Thursday, July 31, 2008

Calm Thursday

My son came to help me the other day. He loves these new animals I got in. They breathe too. Like a little sleeping puppy.
The second Saturday in August we are having a huge oil painting sale. I hope it does well.
Yesterday I was feeling discouraged, I felt better though when I left the store. I just don't understand the point of coming in if you have no intention of buying anything, but that's fine with me. But to come in for days, talk to me & tell me how much they love the place & the prices & then tell me they are all shopping Wal Mart & the cheapy big boxes for now until the economy gets better really chaps my tail. How do they think we are going to stay in business in the mean time? Why would you even come in & say that to me? I had to go off. So today is a new day. There is no telling what it may bring.
Last night at church I found out that on Monday & Thursday nights at six pm the women's ministry is having workout classes/aerobics. I am thrilled!! Especially if it's all volunteer & free. I am going to go, my hubby is giving me some &*(&)( about it but he can deal with it. He won't die if he has to take care of the baby for a whole stinking hour to 90 minutes twice a week. I told him that & shut that conversation down quickly. Men. So I am very very happy to have a place to do some working out & to have some accountability.
Church was great last night, as usual. Choir practice was fun, although the "hurt guy" from my story about the replay of how I ended up leaving church still hasn't come back. 2 weeks now, I may tell the choir director about what happened & see if she can call him if I don't see him in church Sunday. I probably would've come back if somebody had called me. You know to tell me how dumb I was being and all. The church hurts always hurt bad, I don't want to see him leave because of the same exchange I had 3 years ago. It's not worth it.
So I changed my title of my blog. I have really learned recently that it's not just about our relationship with God, it's about our relationship with everyone on this earth too. Love God, Love One Another. This has really impacted me, I have really been focusing on walking in love, changing my whole outlook on people. Which is strange because everyone tells me that I am so friendly and kind but yet I feel like a complete failure in walking in love. I am somewhat sarcastic too, I have some great one liners. I am such a hoot. Is sarcasm learned? Where did I get it from? My dad is very sarcastic, is that his DNA or learned behavior rubbing off on me? I am not mean sarcastic, but I can be pessimistic sometimes, I like to call myself a realist. I am trying to realize more positively though. I was trying too hard to change myself though I think. Joyce Meyers book about learning true happiness made me feel better about myself. She was basically saying God made us all different with different kinds of strengths & weaknesses. Some people are louder & bolder than others. That doesn't have to be better or worse than someone who is quiet & meek. She was saying to take who you are & make sure you are of course "living in a Godly manner" & use those strengths for His good & glory. So maybe being a realist & a good analyzer makes me more able to help people make good decisions, who knows. It's been hard to bite my tongue on some of my one liners, boy I can come up with some good ones. Anyway, I am focusing on my relationships with God, with family & with people who are complete strangers to me. It is really hard to see all of the things in front of me that I need to work on & coming closer to God & not confuse my desires & prayers for a rescue from our financial crisis. They are two different things & I have to be careful not to spend too much time on my prayers & my thoughts about having God save us from this crisis. This has been going on for so long now it doesn't feel like it will ever end. Over a year now & it has been especially bad since January. I have seen people come into crisis, even financial, pray hard & have had their answer already. I am not jealous though, I prayed for them & I am happy they have had their answer. A lot of people. I just desire very very much for God to rescue us too. Pastor last night said some people are more blessed than others because they seek the blessing more. They seek God more. I can see how this can be true. But I tell you, God plays a major role in my life. What is hindering everything? I am learning some wonderful things through this LONG valley that I am grateful for, but the prayer of Jabez over my life sure would be awesome right now. My eleven year old son is making me crazy right now because he is bored so I am going to go now. Have a wonderful day to anyone reading this!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yesterday Was Fun

Yesterday was a great day! All things went well yesterday except for one & it didn't happen until 2:30 this morning so technically that is today. So yesterday I had a wonderful day in sales. I did in one day more than half of what I did for the whole week last week. Which isn't saying a whole whole lot, because for June & July my sales have been a third of what they were. But..... wow...... I was so so happy. It was a great day, people came in and bought & they were all repeat customers. I sold another one of my big frames with the sayings on them. That's $59.99 for each one of those lovlies. They are my best moving item. They turn very quickly for me. These necklaces are new too. I already sold the silver one shown hanging. They are glass jewelry. Every time I wear any of my glass jewelry I get tons of compliments. These babies are only $14.99. I have them by the purses & lotions, I hope they go quickly. It was just so wonderful to have sales again.... I was jumping up & down when everyone left & I was thanking God so much. The pastor of our church called all business owners down to pray over us Sunday, I wondered if that was favor from the church's prayers for us. I want to be able to give richly to my church...... Anyway, I was thrilled. I am praying that favor continues. I need it Lord knows.
I also got to minister a little to the young lady next to me. She has been having men problems since I have known her. She has girlfriend problems too. It's pretty simple, she gets a boyfriend and all her friends want to sleep with them. Don't we live in a wonderful society? So yesterday I really began to lay a foundation with her about her choice of people she surrounds herself with & also about beginning a prayer life. I have talked with her before about God... I know she believes in Him, don't know if she is "saved" yet. I felt moved to lay a foundation with her. When I suggested she begin to pray to God about finding a man with integrity she seemed suprised. She asked if you could do that. So explained a little about prayer to her. I didn't want to overwhelm her or seem preachy. Just a few sentences ago she was telling me about being at a strip club with her friends & being drunk & was making fun of the pimples on the strippers butts. Gross. So it didn't feel right to do anything other than lay a foundation with her. Giving milk to a baby of sorts. Let her soak it in. She seemed interested and said she may have to try that. I hope she does, if she can begin a dialog with God, with Jesus, it will come. I will be adding her to my prayer list. I was really happy that God let me minister to someone, I have been asking & asking for Him to use me. So I got what I asked for. What may seem so small could be huge. We don't know, we must simply hope to be able to hear & feel the promptings of the Lord & recognize opportunities to witness. I am so glad to have had that opportunity as it has been awhile.
So yesterday I told my husband & my mom that I felt like God wanted me to go over to the teen building & help out & they laughed at me. One of them told me I should ask God if He was sure who He was talking to. Ha ha, very funny. I was shocked by their reaction.... now if I had said God wanted me to help out in children's church I could understand. But the teens..... come on. No way am I ready for children's ministry. My family overwhelms me a lot, I have said that before, I can admit that. My life is stressful, my chilren are never quiet & always want something.... welcome to motherhood. I am overloaded much of the time, especially with the baby and all. I am however a very good mother, I do know that if I know nothing. I spend lots of quality of time playing with the kids & not veg'd out in front of the TV. But judging by their reaction I have more work to do than I thought as far as my ability to stay calm & not stress. Which is what I do a lot around home, or I used to, I have been changing & I can see it. So I guess I can't blame them a little but it still hurt. Some. I'm doing it anyway.
Could it be any hotter in Georgia? Last week was a scorcher & today is forcasted for 91. It is so so hot here. It is beautiful outside & sunny though. I live at the edge of the north Ga. mountains so I have some pretty awesome views. Love it!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Joy of The Lord Is My Strength

