Saturday, September 24, 2005

God's Ways

It's been a roller coaster kind of week. There's been the truly wonderful - I got to be on Janet Parshall's America for an entire half hour last Wednesday. You can listen to it here if you are interested. This will take you to the archive page - click on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 Hour 3. The guest's name are messed up, but that's where I'm at. As I've listened to Janet for years, this was sort of like a special blessing from God. I was so nervous, but I felt the prayers of all my friends and ended up having a fabulous time. Oh, how I hope I get the chance to do it again!

Then there's the truly awful. I felt the Lord's leading in something that I committed to do. Prayed about it for a while before agreeing and then once I started I found that I hated it. I couldn't help but ask myself, Did I hear you wrong? What's going on? I cried every night out of sheer frustration and the committment still has five weeks to go. I will only make it through by the very grace of God.

But this weekend, as I've tried to catch my breath and recharge for the coming week, I wonder if perhaps my frustration is premature. Yes, while I agreed to do it in order to bless someone, maybe that was not the purpose God had intended. Perhaps God wanted me there to show me something I needed to see. And because of being there, my husband and I are now talking about making some major changes because of it.

It can be hard to switch gears when you thought something was going to go one way and it goes the other. But now that I have taken a step back, I have some new perspective. We are praying earnestly now for what to do from here and unfortunately it includes how to be honest about what I'm seeing. I don't mind being honest when the news is good, but when I have to deliver bad news, well, I'd just assume run in the opposite direction.

But it comes back to what I wrote before - looking up - seeking God and finding out what His way is. It's not always an easy road but I also am sure that when I look back on this I won't regret it - because God has used it to get my full attention on the matter. And if this is what it takes...then He can get me through the next five weeks....

I hope:-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Look Up!

I don't know about you, but it seems like when things go wrong in my life, they are ALL going wrong. Pressure seems to come from every side until I feel like I can't move or speak. And it's the kind of pressure you can't really do anything about except for wait on God.

And waiting on God isn't always easy.

The longer I walk with God, the more I am aware that God is after my faith. He wants me to believe in Him no matter what I am facing, no matter what I see in front of me. I feel Him calling me to praise Him even in the hard times and the desert places.

One of my favorite worship songs is from Matt Redman...

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Still I will say - blessed be Your name. As I prayed the other night, weary and tearful, God comforted my heart with a psalm - "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - He who watches over you will not slumber." (Psalm 121)

Isn't that amazing? I lift up my eyes to the hills.

It's what Noah did as he watched the flood waters recede.

It's what Abraham did as he went to give his son back to God.

It's what Jesus did as He made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Guess it puts it all into a little perspective. So even though nothing in my circumstances has really changed, I'm looking up instead of around me. And THAT is what makes all the difference.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

College Days

Every once in a while I still get a little thrill that I'm a grown-up. It's a little harder with kids these days - no, I can't decide at ten o clock at night that I want a Starbucks since that would require a babysitter (not to mention actual money to buy it with).

I still remember quite well that entire time of being a freshmen on campus, seventeen and on my own. No curfews, no one telling me to eat my vegetables and responsible to no one. The fact that I'm a first-born over-responsible person to begin with kept me in line. I might have partied in college but I also still went to my classes and worked hard. I had an internal drive to do well - okay, to be perfect - but you can imagine how well that went.

The picture I found is from the college I really went to. The building you see is Monroe Hall and I was even pushed into that very fountain by one of my professors. I loved college. It was hard at times (falling for someone who only ever wanted to be my friend) but I look back and see that college is where I first met God. I'm so glad so many Christians decided to come to a secular school and share their faith. It truly changed my life.

So why am I reminiscing about college days? I'm finishing up a proposal for a new fiction series that's set in college. It's been fun to look back but now that 25 pages of it is written, I want to finish the story, discover what happens. But no, I'll clean it up and send it off to my agent and get started on the next proposal, setting aside the characters I've already come to care about.

But hey, maybe someone will want to publish it and I'll get to finish the story:-)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four Years Later

My friend has a baby due today. Whether he will born today is yet to be seen but waking up this morning, as an American, was a little sad.

