Friday, June 30, 2006

Things just never go the way you think they will!

I had every intention of coming to post first thing this morning, but by the time I finished filling out my time card, I had to run to a training class that lasted ALL DAY. Oh, who am I kidding. They cut it short (half day) and sent us me. Sooooo, I drove 30 miles south to pick up my adorable babe, and 30 miles north to bring him home. And it took me 1 hour to get home. HOLIDAY TRAFFIC -- GAAAAHHHH!

Then, I wander into my home, and see a small, 8-1/2 x 11 - ish box waiting for me on my dining room table... CRYSTALS. Silver. Shiney, blingy stuff. I could not resist. So while my boy played happily on the floor (with our stereo system--oops), I plaid with my bling. Organizing it. Toooouuching it. Storing it. Now my head feels like it will explode with so many ideas. I just don't know where to start! (or, WHEN for that matter)

So, after I finished, I fed my little lovey, and tried to put.his.tired.sleepy.self to bed. Uuhh-Uuhh. Not happening. So, I (okay, I'm just a weee frustrated now) stomp back down the stairs, put him and his silky on the floor, and put toys in front of him. I grab my lap top and start reading my emails... when ... four important things happened.

1) My dear, precious son ... well, he laid on the floor and fell asleep. Little rat!

2) I opened my first email from Carol. YES ... CAROL! (Don't you love getting emails from her?) And guess what? She felt so sorry for me over the loss of my dear Connie that she awarded me this, and I HAD to stop what I was doing to share my excitement with you!


Isn't it just beautiful and shiney, and shimmery??? And I love that she likes me. Um, I mean ... my post. That's totally awesome! (You just don't know how long it took me to figure out how to make the graphic take you to the right blog page... ugh!)Thanks, Carol. I'm so honored that your gullible -- no, I mean tender side felt for me and my Connie! Love ya, chica!

3) Then, after I got all excited about my beautiful award ... I found out some awesome news! SUSIE at Bluebird Designs has been at it again!!! A new blogging pal of ours, Susanne at Living to Tell The Story (who, by the way, was a stalker -- er -- lurker -- turned commentor for a long, long time prior to blogging) has gotten herself a new dress on her blog! So beautiful and so her! And, you can read her writings first hand... Seriously, you just can't miss it. Go on over to share a cup of coffee with her and give her some lovin's!

4) Dynamic Securities has contact me via email to inform me that I have just won the Fenosa Award ... a lottery ... for 250,000 euros. Yes, I'm a grand winner! Since I'm already rolling in the dough (HA!) here's the Lottery Number: TSR5678-BGR1034/06and(v); Serial Number: ES- 441-3333-16; and the security file number: ES-689415341P -- If you're short on cash, feel free to claim it! (no, don't do it ... doooon't doooo iiiiiit!)

RATS! The little bugger just woke up. TWENTYFIVEMINUTESNAP. There should be a law against that. There just should. Gotta go. Have an awesome weekend. I'll try to check back soon. As for your blogs ... well ... I'll get to them tonight, friends! After Hunter is SLEEEEEPPPPING.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hello? Helloooooo ... Anyone there???

Like many normal folks around the country, we bank at my husband's credit union. Normal, right? Yeah, thought so. Most of the times, we have really nice people that help us, and we get excellent "free" banking services. But part of the sacrifice of banking at the credit union is that there are only two ... count 'em ... uno, dos ... branches in the entire county.

Well, recently, they just opened a new branch. It's about 20 minutes away from our home. Very close, considering the other "closest" one was 30 minutes away. That makes a whopping uno, dos, tres branches! Woohoo!

Well, yesterday, I had to do some very important, and high-dollar (HA!) banking. So, being very mindful of the fact that I drive a mammoth SUV, and remembering the "arm" and "leg" prices on gas these days ... I thought I would give the new branch a try! So, I walked into the new, fancy-shmancy building, and immediately, I was bewildered.

I know ... I KNOW! Me! Bewildered! You're probably thinking to your self... "no, not YOU, GiBee ... you're so bright. So intelligent. But bewildered? Never!" Yeah, I thought that too. But bewildered, I was indeed. Because instead of getting into a line that led to happy, cheerful faces with warm greetings ... this is what the line led to ...

What? You need me to walk you through it? Sheesh! I thought you were (cough, cough) as into modern technology as I am (ehhem). This, ladies (and possibly --- gentlemen), is the new, improved, "bullet-proof-bank-robber-safe teller-protecting-thingamajiggy." And, that is the very technical term for it!

Yes, you simply stand in line for ... basically no one. And when it's your turn, you step up to plastic and glass. Very warm. Very inviting. But -- hey -- they did have granite countertops!

See the screen in the middle? There is a person behind there, and they see you before you see them. Closed circuit camera stuff, or something like that. They eventually pop up on the screen and TALK TO YOU. Very freaky, indeed. The phone on the left is there just in case you can't hear them very well, or want a private conversation. The square thing on the right is one of those tube things you use in a drive-through. Very personal. Ya know?!?

I was so taken aback by this new fangled contraption, that I felt like someone from a third-world country seeing a TV for the first time. I just stared at it, looked around, and then ... did what any common-sensed blogging chick would do ... I got out my telephone and took a picture.

Of course, I thought they might kick me out if they thought I was actually taking a picture, so I acted like I was text messaging or something like that ... I tried to look very important. Then I snapped and emailed the ever-so-fuzzy-what-do-you-expect-from-a-camera-phone-taken-bootleg-picture to myself so I could post about it.

I constantly place my own life at risk for you, dear friends. Why? I do it for you. Because I care. Very much. In fact, I love you. And want you to be safe, and informed. And let me just say, that if security had come out to escort me to, oh, I don't know ... the state (or is it county?) penitentiary down the road ... I'd have taken pictures of that too.

So friends, go out into the world empowered. You have knowledge. You have wisdom. You now know how these new-fangled teller-thingies work. And I've saved you the embarrassment of looking stupidly at the thing for 5 minutes before you figure out that the person on the screen is actually talking to you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Did you know...

EDITED to add:

Tess -- you totally ROCK!!! If BLOGGER would allow me to upload pictures, I'd put your coffee cup right here!
Tess answered one of my questions at the very bottom of this post ... and I tried her suggestion ... and you know what? She was right!!! I feel so smart now. And, I'll pass on the info...

And does anyone know what command I use in html language so that when you click on a link, it automatically opens up another window and keeps the original window open below it?
Answer: you'll have to go to the comments to see her answer, blogger won't let me publish it... POOH!

Of course, I can't put a sample here for you to look at, because it turns into a stinking link (which it's what I want it to do) .

Try it, see if it works, and if it doesn't, BLAME TESS! If it does ... THANK TESS!


Did you know that it has rained so much in the last few days that it made my berry wreath melt all over my door, ruining my door, the wreath, and the ribbon (so sticky and gross)?

Did you know that it is so humid here that you can feel it on your face?

Did you know that it has rained so much here that they found cracks and leaks in a local "earthen" dam near Sunshine's house that threatened to break the dam and prompted urgent evacuation of more than 2,200 residents? (Sunshine and her family were not affected)

Did you know that it has rained so much here that in the county I live in, three people were killed because of flash floods?

Did you know that a 10 pound dog can be so frightened of thunder and lightening that she will crawl to the top of your pillow and pant her stinky breath all over your face, keeping you awake through the duration of the storm(s)?

Did you know that if you put Oxy-Clean in a plastic cup, and add cold water to make a paste for stains, the mixture turns hot? (Just in case you get some mud on your clothes from all the rain.)

Did you know that if you don't feel like typing the long, bohonkus word verification when leaving comments, if you just hit enter, you will usually be given a shorter word to type in?!

Did you know that I would LOVE to attend an East-Coast (Mid-Atlantic) area "Blogging Gal's Get Together" in a central place (like North Carolina) if someone out there wants to help me plan one???

Well, that's all I know right now. My mind is running a gazillion miles a minute with so much going on at work, home, etc.... Why don't you let me know what you know? (And yes, I do know that a human head weighs 8 pounds -- nice try! But did you know the average adult brain only weighs 3-1/2 pounds?)

One more thing ... does anyone know how I can change the color of the black floogle bar under the Family Friendly Blogs? And does anyone know what command I use in html language so that when you click on a link, it automatically opens up another window and keeps the original window open below it? Just wondering.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Today is the Day

... In honor of ...