Isn't she beautiful?
My lexie poo.
a.k.a lambie or squirrel
She came to help me out at the store.
She always makes things look pretty.
She is photogenic.
She is also a ham for the camera.
I had this frame custom made with her school's colors. She is a varsity cheerleader this year. My little 11th grader, well , starting Aug. 4 at least. School starts very early here.
I am so proud of her. She is sweet, loving, kind hearted & very well mannered with the exception for her fondness for burping. She has beat the odds. Lex has been a victim of something horrendous that usually scars people but not my baby. She has done beautifully through the years & I am thankful for the wonderful underpaid counselors that work for our criminal justice system. One wonderful thing for certain our tax payers dollars have gone for is free counseling for children who have been victims to certain crimes. FREE people. When a child needs counseling twice a week every week for long periods of time and then weekly visits for over a year that is very very expensive. Most people don't have that money so guess what, instead of some of our tax dollars paying for yet another lobster dinner for a politician who claims it as a business expense, sometimes they do the right thing & help our wounded children. She is living proof. Sooooooo proud of my baby. Hell is a horrible place, I can't stand the thought of most anyone being there, it is so horrible & it is forever and ever. There are some kinds of people though that it would not hurt me to know they were there. Not one bit. Forgiven but not forgotten.
Sunday at church was wonderful. I had a great time during praise & worship. Fun fun fun.
Weigh In Monday Report: Well, first I lost a half a pound. Then my husband made me a chocolate shake at 9pm Saturday & I gained a pound. Then I lost half a pound so I am right back where I started last week. 193.5. I am not sad. I changed a lot about our eating habits this week. We only had salad for a meal once but we had salad with our meals 3 times. I only had sweets 3 times instead of every night after dinner. Mom & the kids have been baking brownies & cakes every day. It is my weakness. I told them no more. Two or three times a week only, not every night. I was tired this week & made excuses for not getting on the treadmill. I only did crunches twice this week. What did I expect? Guess what, I lost nothing. Lesson learned. I got on the treadmill this morning even though I was trying to make excuses for why I had too much housework to do it. I did it anyway, see I learned my lesson. I have to move. Eating has never been a way for me to lose weight. I have to move a lot. Always been that way, so it's move or stay the way I am. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Spiritually I have had so much ground gained. During service Sunday I suddenly felt compelled to go over to the other church ( the kids & teens have their own building ) & help with the teens on Wed. evening. They are in the main church for Sunday mornings. This is soooo not me. I like working with teens & mentoring them. But I have never ever never ever felt compelled to do youth ministry before. After all, I have four kids, church is my refuge from mommy hood. It is "my time". But....... it was the same feeling & thought pattern as when I was sitting there & the compelling was there to re join the choir. Which I never wanted to do again after my previous experience with some legalistic meanies in choir. But I obeyed & it has been great. So I didn't argue with the feeling or thought, whatever it is, but I did question it. I was like, is that me? God did that come from you. It was very vague. Sometimes God speaks to me, sometimes it is a complete thought with sentence form that just appears, & sometimes it is a very very lightening quick vision/thought pattern that is just there. Those quickies I don't like because they can be easily confused with our thoughts. But I have learned that if I meditate on the thought, even argue with it a little & it doesn't go away then it is from God. So I still feel like I need to go over there so I guess I am going to church early on Wed. to talk to the pastor in charge of teens to see if he even wants my help in any way. Of course of God ordains it, he will have a need & I will be there right in time to fill it. So I am excited because I have been bugging, I mean constantly asking God to let me be of use to him. To know His will for me, to use me & now He has given me something to do. How wonderful is that? This is very exciting. I have been asking & now he has supplied me with a need to fill. I don't care how small it is, that fact that God has asked me to do something is an honor to me.
It has been so wonderful to feel so free lately. I have really enjoyed everything more the last few days. I smiled & sang my heart out Sunday for the first time in years. I smiled as I sang. It's not easy to do, but I just couldn't stop smiling. I remember that a lot of people in the congregation used to tell me they got a kick out of watching me during praise & worship because I was always smiling big when I sang. That was way before from before I left church for 2 and a half years. I have learned much about the joy of the Lord lately. I never understood fully what it meant when someone said the Joy of the Lord is my strength. I am sure there are many ways to interpret that. I like what Joyce Meyers said about it. When you are full of the joy of the Lord you are riding high and feel like you can do anything. You are smiling and happy. You are positive and a good influence on others. You feel close to God when you are full of His joy. When we are sad & depressed we feel far from God, we don't feel like we can do much and are not a positive influence on anybody around us to paraphrase her. I am strong when I am full of the joy of the Lord. Sounds easy but I guess until you have lost that joy, you can't realize the full meaning of it. I am so happy to be learning again how wonderful it is to have the joy of the Lord as my strength. I am happy to be smiling again. I waved the bills for the store today in the air, I can't worry about paying them. I waved them to God & told him he had bills to pay if he was going to use this place to help fund His kingdom. If they don't get paid then I guess this place wasn't in His will for me & I will be a little heartbroken but not defeated. Nice to be able to say that. Trying to remain strong. I fall sometimes, I guess that makes me human. So I guess that's okay.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New DOO 2

