Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Gotta love those TV theme songs!

"We're gonna make it after all!"

Every once in a while, we just do something silly and fun on the Marlar in the Morning show on 101qfl. Yesterday, we talked about TV theme songs, and the phones rang off the hook as listeners requested their favorites. It ended up being a wonderfully nostalgic walk down memory lane.

However, I have a quibble with the "official" list of the top 10 TV theme songs of all time. Any list that doesn't include the themes to Mary Tyler Moore, the Beverly Hillbillies or M*A*S*H has really got a problem!

Here's the list compiled by Robert Berry of RetroCrush:

1) Sanford and Son
2) The Brady Bunch
3) Gilligan's Island
4) Batman
5) The Jeffersons
6) Mission: Impossible
7) Star Trek
8) Twin Peaks
9) Spongebob Squarepants
10 Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids

OK, I can agree with seven out of 10 of those (although not necessarily in the order Berry ranked them.) But, Twin Peaks?!? And SpongeBob Squarepants has NOT been around long enough to achieve "best of all time" status. I don't think Fat Albert belongs in the top 10, either.

Oh, and wait! Where's Andy Griffith's familiar whistle?

I can think of a few that, while not classic enough to be on the top 10, deserve a brief mention. Who can resist Will Smith's catchy "Fresh Prince of BelAir" rap? And for sheer novelty, there's always the Garry Shandling Show theme from several years ago:

"This is the theme to Garry's show.
The theme to Garry's show.
Garry called me up and asked
Would I write his theme song?
I'm almost half-way finished,
How do you like it so far?
How do you like the theme to Garry's show?

This is the theme to Garry's show.
The opening theme to Garry's show.
This is the music that you hear
As you watch the credits.
We're almost at the part
Where I will start to whistle..."

And I'm pretty sure I could come up with all the lyrics for "Petticoat Junction" and "Green Acres"!

Listeners called in requests for their own favorites; everything from "The Dukes of Hazzard" to "I Love Lucy" to "Welcome Back, Kotter."

How about you? Do you have any favorites? Let me know in my comments section.

Going an a brief blogging hiatus...

I will not be blogging for the next five days, as family matters take precedent. I hope to be back at the computer, Lord willing and if the creek don't rise, on Monday, April 4th. See ya then!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Then Came Sunday

My husband's stepmom passed away on Good Friday after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

The fact that she had been largely unresponsive for quite some time, does not make this any less of a sad occasion for my father-in-law. The woman who was his beloved wife for thirty-three years is physically gone from this earth now.

Nevertheless, my father-in-law preached on the Resurrection yesterday. No doubt he gained strength and comfort from the glorious fact that Christ is risen, and because he is risen, we can all rejoice in the blessed hope of eternal life. My stepmother-in-law is whole and happy now, and we can also rejoice in that.

The choir sang Ron Hamilton's "Then Came Sunday" yesterday morning, and as I sang, I struggled with emotions. My father's death is still fresh and raw in my heart; I identify with my father-in-law's sadness because of my own mother's grief; and yet, my heart is powerfully touched by the sacrifice Christ made for me, and moved by His victory over sin and death.

Then came Sunday, and Jesus Christ arose
Crushing the enemy, conquering all his foes
Hallelujah! King Jesus has prevailed
Satan claimed the victory...
Then came Sunday

Thank God for Sunday!

One note: I helped my father-in-law write the obituary, and one of the things he wanted to include was a note of appreciation to the Northern Illinois Hospice Association, asking that donations be sent to the hospice association in lieu of flowers.

I too am an avid supporter of hospice, after the wonderful care my father received at the Christopher House in Austin. These organizations and the people who work with them are outstanding. What a wonderful and needed service they provide.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I have a passion for hymns

"Hymns are the vocal equivalent of stained glass. They have served across centuries to glorify God, teach and celebrate the faith and shed light on every life."

(Note: I am following the Terri Schiavo case, with my stomach faintly nauseous and my heart sad. But you will be able to read updates on other sites. I will blog on other topics for now.)

I didn't have a chance to look at yesterday's USA Today until today (is that a tongue-twister, or what?) But finally glancing over it this morning, my attention was caught by an article about Christian music: "Easter sings anew," by Cathy Lynn Grossman.

Any major newspaper article that quotes "He Lives" is guaranteed to catch my eye: "He walks with me, and talks with me, along life's narrow way."

I've blogged before about my love of hymns and my concern that they're dying out and being replaced by nice, but sometimes shallow and repetitive choruses.

Don't get me wrong, praise choruses have a valid place. But there's nothing quite so stirring as one of the great old hymns of the faith.

The USA Today article quotes Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine (his name inexplicably misspelled): "We want lyrics that remind us, 'Why am I going to church? Why am I drawn to worship?' The great hymns talk about man's depravity and God's greatness and how God bridges that gap..."

"You read the stories of hymn writers who were always grappling with how the gospel meets suffering, pain, frustration and doubt. Hymns are their response. There's a richness in their works because they are wrestling with it all. They are not people — we are not people — who have figured it all out."

Jars of Clay is one of several groups that are giving hymns a spirited new voice and in some cases, a whole new audience. The band's new album, "Redemption Songs," includes versions of "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "Nothing But the Blood."

