Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The corniest Christmas music ever...

Author Lisa Samson has her own ideas about the dumbest song line ever--which happens to be from a Christmas song. And I have to agree with her, that's a pretty dumb song line.

But apparently, when it comes to Christmas music, there's quite a bit of corn thrown in there with the holly and mistletoe.

On the way to work this morning, surfing through the radio dial, I heard one I hadn't even thought of in years: "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." Apparently it was recorded in 1953 by one Gail Peevey, and you can actually read trivia about it on this site. Some of the inspiring, Christmas-spirit-inducing lyrics:

"I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
Don't want a doll, no dinky Tinker Toy
I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy"


My son Jonathan, who worked at a Franklin Covey store in a mall for a while, was subjected to all kinds of Christmas songs ad infinitum...and he's sort of a grinch when it comes to Christmas music anyway. He especially detested "Santa Baby" and "We Wish You the Merriest" (read his thoughts on Christmas music here.)

Anyway, thanks so much...

...to those of you who left their favorite Christmas music suggestions in my comment section. I'm going to read and digest them and of course, blog about them, within the next day or so.

And to you Evie fans...and you are legion...good news!

I got an e-mail today from a Sky Angel representative answering my query on how to get a hold of Evie Tornquist Karlsson. I hope to set up an interview with her soon. Won't that be cool? A hefty percentage of hits on both my website and my blog are from searches for info about her and/or her perennial Christmas favorite, "Come On Ring Those Bells." I'll let you know about it as soon as I know more.

And we're back from the wild, wild West...

It was indeed a whirlwind trip. We went to Casper, Wyoming to my sister Bev's house for Thanksgiving. We were joined by both my sisters and their families, my brother's wife and youngest daughter (my brother is in Amman, Jordan), and my mom. There were bittersweet moments because of the absence of my dad, but overall it was a wonderful time.

And we came back with a new addition to our family: a little black toy poodle puppy named Brandy. Right now she's more "puddle" than "poodle" as we try to potty-train her. But she's ridiculously cute. She looks like a Boyd's bear!

Hope everyone reading had a great holiday. Oh, and about the Thanksgiving forecast...that's not original to me. I got it in a e-mail a couple of years ago, and the author (as far as I know) is unknown.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Thanksgiving forecast

Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.

A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will dimish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator.

Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.

Don't forget--I need your feedback...

I need you to tell me about your favorite Christmas CD's! I have my favorites, but I need an infusion of new stuff this Christmas season. Post your faves here in my comments section.

Everyone have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2004

It is so Monday....

Have you ever started out a day eating wrong despite your best intentions? That's what I did today, when Charmel brought coffee cake from Panera Bread. I'm hoping to redeem myself before the damage goes any further!

(By the way, Panera Bread has one of the best chicken salad sandwiches ANYWHERE.)

Disjointed random thoughts today...

To aspiring writers

I continue to be impressed with author Robin Lee Hatcher's blog. She, like author B.J. Hoff, are kind enough to share their practical wisdom about writing for publication. This post, Getting Published 101, has some really good stuff.

Like B.J, Robin stresses the importance of seeking God's will and examining your motives when it comes to writing.

Ladies, thanks so much for being kind enough to share your wise advice.

And I thought last year's holiday season was hectic...

Last year at this time, I was getting ready to host the entire Swanson family for Christmas, and for my oldest son's January 3rd wedding.

This year I'll be out of town for Thanksgiving AND Christmas...all the while preparing our current home to sell, and our new home to move into. Will I survive it? Oy vey...

Two thoughts about the Scott Peterson trial...

First of all, why?????? How does it happen that a seemingly normal guy purposely takes the lives of his beautiful wife and unborn son...his flesh and blood?

So he wanted to be a carefree bachelor and cavort with his new girlfriend. Why didn't he just divorce Laci? If it was a matter of avoiding financial obligations to an ex-wife and son, wouldn't that be preferable to spending life in prison or being executed?

I look at Laci's dazzling smile, I see the stark pain of her mother and empathize, because I have a beloved daughter and I cannot fathom her being murdered by her husband. My heart goes out to that family.