I almost forgot.. I found a website a few years ago that is incredible. I try to share it with ladies when I can & my recent hair fiasco has reminded me of it again.
You MUST visit this website if you are EVER thinking of changing your hairstyle. It is a couple of bucks.... either 15 or 30..... can't remember right now & I am busy.... no time to check....
But..... you take a digital photo of yourself with your hair pulled completely off your face & download it to the website. You can THEN put several hundred types of hairstyles onto your face. You can customize your type of hair color & the results are amazing!! I have done it before & it worked beautifully. When you find a style for your hair type that you like, you print the page & take it to your stylist so they can see it. LOVE IT!!
If nothing else, this site is sooooo much fun to play with. My husband always has fun putting dredlocks on me. Isn't he funny.


I just read an email from a friend. It was a nice story & at the end it said this.

Happy moments, praise God.

Difficult moments, seek God.

Quiet moments, worship God.

Painful moments, trust God.

Every moment, thank God.

I printed it & am posting it in my work area. It is easy to learn a lesson & quickly forget it. It is also easy to forget things we should not. This will be my reminder.

We have a series of channels through our cable that are all religious. We have very few Catholics around here, even fewer Jewish people. But there is a Catholic channel. There is a show on the catholic channel that is so fascinating to me that every time I come across it I have to watch it. It is simply all of the nuns gathered together in their chapel area and they are doing what I am assuming is the rosary. Did I spell that right? It is fascinating to me. The head nun reads a passage & they will repeat the same thing over & over. Sometimes it is switched up to different passages & then a different response is repeated over & over. My husband was raised Lutheran/Catholic & he is offended by my watching this. He says I am ridiculing them, making fun at them. I am not. I just don't understand it. I want to understand what they are doing. I don't get how someone can think saying something over & over will result in having their sins forgiven. It doesn't make sense to me & it's not in the bible anywhere so where do they get that from. Every time hubby catches me watching it he gets upset with me. I don't understand why & last night was no different. Maybe because he was raised in it, I know he was confirmed & stuff. My baby saw it for the first time last night & he was very scared by it. He ran screaming to his daddy. Daddy brought him over to the TV again & he got scared so I changed the channel. I found that extremely intriguing. I don't understand a lot of things about the catholic religion. I don't understand why most people will just blindly believe what they know from their youth & never seek out full truth for themselves. This goes for everyone. I know some deep south southern baptists who have always been taught that as wives they must make dinner, make a plate for the hubby, bring it to him, wait for him to eat & when he is done eating then the women may eat. WHAT??????? They say it's in the Bible. I have only found one place in the bible that comes close to mentioning something like this process but it wasn't even about food. They do not wear pants either. Mom & I are harlots because we don't do this & we wear make up. Gasp. I am not directing my inquiries at the catholics only.... hubby says I am being judgemental. I don't see it that way.... I am trying to understand why people do what they do. What makes them believe what they do. I am an analyzer, I am a questioner..... I would have made a great lawyer. People get mad at me a lot about this stuff..... they don't want to answer my questions. I used to have a young girl that was Wicken work for me. She knew I had a strong relationship with the Lord, she used to be a Baptist & during a study learned about the wicken & changed religions. She used to try to shock me, make me a little frightened that she could do something to me. I would laugh & tell her that I gave her religion no power over me, I am under the authority of Jesus, my Lord. I tried to steer her back.... she knew I was going to fire her..... she quit first..... I wonder what happened to her. I was glad she was gone but I wished that I could've helped her. Personally I think she just liked the excitement of feeling empowered by that religion. We have witches that come to our church. They say they are cursing our church & us. Whatever. Now we have people walking the grounds during all service times praying & they all have those ear thingies like the secret service so they can communicate with each other. We have had the KKK show up, they don't like it that there a black people at our church. One time we had a dance conference at the church several years ago...... we had some black churches come...... the KKK about fell over, they came but so did the cops & that was that. We've had security ever since..... I don't understand people.... I don't understand many religions & the many denominations within Christianity. Surely we are not ALL right? Who is? Is any one denomination correct? I am still fascinated by the nuns. I am also fascinated by two types of music. Catholic choir music sounds evil & scary to me & it is supposed to rooted in Christianity but Indian as in India music sounds very spiritual & beautiful to me, it is calming & makes me feel compelled to think of God & pray but it is rooted in the muslim faith. Strange. My ex husband is going to marry a catholic lady. I feel sorry for her, but maybe if we become friends she can tell me about all this stuff.... I have never ever found a catholic who would answer any of my questions... especially the hubby. I had an assistant once who was catholic..... he would not even discuss it with me. Maybe it's me... I ask hard questions but they can feel free to ask me hard questions too. I don't know why everyone has to get all mad at me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A New Doo

Much better.
Ha Ha, I am still laughing.