Justin Davis
Son, Friend, Youth, Soldier
Child of God
1987 - 2006

Yesterday, not an hour after I published my silly post about Connie, I received a heartbreaking call from the current Youth Pastor telling me that a former youth of mine, Justin, who was located in Afghanistan, had been ambushed and that he did not survive. Justin. Barely 19. Young. Full of life, with a contagious grin. His mother's only child. A beautiful young man with so much potential. God knew his plans for Justin's life. And while we mourn here, Jesus is celebrating with Justin in heaven. Way to go, Justin. I am most jealous of you, friend.

Several months ago, he was deployed to Afghanistan. He was a very young man, with a sweet, bright smile, and a wonderful personality. On his last Sunday at church, he told me he was afraid and started to tear up. I hugged him, and for some reason, I felt led to grasp his face. I said to him, "Justin, know that you are a child of God. Be sure of your relationship with Christ before you step foot on the plane to go over there. Be certain that you can always cry out to God, and that he will never, ever leave you." He assured me that that he was a Child of God. Saved. He knew God was with him, and would not leave him. He knew who he could call on. I hugged him, and prayed over him. I prayed a hedge of protection around him. I prayed that God would put a fleet of guardian angels around him. I prayed that he would always sense God's presence.

We were both misty eyed, but I knew in my heart, and still to this day feel, that Justin was where God wanted him to be. Justin was in a place that tested his faith. It required him to really believe in something he couldn't see or feel or taste. Justin had to lean on God with all he was worth. He never would have been challenged in his spiritual walk like that here. If Justin had not enlisted in the Army, I don't know what his future would have held back here, but I'm certain that if Justin had been faced with a tragic end here at home, he may not have cried out to God. Why? Because we have everything here in America. We have no need to lean on God as if our life depended on it. But in Afghanistan ... that's all you have. That, and your fellow soldiers.
As I have mentioned before, I am timid when it comes to witnessing. It is a wonder that I had the courage to talk with Justin like I did on the last day I saw him. I spent my entire lunch hour out in my car Monday praying, crying, and asking God if I had done everything I could with Justin. Did I do it right? Or did I fail him? My answer to my prayer was that I had done everything I could. I can rest easily with knowing that I will see Justin again in Heaven and we will have a major paaar-teee!

Friends, can I do the same with you? Our days are numbered... and we are, by no means, promised tomorrow. It is so important that you examine your life now. Are you right with God? Do you know Christ as your personal savior? Have you asked him to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart? Have you turned your life over to him? Now is the time, friend. Even though I haven't met you face to face, know that while I love you dearly, there is one that loves you even more than I do. His name is Jesus. And he waits for you to cry out to him. Now. Please. Don't wait until you think you have everything in order, or until you think you are the person he would want you to be. God will take you as you are. He took me as I was, and he took others as they were. You do not need to change for God before laying your life in his hands. Justin understood this. Do you?

Friend, you are a child of God. You have been called by Him. You are beautiful and precious to Him, and he has a special path for you. You.are.his.Beloved. There is nothing more special than that. And even in your midst of struggles, failures and un-"love"-liness, he still wants you. He still cries out for you. He still loves you.

How much does God love you? God loves you so much that "He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life [in heaven]. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger [judge], telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted [forgiven]; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him." (John 3:16-18 - Message)

All you need to do is believe; ask him into your heart; ask him to forgive you of your sins; and ask him to be Lord of your life. "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10:43 - NIV) Then -- find a good Bible believing church right away (I'd be happy to help you find one), and tell the Pastor the decision you have made. Don't be shy or embarrassed. This is a reason for celebration!

Finally, you do not need to live under the heaviness of guilt. God has forgiven you, which means ... your sin is wiped clean. It is no more. He doesn't hold it against you. He doesn't remember it. The only one who remembers it and will use it to his advantage is satan. Don't allow him to!

"As I live and breathe, God says, every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God." (Romans 14:11 -Message) Won't you join me in saying that He is the only God? Won't you bow before him with me? Today is the day. Won't you join the family of God today?

"The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace -- a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies -- and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes [for mourning], messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit [guilt/despair/heaviness]. Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness" planted by God to display his glory [give them strength]. They'll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage [our lives]. They'll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, but you'll have the title "Priests of God," honored as ministers of our God. You'll feast on the bounty of nations, you'll bask in their glory. Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever. " (Isaiah 61:1-7 - Message)

You see ... Justin's life was NOT wasted. His life and death has allowed me to feel the urgent need to share the gospel with you. Praise God for the work he has done in and through Justin.

If any one needs prayer, please let me know either in my comments or by email. Most of the regular commenters on my blog are strong, mature, seasoned Christians who would love to hear of your life-changing decision, and would love to celebrate with you, pray for you, and encourage you. You have an ARMY behind you!

Thank you for indulging me this time to share from my heart.

Information about Justin's Company/Battalion/Regiment/Unit and what is currently going on in Afghanistan:

"Chosin Few"

Justin was was a member of the A Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Unit. The 1-32 Infantry has hundreds of men stationed in the high mountains on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the soldiers spend an enormous amount of time in the field hunting down the enemy. It is difficult work, and it can be dangerous, but the soldiers are masters of the task. You can see why they need our prayers!

The 10th Mountain Division is a specially tailored infantry division that is expected to be ready to deploy by air, sea or land 96 hours after being notified of deployment orders. 10th Mountain units are currently serving in Afghanistan.

Coalition forces are hunting Taliban fighters in the largest anti-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan since 2001 [right now -- TODAY]. The anti-Taliban operation is entering it's third week in southern Afghanistan, and Southern Afghanistan will witness "significant fighting" between US-led coalition and Taliban forces for several months before NATO takes control of the region (a military spokesperson said this in an interview on Wednesday, June 21, 2006).

Justin -- We had looked forward to celebrating your homecoming return to us, but now, dear friend, we celebrate your "homegoing."

May God be with Justin's family as they make preparations for his funeral.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Moment of Silence, Please...

I would request that you bow your heads with me in a brief moment of silence in honor of a dear friend of mine.

My loyal friend, Connie, died early Sunday morning. I knew her for over 10 years, and during that time, I grew quite attached to her. So in her honor...

You were a fine friend. You were loyal.
You saw me through thick, and thin ...
You were there through the long and the short of it.
You never failed me, and you never complained.
Until yesterday, when you passed. Suddenly.
Without much warning. Why? Oh, why?

You left me distraught. You left me upset.
If you had given me some warning, I wouldn't be so crazed.
But instead, you chose to leave quietly. Without pain or suffering.
Which may have been just fine for you, but left me in the lurch.

Now, my friend, I find myself having to rely on another.
One who is not as compassionate or brave as you.
One who is powerless, and just plain annoying.
One that I wish I never laid eyes on.
Although this companion travels with me on occasion, she is not you.

Will I ever find another? One so worthy of my admiration?
Will I ever be at rest? Calm, knowing that she will be as reliable as you?
I hope so, but friend, I can't forgive you for leaving me so abruptly.
How rude. How unkind.
And on a hot, humid and rainy day.
Without you, dear Connie, my hair will never be the same.

In honor of you, dear Connie ... May you rest in peace.

And now the biggest question rests on my shoulders.

Should I get another Connie from WalMarty, or should I get an expensive, $130 version of Connie with a warranty for a huge amount of years from a pro? Any suggestions would be most welcome!

Thank you for allowing me to, and for helping me to honor Connie -- my dear hairdryer.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Happppppy Birthday ... WOOOOOO!

Today is Heather's Birthday, y'all!!!

This young lady is turning a tender 24 today .. uhh huh! TWENTY FOUR!!!

So, Heather ... Happy Birthday ...

Stand-up, turn-around, have a happy birthday ...
Stand-up, turn-around, have a happy day ...
Woooooooaaaah -- Happy Birthday ...
Woooooooaaaah -- Happy Birthday ...
Have a happy DAAA -- EHHH -- AAAAA -- EHHH -- AAAYY!!

(Sung in Larry-Boy the Cucumber Fashion)

And ... Eat some of this, and think fondly of me, as if I was really there ... because I am at heart!!

So that's what all the hubbub is about --

And here's why I wanted you to come on over today ...

We're going to have an internet paaar-teeey ... so hop on over to Heather's fun blog and wish her a Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

(And if YOU want an internet b-day party, you need to have someone that loves you very much give me a "head's-up" of your birthday! -- Don't be shy! It's great fun! Really!)

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!

Don't give up on us, baby ... we're still worth one more try ... I know we put our last one by .. Just for a rainy evening ... When maybe stars are few ... Don't give up on us, I know ... We can still come through!!! (David Soul song)

Whew! I did NOT stay home today ... I had a client meeting that my BOSS waited until the very lastest latest minute to ask me to put together an 18 page package. HAALLOOOO, Mr. Boss Man!!! It's a good think I likes him!