I'm blessed to go to a church where hymns are sung on a regular basis. I can't adequately describe the times my soul has been stirred, my heart blessed and my eyes filled with tears of praise and gratitude while singing songs like "Great is Thy Faithfulness," "And Can it Be" (my personal favorite), and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."

USAToday's Grossman writes: "Hymns are the vocal equivalent of stained glass. They have served across centuries to glorify God, teach and celebrate the faith and shed light on every life."


Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
--Charles Wesley, And Can it Be?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Joni Eareckson Tada finds the Terri Schiavo case frightening

As a quadriplegic woman, Joni Eareckson Tada says she finds the Terri Schiavo case frightening--especially after spending time in the hospital recently for pneumonia.

AP's Religion Roundup reports quotes Tada as saying she was dependent on others for food and water during her hospitalization.

Tada told AP: "She [Schiavo] is a disabled woman, much like me except perhaps with a more severe handicapping condition, and she is depending on others to provide to her food and water through that feeding tube... and in so doing her life will be safeguarded while her case can be exhaustively investigated. That's what we're praying for."

Tada has a statement on her website in support of keeping Schiavo alive "while her case is exhaustively investigated."

After a federal appeals court this morning rejected Schiavo's parents' request to have her feeding tube reinserted, her parents now say they'll take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A fascinating story of cult involvement...

I've been very impressed with Walking Circumspectly, the blog of a woman named Kristen. Kristen shows real knowledge and insight into Biblical and spiritual issues.

Today she shares her story of being involved in a cult while a college student. Fascinating testimony.

One of the paragraphs that caught my attention: "I began to notice how very tired many of the brothers and sisters were--they faked an energy and enthusiasm that, for some of them, was strained. They rose very early to meet or pray, and were required to stay up late evangelizing or fellowshipping. There was a drive to all of it that was exciting...but it wasn't the Holy Spirit."

No matter how tireless our zeal in doing the Lord's work, it will all be for nothing if it isn't sanctioned and fueled by the Holy Spirit. And I'm concerned about churches that have unhealthy and unbalanced demands on their members' time.

The Bible tells us not to be weary in well-doing, and there's no doubt that many hours of life are wasted on worthless and frivolous pursuits. That said, I have difficulty believing that the Lord would approve of families suffering because of devotion to the ministry.

Just my thoughts.

In other news...

I am in the middle of Liz Curtis Higgs' Whence Came a Prince, and folks, this is one good book! I'm looking forward to interviewing Liz in the next week or so.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Schiavo case stirs radio debate

No doubt about it, the Terri Schiavo case is heartbreaking on several levels. And it seems just about everyone with any knowledge of the case at all has their own opinion on the matter.

Darren Marlar and I found that out firsthand today when we opened up the phone lines on 101QFL's morning show for people for callers to voice their feelings on the matter. Phone lines erupted with response, which didn't let up until the end of our show at 10 AM.

The majority were in favor of re-inserting Terri's feeding tube--something a federal judge refused to do this morning. However, a few people had different perspectives, including a young woman whose mother had suffered severe health problems, and a couple of registered nurses.

One RN, Margo, e-mailed us with (in my opinion) one of the more balanced perspectives:

"I'm a nurse; and spent 23 years working in a very large long-term care facility in Rockford. Ive pretty much seen it all.

"I am NOT a proponent of prolonging life through 'tubes'. I have watched many people through the years 'starve' to death. Many chose it over their condition; many, it was just the progression of their condition.

"We were thankful for the families that had the courage to allow their loved ones to die without using artificial means to keep them alive --to just be breathing and existing.

"Trust me, these people were never left to just lay in a room and starve to death. Comfort measures were always in place from trying to offer water, ice chips, even food if they were alert; to medications if they were agitated and anxious to help them through. They were cared for...

"However, these were people who had never had a feeding tube, and families and residents who didn't want to go that way.

"There is a progression to dying this way, and, it can go on for 7-10 days..Hard to watch; emotionally draining....YES. But, basically, we allow nature to take it course, and GOD to work.....They really do not know they are starving to death....Really.....We personally just went through this with my mother-in-law, and aunt. BUT, they were both 90, and it was their desire also when they were lucid NOT to be prolonged.

"HOWEVER. I'm am not a supporter of euthenasia(sp).

"If Terry Schivo's tube was to be removed, the time to do that was after evaluations had proven no hope. NOT 16 YEARS LATER....Then it is murder as far as I am concerned.

"Those residents we received into our facility with feeding tubes etc. KEPT those tubes until they died. They were NOT removed to hurry up the process. When their time and days were up, they died tubes in. And, they were not all just old people.....

"As a nurse(though not working now), I do not support the prolonging of life by artificial means when there is no hope; BUT, I also do not support pulling a feeding tube on someone who has had it in for 15-16 years either.

"I'm personally horrified at this, and the precedent it sets...

"It is tough, and there us a very fine between allowing someone to die, and 'helping them along'. Not easy for nurses either.

"The bottom line is all our days are numbered, and GOD has the number. My feeling is the time came and went a long time ago for pulling that tube...She will die when her days are complete; God doesn't need our help.

"I hope this is not too confusing.....


In other news...

Amy Grant to star in reality show

Singer Amy Grant will star in a reality TV show called "Three Wishes," in which she'll help make people's dreams come true.

