Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Women of Faith (Part 2)

A very nice surprise at the conference on Friday night was the fact that Anita Renfroe was there. She did a small comedy sketch and then sang her new song…a parody of Carrie Underwood's "Think Before He Cheats" as "Think Before I Eat."

Saturday morning, we got there in plenty of time to begin with the worship team. The first speaker was Pasty Clairmont. I just love her. She had a silver jacket (looked like a baked potato to me). She's so funny. She talked about losing our words…and how there was a woman in the Bible who had lost her words too. Pasty reminded us that if we need something to ask. It's a simple thing, but if others don't know how they can help…help may not come.

After a small break, we had the privilege of hearing Sandi Patty. I have to say when I first heard Sandi would be one of the speakers I wasn’t looking forward to it, but when I saw the title of her book, I knew I would get something from her lesson. She has written a book entitled "Layers." She tells how she began to put on layers to hide what she was facing. She talked about an incident that happened when she was just 6 years old. This incident caused a choice to be stolen from her…with the absence of the choice, damage caused trust issues. The way we build trust is by the ability to make choices. When our choices are taken away from us…it becomes harder for us to build trust. She also talked about her wonderful godly father…who has been stopping by her house each day. As he leaves he tells her he loves her and that she is beautiful. One of the times after reading her book, he stopped at the door and said, "I know you see the little 6 year old girl who has a lot of issues and situations that have caused layers to be covering who she really is, but what I see is the beautiful 5 year old." What a wonderful thing for her daddy to say to her. He may not have understood what she had been through, but God gave him the words to say to encourage his daughter.

The lunch break came and Mary and I made our way to the meeting for "Revolve Tour." It was informative, but a little long. We barely made it back for the concert given by Natalie, but we did make it.

Natalie was amazing as always. I really enjoyed hearing some of the new songs, but I was a little disappointed that she didn't sing my two favorite songs from the new CD ("I Will Not Be Moved" or "Make A Way")…both of these songs are my favorites, but she did sing "In Better Hands"…which is good. I think one of my favorites she did sing was a cappella "I'd Rather Have Jesus." I love that hymn and she did amazing singing it.

After the concert it was time for Marilyn MeBerg. Normally, I really enjoy listening to Marilyn, but this year was hard, because my eyes got heavy and I was in much need of a nap. She did talk about some things I was able to process.

Finally it was Luci's turn…Luci is my most favorite Women of Faith speaker. She is so much fun and this year she was even funnier. I was sadden by some news that Luci will be taking things slower from this point...meaning she may not be at all of the Women of Faith functions. This year she was very encouraging. One of her statements that hit me was "our problem is we measure our strength against the problem or trial we are facing and not against God's strength." On our church sign I have put "With GOD all things are possible." That statement has really impacted me this week...especially after hearing that statement from Luci. God does not ask me to understand what He's doing in my life...He simply asks me to trust Him.

I shared tonight at church that thought of just trusting Him. One of my favorite ways described to me about trusting is this...trust is simply laying in a hammock. You can't move when you are in a hammock or you will fall out...but if you totally get in it and allow the hammock to cradle your body you are secure. Lay your life in Jesus' hands. He has definitely proved Himself trustworthy to me...and I'm finding that there are many more areas He wants to use this lesson in my life. I pray I will be able to continue to just lay and allow Him to use me to bring glory to His name.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WOMEN OF FAITH

Well...this past weekend was my fourth annual trip to Women of Faith...I have actually been a total of 6 times, but since 2005, we have not missed a conference. This year's theme was "Infinite Grace." I knew I was going to get something out of the conference with all the craziness life was causing before we even left. Each of us had something to cause us to take note and begin praying specifically for our trip there and the conference itself.

We met up at Kat's house around 7ish...I was a little late, but they didn't leave without me. I had forgotten my medication and eye drops (sorry Ginger and Mary...but I didn't remember them until when I got back on Saturday night). I knew I had forgotten my medication for blood pressure and vitamins though before we left Kat's house.

