Monday, October 29, 2007

O * H * I * O

My neice Pilar, and nephew Jack, spell out "O - H - I - O" in this video.

Jack only has the "I - O" part down, so Pilar queues him up and they're off!

Great vid for those OHIO STATE fans!

Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Brokenness

Brokenness.Broken Vessel

Brokenness is something I am not experiencing.

Dare I say it is something I want to?

Brokenness is a staple of true maturity in the faith, and when embraced is a most freeing experience. The process of being broken isn't necessary pleasant, and in fact can be very painful, but once embraced, the faithful can prosper in ways that are undescribable.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control can never be acheived on human strength alone. These are fruits of the Spirit and only by embracing brokenness can one totally turn themselves over to God. In turning over ourselves, we allow God to do His work in us. In brokenness, like soil being turned, we become fertile ground in which a seed can sprout and fruit can grow and prosper.

Bucking HorseA wild horse bucks the rider off it's bareback, frenzied with fury of unbridled energy, yet once saddled, tamed and ridden, or broken, that beast's energy becomes focused and the horse becomes a useful force. An energized, wild, though immature Christian is less effective in His Kingdom than an energized, mature, focused and broken Christian.

In brokenness we become as clay, soft and ready to be molded into what The Artist intends to create.

I was there once. I was clay. I was a ball of energy focused and determined to please God. I was fertile soil and fruit was growing.

What has happened?

I learned a lot about brokenness while reading Embracing Brokenness: How God Refines Us Through Life's Disappointments, by Alan E. Nelson but possibly the most important thing I learned is that I am not living a life of brokenness. Not even close.

And I'm afraid to pray for it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Abiding

World on ShouldersTalk about a life of going from one extreme to the other. After spending a year and a half unemployed, I get a full-time job and go back to school full-time. It has been a very long two months of struggles and victories. Keeping things calm, stress free, and orderly is next to impossible! Add the troubles of raising two teenagers as a single mom and you have a recipe for a breakdown!

I love my job. It's a good job, but it's VERY demanding and VERY challenging. It really helps me to focus on how small and helpless I am and WHO is bigger and needs to be on the throne of my life. Too often lately, God has been on the back burner. Every day, He lets me know that He's with me by bringing forth this verse that He has hidden in my heart:
John 15:5 (New American Standard)
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Remaining in Christ is something I have not been very good at. I keep trying to do things myself. I end up stressed out, hopeless, and miserable. Then, I cry out to Him....and my sweet Savior rushes to my rescue...every single time! Why do I have to get to a point of such complete despair before I run to the only One who can help me?

One of the most difficult things for me to do is to trust God. It should be the easiest thing to do. But, I am one of little faith.
Stress
Lord, help my unbelief.

When my faith is small my troubles become huge. When I carry my load alone, it is unbearable. If I want to take another step, I have to let it go. I have to give it to God or I just get buried alive, stuck, trapped, confused and lost in it all....a very frightening and hopeless place to be.

Lord, help my unbelief.

Frequently, Christians throw around the phrase, "God will never put more on you than you can bear". More often than not, the most important part is overlooked....
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
...He provides the way out. The WAY is Christ! Our burdens are unbearable in and of themselves. We do NOT have the power to stand up under them alone! We don't! But....our burdens are NOTHING for our Lord. So, why is it so hard to keep Him on the throne? There is a four letter word that says it all....

S E L F

I am so thankful for God's tender mercy...that he never leaves me. When I give in to the temptations of my flesh (stubbornness, pride, self-pity), when I let the things of this life pull me away, He's never far from me. He watches, and calls me back. When I try to fight to get back to Him, the things that took me away still pull at me. But, he never stops reaching for me. He never takes His eyes off of me. When I finally surrender, He steps in and fights the battles for me and in the middle of chaos, I am at peace...content.

My burdens are unbearable but....
Matthew 11:28-30 (New International Version)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Forgiven...His burden is light. Present active participle (that phrase is for Sue). His burden is always light. When we cast our heavy burdens upon Him, they become weightless....all of them...every single time.