It's one of those moments we'll all remember where we were when it happened. I was at my daughter's gymnastics class that morning, pregnant with another baby on the way way. Someone came running into the gym and turned on the TV.

"A plane hit the World Trade Center."

"That's strange," I thought. "How did someone not see that?"

You see, in my mind, I imagined it was some bi-plane that got off course. I watched the TV, just smoke and fire, not realizing how large the hole really was. Then they showed the re-play. And I realized that someone had actually done it on purpose. A jetliner was shown over and over crashing straight into the building. It was no accident.

I squeezed my daughter to me and the only place I wanted to be was home.

I drove home, my eyes on the skies wondering what was happening, glancing at my toddler in the backseat blissfully unaware how her future was changing. I threw open my front door yelling for my husband but he was already in front of the TV.

"Did you hear?" I asked.

"Yes, both towers are hit."

"Both?" I dropped on to the couch and stared in shock at the smoke billowing from the buildings.

We watched the TV as the live reporting we have come to expect now shows horrible images. We learn of the attack on the Pentagon...just a few miles north of us...and we begin to wonder where it will end. We hear random reports of other highjacked planes. We wait and watch to see if more crashes will come, for the first time feeling unsafe in our own country. I think for a moment that I wish we didn't live so close to DC. My mind runs down my friends who have husbands that work in the Pentagon - I can't imagine what they are going through.

On live TV we watch a tower collapse and then almost half an hour later, a pile of rubble remains where the towers stood.

"I can't imagine New York without the Twin Towers."

"They're just...gone. How can that happen?"

For days we watched the coverage, unable to tear ourselves away. The deathtoll figures that jumped higher then lower. The reports of heros...and victims. The heartbreaking pictures of those looking for loved ones.

Over the next few weeks, we also watched the American flags begin to fly. everywhere you looked, people felt more American. We felt more like a community. As horrible as 9/11 was, it drew us together as a nation. We have to remember what happened so we'll remember what we are still fighting for.

Say a prayer today for the families that lost loved ones on this day. Where September 11th does not hold the anticipation of a birth but the rememberance of a loss. May God comfort their hearts and surround them with His peace.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sitcom Central

With the demise of Everybody Loves Raymond and the low ratings of a smart sitcom like Arrested Development, one has to wonder about the future of sitcoms.

Still, there's plenty of new ones that are hitting the fall schedule:

The War at Home (Fox)- What scares me about this one is that the family that this sitcom revloves around describes one daughter as "sexually rebellious" and one son as "sexually amibiguous". I can smell the propoganda from here. Somehow I sincerely doubt that this daughter will be contracting diseases and dealing with the inevitable loss of self-worth that comes with giving yourself away to anybody and everybody. And the son, well, it seems like gay charcaters are almost expected. It sounds eerily like the whole Married with Children raunchiness.

Kitchen Confidential (Fox)- the premise is interesting - a celebrity chef is given 48 hours to jump start a hot New York eatery. If this one can keep from disintregating into nothing but sexual humor about buxon servers and the bachelor chef, it might have a chance to be good. Of course, it follows Arrested Development...and stars Bradley Cooper (Alias' Will) - that alone may make it worth a shot.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)- The premise of this show intrigues me because it revolves around a guy that is anxious to find the love of his life - he just wants to fall in love. It's nice to see network TV at least admit that not every guy out there is only interested in "sex with no strings", though again, this show is certainly at risk of falling into that trap. Interesting possibilities...

Out of Practice (CBS) - What a waste of a cast! Henry Winkler, Stockard Channing...Another gay character, this time it's the sister struggling to keep a relationship and a father (Winkler) who's involved with his secretary. If this is the set-up I can just imagine what the season will dissolve into.

My Name is Earl (NBC) - The line "crude and sweet, a feel good comedy with a white trash veneer" just about says all I need to know. Even though I could already care less about Earl - I have a funny feeling people are going to be tuning in. There's something about watching rednecks make idiots of themselves that America can't resist - look at the popularity of Jeff Foxworthy!