We stopped at Bob Evans to eat breakfast...It was really good and held us over until lunch late in the afternoon. It rained as we traveled part of the way, but by the time we got to Easton the sun was shining and we were ready to trek our way through some good deals. We stopped at Build-a-Bear for our third annual bear making tradition. When I got there I checked for the outfit I wanted, but they said I could only get it online. My plan was to name my bear "David the Cook" after my favorite American Idol singer David Cook...but without the chef's outfit...it's not as cute...as I looked around the store, I did notice an electric guitar...so I purchased it as well. We got up to the register and Sara saw these cute little shirts with dinosaur on them. Our theme this year for VBS is "Digging for God's Truth" but the theme of dinosaurs are part of it. Well...Sara says...you need to buy this for David the Cook and if you go to Charlotte during VBS it can remind you to pray for VBS. I have a paper that I have filled out that states I'll be a prayer warrior for VBS this year...as there is a chance I may not be in town for the week of VBS. Well...I bought it as it was on sale.

After our adventure at Build-a-Bear we went in search for food...as we were all hungry. So we made our way to Brio Tuscan Grille...pretty good food too. We were ready to head to the hotel after a few more shops were hit. With construction though we didn't get to the hotel as soon as we'd hoped. We had just enough time to quickly put our stuff away and get freshened up just a bit.

We headed to the arena...and one of the parking garages didn't have the sign as low as they should have...we almost got stuck...but we did make it out of there.

The first night of the conference Sheila Walsh spoke. Her new book was entitled "Get off Your Knees and Pray". There are times we do need to pray on our knees...but prayer should be who we are. She mentioned "I took prayer off my to do list and make it who I am". The Bible states we are to be praying without ceasing...and it really should be practiced like breathing. *Side note...this morning I was coming in and out of sleep state, but I was noticing that I was praying when I was coming out of sleep. I was comforted this morning as I was praying for different people in my life. This prayer time was comforting to me as well...because I was placing those things into God's hands to work...not stressing about them myself.

Friday night Nicole C. Mullen performed in concert. She did amazing. She sang my FAVORITE song "One Touch (Press)". It was very good. I think my friends are going to work with me to do the drama with the song the next time I sing it.

As they were closing...Mary asked me if I wanted to go ahead and see about talking with Natalie and Nicole...and I said yes...we headed out of the arena and was able to find Natalie first...after seeing her we were in search of Nicole...by the time we got to Nicole...they had closed the line off...we still stood around for a bit, but we didn't get to meet up with her.

As we were walking out to the van...it was very crowded...so to waste some time we took some pictures...

Another tradition we have is to order pizza and have it delivered to the hotel and eat something before bed....well...it was interesting this time...the delivery guy was WEIRD...very. But we did get our pizza and we watched a movie with the Rock in it...wow! What a combination...pizza and the Rock...two of my favorite things. LOL!!! During the movie a commercial came on and Kat just got the giggles. She began laughing and we thought she was going to spray pop all over the place...it was quite the funny scene

We all went to bed after midnight...We all got up and Kat and Momma Pat went to get our breakfast. After that we got things packed up and left for the arena.

Saturday was even better...I'll finish it later because I need to close this blog out before I head back to lunch.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Excited!!!!

Just two more work day...until Women of Faith. I think this is our fourth annual trip to the Women of Faith conference in Columbus, OH. The group of girls who travel there have a blast. Each year we have something that encourages us. Last year was an interesting year for some of us. I remember thinking that the speakers I really didn't want to hear actually were the ones that really spoke to me. And the worship time with music was when my tears were shed. This year from our church it will be Kat, Mary, Pat (Mary's mom), Sara, Ginger, Sammi and myself. We have some friends from other places joining us...but those are the ones that are considered from our church. This trip is also fun for me to look back at the beginning of my friendship with Sara. She was new to our church and a lady from the church mentioned that Sara would be interested in going with us. That year, Kat, Sara, Jessica (my cousin), and Sara shared a room. Mary and Tina were in another room with Tina's mom...but they joined us for some pool time then games and ice cream back at our hotel room. That weekend, Kat mentioned that she and I should room with Sara and Jessica because both of them are quite shy...well...we were wrong. I knew Jessica because she was my cousin and she's not as shy when you get to know her...but the surprise was Sara...that girl can talk more than me sometimes. LOL!!! Just kidding...probably not.

But that weekend was the weekend that hooked our friendship. Since then she and I have become really close friends. I call her my mini me...it's just that a lot of people don't get to see it. But she can be herself around me and I'm so okay with it. She can tell me WAY TOO MUCH INFO...and I won't condemn her for it...because I'm the queen of TMI. LOL!! We were roommates for our trip to Mexico. I was sitting next to her during her very first flight. She did great too...I do still have circulation in my hand.

