Saturday, June 30, 2007

Experiencing God at Moraine State Park

I woke up several times in the night, anticipating the quiet time with God I was going to have Friday morning. I have been needing time with God...a spiritual retreat. My life has been so busy..too busy. I haven't been spending enough time with God, talking to Him, listening to Him....just BEING with Him. I knew that this morning was going to be special, which was why I had difficulty sleeping.
I think I woke up around 4:20 am, but didn't get out of bed til 5:00 am. My mind couldn't stop spinning. I was surprised to see it was light at 5:00 ! The birds were chirping away too. I wish I could wake up every morning that early! It feels so good.
So I got out of bed and showered, gathered my Bible, my journal, a few pens, my ipod and a bottle of water. I got to Brenda's house at 6:00. She was ready to go. It took us about 20 minutes I think(time flies when you are talking) to arrive at Moraine.
I haven't been there since I was a child. My sister Dianna, used to take me swimming but I can barely remember what it looked like.
We pulled into a spot by the lake, where boats are kept. There was a dock, and a short pier.
It was so beautiful and serene.
Brenda brought two chairs. We set them up beside each other in the grass by the lake. I began to pray and journal. I pray many times all through out the day, but when i need to talk to God and I want to seek answers from Him.. When I want to go deeper..I feel the need to write.
This is how I started out..
Dear Father God, Abba, my lover, my best friend, How I love you Lord. You are the Creator of this world. You are the creator of me. Thank you my Lord and Savior, My King for all you are, and all you do, and all you've done for me. You've given me free will to be who I am. You sent your son Jesus to take on my sins, so I could be forgiven. Lord, I love you. I am in awe sitting here at Moraine watching the fish jump out of the water and seeing the ripples in the water. It makes me think of the effect kindness and your love has on people...One act of kindness can create a ripple can spread out and get bigger and touch more people as it spreads. Lord help me to create positive ripples in the lives of other people.
I hear geese honking and the chatter of birds. Lord, you are such an awesome Creator. I breathe in the cool crisp air deep into my lungs. It is like refreshment. It feels like taking a drink of water when you are extremely thirsty. That's how this feels to me God. You are my refreshment and I have been very thirsty. Ahhh...It feels so good.
So that's how my praying/journaling started....
Very soon I felt in communion with God. I began telling him about the difficult time I was having in an area of my life. God directed me to His word...specifically to look up passages on Faith. I didn't realize it was a Faith problem I was having, but God sent me first to Genesis 12:7
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.[a]” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
I knew immediately what God wanted me to do... A few nights before, Karen, my friend whom ALWAYS leads me to God sent me an email with these words written in it... "Be willing to move and act when God says...and be willing to sit and wait if that's His desire. Suggestion: Go through an act of worship where you literally lay this vision, this church plant, your burden for the lost...all of it on the altar. Make a "make-shift" altar and worship Him and surrender tha WHOLE THING. Don't take it back...just stay in close relationship...just be obedient...let God be enough...all you need. He will move and act and you will be His vessel"
God wanted me to make an altar and worship Him. I knew he did. But I didn't want too..I was embarrassed. What would Brenda think? She'd think I was crazy. (i know..she already knows I'm crazy..but this was embarrassing to me.) So I sat there..but the feeling of making that altar grew bigger. I knew God wanted me to do it. It made sense. I needed to do it. So I got up and there was a gully of rocks very close to us. I was hoping Brenda wouldn't turn around so she couldn't see what I was doing..but I picked up a few rocks and took them beneath a tree near the lake.
I went back and picked up some more..carried them back and I began to make an altar. It was a pile of rocks..but it became an altar where I bowed down and worshipped my King. ... After building the altar..I had communion with God. As has happened in the past, each time I have felt God's presence that close, I began to cry..the cries come from deep inside of me..they are cries of unworthiness and thankfulness..It's kind of hard to explain. Like..God is so powerful, and just the feeling of Him is so big..and Good and Wonderful..that you feel unworthy. You just get a glimpse of what it must feel like to be anywhere near Him. So much's overwhelming! Does that make sense? Has anyone else felt God's presence in such a way? If you have, will you please share what it has been like for you?
My stomach always hurts too..because of that "bigness". As I said, it's hard to describe. So I layed it all down at the Altar...all of my baggage..all of my unwillingness to give up my control and let God be the leader of this church plant. I need to trust. I need to have faith. I need to let God be God and continue following His lead. So, I had that time with God and I felt free afterwards.
I went back to the picnic table and I continued to look up passages on Faith. read about Abraham and Sarah. I read about Moses. I read about Joshua. I read about the Israelites.. Each verse, each chapter that I was sent too, spoke to me. FAITH. HAVE FAITH!
I read and I prayed and I worshipped for about 3 1/2 hours. Ahhhh... hours of quiet time with felt so wonderful... Everyone needs to experience a spiritual retreat!! You won't be the same person afterwards!
When I felt as though I was finished..I went back and spent some time with Brenda sharing experiences. At about 10:15 we packed up our belongings and went home. What a wonderful refreshing morning,Experiencing God!!! Susan

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Evan Almighty!

