it out: MyHeritage face recognition - Find the Celebrity in You

(I honestly can't remember what blog I visited that eventually led me here, but thanks! I've been having fun uploading pics of everyone in the household!)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Movies Were a Trip

Katie and I went to see Rocky Balboa today. I had seen it before and really thought Katie would enjoy it too, so we both went.

We arrived later than I had planned, so by the time we entered the theater with our popcorn and drinks, the lights were down and the previews were showing.

Having just come in from the lighted hallway, it took a minute for our eyes to adjust. Unfortunately, when we started to ascend the stairs, we hadn't given our eyes enough time to adjust to the darkness, so we were being guided by the lights on the steps.

I was in front, popcorn in my left hand, drink in my right. This theater has stadium seating so, the climb is fairly steep up the steps, however they are staggered. There is a step, then a longer platform, then the next step, platform, step, platform, step. My brain knows this, and my eyes could see the lights on the edges of each step.

But, eyes can play tricks!

Suddenly I was realizing I was taking a step up where there was no step! I stumbled but was able to catch myself before anything tragic occurred. Katie was behind me and I started upward again, but became disoriented by the lights and the fact that I was taking more steps where there were no steps!

It was as if there was an optical illusion and my brain couldn't comprehend the messages my eyes were sending it about where the steps actually were! I was stumbling around like a drunkard and feeling rather embarrassed by this because the rest of the audience (only two people, thank goodness!) had already adjusted to the darkness and I'm sure could see what a fool I was making of myself!

I stopped to get my bearing and asked Katie "can we sit here?" and she said "no". This was VERY disappointing to me because a seat sounded safe! I was reeeeaaaallly hoping to slide over into that row to safety, but nooooooooo, Katie can't sit that close because it makes her dizzy.

Movie SnacksSo, up I went again and this time I really lost my balance and went stumbling, only catching myself against the rail to my left. My popcorn went flying like hundreds of birds fleeing a tree when startled. Katie started laughing and I just started picking up popcorn!

"Can we please sit here?" and with an affirmative from Katie, we carefully made our way into that row of seats and found stability. It was still too close for Katie's comfort, but at least we were safe! and laughing at ourselves hysterically, just imagining what we must have looked like!

Then Katie confessed that she wasn't so much laughing at the sight of me stumbling around in the dark theater and throwing my popcorn around, because she herself was doing the same thing behind me! LOL

So, we were finally at ease enjoying Rocky and stayed until the very end. The other two movie goers had already exited the theater and when the lights came back up, Katie and I made our way safely down the steps, passed the scattered popcorn, and were finally on the floor at ground level. Whew!

We turned the corner to make our way down the hall and out of the theater when Katie doubles over laughing hysterically. She saw it before I did, but then I looked and saw a very large popcorn spill on the floor of the hallway. It seems that when I stumbled on the steps on the way in before the start of the film, the popcorn shower I initiated rained down over the banister and into the hall! LOL

We both had a great laugh over that! Oh boy. Oh, and I stopped by the concession area and got a free refill on my popcorn!

And when I got in the car, as I was settling in and putting on my seatbelt, I accidently got hooked up on my popcorn bag and flipped my popcorn AGAIN! Now there is popcorn all over my car!

It just wasn't meant to be! It bloggles the mind!

Soul Sisters

Found a great article at Christianity Today: Soul Sisters

Sally Miller and Cheri Mueller share about their spiritual journey as "soul sisters". Katie and I could've written this! Great stuff!

If you are wondering why we call this "Sisters' Weblog: It Bloggles the Mind!" well, first we are "soul sisters" like this article talks about. Second, it's a weblog that we've kept since September 2002. We use it to share about our lives in it. Sometimes it is just the silly things we do that boggle the mind, errrr, bloggle the mind, or we share about the mind boggling, errrrr, bloggling things that God is doing in our lives.

Sisters' Weblog is a peek at our spiritual journey as friends, as soul sisters.

