Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thirteen Great Quotes



When I want to read a novel, I write one.--Benjamin Disraeli

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.--Mahatma Ghandi

If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up some place else.--Yogi Berra

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.--Dorothy Parker

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.--Jim Elliot

God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.--Elisabeth Elliot

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.--C. S. Lewis

This book (the Bible) will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.--D.L. Moody

The true gospel is a call to self sacrifice, not self fulfillment.-- John MacArthur

Practice the "First 5 Minutes". The first 5 minutes occurring between people sets the tone for everything that is to follow. For example, a public speaker is given very few moments to convince his audience that he really does have something worthwhile to say. This simple principle relates to family members as well. The first 5 minutes of the morning might determine how a mother will interact with her children on that day. It concerns the sheer power of words." -- James
Dobson


People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you'll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.--Erma Bombeck

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?--unknown

During the Middle Ages, probably one of the biggest mistakes was not putting on your armor because you were "just going down to the corner." --Jack Handey


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Works For Me Wednesday



More on head lice---(eeew!!!)

OK, this is the first time I've participated in "Works for Me Wedneday," so be gentle with me.

My WFMW post is actually an afterthought to that of Rocks in My Dryer, who posted about the admittedly disturbing phenomenon of head lice.

If you've been a mom for any length of time, you've encountered this horrendous nightmare. I have. And few things strike more terror into the heart of a mom than the sight of living things crawling around in the hair of your beloved child.

Rocks in My Dryer gives some really good pointers on getting rid of the nasties, including coating the hair and scalp with vaseline. I've also heard that mayonnaise works. But I can tell you about something that works just as well, and is not as hard to get rid of as vaseline nor as gross as putting the same thing on hair that you put on tuna.

OLIVE OIL.

Yep, coat the hair and scalp generously with olive oil, wrap the child's head up good and keep it on for several hours. It does also take quite a bit of washing out, but your child's hair will be luxuriant once it's all over with.

As I understand it, the oil suffocates the lice. (By the way, I'm not a cussin' woman, but if anything could have driven me to cuss a blue streak, it would have been head lice.)

Someone could make a ton of money by having a nit-picking business. I know I would have paid good money for someone else to have done the honors!

No one wants to find out first hand what is meant by the saying "nit-picking." But while you're dragging those suckers down every strand of hair (and believe me, if it had been my sons they WOULD have gotten buzz-cuts), just remember, "This too shall pass."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A year ago this week

A blast from the past

Time only for a fly-by today, so I thought I'd institute something I've been thinking of doing for awhile--utlizing some of my archived posts once a week.

Let's face it, we bloggers put a lot of thought into some of our posts, but when they vanish into the archives, who really looks at them?

So I begin "A year ago this week" by re-posting my answers to a musical meme, originally posted on June 29, 2005. Enjoy!

*****

OK, Marybeth has tagged me to do the musical meme, and as I said earlier, it's extremely difficult for me to encapsulate the vast spectrum that comprises my musical tastes. I love music almost as much as I love breathing, and I like the best of most musical genres. But I'm going to give it my best shot here:

Total volume of music files on my computer: N/A. The computer I use the majority of the time is not my own.

The last CD I bought was: The Phantom of the Opera movie soundtrack, as a surprise for my daughter (but knowing I'd get to listen too!)

Last acquired:
: My Radio 91 co-worker, Charmel, handed me Newsong's Live Worship & Rescue the other day. I haven't listened to it yet.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

OK, this was really, really hard, so I'm going to have to tack an addendum onto the list. But here's a shot (in no particular order):

~"And Can it Be," lyrics by Charles Wesley, music by Thomas Campbell. The powerful picture this hymn paints, and the spiritual import of its message, never fails to move me:
"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."

"I woke, the dungeon flamed with light"--Wow. I love that. [Note from the present: yes, I just used this passage in my "Friday Feast" this past Friday.--CS]

~"The Hallelujah Chorus," by Georg Friedrich Handel. If this is only a fraction of the glory of angel choirs in heaven, I can't wait to hear them. Although this song is often trivialized in comedy, it's one of the most sublime pieces of music on this earth. Just about transports me to the heavenlies.

~"The Star Spangled Banner," by Francis Scott Key. Yeah, I don't care if the tune was originally a tavern song and it's ridiculously hard to sing. The very sound of it, anytime, anywhere, is pretty much guaranteed to choke me up with emotion and love of my flawed but beautiful and amazing country.

