Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A teen blog worth recommending...and an upcoming movie worth avoiding

"The official definition of the 'rebelution' is 'a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.' When you look around today, in terms of godly character and practical competence, our culture does not expect much of us young people. We are not only expected to do very little that is wise or good, but we're expected to do the opposite. Our media-saturated youth culture is constantly reinforcing lower and lower standards and expectations.

"The word 'rebelution' is a combination of the words 'rebellion' and 'revolution.' So it carries a sense of an uprising against social norms. But in this case, it's not a rebellion against God-established authority, but against the low expectations of our society. It's a refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious culture. Actually, we like to think of it as rebelling against rebellion."--Alex and Brett Harris (pictured above)

If there's a teen-ager in your life that you care about, there's a blog you'll want to let them know about. It's called The Rebelution, and it's written by Alex and Brett Harris, who just happen to be the 18-year-old brothers of Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Good-bye.

I read about "The Rebelution" on author Randy Alcorn's blog. When I checked it out, I found a lot of good stuff there. Actually, it's not only a blog, but a full-fledge website.

Randy Alcorn writes:

"Alex and Brett are the real deal—young men of character, depth, and eternal perspective. They're abandoned to Jesus. Their message is vital, for just such a time as this. Join the Rebelution!"

An upcoming children's movie aimed at destroying faith

--I've been getting a lot of e-mails about an upcoming children's movie called "The Golden Compass," which is purportedly based on a series of anti-God books written by an avowed atheist. Well, guess what? The rumors are true.
The movie is being called "the anti-Narnia."

Conservative British columnist Peter Hitchens writes:

He [author Phillip Pullman] has described the Narnia Chronicles as grotesque, disgusting, ugly, poisonous and nauseating. Yet, as Michael Ward, an expert on Lewis, has pointed out, Pullman’s saga begins just as Lewis’s does with a girl hiding in a wardrobe and finding more than she bargained for. It is almost as if he wants to turn Narnia upside-down and then jump on it. While Lewis portrays rationalist atheists as comically ghastly and joyless, Pullman depicts priests as evil and murderous, drunk and probably perverted, and the Church as a conspiracy against happiness and kindness.

Set for release in December, the movie will star Nicole Kidman.

and other stuff...

----The church that produced Facing the Giants is working on another movie, this one dealing with the issue of marriage. Fireproof is set for an August 2008 release.

--Head over to Taco Bell and get a free taco today, thanks to the World Series. (There is a time frame.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Stuff

...and a cookbook giveaway to let you know about...

Molly Coddled is giving away this marvelous cookbook. Go here to sign up. (Hat tip to Barb of A Chelsea Morning.)

Other stuff:

--OK, these singing horses are just too cute and too much fun. (Hat tip to Angela Hunt of A Life in Pages. I should give Angela billing on this blog, I give her so many hat tips!)

--The Bible as literature? Adrian Warnock gives us 12 Literary Features of the Bible.

--The world's first Divorce Fair? (Hat tip to Amy's Humble Musings.)

--Uber-bloggers Joe Carter, Justin Taylor and Matthew Anderson are officially endorsing Mike Huckabee for president.

--Then again, some of you might like the bumper sticker that Granny of Granny's House is touting...

--Do you believe in ghosts? Apparently quite a few people do.

--Like these postage stamps you will--if you like Yoda.

Everyone go out and have a blessed and fantastic weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

13 lifestyle changes I'm making since finding out I'm diabetic

Finding out several weeks ago that I have Type 2 diabetes was a nasty surprise. However, I've decided to accept the challenge to lower my blood sugar by doing everything at my disposal to make that happen. Here are 13 things I am making a part of my life.

1) I exercise at least 30 minutes every day but Sunday. (I either do the elliptical or treadmill along with some weight training at TruEssence, or walk or ride the stationary bike at home.)

2) I take 2 tsps of apple cider vinegar twice a day.

3) I put cinnamon in my coffee, cereal, pudding and baked apples.

4) I try to have about two tablespoons of ground flax seed a day.

5) I divide my dinner plate three ways: meat and a carb on the top half of my plate, veggies on the bottom half, and I focus on eating smaller portions

6) I eat whole grain cereal, bread and pasta.

7) I eat brown rice instead of white.

8) I snack on things like apples with natural peanut butter.

9) I have blueberry tea every day.

10) My most decadent dessert is fat-free sugar-free pudding, topped with sugar-free Cool Whip.

11) I often use blue agave nectar instead of artificial sweeteners.