Stacked - okay this one isn't new but I had to rant - how did this thing make it to a second season!!

Freddie (ABC) - I always worry about shows that are built around a lead instead of "situation" comedy - which is the neame of the game. Freddie Prinze is a likeable guy but so was Joey...and it just didn't work.

Everybody Hates Chris (UPN) - This is supposedly Chris Rocks childhood, narrarated by him. Could be a great show...we'll see what they try to do with it.

Love Inc. (UPN) - Did they watch Miss Match fail? Sometimes you have to wonder if networks analyze the failures enough.

Twins (Wb) - Everything just dissolves as the week goes on...ugh! It's based around a lingerie company that a pair of unlikely twins are supposed to take over. I can see where the jokes will come from in this one. Not interested...

Hot Properties (ABC) Basically you're talking sexy real estate agents. It's like a Sex and the City/Desperate Housewives wanna be set in a real estate office. Who cares?

And I was wondering about the future of sitcoms. Looks rather bleak. The really funny part is that these were the ones that rose to the top! But when you heat gold, it's the impurities that rise to the top. it's called dross and it's supposed to be scooped away. My bet is that half of these won't make it to mid-season and we'll have a few new ones premiering. Second string stuff. Maybe it's cause I grew up on the Cosby Show but I can't help but wonder why they can't be funny and clean at the same time. The sexual humor overpowers nearly everything nowadays and families can't watch any of this as a, you know, family. Even Seventh Heaven, which started out decent, got mired down in the same yuck as everything else, and didn't handle it any differently than anyone would. Our faith is supposed to make us different. And if it doesn't - then something is wrong. But it will be interesting to see what strikes a chord with people, and what fails.

Until then, we're always open!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Rolling out the Fall Schedule

I've watched with interest the new television shows that the networks are throwing out there so for the next few days I want to look at why that should matter to you:-)

The fact is that it's hard to get a pilot made in Hollywood, much less get one scheduled and on the air. They are also not given much time to succeed. The plug can be pulled at any moment, and those show runners are well aware of how fast they need to build an audience.

The networks invest big bucks into making these shows so that in turn, the advertisers will invest bib bucks for you to watch the shows. They don't go into it lightly. They miss the mark at times, but there is a reason they think these shows will succeed in American households. Advertisers are clammering to get your attention. Consider this:

Consumers who own digital video recorders (DVRs) like TiVo skip 92 percent of ads, according to "Inside The Mind Off The DVR User," a new report conducted by Forrester Research Inc. The study also found that TiVo users spent 60 percent of their viewing time watching delayed or recorded programs

Even though DVR's only comprise about 5% of American households, it's expected that number will climb to 41% (not sure why it's 41 and not 40) in the next five years.

The onset of the DVR will change television. We forget sometimes that television programming is a way to get you to watch advertising, not the other way around.

Why should we care?

Well looking at what's coming on television is a way to get a taste of our culture - what's popular... it's supply and demand at work on that screen in your living room. If we don't demand it, they don't supply it. So looking at the fall schedule will give you a look at what our nation is demanding and what will be said to them.

I watched the movie Constantine last night (well, over the course of two nights really) and my husband and I kept pausing the movie pointing out all the doctrinal errors they were "teaching" people through this movie. Yes, people out there do get their ideas about God and religion through mass entertainment so we would be wise to watch and see what is being taught.

Now I didn't expect the movie to be "doctrinally sound", but why teach something wrong, when teaching the correct thing would not change the movie. My biggest problem was that this, like so many other movies, gives satan far too much power and credit. They described God as someone with an ant farm (how he sees us).

I grew up with a Dad that said "God helps those who help themselves". It wasn't until college that I learned that God never said that!

We get subtle, and blatent messages through television - if we know what they are, then we are more prepared to combat them with the truth.

So over the next week or so I want to look at Fall TV...and why it matters...