I find it amazing that no matter where we are in life, there's always something to keep us from focusing on God. I was unemployed for a year and a half. I could have spent that time in the Word, praying intensly, writing, studying, and building a deeper relationship with my King. Instead, I filled my time with busy work. I kept myself occupied with other things. I even occupied myself with church things...but spent little time alone with God, in His word, or in prayer. I could say it was time wasted. On my part it was. But, God doesn't let anything go to waste. Romans 8:28 says that He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Each time I step on the throne of my life, I am humbled to understanding that it wasn't created for me. The throne belongs to God alone. Every time I fall away, He uses that time to make me see how much I need Him. That turns time wasted into productive growth.
On Christ the Solid Rock I'll stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Hug Goodbye

At the airport coming home yesterday morning, Ma and Dee were obviously taking a different flights, and on different airlines. I was coming back to Tennesse, while my mom was going home to Ohio. Our plan was to meet up at my gate, GATE D12 and they were just beyond that at GATE D19. We seperated and started the check in process. As we seperated Ma said "we'll meet you at the gate".

Well, check in took longer than expected, then the security lines were horrendously long. The end result was that I knew Ma wouldn't be meeting me at my gate because it was getting close for her plane to board, so after making it through security (I hate terrorists!) I went up to her gate (which was NOT just beyond mine, but rather, in a different wing! That only complicated things more!). The waiting area was already emptied out and the ticket taker person was there alone. I approached the desk and started to cry because I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Ma and Dee. There was no hug goodbye.

The woman asked me "are you on this flight?" I stuttered out a "no"...bowed my head and tried to regain my composure during an awkward silence, finally mustered up some strength and through a quivering lip got out "my ..... moooooooom.......is....." The woman saw I was obviously upset, and just then another person came up to get on the plane, which was good because it gave me time to compose myself. I felt so bad. I didn't even get to say "bye" to my mom. She's already on that plane probably bummin' too. I asked the ticket lady if she could go say "bye" for me. She just thought I was nuts I think. I ended up writing my mom a short note on steno pad paper that I had, handed it to the lady, thanked her and walked away. I wondered for hours all the way home if my note made it to Ma.

I kept thinking after I left that note what if mom's plane goes down and her last words to me were "we'll meet you at the gate."....THAT's NOT THE GATE we meant! LOL
As soon as I arrived home, I called my mom and she said she was so touched by that note. "I'm going to keep this forever!". It all worked out...but, I hate that I didn't get a goodbye hug.

I love you Ma! Thanks so much for the trip! I had an excellent time. It was soooooooooooo fun! I enjoyed spending time with you, Dee, and Dawn and everyone. I saw mountains for the first time, and even flew over the Grand Canyon. I was amazed by The Hoover Dam and all those magnificent buildings in Las Vegas. And...We'll have to bowl again sometime! LOL It really was a special time and you spoiled me. Thank you...you and dad are awesome! I am so blessed!

Thanks to those nice people at Continental Airlines that got that note to my mom.

Las Vegas Trip


Mom, Cory, Sue
Originally uploaded by susanlprince
I just returned home from visiting my sister in Las Vegas. We kept ourselves quite entertained going horseback riding, bowling, walking the strip and seeing what all the casinos were about. We even went to see The Hoover Dam...what an amazing sight!

The best part of the trip though was spending time with mom and my sister, and even getting to see my nephew Cory. The last time I saw him he was shorter than me!

Driving around Las Vegas, it was really amazing to see the tall buildings, which basically amount to what man accomplishes. Trump Tower stands as an isolated building in the desert, adorned in gold, with a bold "TRUMP" announcing a triumph of a wealthy man. It must be something to stand back and look at a building with one's name on it. While all those buildings are impressive, nothing impressed me more than the mountains I saw and just the beauty of God's creation.

Man never made a mountain.

See pictures of my Las Vegas Trip HERE.

Gambling for Dana

I won't gamble, but recently while visiting my sister in Las Vegas, my mom showed me the slots. A co-worker had asked me to take $5 and put it in the slot machine for her, but I refused. When I told my mom about that, she offered to play that $5 voucher she had won earlier for Dana. This is a video I created out of that experience.

I don't understand gambling, except that a lot of people who can't afford to throw money away keep making the people, whose names are on a lot of the tall buildings in Las Vegas, even richer.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Houses of Glory

This book I'm reading, "Hullabaloo - Discovering Glory in Everyday Life" by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, is pointing out that God's glory is found in the hullaballoo of life. In all the every day sort of things. He makes a case that we all are searching for something, always something more. That's me. As Christians we "know" that there's a "God-Shaped hole" in all of us, but we try to fill that hole with needless things. Churches try to fill "needs" of its people with needless things. I've been trying to find God at NB, through "worship", in SaLT, in people, in whatever.

The author of the book says that when the youth at church find themselves in trouble, the solution is often to add more activities to keep them occupied. When church attendance starts slipping, we want to launch exciting new programs. When we aren't baptizing enough people, we find some new evangelism program and do that.