~God is God, by Steven Curtis Chapman


Perfectly captures the fear and uncertainty we as Christians will all face at one time or another,("when the questions without answers come and paralyze the dancer") but reassures with the knowledge Job gained through his tragedies--"God is God, and I am not. I can only see a part of the picture he's painting."

~"Submission," by C. Austin Miles and Mrs. R. R. Forman (circa 1934)

"Not what I wish to be, nor where I wish to go,
For who am I that I should choose my way?
The Lord shall choose for me,
'Tis better far, I know,
So let Him bid me go, or stay."

My late father's signature song, the one I often requested him to sing, and just remembering his beautiful voice singing it brings me to tears now.

And here's an addendum, which still by no means covers the gamut of my musical loves:
~If I Stand, by Rich Mullins


"So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home"

Possibly my favorite Rich Mullins song. Simple, poetic, beautiful...says it all.


~"Where the Streets Have No Name," by U2
Haunting and majestic. Speaks to something deep inside my soul.

~That Kind of Love, by PFR
"Oh, where does that kind of love come from?
They say that it runs in His blood..."

I just love the symmetrical harmony and subdued but meaningful vibe of this song.

~"Rhapsody in Blue," by George Gershwin. I can remember lying on the floor as a child and listening to my parents' LP of this amazing concerto, and just getting lost in it. Beautiful, whimsical, cool, soaring, powerful, pretty...rhapsodic.

~"Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth," by Burlap to Cashmere. Three minutes of pure, exuberant joy!

~And just about anything from the voices of Larnelle Harris, James Ingram and James Taylor.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Books! I read books!



From Salzburg symphonies to spiritual warfare

I was privileged to receive an advance copy of Nancy Moser's Mozart's Sister. I was delighted to be able to offer some endorsement comments prior to the book's September 1st release.

I plan to review the book shortly, but in the meantime, let me tell you it's well worth reading.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is fascinating anyway--composing his first pieces for the keyboard at the age of 5! But I had never realized that his sister Nannerl was also extremely talented, but forced to take a back seat to her brother because of her gender.

The book makes compelling reading, and Nannerl's longing for affirmation and fulfillment is something to which we all can relate.

This book marks a real change for Nancy Moser, who has previously written only contemporary fiction. She initially resisted writing the book, but she's glad now that she did.

And am I the only one noticing that Nancy and Nannerl share the first two syllables in their first and last names? Cool.

Stuff you may want to check out:

My interview with Nancy Moser
My review of Nancy Moser's "The Seat Beside Me"
My review of Nancy Moser's "Time Lottery"

And when I finished "Mozart's Sister"...

...I hopped into When the Day of Evil Comes, by Melanie Wells.

What a leap--from the sedate parlors of eighteenth-century Austria, to present-day Dallas, Texas, where psychologist Dylan Foster is finding her world unraveling in the shadow of evil forces.

I'm OK with spiritual warfare novels, but they aren't my favorite genre. And I'm spooked fairly easily, especially because I totally believe in angels and demons. And to be honest, I don't think I would read this book if I was going to be alone during the night!

But it's to Melanie Wells' credit that she balances the novel's darkness with plenty of light--including the pleasant, humorous personality of her protagonist. Dylan's personality (and the story is told in the first person) actually reminds me a little of one of my favorite characters, Kinsey Milhone of Sue Grafton's alphabetized murder mysteries.

Another guarantee that a book has me fascinated: I stayed up WAY past my bedtime because I had to finish it. All in all, a terrific read. And I'm happy that I already have the sequel, Soul Hunter, because I plan to delve in as soon as possible!

Friday, June 23, 2006

FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!



If you ever bought Christian record albums back in the late 60's/early 70's, you've got to check out Marc Heinrich's Purgatorio today. I absolutely love his "Divine Vinyl" feature!

Today's going to be a busy one for me. Tonight, there's a rehearsal dinner for my niece's wedding, in which my husband and I are singing, and there's stuff to do today to get ready. So you'll forgive me for using a "canned" post today. I give you the Friday Feast! Feel free to answer the questions on your own blog or in my comments section.

Appetizer
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you like your job?--I would have to say at least a 9. I really love my job...the only things that would keep it from being a ten would be that I'd like to get paid more, and I wish I didn't have to get up at 4 AM.

