28 December 2008

26 December 2008

THIS Is What Christmas Is All About

Check out my friend, Carole's blog.

They had an AMAZING Christmas morning yesterday & even though I knew it wasn't possible for us yesterday, I find myself wishing that I could have been there with them... What an incredible testimony!

There is a short video at the top, but the thing I really want you to see is the slide show at the bottom of her post and the words to the song she has playing in the video.

True words.
Carole's Blog



25 December 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


I hope you and your families all have a very, Merry Christmas!







22 December 2008

OUTREACH = Reaching Out

Casting Crowns has a song titled,
"If We Are the Body,"

that includes the following chorus:

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching?

Why aren't His hands healing?

Why aren't His words teaching?

And if we are the Body

Why aren't His feet going?

Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

There is a way.

As Christians -- members of the Body of Christ -- we should be striving to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone we meet.
After a weekend of amazing outreaches, I am proud to say that I belong to a body (church) that really tries to do just that. Here, in pictures, is a brief recap of the last 3 days:


Friday night -- Midnight Outreach
HPC Shuttle parked in front of a local strip club.


Just a few of the goodies donated by Healing Place Women which we put in the gift bags for the strippers: "Live the Dream" t-shirt, sunglasses, water bottle, bracelets, nail polish, earrings, & candy!


Decorating a strip club dressing room -- rose petals & pot pourri, cookies & cupcakes, bracelets & toys for their children: Just a part of our evening!


Written on the mirror in lipstick:
HEALING PLACE Loves You!!

Different club; same idea.


Saturday morning: Baton Rouge Dream Center
Christmas Outreach!
We had a huge turnout & it was so much fun!


Cookie decorating, face painting, spacewalks, & more!


Never heard the final count, but not long after this pic was taken, even the balcony was full!


BRDC Kids-In-Action getting ready to go onstage for a short Christmas program.
They were awesome!


"Sista Bling" holding a dance contest & giving away 26 bicycles!!!!


We have a winner!


Saturday night & Sunday morning:
HPC Highland Kids-In-Action doing their
Christmas program:
"Could It Be?"



Could it be there's more to Christmas, than presents under a tree?...

Followed by a great message by Pastor Dino titled, "Simple Christmas."
(check out his blog for more great pics!)

Natasha as Mrs. Santa Claus

And while the entire weekend was great fun, real work was also done: Families were helped, children were fed, hope was restored, & about 70 (SEVENTY!) decisions for Christ were made.
What an amazing testimony to our community!

18 December 2008

FINISHED!

My fingers are sore and my tongue is dry (ok, not really because I used self-stick), but I have FINALLY finished my Christmas cards! It only took me 3 days. =)

And on top of that, I have also finished my Christmas shopping.
Alright, I have 3 more things to buy, but that's it!

What I still have left to do:

*Buy & prep roses for Midnight Outreach
*Help decorate the dressing rooms of several area strip clubs
*Actual Midnight Outreach (where we give out the chocolate & roses)
*Watch Natasha's play -- ALL FOUR SERVICES -- She's Mrs. Santa Claus!
*Baton Rouge Dream Center Christmas Outreach & Toy Give-Away -- All day on Saturday
*CLEAN MY HOUSE (ugh)
*And finish START my holiday baking:
-- Baklava
-- Orange Walnut Bread
-- Klaicha
-- Christmas cookies
-- Chocolate Popcorn
-- Coconut Cream Cake

Oh, yeah, and wrap all those gifts so Natasha will quit pestering me!

What do YOU still need to get done?

Whatever it is, just keep in mind the real reason for the season: JESUS
Lord knows, I'm trying to!

16 December 2008

T'was the MIDNIGHT Before Christmas...

THIS Friday night marks a very special MIDNIGHT OUTREACH for us:

We will leave that afternoon and go to the strip clubs and decorate the dressing rooms for the girls. We will hang garland & ornaments & leave gifts for each of the girls. We are giving them chocolates and earrings and make-up & more...
Additionally, we are taking toys for the girls to give to their children on Christmas day.
I am SO excited to be a part of this!

We will then meet up again late that night to go do our usual rose-hand-out.
If you have NO IDEA what I'm talking about, go HERE and HERE.

I can think of no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by showing Christ to those who feel unloved & forgotten.