Went with two friends to see this movie last night! It was hilarious!! The kids in the audience were laughing so made me laugh! What a wonderful, clean, humorous movie! I wish there were more of these made!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

He is always near. He knows our wants, our dangers, our feelings, and our fears. By looking to him we are enlightened and made strong out of weakness. With his wisdom for our guide, his power for our protection, his fullness for our supply, and proposing his glory as our chief end, and placing our happiness in his favour, in communion with him, and communications from Him, we shall be able to "withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand."—John Newton in a letter to William Wilberforce

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Freedom Community Church! The more I dream about it..the more excited I get. Jamie Woodall is going to be our pastor! He and his wife Kris are from Michigan..they are moving here in January 2008! They are AWESOME people!! Jamie is going to make a great pastor of Freedom Community Church! (haha I just love to say it out loud!) I can't wait to show you his picture of what he visions the church to look like. A sports bar..a coffee house..giant media screens.. David Crowder..Chris Tomlin..Tree 63 playing up on the screens.. the house will be ROCKIN for Jesus!!! Oh, dudes I am so excited : ) I am so priveledged beyond words to be a part of this church plant! We are going to show New Castle Jesus in a whole new way!!!!!!! just wait : ) You're going to want to come to our church...... I know you will! : )
ROCK ON!! FREEDOM WRITER ( my new pen name!)

One hour of prayer.

Good Morning! *Stretch* *Yawn* It's a beautiful day here in Pennsylvania. The sun is peeking through my windows. I got up at 7:00 am this morning..and sent some emails out. Now I'm going to take my Bible out to my porch and spend one hour of quiet time with God. I will start off by praying. I have lots to talk to God about. When you pray, do you talk to God or do you just ask Him for things? God wants to hear our requests but He also wants us to listen to Him He wants us to have a relationship with talk to Him like you would your best friend! Have you ever read EXPERIENCING GOD? It's a great book to read that helps you realize that God is always at work around you!! Then I will read God's word.
I have read through the Bible completely one time. I didn't just read it..I studied it!! Next to asking Christ to come live into my heart, it has been the best thing I've ever done!! Reading the Bible helps you to understand the meaning of life.
Why are you here? How'd you get here? It's our history!! It's our manual for living! There's so much wisdom and knowledge in the Bible. ANYTHING you need to know about life...ANYTHING..all the answers are there!!!!
Reading the Bible and praying..they are disciplines! It's not's strange that it's not easy to do..but it's not. You've got to make it a habit. You make yourself get up in the morning, or in the evening or at night to read and pray. Once you do, you'll be so glad. YOUR whole life will change!! You will make God so happy and proud of you too!! He is the only person in this world you need to worry about making happy and proud!! Okay..I've got to go and spend some time with my Father this morning. I hope you have a great day today!! MAKE IT GREAT!! I will pray for YOU that you have the desire to pray and read God's word today!! SLH

Monday, June 25, 2007


Joe, Kim and I saw a good movie tonight. It's called 1408. It's based on a Stephen King short story written in 2002. Stephen King is the Master story teller and
John Cusack is one of my favorite actors. We were creeped out! The movie had a great ending!!! Check out the trailer!

What a day..

I know I've posted many posts today..It's been a wonderful day spent online..reading articles on church planting and leadership and Christianity and having a little fun too with logo designing!
I have been inspired today. When I can spend time, doing anything involved with building God's church..I get inspired. The call that God has put on my life, is so very strong. He has called me to be a leader in this church plant. I have no doubt about that. He's given me a vision. He's been with me, this entire process. Do you know that it's been almost two years since He's put the vision in my heart for a new church to come to New Castle? It has been three years since I gave my entire life over to Christ, and He told me that he was going to use me to do great things for His Kingdom and almost two years since He called me to help bring this church to New Castle. It's been a journey with twists and turns and bumps..but the journey has always progressed.. ALWAYS! FAITH! It takes faith, that doesn't wain.
When God plants something in your doesn't just stop. It is a drive, that compels me to keep moving forward. It is God's Holy Spirit that lives inside me, and I have surrendered to Him. He leads and guides me. He compels and drives me forward..keep going..don't give up.. do this for ME. I know I am going to help bring people to Christ. I know it. I can't wait for the day. I want to lead others to Christ. I want to hold their hands as they accept Jesus as their Savior. I want to pray with them. I want Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I want to smile with them as they feel that Joy of knowing Christ. I want to hug them. Oh man....Jesus loves you so much! You can have such an amazing life if you just let Him lead you..if you just give up your sinful ways and turn to God!! OH...The JOY!!!!! It's indescribable!!
I found this little snippet on a woman pastor's website today... I wanted to share it with you. It's about leadership. I can relate, because God has called me to STAND UP and make a difference. A revolution IS brewing! A HOLY UPRISING IS HAPPENING! YOU JUST WAIT.. you will see! IT'S COMING TO NEW CASTLE!!!
Perhaps God is still calling because we STILL have a leadership crisis in our world. Things are not going to get easier either. The need will become more prevalent as the gatekeepers of the world die, retire, or are removed due to secret sins (as we've seen lately with high profile leaders). I believe a revolution is brewing, a new kind of rebellion, a holy uprising and God is shaking things up in our lives, because YOU and I are supposed to STAND UP and make a difference by leading!

Just Stop IT!

Oh my gosh..this is SO funny!!! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Coming soon..

Listening to this...

Reading this today..

Kirk Cameron: “Am I ever going to hear the message that will save my soul from Hell?”
Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron recently addressed the SBC pastors convention via video... here is part of his presentation: Can I speak to you from my heart for a moment? I realize that, theologically, I’m not worthy to wash your socks. But imagine this scenario with me, if you will: Imagine I’m a “seeker”- I’m a non-Christian, sitting in your church week after week after week listening to you. Am I ever going to hear the message that will save my soul from Hell?