12) I make berry smoothies with yogurt and flax.

13) I've completely given up pop, sugared or diet, and drink only water, herbal tea, or a mixture of brewed green tea and sugar-free powdered drink.

Actually, there are other changes. I'm trying to make them an ingrained part of my life. And you know what? I don't feel like I'm suffering at all. I feel better than I have in a long time...more energetic and healthier...and everything I eat tastes delicious. If you're diabetic or just trying to eat healthier, please feel free to leave me any tips that are working for you, in my comments section.

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Biggest Loser just keeps getting better

OK, I'm hooked on this show. In a season in which I hardly ever watch TV...and I mean that...this is the one show that I won't miss. (Prime time sit-coms' almost ludicrous preoccupation with sex have made TV almost un-watchable for me, but that's a whole 'nother "Oprah.")

I'm sure it has a lot to do with the fact that my daughter and I are both in the midst of one of the strongest weight-loss and healthy lifestyle commitments we've ever made, but The Biggest Loser has become a source of both entertainment and inspiration for us.

I think you would've had to watch it from the first episode of the season. I have, and now I'm totally invested in several of the cast members. I root for them when the scale is kind, and cringe when it's cruel. (Because if you've ever tried to lose weight--especially in a setting in which you have to get on that scale on a regular basis and face the music--you know just how cruel that scale can be.)

Last night, one of the cast members threw a major monkey-wrench into the "game" just as I had forgotten that it really is a game...a competition in which the person who is eventually crowned "The Biggest Loser" wins thousands of dollars and all the attendant fame, endorsements, etc, that a huge weight loss could bring.

It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the cast members respond to Neal's gambit. But to be honest, the competition is not what I like most about the show. I find the weight loss to be the most interesting and inspiring factor. To see the changes in a person, week after week...it's just cool.

By the way, I really like Allison Sweeney as the host. Despite her status as a diva on "Days of Our Lives," she comes across as personable, empathetic and down-to-earth.

And kudos to whoever allowed the guys to keep their shirts on, and the gals to keep their midriffs covered at last night's weigh-in. I don't know if that's a permanent change, but it's a good one. Making them flaunt all that excess flesh was just cruel.

...and a lifelong dream of mine...

...could be at least a tiny bit closer to coming true.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Let Them Eat Cake"--a delicious treat for fiction lovers

My interview with author Sandra Byrd

Since part of my job is interviewing authors, a lot of books pass my desk. Many of them are enjoyable reads; some just fail to spark my interest. But occasionally, there's the real winner: a book that I simply can't put down. Those are my favorite books to review or talk to the author. Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd is just such a book.

So I was delighted to interview Sandra Byrd for my radio show yesterday. Let Them Eat Cake is the story of Alexandra "Lexi" Stuart, a 20-something who is having trouble getting her career bearings in a post-college world. When yet another job falls through, this Francophile decides to follow her heart and work for a much smaller paycheck in a French bakery.

I blogged earlier about the book:

I liked Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd so much, I scarfed in down almost as fast as I would a piece of my mom's legendary brownie chocolate cake.

While I've enjoyed some Christian "chick lit" lately, some of it can veer into the self-consciously cute and trying a little too hard to be funny zone. Not this book. Sandra Byrd's humor is wryly amusing instead of broadly slapstick, her protagonist's interaction with God believable instead of goofy.

However, in this sound clip from our interview, Sandra tells me that Let Them Eat Cake doesn't neatly fall into the chick lit genre anyway.

In this sound clip, Sandra talks about her intent to create "holistic" characters:

I'm happy to report that Let Them Eat Cake is the first in a trilogy called "French Twist." After you read the first book, you'll be hungry for more!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Just another Manic Monday

...and more stuff to tell you...

--Did you know the difference between weight loss and weight gain can be as little as 100 calories a day? (Hat tip to The Amazing Shrinking Mom.)

--You've probably already heard the results of the Values Voter Poll. Author Athol Dickson doesn't think Mike Huckabee is unelectable, and he has some suggestions for conservative Christians on his blog. Among them: Dickson encourages you to go to Huckabee's website and read his positions on the issues.

(Hat tip to Angela Hunt.)

--Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost also has some reflections on the Values Voter Summit. Among them, this comment:

The most significant insight I gained from The Washington Briefing was not about the candidates but about the bloggers: Right-leaning bloggers are out of touch with a large portion--if not the majority--of conservatives in America.

--Radio Disney banned the words "chosen by God" from radio ads promoting the animated movie, "The Ten Commandments."