And, I likes you ... so ... in the words of the once famous, now forgotten David Soul ... don't give up on us, baby! Because I'll be back on over the weekend. We refinanced our home today, so after the client meeting I had to run across town, couldn't find the building, couldn't find a parking spot, looped around the block twice, forgot to put money in the meeter thingy, went to the second floor, only realize the title company was on the first (DUH! -- Suite 115!) got there just in time, went back to the conference room, started reviewing the first page ... FIRST PAGE ... and had to ask the nice title company man to stop so I could go to the bathroom (in a bad ... I've been holding it all day ... kinda way), came back, signed 5 gazillion papers, and went to dinner and then to ... are you ready for this??? BEST BUY to get a wireless router. And by the way ... don't even think I'm running sepell ckhec onn thsi psot.

Uhuh! I think I'm cool! So, if any of you techie people have any tips on how to password protect the wireless router so my neighbors can't bootleg my internet, just leave me a comment. Or email me. Or come knocking on my door! It's all good!

Okay -- gotta fly. Little man is WAY past due for his bed time at this point, and dad's pretty much put out as much patience with me typing away on the computer as he can humanly muster while he's trying to entertain a crabby, teething, sleepy 9 month old (almost).

Love you all, and geez! Look at all the new people commenting! You'd think I'd have to be on my death bed before all you lovely lurkers come out of hiding! Do it more often, woodja?

Kisses to you all. (And NOOOO ... I'm not high on drugs ... just adrenaline from the fast paced day)

Special Announcement:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

So sleek. So stylish. Sooooo Sexy!

And slender. And shapely. And beautiful. And smooth. And flat. And firm. And the moves ... oh, you should see the moves ... with little effort at all, really!

And it's stinkin' bohonkus!!! Woot! My heart is beating so fast!!!

Yeah ... she thinks her monitor is sexy! (just like that sexy tractor song!)

Oh, people .... I just got a new monitor at work, and it is beeeeeee-uuuuuu-tiful! Sexy, really... in a mechanical kind of way ... just look for yourself --

See what I mean? Don't you just want one??? It's 20" wide! Loooo-hhhuuuv it.

Okay -- on to more meaningful things ... On the nervous scale of oh, 1 to 10 for this root canal (10 being totally wigged) I'd say I'm a 3. YUP! Thanks to YOU! And your prayers. And your calming words of assurance. You all ROCK! I am feeling calm, cool, and truly collected about the whole root canal this afternoon. As a matter of fact, on the same scale, I was more like an 8 two weeks ago when I went to the dentist for the first visit! That's a big difference. And, I'm not busy today, so if I'm not sleeping when I get home, I may even get caught up on ALL MY BLOG READING!

And in honor of you ... I'm awarding you ALL the Bestest Prayer Buddy award! Your prayers really made a difference! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love you all!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Awe, shucks ... I love y'all!

Things are a wee bit "screwy" in Internet land today, as I can't seem to connect fast enough, or frequently enough without being grrrr.

I won't be posting a Tuesday Toss-up today, but if you really miss it, you can go visit Heather's two blogs, because she posts a Tuesday Toss-up, too... Roller Coaster Ride of My Life and Funny Thoughts about Life's Crazy Happenings

So, anyhoo ... I'm simply thrilled beyond belief to have been awarded the very prestigious LOCA Award by Lauren from Created for His Glory! Yes, it's true ... I'm not making it up! Now, I already knew I was a wee bit loca, and I'm certain that once again, my family will attest to that ... quickly ... and loudly ... but, I didn't realize that all of blogdom knew that, too! Just goes to show how well a good friend can know you! Frightening. Now, I think the post Lauren was referring to is here ... And Lauren asked me a question in her comments ... "GiBee, do you actually wear your cheerleader outfit to work?" So, in answer, yes. Yes I do. And, here's a picture of me .. of course, I don't want to cause any jealousy or dissent in any of my readers ... so if fights start to break out, I'll cut the pictures out, 'kay?

And when I get bored with this look, I just throw on my hot pants and white go-go boots ... and it's all good.

Last week was crazy right up to the minute I walked out the door of my office Friday afternoon. Then, we had two out of town guests stayin with us. They are friends of my husband, and they came over to go fishing all weekend. They are from Kin-tuh-kie. And really, they barely have a southern accent at all (yeah, right!). We think one of them might be a bit hard of hearing, because he talks so loud, which usually makes me look forward to the day they leave ... just so my ears stop ringing ... but it wasn't too bad this time.

And, we had a lot of fun with them. Hunter especially enjoyed pulling on one of their watches, and snagging one of the guy's expensive silky nike shirt with his finger nails. Hunt-man just thought THAT was simply hilarious ... while I bent over backwards apologizing!

Saturday, while the boys were fishing, I had a yard sale at my in-law's home. It was hotter than blue blazes, but fortunately, my father-in-law set up under the canopy of trees, where it was about 10 degrees cooler than in the sun. Whew! But ... I made $145!!! I was able to get a father's day gift for my father-in-law, my husband, and take him Bass Pro Shops (oh, so fun for us gals) and then out to dinner on Sunday night to Famous Daves ... I hate eating ribs, because my fingers get all gross, and the bar-b-que sauce gets all over your face ... but sadly, they do have the best ribs around (the spare ribs are the meatiest and juciest most tenderest ribs I've tasted) so I do use my fingers when I can't get all the meat off the bone with a fork. They also have a great Georgia syle pulled pork dish that I love! After all ... it's the place to get sauced! Don't be jealous ... you can find a Famous Daves in your area by going here ... they have them all over the place!

On another note ... Thanks for all your notes of encouragement last week. My root canal is tomorrow afternoon. I have a prescription for Triazolam... evidently, this medication is used to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Strange ... I just need something to calm me down. Just look at the side effects ... headache, heartburn, diarrhea, hangover effect (grogginess), drowsiness, dizziness or lightheadedness, weakness, dry mouth, constipation, difficulty urinating, frequent urination, blurred vision ... Now, don't some of these symptoms contradict each other? diareah vs. constipation; difficulty urinating vs. frequent urination. It also causes serious psychological side effects. It has been alleged to cause strange behavior and in some instances violent reactions I wonder if the doctor realized that I'm already LOCA and don't need any help in this department? Now, on top of the whole LOCA thing, my body will be arguing with itself. PEE. NO, DON'T PEE. Wait, now you need to POOP. NO ... STOP ... DON'T POOP. Talk about split personality!

Just teasing. I don't have that big of a dose. One pill, .25mg -- just enough to relax me -- piece of cake. My bodily functions will likely NOT be affected. Whew!

Ah, yes ... life is an adventure. Well, I'm sure you're all busy today. I know I am. So... have a wonderful, and blessed day in the Lord!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Post with NO Title

Today is going to be a very busy day for me at work, and I probably won't have a free moment to get through all my favorite blogs ... so, if you don't see me loitering for the next few days, don't take it personally!

Also, if you could remember me in your prayers this week ... I have a nasty little (okay, big) crack in my tooth from biting down on a tiny piece of bone ... and now, I have to get a root canal done next week ... Wednesday afternoon. I'm such a big baby, and scardey cat of dentists that I haven't been to one in about 8 or 10 years!!! YIKES! Anyway, my anxiety level is extremely elevated, to say the least.

And there are also some not-so-nice issues going on here at work that have me, quite frankly, FREAKED OUT. My old boss ... the mean one that harassed me ... the one I filed a complaint against with Human Resources ... the one who I worked for and had three miscarriages due to stress ... the one who threatened me with my job ... the one that advertised my position the day my doctor put me on bedrest at 8 months pregnant ... the one that degrades and humiliates and yells and screams at his employees (me) is now coming up to the department I work in ... as the department HEAD.

I did go to my HR rep and told him that they needed to find a new place for me where I will NOT interact with him at all, and where he will NOT be my functional manager. We'll see what happens. Anyway, I'm freaking out about that, and I'm praying a lot that God will intervene. At least I'm finding it entertaining to watch HR scramble!

Finally -- Don't forget to head out to Everyday Mommy and weigh in on her QUESTION OF THE WEEK!

So, friends, have a wonderful, blessed day in the Lord, and I'll catch up with y'all in the next few days, 'kay? (I might have a free moment here or there today ... we'll see)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What to say ... what to say ...

So, faced with the question, what would I say? Man, oh, man ... this is a hard one.