Will you ever tell me the truth clearly enough so that I realize that my sin has made me an enemy of God: that I am currently on the path that leads to destruction, with the wrath of God dwelling upon me, and that unless I repent and put my faith in the Savior, I will perish? Or have you decided that it’s better to simply entertain me, and on Sundays I can come to have my “felt needs” met with good music and good advice? Pastor, while I would appreciate that, it’s the ultimate betrayal of my trust in you if you don’t tell me the truth. Will I ever hear the words “repent,” “surrender,” “turn to the Savior,” “be born again”? If you don’t tell me those things, how will I ever know to do it? Please don’t leave it up to the Wednesday night small-group leader. They’re taking their cues from you. You’re leading the flock.

And now I speak to you as a Christian. If you and I fail to teach the whole counsel of God, and we don’t warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and run to the love of Christ on the Cross to save their soul, we make a terrible mistake. It doesn’t matter how happy a person is- how much a sinner is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season- without the righteousness of Christ, he’ll perish on the Day of Judgment. The Bible says, “Riches profit not on the Day of Wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” You see, that’s how Kirk Cameron realized he needed a Savior. I had riches, but I knew that it was the righteousness of God that I needed in order to be saved from my sin.

Any thoughts?

Doing Church Planting work today : )


Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm having a special dinner tonight...

Joe and I both had the day off today! We, along with our girls,spent the late morning/early afternoon by the pool (ALL FOUR OF US!!!..the first time this year!)..listening to music, soaking up the sun, and splashing in the COOL water!! Oh...Life is beautiful.
We worked 12 hours yesterday. We had 400 guests eat at our restaurant! I served 175 of them!! feet were tired last night! We got home last night at 11:00 pm, played a little guitar hero with Lauren and went straight to bed!!
Today..we are all relaxing!
Just now,Joe took the girls to the grocery store, to buy the ingredients for dinner tonight. We haven't had a home cooked Roast Beef dinner in a long time, so tonight I am cookin!!!! My girls are so excited. We ALL cherish family days, when we can be together. This is the kind of day, where I'll set the table with our "fancy" dishes and the "good" silverware and the crystal glasses! I will pick some flowers for the centerpiece and light some candles.
I'm having very special guests for dinner tonight...the most important people in my life.. My family!
I hope YOU are having a great day today too! I hope you are able to surround yourself with people who love you. I hope you're able to show love to someone today! If you're feeling lonely...invite someone to dinner. Set the table with your "fancy" dishes. Make something special to eat. You're not going to get love unless you give love! The more you give..the more you will receive!! Those are true words!!
So GO LOVE SOMEONE Today!!!! Susan L. Hougelman

Friday, June 22, 2007

A dramatic look!

I love technology

If I could give the world a gift...

I would give each person in this world..the gift of self-esteem. What would you give?

Moving Forward

Do you ever feel like your life is moving forward very quickly and you are just hanging on, unable to stop it or at least slow it down? That's how I feel right now! I need to stop time..just for a few days and get focused and organized! I have so many mental files open, and I need to take each one and deal with it, then close it up. Right now...the whole dang cabinet is open and my files are a mess!!
I am working so much at the restaurant. We are lacking help, so I've had to work much more than I want too. Of course because I am co-owner of the restaurant it's not just doing your job and then going home and forgetting about it! I am a waitress, and a manager, and a hostess and a mother (Ally's been working at the restaurant with us!... Lauren is coming in today.) So it's a lot of mental stress..who's going to work this week? Who needs off? Nobody is cleaning the restaurant! The high chairs were dirty! THe new waitress I hired has caused people to walk out of my restaurant..I'm trying to handle waitressing my own tables, and I've got to watch out for hers too.. : ( *aye carumba* It's just too much at times. You just wake up and do what you gotta know it's not going to be easy, but you handle it! That's how it is at work right now..
It is tough!
Joe and I don't do enough business or make enough money to allow us to be just managers or owners...we are workers also. This is way too stressful. You can't be both! We know this yet we continue to let this happen. Why? Our restaurant runs on high caffeine... That's what it's like at lunch time.. you RUN..there's nothing leisure about's very high energy..but you make people feel like they're relaxing.. Maybe you have to be in the restaurant business to understand..
So anyway...I'm working for right now.. A lot! It's hard to concentrate on anything else. When I come home, I clean laundry..take care of home business etc.. and then I try so hard to spend the time I am at home with my daughters and husband..then before I know's bedtime and morning comes so quickly..then we start all over again!
I don't mind a matter of fact..I love being busy..I am definitely a high energy person..I am very fast paced, so I thrive in that kind of environment...but I definitely need time to come down and unwind! I need a few days off with nothing to do!
Great News!!
I finished my last physical test before I meet with the gastric bypass surgeon!!! My heart is fine! My brain is fine! My lungs are fine! I'm in good shape for being so overweight!!!!!! I should be getting a call from the surgeon's office any day now, to set up an appointment for the surgery! Please continue to pray for me, because this is a life changing operation!
Also... Are you ready for this news?? Are you sure? Here it comes!!.. We found a Pastor for our church plant!!!!! His name is Jamie Woodall and he and his wife Kris, and their three (soon to be four) children will be moving to New Castle, from Michigan in January of 2008!!! We are in communications, starting to put together the logo and branding and the core values of FREEDOM COMMUNITY CHURCH!!!
WE CHANGED OUR NAME!!!! Jamie is going to be the lead church planter for Freedom Community Church, and he has chosen the name, and I love it!!!
All the prayers...all the hard work..all the determination..not giving up..trusting God..being faithful and obedient..letting HIM control the outcome..just following Him and believing in the Vision that he placed upon my heart... wow... I can't wait to take this next step!! GOD ROCKS!!!
You can imagine, that I have so much more to say about this..there are so many emotions running around inside of's definitely a mental and emotional file that is wide open and I need time to think and pray and embrace it all. I will find that time. I know that God has been preparing my heart for this all to take place!
I have so much more to blog many things happening...Perhaps I will come on tonight and spend some time organizing my thoughts and sharing them with you.
For now.. this is all.
Peace out! With Christ's amazing and neverending love, Susan

