Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Photos, re-touched or not...

A stunning video

"It's a confusing form of self-loathing and self-hatred, really - on one hand, one knows that physical appearance isn't all that matters, that one's heart does - but also knowing on the other hand that it is all that matters. We're told so every day."-- Miss O'Hara

For some time now, I've enjoyed Miss O'Hara's blog. She's a very lovely and intelligent young woman who doesn't mince words and is quite politically-savvy, but that's not all she blogs about.

Having lived through anorexia at one point in her life, she has a good deal to say about women and self-esteem issues. So it's with a hat/tip to her (and do read her post) that I share this stunning video:

Coincidentally, my friend Beth recently blogged about related issues. Like it or not, these are questions all women ask ourselves. That's just the way it is.

Speaking of retouched photos...

I'm not quite sure how I found her blog, but I continue to be impressed with Melodee of Actual Unretouched Photo. Mel is witty, charming and smart.

I like her response to a blog post in which a woman wrote about feeling extremely uncomfortable and out-of-place at a barbecue hosted by Christians (among the woman's chief complaints was the fact that [horror of horrors!!!]no alcoholic beverages were served.) Mel's post on intolerance toward Christians is balanced and wise.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Does "realistic fiction" mean wallowing in filth?

Some authors are able to write honestly without writing obscenely
"I didn’t flood the books with gratuitous gore or punishing violence. I didn’t pepper the dialogue with obscenities to convey the characters’ desperation or bitterness or anger or despair--though there was plenty of all that. I didn’t elaborate on the savagery of murder or give a clinical description of a rape scene or make any other attempt to write down to my readers as if they wouldn’t understand the effects of such horrible disease or what took place during such deprivation, violence, and destruction. I made every attempt not to underestimate those who bought my books, and for that reason I found it altogether unnecessary to push the ugliness in their face."-- Author BJ Hoff

BJ Hoff became, and has stayed, one of my favorite authors ever since a friend loaned me her Emerald Ballad series several years ago.

BJ writes on her blog about how she faced the challenge of portraying one of the most horrific eras in Irish history without resorting to graphic depictions of ugliness.

Her message is one that needs to be heard by those who are producing Christian fiction today. Apparently there are those who feel that the boundaries as to what Christian writers can or cannot write should vanish, or at least be pushed to the outer limits.

A vivid example of such a debate--albeit in mainstream fiction, not Christian--took place in the news just this past week, when Republican Virginia senate candidate George Allen pointed out controversial passages in the fiction books written by his opponent, James Webb.

Even some conservative pundits are saying that it was dirty pool for Allen to leak those passages so close to the election. Honestly, I don't have a dog in that fight. All I know (and I don't care if this makes me sound unsophisticated, gauche or un-intellectual) is that I found the passages vile and disgusting, and I wish I had never read them.

Even John Grisham, who seems to be able to write about bad things without forcing readers to delve into muck, defended James Webb (he's actively supporting his candidacy.) Grisham said something (I wish I could find the exact quote!) about writers having to honestly portray life as they see it.

As I told BJ Hoff in her comments section, "The first book in the Emerald Ballad series (a series which I've often said is one of my favorites, ever) is indeed sad, pulling no punches about that time in Ireland's history.

"I, too, was dismayed by reality that was portrayed, but that basis had to be established for the rest of the series to make sense. And it NEVER violated my desire as a Christian to focus on things that are uplifting and beautiful--while not ignoring the reality of sadness and ugliness in our world."

Christian fiction writers, don't apologize for illuminating beauty and goodness instead of ugliness and depravity.

You can write honestly about the horrors of life without, as BJ writes, "I could reel off any number of other authors writing in the Christian market who have done the same thing, who have written about different eras and about different events using different characters--to tell a story the way it needed to be told, honestly and realistically--without sickening their readers or beating them over the head with gratuitous brutality and viciousness and gore-galore. It’s called honest fiction."

I couldn't say it any better.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

It's Friday!!... but I'm working tomorrow...

I do the Friday Feast

Yep, I have a radio remote from 11 am to 1 PM tomorrow,and I have stuff to do prior to that, so I won't be sleeping in as long as I'd like to!

It's been a long, somewhat stressful week, so I'm going to leave you with the Friday Feast meme today. Feel free to answer the questions in my comment section or in your own blog!

Create a new candle scent.
--Narciso Rodriguez for Her

Name one way you show affection to others.--
--Feeding them! Maybe there's a bit of Jewish mom in me...