According to her website: "NBC will be making 'Three Wishes' come true in a new special/backdoor pilot starring five-time Grammy-winning artist Amy Grant in an unscripted format in which Grant will lead a team of experts to a small town to help make the hopes and unbelievable dreams come true for deserving people."

Read more about it here.

Here it is...my girls with Da Coach!

I blogged the other day about encountering former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka at Ditka's restaurant in Chicago. Here's the pic of my niece Katie and my daughter Elizabeth with Da Coach:

Some celebrities are appealing for Terri Schiavo

As the vigil continues for Terri Schiavo, a group of celebrities are calling for her feeding tube to be re-inserted.

The Associated Press reports this morning that a federal judge is refusing to order the re-insertion of Schiavo's feeding tube.

Stars going to bat for the Florida woman include Mel Gibson, Patricia Heaton, Randy Travis and Pat Boone.

Actor-director Mel Gibson is quoted as saying, "Terri's husband should sign the care of his wife over to her parents so she can be properly cared for."

And singer Randy Travis says: "May God lead the powers that be to reverse this decision and give Terri her life back."

Read more at www.terrisfight.org

Monday, March 21, 2005

We saw "Da Coach"!

An evening at Iron Mike's Grille

What a great weekend! On Saturday afternoon, we (Doug, Liz and I) took our visiting teen-aged niece Katie into Chicago (via the el train from Cumberland.) Joining us was our nephew Ben, who lives here.

We managed to do some shopping, including at a Chicago sports apparel shop that was having a fantastic sale. Katie bought a Cubs T-shirt for her dad, and a Cubs hat for her brother.

We eventually headed over to Mike Ditka's restaurant for dinner. Doug and I have eaten there a few times and really enjoyed it.

As soon as we walked in, there was a buzz: "Ditka's HERE!"

Sure enough, "Da Coach" himself was holding court at a table upstairs, patiently signing autographs and posing for pictures. My husband was freaking out--he's been a Chicago Bears fan all his life. He ended up getting Ditka's autograph on an 8 by 10 glossy of the former Bears coach, and on a Cubs hat he had just bought. Katie and Ben both got stuff autographed, and Katie and Liz got their picture taken with Ditka.

It was a pretty exciting wrap-up to our little Chicago adventure. Man, I LOVE that city!!!

"We want to demystify blogging"

USA Today has an article today about "Inside the Blog," CNN's daily four minute show that's being called "the first daily segment on cable or network TV dedicated to people whose reporting and opinions appear on the Web."

The show actually debuted on February 14th.

It's good to see blogging getting some media attention...I've been pleased to note that one of my favorite bloggers, La Shawn Barber, has done at least a couple of TV interviews lately.

I hope bloggers will be treated fairly and will represent the blogosphere with class and dignity. I saw one of La Shawn's interviews, and she was terrific.

Too late for St. Patrick's Day, but isn't this cool?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

These are a few of my favorite Irish-related things...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It took me years to realize that a lot of people use St. Paddy's Day as an excuse to party and get drunk. The day still has happy connotations for me of being a kid in school and making sure I was wearing my green so I wouldn't get pinched. Just in case you forgot to wear green, though, you could also pin on a green construction-paper shamrock!

Now, I use it as an excuse to reflect on my Irish heritage, dream about visiting Ireland someday, and think about some of my favorite Irish-related things.

Maeve Binchy
Favorite Irish author: Maeve Binchy
I believe I've read all of Binchy's books to date, and there's not one I haven't enjoyed. Her breezy, humorous and casual style gives the reader the feeling that you're chatting with a good friend, but don't be fooled--her storytelling ability is impeccable. Among my favorites: Circle of Friends, Tara Road, and Light a Penny Candle.

B.J. Hoff
Favorite author who writes about the Irish: B.J. Hoff
It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I'm a major B. J. Hoff fan. Her Emerald Ballad series hooked me, and I've continued to be impressed by her absorbing tales which often feature Irish immigrants. When asked why, B. J. replied, "Well, who’s more interesting than the Irish, after all? There’s no danger of ever running out of stories about them!

"Seriously, I love writing about the people who built our nation—our ancestors—and there’s really no way to do that without writing about immigrants. And since the Irish immigrants played such a hugely important role in settling America—and since my own family tree is exceedingly 'green—' I chose years ago to focus on Irish characters."

(Click on the titles to read my reviews of B. J.'s Prelude and Cadence.)

Also, check out B.J.'s All Things Irish page on her website for some interesting facts.

AND, go to B.J.'s blog to take an Irish quiz and get the answers.

Book that started my fascination with the Irish:

The Red Knights from Hy Brasil, by Christine Savery. I blogged about finding this beloved childhood book recently. I fell in love with mysterious and charismatic Shane O'Coghlin, one of the book's main characters, and in fact the book began my lifelong love affair with all things Irish.

And finally, a note from St. Patrick himself:

Don of Locusts and Wild Honey gives us some historical facts about St. Paddy today, and even links us to Patrick's own testimony.

By the way, Northern Illinois is definitely NOT wearing its green today, as we're getting a late-late winter snowfall. Bummer...but hopefully it will melt quickly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Christian Carnival is up

A round-up of some of the week's best Christian blogging is up at Christ Web...check it out! And if you aren't already submitting posts to the carnival, think about it. It's good exposure for your blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren releases statement on hostage ordeal

The author of "The Purpose Driven Life," Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, has released a statement saying he's "humbled" that his book was a help to hostage Ashley Smith during her ordeal.