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


The commercial below inspires me!!
I want the background of the video on something..
on my walls, on my clothes!!
When are clothes going to have moving images on them?
Why aren't all billboards big video monitors?
I want my bedroom painted with that background!!!
Why are cars mostly all solid colors?
Why don't we see hot pink colored cars?
I watched Legally Blond for the first time last night...
I dress like El Wood! Okay let me clarify that...I don't wear sexy clothes..but I do wear a lot of bright pinks..and turquoise blues...
Why doesn't everyone? Why look dull? Let's brighten up the world!! More color!!
More Music! More Happiness!! More JOY!!! Yeah.....
I'm smiling : ) I love life!!!!!
It's Tuesday...I'm off to work. I work every day this week except Sunday!
I don't know why..but I'm happy about this!! I feel like working hard! I have energy! I have joy! I feel full of life! Holy Spirit inside of excited : )
I have great news coming soon.............
Have a great day! Susan

Paul McCartney

I love this commercial! It makes me happy : ) I want to dance and sing and shout!

Holy Discontent

The tendency for most of us when we encounter stuff that creates disease and frustration in our souls is to push it away. And fast! We feel the discomfort of holy discontentedness coming on, and reflexively we want to medicate it. We want to recoil in disgust at the dreadful realities surrounding us. We want to head to Blockbuster to rent another movie just to stay distanced from it. But the truth is this: the best thing you can do is to move toward your area of holy discontent until you have clear direction from God as to what action you should take to resolve it. For example, if the plight of the poor becomes your holy discontent, then increase your exposure to the poor. I'm serious here: Move toward the poor, not away from them. (Bill Hybels: Holy Disontent)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Raymond O. Short

This is a picture of my dad. This picture of my dad is a very rare one, because my dad did not often smile, like he is smiling in this picture. He smiled..and he laughed.. but there's something about this picture.. His whole face is lit up!
We found this picture of my dad in a box..none of us kids had ever seen it before. We felt like it was a gift from God, to find it, because of the beautiful expression on my dad's face. I have this picture sitting on my corner cupboard, right next to our dining room table. It's in a frame that has a Scripture verse on it that says, "Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared" Ex 23:20
I miss my dad. I miss his wisdom and advice. I miss his laughter. I miss watching him enjoy my mom's cooking so much. I miss the way his lips felt when you kissed him..his moustache tickling your lip. I can still feel his kiss.. I miss seeing him laying on the couch..I miss his songs....I miss going shopping with him..How he loved to find a great parking spot..and then he'd sit in the middle of the mall..eating a snack..talking to anyone that would talk with him!! haha! I miss the way he listened to me. I miss how he'd pick at his eyebrow while he was listening.... I miss the way that he was proud of me. One of my most prized possessions is the last Christmas card he gave me..he wrote "I'm so proud of my CHristian daughter".. I miss talking to him so much. Most of all... I miss his love. When my dad was one less person in the world to love me..
I miss YOU Dad..and I love you!! Happy Fathers day..I know you are sharing this day with your father and OUR heavenly Father! Susie


We had such a wonderful day yesterday celebrating Father's day! We started the day off, by sleeping in! HA! That may sound funny, but Joe and I rarely ever get to sleep until we feel like waking up!! Today we got to sleep in! I woke up a little earlier then everyone else, because I wanted to get some errands done before we left for the game. So about 9:30 am I got up, showered, went to buy some snacks for the game, clean my car out, fill it up with gas and then came home to wake everyone else up! We got on the road about 11:30! After a stop at Dunkin Donuts (OF COURSE!!)We headed to Pittsburgh to see the Pirates play the White Sox! It was a beautiful Sunny Day! We put some U2 in the cd player, turned on the air conditioner, and enjoyed the ride to the park. One of my favorite sites ever, is rounding that bend on 279 and seeing the city of Pittsburgh!
We got to the park about 12:30, found a good parking spot, and headed to PNC Park!
We bought tickets in left field (I don't think it's possible to get a bad seat at PNC Park!!) and sat down to enjoy the game.

It was a great game!! There were so many hits which made it very exciting to watch! My one complaint was that it was so HOT! Other than that.. Great game! Pirates won 8-7! Joe said it was the best game he'd ever been too! WOOHOOOOO!!!!
After the game was over, we stopped at our favorite picture spots and took some Pics! This first one is Joe's hero Honus Wagner!

It's also his alter ego! This pic shows him in his Honus Pirate Jersey looking up at his Hero!

THe next pic is in front of Willie Stargell! It was supposed to be a pic of the whole family, but the lady taking the picture cut Lauren off! : (

And here's the HOUGELMAN BRICK, which is right next to the Willie Stargell Statue!

After the game, we came home and stopped at the new McDonald's in Shenango Twp. We weren't so impressed! It's pretty!
Very modernized, but we thought it had new technology...touch screen computers etc.. haha!! It was nice but nothing to make me drive out of my way to eat there!
When we got home, we all played a little Guitar Hero, I did some laundry and then crashed!! Ahhhh, it was a nice family day! We hadn't had one in a while. I hope you all had a good Father's Day!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Reticular Activating System

The Reticular Activating System
Interesting post byMARK BATTERSON

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a cluster of nerve cells in the brainstem that regulate alertness and attention. We are bombarded by thousands of stimuli every second--different sights, sounds and sensations. It is the job of the RAS to regulate which stimuli you pay attention to and which stimuli you ignore. It is the gatekeeper or screening device. Or think of it as mental radar. The RAS determines what you notice and what goes unnoticed.