Two years ago, we developed a tradition...and I'm really excited about getting the one for this year. We go to Build-a-Bear at Easton and build our bear to remember the fun trip. The first year I really wasn't into, but that bear is my favorite of all. I named him "Michael Vaughn"...I actually sleep with him every night. He's just the bear...no outfit...just simply a bear. The second one (last year) is named "Lucas Eugene Scott". He's my favorite character on One Tree Hill. Last year I had every intention of getting one named "Nathan Royal Scott" Lucas' brother, but I have come up with a different idea for this year's bear. I'll post the results if it works out.

Until next time...

Friday, April 18, 2008

AA Talks...

Audio Adrenaline frontman Mark Stuart and bassist Will McGinnis have joined together again to present the first AA Talks at Bridges Christian Church in Russell, KY.

This was an amazing event. I went not knowing what to expect, but I left with so much encouragement. The one verse that was used to really bring home the point of the whole evening was Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and beore thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." God knew us as he was knitting us together in our mother's womb. I think it's interesting how this thought was brought in my life again this week. I wrote a few blogs ago about this thought of God creating us for His glory at the beginning ... in our mother's wombs and stuff. Well...here it is again. He used a quote how we need to give Him the pen to write our story...instead of taking it from Him and trying to write ours. My friend Sara has a way of remembering those little convicting quotes to use when I begin to talk about comfort zones, new adventures, etc. Well...there she was again...with "give Him the pen." What a simple thought that each of us there tonight will bring home with us. Give Jesus the pen so He can write our story for His glory. I think it's great how my friends are so supportive of me. They encourage me and believe in me more than I do myself. God has definitely blessed me with some really great ones. We missed those who were not able to be with us, but we also went home encouraged by fellow Christians who are giving the pen back to God to allow Him to use them.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

FRESH BREAD...

Monday, a friend of mine who is the pastor of a little country church called my office to let me know they were having revival. His wife had already told me and I was hoping to be able to go on Tuesday night, so he asked me if I would sing too. I told him yes and then I went to praying about what songs to choose.

Those of you who know me understand my passion to use music to bring glory to God...so usually when I sing for a special occasion...I actually pray about what God wants me to sing. Sometimes I have something I want to sing, but God will change it. I also began to pray that God would bring me something to encourage me from the message too.

From my last blog many could tell I was struggling, and Monday was a new day for me. I just needed to write my feelings out so that I can move to the next lesson...and get over whatever I'm feeling.

Well...boy did God show up. I sang "Completely" a song featured in the movie "Facing the Giants." It was the first time I had sung that song in public, and I'm really glad that was one of the songs to sing. That song talks about surrender and focusing on God's wants...not mine. The other song I sang was "One Touch (Press)." This song has a special place in my heart because I heard it last year in November and thought it was a pretty song, but when I began reading through the gospels, I read the story of the woman with the issue of blood and remembered this song. So I began to study the story. How in the Old Testament when women had a discharge of blood they were considered unclean and how anything they touched was unclean too. She had to keep herself away from people and as the song states it was ostracized for 12 years. She had dealt with this issue of blood for 12 years...she had been unclean for all of those 12 years. I can't imagine having to not be around people for more than a day ... or even a week, but 12 years.

Anyway...Chad Burn spoke and he brought out how Jesus is the Living Bread. He said that Jesus was talking to the disciples here when He said this...and asked the question...why did Jesus use the connection of bread? He brought out that bread was a staple in the Jews life. They ate it with their meals. He brought out the fact when the Israelites were in the wilderness one of the things that was provided during those 40 years was manna...a sweet bread type flake. It was there EVERY morning (with the exception of the Sabbath)...fresh and waiting. The reason for it not being there on the Sabbath was the law of keeping the Sabbath holy. They were to take extra on the day before the Sabbath, but that was the only day the extra would not spoil. If they took extra on Monday...then Tuesday morning it would be spoiled. That's not part of his message, just a side note.

So...back to his message...the thing I took with me that night that really encouraged me was his illustration of Heiner's bakery. In Huntington, WV there is a bread bakery...and when you are in the area you smell the bread. You can use that sense of smell and know there's bread there. Do you see the bread? No...but you can definitely smell it. Now...Jesus is the Living Bread. Can I see Him? Not yet, but can I smell Him...yes I can. I can tell He's here with my other senses. He then described the woman with the issue of blood walking in a crowd of people...not sure where Jesus was...but she could smell him. She was pressing through the crowd trying to get close to Jesus...She even had faith that she didn't have to actually touch Jesus, but just touch the hem of the garment.

