Sunday, March 25, 2007

Living With Freaks

I stole this post title from Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz. In the later chapters of his book he explores what it means to live alone, and what it means to live in community. For a major part of his early adulthood, Miller lived alone.

I remember what it is like to spend a lot of time alone. While I have never lived absolutely alone as an adult, I have lived virtually alone. By that I mean that I have always had a roommate, but I was pretty used to living fairly independently. I could listen to music when I wanted, and what I wanted. I could read what and when I wanted. I could leave the house and return when I wanted. I basically could do my own thing if that was what I chose. Life was quiet. The house was still and quiet. I have been blessed to have had roommates who were good friends too, and life was organized, and I was free.

Lately, I've been struggling with this whole framily thing.

"I am energized in alone time."

I am somewhat introverted which means that being around people drains me. I am NOT the life of the party! I am energized in alone time. When I get to sit and do what I want to do, I feel good. I feel alive. I feel energized. Alone time is VERY rare for me anymore. Katie seems to always be at home. When I work, and I am home in the evening, so are her kids. There is always activity going on around me.

At work, people are constantly demanding my attention. Customers, employees...they need me to serve them, and to problem solve and whatever else. I love my job and I do it well, but it is draining, so when I come home I look for some quiet and rest. This is something difficult to find when one has a framily. It seems people at home also need me to serve them, to problem solve, and whatever else.

This circumstance has really been weighing me down lately. At times I find myself wishing things were different and that I lived alone. I become so easily annoyed and Prepare to be annoyedirritated. I have a bad attitude and treat the people around me very poorly by not listening to what they are sharing with me, and by being verbally condescending. My speech has not been filled with words of encouragement lately, but a lot of the opposite. My behavior at times is shameful. I am not being the person God created me to be.

I've already shared most of this with Katie and worked some of this stuff out, but basically, I know that I have been selfish. I want everyone to alter their lives to accomodate me. That is the extreme opposite of having the mind of Christ!

Well, while reading Blue Like Jazz, a couple of things have jumped off the page at me and the Holy Spirit has been using this book to convict me of some of my bad attitude. One thing that really spoke to my heart was in the chapter titled "Alone". Miller shares a bit of wisdom with the reader, that his friend Rick taught him about living in community. He learned:
"I should have people around me bugging me and getting under my skin because without people I could not grow --- I could not grow in God, and I could not grow as a human."
He's right. God created us as relational beings and to choose a life lived alone goes against God's intentions. I have a framily! Even though my framily drives me crazy at times, it is a better crazy than the crazy of being alone!

In the following chapter, Miller shares some situations that he had while living in community, or while living with freaks. He shares stories of annoyances that roommates endure and how they helped him to grow in God, and grow as a human. I'm thankful that he wrote this book because it has helped me understand that I won't, errrrr can't grow in God, or as a human, outside of my framily, or outside of the community of believers in the church.

I am now able to see the annoyances and irritations of living in a framily as a good thing, a growth thing. I'm not saying that I now enjoy the irritations, but that I no longer am in want of the "greener grass on the other side". "Living with freaks" is a good thing!

Friday, March 23, 2007

McDonald's WIFI

I have found that when you accidently uninstall your modem, and you are waiting for a new installation disk and drivers to arrive in the mail, that McDonald's WIFI is sufficient for an Internet fix.

I've tried downloading the drivers on katie's laptop and transferring to my desktop, but that hasn't worked to correct my problem.

So here I sit in McDonald's parking lot blogging.

There are some pretty interesting characters going in and out of Mickey D's tonight.

Have you ever sat in the parking lot of a fast food joint?

It's gonna be a loooooooong weekend without my Internet connection. I've even thought about volunteering to work someone's shift so I don't have to sit at home and attempt to do something constructive. LOL


"The composer's job is to fill time intelligently."

I had a professor who said that a lot.

I always thought it was cool.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Considering Time

My dog never frets about time. He doesn't know what time the clock says when he wants dinner, he only knows that he is hungry. He also doesn't think, while his legs are crossed and he is dancing around the house, man! I think I can hold it for a few more minutes. They are due home in about ten. He only knows that he's gotta go! He never considers the passing of time.

I noticed something today when I was configuring my virus scan to scan while I am at church weekly. The program doesn't anticipate doing that scan. When the time comes, it just starts the scan. It's an inanimate object and never considers the passing of time. It never considers that there are only a few more seconds before it begins the scan, it just starts that scan in that very moment it was scheduled to.

A couple of weeks ago, some of us in this time zone, switched to Daylight Savings Time. My computer made the switch without batting a byte. Now, as a human, I made arrangements to adjust to the time. I mourned the loss of an hour of sleep and also anticipated the additional hours of daylight.

Every year millions of people anticipate the coming of a new year and often count down the last minute of the last hour on the last day of the year. We watch time. We measure time.

I am anal about time. I am constantly watching the time and planning in my head what time I will do what. Even on my days off work I am planning ahead. I think things like if we leave now, it will take about fifteen minutes to get there, about forty minutes to order and eat, fifteen minutes back and we'll be home for about one hour until it is time to leave for the movie at 1:15.
Katie says this just brings me additional stress. I just say "no, being on time brings no stress at all, but being late does!" LOL

Anyway, I thought it interesting that the only thing on this planet that measures time are humans. Nature just goes about doing it's thing as God planned, and animals just do their thing. Inanimate objects don't care either way. Humans break time into increments and are the only creatures that anticipate the arrival of time, and mourn the passing of it.