This was really embarrassing at the salon.
I kinda like these streaks.
The prostitute garish blonde is no more. This is much better. Yes please.
Now this part is still a little weird. I can live with it. I thought maybe she left the color on a little too long? But since we saw how much worse it was the other way I will certainly not complain.
Hubby was a little shocked by the darkness. He likes me better full throttle blonde. Full throttle blonde costs $$$. He gets a honey blonde for now.
I just finished my Joyce Meyers book. The Secret To True Happiness. The last two chapters were my favorites since I think they were written for me. They were titled: Take Your Hands Off & Embrace Tomorrow. Wonderful chapters.
I was driving home last evening & I was reflecting on my day. I had a really nice day. My business sales are horrible, this is the worst week in sales I have had since I opened in November. I am calm about it for some strange reason, could it be the grace of God???? Hhmmm.... I was thinking about how many times during the day I had stopped & enjoyed a moment. A wonderful breeze was blowing at the Publix & it was shady & cool & I stopped to enjoy it. Never would have done that before. I was just enjoying moments during the day many times. That is new for me, not to have good moments but to actually STOP what I am doing & enjoy that moment. Definitely a God thing. Thank you God.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A funny story

My 16year old's father is half french. His mother is french, born & raised. So that makes Lexi a quarter french. One day in the van we were discussing her French heritage. The fact that she was a quarter french was mentioned & my youngest girl then age 5 spoke up. "Mommy" she says. "Yes Honey" I say. She says " If Lexi is a quarter french, can I be a penny french too?".
Okay So I am excited today because I discovered I am not a freak after all. I was beginning to wonder. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE , you have to visit this link. I have finally figured out what is wrong with me. Sweet mercy. I am simply in the five stages of grief over my circumstances. Who knew? I am making this short. But he has a wonderful point & I know that this is what I am experiencing. I am glad to see that I am in stage four, only one left, acceptance. I can look back now on my blog & see myself transitioning through the anger part & into the depression. Depression stinks. I really am a funny person, how funny can you be when you are depressed? I like to prank call my husband A LOT!!! I have so much fun with him. Haven't done it in awhile, maybe I will suprise him. I have suffered a church hurt, almost a mortal wound. That is what his link is concerning but I was just astounded by the wisdom in this. I am just so thrilled to know that I have not become a depressed whiner, I am simply grieving a loss. I am grieving my circumstance & it is normal & okay. Hurray!!! BTW, I am left with no choice but to visit the salon 2 doors down & have my hair colored to fix my mommy's hatchet job ( I am just kidding, she did the best she could) on my hair. I will post pics tomorrow or tonight of my new doo. Yea, me, I am not weird after all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Look At This If You Need To Laugh!!!!!!

It's not too bad is it? It doesn't look so bad.

Oh wait what's under that?

Shreiking with horror!!!!

What is IT????

I think it's my hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to take some pics. I figure I do enough whining on this blog I could atleast give a little humor for a change. If this doesn't make you laugh with atleast one snort, there is something wrong with you. Read the previous post to see how this happened to me.

Lord help me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Getting Into Shape

Today I am going to make a stand for my health. I am going to openly embarrass myself & proclaim my weight. I am going to take every available moment to move my body.
I have been skinny & fit most of my life. Most of my life I weighed between 113 & 118. When I got pregnant with the third one I never lost the weight & I gained from there. It has been very hard on me to weigh so much. I have gained 20 pounds since Feb. since we are poor now & have to eat such cheap food which is almost always fattening & my baby is wild so you can't leave him alone for a second so I sit. I sit & get fatter & eat cheap fatty foods. My clothes are too tight & hurt me. This is not tolerable any longer. I joined a gym last year but I opened my business & between that & nobody would watch the baby I gained back the 20 lbs I managed to lose. My membership has expired & I am not able to afford another one. But I can bear myself no longer so I decided accountablility is the best way to go. If I state my weight on this blog & continue to give updates I will feel like I have something to work for. I certainly wouldn't want to report week after week that I had lost nothing. So I have determined that Mondays are to be my weigh in days & I will report how I have done for the week. Maybe I can even get a little group together to do this with me. I have always had to work hard to lose every pound, weight loss & management was never easy for me. I must say in my 20's I had it going on. I was so thin, I was very very toned. I can remember going to restaurants many many times & having my meals paid for by men in the restaurant. Now if I was to state that to someone looking at me they would laugh their tails off. I couldn't blame them. I used to have men wanting to give me things & pay for stuff for me & they were total strangers. Which just goes to show you men really are weird. Can you see a woman doing that???? NO. But alas, my body is not so pretty anymore. I don't like it very much at all. So instead of complaing about it anymore as I have been fat now for 8 years I am going to be thin again. I will be 39 in December & I hope to have lost atleast 30 pounds by then. It will be difficult as I never lost weight easy but I am deteremined to completely embarrass myself in order to redeem myself with a much nicer weight to report than what I am now. SOOOOOOOOOO, today, I weight 193.5 lbs. Monday I will weigh in again. I am determined to be thin & healthy again. YES!!!!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Deja Vous