In the song, there's a line that Nicole wrote that gets me every time. It says, "So many people calling, how could He ever know, that just a brush of Him, would stop the flow." She was healed by her faith...when she touched Him. How do we know that? Jesus immediately says, "who touched Me?" The disciples are probably like, "what are you talking about? Why do you ask that...there are people all around you pressing up against you and you are asking, who touched you?" I think of it as a scene from a championship game...where the player that scored the game winning point is being crowded around...if he were to ask "who touched me?" we would be like...what are you talking about? The greatest thing I love about Him asking...is that He knew. He just wanted her to step out in faith to say..."I did." And you know what...she did. She not only told Him it was her...but she told her story...and He listened. He was her "fresh bread" at that moment. He took the time to listen to her story and gave her exactly what she needed and more. He healed her of the issue...and gave her a new life.

That's what Jesus does for us...He heals us of our problems, issues, illnesses, and gives us a new life. He cares about EVERYTHING we are going through...He cares about the problems we are facing at work...in our relationships (with friends and spouses)...with our attitudes...EVERYTHING. And He's there with FRESH BREAD to give us. He's there waiting...we just have to accept it.

What are you struggling with? Go get some fresh bread...I have tried to fill that void with other things...but what I needed was just some "fresh bread".

Hope this encourages you as much as it encouraged me. Until next time...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Living my life...

It's interesting when I look back on my life at what I thought was a major trial and see God's hand guiding me along the way. It's interesting how when a circumstance that I'm uncomfortable in will cause me to run the other way instead of facing and it getting through the lesson God is teaching me. You'd think that since I have seen his handiwork in the past that things would be clear this time around...but seriously...I'm so human and I still haven't learned that lesson.

So...a lot of things are going on in my life lately. I think I wrote a few blogs ago about God teaching us lessons and how sometimes I just have to hold up my hands in the air and say, "please can I get a break?"...sometimes that break comes quickly other times I'm pushed a little more through. Well...I think the amazing way God works is humorous as well.

Well...this weekend was one of those times that I asked God to please hold off...and you know what...He didn't, but He did provide a release of all the frustration I was feeling over the weekend.

Last night, I had got to church early and was sitting in my pew writing in my journal while listening to Avalon singing "El Shaddai" on repeat. I really think that song was the beginning of my healing process. Ginger came in a little early to talk with me and I began the crying process. Ben and Kat came in a little later and Kat asked, "you finally break down?" I said, "yeah, but it's not a bad thing." Then Pastor came in and we talked some and more tears came. Finally one more cry needed to happen until after my job was completed before the message. I was talking to Connie about what a wonderful church family I had and tears just began to fall. She simply hugged me and reminded me of something I sing ... "Life is hard...but God is good."

Right before the service began I was talking to Pastor about the invitation song and told him I wouldn't be able to lead it, and he said, "well the message may not help it either." I just looked at him with a few tears in my eyes. But they didn't leak out.

I made it through the song service without too much problem. Then Mary sang "Bring the Rain" and I just let it go. Then pastor got up and gave the title of his message "The Language of Tears." Kat looked over at me and I said, "well...he warned me." It was a very good message...a great reminder that God does care about those tears we shed...and it's really okay to cry. The best thing about last night was when the invitation was given. Even though I wasn't able to lead the song...due to my crying and shaking voice... I looked up and saw a couple I had been praying for to join our church walking down to the front. YEAH!!! They wanted to join our church. It was such a great way to end the very emotional weekend.

Choir practice wasn't too long, so I was able to head home to get ready to hit the sack and get up this morning to start my new workout plan. YEAH!!!...and I did succeed at getting up.

I want to leave you with a great quote I read yesterday before all the craziness happened. "Live your life as though when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "oh no...she's awake!!!" I want to live my life so that Satan is afraid because I'm a girl living for Jesus.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Book

My sister asked me which book I was reading about weight loss. It's the new Bob Harper book "Are You Ready! To Take charge, Lose weight, Get into Shape, and Change your Life Forever"

There are some things in the book I don't agree with, but the basic principles are needed. Some of the exercises I had to adjust, because I believe God is my Creator and He wants me to connect with Him and not "earth". The majority of the book is going to help me with my basic goal for the year..."To Honor God with my actions and attitude."