What are you doing to prepare for THE holiday?

15 December 2008

Did You Know?

I totally lifted this from FlowerDust's blog, but it is just so amazing.

Get ready to be wowed... exponentially.

11 December 2008

A Week of Christmas Miracles!!

What a week!

First of all (for those of you just dying to know):
IT SNOWED!!!!
We woke up this morning to a good 3 inches of snow on our house & yard!We knew last night that there was a good chance of snow, but no one thought it would stick. Even so, I woke up every hour from 2 AM, on, trying to get a glimpse of the snow (yes, I'm a little child like that). FINALLY around 5'ish, I saw flakes coming down with the rain! Before long, it was solid snow! Absolutely BEAUTIFUL -- HUGE, soft, white flakes coming down.
I went back to bed for a couple of hours & woke up to what you see above. =)
Yay God!
Earlier this week, I heard from my dear friend, DAWN that her son, Elijah's scans had come back CLEAN! This is a BIG answer to prayer! This family is near and dear to my heart; I love them so much.
This sweet, little boy has been battling neuroblastoma for several years now. I continue to be amazed at his strength and fortitude. I truly believe that his healing will become his testimony for God. He IS a Christmas miracle!

But that's not all!!
Remember these posts: Holding My Breath... & And Turning Blue... ??
Well.... (drum roll, please)
THEY HEARD FROM THE COURTS TODAY!
My friend, Carole, and her family have a new son from Ethiopia!!
I am SOOOO excited for them.

Even though Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, it feels like Christmas right now to me.
God bless us, every one.

Look! Our fake snowmen are covered in REAL snow!!

10 December 2008

5000 SHOES


Please Help!!

Make a donation today. It's ONLY $5 & God will bless you for it!

SOLES for SOULS



Read more about it HERE as well.







Let It Sneaux, Let It Sneaux, Let It Sneaux!


So, there's this RUMOR going around that we might get some SNOW late tonight & tomorrow morning! It will be mixed with rain & it probably won't stick, but we are excited, nonetheless!

SNEAUX is something you don't see often in south Louisiana.
It's crazy the things you take for granted...

I remember when I was in the Air Force at Tech school, I met a 20-year-old guy from south Florida who had NEVER seen snow in his life. I couldn't fathom what he was talking about. I mean, I grew up in central Arkansas, and while we didn't exactly have a white Christmas every year, we certainly had a good dusting or two. Some years we got several inches of the glorious white stuff!
But this guy had NEVER seen snow (except for on tv).

Did I mention my Tech School was in Denver, Colorado?
In the late fall & winter?
And snow it did!!
The first time the flakes fell, this Floridian ran outside in nothing but a t-shirt & shorts; he was so excited to see snow in person.
Of course that didn't last long. We're talking about DENVER here.
Major cold.
About a month later, this same kid from Florida decided he was pretty sick of the stuff.
When you have to march through 8-9 inches at 4 am every morning, it tends to lose its magic...

But here I sit, giddy as a little girl -- hoping, PRAYING that we get some snow (not sleet, not freezing rain, SNOW).
My kids are excited, too.
But my youngest, Raisha, has never seen snow and I think she wonders what all the hubbub is about. Hopefully, this year, she will get to find out.
I just know she will love it.

05 December 2008

Midnight With FlowerDust


100 Roses for 100 Girls...

Dean, Me, Season, & Anne (FlowerDust)

In case you can't read it, it says:
"We hope this small gift
brightens your day.
It is a simple way to say God loves you
-- no strings attached.
Let us know if we can help you."

healingplacechurch.org


We give each girl -- stripper, prostitute, mom, grandmother, barmaid, etc. -- one of these beautiful, long-stemmed, red roses with this card attached.
How lucky am I to be a part of such an amazing church?

This next picture is just for fun because it clearly shows that I have had WAY, WAY too much caffeine! ROFL!
Seriously, I almost look manic.

No more Red Bull for me!

03 December 2008

Computer Update

Sorry I left you hangin' like that.

I got my computer back on Sunday night.
Geek Squad only held it hostage for 8 1/2 days.

The bad news: It WAS the hard drive! DEFECTIVE! Again!
Seriously, what on earth is going on with Hewlett-Packard???