My other question...why don't similar cases get as much publicity as Laci's?

My sister worked at Dell Computers in Round Rock, Texas, with a woman named Christina Moore who was pregnant when she was murdered over a year ago. Police have just now arrested a suspect in her killing. You can read the story here.

Like Laci, Christina Moore was beautiful, beloved, and pregnant at the time of her murder, but her case generated only a tiny fraction of the publicity.

The only thing I can figure is that it was because Laci's case began with her disappearance and a massive search.

In any case, such stories are profoundly sad. We really do live in a fallen world.

Talk to me...

We're entering one of my favorite times of the year, musically-speaking, here at 101QFL and Radio 91. A sprinkling of Christmas music begins in late November, gradually increasing till Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when it's ALL Christmas music, ALL the time.

I talk about some of my favorite Christmas music on my website, but the time has come to add some new blood to my old favorites.

Any suggestions, anyone? Please tell me about YOUR favorite Christmas CD's, here in my comments section. Tell me what your faves are, and why. I'll include your comments and link to your blog or site (if you have one) in an upcoming special post about Christmas music!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Uh, because I feel like it....

It's FRIDAY!!!

...and it's been a while since I did the Fridays Feast quiz, so here goes! (Feel free to answer the questions on your own blog, or on the comments section here.)


What do you think is the perfect age to get married? To have a first child? To retire?--28, 30 and 65.

If you could change occupations tomorrow, what would you want to do for a living?--I'd love to write Christian fiction.

What does the color green make you think of?--IRELAND!!!! (Did I ever tell you I dream of going there?)

Main Course
What is something that has happened to you over the last year that you didn't expect?--The opportunity to move into a new (at least, new to us) home. That will be happening over the next few months. We've lived in our current house for 16 years, and I didn't see that changing.

How old were you when you had your first kiss?--Sixteen. Yes, I was an innocent. I didn't even like the kiss because it was--well, too much, too soon! It was at least two years before I really found out how nice a kiss can be.

In other news...

--Stones Cry Out has posted some beautiful, touching photos of American servicemen with Iraqi children. Beautiful.
This one is my favorite.

--I am amazed and appalled at the denigrating vitriol being spewed in the media against Condoleezza Rice. I find it racist and ugly. Rice is a classy, brilliant and admirable woman...why can't they celebrate the fact that she has risen to such a high position in the world? Anyway, here is one good article about her.

The Carnival of the Recipes is up at Boudicca's Voice. Looks like some great stuff! I've got to try this Fiesta Chowder from a blog called Brown Hound.

Anyone can submit to the Carnival of the Recipes. It's hosted by different bloggers each week, but is permanently based by Beth at She Who Will Be Obeyed.

A daughter's grief observed

It hasn't been quite four months since my father passed away, and I find his loss affecting me in many ways.

The grief for my father seems to be like a dark cloud. Sometimes it overhangs my life with dense cover, blanketing everything with sadness. Other times it recedes and even dissipates to the point where life is sunny and I think of him fleetingly or even happily.

The only predictable thing about it, though, is that it is unpredictable. I can be going about my business fairly cheerfully, only to be suddenly blindsided by the dark cloud.

My sister Lisa told me that the other day, she was singing along to a Mariah Carey song as she drove, when she was suddenly and quite unexpectedly blindsided by the grief, and she burst into tears.

That has happened to me so many times. Sometimes it's an unbidden memory, image, or even scent that triggers the feeling...but I suppose it's fitting that most often it's music, because music was such a huge part of my father's life.

When it happens, I completely give in to it. I find that letting the tears flow freely is healing and restorative.

I suppose it's like other forms of pain and loss I've experienced in my life. Life does go on--in fact, it sweeps along like a raging river, whether you like it or not. You smile, and laugh, and enjoy. But that grief will always be there; sometimes a dense cloud cover, sometimes only a wispy cloud. But never far away.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Quote o' The Day

Peggy Noonan on a criticism that Condoleezza Rice doesn't "give off sparks of sexuality": "We don't want a secretary of state running around giving off sparks of sexuality, do we. We don't want a secretary of state giving off sparks at all. We want a nice, quiet, calming, competent, sophisticated, even-keeled person to do a good, solid, nonshowy job."