Until next time...

My review on Another Time, Another Place: Timeless Christian Classics

My new profile song is from the Avalon "Another Time, Another Place: Timeless Christian Classics." I have a feeling blog is going to make me sound so old...compared to most of my friends...but when we are honest...I am a lot older than my friends...so I'm going to go ahead and finish this crazy blog. LOL!!! This CD is sentimental to me not only because of the songs, but because this is the last CD Jody McBrayer is singing. He is definitely going to be missed.

So...These songs are the songs that I grew up listening to. The CD opens with a classic from Twila Paris "God Is In Control". This song is a great one....and updated in a way only Avalon can do. This song has a great message and has been a reminder to me of the title..."God IS in control". Praise the Lord for that!

"For The Sake of the Call" is one of Steven Curtis Chapman's hits at his prime. This song challenges us to live our lives for the sake of the call from God. Again Avalon was able to take this up a notch and give it a more contemporary feel.

"Thy Word" one of Amy Grant's big hits from the CD "Straight Ahead" one of my favorite CD's by Amy. This updated version by Avalon gives a good mix of some harmonies throughout it. Well done.

Next is the classic from Sandi Patty and Wayne Watson "Another Time, Another Place." This song takes me back to a trip I took with my sister, as we were working on singing this song together...until I was unable to get the vocal difficulty Wayne did. Wayne being a classically trained singer, is amazing on this song...for Avalon to do this song...shows their ability as vocalists as well. They did very well bringing this to a new era.

Next up is Michael English's first hit as a solo artist, "Solid As the Rock". Singing a song that was originally sung by a solo artist can be difficult to bring a new way of working the four different voices, but Avalon split the verses to feature each voice, and brings good harmonies during the chorus'.

Crystal Lewis made the classic "People Get Ready - Jesus is Coming" a hit...and I believe that I will pick Avalon's version over Crystal's 10 to 1. No offense to Crystal Lewis and her talent, but sometimes a song doesn't connect with the listener...and this is one of them for me. I never really liked this song when it was originally out, and if I were picking the songs for this CD, I probably wouldn't have picked this one...but I believe Avalon hit this one well.

Up next is one of my favorite songs, however, I think I have to pick the original version over Avalon's. Again...no offense to Avalon attempting this song, but I'm such a fan of 4Him and Kirk Sullivan's vocal rings on this song like no other. I do like the music update...but missing Kirk's voice just doesn't give it enough to suit me.

The classic "We Will Stand" by Russ Taff, was previously released on the Stand CD and features Russ as a vocalist. This one I like...Russ has an amazing voice and with the added vocals by Avalon brings this one to a another level.

Originally First Call sang "The Reason We Sing"...again this song is done by a great vocal group with tight harmonies, but Avalon was able to turn it up a notch with their tight harmonies as well. This is one of my favorites from this CD.

Wayne Watson made "Friend of a Wounded Heart" popular. I wish I had the opportunity to pick songs for this CD by Avalon, because I would have picked "I Don't Want Your Money" by Wayne. This song comes after a time I didn't listen to Wayne's music, so I'm not really familiar with this one.

My profile song is "El Shaddai." This Amy Grant hit was from the release of Age to Age...a great selling record for Amy. I love the feel of this one in the updated version. It reminds me a bit of "The Katinas."

I'm excited that Avalon chose "A Place in This World" by Michael W. Smith than maybe say, "Friends". This was a great vocal arrangement for a song originally sung by a solo artist.

The thing I most remember about my love for music in the 90's is BeBe & CeCe Winans...now that they are solo artists, they made it big as a brother/sister duo. This song has a special memory for me as this song was used as a backdrop for a trip to Nebraska with my sister. Sometimes I can tell you a story about certain songs in my life and this is one of those songs. "Addictive Love" is a classic of BeBe & CeCe. This song is featured on my myspace home page as a video by the original artist...and the updated version is going to be a special one to me too.

Steve Green originally recorded "People Need The Lord." This song is a great reminder of how ripe the fields are for us Christians to be spreading the Word about Jesus...because people do need the Lord in their lives. Avalon sings this in a way that brings this classic to a contemporary level.

Closing out the CD, Avalon chose to recreate one of their own classics...which again is a good one..."Testify To Love" updated is good...because the original features Michael Passions the original guy from Avalon...but the new one has Greg Long singing Michael's part. Greg has made the transition into Avalon as smooth as can be.