Smith told reporters she shared the Bible and "The Purpose Driven Life" with Atlanta courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols.

Warren says he was "humbled to learn that hostage Ashley Smith found strength and encouragement in its pages during her seven-hour ordeal.

"I understand Ms. Smith shared a portion from the chapter on 'Servanthood' with Mr. Nichols, which seemed to have a positive impact on his life. Jesus sometimes calls us in some of the most difficult situations to be an advocate for Him and the message He represented while on this earth."

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hey, I'm proud of myself for blogging at all today!

I spent the bulk of the weekend moving from our old house to our new house...wow, what a gargantuan task! There is still quite a bit to be done at both houses. We are truly in a state of transition right now, but the new house is starting to feel like home, and the old house is at least a lot emptier than it was.

Also, I have company coming from Texas today, so we'll be heading into O'Hare this afternoon to pick up our very welcome guest. :)

As busy as I am, it's a minor miracle that I'm even blogging today, but I didn't want my little chirp in the blogosphere to be totally absent. So, hello! How's your Monday going?

Just a few things to share...

Fascinating hostage story...

One of the most fascinating people in the news today has to be Ashley Smith, who was taken hostage by the suspected gunman in Friday's courthouse shooting in Atlanta.

In interviews, Smith says she shared the Bible and a book that some reports say was Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" with Brian Nichols during the hours he held her hostage in her apartment.

Law enforcement authorities are crediting Smith with keeping a cool head. Amazing.

Here's one report on the story.

Marlar in the Morning air check featured!

101QFL's Marlar in the Morning show, of which I am the co-host-slash-newschick, is the featured aircheck on HisAir.net right now.

If you'd like to hear some snippets of Darren Marlar and myself on the morning show, click here and scroll down to "Air Check Feature."

Diving into Whence Came a Prince...

Now when my husband catches me voraciously perusing Liz Curtis Higgs' Whence Came a Prince, I'll have a really good excuse for enjoying fiction instead of working! I'm reading the book---the third in Higgs' Scottish trilogy--in preparation for interviewing Liz later this week.

I've interviewed her before, but as always, I look forward to the privilege of talking with this warm, humorous, witty, godly lady. And I've enjoyed every one of her books so far. What a wonderful writer.

Update on my brother...

My brother, a Texas cop who is in Baghdad to train Iraqi cops, was in the very near vicinity of a suicide bombing last week. Understandably, he doesn't want me to relay details, but needless to say, it gave my family a real scare.

He sent me a link to a website that includes a terrorist-taped video of the bombing. It truly sickened me...not because of any carnage shown in detail (there is none)...but because of the sense of sheer evil that comes across in the taping of this event. The Allah that engenders that kind of madness is not the God I serve.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A fun quiz about books

Hat tip to A Likely Story for this fun book-related meme:

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?--I guess I don't know enough about the book...I've never read it or seen the movie, although I know it's about book burning and a group of people who memorize books. If the question is what book would I memorize, I think it would be Psalms or Isaiah from the Bible.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?--Oh, yeah, many. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was probably the first.

The last book you bought is: I honestly don't remember. I get most of my books for free. Probably something at the airport to read on a flight--maybe a Sue Grafton book. I love the Kinsey Millhone series.

The last book you read:
Flee the Night, by Susan May Warren...a very compelling romantic suspense novel.

What are you currently reading?:
Nothing right now, believe it or not...I'm in the middle of moving to a new house. I plan to read Liz Curtis Higgs' "Whence Came a Prince" (the third in her Scottish trilogy) in preparation for interviewing her next week. I can't wait to dive into it!

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

The Bible
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis

(Although Rae of A Likely Story has a good point--it might be prudent to have The SAS Survival Handbook on hand!)

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?--I'm just going to put it on my blog. Please either answer it on your blog or in my comments section!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Thursday stuff!

Christian Carnival

Don't forget to check out the Christian Carnival, a collection of great stuff from Christian bloggers. It's hosted this week by Belief Seeking Understanding.

If you haven't already discovered the Carnival...it's a good way to draw more readers to your blog. Simply submit one of your best posts of the week by Tuesday at midnight.

The Carnival is hosted by different bloggers each week, but it's based at Wittenberg Gate.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

My co-worker interviewed!

Chris Carmichael

Big ups to my colleague, Chris Carmichael, for his interview on HisAir.net.

Chris is one of the most awesome people I've ever had the privilege of working with. He is a terrific young man with a real passion for God. Love ya, Chris!

Another great blog name:

This has been kind of a running thing on my blog...I showcase blogs whose names I think are cool! Check out this title:

Dignan's 75 Year Plan

Of course, it won't mean a thing to you if you haven't seen Bottle Rocket. :)

My most admired women

Today is International Women's Day, and although I'm not one to give a great deal of credence to U.N.-sponsored events, it has gotten me thinking about the women I admire the most.

Of course, any such list has to begin with my mother, but I did come up with a few others that have earned my respect and admiration. Here are a few (as I said, my mom tops the list, but the others are in no particular order):

My mom

One of my favorite, albeit corny, things to say is, "I want to be just like my mom when I grow up." In my late 40's, I don't know how much hope or time I have left when it comes to this aspiration, but my mom is indeed pretty much everything I would want to be. She is godly, loving, nurturing, wise, beautiful, funny, feisty, organized, disciplined...she's amazing! If you want to read more about my precious mom, read this tribute I wrote about her.