Monday, January 22, 2007

25th Wedding Anniversary SURPRISE!

Recently our church family celebrated our pastor's 25th wedding anniversary. We threw a surprise party!

The church family parked the cars out behind the church in hopes that they would be hidden from view when the pastor's family brought him over. Everyone set up the "Big Room" with tables and food and waited for Chuck and Ann to arrive. There were maybe 60-80 people there all hiding in the dark of the room, patiently and excitedly waiting.

Their teen daughter had planned the event and both their children were in on the plan to get the happy couple to the church for the big surprise.

The youth pastor, Cody, stood out front and called Chuck at home (which is very near the church) to come to the church because he had "accidently locked his keys in the church building". The plan was for Chuck to come let him in. The pastor's kids were planning "a family night out" and so it worked out that Chuck would just pop over to the church to let Cody in while the entire family was enroute to "dinner". The kids, then "decided" to follow Chuck into the building, and his wife, Ann, decided to go in to since everyone else was. It was classic to have an entire church family, a good 60-80 people, give a surprise party and literally, Chuck and Ann had NO CLUE!
Anniversary Cake
Wish I could have been there to see their faces! (I had to work) The good news is that the moment was captured digitally! Yay! So I did get to see it HERE! Woohooo! A bit of an explanation is needed so you understand what you will see in the .mov file: Chuck and Ann
Chuck entered the church through the main doors and the church family was poised to received him and his wife through the main doors into The Big Room (main sanctuary). Chuck though, took a different route down the side hallway. In the video you'll see him pass the open side door while the hushed crowd starts to giggle. Chuck peeks in the ajar door and SURPRISE! What a blast!

Katie, a cake decorator, provided the cake. She decided a nice wedding cake, to celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss, was appropriate, and highlighted it with the traditional silver for this special day. I think her cake turned out beautiful! Sad part was, it was short lived. Soon, this beautiful edible sculpture was nothing but crumbs. Chuck and Ann loved the cake and now a few have offered to help Katie start a business!

Well, it was a wonderful celebration and it sure was a lot of fun surprising Chuck and Ann. You can see more pics on Flickr by clicking here. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Joined For Life

I went to Nashville on a business trip and since I choose not to have cable at my home, I must admit that when I have the opportunity to stay in a hotel, I enjoy checking out what is on TV. I surf the many available tv stations rarely finding anything of real interest or entertainment value. When I do find something that holds my attention, it is usually Court TV, the History Channel, Discovery and last night it was The Learning Channel.

I saw a most amazing story of two teenage girls who are "Joined for Life". They are conjoined twins who basically share a body. Abby controls one side of their body and Brittany controls the other. They play softball, ride a bike, type and have recently earned their drivers license! It is the incredible story of two sisters who literally can not live without one another.

This video is just a sample of the lives of these amazing teenagers, and if you ever have the opportunity to see the entire documentary "Joined For Life: The amazing story of Abigail and Brittany Hensel" go for it. It is so encouraging and fascinating to watch. (Let me point you also to Nick, a man born without limbs, who has an intriguing life story as well.)



The other amazing thing I learned was that every now and then there actually IS something worth watching on tv!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jackson Symphony Orchestra

Yay! I got a gig with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra! I'll be playing for the Broadway Pops concert on February 10th! Woohooo! Should be fun!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Christian Transparency

It is always interesting to see what brings visitors to one's blog. My post "I Saw a Lot of Naked Men..." sure gets a lot of hits (imagine that), but one post that garners a lot of attention is my post from August of 2005 on Transparency.




Here is the repost:

The Christian is to live a life that is transparent. This means that the Christian should live their life out in the open, hiding nothing. We should go about our work and play in plain view of anyone, and avoid every kind of evil.
I Thessalonians 4:11-12 "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

I Thessalonians 2:4b "... we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts."