--Speaking of "The Ten Commandments"--have you seen it? Let me know what you thought. The Chicago Tribune actually gives it a positive review.

Focus on the Family's Plugged-In Online gave it a generally good review. although reviewer Paul Assay admits:

The computer animation looks primitive. The dialogue sounds simplistic. The characters are rendered in 3-D, but the characterizations are flat and two-dimensional...

Still, says Assay:

"..the heart's all here. The Ten Commandments, which is the first of a planned 12 movies in Promenade Pictures' 'Epic Stories of the Bible' series, conveys God's might and love with reverence and sincerity. And it leaves the soul—and the point—of the story intact. In stark contrast to many of the films playing in cavernous screening rooms—and later, living rooms—nearby, this is a movie designed to lead children to God, not away from Him."

Other reviewers aren't as kind, with "unimpressive" actually being one of the nice things said about the movie.

--Rodney Olsen of The Journey is giving away a Creation Answers book.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I do the Friday Feast

...and a few other things to tell you...

If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?--Probably a toy poodle, like my little Brandy. Because you don't really have to do anything but be decorative and get pampered and spoiled.

What does the color purple make you think of?--Various favorite purple blouses and dresses I've had down through the years, because that's one of my favorite colors.

It also makes me think of Elizabeth Taylor at her loveliest (she of the violet eyes.)

Approximately how long does it take you to get ready each morning?--I put my make-up on and do my hair at work. The other stuff takes 15 minutes or less.

Main Course

How many cousins do you have, and are you close to them?--I have quite a few cousins, and I love them dearly. Some of them read this blog, at least occasionally. I've never gotten to be around them very much, but I've enjoyed every bit of time I've been able to spend with them. We had a wonderful Garrett Family Reunion in 2006! We Garrett cousins are constantly amazed at how much alike we are, despite the fact that we've been able to spend very little time with each other.

Take your initials (first, middle, last) and come up with something else those letters could stand for. (Example: SFO = Sweet Funny Otter)--Caringly Sensitive Songstress

Go here to participate in the Friday Feast yourself, or answer the questions here in my comments section!

My friend Joel has a new blog look...

--Check out the new design at The Seventh Sola. As I told Joel--AKA "Solameanie"--this look fits him to a T! Now a terrific blog has a terrific look to match.

--Check out the picture on DK Raymer's blog today. And remember to pray for and support our troops.

--Even if you're not into "The Office," you've got to admit this is really cute.

Everyone go out and have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

13 Things to Tell You About

I know I said I would post more responses from my "Why do you comment?" post, but I forgot all about Thursday Thirteen! So, here we go...13 things to tell you about. If you don't have time to check out some of these links, just bookmark it and come back later. But do comment to let me know you stopped by.

1. Why have I never heard of Celtic Woman? Beautiful! Thanks to DK and Randy.

2. This 7 year old singer is incredible. (His leg twitching does make it look like he needs to go to the bathroom, though. :)) Hat tip to Granny.

3. Carve your own virtual pumpkin.

4. This tiny dancer may tell you if you're more left-brained or right-brained. Or it might just drive you crazy, as it did Angie of A Life in Pages.

5. Some amusing blogging-related cartoons are here-and you can use them on your blog for free. Hat tip to Good Brownie.

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

6. Darren and I were delighted to have singer Vicky Beeching in the studio with us today. This lovely Brit is not only talented and beautiful, she's intelligent and has a fantastic sense of humor! (Not to mention the fact that I could listen to someone read the phone book with a British accent and I'd be perfectly happy.) She also has a real heart for God. Vicky, you were a joy!

7. Talking about all things British with Vicky Beeching (including the rather rude assumption that all British people have bad teeth--let me assure you, Vicky didn't), led to our playing one of my very favorite Monty Python skits.

8. Mei Flower has some intriguing trivia.

9. Mama Mia, that's one fattening burrito!

10. Speaking of pythons...how'd you like to find one in your toilet? This woman did.

11. "The Ten Commandments" animated movie opens in theaters tomorrow, launching a 12-part computer-animated movie series dubbed "Epic Stories of the Bible." Promenade Pictures will later release some live-actions films, including one based on the book "Gideon's Gift" by Karen Kingsbury.

12. Like, y'know, this guy really nails it, y'know what I'm sayin'? Hat tip to the Pyromaniacs' Dan Phillips, who puts a spiritual spin on it:

In an age in which Christians should be called to know what and why we believe, and to say it with conviction, instead the very foundational truths on which Christian truth-claims rest are being held at arm's length. And this stance is held up as virtuous, rather than pilloried as cowardly and disastrous.