It's not to late to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child...

I brought two good-sized shoe-boxes to work with me today, one filled with presents for a little boy and one for a little girl.

It's amazing to think that about fifteen dollars worth of toys, hygiene products and hard candy from the dollar store will bring a world of joy to a child in a country like Sudan, Afghanistan, Liberia, or more than 90 other countries around the world.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. This from the official website:

"Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. This program of Samaritan’s Purse provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift. Along with shoe box gifts, millions of children are given Gospel booklets in their own language. In 2003, we collected over 6.6 million shoe box gifts worldwide and distributed them to children in some 95 countries."

My 17-year-old daughter Elizabeth decided to pack a box for a little boy, using her own money to buy the stuff. She flitted excitedly through the dollar store, adding things to her cart with the occasional, "Mom, do you think a little boy would like this? All little boys like cars, right? What about basketball cards? Do you think a little boy in a foreign country would know about basketball?" She ended up cramming a big L.E.I. shoebox with all sorts of fun things.

You know, you can buy a whole lot of stuff at the dollar store for fifteen or sixteen bucks.

Last year I interviewed Kathy Klag of Operation Christmas Child. She told me that small stuffed animals are one of the favorite gifts of the children, because many of them have no toys, no pets, nothing to hang onto and love. The kids are starved for color and fun. You can include hygiene items, warm socks and gloves, hard candy and chewing gum.

The website will also give you drop-off locations near where you live. I encourage you to do it. What a great way to spread the love of Christ, and to teach your children about giving.

OK, I thought I was posting the very best corn casserole recipe...
But Ashley posted this one in my comments section, and it looks like a winner! Ashley tells me, "I always get asked for this recipe after I take it to a potluck or a church social."

The unique touches of the rice and the Mexicorn really call out to me. I'm definitely trying this one:

Ashley's Corn Casserole

1 pkg. saffron rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Mexicorn
shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare rice according to package directions. Mix with cream of chicken soup and Mexicorn. Pour into a buttered casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake at 350 until cheese is melted.

Thanks a bunch, Ashley!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The very best corn casserole recipe...

...just in time for Thanksgiving! This one is easy to make, has gotten great reviews when I've made it for holiday gatherings, and makes a nice change from the corn casserole that's made with cornbread mix. Enjoy!

Shoe-Peg Corn Casserole

-1/2 cup chopped onion

-1 c. chopped celery

-1/2 c. chopped green pepper

-1 c. grated cheese

-3 or 4 cans of regular corn,drained

-1 can cream of chicken or cream of celery soup

-1 cup sour cream

-salt and pepper to taste

-for topping: 1 stick of butter or margarine and Ritz crackers

Mix ingredients together (except for Ritz crackers) in casserole dish. Crush 1 stack of Ritz crackers, mix with 1 stick butter or margarine and put on top. Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Quote o' The Day

"I don't think God has a hissy fit when we dig into a pack of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. He knows how good they are. :-)
But I DO think He has a hissy when we rip into a pack out of depression, boredom, anger, or any other emotion we should be taking to HIM instead."--Julie Ann Fidler

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A Grinch named Target?

Shame on Target for banning the Salvation Army bell-ringers this year.

Salvation Army national spokesman, Major George Hood, says Target's exclusion of the bell-ringers could cost the Christian charity up to nine million dollars in lost holiday collections this year.

Hood says despite the Army's pleas that banning the red kettles would only hurt the needy, homeless and disabled in local communities, Target stood firm. Company officials say they've had a long-standing policy against solicitations, and can no longer make an exception for the Salvation Army while refusing others.

The familiar tinkle of the Salvation Army bells has become part of the background music of Christmas for me. I've even rung the bells myself several times. Each time I only spent a couple of hours at the post as a "guest celebrity bellringer," but it gave me a taste of what it's like for hundreds of volunteers who do the same thing for hours every year.