Here's how it works. When you purchase a cell phone or clothing or a car, it creates a category in your reticular activating system. You notice if someone's cell phone has the same ring tone don't you? Because you go to answer yours! You notice if someone is wearing your outfit at the same event. Can you say awkward? And the second you drive your new car out of the lot, it seems like everyone is driving your model car.

That is the function of the RAS. You didn't have a category for your clothing or ring tone or car before you bought it. But once you made the purchase or downloaded the ring tone or drove out of the dealership, you had a new cognitive category.

So what does that have to do with goals?

Goals create cognitive categories. And you begin to notice anything and everything that will help you achieve that goal.

I like the way Bodil Jonsson explains it. "Everybody has internal scouts. If you've just learned you're pregnant, you'll see women with big bellies and parents with baby buggies everywhere. If you've started thinking that the spot on your back might be malignant, you'll feel it rubbing against your shirt all day long. A person's perceptions are guided to a great extent by his scouts."

Goals are internal scouts.

Anyone who has children knows that kids lose interest in anything that is not immediately before their eyes--out of sight out of mind. According to psychologists, if an object is removed from a child's field of sight, that object ceases to exist. The have not yet developed the capacity known as object permanence. I would argue that we never really outgrow that. If you want to keep something in mind you better keep it in your sights. If you want vision permanence then you have to keep the vision front and center. And goals are a great way of doing that.

One footnote.

I love what John Richardson said: "When it comes to the future there are only three kind of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wonder what happened."

Goals help make it happen

Friday, June 15, 2007


Friday?? What happened to Thursday? Where'd it go?? Life is going by too quickly..please help slow it down!! *pant* *pant* Breathing quickly.. I don't have time to blog...I must get to work.. Lauren's coming with me today, Ally worked the past two days.. Lauren will be hanging out with three friends.. I have great news about our church plant..meeting three friends tonight for girl talk..Joe and I have had some great evenings together...we're going to a Pirate game for father's day!!! house needs cleaned!!....My pool is still freezing...My brother in law is turning 40 this weekend (Happy birthday ROB!!!)...My brother just wrote me and told me how proud he is of me.. (smile) (That made my day!!).. Awww, God is good. No.. God is great..God is so much more than that!! Jesus Rocks! He rocks my world! Let him Rock yours! PEACE OUT! More later..when I have time..maybe tonight?? Susa

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bill Gates on Turning Caring into Action

On June 7th, Bill Gates returned to Harvard to finally collect his degree — an honorary doctorate — and to speak to the graduates about turning caring into action. He said that often we don’t do anything about inequities and problems we see in the world, not because we don’t care but because we don’t know what to do. "We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a more creative capitalism – if we can stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities. We also can press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that better reflect the values of the people who pay the taxes. If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world." Below are some edited excerpts from that speech. You can get the full text at the Harvard University Gazette or watch the video presentation (1hr 50 min in on a 2hr 26min video).
Read the rest of the article here gates

Etch a sketch artist draws Lebron James

Conny-Britains Got Talent!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Hey ya'll! What's shakin'? Joe and I just got home from a chamber of commerce seminar on small businesses. zzzzzz... : ) We thought it would be informative, and I suppose it was, but not for our kind of business. We slipped out the backdoor as soon as we got the chance. Oh well, I do love belonging to the chamber of commerce, and it is great to network with other business leaders in my community! I'm just getting reay to go to work today. Tuesday is normally my day off, but we had a waitress quit, and now I'm doing double duty. We are seriously lacking help at the restaurant, so if you know of anybody who needs a job..we need workers!!!
I'm not worried though..I feel Peace.. My GOD will see us through! He Rocks! He's in Charge!! He is AMAZING!!!!! I love follwing Him!!! No need to worry, when Jesus Christ is your leader! He carries your you don't have to!
Why don't you try Him and see! You've got problems? Surrender them to God. Give them over to Him..Let Him carry that heavy weight that you've been carrying around for so long now!!! Ahhhh, it makes you feel so much!!!!
hahah NOthing to worry about....Cuz God is in Charge!! I love you all! Susan

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Funday Monday!

Hey friends,
Did you have a good weekend? Did you do anything exciting? I worked all weekend, but it was good! Since, I've been feeling better, Life has been getting much better for me!! Yesterday, I made it all day without taking any pain medicine!! I think that was the first day in three weeks!! I did take something before I went to bed, because my jaw was aching, but that was it!! WOOHOOOOO
Guess what I'm doing today?? I'm swimming in our pool and laying out in the sun all day today with my girls!!!!!! Just the three of us! I'm going to make a picnic lunch, and set up our lounge chairs, put some music on the radio, and we're going to have a fun day in the sun!! Does my house need cleaned? yup! Does laundry need done? yup! But...there's tommorow to do all that! Today, we're going to just BE TOGETHER!I hope you are able to have a good day today, spend some time with people you love and who love you! Think about that love...Thank God for how blessed you are to have people in your life who love you and whom you love!! Most of all, Thank God for HIS love!!! His love is Amazing and neverending!! I love you all! Susan

Most Massive Star discovered!

The most massive star known in the universe has been discovered and "weighed," astronomers announced today.

The star, part of a binary system, topped the scales at 114 times the mass of the sun.