More bad news: My warranty made me get the hard drive replaced. No new Mac computer for me (well, not right now, at least). It's still my goal to own a Mac in the not-too-distant-future.

The GOOD NEWS is that they were able to extract ALL of my files and save them on to an external hard drive for me. So, all I've really lost is all my contact info.

Sooooo..... If you are reading this & you are friend or family... I have lost ALL of your contact info. Address, phone #s, & email.
Ok, well, I probably have your phone # in my iPhone, but I'm not going to call all 300 of you!
So, please shoot me a quick email & let me know your info & how you're doing.
I promise I'm not ignoring you.
Just ask the geeks.

02 December 2008

30 November 2008

71

For more than two weeks, I have been waiting to see the "70" pound mark on the scale.
I have been more careful with my eating and I have tried to not eat late at night.
But then God reminded me that HE is doing this, not me. And every time I try to retake control of my weight struggle, I will fail. So, I repented & gave it back to Him & just tried to be obedient in the things I know He wants me to do...

And you know what?
ON THANKSGIVING WEEKEND(!!!!) I stepped on the scale and saw that God had completely skipped over "MY" goal.
I have lost SEVENTY ONE pounds since February!
That is almost surreal for me... I have NEVER even come close to losing that much before -- no matter how strict or disciplined I tried to be!

Don't misunderstand me:
I am NOT suggesting that we should not strive to have self-control.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and evidence of a faith-filled life.
But what I (and many like me) struggle with is not "self-control" (despite what the world assumes about us),but rather we lack Spirit control.

In the past, instead of using discipline to make me healthier, I have made it a religion of sorts.
I have made dieting and eating and food and exercise -- my "gods."
I have idolized the perfect number on the scale, the ideal body shape, society's idea of what "beautiful" should look like.
And none of that worked.
No matter how hard I tried, how disciplined I was, or how many diets I attempted: I never achieved success.

That is, until I quit trying to do it all myself.

What a lesson I have learned!
The same grace that is extended to us for our salvation, God offers us for EVERY failure in our life! For every weakness, for every trial, for every temptation: He is there to lift us up & guide us out of the mess in which we keep finding ourselves. What an amazing picture of His never-failing mercy and grace!

All that is truly required of me is obedience and faith.
And I see it so clearly now in 2 little numbers...

What are YOU believing God for?

27 November 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVINGzzzzzzz

Sleepy, exhausted, & content.
That pretty much describes how I'm feeling at the moment.

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for some of our friends & family today & and I have been on my feet since 7:15 am (after going to bed at 2 am).
But this is what I love to do!
It was a wonderful day and sitting here in the glow of my Christmas tree, I find so many things for which I am thankful.
I am so happy to have my family here with me this year!
And some very dear friends joined us as well. We had a full & happy house.
And now, it's a very SLEEPY house! (thank you Tryptophan!)
Seriously, I think I could go to sleep right now and sleep straight through until Sunday!
At least I won't have to cook again for a couple of days.
I made enough food to feed a small army!

I will try to upload some pictures tomorrow.

I hope YOUR day was equally wonderful.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Let the shopping begin!
Well, maybe after a little nap...

25 November 2008

Before MIDNIGHT

Next week we are having a special Midnight Outreach.
The awesome Anne Jackson (FlowerDust to the blog world) will be joining us. I'm so excited to meet her! It's really great to have her join us on one of our most significant outreaches.

I will go next Wednesday and pick up the roses -- 100 long-stemmed, red roses -- to pass out to the ladies we encounter Thursday night.
I am thrilled to have been given this responsibility; the roses are symbolic of the message we want to send to these girls:
You are LOVED.
You are VALUABLE.
You are a daughter of the KING (and therefore, a Princess!).

To see the look in their eyes when we hand them the roses is priceless.
If they've never experienced our version of a "drive-by Jesus," they look at us incredulously, and with unguarded curiosity.

Who are you?
Why are you doing this?

We are Healing Place Church.
Because you are loved.

And you can see in their response -- by the look in their eyes -- that they just might believe you.
That is our hope anyway.

And that's what it means to be
"A Healing Place for a hurting world."

23 November 2008

F * R * U * S * T * R * A * T * I * O * N


If you are long-time reader of my blog, then you probably remember THIS POST.

