Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Christmas greetings to all...

It's hard to believe another Christmas Day is just around the corner. Shortly afterwards, my family and I head out west for my son's wedding. Any prayers for traveling mercies will be deeply appreciated!

I will be taking an extended break from blogging as we celebrate the holidays and then the wedding. As my Christmas card to any who visit this blog, here are the lyrics to Chris Rice's beautiful "Welcome to our World," copied from this site. I think this song says it all.

"Welcome to Our World"

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world--Chris Rice

And by popular demand...

I shared this on the air on 101qfl this morning, and a listener asked me to post it on my site. Actually, I got it from the Grif net, Dr. Bob Griffin's site that e-mails humor and good stuff to me every day. (Check it out for yourself.)

Enjoy and take to heart:

I Corinthians 13 -- Christmas Style

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling
lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just
another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at
mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all
that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not
focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and
table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but
rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all

Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Monday, December 22, 2003


"PETA turns so many away from their cause that I'm starting to think that they're funded by the meat packing industry."--John Little, Eye on the Left

Big Ups to "Time" for its choice of Person of the Year...

What could be more appropriate than Time's choice of "The American Soldier" as Person of the Year?

USA Today also writes about the choice today, quoting soldiers who appreciate the honor and say it should be good for morale.

Says Time's article online: "They swept across Iraq and conquered it in 21 days. They stand guard on streets pot-holed with skepticism and rancor. They caught Saddam Hussein. They are the face of America, its might and good will, in a region unused to democracy. The U.S. G.I. is TIME's Person of the Year."


Does PETA get through to anyone besides the "(disturbed) faithful"?

I stumbled across this blog called Eye on the Left just as Rockford has become the site of at least a few of the PETA billboards that are aimed-to-shock.

A few listeners have called me, outraged by the billboards, which feature a picture of a pig and the words "He Died for Your Sins"...as well as the admonition to "Go vegetarian." I ran a story about it this past Friday.

Rockford Register Star columnist Judy Emerson makes the billboards the subject of her column today; while she agrees that Christians have the right to be outraged, she seems to take an "ignore PETA and they'll go away" stance. Apparently other communities with the billboards have risen up in arms against PETA, only to give the lunatic-fringe animal-rights group (my words, not hers) the publicity they crave, and victim status to boot.

Says Emerson: "Let PETA practice its silliness while sensible Christians use their energy this holiday season feeding the hungry, tending the sick, spreading good will, praying for peace.

"Don’t we all have bigger fish to fry?"

Eye on the Left--which appears to be well-written, witty and timely-- meantime reports that PETA is up to even weirder silliness this Christmas season. They're handing out leaflets to children at performances of "The Nutcracker," with the message "Your mommy kills animals."

The Eye on the Left writer puts it succinctly:

"Once again the idiots at PETA fail to realize that their extreme message only plays with the (disturbed) faithful. Their tactics fail to convert. In fact, PETA turns so many away from their cause that I'm starting to think that they're funded by the meat packing industry."

Please don't ask me if I have all my Christmas shopping done...

The short answer? NO.

I'm hoping to get the bulk of it finished tonight. Doug and I always set aside one evening to get a large part of it done together, and there simply hasn't been time so far this season. It's been crazy.

Right now, we have a grand total of seven presents under the tree, and most of those are from Justin and Elizabeth to us!

Had our Christmas Cantata last night...

...and I have to say that it was probably my favorite of all those our church choir has done in recent years. The music and the arrangements were really beautiful and fun to sing as well, and the accompanying reader's theater had just the right touch of humor and heart-tugging moments, all centered around a vital message about the meaning of the season. All the actors did a terrific job.

"From Christmas to Calvary" is one of many musical pieces available from Bible Truth Music.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Another busy day today!

(Why is there a picture of Russell Crowe here? Just because I felt like it!)

Another busy day on tap for today. The good news: I got my dress for the wedding. No, it isn't the one I had planned to get (although that one WAS there.) This one I like even better, and it was 30 dollars cheaper! You can hardly beat that.

We still have to get Elizabeth's dress (it's being made), host the extended family Christmas party (although my sister-in-law is being kind enough to let us have it at her house...ours is entirely too small now), and get ready for the Trip to Boise.