And since I know you're out there reading, I have Site Meter, I want to hear from you. Please join in. What's sparked your interest this season? What shows do you watch? Love? Hate?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Light in the darkness

It is such a gorgeous day here in Virginia that I almost feel guilty enjoying it. I had to finally turn off the news last night because I just couldn't watch anymore. I feel so bad for those that lost everything but lately all the media wants to do is bash everyone and everyone for not doing enough, for not being prepared, for not responding correctly.

I don't think critisizing does anyone any good - especially when we're in the midst of the tragedy. I don't know why it's taking so long to get everyone out - but I sincerely doubt anyone is doing it on purpose. And I don't know why they didn't have a plan in place when what happened was more a matter of "when" not "if".

It's the same thing with each other. It's like that old saying about getting more with honey. The Bible talks about "encouraging one another daily" so that we are not hardened by sin. (Heb 3:13) Why do we want to tear down when we need to build one another up?

Why worry about the terrorists when we'll gladly destroy each other from within?

I'd rather the news focus on all the stories of how people are helping one another instead of just finding people who will rant and rave on camera. It's an awful situation to be sure but instead of showing only the depravity, let's start rejoicing over the good. And there is SO much good, too. Even in the midst of something terrible, God is still God - all the time.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Blog for Katrina!

Watching the news coverage last night before I went to bed, I could only stare in horror at the devastation that has come to the Gulf region. Imagine an entire town, the nation's 35th largest, declared "uninhabitable".

Hundreds of professionals have descended on the region, Texas has opened it's arms for the refugees of New Orleans and agencies from all over are ready to help. And there are countlee other communities that have been devastated as well.

So what can we do as we sit in our nice safe homes with power and water and food in the fridge?



Truly, these people need our prayers...and not just for help and the water to recede and safety but for God to restore their hope.

So many people lost absolutely everything to the floodwaters. They have no homes, no jobs, no hope. I was talking with Clint van Zandt yesterday and as we were talking about the problems with looting down in the region, he said "They need hope." How true. We might think they need more police, more national guard - but it is hope that is really needed. The Bible says that without a vision, people perish. And with everything gone people are left lost and aimless. He had a great suggestion, too. That the federal government hire all the displaced people to rebuild themselves. Help them have a real hope of a future well as a paycheck.

The problem with prayer is that we'll start forgetting and what they will face will go on for many, many months. We need to keep praying as the shock of what has happened gives way to grief and anger.


Every bit will help. These are our friends and neighbors and the church is all about reaching out to those in need. Those who love the Lord should be the most generous. Since we are the church it is our responsibility to ask God what it is we are supposed to give...and then be faithful to give it. No matter what our age, no matter what our financial circumstances, we should help.

Where do you donate?

Most places you can do it right online or over the phone. Check out these places:

The Salvation Army

Their site says "A $100 donation to The Salvation Army will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household clean-up kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets, and cleaning supplies."

Samaritan's Purse

Giving help to the body, soul and spirit.

The Red Cross
We've all heard of them and they are usually the first on the scene.

The Humane Society

From their site: Some people were forced to leave their pets behind. Others were never able to evacuate at all. Now, in Katrina’s aftermath, The HSUS's Disaster Animal Response Teams are primed to help the pets and other animals left behind in the region’s most devastated areas.


The God we serve is not to be trifled with. Events such as these should cause us to look up to God and remember all that we have to be thankful for. Bless God today for all your creature comforts, the food on your table, and a bed to sleep in - and mean it in a whole new way.

Lord, we do ask for your favor upon the people in the Gulf right now. We ask you to bring comfort to their hearts and that help would come swiftly. For those that are grieving Lord, be their Comforter. For those that are fearful, be their Strong Tower. For those that have lost their hope, make Your Presence known to them. Stir up the hearts of your people, Lord, to be prayerful and generous. Help this tragedy draw us together, and not split us apart. We ask for abundant wisdom to those in authority over the towns, electrical and water companies. Help them find the solutions they need and pour out Your grace as they set about the work of restoring these cities. Have mercy on them all O Lord, according to your unfailing love and may Your glory shine during this dark time.

Glenn's Roundup