My last PC was a Hewlett-Packard (HP), and it lasted for approximately 3 years. Well, my less-than-1-year-old HP computer crashed YESTERDAY.
The final diagnosis last year was: DEFECTIVE HARDRIVE
Guess what the diagnosis was THIS time?
Just guess.
C'mon, you know you know it...
Yes, DEFECTIVE HARDRIVE.

For the second time in ELEVEN MONTHS, an HP computer has wiped out my files.
Last time, Geek Squad was not able to recover ANYTHING; I am praying -- PLEADING -- that they will have better luck this time.
I have the really important stuff backed up this time, but there are still hundreds of pictures and other files that will be lost forever if the extraction is unsuccessful.
But the really frustrating part is this: If I end up getting another computer (which I surely will), what kind of computer should I get? I would LOVE to get a Mac this time around, but that will cost double the value of the now-defunct HP.

And WHAT is going on with HP???
Really, they used to be so reliable!
There was a man at the Geek Squad counter just in front of me. He was there with his HP laptop (& it looked VERY expensive!!); he told me it's the 4th time he's had to bring it in, in the 10 months that he has owned it!
Then, as I was leaving, a woman came in to pick up her HP laptop (also very nice & new-looking); the Geek Squad guy had to tell her that her hard drive had crashed & they were not able to recover ANY of her files!

Something is up here.
This cannot be just a coincidence!
Is HP outsourcing to China, by any chance?
And does anyone know if there is a class-action lawsuit against HP currently in the works?
I might want to testify for them!

Seriously though; please say a quick prayer for this situation.
I need to get my computer (and my files!) back so I can finish my book!

19 November 2008

Lions, and Zebras, and Hippos, OH MY!

Time again for another unsolicited round of movie reviews!

Clay & I took the girls to see Madagascar II last weekend & it was pretty cute. There were some hilarious moments, but overall, I still like the first one best.
Raisha, however, is in LOVE with Melman -- the giraffe!She has a little stuffed Melman that Nick Prestridge gave her almost 3 years ago & she sleeps with it every night! Indeed, if Melman is not in the car when we leave, we must spend at least 5 minutes looking for him.
My favorite is Marty the zebra, primarily because Chris Rock does the voice and I LOVE Chris Rock. Yes, I know he can be rather tawdry & irreverent at times, but he is still really funny!
I don't know why he has to do the crude stuff; he is equally funny when he is not.

Tonight, Nadia & I went to see Secret Life of Bees and it was even better than I had
hoped!

I read the book several months ago when my good friend, Tongua, recommended it. It is a powerful film & full of sharp, historical reality. I bawled like a baby.
I highly recommend it.
Plus, it features Queen Latifah, who I admire greatly. =)

I'm looking forward to next month's movie releases, in particular:
*Marley & Me
*Che'
(I REALLY hope they don't do a stupid, over-glorification of him -- but they probably WILL)
*Seven Pounds
&
*Valkyrie
(Even if it does star that ding-dong, Tom Cruise)

Which movies have you seen & loved (or hated) recently?
Which movies are you looking forward to seeing?

15 November 2008

Do You SMELL That???


MMmmmmm.... You know what that smell is, don't you?

It's WINTER.
There is a fresh, crisp feel in the air tonight.
I think it's going to be a cold year for us in Looozeeana.

I love when the weather starts turning cooler.
When I was younger, I only liked summertime, but the older I get, the more I like Autumn.
Really, (besides friends & family) it's the only thing I REALLY miss about living in Arkansas.
Arkansas has GORGEOUS Autumns!
And EVERY winter holds at least the promise of snow!

So when the air starts smelling like this... I start to think of all the other fine scents we will be smelling soon:
  • *Steaming hot turkey & dressing
  • *Sweet pecan pie (YUM!)
  • *Popcorn & hot cocoa on chilly winter nights
  • *Smoky scents of fireplaces crackling
  • *Pine sap
  • *Holly & Mistletoe
  • *Christmas trees!
  • *CHRISTMAS COOKIES!
  • *Egg Nog (HUSH; I happen to like egg nog)

And the scent of PROMISE that is found in the approaching new year...

For now, I'm just content with the smell of it all.

12 November 2008

And Turning Blue...

Continued from yesterday's post.

Not good news.