What is your favorite writing instrument?--
The Uni Ball Vision/Elite

Main Course
If you were given 25 dollars to spend anywhere online, from which site would you buy?--
Probably amazon.com

Are you dressing up for Halloween? If so, what will you be?--
--Nope, but I'll be handing out candy to the adorable little kids who come to my door!

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Open Mic Thursday!

Your chance to shine!

Once again, an all-call for readers to leave their links in my comments section.

As before, please only link to posts that are clean and family-friendly. Otherwise, it's wide open--you can link to your own blog and tell us a little about it, or link to a worthy post by yourself or another blogger.

Or, feel free to link to your Thursday Thirteen as well.

Go ahead, step right up to the microphone! :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Way-back Wednesday

What I was blogging about a year ago at this time:

I'm thinking about making this a regular feature...going back into the archives of "Notes in the Key of Life" to reprise some past posts. Because, let's face it, who really looks into your archives...and there may be some good stuff there?

On October 26th, 2005, I was blogging about:

My Top 25 Books of All Time (first posted 10/26/05):

"...the list reeked of a literary snobbishness that glories in things that truly don't matter to the enlightened believer. Certainly not all of them would meet that classification, but over-all, the list is a veritable roll-call of the hoity-toity secularists who wouldn't know good literature if it bit them on the....nose."-Dan Burrell, on Time Magazine's Top 100 Books list

I love Dan's characterization of the Time Magazine List of Top 100 Books from 1923 until the present, and it makes me feel a bit better about the fact that I've only read eight of the books of the list.

Dan suggested that I come up with my OWN top 25 list, and after careful thought and reflection, I have come up with one. Understand, I'm probably leaving some out that just slipped my mind. But these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

My criteria, I will admit, is mainly that I loved these books for one reason or another. In most cases, there was just something about them that reached out and grabbed me and wouldn't let me go.

In several cases, they were life changing in some respect. A few of them are obscure; at least a couple of them are British books from my childhood as a missionary, and you've no doubt never heard of them. But this is MY list, so I reserve the right to put them there.

Now, I would love to see your list. Please take a little time to come up with your own list and either blog it or post it here in my comments section. I'd also love to know if any of my favorites are on your list.

You may notice that the majority of my favorites are fiction, but don't limit your list to fiction. I just happen to enjoy fiction most.

Oh...and the Bible is not on the list, because I believe it goes without saying, the Bible is the number one book of all time. But it's too big to even go on such a list, because it's not just a book. It's a living thing. It's the very Word of God.

One other explanation: in a few cases, I count a series of books as one book, simply because I can't divide them up--they stand so strongly as a series.

So anyway, here's my list (with occasional comment):


(in no particular order)

1. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott--really kicked off my lifelong love of reading
2. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis
3. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
4. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
5. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
6. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
7. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
8. Red Knights from Hy Brasil, by Christine Savery (read here about how I re-discovered this childhood favorite)
9. Auntie Robbo, by Anne Scott Moncrieff (read here about how I re-discovered this book)
10. The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis
11. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte
12. Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot
13. Shadow of the Almighty, by Elisabeth Elliot
14. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
15. The Persecutor, by Sergei Kourdakov
16. New Moon Rising, by Eugenia Price
17. This Present Darkness, by Frank Perretti
18. My Life Without God, by William Murray
19. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher
20. The Emerald Ballad Series, by B. J. Hoff--reinforced my love of all things Irish, and showed me just how good Christian fiction can be
21. The Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers--introduced me to a remarkable writer, and reinforced to me just how good Christian fiction can be
22. Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
23. Streams in the Desert, edited by L. B. Cowman
24. Not My Will, by Francena H. Arnold
25. Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery

I may comment more on some of my choices during the coming days, and I'm sure I'll think of others that SHOULD have been on my list.

Meantime, check out this set of lists of best Christian books. Some of these should definitely be on my "to-read" list, but I do have a question about one of the lists...top seven Celtic monk books? Oooh-kay...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More good reason to eat your veggies!

What are you doing to stay young?

As I hurdle with break-neck speed toward the looming big 5-Oh, I am ever more conscious of doing and eating things that will help prolong my life and the quality thereof.

This new study gives me even more reason to continue my quest for eating my veggies in abundance. Fortunately, I love vegetables, so this isn't a chore--I just have to remind myself to focus on it more.

With my father having died of liver disease, this study has prompted me to eat mandarin oranges on a regular basis.