Soup
When was the last time you think you were lied to?--Hmmm...this one takes a little thought. OK, I think it was recently when a drugstore employee told me they didn't carry a certain product, and another employee found it immediately. I think the first employee lied because he just didn't want to be bothered to find it for me.

Salad
Share some lyrics from one of your favorite songs.--

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.
--from "And Can it Be?" by Charles Wesley

Could there be a more vivid, stirring word picture of salvation?

Main Course
What do you do/take when you are in pain?--Usually Tylenol or a generic form of acetomenaphine. Occasionally ibuprophen.

Dessert
Fill in the blanks: My _daughter_________ is very __lovely________.


Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thirteen random things



Floating around in my brain:

1) Now that weapons of mass destruction have actually been found in Iraq, do you think we'll hear any apologies from those who basically called President Bush a moron and denigrated our intelligence-gathering? Uh, don't hold your breath.

2) Is there some law requiring that cash advance loan stores have to have ugly, gaudy signage? Glaring yellows and reds seem to be colors du jour. Come on, people, tone it down. We see you already!

3) Yes, I've known that Michelle Malkin is awesome, but I would often forget to read her blog. Now I'm hooked on her video "Hot Air" vents. Very cool lady.

4) According to my 101QFL morning show co-host, Darren Marlar, today is Soap Microphone Day. Do you sing in the shower? I often do, but I don't use the soap as a microphone. My daughter frequently uses a hairbrush as a mic, so our station engineer gave her an old mic that was going to be thrown away. She loves it!

5) Today is also Stupid Guy Joke Day. I confess I've been guilty of passing along those funny but sometimes mean-spirited e-mails, but I actually think guys are (for the most part) pretty cool. So in lieu of a stupid guy joke, I give you Darren Marlar's Way to Early in the Morning to Understand the Punchline Joke of the Day: The Husband Store.

6) My latest culinary delight: veggies on the grill. Lately I've been slicing up summer squash and zucchini, onions, carrots, and tomatoes; sprinkling them with pepper and some seasoned salt; sprinkling them lightly with extra virgin olive oil; wrapping them up in a foil package and putting them on the grill for 20 minutes or so. Would that all things good for me tasted SO delicious!

7) My lovely niece Lindsie is getting married this Saturday. This freaks me out a little, because Lindsie is not much older than my daughter Elizabeth. The two have been close since they were born. Lindsie's marrying a great guy, and I pray all of God's richest blessings on them!

8) Do you enjoy quenching your summer thirst with Sun Tea? Well, you may want to re-think your tea-brewing habits. My "Cindy Swanson CyberSnoop" segment today confirmed an e-mail rumor that brewing sun tea could generate harmful bacteria. Check it out here.

9) Have you ever looked into your archives to check out what you were blogging about one year ago today? On June 22, 2005, I was blogging about the American Film Institute's Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time, The Princess Bride, and Evie Tornquist Karlsson. How about you?

10) I still try to do the Rockford Register Star's cryptoquote everyday--I LOVE cryptoquotes!--but I still haven't succumbed to the soduku craze.

11) I've found some of the stories coming out of the Presbyterian and Episcopalian national conferences this week very disturbing. Joel Griffith says it better than I could.

12) On my bookshelf: a preview copy of Nancy Moser's "Mozart's Sister." It's a fascinating look at the woman who was also remarkably talented, but because of her gender, had to take a back seat to her genius brother. Great reading!

13) I haven't watched TV all week. Not on purpose...just haven't had the time or inclination. And you know what? I haven't really missed it.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

So you think you're a good speller?



Hat tip for this one goes to Angela Hunt, who is not only one of my favorite authors but always seems to come up with the coolest things on her blog!

Try doing this electronic Spelling Bee and let me know how you do on it. Out of 42 words, I got 34 right, spelling eight of them wrong, and I consider myself a really good speller.

And I could kick myself for a couple of them. All my life, I've thought it was spelled "sacreligious." Uh...nope!

It all goes to prove that you learn something new every day.

Finally!!!

A song about me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Could you wear the same dress for a year?



This woman is.

According to her website, Alex Martin is "... making one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days."

Martin has been wearing the same little brown dress for almost a year. Yes, she takes if off to sleep, bathe and swim. She'll mend it if need be, wash it regularly, and add layers for warmth if necessary. But for an entire year (July 7th is the day she gets to "undress"), she's wearing the same...

brown...

dress.