So much to do. I feel like Prince Humperdinck in "The Princess Bride": "I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped!"

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Life continues its frenetic headlong rush toward Christmas and the wedding...

Today is going to be a busy day. I have to go to Bergner's and see if the dress I want for the wedding is still there, and if it's not, I have to go to the two other Bergner's stores and see if it's there. And if it's not, I have to find another dress that I will like anywhere near as well.

This is the first time I will have been the Mother of the Groom...or actually, the Mother of Anyone Who Is Getting Married. I want to look my best if at all possible, you know what I mean? And this is a really...really pretty dress. Yes, it's going to cost more than I normally spend on a dress, although it IS on sale (I never buy anything not on sale!) and I do have a 30 dollar gift certificate to Bergner's that will alleviate the price somewhat.

Goodness, I do hope that dress is there.

I also have to go to the grocery store and get the ingredients for the thing I'm supposed to bring to my husband's staff Christmas party tonight (a relish tray.) Hopefully I'll find a lot of stuff to fill the relish tray that WON'T require hours of chopping vegetables. Baby carrots, pickles, olives and crackers, here I come!

One thing I DID manage to get done, that is something of a minor miracle, is get my Christmas cards mailed. I was quite pleased with the way our family picture turned out. No, it's not from a major portrait studio or anything like that. Basically, a friend took them. But I thought they turned out nice, and the price was right. If I can ever get access to a scanner again, I'll post one here. The one on my sidebar is from a year ago, before Daylyn really figured into our family. I was happy that we could all manage to pose together at some point before Christmas.

Wow, are stamps expensive now, or what?

I love GETTING Christmas cards. How nice, to have a time of year where you get more than bills and advertising in your mailbox.

Michael Jackson turns to Islam

No, I won't post a pic of him. We've all seen that sad mug shot of his enough...the pasty white make-up,half- confused deer-in-the-headlights expression (albeit a deer wearing black eyeliner and lipstick.) It's sad, and appalling...when did that adorable little boy, then goodlooking young man, turn into this oddity?

Now, the latest news...that Jacko is converting to Islam. I seem to remember that he and his family have pretty much been devout Jehovah's Witnesses heretofore, so Michael now trades one distortion of God's truth for another.

I don't despise Michael Jackson, and I won't go out on a limb and trumpet his guilt...although...honestly...it doesn't look good, in my humble opinion. I do think he's a prime example of a man whose fame, fortune and talents have failed to bring him real joy and peace.

There's only one Person who can give him that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch!

My very favorite version of this song is the one by Sixpence None the Richer, which we play here on 101QFL. Leigh Nash's oddly lovely and lilting voice, and almost childlike quality in the speaking parts, really lends itself perfectly to this whimsical tune.

Apparently this reviewer of the 1999 Christmas compilation album, Happy Christmas Volume Two, agrees with me: "If you buy the CD for only one song, it would have to be Sixpence None the Richer's 'You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch.' Their oddball rendition is just too much fun..."

By the way, I've never seen the live-action "Grinch" movie, and I don't plan on seeing the current live-action "Cat in the Hat" movie...despite the fact that I've always liked Dr. Seuss. One reviewer said the "Cat in the Hat" movie just isn't "Seuss-y" enough. I'm pretty sure I know what they mean.

Come on,Chicago, give Rockford a break!

Apparently, some Chicago columnists have recently been rippin' on the city I've lived in for the past 23 years and that I now regard as my hometown...Rockford, Illinois.

Elizabeth Davies has an interesting article in today's Rockford Register Star, titled "Smells like snobbery--Chicago, stop rippin' on Rockford!"

Particularly stinging is this quote from Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg: "Rockford is an argument against the idea of human grace... Ten miles of Wal-Mart, Jiffy Lube and Olive Garden leading to a bleak downtown where the pedestrians all seem to be killing time, waiting for the shelters to open. 'Let the insects win,' I think darkly."


Davies disagrees with Steinberg's assessment of the Forest City, saying that she is a Chicago girl who chooses to live here...and that she appreciates the affordable housing and the fact that she can get anywhere in town inside of 20 minutes, among other things.