Yes, waving that little red bell back and forth continuously gets monotonous, but every time someone shoves a few bills into the slot, you think about how that money will go to help someone in need. And when a little child gets to do the honors, the look of happy enthusiasm on their face as they learn a small lesson about giving, makes it all worthwhile.

Oh well, the bell-ringers will still be at Wal-Mart. :)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Those stuffy Christians are spoiling all our fun!

After the first rush of satisfaction after learning that "morals and values" played a key role in the presidential election, I am now sensing a backlash.

We thought that good things would come out of this discovery, and for the first several days, I was hearing some good things. News media, political parties and even Hollywood seemed to be saying: "They want morals and values? OK, obviously we've been ignoring a sizable part of America. We will now endeavor to be sensitive to that part of the population."

Now I'm getting the feeling that these same prevailing cultural outlets are taking it a bit too far...on purpose?

OK, maybe I'm a bit paranoid. But maybe not, when I read quotes like Garrison Keillor's (albeit tongue-in-cheek) announcement that his new project is to take away born-again Christians' right to vote.

And take the airing of Saving Private Ryan. Network affiliates backing out of airing this movie because they fear offending the sensibilities of those who voted morals and values? Oh, what party-pooping spoilsports those morals-and-values people are!

There's Bill Maher talking about how the world would be more "sane" without religion, and basically spewing hate towards Christians. (Granted, Maher's comments came pre-election, but I'd venture to say the election has only intensified the sentiments.)

Then you've got the CNN special, The Fight over Faith. I saw only bits and pieces of it, and no, I don't closely identify with every Christian depicted...but why do I get the feeling that the general theme is, "Beware of Christians! They're out to ruin everything!"

Am I the only one who worries that the now medium-voiced cry of "Those stuffy Christians are spoiling all our fun!" could well develop into an angry roar at some point? Am I the only one who is seeing shades of Hitler's Germany in which the disdain of Jews turned murderously fanatic?

Am I the only one who thinks the prevailing view these days is that it's unacceptable to be intolerant of anyone EXCEPT Christians? That the only acceptable hate speech is hate against Christians?

I know the Bible never promised us that we would be loved by world...in fact, just the opposite. "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you."--I John 3:13.

But you know those liberal Democrats who are so aghast, wondering, "What happened to the country I know and love? I don't recognize it..."

Well, I don't recognize a country where it's OK to despise me because I'm a Christian.

It's been happening for some time now. I should be getting used to it, but I guess I'm not.

I read "Great Expectations" over the weekend....

"Mrs. Joe was a very clean housekeeper, but had an exquisite art of making her cleanliness more uncomfortable and unacceptable than dirt itself."--from Great Expectations

Yes, I had read the book before, but it was many years ago. Elizabeth brought it home from school recently, thinking about reading it for a book report. I picked it up, and that was it.

Classics are classics for a reason. They stand the test of time. I've never been that big of a Charles Dickens fan, but I could see why he is one of the greats. Intriguing story, vividly drawn characters, and a sense of humor...great book. The fact that it was written in the 18-hundreds doesn't diminish its appeal.

As always when I read a great book or see a great movie, my interest was stirred up and I had to do some Dickens research. I found this great Dickens website, chockful of everything you could possibly want to know about the man and his writings. Cool.

I leave you with another great quote from Great Expectations:

"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts."--Charles Dickens

Garrison Keillor doesn't think I should be voting...

Again I have to give credit to Robin Lee Hatcher, this time for this quote from Garrison Keillor.

Scary, perhaps more because of the audience reaction than even for the remark.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Cartoon yourself!


By way of Robin Lee Hatcher's blog, this site where you can create a cartoon pic of yourself.

I reckon this pic is much kinder to me than an actual caricature artist would be, but hey, it's fun! :)

Immersed in a good book...

Several days ago, I realized that it had been some time since I had delved into a good fiction book.

My library card is maxed out (it's a long story! Well, it has to do with lost books and books literally chewed up by the dog...none of it my fault, but now my library fine resembles the national debt and I'll probably have to take a second job just to pay it off, and so for now I've been avoiding the library :()...Anyway, that means I have to rely on publishers to send me books (which they kindly do, but they aren't all fiction, which is my favorite), or I have to resort to actually buying a book myself...novel (pardon the pun!) concept! :)

By the way, please librarians, don't get mad at me...I AM going to pay that enormous library fine. It makes me wish, though, that the Rockford Public Library would have an Amnesty Day. I've heard of other public libraries doing that, and it sure would be nice in my case.