13. A chance to win Amy Grant's new book, Mosaic, here. And here.

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday...well, actually, not wordless at all

An update: Your feedback on why you comment...and an award from Grams!

OK, I just had to share this pic of my ridiculously adorable little grandson, Payton. He was in the beginning stages of pulling himself up to things when I was down there, and obviously (from this more recent pic), he has now mastered it! He looks pretty confident standing there, doesn't he? I'm sure he'll be walking before we know it. Happily, he (and his mom and dad, of course) are coming for Thanksgiving, so my Payton-addiction will get a fix then.

Thoughts on What Makes You Comment

I did want to showcase some comments on my blog...specifically, the ones in response to my plea for feedback on what prompts YOU to comment on blogs. I think they're all valuable for anyone who wants to make their blog more comment-friendly.

Here are some of the responses:

"I will almost always comment on book posts or posts about my favorite TV shows, like Lost, Heroes, House. And if it's a news story or something that just catches my attention."--Carrie at Mommy Brain

"I comment if I have an idea that I can share, ask a question the person might be able to help with, and/or if I think we have things in common and they might be interested in going to my blog as well."--Debbie at Real World Martha's Weblog

"I comment on things that make me laugh, engage me with questions, or even just a passionate entry makes me want to comment."--Danielle at Fiddlin' Around

Malcolm of Pop Culture Dish had an interesting point about memes like the Thursday Thirteen, in which I often participate: "If it's a topic that doesn't hold much interest to me, I won't comment. I love participating in the Thursday Thirteen. It has helped my readership increase and has introduced me to blogs that I wouldn't have found otherwise. Although I visit many TTs, I do not leave comments on all of them. It bugs me a little when people leave comments such as 'Interesting list. Happy TT.' This makes think that they probably didn't bother reading the TT and are just commenting in order to leave their blog link in my comments section."

Julee Ann of Write of Passage says she's not actually a big fan of comments: "That doesn't mean I don't enjoy getting them--but I don't like comments for comments sake! Does that make sense? I kinda like constructive criticism in my comments. (As long as you play nice)
'That's a great post,'
' I agree' or
'Preach it sister'
do nothing for me. I love humor, sarcasm, and my kids comments. I don't like preaching in the comment section."

"If a post has really touched my heart in some way or made me smile or something, I try to convey that. A lot of times it depends on the time I have -- sometimes I'm doing a quick run-through of the blogs I read, other times it's more of a leisurely stroll."--Barbara H of Stray Thoughts

Jennittia of Thoughts from a Newly Singled Mom says time is a big factor in whether or not she comments: "Do I have time to comment back, do I have a free hand to type or are they busy feeding the baby, etc. I will take the time or close the window and come back if the post has touched me in a big way or if I have a must-share story to go with it. I will send a personal email if I want to comment but not have everyone else see it."

More of your responses tomorrow...

An award from Grams

Grams of Talk...to...Grams has to be one of the most encouraging people in the world! Grams has honored me before--I've jokingly said I should hire her as my own personal P-R woman!--and she has done so again.

I've now been honored with the Community Blogger Award. I'm told this award "celebrates people who reach out and makes the blogging community a better one."

Grams, thanks so much for this award...I'm humbled and honored. You made my day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stuff to tell you!

Christian radio personality voted off "Survivor"

"If you read the Bible -- specifically Proverbs 16 -- it really talks about how God is in control. Like we might have plans, but God determines our steps. I believe He's sovereign. I believe he had me on there for a reason, and I don't think it was for me to win $1 million. I don't think it was. I think if I would have, it would have been just icing on the cake. He just knew that I needed to have this experience for some reason and I just trust Him. I knew I wasn't going anywhere until He thought it was time."--"Survivor" participant Leslie Nease

OK, I'm a little late on this one! My excuse: I was on vacation at the time, and watching hardly any TV.

Anyhoo...Charlotte, NC Christian radio personality Leslie Nease became the third person to be voted off "Survivor."

If you're interested, Reality TV World did this interview with Leslie, in which she was able to say some good things about her faith.

By the way, Leslie believes it was her big mouth, not her faith, that got her voted off the show.

This, that and the other...

--You've heard of Vanilla Coke and Cherry Coke, but about Herbal Coke? Could be...

--"Lost" re-runs are heading to the Sci Fi Channel and G4.