To be honest, I wasn't crazy about Rockford when I first moved here. I had lived in fairly large cities for a good portion of my young life, and in a fairly bustling college town for another portion of it, and Rockford seemed a bit dull to me at first.

Through the years, I have come to appreciate it. This is a great town in which to live and raise children. Sure, it has its faults, problems and ugliness just like any other city in America. But it also has a great deal of beauty...it's not called the Forest City for nothing; there are trees and beautiful parks galore.

I love the Swedish and Italian influences on everything from architecture to food...I challenge anyone to come up with better pizza than Giuseppi's or better Italian food than Maria's, Lino's, Pino's and a host of other local restaurants too numerous to mention.

Some of the loveliest old, dignified, beautiful homes grace tree-lined boulevards here. The Fourth of July celebration, with its dazzling fireworks show, is one of the best around. And who can not like a city that boasts the scenic Sinnissippi bike path and the gorgeously ornate and historic Coronado Theater?

Chicago is an amazing, incredible city, and I love that I live so close to one of the greatest cities in the world. But I agree with Elizabeth Davies. Chicago...lay off my hometown!

Feliz Navidad!

All I can say is, I hope Jose Feliciano is getting royalties on that song. I've heard it repeatedly in just about all radio genres so far this season.

I got curious about what Jose is up to...after all, "Feliz Navidad" first came out in the early 70's, I believe...and found that he's still going strong, and has his own official website. According to his site, Feliciano "has been acclaimed by critics around the world as the greatest living guitarist."

Confession: I always liked his version of "Light My Fire" better than Jim Morrison's. :)

A Soldier's "Night Before Christmas"

You may have seen this version of "The Night Before Christmas" before, but I think it's worth reading again, as many of our American troops remain in harm's way during this Christmas season. As the sister of a Gulf War veteran Marine, I have a soft spot in my heart for American servicemen and women.

The author of the poem is unknown, but some say it was written by a U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa. Some Internet sites don't include the last eight lines, but I think they're great.

Here's the poem:
'Twas The Night Before Christmas'
A Soldier, The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
In a one room house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand,
on the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sober thought came through into my mind.

For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the house of a soldier, once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled upon the floor in this one room home.

The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.

Was this the hero of whom I just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families I saw on this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers, who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay lone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.

The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice;

I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it, I started to weep.

I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
And we both shivered from the cold night's chill.

I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night
This Guardian of Honor so willing to fight.

The soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, "Carry on, Santa, It's Christmas, All is secure."

I looked at that soldier, on that cold Christmas night.
I thought of his comrades, and knew he was right.

This great world is freer, for they're willing to fight
For Freedom and Christmas, and all that is right.

So to all you, my friends, U.S. troops in all lands,
Know that you are remembered by family and friends,

For this one special night, may you rest without fight,
Merry Christmas, my friend, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

More about Nicholas Jonas

I mentioned this remarkable 11-year-old singer/actor in my blog recently, and got a nice e-mail from his dad, Kevin Jonas, who told me: "Nicholas truly does have a deep love for Jesus."

Nicholas' song "Joy to the World/A Christmas Prayer" is filling radio airwaves this Christmas season.

I've added more info about Nicholas on my website for those of you who are interested.

A positive story about a child, in a world where there are so many sad or negative ones. Good stuff.

Monday, December 15, 2003


“We can’t change the channel, because this isn’t just a television invention. This is our culture. This free-for-all, libertine, conscienceless maypole dance is what we’ve created from once-strong roots of Puritan rectitude. A nation once lampooned for its innocence now wallows in smut of every kind. Were it not for the new counterculture—the millions of families attempting to raise moral and idealistic kids despite the deluge of decadence—I’d be in doubt about our future.” —syndicated columnist and political analyst Mona Charen

Saddam caught like the rat he is...

I was getting ready for church Sunday morning, a Christmas CD providing background music, when my husband came up the stairs fresh from his shower with the words: "Have you heard the news? They captured Saddam Hussein!"

I responded with a classic jaw-dropping. Just total, stunned surprise. Next, I turned on the TV and found Fox News right away. We watched, in amazement, the first raw videotape of a doctor poking and prodding around in the mouth,ears and hair of the man responsible for so much death and destruction.