Elisabeth Elliot

Ever since I played Barbara Youderian in a reader's theater in college based on Elisabeth Elliot's Through Gates of Splendor, I have been a confirmed fan of Elliot...not only as an author, but as a woman of God.

Elliot's husband Jim was killed by Auca Indians in 1956. Says Elisabeth on her website: "The Aucas were... a fierce group whom no one had succeeded in meeting without being killed. After the discovery of their whereabouts, Jim and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death."

Acting in "Bridge of Blood" was a turning point in my life. For probably the first time in my life, I was strongly impacted with the reality of a world in need of a Savior, and the fact that I wanted to do my part to make a difference in that world.

I've also read Elliot's Shadow of the Almighty, Passion and Purity, and Elisabeth's only novel, No Graven Image. Searching her website, I see that she's authored more books than I realized, and they will definitely go on my reading list. Elliot is a remarkable Christian woman whose life and writings I equally admire.

Joni Eareckson Tada

I have admired Joni Eareckson Tada since first reading her book, Joni, sometime in the late 70's.

After a diving accident made her a quadriplegic, Joni desperately wanted to die. Fortunately, she never acted on her suicidal desires, and the result has been a lifetime of incredible ministry. With her Joni and Friends organization, Joni serves as an ardent advocate for the disabled. She has authored many books, hosted a radio show, and even starred in a movie about herself.

Her strong faith in the grace and sovereignty of God shine through her beautiful writings. Joni is quite simply a remarkable woman of faith.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Joni about her thoughts on the movie, "Million Dollar Baby." You can read that interview here.

By the way: Joni is currently hospitalized for pneumonia. She is expected to make a full recovery, but her website request prayer: "Prayers for improvement in her breathing, for comfort, support, and for a speedy recovery are greatly appreciated."

Condoleeza Rice

Talk about a Renaissance woman! National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice is brilliant, well-educated, attractive, musically talented, and has risen from humble beginnings to one of the most important roles in national government before the age of 50! Here's an article about Rice from Christianity Today.

Other women I respect or admire for various reasons:

Oprah Winfrey--You may not agree with all her views, and I'm not sure where she stands spiritually, but you have to admire her for her generosity and graciousness--and as a small-time media woman myself, I respect her as a powerful and successful woman in media.

Some of my favorite Christian fiction authors

B.J. Hoff
Robin Lee Hatcher
Francine Rivers
Lisa Samson
Liz Curtis Higgs
Jane Kirkpatrick

These women, and many others I could mention, wield their pens (or computer keyboards!) to spread God's love and hope through the printed word. Never underestimate the eternal impact this can have on the life of a reader! I truly admire them.

So, what women do you most admire? Please let me know in my comments section!

Another chance to win free books!

March Giveaway

Once again, Challies.com is offering a chance to win a couple of great books.

If you enter the contest using my referall ID, it will increase my chances of winning! My referral ID is 41673.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hearts at Home--my interview with Jill Savage

Jill Savage

"I think the most important that we have to realize is before we can take care of others, we have to take care of ourself. Because we really can't mother out of depletion...we need to mother with a full cup."--Jill Savage

Is motherhood a profession? Definitely, according to Jill Savage, founder of Hearts at Home and author of Professionalizing Motherhood. Not only that, motherhood is a fine art, according to Jill.

With the 12th annual Hearts at Home National Conference slated for March 18 and 19th in Normal, Illinois, I was able to interview Jill, who is really a remarkable woman. Here are some excerpts of our interview.

CINDY: How did Hearts at Home come about?

JILL: Well, Hearts at Home really came out of my own need as a mom. I was at home with my children, and had always actually anticipated that I would be working. My degree was in music education, I was going to be a music teacher, and yet where we were living didn't really have any jobs available in that profession, so I ended up being at home for a season of time, actually doing child care in my home.

And as I cared for other people's children as well as my own children, my heart began to realize and change about the fact that "You know, maybe there's some value to me being at home for a season of time."

But then I was thinking "OK, if I'm home for a season of time, quite frankly
I don't know how to do this job very well." So I would think back to the teacher conferences that I used to go to, and I thought, "OK, where's the mom conference?" and couldn't find it anywhere.

And we had a great mom's group that was growing, and I went to our mom's group and I said, "Hey, guys, what if we did a mom's conference, and you know, we just took a day away, and it was, in essence 'Mommy School'?"

And they really were responsive to it, so we started thinking about it and praying about it and we decided to launch our own conference. That was 12 years ago. We anticipated 400 women attending...however, when 11-hundred women walked thorugh the door, we realized that we were in way over our head (laughs).

And since that time the events have just grown so much and so quickly. This year's conference will host over 6000 women from over 40 different states

CINDY: Amazing.

JILL: It is, it's absolutely amazing that there is a need, but we really take what we do seriously, we take motherhood seriously. And really, for the women of the Rockford area, this is right in their backyard. So, we really want to encourage moms to take advantage of "Mommy School."

CINDY: Jill, is there a lack of respect in some quarters for what you call the profession of mothering--especially for women who choose not to work outside the home?