Folks, I don't think I could voluntarily do that.

I can see the point Martin is trying to make, but I couldn't be the one to make it.

While I don't consider myself a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination...and I've had a love/hate relationship with fashion for years (partly because I've never been, and probably never will be thin "enough")...I DO LOVE CLOTHES.

My wardrobe is not very extensive. I don't have a great deal of money to spend on clothes, and I buy off of sales and clearance racks. I don't need a huge closet. I wear the same things frequently.

BUT I choose my clothes carefully, trying to buy only things I really like and that I think I will enjoy wearing and that will hopefully look good on me. I love pretty colors, and fabrics that are nice to touch.

I've come to realize that I can usually get a much better quality article of clothing at an expensive store from a clearance rack, than I can at a discount store...yet some of my best and most enduring articles of clothing have come from places like Target.

I generally avoid trends, as well as anything frou-frou and juvenile (things that tie in back are pretty much out for me.) But I don't discount the occasional frivolous touch, as long as it's just a touch.

I'm still learning. I used to avoid, like the plague, wearing brown. I thought it would make me look like a baked potato. But recently my sister talked me into getting a dark brown top, and I love it.

But I couldn't wear it every day for a year!

And now, just for fun, take this Fashion Quiz and find out just how much you know about fashion. (I got an 80 per cent score.)

So how important is fashion to you? Let me know in my comments section!

Monday, June 19, 2006

I am a patriot


Why I disagree with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks

(From Merriam-Webster.com) Main Entry: pa·tri·ot
Pronunciation: 'pA-trE-&t, -"├Ąt, chiefly British 'pa-trE-&t
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French patriote compatriot, from Late Latin patriota, from Greek patriOtEs, from patria lineage, from patr-, patEr father
: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests

Yep, you can call me a patriot.

I was irritated when I read the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines' most recent comments about patriotism: " 'The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism,' Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. 'Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism.'"

My knee-jerk reaction is to grit MY teeth and grouse that Maines is once again revealing the "wide open spaces" between her ears.

I've had a few days to think about this, though, and some thoughts are emerging.

First of all, is it ironic to anyone else that Maines enjoys the freedom to make just this kind of remark BECAUSE of patriots who valued their country enough to fight for its freedoms?

Maines can say whatever she likes about her president, her government, her views on patriotism or the lack thereof. She might lose some record sales in some quarters, but no one is going to haul her into jail for making those comments. Why? She's an American.

Secondly, Maines' comments made me take a look at my own patriotism. There's no doubt I'm a dyed-in-the-wool patriot. I unashamedly love my country. I literally get choked up at a baseball game when the national anthem is sung. I've been to quite a few other countries--even lived in one--and I think America is still the greatest nation on the face of this earth.

Why am I a patriot? I don't know where it came from, this love of country that has been there as long as I can consciously remember. Yes, I grew up in a conservative Christian home, but so did a lot of other people who aren't particularly patriotic and some of whom have even totally rejected their parents' patriotism. No one ever waved a flag in my face and commanded, "You WILL love your country!"

It's just there, a flame that burns within my soul.

It's not blind, unquestioning jingoism. Sometimes the flame is low, because there are times I'm ashamed of my country's actions.

I have never completely agreed with any president in my lifetime; I question things. I love the military and support our troops, but I'm bothered about reports of cruelty and inhumane treatment (although I think such reports should be investigated before a knee-jerk opinion is formed). I'm ashamed of the vast number of abortions committed in our nation on a daily basis. I'm ashamed of unethicalism on the part of politicians on either side of the aisle.

But sometimes the flame burns brighter and stronger than ever. As it did on 9/11, when the American spirit rallied together in defense against the evil that had invaded our shores.

And when I see pictures of American soldiers giving food and treats to little Iraqi children.

And when I watch the solemn changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and am once again reminded of how many people shed their blood and gave their lives so that I can enjoy the very liberty that allows Natalie Maines and people like her to say the things they say.

Tammy Bruce says it much better than I have here. I like this quote particularly:

"Ms. Maines exemplifies the Ugly American--someone who completely takes for granted the extraordinary life the American ideal has given to people like her. She noted "you can like where you live and like your life..." but like a classic MalNar simply can't see beyond herself.