But I digress. I ended up picking up a book at Wal-Mart that at first glance I thought was fiction, but could actually fit in the stranger-than category. I devoured Ann Rule's Heart Full of Lies in one day, unable to put it down.

It's the true story of Liysa Northon, who I believe (Ann Rule makes a great case for it!) killed her husband Chris in cold blood. Amazingly, she is serving time for a manslaughter charge. The story is fascinating, and told well, without sensationalism or gratuitousness. Liysa is a fascinating character, and I was totally engrossed.

Just when I was starting to need another book fix, I get a package in the mail from B and B Media Group containing two fiction books by Sam Yarney.

I'm more than halfway through Ninety Days, and I've been swept away on a fast-paced journey of international intrigue that includes a potent mix of high finance, spiritual warfare, occultic skulduggery and prophetic fulfillment, along with a dash of romance.

The author is apparently British, the story takes place mostly in England and the book is permeated with the kind of British flavor I love so much... from their unique speaking patterns and wry humor, to a cup of tea being the perfect antidote for everything.

I can so picture this book as a movie in the vein of The Bourne Identity...if done well, it would make a terrific action thriller.

Of course, I've yet to reach the conclusion, so I'll withhold my actual review until then, but it's looking good. And when I do finish it, thankfully they sent me the sequel, Air Rage.

Life is a Carnival!

I've been trying to participate in a couple of blogging "carnivals" lately...partly, quite frankly, to try to attract more readership to my blog.

This week, I entered my post about the passing of abortionist Richard Ragsdale in the Christian Carnival, hosted this week by Digitus, Finger and Co.

I also entered my Hash Brown Casserole recipe in the Carnival of the Recipes, hosted this week by The Common Virtue.

If you're a blogger whose looking to get a bit of attention, you may want to submit your own posts next time. The Christian Carnival will be hosted next week by ChristWeb.
The Carnival of the Recipes is always based at She Who Will Be Obeyed (I LOVE that title!).

Join the fun.

And have a happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Happy Veteran's Day!

My heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to all who have served or are serving our country, whether in peace time or war, and my fervent prayers for those in harm's way now in the Middle East.

A cool story

One of my personal heroes, Marine veteran Tim Lee, received this note:

"You touched my life today. You may not remember me...but I carried you on my passenger cart at D/FW Airport. I had a female trainee on my cart driving ..you and I talked.....it was right after you tried to make some upgrade accomodations for a mother on the way to Twenty-nine Palms...for her marine sons funeral. For a tip..you gave me $2.00 and your tract'Deadline VietNam.' I looked at the tract and immeadietly had her return to the gate we dropped you at..so I could find you and return the $2.00 and ask for another tract. We could not find you....you were no where to be found...much like a messanger from god himself...that left after his job was done. I am a former Marine..0311 by MOS...and was in 1stBn7th Marines 1st Marine Div at Chu Lia.

"I have read and re-read the tract...I have been 'corrected' by the Lord..on several occasions...and I prayed the prayer in the tract...with tears in my eyes. You touched my life..during that brief time you were on my cart.

"You said that you have seen me there before at the airport...it is my sincere hope and prayer ...that I get to drive you again. Your tract is now a treasured keepsake and treasure of this day..and my brief encounter with you."

Read or listen to "Deadline Vietnam: The Day My Running Stopped" here.

Once again I'm overwhelmed...

...by the kindness and just downright niceness of 101qfl listeners!

Yesterday, Darren Marlar and I had a "Midday Munch" (kind of a glorified meet-n-greet) at The Square Cow in Durand, IL.

Owner/operator Lynette Mitchell and her delightful family rolled out the red carpet for us. The food was delicious...I got chili and a salad, and even splurged on a chocolate malt, and it was all top-notch. Darren had a double cheeseburger and onion rings, which looked fantastic. I could tell just by looking at the cheeseburger that my husband could love it, so we are definitely going to take a trip out there soon.