He looked wild-eyed, wild-haired, disheveled and dirty...a pathetic mess. I can't imagine a much more degrading image for someone who once strutted his pride, tyranny, defiance and cruelty on the world scene.

We must now wait and see just how much of an effect Saddam's capture will have on the war on terror. But I'm sure I'm not alone in taking immense satisfaction in knowing that one of history's most heinous villains is now under lock and key.

'Tis the season of the inflatable snowman???

I'm not imagining it...inflatable Christmas decorations appear to be the hottest holiday decorating trend this year. Just drive down any street in your neighborhood and you're likely to see more than one blown-up snowman, Santa or teddy bear grinning at you.

A Google search quickly turned up this article by Jura Koncius, which says: "Forget icicle lights, pre-lit wire deer and illuminated spiral trees. The outdoor decoration that is blowing away the competition this year is the giant holiday inflatable."

Apparently a lot of retailers are saying they can barely keep the inflatables in stock...and Target Stores spokewoman Paula Thornton-Greer is quoted as saying, "Inflatables are one way that people can instantly make any yard look professionally decorated without breaking the bank."

They really are kinda cute. The inflatables are powered by small plug-in fan motors, and held down by tethers and spikes. However, from what I've seen, they're not immune to toppling over. I've got to admit I have to grin when I see a jolly Frosty, face down in the snow. :)

Friday, December 12, 2003

Now you can listen to my interview with Jeri Massi!

Jeri has converted my radio interview with her, about her outstanding "Valkyries" novels, to an MP3 file. (It's 16 minutes long and is about 15 MB.) You can click here to listen to the interview. If that's not possible for you, you can click on the links on my sidebar to read excerpts from the interview.

You can also read my review of Valkyries if you like.

Folks, I'm the kind of person who won't waste time reading a book that doesn't interest me, and I literally couldn't put "Valkyries" down. The books (there are two of them) are riveting.

Hope you'll be able to listen to the interview.

By the way, Jeri got some good news about "Valkyries" recently. This from a bulk e-mail she sent:

"I received a letter from my publisher yesterday telling me that VALKYRIES: Some Through the Fire (Volume One of the two volume set) has been submitted as a nominee for the Christy Awards. If you're not into Christian religious fiction, the Christy Awards are our annual book awards for books published in the previous year in the USA. Finalists are announced in May, and the winners are announced at the end of June."

Great job, Jeri!

Some interesting comments on this phenomena we call "blogging"

Clarence left some comments here about what I understand is called "genetic memory"...the only way I can explain the strong pull I experience to all things Celtic. Clarence agreed with me, saying he experiences similar feelings when hearing music related to his own ancestry.

His comments led me to check out his blog, "Can You Hear Me Now?" He has some great thoughts about this blogging phenomena. Why do we do it?

Well, personally, I enjoy it because it's a quick and easy way to get my creativity on...an efficient and enjoyable way to write something and share something that might reach a few people or even touch a few hearts.

Says Clarence: "I read one comment where the author described some Blogs are containing 'daily life GARBAGE.'

"I've got some real news for that person. The details of someone's daily life is NOT garbage. Why do you suppose there is so much interest in the details of daily life for someone living in Iraq? John Q. Citizen, who lives where the conflict is on-going and conveys what they see and hear with their own eyes in the best language they possess is REAL NEWS. They aren't freelance reporters out for some sensational story line. They have no hidden agenda or code to adhere to. They write about what is reality to them, the way they see it."

I agree. I find the daily life musings of people quite fascinating. Maybe it's because, for the most part, I love people and want to hear their story. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

A beautiful Christmas book with a vital message...

I just interviewed Grace Johnson, an author and playwright who happens to live right here in my hometown.

Grace has come out with a wonderful book called "The Candle in the Window." It's based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, "Where Love Is, There God is Also"...and the simple theme of the book, as it was in the story, is Christ's teaching that "whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me."

The book is richly, gorgeously illustrated by Newbery Honor Award-winning illustrator Mark Elliott.