Please read HERE for the latest update.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE be praying!!!

11 November 2008

Holding My Breath


You know you really love someone when the things that happen to them elicits a physical response in yourself.

One of my bestest friends, Carole, is waiting on some very big news today & like her, I find myself edgy & anxious.
Carole & Dean are adopting a sweet, little boy from Ethiopia & today is their SECOND court date! Someone didn't show up at the first court date & it has delayed things even further.
They are waiting to hear if they will be approved & if so, they will travel mid-December to get him.

Truth be told, we ALL thought he would already be here by now.
But God sees the big picture & there may be a very good reason why it hasn't happened yet.
Even so, I want so bad for him to get here.
Carole & Dean are like family to us so we are incredibly excited about this new addition.

I know that today my friend is suffering, silently, while she tries to be patient & wait upon the Lord... and I just want her to know that I am holding my breath, too.

Please PRAY.

10 November 2008

A Very Sad Day...

In the world of music.

One of my all-time favorite singers, Miriam Makeba, has died.

She was also known as "Mama Africa" and "The Empress of African Song."
Her music was featured in the soundtrack to the movie, SARAFINA (one of my favorites).

If you are not familiar with her beautiful voice, then take a listen here to one of my very favorite songs (from the movie); Makeba plays the role of mama with Leleti Khumalo as her daughter. You can skip ahead to about 6:25 minutes on the clip to hear the beginning of the song.:



You can read the article about her HERE.

07 November 2008

What Are Friends For?


Maybe I'm getting sappy now that I've hit the big 39...
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, it seems.

I feel sorry for people who don't have friends.
Especially women.

Everyone needs friends, but we women, especially, thrive on friendships.
When a woman has no real friends, there is something very wrong.

I am grateful for the women in my life who hold me accountable & who encourage me. These women are my closest confidants. They are the glue that sometimes keeps me from falling apart at the seams... They can cut me deeper or lift me higher than anyone on the periphery of my life. They are gifts from God, each and every one.

When I was younger, I took a lot of my friendships for granted. Several of them fell by the wayside because I was too "busy" with life to maintain them.
Others were almost destroyed by the evil intentions and jealousies of others... by things I should have never allowed to enter in...

But as I get older, the more I value my intimate friendships.
I have many "friends," but there is only a small handful of women with whom I can spend hours talking on the phone. When something really bad happens or I have incredibly GREAT news, there are just a select few who I want to call...

And as I get older, the more I begin to realize that maintaining friendships takes real work sometimes.
Life gets busy: work, school, marriage, kids, bills, volunteering,... all these things begin to drain us of time & energy. It becomes very easy to start to take those friendships for granted.
We think, "Oh, they will always be there," but sadly, it's just not so.

Real friendships -- friendships that last -- take effort.
Calling to say hi, even when your "to do list" is a mile long. Checking in with a friend you haven't seen in a while... Remembering a friend's birthday.
Some friendships are so old & deep they can sustain a few "casualties of time..." others are not so lucky.
Offense sets in and a chasm of separation grows between you & eventually, you find you no longer have anything to talk about. That old, comfortable casualness is gone.

I fully acknowledge that there are seasons of friendships in life, but now as I draw nearer to the end of my 4th decade, I am more aware of the passing of time & opportunity in my own life.
I mourn friendships that are no longer & I regret things I coulda, woulda, shoulda done to salvage them.

To all my girl friends: I love you & I can't imagine life without you.
Thank you for being a friend.
(now banish the "Golden Girls" theme song from your brains!)

05 November 2008

A New Day Dawning...

Our new President of the United States:

My friend, Carole wrote an excellent post on her blog.

Everyone should read it.
Especially Christians.

No matter how you feel, personally, about the outcome of this election, we should ALL be praying for our new leader.

For me, I feel an intriguing hope...

While I opposed Obama on SEVERAL issues (abortion, taxes, health care...), I do NOT think he is the anti-Christ.
I am not in a panic nor am I dismayed.
But I am praying!

I pray to God to give our new President wisdom and guidance, discernment and discretion.

I pray that our new President will unite this country as never before... that he will bring healing to race relations that have borne the anger and hostility from generations of abuse and prejudice.

I pray that our new President will give hope to American children of EVERY heritage (Asian, Hispanic, African, European, Persian, etc) that they, too, could one day rise to the office of
President of the United States.