You clean & you clean but it's always a mess!!!!
Okay so Sunday at church TOTALLY freaked me out!! After we got done singing we exited off the stage & out through a side door. (They have us go around through the halls to re enter the sanctuary through the back doors) . With the exception of a few footsteps at almost the EXACT location a re-enactment of what was the final straw for me that drew me out of the church for 2 and a half years was replayed before my very eyes with almost the EXACT same words...... but this time it had a different ending....... I hope. I just couldn't believe it. Without dragging it out..... this exchange was only just the final straw that broke my back..... Almost 3 years ago, after losing our choir director that we all loved so dearly, we had guest people coming every week until we found a new one. The week I am refering to was particularly difficult as the choir members were being embarrassingly difficult with the "guest" we had & it was doubtful as to whether we would be able to resemble anything close to a choir on Sunday. Somehow even though a portion of us had acted so horribly during both practices the Lord annointed the singing & praise & worship "ROCKED THE HOUSE!!", it was just beautiful. So along the back hall, I said to one of the alto front line singers that "Mauri sure would be proud of us." & she turned around to look at me and say all uppity like "NO, God would be proud, it's all Him, we need to be concerned with what HE thinks.". Why did she have to say that to me? She knew what I meant. Both practices many choir members acted so childish & refused to do what the "guest" director asked them to do but during service everyone was obedient & it was wonderful. So I just said nothing to her & to myself I said..... "I don't need this." After service was over I never went back, atleast not for 2 and a half years. So yesterday along that same spot, I heard one of the men say to another..... "Man, we sure pulled it out this morning." (We had been struggling to sing a new song & it sounded crazy in practice but for service it was great.) & the other guy turns around and says "NO, God pulled it out. It's all Him, not us.". I couldn't believe my eyes. The other guy said nothing for a moment like I did..... except, then he said (I could tell he was hurt just like I had been) "Man, you know what I meant." There was no response back & the man who had been hurt walked away to catch up with his girlfriend. I wish I had done that 3 years ago. I wish I had stood up for myself. She knew what I meant. Why do we as Christians feel we have to be so catty and correct someone in the church when they give a little credit for something done well to us as humans? What is the grand purpose of "correcting" someone for something so stupid as that. I heard Joyce Meyers talking about that very thing awhile back & she was saying how harmful it is to a fellow Christian when we do that. It is a simple matter of discernment to know whether a person is giving full credit to their human selves or just making a mere observation of how someone was able to pull something off. Yes, we know God's grace covers us & enables to do all things. It's just so harmful when someone makes an innocent statement & the person they are talking to wants to correct them & let them know they are wrong ..... at that point in the conversation who is more harmful? The person making an innocent observation or the person who is going to create harm with their correcting comments.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

Here I am showing off!!

Just kidding.
Look who came to help me in the store yesterday.
My sweet Lexie, my 16 year old. She was feeling quite sassy in her new dress. She was away with her "other" dad & he bought it for her. So looking at Lex is like looking at me a bizillion years ago, poor kid. She was a big help to me & I must say she has merchandising talent for certain. I like to bring her in and she "fixes" everything I have done. I had moved this candle on a rope display to the front of the store because I think they are totally cool & deserve a front row seat. So she saw where I moved them to and was like , mom no. So she tells me to adjust it a little and retouches some things & of course it looked better. Stinker.

I have a CD that my choir director gave all of us to learn some new songs & I have been playing it in my store. It is live recordings of Free Chapel's choir from Pastor Jentzen Franklin's church. Amazing. Sometimes you would laugh if you saw me in my store when I am the only one in here. I have the CD cranked up loud & I am jumping up & down & lifting my hands to God singing my heart out. I especially love "Say So". Sometimes I crack myself up that I am having such a good time worshiping God & singing to Him. I wrote on Wed. how chaotic our practices have been & how nobody ever sings "parts" so the choir can hear what to sing. I had to laugh because Wed. nite was the most productive practice we have had since I rejoined the choir a few months ago. Imagine my suprise when "parts" were sung & the front line turned around to sing where we could actually hear them. Everyone was happy that all were included & I was glad. I gave my choir a director a magnet from my store that says "When In Doubt.... Mumble". She laughed & thought it was hysterical because last Sunday during the song "Majesty" everyone kept forgetting the words & was mumbling in the mics. I am glad she laughed about it.
I am excited because I know God is at work in me & my family. I cannot see any outward immediate rescue coming but I have His comfort & He has shown me that He is with me. He knows everything about me & He loves me. He is at work & I can feel it. Resting in God is being revealed to me more & more. I am excited about Him. I am also feeling compelled to spend more of my prayer time & also extra prayer time praying for others. God compelled me to begin praying for anyone who had ever "hurt me" a few weeks ago & I can't believe how freeing that was & still is. Can you imagine praying for the people who were so mean to you that it drove you out of church for 2 and a half years? Can you imagine praying blessings & the love of God to come over an abusive ex husband? Thankfully I have a short list. I have also been praying for people who have not hurt me but have lifted me up & for people who are in ministry who have the promise of being able to life people up. I have noticed that people in full time ministry have a tendencey to become hardened to the hurts & needs of people around them. They see it so much it does not become a priority for them but an annoyance. I pray ferverently for compassionate hearts for them. I am really enjoying this special time of prayer. It is in fact better to give than to receive & that is true even in prayer. I have been a "giver" always & now I am in financial peril & have had to receive I realize how true this saying is. I encourage everyone to spend a special time in prayer for others. Anyone who has EVER hurt you, anyone you don't like, anyone who doesn't like you, mean people and also people you know that need to be lifted up, your church, church staff & volunteers & anyone else you can pray for. Pray for your children. Just pray. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM. Do you need to be FREE today? I know I do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Word of God Speak