Grace tells me: "Having read the story and seen how many friends...teacher friends that I knew...that liked to read that every year to their children, I never saw it illustrated in any way...I wanted to write something that was done in a certain kind of lighthearted way that would be a happy book to read at Christmas
and yet would hit the sadness that I think so many people feel (during the Christmas season.) Because, you're supposed to be so happy, you're supposed to be so jolly, and that is the time that so many people are more aware than others of what they've lost: a family member's death, or a husband leaving them, or whatever it is. I just think we would be amazed at looking at a whole throng of people, how many of them have sadness, and I like to address that."

Grace also wanted to get the "least of these" message across to readers: "I find myself thinking, 'What am I doing that's directly for Christ?' I don't think sending money off to missionaries that I hardly know or care about, or another gift for Aunt Susie who doesn't need a thing...but I'm always reminded of my son who as an adult worked for a time in a facility that was for very severely developmentally challenged adults. These adults wore diapers, and it was my son's job to change them...and he said the only way he could get through it was reminding himself that he was doing it for Christ."

The story closes with a lovely ancient candle prayer, which Grace found years ago:

"Lord Jesus, thou whose birth we celebrate, we have lit our candle in the presence of each other and the holy angels. Kindle in our hearts thy flame of love, that day shall break and shadows flee away. Amen."

The main character, Gunther, discovers that he has shown kindness and compassion "to the least of these," and thus to Christ...and has been visited by angels:

"Slowly he shook his head in wonder. 'We have lit our candle, Lord Jesus, and you came!'

"He knelt beside the window. 'Kindle in my heart thy flame of love, that day shall break and shadows flee away,' he murmured softly.

"And Gunther looked into his heart and knew that it was so."

As I said, a beautiful book with a meaningful message.

"The Candle in the Window" is written by Grace Johnson and illustrated by Mark Elliott. It's available through www.bakerbooks.com and www.amazon.com, or your local Christian bookstore. I think it would make a lovely gift for a special child on your list, or anyone who loves wonderful books.

Apparently Evie is still pretty popular!

Since I noticed that a lot of web-surfers have been ending up on my blog or my website by searching for a reference I made to Christian singer Evie Tornquist-Karlsson, I decided to put more info about Evie on my site's page about my favorite Christmas music.

Most of the seekers seem to want the lyrics to "Come On, Ring Those Bells," so here also is a link to the lyrics and guitar tabs for that song.

By the way, Evie is still going strong and even touring a bit. She appeared with Mark Lowry at a concert last year for Radio 91, and was as lovely as ever. Apparently she and her husband Pelle Karlsson and their family are a "spokesfamily" for the Sky Angel Christian TV network, or were at one point.

There you go. Hope I've brightened up the season a bit for Evie fans! :)

Heard Enya's version of "Silent Night"...

...on the way into work this morning, and it was eerily beautiful. It was in Gaelic, which I find strange and lovely. When I hear Irish music, something calls out to me on a deep and primitive level. Some people think there is a something deep within us that connects with the country or countries that figured prominently in our ancestry. I think there may be something to that...else why have I been inexplicably drawn to Ireland ever since I was a little girl? I have strong Irish strains on both sides of my family tree.

, by the way, is the sister of Christian singer Maire (pronounced Moya)Brennan, whose voice and style is much like her sister's, but has a lot more Christian and spiritual content. I have one of her CD's, "Perfect Time," and like it very much.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

You say it's your birthday? It's my birthday, too!

Yep...I was born 47 years ago today. I really can't believe I'm that old! It's already been a nice birthday, though. Chris opened up the phone lines for listeners to call in and wish me happy birthday, and people were so sweet. Warm fuzzies galore. :)

Sharing a birthday with me today is Michelle Gartshore, a lovely person who checked out my website and blog and sent me a very kind e-mail! Happy birthday to you, Michelle! (She'll have a whole lot fewer candles on her cake than I will, though! :))

I suppose I should wax eloquent about midlife, how I'm dealing with aging and all that kind of stuff. The truth is, aging is probably the least of my worries right now. Yes, there are definitely things I could do to get in better shape and promote my health and longevity. One of my New Year's resolutions had better be getting into a consistent and workable exercise regime, no doubt. However, although I am disturbed when I notice a new wrinkle here and there, I've been told that I could pass for quite a bit younger than my age. (I think I have my Grandma Garrett to thank for the good genes.) So, I'm not obsessing about growing old just yet.