Though astronomers suspected that stars with masses up to 150 times the mass of the sun must exist, this discovery marks the first time a star has broken the 100-solar-mass barrier. The previous record holder was only a measly 83 solar masses.

The newly weighed star, known simply as A1, is the brightest hot star at the heart of a giant, but dense, young star cluster called NGC 3603, which lies 20,000 light-years from Earth. The star's companion has a mass 84 times that of the sun.

These massive stars were "weighed" by inspecting their orbits with the Very Large Telescope and combining that data with eclipses observed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Stars have a mass limit of 150 solar masses because above that, the pressure pushing outward from the star overwhelms the inward pull of gravity and causes the star to become unstable.

In the early universe, however, stars with masses up to several hundred times that of the sun are believed to have existed because the pressure in the stars was not as high because the heavier elements had not yet been "cooked" by the nuclear fusion taking place in the cores of stars.

Here's a good article about tv watching

WASHINGTON – Americans who watch more hours of television tend to be less committed to classical virtues such as honesty and fairness and less likely to value religious principles, according to a conservative media watchdog.

Survey: Departure from God is Cause of America's Moral Decline
In a study commissioned by the Culture and Media Institute (CMI), 47 percent of light TV viewers (one hour or less per evening) attend church frequently compared to 28 percent of heavy TV viewers (four or more hours). And while 29 percent of light TV viewers rarely or never attend church, the number jumps to 51 percent among heavy TV viewers.

Moreover, 43 percent of light TV viewers try to live by God's principles compared to 32 percent of heavy TV viewers.

Measuring how the general American public perceives the impact of news and entertainment media, the study found the majority of Americans believe the media have a negative effect on moral values in America.

Another major finding in the study, titled "The Media Assault on American Values," revealed that the more television a person watches, the less likely the person is to believe the media are negatively impacting the nation's moral values.

According to the newly released study, 76 percent of light TV viewers see the media's impact as negative, but only 58 percent of heavy TV viewers agree. Also, only 6 percent of light TV viewers believe the media are helping moral values while 14 percent of heavy viewers see a positive effect.

Some five decades ago, television had presented a traditional perspective on life that was more consistent with the values parents held, according to Dr. S. Robert Lichter, president of Center for Media and Public Affairs.

"That world did exist," he said Wednesday at the release of the report whose cover depicts mainstream media as soldiers attacking such traditional institutions as family and church.

Today, viewers frequently find sexualized content on television. Thirty-nine percent of light TV viewers say sex between unmarried adults is always wrong compared to 26 percent of heavy TV viewers. A recent episode of CBS' popular Two and a Half Men featured a casual conversation between lead character Charlie and Myra just after they had sex in a coat closet at the wedding of her brother Herb and Judith. "I'm two for two at Judith's weddings," said Charlie in the April episode. He later says, "[W]hat about funerals? Can you beat a three-way in a hearse?"

"This is not unusual for television," said Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Media Institute, as he presented the study results.

Overall, 74 percent of Americans believe the nation's moral values have declined over the past 20 years and 68 percent say the media have a negative impact on moral values. Also, 64 percent agree the media are an important factor in shaping moral values in this country.

Today, however, national broadcast and cable networks and newspapers have lost huge chunks of their audience. As L. Brent Bozell III, founder and president of Media Research Center, put it, "The national media are on a meltdown." Meanwhile, Americans are flooding radio talk show programs and the top 20 recently listed (ranked by listening audience) were all conservative, according to Michael Medved who hosts one of the most popular radio talk shows.

Forty-four percent of Americans see the news media tilting left; 27 percent say news media are balanced; and 17 percent say the news media favors conservatives.

"Given the fact that you have such a clear indication that people see the media as biased ... why, with the profit-motive operative, do you still have the media clearly tilting left and people recognize that they tilt to the left," posed Medved.

But there has been progress, Medved noted, with the rise of religion in media, including Hollywood. This past weekend, two movies debuted at the box office – "Knocked Up" and "Mr. Brooks." Both debuted in the top five and although not faith-based, both had pro-life messages, Medved pointed out. The messages are reflective of the sharp drop of abortions in the United States since 1980 from 43 percent to 22 percent per 1,000 teens, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

So there is progress, said Medved.

Still, the media's impact is negative, the majority of Americans believe. And Medved does not just point to the quality of what the media presents. The "problem is high quantity, not low quality," he said.

Medved clarified that the study measures differential correlation based upon the quantity of television a person watches and not the quality.

"We need to employ increasingly demand-side solutions, not supply-side solutions," he urged. "We have been increasingly concerned with what Hollywood makes and not what we take."

"The Media Assault on American Values" report is the second in a series of reports of CMI's National Cultural Values Survey. The overall study was conducted on 2,000 American adults in December 2006.
L. Brent Bozell III, founder and president of Media Research Center, speaks at the release of a newly released study, titled 'The Media Assault on American Values,' on

Church..More Like Wal-mart?

Maybe the Church Should Become a Little More Like Wal-Mart…
What is the price or value of a soul?


That’s the price that Wal-mart has put on each of their customers. A couple weeks ago, I happened upon a documentary on CNBC about the inner workings of Wal-mart. It was a very interesting program. One of the main things that stood out to me is that Wal-mart has done extensive research into their business.

If, for example, I go into my local Wal-mart store and get bad service; can’t find what I need; have to wait in the checkout line too long; or anything else that really makes me upset, Wal-mart knows that they have a lot to lose. In fact, they’ve calculated the value of what I’m worth to them. If I get mad at Wal-mart and never return, I have just cost the company (on average) $215,000. That’s how much sales they have figured they will lose from the average customer over their lifetime if they don’t come back...