I don't believe God experiences time as humans do, although, I know Jesus did. God is everywhere, all at once. He is infinite, but I do believe he conceived time and created it...although, I do ponder if time exists as we know it in heaven?

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven"

The third chapter of Ecclesiastes may suggest that time exists for those things "under heaven", and not necessarily in it. This is good news for me because I figure, if there is no measurement of time...then I will no longer have want for patience! THAT would be heaven!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I Like Jesus, Not the Church

This article 'I Like Jesus, Not the Church' really got me thinking.

What do my non-believing friends and family think when they hear the word Jesus?

What do they think when they hear the word Christian?

Jesus LaughsIn the article Dan Kimball, the author, explores perceptions people have about the church. It is pretty interesting, but it has me wondering do I even know what people around me think about the church? How can I help clear up misperceptions if I don't know what people's perceptions are?

I have to say of those people I have on my "impact list" (those I'm building relationships with in hopes that they will come to a saving knowledge of Christ) most just see the church as hypocritical. I did have one person who saw the church as only wanting his money.No Church

I used to see the church as hypocritical, but that was in ignorance. I never really saw it as judgemental, but I know that some do, and if you think about it, criticizing the church for being judgemental is judgemental and that would make the "judge" hypocritical!

If one looks to the media, as Dan Kimball discovered in his research, it is easy to understand why so many people have the ideas about Christianity that they do.

The media will find the interesting stuff to print. How boring a story about serving in the food kitchen or taking an elderly neighbor to her doctor appointment would be. It is much more exciting to print about the "christian" picketing the funeral of a dead homosexual.

These days people are getting their "education" from news media, all the inaccuracies and bias included. The Internet is filled with information, but we have to sludge through so much junk to find truth. Too many people stumble upon something that sounds interesting and pass it along to the next web surfer via links and soon, ignorance is being spread like wildfire.

Heck, these days the media is even spreading non-truth about Jesus Christ, through movies like the Da Vinci Code, and whacked stories about burial ossuaries. Why do people so easily fall for this stuff? Is it because we are too lazy to research things for ourselves and find out the truth? Is it because we don't want to know the truth?

I've strayed from my original thought about what the people around me think of when they hear the name Jesus and the word Christian. I figure it is my responsibility to live a life that best exemplifies what being a Christian should be.

I shouldn't have to introduce myself and constantly announce "I am a Christian". It should be evident in the way I work, the way I play, the way I serve others.

I'd like to make it a goal that if Dan Kimball asked someone that knows me and is a non-Christian, that they would light up when they hear the name Jesus and speak of true things about Christians just because of the fact they know one.

Friday, March 16, 2007

That's Cool

Ok, so I started a new job late last November and had my first review. I got a raise! A small one, but still...I wasn't expecting anything after just three months on the job, so any raise is cool! Woohooo!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Katie with Barlow Girl

Katrina with Barlow Girl
Originally uploaded by susanlprince.
We went to a Barlow Girl concert tonight. This is the second time they've played in Jackson, TN at West Jackson Baptist Church. They RAWKED! Last year they opened for Rebecca St. James, but this year they were the headliner! It was awesome!

For Katie's birthday today, I gave her some $ to buy a Barlow Girl songbook so she could learn some of their songs to play on her piano. (That and I'm so wanting to hear her practice something different already! LOL)

After the show Katie decided to have her songbook signed and so Justin snapped this pic of Katie with Barlow Girl.

Fun night!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

How to Walk in the Light

Light and DarknessUse the power of the Cross.

Chuck delivered a very convicting message at Northbrook today. Wow. We are in the middle of a series called "SAVED! Knowing it. Living it." We studied Ephesians 5:3-14 today which discusses walking in the Light. There is no darkness in the light, this is why sin is usually hidden away in shadows and in dark alleys. However, living in the Light gives a freedom to live life to it's fullest and live without the bondage of sin. The Light comes from God alone, and Light exposes sin, it convicts. Sin brings darkness and a heavy burden.

Being the doodler I am, I doodled on my page of notes that I took during the message. (and I took a LOT!) I scanned my notes and grabbed my illustration of living in the Light...standing firm on the Rock, fully exposed, fully alive and then living in the shadows, under a rock, in the shadows, carrying a heavy burden that makes one's knees buckle.

One of the most important parts of Chuck's message came after illustrating a point through a quote from the John Piper sermon "Passion for Purity", Chuck said "Whatever your struggle with sin today, use the power of the cross."

"If you are counting on yourself to break the pattern of sin, you will fail."

To set the stage, imagine that you see someone of the opposite sex wearing very revealing attire and your mind immediately begins to fantasize....NO! You have 5 seconds to "demand it of your mind" to look to the Cross.

PLEASE Listen to the powerful, 2-1/2 minute clip

I also highly encourage you to listen to the entire message "To Walk Distinctly in the Light" in which Chuck talks about two sins that should be unheard of in the church: Sexual Immorality (and talking about it), and greed. I believe this message to be one of the most powerful and convicting messages ever delivered from the pulpit at Northbrook.

Subscribe to Northbrook Church's Podcast by clicking HERE.

Friday, March 02, 2007