I really have enjoyed listening to some songs of my past...and hope you will get the opportunity to pick up your copy and be introduced to some great classic songs of Christian music.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Just some thoughts running in my head...

Hey everybody! Not much has been happening for me to write about...I did enjoy both messages Sunday. In the morning Pastor continued with his line of thinking how sin hinders holiness, with a look at Sanctification: A Commitment to Excellance. At the end of the message he asked "am I commited to excellance?" It's a question that our lifestyle answers before we do. How are we living as Chrisians? Do we do the things of the world, yet on Sunday put our church clothes and talk a different talk? Or does our walk each day match our talk ... even on Sundays? It's very thought-provoking.

Sunday evening, he spoke from David's perspective with the question, "Is there not a cause?" David went to battle with Goliath for a cause...David was concerned with God's name, he had God's strength, and God's love with him. Pastor's references were from I Sam 17 and Psalm 8...focusing mainly on the verses from Psalm 8 to answer the question from I Sam 17 "Is there not a cuase?"

A song that was in my head while listening to the message was "Friend of God" by Israel Houghton. I love how this song begins "Who am I that you are mindful of me?" God is thinking about us. He wants a relationship with us...not because He's bored and needs company, but because He really loves His creation...and I'm apart of that creation. God loves me...how simple that statement is, but yet has a major impact on me.

Do I live like a person that knows God loves me? I'm reading a book about weight loss..and one of the keys this guy writes is about connecting the heart and mind with this transformation about to take place. It's not a simple thing...our view of ourselves is a lot of times distorted. Six of us in my core group are working towards a weight loss journey. Some of us have different reasons why we want to get our weight off, but I think each of us have that distorted view of ourselves. I think we don't see ourselves as the lovable creation God took time in creating us.

I love Psalm 139...where David writes, "You've formed me in my mother's womb". I think about people I know who have had children. Have they considered this thought...God was forming their child. These people out there in the world who don't believe it's a baby until it's born...they have a distorted view of how God views us...this veiw has affected their reasoning for the killing of children...who were being formed by God.

I think of my niece who is about to deliver next month. God has been forming her child these past months...preparing her for the world she is about to be born into. I'm thankful my niece has an upbringing that has prepared her to teach her little girl about God and His way.

There are a lot of lies out there and those lies are what our distorted views feed from...we need to surround ourselves with the Truth. God loves us...He is the creator of all things. Praise His holy name!

Friday, April 04, 2008

work and witnessing...

I’m thankful for the jobs I have had in my life. I believe each job has been given to me by God. My first full-time job was with Rax Restaurants. A friend of the family knew I was looking for a job and they were able to put a good word for me. Plus the fact my sister worked there a few years before me. I worked for this company for 5 years...between to different restaurants. I started out in a store in Kentucky and later transferred to a store in Ohio. Leaving my position as a shift supervisor was directed by God with the opportunity to go to school at Southland Bible Institute in Ashland, KY. Since school would be taking up much of my time, I had decided to leave there and find something part-time in Kentucky.

Through a friend from my boss at Rax, I was able to be hired at K-mart Department Stores. My first year with K-mart was a rocky one...as my school schedule caused some conflicts with scheduling. Thankfully I had developed a good work ethic with a few people above me and they seemed to put a good word in with the HR manager. I think she would have fired me had these people not give their opinion of me. In fact, one evening the HR manager came to me with surprising news that the job I had completed in the toy department impressed her. I told her that I would do my best to allow my school schedule to not cause problems while I was working there. I quit the choir...which was interesting as I really loved singing, but with the travelling schedule I did need to have the job too. So something had to go. I believe God used me at K-mart to witness to my co-workers...not in a beat them over the head, but as a person of love. Someone who had compassion on them...even though I didn’t agree with their particular lifestyle. After completing my four years at SBI, I graduated, but continued to work with K-mart for one more year. Right after celebrating my fifth year there, I ran into a good friend from college at a Geoff Moore concert, who worked at a small mortgage company in Ashland. She mentioned they were looking for a receptionist, and I was hoping to be able to find something that would allow me to be able to attend church on Sundays and Wednesdays. At K-mart my schedule was either mornings or evenings, and I sometimes had to work on Sundays too.