I pray that our new President will once more restore this great nation's good name and reputation with the rest of the world, and that he will do so not by subservience to un-American ideologies, but through good example & noble intent.

I believe a new day is dawning in our great country & it is a day that no Christian should fear.

Our God still sits on His throne & He is still in control. We have only to do as we have been commanded:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." -- 1 Timothy 2: 1-4 NIV

God Bless the USA.

03 November 2008

The Hope of America

One of the BEST messages I've ever heard Pastor Dino preach... I'm gonna do my best to summarize, but I couldn't write fast enough to keep up.
He was on FIRE!

Fact: By TOMORROW, this Presidential election alone will have cost nearly 2.4 BILLION dollars.

Where did all that money go?
Travel Expenses
Speaking engagements
Debates
Signage
Political fees
But mostly: ADVERTISING

Advertising???
Couldn't there be a better use for that money?

The HOPE of America is not a candidate, not a false "messiah," not a budget cut or medicare overhaul. It's not about who is the better speaker, the better comedian, the most handsome, or most charismatic. It's not about race, creed, partisan politics or religion.

It's about what WE, as a Church, are doing to make a difference in this country.

It's about GOD'S PEOPLE DOING GOD'S WORK for GOD'S GLORY.
Period.
That is the hope of America.

Why?
Because no matter how much faith you put into your candidate -- how much you believe (or want to believe) that he or she is going to be your nation's "salvation" -- they will eventually disappoint.
It's not about DEMOCRAT or REPUBLICAN; Both parties have failed miserably, historically.

The REAL Hope of America is about REAL CHANGE -- Not change that is just talked about: rhetoric designed to placate the masses without offering any REAL example of actually DOING ANYTHING.
Think about how much money has been wasted already on political nonsense...

How many meals for hungry children could have been bought?
How many medical treatments provided for those who have no access to hospitals?
How many children sold into sex slavery (human trafficking) could have been freed?
How many orphans could have been adopted by couples who cannot afford the cost-prohibitive adoption fees?

You want to talk about real CHANGE -- real HOPE?
How about...
--> 1 MILLION water bottles given to the thirsty
--> 15 THOUSAND Thanksgiving meals given to the poor
--> 5 MILLION meals to sub-Saharan African AIDS orphans
--> 2 DREAM CENTERS serving the people of the inner city on a DAILY basis.
--> THOUSANDS of roses and chocolates given to prostitutes and strippers to show them real LOVE.
--> HUNDREDS of yards mowed, houses painted, tree branches cut & cleared.
--> HUNDREDS (Thousands?) of blue tarps provided to homes with damage from hurricanes Gustav & Ike
--> THOUSANDS of FREE medical checkups, immunizations, teeth cleanings, & tooth extractions

This is what my church has done in just a few short years with only a fraction of the cost of this ONE presidential election.
And we've done so much more that is not listed here!

"We, as a people, have provided CHANGE to the world that government could never provide!" -- Dino Rizzo

That's why we can't get discouraged by a few numbers, a candidate, or all the media hype... We have to continue to sow into the future of our nation! We have to step up and be the Church that Jesus called us to be.

WE (God's Church) are the real Hope of America.

30 October 2008

39 Years Ago Today...

October 30th, 1969

My life was changed forever.
Actually, I guess I should say, my parents lives were changed forever!
I was born shortly after noon, right after lunch and about two months late.
Nope; that's not a typo, nor is it an exaggeration.
(They didn't induce back then like they do now.)

39 years ago, I was just a tiny, squalling infant... today I have finally found my voice.
I am speaking out the message God has shown my heart & I am helping other women who have struggled with weight & food issues (as I have) to realize their value & worth & potential within God's plan for their lives.
39 years ago, I measured a mere 21 inches long... today, I am reaching heights that most people only dream about.
Heights that I never dared to dream about.


39 years ago, I cried when I was hungry... today, my hunger for all that God has for me is insatiable but I am constantly being filled with His satisfying abundance.

39 years ago, I didn't know how to dream... today, my dreams are limitless & unrestrained.
There's nothing I can't do in Christ Jesus.

Who knew that 39 short (too short!) years ago, God would be using a nobody like me to do His good work?