--My new favorite product: Breck Lavender Bedtime Baby Cream. It's my favorite lotion right now, and I get it at the Dollar Tree for a buck! (While supplies last, I assume!)

--What do people really want for Christmas?

--My favorite TV show right now. (Since I can't watch "Lost" or "American Idol"?)

--Thanks to everyone who commented on my post about diabetes! I'm adjusting to a life of carb-counting. I just tried a terrific recipe from Outsmart Diabetes magazine: Pumpkin Pudding. It was delicious. People, it was pumpkin pie in a bowl...but very low-carb and diabetic-friendly. I'm going to try Pumpkin Muffins next. I found the magazine in the check-out lane at the grocery store, by the way, and it contained a wealth of info.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy (belated) blogiversary to me!

I can't believe I missed my own blogiversary!

I had just gotten back from Texas on October 10th. I don't think I went online at all that day, nor had I while I was in Texas.

So here's a belated happy blogiversary to myself. It's hard to believe I've been doing this since October 10th, 2003...there should be four candles on that little cake!

Here's the very first thing I posted:


I guess this is my introduction to the world of blogging....a modern technological wonder that appears to be tailor-made for people like me, who can't seem to stop putting their thoughts on paper (or cyber-paper, as the case may be!)

I think this is going to be fun!

And it has been fun...which is what keeps me doing it! As I've said before, this is my own little platform...my own little outlet for expressing my thoughts and ideas, and just chatting about things that interest me.

The blog has never gained an enormous readership. I'm no threat to La Shawn Barber, Michelle Malkin or Glenn Reynolds. :) But I'm deeply grateful for those of you who do read and/or comment on a regular basis. And my hope is that this blog will help fulfill my life's mission statement: "O Lord, let your light shine on others through me."

I've stuck with Blogger, and really see no reason to change. However, I do think my blog took a giant leap forward earlier this year when Susie of Bluebird Blogs gave me my own lovely design. I recommend Susie to anyone who would like a blog look that expresses their own individual personality.

Everyone go out and have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

WayBack Wednesday

What I was blogging about a year ago

Left: Lisa, Beverly and me, 2002

A brief blogging break...

Today is a busy day for me, as I prepare to fly out of Chicago for a visit to Texas to see all my loved ones there--including my adorable, beautiful and wonderful grandson, Payton! As always when I fly, even a quick prayer for traveling mercies would be deeply appreciated.

My visit means I probably won't be blogging while I'm gone, so I should be back (Lord willing and if the creek don't rise), on Tuesday, October 10th...which, incidentally, is my 4th blogging anniversary!

Anyway, what follows is what I was blogging about a year ago today--on October 3, 2006.

Such devoted sisters

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."--originally posted 10/3/06

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What makes you hit the "comment" button?

...and a tidbit for "Lost" fans...

I just finished e-mailing a fellow-blogger who asked, tongue-in-cheek, if there is any way to FORCE people to comment on your blog! I chuckled, but the truth is, I'm with her. Comments are the life-blood of a blog--we all like to know that people are reading and responding to what they've read-- and I wish I knew the secret for getting lots of 'em!

So, I have a few questions for you. (If you don't have a blog yourself, you can ignore question number 3.) I'd love for you to answer these questions--in my comments section, of course!

Here they are (and they are about any blog, not just mine):

1) What make you take the time to stop and comment?
2) In what cases do you decide NOT to comment?
3) On your own blog, when have you gotten the most comments? (If you can cite the specific post that got the most comments, that would be great--even provide a link if you can.)

Thanks for helping out with my own little bit of blogging research!

And now, for "Lost" fans...

It's still a long wait till February, but here's a little something to tide you over. (hat tip to USA Today's Pop Candy blog.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday Stuff

Just a few things to share this morning...

First of all, many thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments about my diabetes! You don't know how much I appreciate them.

By the way, I found a terrific diabetes-related blog. The author has Type 1 diabetes, but includes info of interest to anyone dealing with diabetes.

Do you ever wonder what happens to your luggage before you get on the plane?

Eeek! Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs tells me a little more than I want to know.

Let me just say I'll be packing very carefully before I fly this week.

Linda finds out what not to wear...

Linda of 2nd Cup of Coffee does a delightful job of reporting on her trip to Macy's to see "What Not to Wear"'s Clinton Kelly.

I'm glad opaque tights are "in" this season...love 'em!

Check out the JC Penney's 1975 Catalog...

Make sure you scroll down to see the "Superfly" guys here. (Hat tip to the Evangelical Outpost.)
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