He makes the point that churches have a tendency to provide more and more programs, and Christians buy more and more stuff at Christian bookstores, to help them get what they are longing for, but that no program and no product can fill one's life with the glory for which one was created. Only God can do that. It can be found when we embrace the glory that God has already embedded in the hullaballoo of our present life. He's not saying any of that stuff can't be helpful, but it is only a supplement, and at times serves to blind us from what we really need.

I love going to Women of Faith Conferences because God does speak to me there through the speakers, and the worship, and it is a wonderful experience. A kind of "refresher" in God. I love going to Christian concerts for the same reason. Doing Beth Moore studies, or Experiencing God is good stuff too. While I'm in the midst of those things, it seems I can see God more clearly and I am reminded He is here with me. However, after the concert is over, the conference ends, and the in-depth study ceases, does God leave me? No, He does not, but it feels that way. Dr. Timothy Paul Jones is saying that God's Glory is not in things, or in doings, but actually housed in us. He is there, in the hullabaloo. He has embedded Himself in all things...but we are too busy too notice.

We are so distracted from seeing the glory of God.

Now, check this out. The transfiguration. On that mountain, Peter caught a glimpse of that glory he was craving! And what was the first thing He wanted to do? His response was to build memorials...he wanted to encase the glory of God in tents! But God basically said "whatever Peter, you have no clue!" Now, get this, in John 17:22, a few moments before Jesus was betrayed in the garden He said, praying to the Father, "I have given them the glory that you gave me". "I HAVE GIVEN THEM THE GLORY!" The glory of God is already encased in a tent...IN US! Isn't that cool!???!!!

You see, I've been trying to encase the glory of God in books, in SaLT, in NB, in blogs, in whatever, and never even see God in anything anymore. I go on about my days totally missing Him. I can still remember those first few months of my walk with the Lord. Do you know the sky was bluer? The grass was greener? All the colors of the spectrum were brighter and more brilliant! Nature was alive and buzzing all around me. I could see God in the faces of people I met. Music was sweeter, and the smell of a rose was awe-inspiring! It was because I was looking through "glory-covered glasses" at all of the hullaballoo! God was in everything...in all of the hullabaloo of everyday life. The hullabaloo has been filled with God's presence for the purpose of reminding me that I lived every moment of my life in Him, but now I'm distracted and am blind. Thirsty.

I got way too distracted. Too much brain, not enough heart. I think I've said that before.

Now I need to step away, take a few breaths, and start fresh and new. Possibly a new SaLT? Possibly new other things? I don't know, but I do know that the way things are going is not spiritually healthy for me. I've had a bad attitude for a long time. I've had a critical spirit that has gone beyond being constructive and has only been burying God's glory in me, beneath piles and piles of junk that I don't want anymore. "Stuff" has been taking it's toll and unfortunately, it has been bubbling its way to the surface and comes out in my curt responses to people, and "I don't really care" attitude. Very unChristlike.

God is in the hullabaloo of life on purpose, and I carry Him there, for I am a house of glory.

Here is a powerful, tear-jerker video that I happened across on YouTube that captures a person's struggle to find God and remain close to Him.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Professionals? Wrote This?

When I first saw this headline, I said to myself, tongue in cheek of course, it probably would have been better for him to have quit before the suicide.

But, then I read the summary line of the article the headline links to and became even more confused? "...the body declined to rezone his property?"

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? *shakes head in disbelief*

Poorly Written Headline








Click here to read article...it does make a bit more sense, but really. Couldn't professional journalists have done a slightly better job with that headline? It's a very tragic and sad story.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Go Tribe!

Yeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh baby! Way to go Tribe!

Here's the fun part...see the guy in the pic? I'm going to be visiting my sister and Leroy, the *blech* Yankees *blech* fan, next week in Las Vegas.

I am really, really, really hoping to have bragging rights!

I think I've got the fever!

TRIBE FEVER!

Wahoo

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mad Cart Disease

OH! This video is too funny! I laughed so hard when the "newscaster" said "we should interview her!" You'll see what I mean!

Youtube...now and then you find regular people just being silly and living life.

I hope you get a kick out of this too!

Teachers

We all have those teachers in our lives that helped and still help to make our days better. So many teachers give so sacrificially of their time and even their own money. They are so dedicated to the youth of America and at times they go so unappreciated, but not today.

Today is "A Day Made Better"

A Day Made Better
































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