I'll tell you, yesterday's toss up sure did prompt a lot of great comments. And honestly, I would like to think that I would say YES without a minute's hesitation. But realistically, I'm human. I don't really know what I would say, especially if my son was there at that very moment. Having waited so long to have a child, my heart would literally break in two. Actually, I think any mother's heart would, so that's not really a fair statement. I, too, was moved emotionally with the thought of my child having to witness someone shooting his mother for saying "Yes, I believe in God" and then, I was moved again to think that I would not be there for him as he grew, changed, matured, or when he would skin his knee, fall off his bike, get hurt by a friend, fall in love for the first time, graduate from high school, college, medical school, become a wealthy doctor, marry, and have his own children. Okay, maybe he won't go to medical school and become a wealthy doctor (a mother's dream), but you know what I mean, right? That made it difficult for me to be "sure" if I would say "yes."

Some might argue that we don't know for sure that the gunman would actually pull the trigger. True. But is that a chance I'm willing to take? And, if I said no, as many of you pointed out, I don't think I could live with myself knowing that I had denied God. How awful life would be after all was said and done.

Peach from Just Peachy shared from Philippians 1:23-24, "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." Now, I'm pretty sure that this is right where I'd be. And, of course, I'd only have a fraction of a second to really think about it, but the beautiful faces of my husband, son, and family would flash through my head, and I'd probably think to myself, "what to say ... what to say... how can I word my answer in a "safe" way?" Well, is there really a safe way to say, "Yes, I believe in God?"

Jenn from Showered with Grace and Reflecting Him stole the scripture right out of my mouth (hehe) -- "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God." Luke 12:8-9. I was waiting to see if anyone would bring this scripture up in the comments. Yay, Jenn. It is very direct -- and leaves us absolutely no wiggle room. No. There is no "safe way" to get around saying "Yes, I believe in God." Either you do, or you don't.

Finally, I acknowledge that I am human (I know! What a shock!), and yes, I will make many mistakes in my lifetime (another shock!), but this is one I hope never to make if placed in that position. And our ever-young-junior-in-college-intern ... "Pastorboy Z" ... shared with us steps that can help assure that we will be prepared to say, "Yes, I believe in God" without a moment's hesitation... and yes, this is a very abbreviated list -- a whole sermon rolled into 7 points:

Hebrews 12:1-3 -- 1) Focus on Christ; 2) Get rid of sin; 3) Get rid of anything else that entangles you or holds you back

Ephesians 6:13-18 -- 4) Put on the full armor of God; 5) Pray without ceasing

Philippians 4:8-9 -- 6) Get into the word, daily think about it, educate ourselves about it, and put it into practice.

Titus 2:7-8 -- 7) Have integrity, be serious, have soundness of speech.

Anyway, young Pastorboy Z's message was good. And, very thought provoking, as you have already noticed. So, I thought I'd pass it along to you so you could have something to think about too ... and look at that! You did, and left some great comments!

Thanks for participating in yesterday's Toss-Up, and thanks to the new commenters and visitors! I'm glad you popped over, and I'll be visiting you through out the week!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

This is a long Tuesday Toss-up, but stay with me on this ...

This past Sunday, our College Intern at church delivered the message. It was entitled, simply, "STAND." I was moved by his message, and immediately, began thinking about my Tuesday Toss-up. He based his message on an event that occurred back on April 20, 1999, in Columbine, Colorado. I'm pretty sure we all know the story...

Two teenagers carried out a shooting rampage, killing 12, wounding 24, before committing suicide in Columbine High School. Inspired by this tragedy, Michael W. Smith wrote the song This Is Your Time. Here are some of the words to this song:

"It was a test we could all hope to pass, but none of us would want to take. Faced with the choice to deny God to live, for her, there was one choice to make. This was her time. This was her dance. She lived every moment; left nothing to chance. She swam in the sea; drank of the deep; embraced the mystery of all she could be. This was her time...

What if tomorrow, and what if today, faced with the question, oh what would you say?
This is your time. This is your dance. Live every moment, leave nothing to chance. Swim in the sea. Drink of the deep. Follow the mercy and hear yourself praying. Won't you save me? Won't you save me?"

Not only did Michael write this song in honor of the tragedy at Columbine High School, but in honor of Cassie Bernall, too. Cassie was a remarkable young girl. She was troubled, involved in drugs, alcohol, witchcraft, and wanted to kill her parents. Her parents immediately pulled her out of public school, enrolled her in a Christian school, and only allowed her to leave the house to attend youth meetings. On one occassion, she asked her parents to allow her to go to a youth retreat. They, feeling that she was being closely watched by the youth ministry team, allowed her to go. On this weekend, she committed her life to Christ, and her life was radically changed. She began witnessing, sharing her testimony to anyone that would listen. She begged her parents to let her attend the public school so she could reach more for the Lord. So, her parents, having seen the change in Cassie, took her out of the Christian school and enrolled her in the public High School. Columbine High School.

In an interview with Christianity Today, Michael said "Cassie believed in God and lost her life for it. Now it's our time to live our faith boldly."

Would we, placed in the same position as this young girl, answer boldly like she did? She started her day of like any other, but had she know what she was going to face, I wonder if she would have gone to school anyway? Her day, no, her life, ended with a hard battle between right and wrong ... a simple question was asked of her, but her answer was one that would end her life here on earth. "Do you believe in God?" "YES." And after professing her faith in God, she was killed.

Now ... Imagine a gun being held to your head ... in front of your family, or friends, possibly church members, or even your children... And you are told that if you profess that you believe in God, you will be shot...

Today's Tuesday's Tossup is ...

"Faced with the question, what would you say?"

This is a deep question, and I'd ask that you really think it through before asnwering. Think of all the possibilities, think of the ramifications, think of the lives that would go on without you ... then answer.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh, how we learn... Let me count the ways!

This was such a lovely weekend! The weather was to die for, I did absolutely no housework, and I actually spent the weekend with my boys, just chillin', watching the Pastorman's youngest son's lacrosse tournament, sunin' and funin'! I did run some errands ... you know ... typical things like running to Costco to get some adorable PJs for Hunter. I know ... you're thinking to yourself ... Costco? Pajamas? Weird! But, you just can't beat the price! We got these cute 3-piece Carter's PJs for $12 ... they are $20 regular and $15 on sale at JC Penney's. Then, we got this adorable bathing suit with a matching top (came as a set) for under $10 ... I think it was $8, actually ... and at JCP the swimming trunk alone was $20 regular and $15 on sale! We got him a few rompers, too. All in all -- we made out big! So did Hunter.

Sunday, Hunter's uncle (my husband's younger brother) went down to get him from the nursery after Church ... they look so cute together. His uncy and aunty are totally smitten with him, and I love to watch them hold him, play with him, and talk to him. It saddens me that my sister lives so far away and is missing a lot of fun times with Hunter, but on the other hand, it gives me great joy to watch Hunter get to know his aunts and uncles here!

Anyway ... back to my point ... We had to make a special trip to Wal-Mart, and pay for a (cough, cough) "shoplifted" item (we also had to get a fan). Yes, folks ... my little (okay, ginormous) 8 month old was my partner in crime as we accidentally shoplifted a toy from Wal-Mart. First of all ... I hate going to that store. Second of all, you never know if a child is going to actually "like" a toy ... so shoplift it! Just kidding. So, I gave it to him so he could hold it while we shopped. That way, I'd know if he was interested in it. The only problem was ... he fell asleep. And when he falls asleep, he pulls his silky over his head. And that's when Mom forgot he had the toy, finished shopping, checked out, put him in the car, went to my next destination, took the car seat out, and as the silky slid away from his face, I discovered ... with great horror, I might add ... that the GiBee's had shoplifted. Over Memorial Day weekend. A full two weeks ago. Sure, I know this happens to everyone ... but this young? (lol!)

Now, I joked about this incident with several people, and it was quite interesting to see people's reactions. Some (my Christian friends and family) encouraged me to go back and pay for the item (which I fully intended to do). Others laughed it off and exclaimed, "well, that's one way to get a free toy!" Some told us, "well, they rip you off all the time, so it all evens out!" And others said, "how many times have you gone to the store, paid for something, only to find out it's not in your bag when you get home because the clerk forgot to put it in? So basically, don't worry about it, it all washes out in the end!"

Yeah. I was surprised at some of the replies I got. It made me stop and question what they are teaching their children! Little comments like those may seem harmless, but the message they are sending is that it's okay if you shoplift something small ... it all evens out in the long run. Now, I'll admit ... it took me two weeks to actually find the free time to run back and pay for the toy. And what was the comment the lady in customer service made? "Well, it looks like we have an honest one in the bunch." Now, that's what I want my son to learn. If you do something wrong, be honest about it and try to rectify the situation!