All I know is that if the past 2 years are remotely representative of the next 39, then I am a very lucky girl.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. :)

29 October 2008

Going POSTAL

I know, I know... bad play on words, but it's seriously what I'm feeling thanks to the USPS.

You know, I have ALWAYS been one to support our United States Postal Service.
When they needed price hikes to stay competitive with commercial mail services, I totally supported them.
The USPS is an AMERICAN ICON -- how can any history lover (like moi) NOT support it?

As an eBay seller over the past 3 years, I have used the USPS for my shipping needs almost exclusively. I think I have employed UPS twice during that time.
That may be about to change.

I'm indulging myself in this rant in HOPES that someone -- anyone -- hears my plea & can offer some practical help.

This is the scenario:
I sell to a buyer in the UK.
The UK buyer is offered the choice of PRIORITY MAIL INTERNATIONAL, but instead (naturally) chooses FIRST CLASS INTERNATIONAL due the considerable price difference.
($15.25 versus $27.00, in case you are wondering)
I am not about to force my buyers into using a far more expensive, premium shipping service in today's economy.
That would be cruel and idiotic from a seller's standpoint.

But DID YOU KNOW:
That there is absolutely NO WAY to track a First Class International package?
None, apparently.
So, my buyer in the UK has waited 27 days for her package to arrive (it was SUPPOSED to be a present for her daughter's birthday) and I decide to investigate.

This is what I am told:
Yes, the USPS acknowledges that they received the package into their possession on October 2nd (using the Customs Form #).
After that, no clue.
The UK Postal Service claims the package has never entered their borders and the USPS won't dispute that.
The USPS claims that there is absolutely NO WAY to track or confirm a "First Class International" package.

But WHY IS THAT???

As I argued with the supervisor (via telephone) yesterday, there should be SOME FORM OF ACCOUNTABILITY for the USPS. Otherwise, a postal worker could just take advantage of that precious bit of information and go on a "shopping spree" among the First Class Int'l packages.
I have known some very fine, upstanding people to work for the USPS, but let's face it:
HISTORICALLY, the USPS' hiring has not been all that selective.
They are known for hiring, shall we say, less than moral individuals who wouldn't think twice about stealing a package, ESPECIALLY if they understood that there is no accountability on the part of their station or employer.

WHAT A GREAT SET-UP!

I was informed by the 12th USPS employee yesterday (for the 12th time) that I should choose a (more expensive) traceable way of shipping.

But, my argument is, WHY EVEN OFFER a non-traceable form of shipping? Isn't that just setting the system up for abuse & misuse?
What is the point?

I don't believe their illogical arguments & I'm not going to go away quietly.
I mean, really, in this day and age -- there's NO way, at all, to track these packages?
Yeah, right.

Meanwhile, GPS is tracking the movements of nearly every individual on the planet.
Oh, the technology is there.
It's the conviction that's missing.

If that package doesn't arrive REALLY soon, then I am out more than $60 AND I have lost the item which I could have relisted to sell at another time for possibly even more money. Obviously, Paypal will side with the buyer (as they always do) and refund her money (from my account!) to her -- and I don't blame them! If I were her, I would want my money returned, too! After all, her daughter's birthday has already come and gone. She has paid all this money & for what?

Short of taking up a lawsuit against the Federal Government (USPS, that is), I don't know what else to do!

So, dear readers: HELP!

28 October 2008

PICS From LIVE THE DREAM '08

Ok, so I totally lifted some of these pictures from Eric's Blog & Jennifer's Blog (*hope y'all don't mind!!*), but most of them are from my iPhone.
Check 'em out:

Ladies Waiting in Line to Get Inside!!

Opening Number -- Very Dramatic Drum & Dance -- with Break-Dancing, too!


Very Cool!



Don't Fall!


Pastor Dino Rizzo


Attentive Crowd -- more than 1500 women attended!!


At the After Party -- Cirque Du Soleil Was Here!!


Watching the Aerialist perform... Wonder what people driving by were thinking???


Girls Just Wanna Have FUN!


Injecting a Little TESTOSTERONE Into the Conference!


"God Made Men Out of Dirt"


Walking On Sunshine -- VERY COOL Synchronized Routine


THE END =(

Well, until NEXT YEAR...!