And I heard on John Tesh (yes, I do listen sometimes!) that you can keep your brain sharper by cross-training it...for example, do crosswords one day, jigsaw puzzles another, sudoku another. I don't like sudoku or jigsaws, but I wonder how cryptoquotes fit in? I love cryptoquotes, as well as crosswords.

What are you doing to stay young? I'd love to hear!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Defending the old-time TV family

Jane Wyatt and Robert Young in "Father Knows Best"

I'd like to see a TV dad who knows best, at least some of the time

I felt a touch of sadness when I heard that actress Jane Wyatt passed away at the age of 96. To be honest, I don't think I ever watched an entire episode of Father Knows Best. It was before my time, and I don't think it ever gained the kind of re-run ubiquity that some other old TV shows have enjoyed.

Obviously, Wyatt lived a long life, and we can hope that she was ready to meet her maker when she left this earth on October 20th. So why my sadness?

Well, Wyatt's passing--although her TV career ended years ago--represents just one more toll in the continuing death knell of any kind of decent family viewing on network television. Along with any kind of viewing that gives a positive portrayal of a traditional nuclear family.

And that's really sad.

The "war on fathers"?

"Father Knows Best" has been relentlessly made fun of and criticized for representing a picture of the American family that was unrealistic at best and harmful at worst--harmful, in the eyes of some, because it perpetuated a stereotype that few families could ever hope to live up to.

But Wyatt herself defended the show in a 1966 interview: "We tried to preserve the tradition that every show had something to say. The children were complicated personally, not just kids. We weren't just five Pollyannas."

I, for one, would find it refreshing if there were more TV shows that actually showed a dad that wasn't a complete loser or a bumbling idiot. In this WorldNetDaily article, David Kupelian recently wrote about the war on fathers: "Today, more often than not, television portrays husbands as bumbling losers or contemptible, self-absorbed egomaniacs. Whether in dramas, comedies or commercials, the patriarchy is dead, at least on TV where men are fools – unless of course they're gay."

Kupelian ends his article this way: "When we break the bond between fathers and their children, we're breaking the bond between God the Father and our nation. When we restore that connection, our society will be healed. It's as simple as that.

"That's God's way. Listen to Him. He's your Father, and believe me, He knows best."

Hmm. I don't think I could end my post any better than that.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Need a chuckle? Dogs in costume, and more

My sister sent me a hilarious e-mail full of photos of dogs in costume, and this was my favorite. I couldn't find a site with those same pictures, but there are some pretty funny ones here. Go and enjoy a chuckle. :)

For another grin, go to Brandie's blog and check out a video that's sure to tickle you.

While we're chuckling, Pecadillo is looking for a new car, and let's us join in the search.

I can't resist Purgatorio's Divine Vinyl posts. Today, he showcases the penchant of Christian musicians of yesteryear to pose for their pictures next to...trees.

Have you come across something (clean and family friendly) that made you laugh lately? Or even elicited a decent chuckle? Feel free to post a link in my comments section. I LOVE to laugh!

Happy Friday all, and have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Embracing Grace, and dealing with choices

Liz Curtis Higgs and Lisa Samson never fail to please

In the past few months, I've had the pleasure of not only reading books by two of my favorite authors, Liz Curtis Higgs and Lisa Samson, but interviewing them for my radio show as well.

Liz departs from her successful Scottish fiction series to pen a small but lovely book called Embrace Grace.

Carol Kent, author of When I Lay My Isaac Down, writes of Liz's book: “Embrace Grace isn’t for perfect, churchy women who have never made a mistake. It’s for women who’ve blown it and are willing to investigate a better way to live. Liz Curtis Higgs is vulnerable, authentic, honest, and compassionate. Embrace Grace provides answers, truth, and a map that will take you from shame and guilt to a hope-filled future.”

Liz compares guilt to a heavy, scratchy overcoat in this :58 sound clip from our interview:

Straight Up, by Lisa Samson

Straight Up
is the story of two cousins, Georgia and Fairly, how they deal with the choices they've made in life, and the uncle who binds them together.

Don't expect pat answers or everything to be neatly tied up in a bow in this book. However, as always with a Lisa Samson book, you can expect a great read--transparent, funny, and true-to-life, with characters that you care about, and a storyline that engages you and pulls you in. And though Lisa is never, ever preachy, you can also expect fresh insights into spiritual truths.