We live in a messed up world with upside down values and morals... and in my mind, it's an if/then situation... if you don't start by teaching your children wrong from right about the little things, like shoplifting bubble gum, or lying to a teacher, or being mean to a kid in the neighborhood, then it could lead to bigger things ... with even greater consequences.

Satan is a crafty little bugger, and he will use peer pressure to make something seem harmless and trite. For instance ... one small sin caused a total unraveling of life as Adam and Eve once knew it. Just a mere 60 (or so) verses into the Old Testament, and life was never the same for them! One fruit, from one tree -- do not eat it. That's not too hard to understand, is it? But in comes satan and he starts to justify why it's okay to eat of the fruit, and both Eve and Adam cave to an attractive sin.

I know there will be many times when my child is tempted by his peers, or the media, or even his friends parents. He will hear arguments that are attractive, and might even make sense to him, but are full of half-truths. My job as a mom is to teach him how to avoid being led into sin, and how to learn to analyze everything he hears to help him pull out those "attractive half-truths" that might get him to trouble, and learn how to see them for what they are. It's important that he learn that sin causes disunity between us and God, but regardless of what we do, God still wants to forgive us and spend time with us.

Many children and youth are so much more like Adam than Eve, however, in that they do not want to take any personal responsibility for their sin. And why not? They see how people in our pop culture, professional athletes, and even politicians explain their immoral behavior away with all kinds of excuses, and blame-casting on others. It would have been easy for me to just open the package on the toy, add it to Hunters other toys, and go on with life. But, even though my son is only 8 months old, and really doesn't understand much, I still didn't want to cave in and not do what was the right thing.

It is so important ... now more than ever ... for Christian parents to take an active role in their children's lives and teach them to become aware of God's presence in their lives ... even while they are in the midst of sin. Sin can not be hidden from God, but that's what we end up trying to do, and that's the message we send our kids when we tell them not to worry about a particular, small, teeny-weeny sin, because it "all washes out in the end." Maturity comes from accepting responsibility, right? And, in kind, Spiritual maturity comes from accepting responsibility before God, not letting it "wash out" in the long run.

I can only imagine how frightening it can be for a child to be caught doing something they know is wrong, and I can only imagine how uncomfortable it might be for them it they are not caught, as they wonder whether someone will find out or not. Imagine how frightened Adam and Eve were when they were caught in sin! So frightened were they, that they tried to hide from the very presence of God! (Gen. 3:10) But even though they were tainted with sin, God had a plan to bring redemption and restoration to us through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

Proverbs 22 is full of great insight... and one verse, in particular, is one we often focus on ... that is Prob. 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it." And this is so true, but look at what else Proverbs 22 says leading up to and including verse 6 --

"A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life. In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:3-6

What does this mean to me? Well, if I begin teaching my son right from wrong as soon as he is old enough to understand, then he will learn to see trouble coming up, and hopefully, he will learn to walk away from it before he gets wrapped up in it. Now, the "trouble" he walks away from might appear to be more attractive and fun, but hopefully, he will understand that while the immediate payoff for making the right choice might not be that great, the payoff in the long run is much more rewarding and satisfying. If I point my children in the right direction, they will know to use the skills we have instilled in them to stay clear from the dangerous road of sin, and they won't forget what we teach them, using those skills to become prudent and wise.

As a mother, my responsibility is to equip my son to make wise decisions on his own, steer clear of trouble, avoid the "dangerous road" and implement wisdom it in his daily decisions. And, hopefully, if he's ever with a group of friends that are pressuring him to shoplift a candy bar, he will know that it's wrong, and will choose to walk away.

Friday, June 09, 2006

OH!! No, they didn't!!!

Okay ... it's 2 in the afternoon. I ate a healthy lunch (salad) but it just didn't satisfy. So, I take the last bit of money from my wallet ($2) and treck up to the vending machines. I have just enough to get a can of coke ($0.75) and a bag of peanut m&m's ($0.75)... So ... I pop my money in to get my soda. It rolls down with a satisfying kerplunk. Then, I turn around to pop my money in for the m&m's I am now craving ... and that's when I see it.

They have replaced my dear peanut m&m's with ... now, prepare yourself ... this ...

Oh, no they didn't! Who made this executive decision? And tell me, WHO EATS GARFIELD CHOCOBITES? Seriously ... why would I want to eat ANYTHING that's "Garfield Approved?" GAG... so much for my craving. So, since I've already dropped my money into the vending machine, I punch in the numbers to get a whole different snack (and not so lady-like, either) ... this was my new source of snacking pleasure ...

But ... because I was pretty much JAMMING the numbers in, I think I hit a wrong button and ended up getting this ... (in white, not green -- blogger wouldn't let me load the other picture I had of the real deal)

Now ... let me go on record saying that I have never had a Hostess sno-ball. Ever. In my entire life. And as I stared at the package with great disappointment, I realized that indeed, I would be trying them for the first time in just a matter of minutes, since I only had $0.50 left.

And just so you know ... they taste as disgusting as they look. The texture of the marshmallow is like biting into a rubbery sponge, and the coconut (good thing it was white, because if it was green, it never would have graced these lips) was so dry, nasty, and stuck to my teeth. The chocolate cake was yucky, and I'm not sure mine actually had cream filling. I think it was grease filling. It gave me an entire body shiver as I shoved the remaining sno ball back in the original package and tossed it all in the trash can. Yuuu-huuk. I think I'd rather eat any of these things if given the choice!

So ... to our local vendor man ... if you replaced the regular old variety of REAL m&m peanuts with the nasty Garfield variety so you could bring in a bit more cash ... do us all a favor and replace them with the real thing and jack the prices up. Again. Because no one should be subject to the trauma induced by taking a bite out of a nasty sno ball, when all they really wanted was peanut m&ms.


Blogger, my blogger, where for art thou?

So frustrated I became with Blogger yesterday, that I sent an email to the Blogger Support people ... it read as follows:

Blogger has only responded with a generic email so far that read as follows:

So, I went to Blogger's Status Page and Known Issues Page, and here's what I found out...

The Known Issues Page was of no help to me whatsoever. But the Status Page had information as current as yesterday evening. Here's what it said:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

For many users, Blogger will have been extremely slow or down for most of the morning. We continue to work on fixes for this problem and hope to have it resolved as quickly as possible.

Update (4:45p): We are planning another infrastructure overhaul to address the significant problems we've been having in the past several days.

Update (6:59p): We've made another change that has improved performance, but we are also planning to make additional changes this evening.

Now ... My profession is a Financial Analyst. I take financial information, analyze it, and then interpret it, and forecast what the future will be. So ... in keeping with my profession, I will proceed to analyze all the information (not just Thursday's updates) on the status page for you, interpret it, and forecast the future for you ... you know ... to save you from having to think to hard on this whole problem (read: fiasco).

Analysis: Blogger has had several (almost daily) critical infrastructure, database, hardware, and software issues, resulting in unscheduled downtime, and emergency patches and maintenance. They are working hard to resolve all problems as quickly as possible.

Interpretation: Blogger is in a world of hurt, and people are scrambling to make it better.

Forecast: As a result of the universal Blogger Boo Boo, Typepad and Blogsome will see a large migration of new bloggers in the next few days/week.

There you go! My professional, and very technical analysis of what's going on with Blogger. And, if Blogger should feel it necessary to contact me for further professional assistance, I would be more than happy to make myself available to them.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Don't hate me because I'm honest...

Okay, okay, okay ... Sheesh! God is soooo totally not finished with me yet. And one of those areas is the whole BLASTED people-pleasing, non-confrontational crutch I lean on. Or mask I wear. Or veil I hide behind. Yeah. Me. And over the last 24 hours, God has not only been dealing with me on that, but a few other things too.

I received great encouragement from Everyday Mommy ... and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing part of her email here ... and if she does ... too bad (see? no more people pleaser).

"... may I encourage you to rid yourself of the pop-psychology description of yourself as non-confrontational. As one believer to another, I feel that the time is short. Christ is coming. Many of our friends and family are lost and we stand idly by, behind a mask called 'people pleaser' or 'non-confrontational'. "

Oh, that spoke right to my heart, and I replied to her that it's more than just a mask with me ... it's a real fear. As in -- get all sweaty, choked up, closed-throat fear. I'm trying to overcome it, and actually, blogging has helped! I am stepping out further than I ever have. But still, not far enough. In my personal relationships, I CRINGE when I feel a problem coming on. I hate it. And I become paralyzed. I acknowledge that I really need to put this under the blood of Jesus, because I know I can be more effective if I come out from behind the mask, or veil I hide behind when confrontation occurs.