We are to live in the Light, and when we live transparent lives, all becomes seen in the Light. The definition of transparent is "easily seen through", "free from guile", "candid or open". God sees all that we do, everything. Character counts to a Christian because integrity and character is built by what we do "in the dark", when men can't see. If we are alway conscious of the fact that God is watching, and that we will one day give an account for all that we do. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight."(Romans 14:12, Hebrews 4:13)


This does not mean however, that we are not to have private moments at all. Of course a Christian has intimate details of life that are his/her own business, but those details are always to be within the confines of Biblical teachings, therefore approved by God. We need not point out the aspects of our life either, we should "make it our ambition to lead a quiet life...", because a life that is in the light will be seen naturally.

What it does mean is that we are to be ultimately accountable to God for our behaviors. Christians are instructed to "submit to one another", "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other" and "do not lie to each other". "We who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Because we, Christians, form one body, it is important that we are transparent with our lives, so that we can all "encourage one another and build each other up". If one of us is involved in sin, the entire body will be affected. One day our pastor gave a powerful visual of just this thing when he used this example: "Let's say I chose to sin and commit adultery"...then he asked his wife to stand up. After she stood, he had his children stand up. Then he had members of the leadership of the church stand, one by one. Then the friends of his family stood. Then the family of the people already standing were asked to stand. By the end of the illustration, the entire body of believers in that gathering place were standing.

Christians are to hold one another accountable. When we see a sister or brother falling into sin, we are to go to them and lovingly try to help them to see the error of their ways, and point them toward Christ who is the only One Who can fully restore them to the faith. If we say nothing, and we allow the sister/brother to stumble, unchallenged, we will be held accountable by God for that inaction. God gave us a voice to use!

Ephesians 4:25 "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body."

Christians who are leading transparent lives will invite intervention by another believer. By that I mean that the Christian who is transparent makes it obvious that they are sincerely trying to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. An observer would feel comfortable (maybe not the right word because the circumstance would be difficult, but they definately would not feel like "I'm not getting involved, it's none of my business") approaching the transparent Christian with words of caution or accountability.

Do not hide in the dark!

Ephesians 5:8-14 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.

Be transparent! "...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Sue and Katie transparentI don't believe living transparently means telling every person you come in contact with about each and every aspect or detail of your life. To me it is just what I do...I go to work I work hard. I uphold a certain standard of behavior, the same as I do at home. Different aspects of my personality may be prominent at work, as opposed to home life, or socially, but the foundational character that I have is the same. I'm a honest person, so at work I am trusted, as I am at home. I had a mentor/counselor tell me once that she sees me as someone who is the same at work, home, and at church. That to me, is part of being transparent, because people will see me as the same person in all environments.

Am I always successful at being transparent? No...but it is what I strive to be. Having an accountability partner like Katie really helps in that department too. She is very quick to point out areas of my life that need to be exposed and dealt with. It's scary, but very necessary.

Transparency is necessary in the life of a God-fearing Christian. "If you walk in His light, the lost will see Him more."




Have you any additional thoughts to add on the topic of what it means to live a transparent life? Are there inevitable consequences for living your life out in the "open"? What about hiding how you live? Does anything good come from that? There are obvious challenges that come from living transparently.

People, including brothers and sisters in the faith, will form opinions about you based on what you share, it's inevitable. Will those opinions be accurate? And, will those opinions change how they deal with you?

Think about it, even if you aren't transparent, people still form opinions about you, and how accurate can that possibly be? They form those opinions on how little they know about you. I guess this is why we all wear our "stained glass masquerades" on Sunday. As Christians, we really need to learn to take those off, cast them aside, and love God and others whole heartedly!

I'm so thankful that God knows me, and chooses to love me. He is the One with Whom I can be transparent, and even when I try to hide, He sees all. (Psalm 139)
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

There is No Power in Faith Alone

Ever hear or have someone say to you "just believe" or "think positive" and everything will work out?