I was hired in September of 1998 with Star Financial Corp. Within the first year though, we had some financial difficulties and I was let go...for two weeks. After those two weeks, I was asked to come back as a loan processor as one of the girls working that position had to be away for several weeks due to a death in the family. I continued to work there and eventually ended up as a loan closing agent. This job was my first job working for a boss who was a Christian. It was a great atmosphere to work and we were able to encourage each other with our morning prayer meetings. I actually stayed with this company for a little over seven years, but the last year was a little hectic with money again.

In February of 2005, I was making a call to an insurance company for one of my clients. The insurance agent I was talking to had become a friend of mine...so out of the blue I asked if they happened to be hiring there. He said, "yes, as a matter of fact we are." I told him I would run my resume down to him and he just said to fax it to him. He would get it to the agency manager. The following Saturday after faxing my resume, the agency manager called for me to come for an interview. On Presidents day I met with him and was hired that day. It was a difficult decision to leave the company after seven years, but it was the right time.

I began working in the main office located in Greenup in March of 2003. The small office became a home to me and I really enjoyed the regular customers who would come to pay their bills or make changes on their policies. Towards the end of 2006, I began to work a few days a week in the satellite office in Flatwoods. January 2, 2007, I was officially moved to the satellite office to work with the agent in that office. It was an interesting combination...more relaxed atmosphere, but sometimes a little tense...depending on the day it was.

In September of 2007, we had a major change in the office. The agent was leaving to pursue an agency managers position in another county and we were getting a new agent. I was a little worried about this move, but I should have known God was in control and He was working behind the scenes. The agent applying for the position came into the office to introduce himself and we hit it off. His wife is an amazing woman as well. She helps out when we need her and is very easy to talk to.

I have given you the history of my employment for a main reason...I believe God has led me to these jobs to be a witness and light to Him. But not only to share my faith with those who may not believe, but also to encourage those brothers and sisters I have.

Bryan (the new agent), Crystal and I were talking this week about how we want our office in Flatwoods to have a good reputation in the community. We want to be seen as helpers...making it not only easy to do business, but also to leave feeling better than when they come first come in. Crystal is a great people person and is great at selling life insurance for Bryan, where as my strong points are more in the technical things...like figuring out why a bill is more this month than last month.

I mentioned how I enjoy seeing my regular customers each month...and with our goal being one of bringing a light in their day I have come to discover that many of them brighten my day instead.

Well...yesterday one of my customers called to speak to me on the phone. I had mentioned about a Christian concert being in the area and faxed him a flyer to give him information about it. He called to thank me for telling him about it. While I was on the phone I mentioned that I was entering the CATS competition. I asked that he pray for me as I stepped out of my comfort zone to do it. He wanted to speak to me about a problem, but before he did, he said, "let me pray for you right now." I tell you tears came into my eyes...one of my customers was sitting on the other end of the phone praying for me. How encouraging that was for me to experience. I love it when people actually pray for you when you ask them too...but to do it right on the phone. It was such a blessing I just really enjoyed it.

Today though was another experience. I have finally found K-Love on the radio at work. With the added station in this area we are now able to get it. I love listening to K-Love because the music on there is encouraging to me and it also allows our customers to hear while they have to wait. One particular customer was in the back office talking with Bryan and heard Crystal and myself share some things about our faith to one of our customers. She came out of the office and mentioned to Bryan that she wanted to come up and have church before she left. She told us she was very excited to hear us listening to K-Love and sharing our faith and God allowing her to see that the people she is using as her insurance agents are fellow believers. It was another way of God blessing my crazy hectic dreary week.

Yes the week started off rainy and dreary, and God used my friend Kat to give me that silver lining to focus on...and at the end of the week, God used our customers to give us that silver lining to focus on...to help us to be bold when sharing our faith.

It’s a blessing allowing God to lead my path as I walk along this journey. I’m thankful He’s in control of everything.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Almost finished...

This week has been spent working on my audition packet. I will be picking up the last thing to put in it (my photo). Ginger got the biography to me yesterday and I typed it and added a little to it. I thought I'd share with you the finish product from the biography.


Genesis tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. My baby book says he finished my creation on May 27, 1970. I, Deborah Denise Jayne (known as DeeJay to all my friends), entered the world as the youngest of seven children born to Charles and Garnet Jayne. My mom has told me stories of how music was a big part of my life from an early age.