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of speaking and singing to the ladies of the Park Hills Evangelical Free Church in Freeport, IL.

Everyone couldn't have been nicer or more hospitable. Many thanks to Cindy and Dawn for planning it all and making the whole experience so awesome.

Each time I speak to a women's group, I think how much I enjoy it and would like to do more of it.

Happy Birthday to Nathan!

And last but not least, happy birthday wishes to my dear nephew Nathan, who (can it be?!?) celebrates his 14th birhday today. Fittingly, Nathan was born not only on Veteran's Day, but also during Operation Desert Shield.

Love you, Nathan!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Quote o' The Day

"Can you look yourself in the mirror, in the eyes, and say what you believe without laughing or feeling stupid? If so, you’re on the right track, even if you believe Martians walk among us. It’s about conviction."--LaShawn Barber

Internet/election burnout?

My son Jonathan says he has an "election-sized hole" in his internet reading life:

"A week ago the internet was a treasure trove of breaking news on the election. I was keeping an eye on upwards of ten different sites, and each one had a take that was worth reading. Today my browsing has reverted back to a toggle between the triumvirate of web greatness: The Drudge Report , ChicagoSports.com , and ESPN.com."

Jon's asking for suggestions to "lift him out of his internet doldrums." If you can help him out, drop by his blog and leave recommendations in his comments section.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Quote o' The Day

"These days, is a grandma a facelifted, tummy tucked woman who lives six months out of every year in Europe, but sends personal emails to all her grandkids while she's away?... I want to be a wonderful grandma, when the time comes. What does that even look like these days? What should it look like?"--Katy Raymond,fallible.com

Marines seek God's help

From the Drudge Report, by way of Nick at Patriot Paradox, this heartening story about US Marines preparing for battle.

Please continue to pray for our troops.

(By the way, the above pic is not of the troops in the story...it's from a story a few months back about Marine Chaplain Carey Cash.)

God is doing a work in Baghdad

I sat spellbound at the culmination of our church's Missions Conference last night, as my old friend Edgar Feghaly showed a video about the New Testament Baptist Church--the church he planted in Baghdad, Iraq. (Edgar was a teen-ager and I was a little girl when our families were friends in Beirut, Lebanon in the mid-60's.)

I watched Iraqis being baptized and worshipping God in their sanctuary in an apartment building in central Baghdad. Edgar says the Iraqis are hungry for and open to the gospel. Awesome.

The picture above is of a worship service at the church, from Edgar's website, gospeltoiraq.com.

Read on the site to find out how you can help. Right now, Edgar is asking for financial contributions to help children in the Baghdad church have a wonderful Christmas.

You can send checks payable to:

Dr. Edgar Feghaly
Christmas Gift to Children

Send to:

WWNTBM (World Wide New Testament Baptist Missions)
P. O. Box 725
Kings Mountain, NC 28086

Later I'll be talking about another wonderful and worthy Christmas project for needy children around the world, Operation Christmas Child. The staff here at 101QFL will be playing an active role in that project this season.

The popularity of Evie lives on...

When I first started my website (it's separate from my blog--check it out!), I wrote an article about my favorite Christmas music and made an offhand comment about Evie Tornquist's "Come On, Ring Those Bells."

You wouldn't believe the number of hits I get seeking info on Evie and that song in particular, not just as Christmas, but all year long.

I even did a little update on Evie in my blog during last year's Christmas season.

Today I got an e-mail from someone who found my site in an Evie search:
"I'm looking for lyrics and chords for Evie's 'Come on Ring those bells'. ( My sister brother and I used to sing it with my mother every year for christmas at our church growing up. Since my mother passed away 10 years ago it holds sentimental value for us! We would like to sing it with her grandchildren now!)

"Anyway the link on your website will no longer work and I'm having a tough time finding it elsewhere. I was wondering if you might know where I can find it?

"Thank you for any help you can give!"

She's right...the lyric/guitar tab link no longer works. However, here are a couple of sites where you can order songbooks containing the sheet music:



And here is a page where you can find the lyrics.