When I interviewed Lisa, we agreed that it's not too much of a spoiler to reveal that Georgia goes into a coma. But that doesn't mean Georgia goes silent as a character...and Lisa and I talk about that in this 1 min. 18 sec. sound clip:

If you want to know more about other books by Liz Curtis Higgs and Lisa Samson, check out these links:

My review of Thorn in My Heart, by Liz Curtis Higgs

My review of Whence Came a Prince, by Liz Curtis Higgs

My review of The Church Ladies, by Lisa Samson

My June 2005 interview with Lisa Samson

My March 2004 interview with Liz Curtis Higgs

My post about Liz Curtis Higgs' "Unveiling Mary Magdalene"

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

OK, "Lost" is starting to annoy me a little

Evangeline Lilly (Kate)

Don't get me wrong, it's still probably my favorite TV show. And I will definitely watch tonight's episode at some point, after DVR-ing it due to other obligations. But I have a bone to pick with the show's powers-that-be.

The Others
are too much in control, too pervasive, have too much of the upper hand. There's just too much Others.

Our survivors can't seem to catch a break against the Others, and that's getting old fast.

I do think The Others are interesting, and I'm intrigued to know more about them. But not at the expense of face time for all the other, established characters I've come to care about.

And I'm already tired of Jack, Sawyer and Kate being in captivity. I want to see The Others facing some real setbacks. I want to the scoreboard to even out a little--right now the Others are in total dominance.

And I want to wipe the smirk off that Ben guy's face. I'm beginning to miss the days when he was getting thrown around by Sayid.

And what's with Juliet? She comes across as sweet, loving and caring, but apparently she wouldn't think twice about blowing Kate's head off.

Reportedly, "Lost" viewership was down somewhat last week, which disappointed the show's producers. Producers, let it be a lesson to you. "Lost" fans--well, at least "Lost" fans like me--love the show in large part because we care about the main characters, the survivors of the plane crash.

I understand the need to introduce new blood, new storylines, etc. But again, not at the expense of the characters we know and love.

At least tonight's episode will bring back some of the mainstays that we haven't seen so far this season.

Meantime, this USA Today article helps you track down some of the characters you haven't seen in a while.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

A must-see video

Recently I interviewed Don Elbourne, pastor of Lakeshore Baptist Church in Lakeshore, Mississippi, about his church's mission to rebound from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Now you can see a video about it, (hat/tip to Don) filmed by members of Trinity Lutheran Church of Joppa, Maryland. I dare you not to be moved!

As Don told me in our interview, the rebuilding efforts are far from older. Skilled help, financial help and prayers are still needed.

Happy Bloggiversary to Me!

Somehow I missed this, but as of October 10th, I have been blogging for three years!

Funny, but I've never gotten tired of it. I see blogging as a much-needed and enjoyed creative outlet for me. I also use it as my own personal soap-box or showcase.

When I was a little girl, I often created my own newspapers and magazines, literally cutting-and-pasting pictures into my own original copy. Blogging is almost a grown-up extension of that. My family teases me about my devotion to blogging, but I think they understand. This is something I truly enjoy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Here's your chance to shine

Post your links here; it's Open Mic Thursday

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I have to admit, I'm shamelessly ripping this idea off from Adrian Warnock.But hey, it's a great idea.

What you do: Go to my comments section and post a link to a blog post you think is worthy of sharing. It can be from your blog, or someone else's.

If you're not sure how to use html to provide a link in your comment, just type out the link and people can copy-n-paste it into their browser.

Hey, I'll make it even easier. If you don't want to single out a post, just invite people to your own blog and tell us a little about it.

All I require is that the post and/or blog be family-friendly--clean, with no profanity or sexual content.

If you want to invite people to your Thursday Thirteen, that's fine too.

So happy Thursday, and step right up to the microphone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In which I claim relationship to "a missionary statesman"

My husband's uncle writes a well-received book on missions

Well, Bob Bixby beat me to the punch.

After receiving in yesterday's mail Paradigms in Conflict: Ten Key Questions in Christian Missions Today, I was all set to blog about the author, Dr. David J. Hesselgrave, who happens to be my husband's uncle. But I notice that Box Bixby of Pensees blogged about Dr. Hesselgrave just yesterday, and in very glowing terms.

Writes Bob: "We were delightfully refreshed by his passion for truth, his vigorous explanations and critiques of the emergent church, his opinion on all things world missions, and his old-fashioned views of missions. By 'old-fashioned' I mean a yearning to turn the eyes of young pastors away from the allure of extra-biblical methodology and toward a recommitment to straight-forward, propositional evangelism and church-planting."