Wal-mart puts a high value on me and every other person and family in my community.

Many churches, on the other hand, seemingly couldn’t care less about the people in their community. Sure, we give them lip service, but when it really comes down to reaching our target, many of us are too busy arguing about carpet color, worship styles, and how much to ‘give’ to missions in Africa, all the while missing the main point of reaching our own community for Christ.

Wal-mart provides diapers and socks and hemorrhoid cream for a profit.

The church offers eternal life and salvation for free.

Shouldn’t our communities know we value them at least as much as Wal-mart?

FOR DISCUSSION: Here’s today’s questions for you:

--Does your church value people more than Wal-mart?
--If so, what does that look like in your community?
--Who is better at reaching their audience in your community? Your church or Wal-mart?
--Does your church even have a specific target audience?
--Does your church have a specific plan to reach that audience?
--If your church shut down today, would your community notice?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Time for a Dave Matthews Video!


10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
Jon Gordon writes in The Energy Bus, “No one goes through life untested, and the answer to these tests is positive energy.” Fortunately he is not referring to the kind of rah-rah positive energy that makes you roll your eyes and close the book as the title might suggest. Instead he refers to “the kind of positive energy consisting of vision, trust, optimism, enthusiasm, purpose, and spirit that defines great leaders and their teams.”

The Energy Bus is a well-executed fable that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment - at work and at home. The story will resonate with anyone with any life experience at all. The 10 rules are:
You’re the Driver of the Bus.
Desire, Vision and Focus move your bus in the right direction.
Fuel your Ride with Positive Energy.
Invite People on Your Bus and Share your Vision for the Road Ahead.
Don’t Waste Your Energy on those who don’t get on your Bus.
Post a Sign that says “No Energy Vampires Allowed” on your Bus.
Enthusiasm attracts more Passengers and Energizes them during the Ride.
Love your Passengers. (How? Make time for them, listen to them, recognize them, serve them and bring out the best in them.)
Drive with Purpose.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride.
Jon Gordon's take on these rules is good and worth a look at. He has created a web site to support the book.
by Michael McKinney

Perry Noble on Prayer

Most of you who know me, know that I talk about Perry Noble ALOT! He is a pastor whom I admire so much. If I lived in Anderson, South Carolina, I would definitely serve at New Spring Community Church, where Perry Noble is the founder and pastor! I listen to his sermons each week online. He inspires me so much! He speaks God's word in such a contemporary way, that it's so easy to understand. He puts his sermons online each week, to listen to, or even watch on a video podcast. I invite you to listen or watch last weeks sermon on Prayer. I love when he says something like this..I'm going to teach you about prayer but I'm just going to tell you what the Bible says, cuz that's how I learn about everything, from listening to what Jesus says..I figure, nobody else has risen from the dead like He has, so He must be something incredible!!" haha! You see, some people, even Christians, they don't know how to pray. I didn't when I was young. My mom and dad told me to pray..but they never showed me how to pray. I didn't know what prayer was!! Prayer is a conversation with God. It's not just asking for God for something..that's not all it is. Prayer is having a relationship with God. I love when Perry says ..would you call it a relationship if your spouse, if you just talked to him for about 15 seconds, five or six times a day, and maybe five minutes at bedtime, asking him for stuff? No...that's not having a conversation..that is not building a relationship. God wants us to spend time with him.. talking to him..reading His word..trusting Himn..Loving Him..Doing things for and with Him..being His body here on Earth... That's how we love God..that's how we have a relationship with Jesus Christ!!
Here is the link..from there, just click on audio or video! If you don't want to listen to the worship music, just move your curser to about 15 minutes. Enjoy! Be Inspired!Perry Noble

Friday, June 08, 2007

Encouraging wild ideas is the opposite of passing judgment. Don't censor your own ideas just because you think they are impractical. Even if you have an idea that is totally crazy, silly, or seemingly impossible you should still contribute it. Crazy ideas inspire people to think of unusual solutions. Silly ideas bring some humor to the meeting and help keep spirits up. And who knows, your seemingly impossible idea might have a simple fix that turns it into a stellar solution. So speak up and contribute all your wild ideas.



Check out the speakers!! It's like a gourmet buffet of visionary leaders! It would be better than Christmas!! It would be better than any vacation I could dream of!! I WANT TO GO TO THIS!! I have the money put away..I just need someone to go with me!! Please God find someone to want to go to Atlanta in October to the catalyst conference with me! On my knees... *wimper*

Last Day of School Today for My girls!

Can you remember that feeling? My heart is smiling for my daughters this morning. You did a wonderful job this year girls! I am so immensely proud of the young women that you are! You are Christ-filled, Confidant, Intelligent, Creative, Beautiful Young Women!! I am so honored and grateful to God, that He has chosen ME to be your mom!! I pray that we have a wonderful Summer together! Ocean City HERE WE COME!!!!!!!! I love you girls! Mom

Aid to Africa!

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany (Reuters) - World leaders agreed on Friday a $60 billion pledge to fight AIDS and other killer diseases ravaging Africa.

"The issue is now fixed. The text is agreed," a diplomat from a Group of Eight (G8) member country told Reuters on the final day of a summit of the club of industrialized nations.

"The agreement within the G8 will follow the U.S. proposal to increase the aid for fighting these diseases to $60 billion in the forthcoming years with $30 billion coming from the U.S."

U.S. President George W. Bush missed some of the morning sessions after suffering a stomach ailment. His condition was not serious, a White House official said.

Bush hoped to return to summit meetings later on Friday, White House aide Dan Bartlett told reporters.