Meanwhile, getting an interview with Evie is on my to-do list for this holiday season...there's definitely plenty of interest in what she's up to!

Friday, November 05, 2004

TGIF, indeed...

This has been an incredibly busy week, and actually, it's not over yet!

This afternoon I have to do some voice-over work (thankfully, just a small amount), go grocery-shopping, make a Hash Brown Casserole (recipe to follow, if you're interested) for a Missions Conference dinner tonight, go to the dinner and meeting...

Then early tomorrow I have to get up, get ready, and go speak and sing at a ladies' meeting in Freeport. This is something I am always a little nervous about, but I truly enjoy it. I'll let you know how it went.

Tomorrow night we may be going out with friends, then our Missions Conference winds up Sunday morning and Sunday night.

Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a nap or two somewhere in there.

So here ya go...the recipe:

Hash Brown Casserole

--2 lb. bag frozen hash brown potatoes
--1 sm. sour cream
--1 can Cream of Chicken soup
--1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
--1 sm. onion, chopped
--Crushed Corn Flakes (2 cups)
--Melted butter (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
--Salt and pepper to taste

Mix sour cream, soup, cheese, onion, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potatoes. In small bowl, pour in melted butter. Use enough butter to make the Corn Flakes stick together. Pour potato mixture into a casserole dish (I actually use a 9 by 13 pan.) Spread corn flakes over top. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Happy Weekend, Everybody!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Quote o' The Day

On how the holidays are all running together now: "I expect that before I die I will see Santa Bunny and Turkey McChocula selling patriotic red-white-and-blue Valentine Pie."--James Lileks

OK, maybe we're not such a divided country...

When you take a look at that map of how counties voted in the election...well, there's an awful lot of red.

Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan has this to say in here editorial today: "George W. Bush is the first president to win more than 50% of the popular vote since 1988. (Bill Clinton failed to twice; Mr. Bush failed to last time and fell short of a plurality by half a million.) The president received more than 59 million votes, breaking Ronald Reagan's old record of 54.5 million. Mr. Bush increased his personal percentages in almost every state in the union. He carried the Catholic vote and won 42% of the Hispanic vote and 24% of the Jewish vote (up from 19% in 2000.)

"It will be hard for the mainstream media to continue, in the face of these facts, the mantra that we are a deeply and completely divided country. But they'll try!"

Noonan's article has good things to say about bloggers as well: "God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America."

By the way, I love Peggy Noonan's style of writing and speaking. Both have a lyrical and melodious quality, very appealing. I keep saying I'm going to read her book about Ronald Reagan and I haven't gotten around to it yet.
Anyway, I'm "savoring" along with Peggy today.

OK, what is up with England anyway???

I've always been something of an Anglophile, at least ever since I attended a British school in Beirut, Lebanon when I was a little girl (Manor House School.) I read a lot of British books when my parents were missionaries. In fact, one of my favorite books as a child was a British book (click here to read about how I re-discovered it recently), and my favorite book of all time besides the Bible is Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

I love British dry wit, their way with words, the cadence of their speech--and I've always longed to visit their country.

But I'm horked off about their attitude towards President Bush right now! Give me a break.

Brian Reade of the Daily Mirror calls President Bush "a lawless cowboy" that will lead us "further into carnage and isolation and the unreserved contempt of most of the rest of the world." (Article here) Aarrghhh!!!

Cross-Dressing Grade Schoolers???


Not only that, but boys stuffing their shirts to create fake breasts.

After getting a complaint from a Laura Stanley, whose kids go to Carrier Mills-Stonefort Elementary School near Carbondale, IFI director Peter LaBarbera did some digging. Apparently, school officials are brushing it off as just a goofy fun day that was part of Spirit Week...but Laura Stanley isn't amused: "This is not what I want my son taught at school. Kids are already getting so many confused messages from the culture. Do they need to be further confused about sexuality?"