I'm not saying that thinking positive is a bad thing. Being optimistic is good and keeping your mind focused in a positive way can keep you in a good mood. But, how long can that last? If you keep "thinking positive" and keep sending "positive thoughts" out when BAM BAM BAM, life kicks you and beats you down time after time, how long will you remain "positive"? You might hear someone encourage you with "just believe".

"Just believe" what?

"Have faith"

"Have faith" in what?

There is no power in positive thinking. You might think that there is, but you are wrong.

There is no power in faith alone. Your faith is no better than it's object.

Adrian Rogers, in What Every Christian Ought to Know, says "We're to be 'looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.' Looking unto Jesus. Don't look at your look. Don't put faith in your faith; put faith in God. The reality of faith is not positive thinking. It's not faith in faith. It is faith in God. Weak faith in the right object is better than misplaced faith in the wrong object."

One of the verses in the Bible that makes me chuckle a bit is found in Hosea 4:11. Admonishing His people through Hosea, God says:
"They consult a wooden idol
and are answered by a stick of wood."
That just cracks me up! Oh how many in this world turn to false gods and objects such as crystal balls, tea leaves, lines on your hand, "luck charms", horoscopes, or whatever, for "hope". Well, I've learned that in the Bible, the word hope means assurance with anticipation. Assurance! Not a maybe, but a write this down, mark my words, this is what shall be!

If your hope is found in your latest psychic reading, well, you should understand that you already have your answer. You have already received from that consultation what you will. If you consult a wooden idol, you will be answered by a stick of wood. Where is the hope in that?

Power is not in faith alone, but in the object of that faith. Faith comes from God. "Faith is getting God's will done on earth, and the result of faith is the will of God."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What Every Christian Ought to Know

Jesus LaughsI am currently three-quarters of the way through a book by Adrian Rogers. Yesterday's chapter dealt with spiritual gifts. In it, Roger's was pointing out that all Christians are given spiritual gifts to use in order to edify the body and glorify God. He told a humorous story that made me giggle so I thought I'd share.

The clergy are those who are paid to lead in the church and the laity, lay people, sit in the pews. That is a main difference between clergy and laity, although all Christians have a role in Christ's church.

Roger's shares what a little girl said when was asked to explain the difference between the clergy and laity. She said,
"The clergy are paid for being good, lay people are good for nothin'!"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Can't Anything Be Simple?

The new Blogger upgrade has the nice feature of "labels" now which allows Blogger bloggers to categorize posts. (See "Labels" in menu at right) However, as with the rollout of any upgrade, here come the bugs.

Blogger now tries to create new "post pages" for every single one of my posts for the last 4 years...that's a LOT of posts. It's taking my FTP allotment and I don't like it! I'm not the only one having this issue either and I'm hoping for a fix soon!

I actually just posted this to see what is going to happen with the little "hack" job I did on my server.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Question

How is Classmates surviving when MySpace has allowed me to connect with former classmates for FREE?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

So Much For the "Secret" Plans

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran
“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources."
Scary stuff for sure!

Israeli officials believe that destroying all three sites would delay Iran’s nuclear programme indefinitely and prevent them from having to live in fear of a “second Holocaust”.

The Israeli government has warned repeatedly that it will never allow nuclear weapons to be made in Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has declared that “Israel must be wiped off the map”.

The article, with an opening line that says "Isreal has drawn up secret plans..." goes on to announce the intended targets of such an attack.

I doubt such a "revelation" will intimidate Ahmadinejad into any type of compliance if that is why the plan was disclosed. In fact, it may just heat things up more now because it will ruffle feathers I'm sure.

Why don't people just give peace a chance?

* * UPDATE * *

nevermind.

Still, the world is a scary place.

Remember When?

Sue in the BoxRemember when it was so much fun to play in large boxes as a kid? Getting a new large appliance, like a refrigerator, oven, washer or dryer, was awesome as a kid because it meant there would be a huge cardboard box to play in.