The G8 countries were recommitting to pledges made at a 2005 summit in Scotland when they said they would double development funding by 2010, said diplomats and officials.

The $60 billion will be used to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, global diseases that have been especially devastating for African peoples and their economies. But the timetable is vague.

Campaigners for Africa say the pledge is made up largely of money which has already been announced, including $30 billion from the United States, and falls short of U.N. targets for extending treatment to tackle AIDS.

"While lives will be saved with more money for AIDS, this represents a cap on ambition that will ultimately cost millions more lives," said Steve Cockburn of the Stop AIDS Campaign.

Blood Diamonds & Notes on a Scandal.

Two very good films I watched this weekend. Both featured INCREDIBLE acting! Notes on a Scandal was a good story..very creepy.
Blood Diamonds was another movie that inspired me. The title refers to blood diamonds, which are diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance the conflicts.
Set in the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1999, the film shows a country torn apart by the struggle between government soldiers and rebel forces. The film portrays many of the atrocities including rebels cutting off people's hands to stop them from voting in upcoming elections.
There's a world around us, that we can't even imagine living in. We are so spoiled. We have no idea...

This reminds me of my dr.'s appt. that I had last week. For my upcoming gastric bypass surgery, I had to have tests done on my lungs, to make sure I could handle the anestesia I will have to have. The pulminary doctor was a young man (early forties) from Hungary. We were talking about being obese, and he said, "I can see why many Americans are obese. There's an abundance of food available. If you'd be put in a situation like being on a deserted island, or in a country where food is not so abundant and available, you would not be obese." So True I always blame my weight problem on fat genes inherited from my parents, and definitely metabolism or fat genes are one of the contributing factors, but definitely, gluttony, which I can only blame myself for, is the sin that I struggle most with! Once again.. We are so spoiled..We have no idea...

blood Diamonds

Check out Chris Sligh's Blog! It looks a little like mine : )

Chris Sligh

I loved this blog post by Scott Rogers! It's about Innovation in the church!


Why do we do that?
How can we do it different?
When was the last time you threw those questions out on the table for discussion? Church is too predictable for me. I’m looking for something remarkable, something memorable; and so are your first time guests. I had a club sandwich at Houston’s the other night and told three people the next day how great it was. Most people love to have a story to tell; a story about their experience. As a church, we need to give people a story to tell.

In addition to what God does by impacting or perhaps changing someone’s life, what are we doing to make a person’s experience memorable, remarkable, worthy of telling someone else about? I used to think of innovating in the church to be all about lights, videos, and gadgetry. Houston’s didn’t have intelligent lighting, just a great club sandwich. In-N-Out burger doesn’t have big video screens, just someone standing in the drive thru personally taking my order during lunch and asking me if I want my burger in a bag or if I am going to eat it on the road. If I am eating on the road, they wrap it half open, ready to be consumed. That’s cool. I tell everyone about In-N-Out because of that.

Innovation isn’t about communicating like Ed Young or Andy Stanley, or Craig Groeschel; innovation starts with the small things. I call these touch points. Identify every place a guest interacts with something or someone else and make it memorable.

Why do greeters just shake hands?
Why are church bulletins all about information and getting people to sign up for something?
Why do we do four songs, a 25 minute talk, and announcements; in that order?
How about one hundred greeters mingling through your parking lot and opening doors, carrying babies, handing out drinks, and passing out stickers to the kids? How about doing our boring announcements on video in a fun way, after the second song when everyone is fully engaged? Oh gosh, we can’t do that; can we? It would hinder the flow of worship. Really? Change it up and get creative.

Identify touch points. Create memorable experiences. Step outside the norm. Do it regularly. That’s innovation. Give your people a story to tell around the water cooler on Monday morning. That’s it from me; I’m heading to In-N-Out to get a half wrapped burger.


If you do not cut the moorings, God will have to break them by a
storm and send you out. Launch all on God, go out on the great
swelling tide of His purpose, and you will get your eyes open. If you
believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the smooth
waters just inside the harbour bar, full of delight, but always
moored; you have to get out through the harbour bar into the great
deeps of God and begin to know for yourself, begin to have spiritual

When you know you should do a thing, and do it, immediately you know
more. Revise where you have become stodgy spiritually, and you will
find it goes back to a point where there was something you knew you
should do, but you did not do it because there seemed no immediate
call to, and now you have no perception, no discernment; at a time of
crisis you are spiritually distracted instead of spiritually
self-possessed. It is a dangerous thing to refuse to go on knowing.

The counterfeit of obedience is a state of mind in which you work up
occasions to sacrifice your self; ardour is mistaken for discernment.
It is easier to sacrifice yourself than to fulfil your spiritual
destiny, which is stated in Romans 12:1-2. It is a great deal better
to fulfil the purpose of God in your life by discerning His will than
to perform great acts of self-sacrifice. "To obey is better than
sacrifice." Beware of harking back to what you were once when God
wants you to be something you have never been. "If any man will do .
. . he shall know."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I have a question for you

What is it that keeps most of us from living a life less than extraordinary? Why do we settle? Why do not go out and live our dreams? What is it that stops us? Tell me what you think!

Truth be told, the most inspired, motivated, and driven people I know are the ones who live their lives from the energy of their holy discontent. They have a constant awareness that what is wrecking them is wrecking the heart of God. Refusing to stay fed up, though, they instead get fueled by their restless longing for the better-day realities God says are coming soon. They listen to the soulish instinct inside them that says life just doesn't have to be the way that most people experience it. Most importantly, they suit up and jump into the game when God says, "If you'll hook up with me, I'll involve you in effecting some much-needed change around here!"