Says IFI director Peter LaBarbera: "Even if the school’s administrators did not set out to advance a gender-confusion agenda, we agree with Mrs. Stanley that telling youngsters to cross-dress--in school of all places--is just plain dumb. Kids are already steeped in false and unnatural sex/gender messages--with female pop stars kissing each other for kicks and 'transgender' activists suing schools for the 'right' of boys to come to class in a dress. In such an environment, the last thing we need is for schools to promote more confusion about the sexes and gender roles."

I agree, Peter.

Read the entire story here.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Last night was a bit emotional for me.

Our church kicked off its annual Missions Conference last night, and the keynote speaker is Edgar Feghaly of World Wide New Testament Baptist Missions.

Edgar--or Eddie, as he will always be to me--was a teenager when my parents were missionaries to Beirut, Lebanon, in the late 60's. The Feghaly family, and Eddie in particular, became dear friends of our family during a time that is no less poignant in my memory for being so brief (March 1966-June 1967.)

Eddie had wonderful things to say about my dad from the pulpit last night, that brought tears to my eyes. (As I've blogged here, my father passed away this past July 28th.)

During his years pastoring churches in Beirut, Eddie and his family have had several close brushes with car bombers, snipers and the like, but God has preserved them and blessed their ministry.

Now Edgar and Rosann Feghaly have started a church in Baghdad, Iraq. I can't wait to hear more about it, and in fact I'll be interviewing Eddie for my radio interview program tomorrow.

A neat and very sentimental moment took place after church, when I called my older sister Beverly on my cell phone. She and Eddie had been good friends in Lebanon, but haven't seen each other since then. I told her someone wanted to say hi to her, and Eddie took the phone.

They had a great conversation, and afterwards Bev and I both got emotional. Talking with Eddie brought back so many great memories in which my dad figured prominently.

My dad truly loved the Arab people, and his missionary's heart never stopped beating until the day he died.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

That sound you hear is my enormous sigh of relief...

Kerry has conceded.

This from Associated Press: "A Democratic source says Kerry told Bush that the country
was too divided, and that Bush agreed. The official says Kerry
added, 'We really have to do something about it.'"

The country is divided, disturbingly so...and that tells me that we as Christians cannot stop praying now, just because our man is victorious.

We have to take seriously our responsiblity to be salt and light in this dark world. We have to reach people, one on one, with the love of Christ.
Government doesn't change hearts...only God's love can do that.

Whether or not President Bush has a "mandate," it is clear that we as Christians do. We have a mandate to be the instruments of God's love to those around us.

May we pledge to do so, now more than ever.

That said...there are a LOT of things I'm very happy about!

--That President Bush won, of course
--That 11 states voted to ban gay marriage
--That the exit pollsters have egg on their face
--That Tom Daschle lost his senate seat
--That the so-called "youth vote" didn't materialize enough to sway the vote for Kerry...where did I see the headline, "Vote, Die, or Whatever!" :)
--That Teresa Heinz Kerry won't be the first lady

There's more, but I'm too wiped out to remember it right now. A nap is definitely in order for this afternoon.

God Bless America!!!

Will there be a concession speech???

AP is now reporting that Kerry advisers are considering his options–"including the possibility of a concession speech.” A top Kerry adviser is quoted as saying Kerry’s chances of winning Ohio are “difficult at best.” AP says Kerry’s brain-trust met first thing this morning, and they plan at least one other meeting before taking their recommendations to Kerry.


I'm toast. I stayed up till 1 AM watching election results, and had to be up at 4 AM. I'm not doing any victory dances yet, and I won't breathe easy until Kerry concedes. But even my pessimistic soul is seeing the light!

More later...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I don't know about tomorrow...

...but I know Who holds my hand.

That's part of an old Ira Stanphill song that has been going through my head today:

"I don't know about tomorrow; it may bring me poverty.
But the One who feeds the sparrow is the One who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion may be through the flame or flood,
But His presence goes before me and I'm covered with His blood.

"Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand.
But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand!"

I don't know what the outcome of the election will be...or even when we'll know that outcome for sure. But I know that a Sovereign God controls the universe, and nothing will come as a surprise to Him.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't be trotting over to my polling place later today to let my voice be heard!

It's going to be a long day, folks. My God be with all of us.

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