JILL: I don't know if it's so much a lack of respect, but certainly a lack of value. I don't think we value it because it doesn't have anything monetary attached to it. And I think our society places value based upon monetary value.

And I think even those of us that are in it don't value it the way that we need to. And you know, one of the changes that I made...someone would ask me what I did, and I would say, "Oh, I'm just a mom." Well, the word "just" actually indicates that it doesn't have much value.

And so, I really felt when I'd been in it two or three years, and I kept thinking, "OK, eventually I'll go back to teaching..." And all of a sudden I began to realize, "You know what? I need to stop looking at this carrot dangling out in front of me and I need to do what I'm doing well. I need to think of motherhood as my profession and stop thinking of teaching as my profession. That's certainly one option for me, but what I'm doing now is valuable, and I need to think of it as a profession. I need to approach it with goals, with strategy, with some education...I need to parent pro-actively rather than reactively, and so, I need to approach this more professionally."

CINDY: What are some of the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom, in your view?

JILL: Well, I think they're are a lot them. Certainly finances is not one (laughs). But I do believe there's the benefit of availability. You know, recently--all my kids are in school now, and people say, "What do you do now that your kids are in school?"

I'm available.

My sister is pregnant with twins, and I have been making meals for her, and cleaning her house--you know, somebody has to do that, because she can't right now, she's on bedrest and in her final weeks. She recently had to go the hospital unexpectedly, and I spent the afternoon sitting with her. That's valuable.

Recently-- we have an adopted son, and our son, all of a sudden, three-thirty in the afternoon, he began just drilling me with questions about his birth family, because something had happened during school that day and it had made him think about it. And I thought, "You know, these are not questions that would wait till six or seven o'clock tonight." I needed to be able to maximize this moment.

And so, I think availability is just huge. I also think of less stress level. You know, being able to think about dinner earlier in the day...being able to do laundry in the middle of the week and not have to cram it into weekends...there's just some value in the environment that that creates.

CINDY: You know, I know that there are a lot of women who would love to stay at home with their children, but they really feel trapped in the working world because of finances. What advice do you have for those women who it may be tough financially to stay at home?

JILL: Well, you know what, I actually think that for the majority of us that are at home, it is tough financially to stay at home. Most of the time people say, "You know, I wish I had the luxury of staying at home." And I'll tell you what...for our family, it's never been a luxury, never...it's been a sacrifice. It's been a huge sacrifice. We've sacrificed driving new vehicles, we've sacrificed purchasing things that we would have loved to have purchased, we've sacrificed lessons for our children...for the trade-off of being able to live a different-paced life.

And you know, not to say that there are not situations, there are certainly situations and circumstances that absolutely do not lend themselves to that. But I also think that we, particularly the media drives us and says, you know, you have to have two incomes to make it happen. And the truth of the matter is there's many of us that are doing it on one income.

Challenging? Absolutely. Do you learn to value Aldi Foods or any kind of discount store? Absolutely. Do you shop the thrift shops for everything from your children's jeans to what you might neeed? Absolutely. I mean, you have to live a different lifestyle many times. But to look back on it and to realize that sometimes time and energy is more important than having things.

CINDY: And then again, there are those women who are able to form their own businesses at home or do some work at home, and those are options as well. But I want to talk about the conference that's coming up. What will people learn, what will people come away with from this conference?

JILL: Well, the biggest thing about our conference is, first, it's high energy and lots of fun, just lots of fun. Several years ago there was a song that was out, "Who let the dogs out?" Well, we opened our conference with "Who let the moms out?" So you can only imagine where it goes from there.

We have a lot of fun. This year we're featuring a comedian, Ken Davis, as one of our keynote speakers. We have over 30 different workshops to help women design the day to meet their needs. They can take workshops on marriage, parenting, their personal life, finances, every aspect of their life that they feel like maybe they just need to have a little bit of encouragement in, little bit of new perspective
workshop on that.

The conference is still available--our pre-registration period is over,
however, we are offering walk-in registration for the Friday event. This is a twin event, so we do the same conferene on Friday, March 19th. So we're able to host more women that way.

They can still find out more information on our website. And we have a lot of women who work outside the home that attend our events, and they tell us, "This is the best place for me to remember to keep my heart at home."

CINDY: So this isn't just focused completely on full-time stay-at-home moms, then?

JILL: Our target audience is certainly women who are doing motherhood full time, but we do have women who attend the conference who work outside the home and they tell us, "You know what? I know I may not fall right in your target, but
and I come back to help me keep your priorities straight."

CINDY: Well, I know that there are women out there who are listening, and some of them may be a tired mom who's kind of at the end of their rope..Any advice that you may have, Jill, just to the moms that are listening now?

JILL: Well, I think the most important that we have to realize is before we can take care of others, we have to take care of ourself. Because we really can't mother out of depletion...we need to mother with a full cup.

So sometimes the best thing you can do for your family, the best thing you can do for your marriage, is to step back and take a day for yourself... to step back and do some things that will fill up your fuel tank so that you can give to your family and those that need you.

Friday stuff

Hey! I'm an English Genius!

Well, at least according to this quiz (hat tip to A Likely Story).

Here's my score:

"English Genius"

"You scored 93% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 77% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!"

The quiz mainly involves commonly confused words and phrases.

Feast Day!
It's been a while since I've taken the Friday's Feast quiz, so here goes!