Then, there was this candid post by Sarah that I just could not ignore. Like her, I can be neurotic about this. And like her, sometimes the real me gets hidden inside my snappy little lime green and pink plaid turtle shell. Sarah made some good points that I MUST share here ... 1) People are always going to disagree, have different points, and even get offended sometimes. 2) It's important to remember that discussion, sometimes heated discussion, is meant to bring about new understanding, and sometimes even change a person's mind or solidify their own original beliefs. 3) (and I'm paraphrasing her here) None of us has everything fully figured out. We are constantly learning, changing, and hopefully becoming a better person.

Yeah. What she said.

Trust me when I say ... I am very opinionated, and sometimes, overly passionate. I often speak before thinking, and can be quite forceful at times with my opinions. My family will vouch for that. But they are just that ... family. And I feel like I'm in my comfort zone when I'm with them, and I also know that they are stuck with me, whether they like it or not. So, it frees me up to be myself around them.

So ... having said all that I will say all this (and this is where the warm fuzzies stop):

I feel that as Christians, we are called to be compassionate. Loving. Kind. Gentle. Meek. But ... we are not called to be door mats. We are not called to be wishy washy. We are not called to be timid in our beliefs. And when I pull out my people-pleasing-non-confrontational facade, which by the way is exhausting just typing it out, I become all that. And more. Everyday Mommy encouraged me to share my comments in an email exchange we had, so ... here it is.

First, she made a comment about "friendship evangelism" saying, "my warm and loving friendship has no power to redeem anyone from sin, much less send them to heaven. I've heard so many Christian friends say things like, "I don't preach to them, I just love them," and "I don't want to force it down anyone's throat". This, also, is a post-modern mentality and people are perishing each day because their "friends" didn't tell them the truth. The truth is that the Gospel is HARD. It's HARD to believe. Narrow is the gate!"

Yes. I do agree that "friendship evangelism" is not cutting the grade. I've tried it. It doesn't work. Sometimes, people just need to be told point blank that what they are doing is wrong and the only way is to turn away from their sin and run to Jesus. No matter how hard it is for "us" to utter those words. And I tried that, and you know what? I didn't loose a friend ... in fact, she now comes to my church (until she gets relocated in August).

Showing love to someone, supporting them, hugging them when they are dying or sick, not condemning them, being compassionate, generous, gentle, helpful and kind ... those are all things we should do as Christians. But not one of those will save a single lost soul. Yes, it's true that those actions will soften a hardened heart, and prepare the lost to hear the message ... but it must go hand-in-hand with the actual delivery of the gospel. Otherwise, they may only "see" a nice person ... not realizing that they are actually seeing Jesus in you, and they might never "know" who this Jesus person is, and how HE is the one that forgives them and frees them of their sin, and gives them eternal life. There are many people I know (and me, too) that sadly fall into "feel-goodism theology to Christianity" if that makes any sense, because it's safe, easy, and non-offensive.

Everyday Mommy encouraged me to read John 6 -- and I, in turn, encourage you to read it too. I've given you a link to John 6 in the Message version... Pay close attention to verses 60-69, because many people walked away from Jesus because his message/requirements were just to "hard" for them.

On another note ... and I hope not to start riots over this, but, I get frustrated with the sheer volume of people flocking to Mega Churches and hiding in the throng of people. No accountability. Just show up for church for any given service on Saturday or Sunday, toss something in the offering plate, attend a function or two, have your name added to the church directory, and BAM. You're a Christian member in good standing. I get frustrated being one of the few 10% workers that do all the work, all the time, while the other 90% sits in the pew enjoying themselves, praising God, worshipping, and walking out, getting in their cars, and going home to a lovely and relaxing day off. I know that not every person that attends a mega church is like that... so, don't take that as a "personal criticism" -- unless, of course, you are feeling convicted. Again, I acknowledge that Mega Churches are financially in a greater position than my little church to "do" for the greater world, but at the same time, I have a problem with the Olsteens and Warrens of this generation. I know they are doing a lot of good ... that I can't deny. I just hate the "watered-down wishy-washy niceness to everyone no mater what" attitudes they have, wanting to fully accept and embrace everyone without question -- "riding the fence" in many instances between right and wrong, accepting liberalism, rightism, or whateverism.

And I hate the fact that they feel the need to constantly quote how much they donated to Aids relief, or how many books they sold (during public interviews), or how he's doing this, or how they are doing that, or how his wife was involved with this... I HATE that. Let your works speak for themselves. I dont ever recall reading in the Bible that Jesus walked around bragging, or sitting down to an interview saying, "I healed 300 people the other day." or, "I hugged a leper and told them I loved them so that it would make a difference in their heart. Someone else will share the Gospel with them." or, "I think marrying someone of the same sex is wrong, but if you believe that, it's okay because I still love you and want to sit down and sup with you and shepherd you, and if you don't want to change ... hey -- that's okay by me", or "I saved 6,500 people last week!" or, "I sold 5,000,000 scrolls of my writings last year." Other people saw what Jesus did, and spread the word ... Jesus did not have to drop hints or openly "proclaim" what his successes were.

Yes, Jesus told us to care for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned. Both the old and new testaments are filled with commands, and examples. Yes, Jesus healed first, and told them to sin no more second. And yes, I believe that Jesus called us to unity. But he also didn't waiver when he told people the only way to heaven was through him. He didn't beat around the bush or "make nice" with people so that they wouldn't be offended by what he had to say. Yes, he fellowshiped with sinners, loved them, hugged them, cared for them, but no, he didn't condone their sin or find "common ground" other than "himself" with them.

The journalist in the article we read yesterday said: "Far from dividing people, Warren-style Christianity in action finds common ground and leads people to it." My comment back? Can there be "Warren-style Christianity?" And once he finds common ground with them, what exactly is he "leading people to?" Isn't Christianity all about "being like Christ" not Rick Warren-like? He may be doing Christ-taught (or commanded) actions and good deeds/things, but really, I get the feeling that there is a fine line that's getting ready to be crossed ... Paul told the church in Corinth that we are to be unified with those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ -- their Lord and ours... he did NOT call us to be unified with the unbeliever. He went on to speak against divisions in the church (the body of believers). He appealed to them to agree with one another so that they may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Why? Because there were arguments breaking out where people were saying, "I follow Paul" or "I follow Apollos" or "I follow Cephas (Peter)" and some even said "I follow Christ." Paul's point was, Christ is not divided. Paul was not crucified for our sins, we were not baptized into the name of Peter, and there should not be a "Warren-style Christianity." (1 Corinthians 1)

We're all called to be "Christ-like" without division. Yes, I acknowledge that it was the media that coined the label "Warren-style Christianity," but my hope is that Warren doesn't agree with it.

Also, what do you think? SHOULD we be finding common ground with people??? I am not totally convinced that we should. The Bible says that we should be IN the world, not OF it, so, if we're finding "common ground" doesn't that make us "OF" the world? Or dangerously close? If you find common ground with someone that believes differently than you, isn't that another way of saying "you're not wrong ... you're entitled to believe the way you want to ... even though Jesus said that what you believe is wrong."

Here is what Warren answered when Rebecca Haggerty from NBC Dateline asked him what his thoughts are on the topic of gay marriage during a live interview -- Warren: I don't accept gay marriage. I don't think that a gay relationship is exactly what God wants in life. (GiBee says: uh, NO, it's not at all what God wants in life) But I don't think that homosexuality is the worst sin. The Bible says it's not. (GiBee says: Really? The Bible differentiates levels of sin? I thought a sin is a sin is a sin, and that God does not give sin a degree of seriousness -- it's humans that do -- and for the record, BLASPHEMY of the HOLY SPIRIT* is the only unforgivable sin.) Warren went on to say: "the Bible says the worst sin is pride. Pride is what got Satan kicked out of heaven. The Bible says pride goes before destruction of the body and a haughty spirit before a fall. So, you know what? In looking at a hierarchy of evil, I would say homosexuality is not the worst sin (GiBee asks: is it just me, or does this sound like he's trying to soften the stigma of sin on homosexuality? Sort of "easening the guilt?"). Warren: But I would also say homosexuality is not natural. I think that there are certain parts of a body that are made to fit together. (GiBee says: oh, that's just too funny! Thanks for sharing that with all of us in a live interview -- see? I CAN be sarcastic, opinionated, and offensive)

Yes, we need to show mercy. Yes, we need to show compassion. But we need to take a firm and unwaveringing stand between right and wrong. I honestly feel that "riding the fence" with your beliefs to keep peace among all the people and to stay popular among everyone is neither hot nor cold. I'm pretty sure you know how I feel about that.