"I would suggest she move to Syria or North Korea or Mexico, and see exactly how much she'd like her life in those pits. Perhaps she could also make a short visit to one of our citizen swearing-in ceremonies and chat with those people who have braved all to become American citizens. Those are people who, unlike Ms. Maines, understand the importance of joy and freedom, have fought to live it, and know that it is only in America where dreams come true."

Michelle Malkin also has a terrific post on this subject, including several pictures that would turn Natalie Maines' stomach, and link to something really cool called Project Prayer Flag.

And here's a poem that Natalie Maines would hate.

And on a different subject...

I didn't blog about Father's Day, but I would be remiss if I didn't say a huge thanks to my wonderful husband, Doug, for being (among other things) a wonderful, loving, godly dad to our three children. Honey, you're the best! :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"It's a Wonderful Life" most inspirational



The American Film Institute has come out with its list of the 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time, and "It's a Wonderful Life" tops the list.

I could kick myself for not remembering to DVR the CBS TV special about the list last night. My daughter and I went to hear Michael Reagan speak (it was excellent, by the way).

Anyway..."It's A Wonderful Life" happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time...maybe my favorite. I agree that it has a very inspiring message. Just how much does one person's life affect those around him? It's a soul-searching question, and the movie itself is--well, wonderful.

I adore Jimmy Stewart...he and Donna Reed are at their very best in this film. And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without watching it.

Donna Reed, by the way, was an actress who aged very gracefully. She still looked very lovely when she starred in "Dallas" toward the end of her life.

So, the other movies on the list?

Let's look at the top 10:

1. It's a Wonderful Life
2. To Kill a Mockingbird (I haven't seen it!!! Although I have read the book...)
3. Schindler's List
4. Rocky
5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
6. E. T. (most inspiring? really? But, I haven't seen it, so really can't comment)
7. The Grapes of Wrath (haven't seen it...hated the book, found it really depressing)
8. Breaking Away (again, really? I've seen it years ago, thought it was a good movie and a funny movie...guess I can't remember the "inspiring" part)
9. Miracle on 34th Street
10. Saving Private Ryan

A couple of my other favorite films were way farther down on the list: Gone with the Wind (43); Braveheart (62) and Chariots of Fire (100).

A few of the choices are also head-scratchers for me. Thelma and Louise? Uh, yeah. It was really inspiring to watch two women drive off a cliff.

Feel free to disagree with me in my comments section. :)

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"Did I do that?"


Rumors of "Steve Urkel's" death are greatly exaggerated...(Paul McCartney's, too!)

Each week I do a radio feature on 101qfl called "Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop." I take a look at an e-mail rumor and either de-bunk it or verify its truthfulness, using resources like Snopes.com and Truth or Fiction.com.

This week, the rumor I tackled was that actor Jaleel White--Steve Urkel on the erstwhile TV show, Family Matters--had committed suicide.

It seems that every couple of years, a rumor goes around about a celebrity dying. When I was growing up, there was the rumor about Paul McCartney being dead—and he's very much alive and still thriving (even the father of a small child) at age 64. Now, with everyone having access to e-mail, it's even easier to spread such rumors.

Well, you'll be happy to know that in the case of Urkel—or should we say, Jaleel---the rumor now circulating e-mail inboxes simply isn't true. Jaleel White is alive and well.

The fake AP story goes into great detail, claiming White was pronounced dead on arrival at an LA hospital, listing his acting credits, and even quoting his castmates from Family Matters as being terribly upset about their supposed loss. It "quotes" the dad on the show, Reginald VelJohnson, as saying, "We have all lost a dear, dear brother."

And the story claims White left a suicide note saying simply, "Did I do that?" –a popular catchphrase from the show.

Well, according to my sources, the story is a hoax.

Snopes says, quote, "Although Jaleel has been out of the public eye for a while, he is alive and well. No news outlets, including the Associated Press, the purported source of the article, have published accounts about Jaleel White's death."

White also responded to a website called TVsquad.com with this note, quote: " I'm very much alive and well. Thank you to all who have chosen to spread the truth about my mortality.

Jaleel"

Why fabricate celebrity deaths?

Who knows why the public feels the need to spread false rumors of celebrity deaths…but White isn't the first one. As I mentioned earlier, there was the Paul McCartney rumor years ago, and more recently (quoting Snopes again) "there have also been death rumors about William Hung of American Idol fame, Subway pitchman Jared Fogel, children's television host Steve Burns of Blue's Clues."