Appetizer - Who is the one person you email more often than anyone else?--I'm actually not a big e-mailer, but I'd have to say probably my sister Lisa...and it's usually just to give her a link to something, or send her a pic. If I have something to say to someone, I usually just call them!

Soup - So far, which year of your life has been the most enjoyable?--Wow, that's a tough one. There are enjoyable things about every year, mixed in with sad and difficult and mundane and exciting things. Looking back, though, I really enjoyed 1983. My second son, Justin, was born then, and I had an adorable three-year-old, Jonathan. Our little family spent the entire summer of '83 in Austin, Texas, so for a few months, I got to experience what it was like to actually be around my folks all the time, and I LOVED it, and I loved Texas (and still do!)

Salad - Name someone with whom you have lost touch but would like to reunite.--My best friend in junior high (Vidor Junior High School, Vidor, Texas), Linda Sims. She was wonderful--funny, musically talented, a great writer, a dear friend. I moved away after junior high, but we stayed in touch through letters and even saw each other a few times...I believe the last time was right after I graduated from high school in 1974. Linda, if you're out there, shout me a holla!

Main Course - What was the tastiest meal you had this past week?--I made baked Sweet n' Sour chicken and served it with brown rice and a tossed salad. Yummy!

Dessert - Using the letters in your favorite color, write three words that describe your personality.--Philosophical, Interesting (I hope!), Nice (I try to be. That leaves K. (OK, that was lame.)

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend, everyone!

Quote o' The Day

"While the Supreme Court debates whether or not to allow the Ten Commandments and other religious displays on public property, let us not forget our freedom to display them on private property, discuss them over coffee, and proclaim them from our pulpits."--Don Elbourne, Locusts and Wild Honey

Several years ago, our pastor asked that every classroom in our church's Christian school prominently display the Ten Commandments. I thought it was a great idea then, and even more so now.

Besides being incensed that they're being removed from the public square--as rightfully we should be--are we really valuing the Ten Commandments themselves? Are we really looking to them as a template for living moral and upright lives?

Meantime, continue to pray as the justices consider the issue of allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed. You can commit to praying for this matter on the Liberty Counsel's website.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

My news from Baghdad

Marines taking the Baghdad Highway Bridge

My brother is in Baghdad now.

A Desert Storm Marine veteran, now a Texas police officer, David has been in Jordan since August 2004 training Iraqi cops.

Not long ago, he wrote a moving account of his experiences training the Iraqis, which I shared here in my blog.

We've known for some time that he would probably eventually end up in Iraq, but I kept hoping it wouldn't happen. However, I got this e-mail from him earlier this week:

"Hi family and friends. I arrived in Baghdad Iraq today, flying in this morning with seven friends. We were taken by a security team in an armored vehicle escort to a heavily fortified hotel in Baghdad. It is really different here, everyone's carrying full auto weapons and wearing armor. Ours hasnt been issued yet.

"The hotel I'm in has been the source of several mortar and small arms fire attacks and as such is pretty well fortified. Attacks on US forces have slowed in Baghdad since the elections.

"I will be here for a while as they process our teams paperwork, get our weapons issued, give us briefings on the area and our mission here etc. We will be given a list of open assignments in Iraq then allowed to list our preferences. Assignments will be made based upon the needs of the US government. and qualifications, with consideration given to our preferences.

"Telephone access is limited here so I will be staying in touch this way.

"Oh by the way, Im safe and sound and happy.
Love ya all..."

A former Marine buddy of my brother's had written this encouragement: "Rock on brother! Watch your six and may the front sight tip always be visible.... You are making history - helping millions crawl out from under the rock of oppression. As a fellow warrior, I'm jealous and proud at the same time. I think it's safe to say that, after the elections, the Iraqi people want you there, need you there, and are willing to make the same sacrifices to obtain the freedoms and liberties they deserve."

And David's 17-year-old daughter wrote this: "Hey Dad. In history class the other day Ms. Esler was talking to us about the Iraqi elections. She told us how their ballot was pages long with hundreds of possible candidates. She told us how they had to be searched four times before going in to vote. She told us the purple die on their fingers may have made them potential targets, and that many people had to walk for hours to get to a voting place, and wait in line for hours longer. Then she told us about how their voter turnout rate was higher than our in the last election. About how they were seen on television dancing in the streets, crying, and hugging each other. She said that maybe if we could all learn to appreciate democracy as hard as our troops are fighting for it this would be an even greater country to live in. It reminded me of you. I'm going to get registered to vote in about thirty days, the day I turn 18. It is pretty cool to think that you are one of the people who help make that possible for other girls like me, halfway across the world.
I love you,

My brother believes strongly in what he's doing in Iraq. He wrote this in an earlier e-mail: "I have had some time to bond with the Iraqi Police Forces and for the most part they are warm and brave hearted souls desiring peace, democracy, and security for thier country and thier families. The people of Iraq and the principles of freedom and democracy are worth the sacrifice Americans are making. I am proud to be a part of the mission."

Well, I'm proud of my brother for his commitment to this mission. But as a concerned and worried older sister, I will be spending some extra time in prayer for his safety and that God will keep His hand on him.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Wednesday grab-bag

Truly random thoughts on a frigid Northern Illinois Wednesday...