The fact that I've never been a smoker or alcohol drinker also works in my favor, I believe.

I do want to be the very best and most attractive 47-year-old woman that I can possibly be. Overall, I think I'm a much more interesting woman than I was, say, 20 years ago. Life experience and accrued wisdom will do that for you, I believe. I pray that I can have that beauty that glows from the inside...the kind that makes my mother a still-beautiful woman at 70.


A while back, I put a tribute to my father on my website that included lines from a song I used to love to hear him sing. It's called "Submission," and can still be found in some old gospel songbooks...none of which I have access to right now.

I got an e-mail from a Daniel Pollard, who was searching for the lyrics to the song so he could sing it a cappella in a Bible study group.

I was able to find the lyrics through a Google search, although the author's name is regrettably not included. I'll have to ask my mom if she can find the song for me so I can give credit to the author. In the meantime, check out these lyrics...wow.


The path that I have trod has brought me nearer God

Though oft it led thru sorrow's gates

Though not the way I'd choose,in my way I might lose

The joy that yet for me awaits.


Not what I wish to be, nor where I wish to go

For who am I that I should choose my way

The Lord shall choose for me, tis better far I know

So let Him bid me go, or stay.

The cross that I must bear if I a crown would wear

Is not the cross that I should take

But since on me tis laid I'll take it unafraid

And bear it for the Master's sake.

Submission to the will of Him who guides me still

Is surety of His love revealed

My soul shall rise above this world in which I move

I conquer only when I yield.

I conquer only when I yield.

A lot of scriptural truth in that song! I can still hear my dad singing it, and I get a little choked up thinking about it. He still sings a little, but rarely sits down at the piano like he used to. :(

Monday, December 08, 2003


Diane Keaton,57, on the fact that she's hasn't joined the trying-to-look-young bandwagon most Hollywood actresses are on: "Somebody's got to be old. Somebody's got to be out there. Because I believe everyone has to have something to look forward to. Everybody has to have someone that they can see and go, 'That was an older person. Look, they were still funny,' or 'They were still very vital, crazy and passionate.'"

Feeling a little "farklempt" (Yiddish for choked-up and emotional)...

Jonathan and Daylyn leave today, after a lovely four and a half days here. I've enjoyed them so much! They now go their separate ways before meeting again in Boise a few days before The Wedding.

^Daylyn and Jonathan^

I've never been a mother of the groom before, so this is all unchartered territory for me. I'm nervous about a lot of things...will we get there OK? (The road trip is going to be a long one, and bad weather could really ruin it). Will we blow our one big responsibility, the rehearsal dinner? Reservations have been made for it...just hoping it goes smoothly and the food is good. We chose from a list of places Daylyn gave us. Will Liz's dress turn out good? Will I find a dress? Will I look OK? (Pictures will record everything for posterity, of course!) Will Jon and Daylyn be safe when they drive a van and U-haul from Boise to Texas after the wedding?

Wow...lots of fodder for prayer there.

One good thing...the shower was lovely.

Anyway...I seem to be living on the edge of tears lately, for some reason. Well, I guess it's not so hard to understand. My firstborn is taking one of the biggest steps of his life, and my father is near the end of his. It's all a lot to digest.

Thursday, December 04, 2003


"There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves."--Thomas Wolfe

Back from the Lonestar State...

I just got back Tuesday from a trip to Texas to visit my family members who live there. Some of you may know that my father is terminally ill of liver disease, and I'm trying to get down there as often as possible. My sister Lisa made this visit possible, and I'm so thankful.

The day after I returned...yesterday...Jonathan and his fiance Daylyn arrived for a visit, Jonathan flying up from Texas and Daylyn from Idaho, meeting at O'Hare. It's wonderful to see them, and I'm giving Daylyn a bridal shower tonight.

These are busy days!

Some of my favorite Christmas music...

I'll admit it, I'm a sentimental softie when it comes to Christmas music. It's one of my favorite things about the season, which I still love in spite of the stress and commercialism that threatens to spoil everything at times.

The following is lifted from my website:

The Soundtrack of Christmas

Christmas music I love...