My little trouble maker.
Strangely I feel quite peaceful today. My hubby has a lot of calls coming in for estimates & 3 meetings already set up this week & more appointments being made. He will be done with a basement & a roof job by the end of next week. After that there is no confirmed work. Which basically means no $$. He is excited & optimistic though about all the calls coming in. My business is still way slow. June & July are supposed to be really slow but now it has caused me to be behind on what I owe out which is not good. If August isn't really really good I don't know if I will be able to catch up. That is what I know in the natural world. God of course can provide all things & after what He did for me on Saturday I believe He will. Of course I would like things to all just be okay immediately & I have seen him do that for people. Maybe for us it will be slower as He teaches me to be patient & rely solely on Him & His strength, all the while strengthing my faith. I have NOT been doubtful of whether He could pull us up out of what has been the worst year of my life but I have been doubtful of whether He would. I know I am not the only person who struggles with the WILL HE complex. The WILL HE doubt is really horrible because it eats at you. WILL YOU GOD??? WHY WOUN'T YOU GOD? GOD, DID YOU HEAR ME, I'VE BEEN CALLING UPON YOU & NOTHING'S HAPPENED, HELLO GOD, ARE YOU THERE? Time goes by and you are still trying and seeking Him but nothing much happens & there it is again. But this time maybe with a little attitude. GOD, IN CASE YOU DIDN'T NOTICE I AM STILL SUFFERING. GOD PLEASE HELP ME, WHY AREN'T YOU HELPING ME? GOD I KNOW YOU MIGHT BE BUSY SAVING PEOPLE FROM BEING EATEN BY SHARKS OR SOMETHING BUT WHEN YOU GET A CHANCE DO YOU THINK YOU COULD GIVE ME A SECOND, I'M DYING OVER HERE. Yes, ha ha I have actually said the shark thing to God. So I am grateful to God for giving me peace in what seems like a situation my family cannot overcome nor our businesses. When God doubled my sales Saturday like he did I asked Him 3 different times to please let me know if that what I believed was wrong. I believed that God did that for me not just as a momentary blessing but to show me that the business would be successful, that it would all be okay & to just hold on. I was so crazy excited about what He did for me Saturday that I pleaded with Him that if I interpreted that blessing incorrectly to please drop a word in my spirt. Nothing came so I believe that my business is in God's plan for me. I will stand on that. It has given me a peace that I needed. I am so way behind on what I need that it is hard I admit to be in here all alone this morning & not worry about people coming in to buy. God will make a way for me & I am not patient but I will wait on Him.
I really HATE this last year of extreme suffering but I also LOVE what it has taught me. I have learned things I didn't know about and probably could not have learned or understood without having to suffer like this. So I am grateful to God that He loves me enough to teach me more about Him, His son, His Holy Spirit & also my life in Him. I could not honestly say that until this week. I am grateful for this wretched experience & I am most grateful that God moved me to create this blog so that I will have these archives to look back on & never forget how God brought me out of such horrible suffering & depression. I am grateful for the Nester, Ocean Mommy & Wynner. These ladies have been such an encouragement to me & been so beneficial to my spirt whether they know it or not. I pray for these ladies almost everyday ( I have to admit sometimes I forget but hey, my prayers are not the same everyday). I am so grateful for what I have learned in this suffering that I have cried out of gratitude a few times since Sunday. That's big for me because this has been so wretched & I am still not out of danger. Everything I have feared for over a year now still could bite me & destroy everything we have worked for & leave me homeless or if I am lucky in a shack too small to fit us all but atleast we would not be homeless. I am grateful today to have peace. I just want to be in God's will. If God has other plans for us that don't include our businesses & staying in our home then that is what it must be. I only wish I could have a clear vision of what the will of God is for my life & that of my family. Then it would be so easy to obey. But he has chosen to keep that hidden for now & I will continue to pray & ask until He chooses to reveal His plan for us. I just simply know that the Lord provides & I have only to listen to what He speaks & obey one step at a time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lollipops & Visions

This is a view of the outside of my store. My 16 year old thought the Lollipop tree should be moved to the window so anyone walking by with a kid ..... well ..... um.... the kid would want the lollipop & beg their parents so of course the parents would come inside to buy one and maybe something else. We weren't done adjusting the display yet when a granny & her grandaughter spotted it and came in to buy one. Yea!!!!

So Saturday was really cool, about 30 min before closing I was praying and asking God to please help me with my sales. It was a horrible day in sales Friday & Saturday was slow too. So nothing happened. Then as I was closing up & bringing in all the oil paintings I have outside I prayed to God and I told him that I didn't understand why He wouldn't tell me if keeping the store was His will for me or not. I told him I was tired of fighting for it & why would He not just tell me what He wanted me to be doing. If He wants me in the store why isn't He helping me out financially or I will be closed soon. I told Him when I was praying the 30 min before I closed that I knew He could double my sales in the next 30 min. if He wanted to. So as I was closing up I reminded Him of that.... I told Him that I was closing but I knew even still that He could still double my sales for the day if He wanted to.... I would just leave the open sign on until I was ready to walk out the door. Well..... as I was bringing in the oil paintings a lady came in. I didn't think anything about it really. I have a lot of oil paintings outside so I was busy with that & I had the door propped open. So just as I get done bringing them in another lady walks in. I should've been closed 10 minutes ago by that point. I went in to ask the ladies if I could help them & they both said yes. I was busy helping them & chatting & enjoying their company so I really wasn't focused on how much they spent. I was very excited that they both bought something & I thanked God so much for the extra sales! Then as I was closing out the cash register I got my calculator & took my total for the day and subtracted what I knew I already had in sales before the 2 ladies came in, and it was DOUBLE! I know my eyes bugged out of my head. How awesome is that? He doubled my sales with 2 ladies in exactly 30 minutes just like I prayed. The difference was less than 10 cents and it was 10 cents over, not less. I was crazy giddy after that, no way was that anything other than God. YES!!!!

So Sunday at church was odd after that because I was still riding on my "blessing high" when one of the men of church who is also in the choir approached me. He knows practically everything, he is amazing. So he told me he was preaching Sat. night & at the end of service he had a vision concerning me. He told me in his vision the choir director laid hands on me & that was all he said. So after morning practice I asked him what the vision was & he didn't want to tell me, all he said was that it concerned depression. He didn't want to tell me anyhting else. So I was confused about that.... After service during alter call our pastor also asked for anyone who had a specific need in their life that they needed a move of God for to come down so he could pray for them. I came down & then the man who is also an alter worker turned around to smile at me. How did he even know I was behind him? He never turns around from praying for somebody, I have known him for years. So anyway, he comes over to me after a couple of minutes & tells me that he has asked our choir director to come over & lay hands on me to fulfill the vision. She came down & prayed over me & said things I don't know how she could've known unless God gave it to her. Then the man came & prayed also as she was and said I was being set free. What a beautiful day!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Shopped Til I Dropped!!!!!!