Sharper Iron

Joy of karagraphy let me know about Sharper Iron, which she says is "a blog/forum combination website designed to soapbox biblical perspectives on current news and ideas within and without the corner of Christendom that is fundamentalism."

"Fundamentalism," despite characterizations to the contrary in both the ultra-liberal and extremist fundamentalist camps, is not a dirty word. True biblical fundamentalists are not the Christian equivalent of terrorists who blow up themselves and others and wreak havoc throughout the world.

Fundamentalists believe in absolute truth, and hold to the fundamentals of the faith such as the virgin birth and the inerrancy of scripture.

I visited the Sharper Iron blog, and was fascinated by some of the polls there, including a survey that questioned young fundamentalists on things like soteriology (there's a big word for you! It basically means "the study of salvation") and Bible version usage.

Says Joy, who says she's helping with the background work for Sharper Iron: "With its primary defining point being a belief in the inspired/preserved/relevant/sufficient Word of God as absolute truth and absolute rule of faith and practice, fundamentalism is a broader movement than denominations and stripes and circles... If we believe firmly in absolute truth, we ought to avail ourselves of new technical means to insert that truth into the ongoing dialogue around us."

Very interesting...I'm sure I'll be visiting again.

My search for beloved childhood books continues...

The Internet can truly be a wonderful tool.

I've blogged about finding two of my favorite childhood books (Red Knights fro Hy Brasil and Auntie Robbo on the Internet.

Now, I learned that another favorite book is available, although I can't afford it right now. I don't know how I came into possessing this book as a youngster...I think perhaps my older sister may have borrowed it from a library and never returned it. It was printed in 1942, way before my older sister and I were even a twinkle in our dad's eye!

However, it was "Carol Plays Summer Stock," by Helen Dore Boylston. I've located it on several sites, and it's a bit too pricey for me at the moment, but I may eventually order it. I really loved that book, and read it several times. Apparently it was one of a series about Carol, a young actress.

And this leads me to tell you about a couple of blogs I've found that plunged me into delighted reminiscing about other fiction favorites of my youth, some I had even kind of forgotten about.

I've mentioned before that I love Debra's As I See It Now. I enjoy her lovely style of writing about things that always seem to touch a chord in my heart, accompanied by lovely photos of yesteryear.

But check out Debra's sidebar. There you'll find links to info about authors like Rosamond du Jardin, Elizabeth Enright and Bess Streeter Aldrich.

Then I found a link on Miss O'Hara's blog to her website, which includes a Victoria Holt page.

I can vividly remember reading Holt's "Menfreya in the Morning" as a young girl. It launched me into true Holt fandom, and I believe I've read everything she wrote as Victoria Holt (her real name was Eleanor Hibbert), and as Phillippa Carr.

It's been many years since I've read some of those Holt titles, and I wouldn't mind re-reading them at all.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Why should the Ten Commandments be displayed?

"Either America will be able to acknowledge God or it won't"

History will be made tomorrow when the United States Supreme Court hears oral argument on the Ten Commandments.

The debate has been raging for years over whether the decalogue should be allowed to remain on display at courthouses and other such locations throughout the country. Atheists and "non-religious" people argue that such displays violate the "separation of church and state."

Why should Christians be vocal about allowing the Ten Commandments to remain on display?

Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver will be defending Ten Commandments displays in Kentucky courthouses. Staver says, "The decision of the Supreme Court in 2005 on Liberty Counsel's Ten Commandments case will set the course for the future interpretation of the First Amendment on such matters as the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Motto 'In God We Trust,' along with other public acknowledgements of religion. Either America will be able to acknowledge God or it won't.[my emphasis] Our heritage and our future are riding on this case."

With each decision against the public mention or display of things pertaining to God and/or our Judeo-Christian foundation, I believe our nation's spiritual and moral underpinnings erode a little more. Or maybe even a lot more.

I'm thankful for people like Mat Staver and the ACLJ's Jay Sekulow and the Rutherford Institute's John Whitehead, who are not shutting up and slinking off as atheists and infidels continue to assail the physical evidences of our nation's moral foundation. We need to keep these men in our prayers, and ask God to give them courage, wisdom, eloquence and favor as they speak out about these issues.

Says Sekulow: "The Commandments have served as the basis for our legal system in this country and public displays of the Commandments do not violate the Constitution. The Commandments are an integral part of our legal and cultural history."

I interviewed John Whitehead in December about the out-of-control school district decisions banning any mention of Christ at Christmastime. Whitehead told me at the time: "It's not getting better, it's getting worse, you're absolutely correct...the cases become more ludicrous and more crazy each year. There is, in my opinion, and I don't know where it's coming from, but if you want to use the word 'agenda' in the public schools of America to completely secularize the public schools,and specifically, do away with any Christian references."

It's the same agenda that wants to do away with any mention of God in the public arena.

A Supreme Court decision on the Ten Commandments cases (one has to do with Kentucky courthouses, the other with a monument on the grounds of the Texas capitol) is expected sometime in June. It will be a sad day indeed if the justices should decide to banish these ancient, revered and sacred writings from the public square.

If you want to know more about this important issue, read about what's at stake in this Liberty Counsel flyer, The Fight for the Ten Commandments. The Alliance Defense Fund also has an informative page on the case.

And if nothing else, commit to pray daily for the Ten Commandments case. I believe it's vital that concerned Christians pray about this issue.
Related Posts with Thumbnails