There are certain musical sounds that have formed the backdrop of Christmas for me...some in years past,and some in more recent years. I can remember growing up to the lilting sounds of Brenda Lee's "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"! In junior high,I was introduced by an incredible music teacher to the majesty and wonder of Handel's "Messiah." The strains of "For Unto Us a Son is Born" never fail to stir me, and I could make a good case for "The Hallelujah Chorus" being sung in Heaven!

When I was in Bible college, Evie Tornquist was all the rage. I still enjoy Evie's "Come On,Ring those Bells"!

Years ago,my sister gave me a Christmas tape of the Oak Ridge Boys. I've since lost it, and would love to have the CD. I can remember playing it for my little sons at night while they went to sleep during the Christmas season.

Some of my favorite Christmas music is more contemporary, but several have quickly become standards in our home. Here are a few:

For the fourth year I'm thoroughly enjoying Michael W. Smith's "Christmastime." I heartily recommend it!

No one is going to pretend Smitty is an awesome vocalist, but he is, in my opinion,a musical genius, and there is something endearing about his voice, too. The arrangements and orchestration are absolutely gorgeous as well. This is one of my very favorite Christmas albums. It is the perfect, joyous blend of the lighthearted and the reverent. Now I can't imagine the Christmas season without it.

His first Christmas album (I believe it was just titled "Christmas"), also remains a Christmas season staple for me, but it has a much different tone. The first album is more quiet and worshipful overall.

All of Amy Grant's Christmas albums are great,but my personal favorite is "Home for Christmas." It has become a seasonal classic in our home.

Also once again enjoying Point of Grace's Christmas C-D...I believe it's called "A Christmas Story." Lush, shimmery, angelic female four-part harmony, with a nice balance of the sacred and the secular.

And one of the best Christmas albums EVER...4Him's "Season of Love". I can't come up with enough superlatives for this one. . 4Him's version of "Little Drummer Boy" is one of my favorites...and "Strange Way to Save the World" is beautiful and poignant. A must-have!

And now for something completely different...

My son Jonathan has never been a huge fan of Christmas music...and he got especially burnt out on the sounds of the season when he worked in a Franklin Covey store at an Ohio mall for two years in a row. Here, he argues his case against Christmas music:


By Jonathan Swanson

I have been called a Grinch before because I don't always "Get in the Christmas Spirit". I have always realized that Christmas music and the Christmas atmosphere don't excite me as much as some, but I always am truly moved when that second hand goes from 11:59:59 pm Dec. 24 to 12:00:00 Dec. 25. I have diagnosed my lack of Christmas spirit as a disdain for crappy, so-called Christmas music. Yeah that's right, I dislike Christmas music. Before you picture me with a cane and a t-shirt that says "BAH HUMBUGG", let me clarify. Not all music that is passed off as Christmas music is really Christmas music. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "Silent Night" - these are real Christmas songs, but I am convinced that upwards of 70% of Christmas music is not Christmas music at all! I think real Christmas music should, at some point or another, mention Christ and his birthday! Most of it does not even come close! Let me give you a taste of what I've been subjected to just about every day, for the last two Christmas seasons :

"Santa Baby" - "Santa cutie, there's one thing that I really need, Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, For me.I've been an awful good girl, Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight." (imagine this performed by a disgustingly whiny/flirty female voice)

"What Christmas Means To Me" - "Candles burning low,Lots of mistletoe,Lots of snow and ice Everywhere we go Choirs singing carols Right outside my door All these things and more All these things and more That's what Christmas means to me, my love Christmas means to me, my love" (the legenday Stevie Wonder stumbles through this ode to remind us that Christmas isn't about a virgin birth and the arrival of the God-man that will change the course of history, it's really about kissing strangers under a plant, and singing songs in the cold)

"We Wish You the Merriest" - "We wish you the merriest, the merriest, the merriest, the merriest to youWe wish you the merriest, the merriest, the merriest, yes the merriest, / We wish you the merriest, the merriest, the merriest Yule cheer,/ We wish you the happiest, the happiest, the happiest, yes the happiest, / We wish you the happiest, the happiest, the happiest New Year./ May your tree be filled with happiness, happiness and friendliness for all / May your heart be filled with cheerfulness," /

(Yes this is actually a song, if you've ever heard it, you know how much it sucks.)--Jonathan Swanson

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