I am still giddy with excitement over my shopping trip to the Atlanta Gift Mart yesterday!!!!!!!!!
It was sooooo wonderful. Oh the things I bought...... I am very excited over my vinyl wall art purchases. It is a new line that has been perfected. They are beautiful sayings that you apply to your wall & it looks like it was professionally painted onto the wall. They have been around for awhile but never looked quite like paint, well these look exactly like they are painted. I bought several sayings & they come packaged in great tubes with a bow on them so they are perfect for a gift even. I found some great new wall art/signs. Gorgeous large picture frames with pictures and or words on them, I always kick booty with those & the suppliers did not disappoint with they new lines out this July. Fabulous jewelry!!!!!!!!!!!! Purses galore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Matching flat wallets even!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, they even have giraffe & zebra flat wallets to match your giraffe & zebra purses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Huge around here. I bought a new line of little girl/boy shoes that squeak when they walk. Sounds annoying I know but they retail for $24.99 & look like the very expensive mall shoes & the squeaker can be removed in about 10 seconds if you want. Not too loud & it is for the really little ones so you can keep track of them, they are packaged great & are soo soooooo great looking. Wonderful children's gifts. Monogrammed travel mugs, monogrammed ribbon key chains, yes, even monogrammed children's large sip cups with the straw built into the lid that playtex makes. How hoity toity will you 4 year old be walking around with their monogrammed playtex drink cup!!!!!!!! For boys & girls!!!!!!!!!! I got some great bath wraps, so so pretty surely no one will be able to resist them. Beautiful baby gifts!!! Oh & the painted martini & wine glasses!!!!!!!!!!! Oy vey!!!!!!!!!! I can hardly contain myself. I am going back on Friday ha ha ha, I am feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. I had such a wonderful day, I laughed all day, I smiled all day, I was so happy. I had no stress, I was happy plus, I was in retail heaven. I put ship dates of November on everything so now as I can afford to bring in all my lovelies I will call the manufacturer & move up the ship date. No stress for me, it's all ordered & all I have to do is wait for the current stuff to sell & replace it with whatever category needs filling in. Oh, the joy of it all. I did not purchases any home decor in the way of accessories, sad to say. That is my favorite part of the store but of course with the economy the way it is I am purchasing more gift items than Home Decor. Home Decor used to be my number one or two category & now it is not even on my top five. Artwork, gifts, purses & accessories, candles & aroma lamps are my top 5 now. I can't wait to go back!!! Now all I need is a herd of women to come in & buy me out so I can bring it all in. I can dream can't I?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

God's Mercy

Wow , did God ever teach me a wonderful lesson last night at church. Actually it was 2 lessons, one from God directly & one by annointing on our Pastor.

These 2 things are very powerful that I learned last night.

The first lesson was in our Wed. evening sermon. It was on the Seasons of Prayer. Pastor said sometimes God will draw you into a season of prayer. You will feel compelled to stop what you are doing & pray. If you tell God to wait a few minutes even you can miss that season. If God is pulling strongly on you to pray stop & do it even if the Super Bowl is on & your team is playing. There is a reason God is doing it. Seasons of prayer are to equip us for an upcomming battle. It is to tune us into God so we can better hear him and equip ourselves for what is coming. He gave a great example. If a hurricane is coming the weathermen can see it coming before it gets here. They then will warn us & we go into a time of preparation so that we can survive the storm. God is like that too. God is omnipresent so he can see our future & knows what is coming. God may see a storm brewing & pull you into a season of prayer to equip you to be able to survive that storm. It could even be as simple as being at work & feeling strongly compelled to pray ( I have certainly had that happen.), what we may not know is that God can see that a drunk driver on the road with us as we are traveling home later that evening & he wants us to be tuned in to Him so that when He whispers to us to move into another lane we know it is the voice of God & do it so as to avoid an out of control drunk driver. Sometimes this season will involve fasting. Jesus fasted 40 days & nights & was in a season of prayer before he was tempted of the devil. Though his body was weak his spirit man was strong & deeply rooted in prayer. This next part is the part I liked. Jesus said if we have faith like a mustard seed, the mustard seed being the smallest seed but produces a huge plant. The mustard seed ALSO has a deep root system. We MUST be rooted in prayer & when God moves us to pray he is getting us ready for an attack. Roots are unseen but they sustain what is seen. If you do not have what is unseen (the root system) what is seen will wither & die. Sometimes when we don't see God, like the roots, He is up to something. THIS PART IS HUGE TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!! WE KNOW HOW DEEP OUR ROOT SYSTEM IS BY HOW WE REACT WHEN A STORM HITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay man, that is way deep. So as I have stated before I am somewhat of a stresser & a panicker. I was never that way until I was 23. I just truly believe that I never learned how to cope with stress & for say 15 years I was constantly thrown major curve balls one after the other with no relief so I am a freaker outer now. I can admit that. But I am trying to change & I have also been in the last few months seeking God more feverently than I ever have & praying a lot more also. It was a very good sermon.