I've talked with "Uncle Dave" occasionally throughout my 28-year marriage to his nephew, and I always knew he was very intelligent, intellectual and erudite. I knew also that he and his wife Gertrude had been missionaries to Japan (Gertrude is older sister to my husband's dad).

I also knew that books he authored are used as textbooks on missiology for Christian colleges; in fact, my own son Jonathan used one of his books while at Cedarville University.

But I must admit that, until reading some of the reviews for his new book, I didn't quite grasp just how respected and reknowned Uncle Dave is in the world of missions. One reviewer writes: "David Hesselgrave has been the leading spokesman for evangelical missions for decades." That's a pretty big statement!

I'm just a few pages into the book right now, but already I'm impressed with how reader-friendly it is. No high-flown uber-intellectual literary prose here--this is practical, down-to-earth stuff.

And obviously very needed, if we are to understand our role as Christians in fulfilling the Great Commission.

As I commented on Bob's blog, I'm happy to claim even a non-blood family relationship with this man.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The top 50 books that shaped evangelical thought

It seems I can't resist a book list, and I found this one thanks to Sherry's Semicolon blog.

You can go here to see the entire list of Christianity Today's Top 50 Books That Shaped Evangelicals.

While I won't list them all, I will list the ones I've read and the ones I really want/need to read. Here goes:

48.The Hiding Place

Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill--Wonderful book, admirable woman!

42.The Purpose-Driven Life
Rick Warren--Yep, read it when it first came out and before I was made aware that a lot of people have problems with it and Warren's philosophies.

41.Born Again
Charles W. Colson--Read it a long time ago. Really good book.

40.Darwin on Trial
Phillip E. Johnson--Have not read it; need/want to. By the way, this is the Phillip Johnson that Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs is always having to explain that he is not.

39.Desiring God

John Piper--Haven't read it. I know, I know...get away from me with the wet noodles! I need/want to read it.

37.God's Smuggler
Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill--Read it as a teen; loved it. Along with another persecuted-church-themed book that's not listed here, but had a huge impact on me: Sergei Kourdakov's The Persecutor.

36.Left Behind
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins--Read this one, and maybe the second and third one, and then dropped out. It struck me as a bit ludicrous that they were dragging the end times out so much.

34.This Present Darkness
Frank E. Peretti--Read it, really liked it...but I must confess I was looking for demons around every corner for a while.

33.The Late Great Planet Earth
Hal Lindsey with C. C. Carlson--I think I kind of skimmed this one. But it was definitely in my dad's (a Baptist pastor) circa-70's library.

32.The Cross and the Switchblade
David Wilkerson with John and Elizabeth Sherrill--Yep, read it as a teen.

30.Roaring Lambs

Robert Briner--Read it. Some good thoughts.

29.Dare to Discipline

James Dobson--Read it. Some good principles.
28.The Act of Marriage
Tim and Beverly LaHaye--Oh, yeah. Definitely, as an engaged young woman in 1978. It was a must-have for all engaged couples in the Bible college I attended. Although Tim and Bev didn't encouraged unmarrieds to read it, because of the temptation to act on the knowledge too soon. :)

Catherine Marshall--Read it, loved it--in fact, I'd like to get ahold of a copy and read it again. At the time I read it, as a young girl, I was a little disappointed in the man she ended up with. Now I think I would find her choice spot on.

20.A Wrinkle In Time
Madeleine L'Engle--Haven't read it, need to if only because it's been a major impact on so many people.

13.Evidence That Demands a Verdict
Josh McDowell--Have read parts of it.

9.Through Gates of Splendor
Elisabeth Elliot--Out of all the books on the list, this one probably impacted me the most. I read it as a Bible college student when I was part of a readers' theater based on the book, and the entire experience fueled my desire to make my life count for Christ. Also hugely influential, the follow-up: Shadow of the Almighty.

5.Knowing God

J. I. Packer--As with Desiring God, am embarrassed that I haven't read this one. I'm an idiot.

4.The God Who Is There

Francis A. Schaeffer--Want/need to read this one. Have heard good things about it for years.

3.Mere Christianity

C. S. Lewis--Am happy to say I've read this one.

1.Prayer: Conversing With God
Rosalind Rinker--Should read this one.

Check out the list and see how many you've read. And if you can recommend any of the others to me, do let me know!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another wonderful Friday

And I do the Friday Feast meme!


