Thursday, May 29, 2008

13 Things to Tell You About

Happy Thursday! As always, if you're surfing Thursday Thirteens, bookmark this site and come back when you can pursue the links that interest you!

1) Lost season finale tonight! Show co-creators Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof talk about how the space-time continuum will figure into the plot in this USA Today story.

2) Don't forget, you can watch this video to see all the "Lost" flash-forwards in chronological order.

3. The sister-in-law of Nicol Sponberg has set up an e-mail account where you can leave messages of condolences and support: Nicol is a Christian musician, formerly of the group Selah, whose 10-week-old son died Tuesday night. More here.

4. Steven Curtis Chapman's manager, Jim Houser, blogs about how the Chapman's are holding up after the death last week of their 5-year-old daughter Maria.

5. Jim also recaps Maria's memorial service here.

6. The much-maligned Spam--and I'm talking about the food product, not the e-mail stuff--is gaining in popularity. (I will never understand that gelatinous substance in the can...)

7. Tired of all the depressing, negative stuff on the Internet? You may want to check out a site called Amazingly Blessed.

8. Hmmm...looks like Jerry Falwell isn't the only person to believe in divine retribution. Sharon Stone, anyone?

9. We Christians can sometimes be pretty judgmental about other people's sins. But what about the sin of gluttony? Evangelical Outpost weighs in on the issue (no pun intended) with Sin on a Bun.

10. Dr. Seuss and Linus Pauling have been inducted into the California Hall of Fame--along with the likes of Dave Brubeck, Jane Fonda, Quincy Jones and Jack LaLanne.

11. Another airline nixes free inflight snacks.

12. A country music site lists the 20 Top War and Soldier Songs.

13. Why David Archuleta Didn't Win. (hat tip to Quoth the Maven)

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another tragedy to report...

Nicol Sponberg

Just after the news of the death last week of the 5-year-old daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman, another tragedy for a Christian music artist.

The infant son of Nicol Sponberg, formerly of the group Selah, has passed away. This from the blog of Nicol's sister-in-law, Angie Smith:

Todd's sister Nicol (she sang in Selah) had her second child on March 18th of this year. His name is Luke.

Last night around 9:00 central time, she went to check on him and he was not breathing. Paramedics were called but they were unable to resuscitate him.

Our nephew Luke Gregory Sponberg is now in heaven with Audrey, just 7 short weeks after we lost her.

(Todd and Angie's baby daughter, Audrey Caroline, lived only a short time after being born seven weeks ago.)

Please keep the family in your prayers.

Stuff to tell you!

Today is Word Out Wednesday, and I do have a bunch of stuff to tell you about...

--Are you a "Lost" fan who's confused by the chronology of the flash-forwards? This video puts them in order for you.(Hat tip to USA Today Pop Candy.)

--The man who composed and whistled the theme to The Andy Griffith Show has passed away. Hagen also wrote the themes to "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "I Spy," among others.

--Look for former American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar in commercials for Nationwide Insurance--and yes, there will be jokes about his hair.

--Does the "F" in "F word" stand for "fired"? An online survey of 2000 executives finds that potty mouths make poor employees.

--Quote o' The Day:

"If you can't watch a movie with one of your grown children without feeling embarrassed, there's something wrong with the movie, not you." —Parade magazine gossip columnist Walter Scott

(Hat tip to Culture Clips.)

--The casts of Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley are expected to be on hand in Milwaukee for the unveiling of a bronze statue of The Fonz.

--Congratulations to my father-in-law, Pastor Melvin Swanson, for 55 years of service at the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. That's a pretty amazing record! We celebrated the anniversary on Sunday, and the picture here is of the family members who were able to attend.

If you'd like to participate in Word Out Wednesday, simply blog about anything you'd like to get the word out about, then check in here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Sweet Caroline"

When you head off to the beach or on vacation, be sure and tuck a copy of Rachel Hauck's Sweet Caroline in your tote bag. It's the perfect, pleasant diversion for a carefree summer's day.

Caroline Sweeney has a dilemma. Should she stay on as owner/manager of an iconic small-town Southern cafe, or accept a once-in-a-lifetime job with Spain's version of Donald Trump?

Either choice has major implications for other people besides Caroline. If she ditches the cafe, its longtime employees could lose their jobs and the little town could lose a beloved landmark. If she accepts the job in Spain, she could lose the re-budding romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now a major country singing star.