Now, about that Paul McCartney rumor...




How well I remember when that rumor made the rounds, back when I was in junior high. Supposedly, all sorts of clues about McCartney's death could be found in Beatles albums (none of which I owned.)

It really gave me the creeps, just as things like "backward masking" and even that ghost voice phenomenon thing does--even though I think both are hooey.

According to Wikipedia: 'Paul Is Dead' is one of the best-known examples of an urban legend or hoax (it is often unclear whether proponents spread the story as a joke or as a real conspiracy theory). The rumour has been the topic of much sociological examination because it is unusual in the way its development, growth and debunking took place very publicly, due to the Beatles' enormous popularity."

Some people think the Beatles themselves orchestrated the whole thing in order to boost their lagging popularity at the time.

But hey...if you really believe the rumors are true and Paul McCartney is dead, you need to see this video, in which Chris Farley gets the scoop from McCartney himself. :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The fascination of Amish life...


...the pleasure of Beverly Lewis books

I finished The Englisher, by Beverly Lewis, last night, and am I frustrated!

Why? Well, the book is the second in a series called Annie's People...and I can't wait to read the next book in the series, so I can find out how everything turns out.

Lewis' depictions of Amish life near her home territory of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are fascinating--richly authentic and captivating tales of a people who are as interesting as they are puzzling.

This is the third Beverly Lewis series I've read, and I never fail to enjoy them. The Amish really do puzzle me, though. It's hard to believe that a group of people who are so devout and pious are actually NOT encouraged to read the Bible, and assurance of salvation is regarded as a sin of pride, worthy of shunning.

With all their rules and regulations, the Amish know nothing of God's grace. How sad!

From Beverly's website: "Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev’s tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, 'Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time.'"

I totally agree.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday Madness



I haven't blogged in a few days, and Monday Madness is as good a way to slip back into blogging as any:

1. I have a picture of ______The Phantom of the Opera logo_____ on my computer desktop.
2. There are __four ___ pictures hanging on my living room walls.
3. My big goal for this week is to ____exercise_____.
4. I plan to visit ____too many_____ blogs this week.
5. The weather we're having right now is ___absolutely gorgeous!____.
6. I really should ___exercise____ more often. (do you see a theme here?!)

Answer the questions yourself, here or on your own blog!


Oh, and...

My review of Reconstructing Natalie is here at Infuze Magazine. (You may need to register; it's a short and painless process.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

No one mourns the wicked


Zarqawi is dead

"No one mourns the wicked..."

That phrase from the Broadway musical, Wicked, was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard that Abu Musab Al Zarqawi had been killed in a U-S air strike.

I can't muster up any sympathy for Mr. Zarqawi, who as the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq was responsible for so many cruel and tragic suicide bombings and beheadings.

I don't kid myself that this will even begin to end anything (even though several of Zarqawi's top aides died along with him.) The hostilities and unrest have been going on in the Middle East for thousands of years; the death of one terrorist, major though he was, isn't going to put an end to that. (Remember the old Imperials' song, "There will never be any peace until God is seated at the conference table"?)

But I hope and pray that it strike a blow to the central nervous system of the grotesque monster that is terrorism.

Phone calls with my brother, who is in Iraq working with a private contractor supporting Iraqi police officers, underscore just how serious is this war. I spoke with him this past weekend and at one point was bemoaning the war. My brother told me, "Be a conservative! Support your president."

Once again I was reminded of how important it is to support, and pray for, our troops. Truly they have a thankless task, but I agree with the saying, "Home of the free...BECAUSE of the brave."

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Reconstructing Natalie"...on surviving breast cancer



I occasionally review books for Infuze Magazine, , and in that capacity I will sometimes receive a book in the mail that they'd like me to read and review.

When Laura Jensen Walker's Reconstructing Natalie arrived in the mail the other day, I must confess, I didn't know if I really wanted to read it.

The first line of the book is "I'm obsessed with breasts." Come to find out, the 27-year-old protagonist, Natalie Moore, can't stop looking at everyone else's breasts because she's about to lose her own. She's just found out that she has breast cancer.

I don't know what I expected from this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised. Although it doesn't sugar-coat breast cancer, it's funny and poignant and uplifting. It also gives me immense admiration for the many women who battle breast cancer with faith, courage and yes, laughter.