My second lesson that evening was somewhat horrifying. When church was over I was escorting my youngest son & my mom outside of the building. I have to stay for choir practice. Well, I saw a man who looked like he was in a lot of pain coming towards me on crutches. He had a broken leg & from the look of pain on his face it must have been recently. So I opened the church doors for him to get outside & he began to talk to me & my mom. It seems he hitched a ride to church & had no way to get home. He was looking for a ride to the house he was staying at. It seems he is also homeless. Nobody was concerned about the fact that he had no way to get home & everyone was telling him no. Now my husband is ALL about doing nice things for people & always lending a helping hand. So he was picking up mom & baby & I called him on the cell to see if he would take the guy home knowing all the while he would say yes of course. Imagine my suprise when he gets aggrivated with me for asking & tells me no. He says he has to go to Staples for office supplies & it is in the other direction. So I get aggrivated with him & tell him he can go afterwards OR go in the morning. This poor man is in obvious misery & needs a ride. So he says no. I was floored. My mom was horrified to tell him that her ride was not able to take him & she gave him $20. So he sits down on some stone blocks outside to see if he can get a ride. I go into the church to my choir director & some other leaders & tell them about the man. They wave their hands in the air & dismiss me. They say it's his problem how he gets where he has to go & he should have thought about that before he came. I try my hardest to find a ride for the guy but no one cars a rats booty. The husband of the pastoral couple who runs our women's drug & rehabilitation center would not give him a ride either. He said the guys uses his foot as an excuse, apparently he only has 3 toes too & has been enrolled in our men's drug & rehab center. A nine month in house program & he has fallen off the wagon. And my response to that is soooooo. The guy did what he had to do to get to church....... he had faith that he could hitch his way here & find a ride home, isn't that enough? Well, nobody cared & said he hangs out here all the time. Nice, last time I checked hanging out at church wasn't some horrible crime. SO, my leader says to start practice but I am determined that if he is still out there & nobody else does it I am going to give him a ride. I was a little scared because you never know & I was going to be all alone in the car with him. I wouldn't have been frightened with someone. So at the end of practice one of the sound guys asks for all our attention. He tells everyone about the man outside & how he is asking for a ride. They think is is weird & high so he tells us that he is at the front doors of the church & we are all going to exit from the emergency doors at the back of the church on the side so he can't see us or talk to us. By the time he would see all of us we would already be in our cars driving away. So ever the activist I pipe up & say but how is he going to get home? I was met with snorts, rolling eyes & waving hands again. They ALL said except for me & two other ladies that it was his problem & he is weird & high & not for any of us to give the guy a ride. Well, I don't know what a high person looks like but he didn't seem like he was drugged out to me. Plus, high people are not dangerous. He seemed like he was a little slow & having a very hard time to me. I think he maybe had a slight learning disability but certainly not dangerous to me. So we three ladies were trying to find a way to get him home without it being a single lady but the men were adamant we were all going to sneak out the back. I was really shocked that our pastor's wife who sings on the front line & my choir director were of the ones who were most adamant that he was to be left behind. Now let me tell you, the guy had a broken leg & I found out he had been hit by a car that day or the day before so you know he was sore & in pain. We are also on a hill so the only way for him to even leave the parking lot with a broken leg on foot would be to roll down the pavement because it is steep & crutches just wouldn't cut it. He had no cell phone. Next.... is our church is out in the country, in our parking lot at 9:30 the outside lights all shut off & when that happens it is sooooo dark that you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face if it was only an inch away. It is complete blackness, you cannot even see the moon, the trees block it out. I have been stuck outside there in that blackness once & I had to just stop & wait for someone to open a side door becasue it was like I was encased in blackness, not a speck of light could be seen. This is what they watned to leave him in. He wouldn't have ever been able to find his way out of the parking lot I am sure. So anyway the 3 of us agreed that the one of us that had 2 teen boys with her would take him because it was the safest. They all looked at us like we were lunatics because they knew what we were talking about. Sure enough, they herded us all out through the back emergency side exits & everyone ran to their cars. I waited to make sure she did in fact pull around to the front to take him home before I left. She took him & I felt relieved. I was so horrified to have been witness to something I am quite certain Jeusus would not have approved of. God desires mercy not sacrifice. God wants us to have mercy on each other. I just couldn't understand these people's reaction...... it really burdoned me. How could they just be okay with leaving him in total darkness outside the church like that, broken leg & all. How could they be so uncaring & cold? What if that was Jesus outside? What if it was an angel? What if it wasn't & it was a poor soul needing help? I told the pastor's wife & my director I was extremely close to being homeless & would they just drive by me & my four kids and say "loser" as they drove by. What happened to compassion? They could've cared less & thought I was a nut for caring. It was almost ugly they way it all went down. Then as I was still contemplating it in my home God just dropped a word into my spirit. He said you see Jennifer, everyone has their faults. Compassion & mercy & giving & helping is so easy for you & it comes naturally. It is your gift. This you do not struggle with. They don't have these things & do not come naturally to them although they seek me & love me they struggle with those. For you, you struggle with negativity, anger & bitterness and having total trust & blind faith. These things they do not struggle with & it comes naturally to them. All fall short & what you struggle with is no different from what they struggle with. Everyone struggles with something....... stop beating yourself up that you cannot conquer these things. I showed you this so you would know. Then what the rest was could not be expressed in words. It was more of God just imprinting on me that it is okay that I have this struggle. We all have things that we struggle with & He knows mine & it is okay. It is who I am & he loves me just as those people. These people are people who you would look at & say man, they have so together. They are prayer warriors & gifted & just so emersed in the spirit, if only I could be that together. But yet look at how they fell short...... It was a wonderful revelation that took place in seconds. I just smiled because God was showing me that I was okay just as I was.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Church Nite At The Atlanta Braves!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night my church took over 100 people to a Braves Game. I wasn't in the mood but of course once you get there it was so much fun. I knew we would have nose bleed seats but holy cow!!! I don't think I have ever been that high up. It was a little scary to be that high. But of course everyone had a great time. We lost big time. I was so high up I was able to get a couple of nice pictures of part of the Atlanta skyline & the Capitol Building. I like our Capitol (is it capitol or capital??) , I think it was very pretty. Of course if you go right up to it there are homeless people sleeping right next to it & that somehow doesn't seem quite right. My kids had such a great time, I had fun embarrassing them everytime they played music in the stadium I would dance in my seat & they were trying to hold me down. It was so funny. I don't know about other stadiums but Atlanta plays a lot of really great music quite frequently. I took a picture of my daughter with her youth pastor, that's right she's a lady!!!! She is really wonderful & my daughter was happy that she got to sit next to her pastor.