As young girls, my sister Mary and I used our hairspray bottles as microphones to sing along with Bill Gaither and the Sunday School Picnic. I still remember twirling around in the foyer of our home pretending to be singing in front of hundreds of people. I also listened to a song by Evie Karlson entitled “Four Feet Eleven and I’m going to Heaven.” Being vertically challenged myself, I was particularly drawn to that one.

I began to realize how much I loved music. I’ve often dreamed of being a background singer for Michael W. Smith. Since he grew up in the same Tri-State area I did, I felt as though maybe someday I could pursue a career as a background vocalist. I have never really wanted to be in front singing as the main performer, but God has had other plans.

When I was a senior in high school, I sang my first solo at Freedom Baptist Church. I still remember singing “’Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus” thinking … “wow, I’m really trusting in Him as I’m singing this.” I was so nervous, but I made it through the song. The more opportunities to sing…the more I see God using my talents He gave me to bring glory and honor to Him.

In the late 90’s, my sister-in-law Tonda recommended the song “Life is Hard” for me to sing. She thought the song would be a good range for my vocals. I got it on a Friday night and I sang it two days later. Soon this song became “my signature song.” Many people would request me to sing this for different occasions. My mom even asked me to sing it at my grandmother’s funeral, with the condition that I would continue to sing it afterward as this is my dad’s favorite song for me to sing.

A few years ago, however, I did go through a difficult time in my life. It was during that time that I was able to experience that song on a deeper level. Being in the place where I realized life was hard, but no matter how hard it was, that God is good. I still struggle sometimes when I sing this song because it has become not only a signature song for me to sing, but also a part of my life in a more personal way. As always, God helped me through that time and showed me that no matter how hard life is, I must keep praising Him through music because He IS worthy of my praise.

Musical opportunities continue to present themselves to me through my local church. I currently serve as the song leader for congregation worship time and choir director. I also am able to sing solos for special music and sing with a group of girls from my church.

It’s been 25 years since I gave my heart to God. He has taught me many lessons. I know it doesn’t matter if sometimes I’m clumsy…spill things…or my hair gets messed up…Everyday is a new beginning, a new opportunity to celebrate through song the life God has given me. God is always with me and I am truly blessed.


I will be mailing the packet out this Saturday. The deadline has been extended, but I still want to get it sent out this weekend. Once it's submitted, I think I'll be able to relax, because I will have done everything I can to take that step out of my comfort zone.

Thanks for those prayers regarding this...I know if it wasn't for them I would have chickened out again.

I'll keep posted on this subject as I know things.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Myspace tagline "It's in God's hands now"

It's neat to see how God has been using my tag line from my myspace page to remind me that He's got everything in His control. I may not understand why something is happening, but my job is to stand firm in Him and just trust.

Satan has really be fighting with me and some of my friends this week. Last night I had such a great night with one of my friends. I was encouraged...we had ran into a mutual friend and was able to have a really good conversation with that friend...and it was really nice to take our focus off our problems. Of course today though, Satan is back at it thinking that if he can just get our focus off again, he will be able to win. While sitting here thinking about what's been happening to my friends and myself, I realized yesterday my perspective was on God...not the problem. Yesterday my focus was that God is in control I just need to continue to pray about the situations and just stand firm. How easy it almost grabbed at me and took me under the water.

God has been faithful to me...and a great Jennifer Knapp song has been running through my head since yesterday. It's entitled "Faithful to me" I'm gonna share it here, because I believe we all need to be encouraged and that we all need to stand with each other and allow God to fight Satan. We don't need to get involved with the fight. God's so much better at fighting Satan than we are. It's easier to stand firm in God's grasp than trying to keep our balance in the battle field. Hope these words will be of some encouragement to you.

"Faithful to Me"

All the chisels I've dulled carving idols of stone
That have crumbled like sand 'neath the waves
I've recklessly built all my dreams in the sand
Just to watch them all wash away

Through another day, anther trial, another chance to reconcile
To One Who sees past all I see
And reaching out my weary hand, I pray that You'd understand
You're the only One Who's faithful to me

All the pennies I've wasted in my wishing well
I have thrown like stones to the sea
I have cast my lots, dropped my guard, searched aimlessly
For a faith to be faithful to me

Through another day, another trial, another chance to reconcile
To the One Who sees past all I see
And reaching out my weary hand, I pray that You'd understand
You're the only One Who's faithful to me

You're the only One Who's faithful to me.