Name a song you know by heart.--Amazing Grace


What will you absolutely not do in front of another person?--Uh, several things that I also deem to embarrassing to write about in this meme. :)

How often do you use mouthwash and what kind do you like?--I occasionally use mouthwash, but not that often. I pretty much rely on regular toothbrushing and Altoids.

Main Course

Finish this sentence: I am embarrassed when...I can't remember someone's name when I see them. Especially if there's someone with me, who I'm expected to introduce them to!

What was the last food you craved?--Those little candy-corn-like Halloween pumpkins. In fact, I gave into the craving last night and bought some. And enjoyed them thoroughly!

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Where is God when bad things happen?

I interview Justin Taylor,
co-editor of Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

The headlines are full of tragic and unsettling news, from the events of 9/11, to an Asian tsunami, to Hurricane Katrina, to the senseless killings of innocent little Amish girls.

Where is God when these things happen? Can we have confidence that he is in control of all of it?

A new book, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Crossway), addresses just such questions. The book is edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor, and I was delighted to interview Justin today.

The book arose out of a conference on the subject, and the conference's speakers ended up being contributors to the book. Besides John Piper, they include Mark Talbot, Steve Saint, Carl F. Ellis Jr., David Powlison, Dustin Shramek and Joni Eareckson Tada.

Several of the contributors have gone through deep personal tragedy themselves, as Justin speaks about in this (1 min. 23 sec.) clip from our interview:

Among the ideas challenged in the book is that of "open theism." Justin explains the notion in this (:51) clip:

In this (1 min. 4 sec.) clip, Justin talks about who he'd like to read the book and how he'd like to see them approach it.

And on a lighter note...

This week's Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop: The Case of the Morbid Mural.

Go here to see the actual photo.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Are you into "Lost"?

Matthew Fox, who plays Jack Shepherd

Tonight is the much-anticipated Season Three opener of "Lost."

I will DVR it, because we attend a midweek prayer meeting at our church. But I'm definitely one who is anticipating it. Yep, I'm a fan.

Honestly, the first season rolled by without me paying much attention to it. The thought of a group of plane crash victims stranded on an island just didn't do much for me. What? a fictional version of "Survivor"?

Then, my son Jonathan gave my husband the DVD set of Season One for his birthday. My husband had never had any desire to see it either, but he figured it would be rude not to watch the DVDs since they were, after all, a gift.

It captured me from the very first episode. The story is intriguing, the writing excellent, the acting exceptional. It makes you care about the characters, as you see their individual stories in flashbacks. And there's always the questions--what exactly IS going on on that island, and will the survivors ever be rescued?

USA Today
has a feature story about "Lost" today, along with a review of tonight's season opener, which critic Robert Bianco gives three-and-a-half stars. Bianco calls the five-minute opening segment of tonight's show "astounding," and the show's producers apparently want it to be a "Holy Mackerel!" moment for viewers.

Since I watched both of the first seasons on DVD, I didn't have to deal with commercials and cliffhangers. Now that I've chosen to watch it week-by-week, I'll have to endure both, and I know I'm not going to like that. But frankly, I can't do as I did last season and ignore the show so I could watch it on DVD later. My curiosity is just too strong!

Do you like "Lost"? Why, or why not? Who are your favorite characters? Let me know in my comments!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Such devoted sisters

Left: Lisa, Beverly and me, 2002

The relationship of sisters is the subject of an article in today's USA Today. It grabbed my attention immediately, because I adore my two sisters and can't imagine life without them.

Montreal family therapist Vikki Stark "has spent three years doing interviews or surveys with 400 women, teens and girls with sisters."

The result? A new book titled My Sister, My Self: Understanding the Sibling Relationship That Shapes Our Lives, Our Loves and Ourselves .

Says Stark: "The relationship is very important to women. It cuts very deeply to a women's identity." She says she has often been struck by the intensity of the sisterly bond.

I totally relate. My sisters know me on a level that no one else does. Our bond goes back so far, and is so powerful, it is one of the most wonderful constants in my life.

Of course, we've had disagreements and all-out fights. But in the end, the sisterly bond is not broken. My sisters are truly my best friends.

Stark says some of the women in the interviews expressed how "blessed" they felt. "They feel it was a gift to be given a sister who brings so much joy and pleasure to their lives."

Amen. And I have two!

How about you? Are you close to our sister or sisters? I'd love to hear your comments.

Listen to Tilly Cryar very charmingly sing "Sisters."
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