So bottom line ... yes, Warren is doing good things. Yes, he is helping the poor, the sick, the widowed, the orphaned. Yes, he is reaching out to his community. Yes, he is a 'good guy.' Yes, he's helping give a good name to Christians. Yes, he's nice. Yes, he's compassionate. Yes, he's generous. Very generous.

But there's still something that 'bothers' me about his soft stand on tough issues.

Soooo ... anyone out there offended? Not pleased by what I've said? Disagree? Agree? Let me know. I don't care if you don't post "safe comments" on my blog (um ... as long as they are G-rated (I wonder what kind of Google hits I'll get?), because I do care about civil comments), but I want to hear the truth on what people really think ... not what the popular belief of the subject is or what makes people feel good.

(*Matt. 12:31, Luke 12:10, 1 Timothy 1:12-14)

(Remember ... these are my personal beliefs, convictions, quetions and feelings ... I'm not trying to beat you over the head with them until you believe the same way I do! And I'm not going to stop liking you if we agree to disagree!)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Holy Rings of Fire, Batman!

And GiBee's getting ready to step right into the middle of this burning, fiery, skin-scorching ring of flames and discuss the article A Model of Faith! You might as well stop now, and go grab your second cup of coffee ... it's gonna be a long ride.

Well, as many of you may already know ... sometimes I just can't leave well enough alone. And this is no exception... But after having started this post three other times, and deleting it half way through each time, I'm hoping the fourth time is a charm.

I just can't believe I'm doing this, because I am a totally NON-confrontational, people-pleasing person. That's probably why I'm on my fourth draft right now. But sometimes, we just need to put our thinking caps on and dig deeply, think through thoroughly, and truly analyze stuff before we fully accept it as truth. I have learned this valuable lesson from my friend Carol and you can read all about those lego breakers -- here and here. Then, there's always my dear husband and his ever faithful baby sister -- who, instead of calling my sister-in-law, I will refer to as Sunshine from here on out. Because she is. Sunshine. All the stinking time. Happy, funny, actually -- hilarious. I love her to pieces, and I just know you would too ... if she'd ever come out of "lurkerville." Anyway, they are both so much alike... they THINK serious things through before they speak (or type). Which, I, as you may know, rarely do. They always see the positive. Which I am not as quick to do. They are not impulsive ... which I am. They are always non-judgmental and look at both sides. Which, I rarely do ... because it's not as much fun. They both display grace in motion. All the time. Which helped me step back, hold onto my britches, and truly look at the article in question. Then, there's my friend Kim who in a private email about this very subject, reminded me to ask myself some basic questions ... What is my motivation? Am I going to discourage young believers? (ow!) And that, friends, is why I have re-written this post so many times.

Okay -- here we go. My first impression after I read the article was, "huh... that wasn't too bad." But, I was left with this "sensation" ... like something just wasn't right. So I re-read it. Again, and again. And this was my next impression: "uhuh... umhmm... that's true ... what? ... how is that possible? huh? oh... hmmm... uhhh... oh dear... what does that mean?" Then came the proverbial "high horse" attitude (mine) ... then, came the slap down back to reality and the voices of reason (husband and Sunshine) ... then, of course I was up all night thinking, re-thinking, and re-re-thinking my general impressions...

First, it's important that you know how "trusting" I am. I pretty much believe everything I'm told. Too trusting for my own good. So, when I first read this article, I believed that it WAS Rick Warren (only) speaking, and not someone interpreting the comments Rick Warren may have said ... and ultimately, I took a lot of the article negatively.

On the other hand, Sunshine said to me in an email... "I didn't take this article as negatively as you did. I realize when reading it that this is a one person's snapshot into the faith of Rick Warren. Most likely a non-Christian snapshot, therefore, it didn't read like something you'd see in Christianity Today. If nothing else, the writer sees something different and welcoming about the faith that Rick Warren has." She's right. The article was very one-sided. And I had failed to realize that... yeah, I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Indeed, it was a very slanted article.

The article originally left me with the impression that Warren didn't think there was any consequences to sin, or a need to share such consequences with sinners -- I guess because it was a safer and more popular stance; that it was okay for Christians to be "un-equally yoked" in business with unbelievers (in this case, his PEACE venture); that it was okay to "be for the whole bird" -- which I understood to mean that Warren thinks it's okay to be "passive" on our beliefs as Christians and be accepting of things we see as wrong (abortion, same sex marriages, etc.) -- you know -- ride the fence; that it's okay to not only be in the world but to be off the world too; that non-believers will get to heaven too, somehow, someway; and that it's not as important to assist the poor, care for the sick, plant churches and equip servant leaders in our community as it is to do so in Africa.

And, without giving it a second thought (no surprise there), I ripped off my opinions to Sunshine and waited (nervously) for her reply. And when I received it, I argued back ... although half heartedly ... because I argue everything out. But, in the end... she was right. And she said it so eloquently, that I don't need to re-write it in my own words. I'll just share what she said (emphasis below - bold & italics - is mine).

"I saw a lot of Jesus being modeled in what the writer was saying about Rick Warren. Nothing in the article says Rick Warren condones sin. So he chooses to not be "in your face" with his beliefs... Would a homosexual be inclined to listen to Rick Warren if he condemned them and said your going to hell? Even Jesus loved and healed first and forgave and said to sin no more secondly. Jesus came to save the world not condemn it. How successful do you think you'd be at becoming friends and sharing the gospel with someone if you chose to tell them publicly they are going to hell. The article didn't say Rick Warren believes non believers will some way make it to heaven. I understand what your saying about helping the poor right here at home. Because the article mentions global help doesn't mean he has no ministry here in the US. That's an assumption. I also realize that some of what America considers as poor is still very rich compared to those in other countries. Also the field is spiritually ripe in Africa. There are churches on every corner here. That's a wealth that people in Africa don't have. It's not just about physical help, I believe it's about spiritual help as well. I guess it comes down to I feel Christians get a bad wrap. On TV, we're shown as radicals and freaks that can't relate to others in the secular community. I just felt like this article was shedding light on the fact that we are not freaks. I read it and came a way with a "glass half full" feeling."

And just for the record, on Rick Warren's church's website (Saddleback) I discovered that indeed they are helping greatly in their own community. They have a discount food program designed to help those on a limited/lower income; they have an inner city ministry that provides an after school kids club with tutors, sports, devotionals, etc.; they provide special worship services and fellowship to the elderly and disabled who would otherwise not be able to hear the Good News; they "adopt" families that have been affected or infected by HIV-AIDS; they distribute clothing and resources to the homeless, as well as feed the homeless at various locations; they provide worship services to incarcerated adults; they work with local military couples and their children so that they can learn about Christ and grow in their relationship with him; they provide outreach to men and women living in semi-temporary housing; they man a 24/7 "hopeline" that provides counseling and community resources to women who are in a crisis pregnancy and who are at risk for abortion...

So, as you can see... I was very wrong about a lot of things. I may not necessarilyily agree with everything I read or interpreted in this article because after all, it is one sided. But I do see the good that Rick Warren is doing, and it is nice to see a Christian portrayed in a positive light. I tried to find any comments Warren may have made about this article, but was unable to scout anything out. I'd be interested in hearing if he thinks he was either appropriately represented, or maybe miss-represented.

But when it all comes down to the bottom line, we need to be very careful to share the un-watered down truth with grace and love, and to represent Jesus in a true light while separating ourselves from the world. As Heather said, there is only one way to heaven, and if we fail to spread that part of the Gospel message, we are showing nothing more than a life of good works. I also agree with many of you who pointed out that hearts can be changed by loving confused people -- "love your neighbor as yourself."

This probably wasn't the kind of post you expected me to write, but it was a learning experience for me! And, the fourth time is NOT a charm, as it took me four hours to write this, and I must have changed it 5 or 6 times in the process. (And, Blogger (AGAIN) is doing weird things with spell check, adding weird words, etc.)

So for now ... Peace out.

Tuesday Toss-up

EDITED to Add: Is it me? Or has blogger been down. Again. All day. I've been trying to post this and to direct you all to this website toot-sweet (yeah, I know that's not how you spell it) ... so enough talking ... The countdown to the Senate Marriage Amendment Vote is on! So, get on over and add your name to the petition ... they will be voting either today or tomorrow!!! Go, go, go!


And now, back to your original blog post... If Blogger will kindly find it and re-post it please ...

Good morning! It's Tuesday, and time for another Toss-up. What's a Toss-up? Well, it's where I toss-up a comment, quote, or in this case, an article... and you can comment to your heart's content (nicely, of course).