And Laura Jensen Walker has been there. She is a breast cancer survivor herself, and also the author of the nonfiction book, Thanks for the Mammogram!: Fighting Cancer With Faith, Hope And a Healthy Dose of Laughter.

I'll let you know when my review of the book comes out at Infuze.

Meantime, massive kudos to my husband's Aunt Nancy, who is a breast cancer survivor and who walked in last week-end's Avon Breast Cancer Walk in Chicago. The walk raised 8-point-2 million dollars for cancer research...a record amount for Chicago walk's four-year history!

And a heart-felt thanks to my cousins Kathy and Janis, who participated in a Relay for Life walk in Hobbs, New Mexico last weekend in memory of my father and my Aunt Sandra, who both died of cancer.

Kathy wrote: "We have done this for the past few years, but this year especially, we are honoring our Aunt Sandra and Uncle Pepper. As fundraisers, they sell luminarias (sacks filled with sand and a candle in it) and we fixed 3 each for Sandra and Pepper. We made copies of their pictures and have their names and a special message on each one. They line the walking path and will be lit at 9 tonight. So as you walk you can read the name of people who are being honored or survivers, who are also being honored. It's really an emotional thing and it is a fairly new thing of adding pictures. (I think it really makes it more personal)."

The luminarias are pictured below:



My Aunt Sandra was a lovely, vibrant lady who was taken from us suddenly just recently. She often commented in my blog, especially when I reminisced about my family. Aunt Sandra is deeply missed by all of us who loved her.

What a wonderful tribute! Again Kathy and Janis, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I interviewed Michael Reagan



"He [Ronald Reagan] never looked at the mirror and said, 'Look at me, I am wonderful, I am great.' He always gave credit to other people. He always believed that he was put on this earth by God to do whatever God's will was. And when he became president, and accomplished the things he accomplished, he believed it was God's will, not his will, that was taking place. I think most of us need to start living what God would like us to do instead of always saying, 'Me, me, me...' but 'God, what what you like me to accomplish today?' And my dad would say that, each and every day of his presidency, 'What would you like me to accomplish today? Whatever it is, I want you to be there, God.' And you know, God blessed this nation because Ronald Reagan was president, and he blessed this nation because Ronald Reagan asked for God's help and guidance each and every day of his life." --Michael Reagan in my interview with him

Talk show host and author Michael Reagan, eldest son of the late president Ronald Reagan, is coming to Rockford June 14th to speak at the Rockford Rescue Mission's annual spring fundraising event. In advance of that, I interviewed Michael for my show, Weekend Rockford, today.

I found him pleasant, self-effacing, and knowledgeable. And his story touched my heart.

Michael was adopted by Ronald Reagan and movie star Jane Wyman. His parents divorced when he was a very small boy, and he says he grew up, not so much as Ronald Reagan's son, but as the son of Jane Wyman, who was a very well-respected and well-know actress in her day.

Michael told me that divorce is tough on a young child. He says it's like going into a child's room and breaking everything, then expecting the child to put it all back together.

He does have fond memories of time spent with his dad while he was growing up.

Childhood trauma

However, something happened to him at the age of 8 that forever changed and influenced his life. He was sexually molested by a day camp counselor. Pornographic pictures were taken of him, with threats to make them public.

He lived many years with the guilt and shame that accompanies such childhood trauma...thinking he was somehow responsible, even thinking it had happened to him because he had been born illegitimate.

Michael tells the story of how faith in Christ changed his life, in the book Twice Adopted.



An unrehearsed speech

I told Michael how impressed I was with his words at his father's memorial service at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and with his heartfelt and articulate expressions of his and his father's faith.

Amazingly, Michael told me he used no notes when he spoke at the service. "I gotta tell you, you've really got to give credit to God for that. I had no idea what I was going to say. I don't write speeches...that just doesn't work out well for me.

"...What was interesting, is we were flying back from Washington D.C....Ron and Patti were working on their speeches, and they had written them, they were practicing...and I thought, 'Well, maybe this time I should really write something. I've only got a short amount of time and I want to get it right.

"And I started to write something. But I kept on throwing papers away, throwing papers away. And my 23 year old daughter Ashley said, 'What are you doing, Dad?' I said, 'I'm writing something for Grandpa's eulogy.' And she looked at me and said, 'Oh, don't ruin it!' She said, 'You don't write speeches; don't start today!
Put down that paper and pencil just relax, you'll do OK.'

