That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I saw this clock today in the Hallmark store, and I thought it was SO COOL!!!  The cool-ness of it is gauged by how much it made me laugh, and I laughed a lot when I saw it :). LOL!  I didn't buy it because I don't typically spend money on things I don't really need.  I have five clocks in my studio, and several in my house, so another clock is definitely not very high on my "need" list.  However, buying something is always a great way to cheer oneself up if oneself happens to be feeling a bit down.  Right now I'm not feeling very down, but should I suddenly be submerged in a pond of despair, I know where I'll be going to buy that little something to put a smile on my face :).

Okay, I know it's really lame to be buying myself presents, but you probably do it to!  Besides, who else is going to buy me a present? It's not my birthday, it's not Christmas, and I'm not dating anyone?  Oh yeah, and why is it that dating always seems to involve an excessive amount of buying stuff for the other person?  Not that I would really know, I'm just speaking from observation of others.   Actually, dating just means spending excessive amounts of money.  Dinners, coffee, presents, coffee, movies (unless you're me and don't go to the movies :), coffee, concerts, coffee, etc.  Wow, somehow I've gone from the "whatever" clock to talking about dating... weird!

So.... apparently no one really cares if I change the name of my blog.  I did get a few suggestions from John.  Besides suggesting the name that it already has (huh?), his next best idea was Jess is Cool.  I gave that some serious consideration, but opted against sounding completely arrogant and conceited.  Although it is nice to have someone finally agree with me that I am THAT cool!  KIDDING!!!!!!  I'm really not conceited!!  For now I've decided to leave the name the way it is.  No witty alliterations, no pithy puns, just logic... Jess in the Near North.  Yup that's me, and that's where I am!  Maybe I can count Near North as an alliteration?

I also had fun looking at Hoops and Yoyo cards at Hallmark today.   Hoops and Yoyo are an excellent free alternative to buying something to cheer oneself up.  They are the talking cards, and I seriously laugh hysterically every time I read them.  The ladies in Hallmark must think I'm looney.  If you've never seen them you have to go to Hallmark and read a few.  Believe me, they could put Ebenezer Scrooge in a good mood! 

I have one AMAZING blessing to share to end this post.  I have many more than just one blessing, but I'll limit myself for now :).  One thing I hate is missing church.  Now, when we were kids my Mom NEVER allowed us to say the word "hate."  Saying we hated a person warranted spanking, grounding, and being sent to our rooms.  We weren't even allowed to "hate" food, animals (except snakes), plants, trees, or even being sick.  "Hate"  WAS NOT a word that we used.  However, when it comes to missing church, I believe I'm justified in using the word "hate" because that IS how I feel about it.  My teaching job at the university requires me to miss one Wednesday night service a semester.  Now, I know what you're thinking... it's JUST Wednesday night!    No matter how much I try to justify the fact that it's just a Wednesday night, I can't help it.  I HATE missing church!  

Last Wednesday was the night I was supposed to work at the university.  We had quite a bit of unsettled weather last week, and some very strong winds.  While I was teaching at my studio, I heard that the power had gone out at the university and classes were cancelled.  REALLY??!! :).  I called the professor that I work with to double check because I knew he was at the university.  Sure enough the power was out, but he was going to wait and see if it came back on because our class wasn't until 7:00pm.  A few minutes later he called me back to say power had been restored, but since students had already been informed through the university website that the power was out and classes were cancelled maybe we should cancel our class too.  By this point I was resigned to the fact that I was going to have to miss church, and I just wanted to get the class over with.  Cancelling it would only mean rescheduling for the following week, so I'd still end up missing church.  I suggested we try and go ahead with the class.  I called all my students to tell them that our music class was still going ahead as planned.  A few minutes later the other professor called me again to tell me that even though the power was on, the university had locked all the doors since classes had been cancelled, so there was no way for us to get in.  At this point, I just thought... Wow, God must really want me to go to church tonight.  First He makes the hydro go out, and when that doesn't get me in church, He locks the doors of the university, so I can't work even if I wanted to!  I went to church, and was blessed.  We were only a very few that Wednesday night, but there's something about going to church in the middle of the week that encourages me whether there's twenty, ten, or only four people there.  

Now I was thinking, I'll have to miss church the next week since we'll need to reschedule our class.  At the other professor's suggestion we ended up rescheduling the class for Saturday afternoon instead!  YAY!!!!!  I didn't have to miss church at all!  God is SO good!!!!  What a blessing!  God gave me that, and I didn't even ask Him for it!  There were even fewer of us at church this Wednesday, but it was an even GREATER blessing then the previous Wednesday!  Sometimes I don't like to say things because it makes me sound like I think I'm better than everyone else or that I'm more spiritual, but I'm going to say it this time.  Those who missed the Wednesday night service missed a huge blessing from God and His Word by not being in church.  I know there are legitimate reasons why people cannot be in church sometimes.  Even I was going to miss church because of work, but if it is at all within my power to be at church I'm there!  Even if it means sacrifice, and many times it does.  A lot of people don't know what I've had to give up to be in church Wednesday night.  I'm not going to make a list here because then I WILL sound like I'm trying to make myself look better than everyone else, and that is not my purpose.  If you want to know just ask me, and I'll share.  Here's the amazing thing.  When we sacrifice for God, He returns the blessings beyond what we could ever imagine!  That's what makes sacrificing for God so worth it!  Initially it IS a sacrifice, but in the end it turns out not being a sacrifice at all!  God asks us to sacrifice, so that when He brings the blessing the glory cannot go to ourselves, but it must go to Him.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33

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