This morning, though, I'm about to toss-up what could potentially be a BOMB ... but hey ... inquiring minds want to know.

First there is a bit of homework. My sister-in-law emailed me an article yesterday. It has taken me quite a bit of time to "digest" it, but I still haven't been able to fully "process" it. So, friends ... I will first point you in the direction of the article called A Model of Faith. Read through it carefully, then, I beg you to come back and share some of your thoughts on this article in my comment section -- good, or bad, for or against.

And finally, just a reminder ... Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer said it best ...

"Respectful, dissenting viewpoints are always welcome, but please, let's keep it civil."

Have a blessed day in the Lord, and don't forget to check back to read what others are saying!

(Okay -- I'm having second thoughts about hitting that "Publish Post" button... well, here it goes...)

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Word (or 10) on the Letter H

FINALLY -- Blogger is back up and running. I HOPE.

So, Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer did a fun little letter game last week. She was assigned the letter B by Lauren, who was assigned a letter by Rachelle who had an "open call" for this little letter game. And so many people have done it! It was fun reading everyone's lists. So, seeing as how I want to be involved in absolutely EVERYTHING ... I emailed Shannon, and she assigned the letter H to me ... you know ... in honor of Hunter! So, I have to list ten words that start with H, and why I selected them. If you want to play, e-mail me and I'll assign you a letter, too. 'Kay?

Ten Words that Start With the Letter H (oh, this should be fun):

1) Hunter -- Did you even think I wouldn't go there? He's just the most beautiful, sweetest, happiest, go-lucky kid in the world. And, he looks just like his Daddy! (And, he loves his Auntie SLC a ton! Yup! He told me so the other day!)

2) Humongous -- As in -- my rear end. Need I say more? Hey! I didn't pick this letter! Blame it on the chocolate!

3) Heaven -- As in -- I can't wait to get there so I can Paaar-taay with Jesus!

4) Hallucinate -- which can very well happen when you are pregnant. Trust me. I was dreaming that I was punching my mom in the face, and woke up to my husband hollering at me and all hot under the collar because I was actually punching HIM thinking he was my MOM. Of course, I would never punch my mom. EVER. Um, nor my husband, either. Except for when I'm having a hallucination in my dream. Who chose this letter, anyway?

5) Husband -- As in the bestest friend a girl could ever have, and he's aaallll mine. Uh-huh -- it's true -- just go here and here if you don't believe me.

6) Hindrance -- As in -- chocolate is a hindrance to my weight loss. It really is!

7) Hee Haw -- Sounds like See Saw, but it's not the same thing. Like when you come visit Kisses of Sunshine. You don't get to ride on a see saw, but you leave "hee haw"-ing! See what I mean? It's just a barrel of laughs a minute.

8) Hurricane -- As in -- "look out -- hurricane GiBee is cleaning the house again" (hey -- it only happens occasionally, so it deserves mention -- and I prefer to do it in my pajamas ... not sure why, though!)

9) Hold on -- As in -- "Hold on, honey ... I can't walk that fast" ...or... "Hold on ... you're making me laugh so hard I'm going to pee myself" (which, unfortunately, happens frequently after giving birth to a bohonkus child) ...or... "Hold on, who is THAT over there ... you know ... that lady that insists on pushing that bohonkus ironing board around in her cart?" (no names shall be mentioned to protect the innocent, but please, by all means hit that link and read all about it!)

10) Hysterical -- as in -- I have so many hysterical friends that blog. Like her, and her, and her, and her, and her, and her and you know what??? Just click on my favorite blogs off to the left there, because I'm going to end up leaving someone off that I think is hysterical ... or someone that thinks they're hysterical ... and trust me ... you're not going to want to miss one single blog!

So, if anyone is interested in playing the letter game, just drop me an email, and I'll assign you a letter! (I know ... you're hoping I'll assign you the letter X. Well ... it could happen!)

Friday, June 02, 2006

He Responds In Kind ...

Holy cow who is that guy !!! Sounds to good to be true. Actually, I got her young and raised her right. Seriously I just TRY to do the best I can. But -- God's not done with me yet. I look at my wife through different eyes now that we have a child. It's hard to explain. She is the mother of my child. That opened up a whole new kind of love for her. We are different, but the same. I wouldn't trade her for the world. Its hard to put into words how I feel about her. I think spouting of a bunch of words just doesn't cut it. I just look at her and get that unexplainable feeling. Well enough of that mushy stuff.

Happy 16th Babe ( A.K.A Greatest Mom I know )


It is simply Un-Bee-lievable!
The BUZZ around town is that
Momrn2's daughter is going home! TODAY!
Welcome home, sweetie! We are all rejoicing with you!

It wasn't too long ago that Momrn2 posted a plea for prayer for her gravely ill daughter. Okay. Maybe it was. But God was faithful in answering prayer! And now, we are all doing the slap-happy silly-willy dance for her dear and precious daughter's return home!

So ... in honor of this big event ... She Lives has graciously offered to host a very special event ... the largest blog welcome-home event ever!!! She even has an auto linky thing that you can go to and visit all the special welcome home wishes to our special little friend! And you can join in by posting a special welcome home message on your blog and boot-scoot on over to Carol's place and register your name on the list...

He is ...

He is saved.
He is filled with the Holy Spirit.
He is an awesome father.
He is handsome. He is rugged.
He is an outdoorsie man.

He is athletic.
He is thoughtful.
He is patient with me.
He is kind. He is loving.
He is tender. He is gentle.
He is generous. He is caring.
He is forgiving.
He is slow to anger.
He is a prayer warrior.
He is a good role model.
He is strong.
He is sensitive.
He is my bestest friend.
He is my love.
He is my husband.

I love you honey.

(Wow! You've known me for 24 years, and we've been married for 16 whole years ... it feels like yesterday. I'd do it all over again, too!)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mistaken Identity

What a tragic story... almost unbelievable, in fact...

A van from Taylor University (a Christian college in Upland, IN) carrying professional staff and students was involved in a collision with a tractor trailer that drifted across the highway median. Four Taylor students and one employee were killed in the accident. Only one student and three employees survived the accident, as well as the driver of the tractor trailer. Here is the link to the Indiana State Police News Release.

I saw this on the news this morning, and then my sister-in-law emailed me a link to an article and the blog address where the family of Laura VanRyn (19 years old) has been posting updates on the person that they thought was their daughter. She has been in critical care since the date of the accident (April 26, 2006), and recently, they discovered that in fact, this was not their daughter, but that their daughter had perished in the accident and her identity was mistakenly confused with the girl they had been caring for all this time, Whitney Cerak (22 years old). The Cerak family had been told their daughter was killed in the accident, and they buried what they thought was her body in a closed casket ceremony on April 29, 2006.

I can not imagine the roller coaster ride of emotions these two families have been on. First you find out your daughter was killed. Then you find out she's actually alive... Or in the VanRyn's case, you are told your daughter survived the accident but was critically injured. And then, you're informed that she isn't really your daughter. For the life of me, I can't even pretend to understand the grief/joy these families are feeling right now.

The VanRyn's have published a beautiful blog, and have truly leaned on Christ for their strength, even when they were told that their daughter had actually died. I hope you have an opportunity to read through it.

My prayers go out to both the VanRyn and Cerak families.

Two Top Fives For The Office

All these things are real, and not exaggerated for effect. Honest.

Top 5 things people do freely at work ... and shouldn't:

5) Talk loudly in their cubes about personal things. Uh ... we can all hear you! (lalalalalalalala)
4) Program annoying and loud rings on their cell phones that they never answer because they are never in their cube. Where the cell phone is. (I should answer it one of these days!)
3) Shout "Hooyah" loudly and annoyingly over every stupid little thing. (Making a "basket" with a wad of paper should NOT elicit a Hooyah! Learn the importance of the word.)
2) Pick their noses when they think no one is coming around the corner ... and get caught in the act ... then try to cover up the fact that they were knuckle deep by scratching their face... Yeah. You really fooled me!
1) Pass gas loudly. Now, what's up with that? Didn't your momma teach you how to "hold it in?"

Top 5 things people wear at work ... and shouldn't:

5) Strappy stiletto heels -- well, I guess some working girls wear them ... but this is a professional office, so -- not appropriate.
4) Come to work looking like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show ... Also not appropriate.
3) Polyester high waters ... of any kind.
2) Black highwaters with black shoes and either blue or brown argyle socks... What? Are you color blind or something?
1) Savings & Loan hair ... You know ... Comb-overs ... Nasty! Especially when it's greasy! Just shave your head -- it will look better, I promise!