I used to turn those boxes into rocketships and club houses. Those boxes were such a blast!

Well, I'm here to say it's still fun!

This is me, a 25-15 year old, playing in the empty Christmas tree box, before Katie packed the tree up for another year.

She said "That's morbid, you look dead!". LOL

Blogger Beta Permalinks

Hmmmm...anyone else having trouble with permalinks in Blogger Beta? For some reason my permalinks have the post # doubled in the permalink addy. Weird. Some archived posts do not have that problem, but the ones posted in Blogger Beta (or I guess it's out of Beta now) the new Blogger are not posting correctly. It's very irritating.

* * UPDATE * *

Well, I fixed this issue by removing some code in the template. You know, I like when Blogger upgrades, but everytime something like this is upgraded, there is a snowball effect. Fixing one thing, leads to needing to fix another and leads to other unforseen issues. Now Blogger doesn't publish my entire blog anymore...it seems to get hung up somewhere so if I have a major template update, I have to manually go in for some months and fix it. I don't know if it just isn't connecting to my server or what the problem is. Oh well, it gives me something to obsess with.

Friday, January 05, 2007

By Special Request...

ListenSisters' Podcast: It Bloggles the Mind!:
Episode IX - Bad Movies = Bad Podcast

Lydia, our faithful fan, possibly our only fan, has requested we do a new podcast. This request has been fulfilled, but it comes with a disclaimer: We are amateurs and know NOT what we are doing. Listen at your own risk.

In this podcast we discuss bad movies and what makes them bad. See Episode IX.

So Far in 2007...

I think it's gonna be better than 2006.

2006 was a year that really financially strained me with major home and auto repairs and other unexpected medical expenses. All I want for 2007 is a little financial relief. Nothing big, just to have more money come in than goes out, at least that goes out unexpectedly.

So far in 2007...the financial crisis seems to have subsided. I found a dollar bill in the parking lot.

Yes!

Podcasts

Here are a couple of podcasts to check out. The first is of my home church, Northbrook. One interesting thing about the messages from Northbrook is that they are delivered through a number of different men in the congregation who have an amazing ability to communicate. These are usually members of our PLT (Pastoral Leadership Team) who give a message on the current topic in whatever series we are going through at the moment. We also are blessed to have men from local Union University to teach as well. There are quite a few messages available online to listen to, and the fact that almost every week we hear from a different voice kind of keeps things from getting stuck in a rut. Chuck, the pastor, does deliver the majority of messages, but we also hear from George, Walt, and Russ quite often.

Click here for the podcast of The Gathering Place of Northbrook Church. (There is also a feed subscription in the right menu under "Podcasts".)

The next podcast I will point you too is that of First Baptist Church in Marshalltown, IA. I have roots there because it is at that altar that I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. The people there started me out in my spiritual walk and I will forever feel tied to that place. Pastor Richard Sipe is one of the most animated and passionate teacher/preachers I have ever had the good fortune to hear. He just has this way of making me understand how much God loves me. He is also fun!

Click here for the podcast of First Baptist Church, Marshalltown, IA. (Podcast feed listed in the right menu under "Podcasts".)

Then, you can listen to the amateur podcasts that Katie and I have thrust onto the unsuspecting world. Some hate it because we are so bad at it. We talk over each other at times and meander all over topics, never really discussing much of anything. (Our biggest trouble is finding podcast topics...so, offer some suggestions please!) Some love it because we have so much fun and the strength of our friendship comes through, even though we poke fun at one another quite a bit. It really is hard to listen to us and not laugh!

Click here to listen to Sisters' Podcast: It Bloggles the Mind!

And for some great Christian radio click HERE!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This Is Cool!

This is sooooo cool...check out this video of the night sky over Denver! Meteorites speeding through the atmosphere are so beautiful.

Click for video!

* * UPDATED * *

Thanks Tim for pointing out that there's been an update and the "meteor shower" was actually a rocket reentry.

Still cool...still beautiful.