"And when I got off Air Force One, and got into the car to go up the library, a friend of mine, Mark Larson, and another friend of mine from church both had left prayers for me on my cell phone, and had just prayed that I would find the right words to say when I got up there, because they both knew I was going to be the
first one to speak.

"And as we're driving up the library, it was like God talked to me and said, 'You know, all week long we've heard about a president...why don't you tell them about your dad?'

"And that's what you got."

The Michael Reagan Show is heard daily on over 200 radio stations in the U-S and internationally on www.radioamerica.com.

Michael Reagan will speak at the Rockford Rescue Mission's annual spring fundraiser June 14th at First Evangelical Free Church. For more information, go to the mission's website.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Fantasia...


a potpourri of facts and fun

If you have a young person graduating this spring, you must check out Mark Harris' "Find Your Wings." Go here and scroll down to listen to an audio clip, and here are the lyrics.

Here are some of the lyrics:

"I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings"

Beautiful song, and so fitting for this time of year.

Mark, of course, was a longtime member of 4Him, the members of which recently decided to go separate ways and pursue solo careers.

Of course, name-dropper that I am, I have to share a pic with you from when I got to meet 4Him when they visited the 101QFL booth at the Gospel Music Association Convention in 2002:


With Andy Chrisman, Kirk Sullivan, Mark Harris and Marty Magehee

Happy Birthday, PyroManiacs!



My friend Phil Johnson celebrated the first anniversary of his blog yesterday, and what a wild ride it has been! PyroManiacs is now a team blog featuring a few other writers along with Phil.

You may not always agree with Phil and Co., but you will doubtless be informed, educated and even entertained.

I must admit, though, I did have to chuckle at Joe Carter's assessment of PyroManiacs
in his recent Royal Rumble in Godblogdom post: "I could say something snarky about Phil’s tone, his views, or his allegiance to Charles Spurgeon and John MacArthur. To be honest, though, I’d rather just take a horse whip to the person who introduced Phil to Photoshop." (snicker :))

Ghastly maxi-dresses inducing 70's flashbacks...

At the ever-entertaining Purgatorio today, , it's one of my favorite features: Divine Vinyl. I don't know where Marc gets the old album covers, but they are crazily kitschy and funny now. Remember the maxi-dresses of the mid-70's? They're here, in all their polyester glory.

Where's the Wonkamobile when you need it?

Those lucky South Bend, Indiana downtown office workers! This from AP: "The South Bend Chocolate Company is delivering coffee, chocolates and lunch to
those too busy to take a break. Company president Mark Tarner
says they're making chocolate runs in a golf cart they're calling
the 'Wonkamobile.' He says the delivery service won't end when
the weather turns cold. He adds he'll get snow tires for the cart
if he has to."

Now that's what I call commitment.

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thirteen places I want to go


Some of these places I HAVE been to, and I just want to go back. Other places I've yet to see. Here we go:

1) Ireland --it's been my dream since childhood.

2) Scotland--it's been my dream since Braveheart.

3) England--while I'm at it, why not a tour of the United Kingdom? I would love to visit London.

4) Vermont--Friends tell me it's gorgeous, especially in the fall

5) Steamboat Springs, Colorado--I was there once, on my way somewhere else, and I immediately fell in love with it. It was so beautiful, and I LOVE the Colorado Rockies.

6) Savannah, Georgia--My parents went there for a convention once, and my mom has never forgotten how beautiful it was, especially the old houses.

7) The Maine Coast--Have heard, and read, that this is gorgeous.

8) Boise, Idaho--My daughter-in-law's hometown. I was there in the winter, for the wedding, but I would love to see it in the summer.

9) San Diego, California--Specifically, the Del Coronado Hotel in Coronado. Been there once, will never forget it, would love to go again.

10) Paris, France--I know, people tell me it's dirty and the residents have bad hygiene and bad manners, but I'd love to go anyway!

11) Provence, France--Everything I've read about it makes it sound idyllic and lovely.

12) Greece, the Greek Isles--I'm one quarter Greek, and would love to see the place where some of my heritage is rooted. I've also heard and read that the islands are beautiful.

13) Branson, Missouri--Had my honeymoon here, have been back a couple of times. I just love the spirit of this little resort town!
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