"Sweet Caroline" is one of those appealing novels in which you truly enjoy spending time with the characters. Caroline is lovely, funny and relatable. Her spiritual journey from near-agnostic to joyful new convert is unforced and believable. The character of her ex-boyfriend, Mitch O'Neal, is attractive and appealing.

What choice will Caroline make? You'll enjoy finding out. Rachel Hauck's writing is fresh, breezy and contemporary, and this book is as refreshing as an ice-cold root beer on a hot summer day.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ready for the long weekend...

--The longtime pastor of Steven Curtis Chapman, Scotty Smith, has been ministering to the family in the wake of the death of their 5-year-old daughter Maria.

--Fellow blogger and fellow radio personality Rodney Olsen of Australia has posted an interview he did with transplanted Australian Mike Rayson, who lives in Nashville. Rayson's 11-year-old son died a year ago, and another son almost died recently. He tells Rodney:

I've read Psalm 23 a lot this year...I've discovered a promise inside the psalm that now fits at the very core of my faith, and the core of faith of many people in many places. The writer of the psalm goes on to write: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I shall fear no evil for--and these I believe are the four most important words in the Bible--thou art with me. That's the secret of our faith, that even though sometimes we will journey deep and dark places... the promise is sure that despite what we go through,what we encounter, where we end up,what life throws at us, that we have this promise--that God will always be with us, in the bad times as well as the good times, but more importantly, I think, in the bad times. We have this promise that we'll never be left alone.

In other news...and stuff...:

--Purgatorio has another classic edition of Divine Vinyl, showcasing cheesey Christian album covers of yesteryear...

--Here's a mini Fitness Friday recap: I've exercised four times this week and am headed to the gym this afternoon. I haven't lost any significant poundage on the scale recently--just a quarter-pound last week--but I DO feel like I'm losing weight. I've recently started taking chromium picolinate every day, having heard and read that it's good for diabetics.

--You can take a 10-day tour that chronicles C.S. Lewis' Christian journey through England--spots are still available on the September 6th and October 4th departures.

--Christian Newswire reports that if elected, Barack Obama would be the abortion president.

--This husband, father, deacon and grad student confesses: he loves chick flicks. (Hat tip to semicolon)

--Remember last year's American Idol runner-up, Melinda Doolittle--she of the incredible voice, but who wasn't quite as young and gorgeous as the winner, Jordin Sparks? Well, you should soon be able to buy Melinda's album.

Everyone go out and have an amazing Memorial Day weekend...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A tragedy for the family of Steven Curtis Chapman

: Here is a site where you can go to leave your personal condolences to Steven and his family.

"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing
— our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is, and we have wanted
to experience more of that"

Just after reporting yesterday the happy news of the engagement of Steven Curtis Chapman's oldest daughter, some tragic news for the Chapman family.

AP reports today that the youngest of Chapman's adopted daughters, 5-year-old Maria, has died after being run over in the family driveway.

Please keep the family in your prayers.

Chapman and his wife have been active in promoting international adoption, and founded Shaohannah's Hope, a foundation and ministry to financially assist thousands of couples in adoption.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Be thankful for your big hips

...and other stuff to tell you

This is Word Out Wednesday, and I'm getting the word out about several different things today. Here we go...

--Apparently scientists are now saying that all fat on your body is not created equal.

--Steven Curtis Chapman's [pictured above] sentimental new song, "Cinderella," is about to come true in real life. According to Chapman's manager, Steven's daughter Emily got engaged over the weekend. Congratulations, Emily and Tanner!

--Christian singer Jeremy Camp is guest-starring on a new faith-based web TV series called "Tyler's Ride." From the website:

Created and produced by Paulist Productions, Tyler’s Ride is the latest in the growing world of Internet television. With general market hits like Quarterlife and Roommates, this expanding medium is becoming a launching point for writers and actors, showcasing new talent such as Tyler’s Ride lead actors Grant Alan and Natalie Wachen. Also featuring Christian music favorite, Jeremy Camp, in his acting debut, new episodes of the web series are posted each Tuesday, taking viewers into the life of Tyler, an aspiring musician, and his quest to follow his dreams.

The show is partnering with IndieHeaven, the leading Christian independent artist organization, to present Scene And Heard, a contest for independent songwriters around the world. Find out more here. July 31st is the deadline.

--Former Women of Faith speaker Thelma Wells is now on board with the Extraordinary Women conferences.

“Thelma brings a wealth of wisdom, humor, and the keen ability to communicate biblical truths out of a heart that understands the issues and challenges that women face everyday,” says Julie Clinton, president of the Extraordinary Women Association. “She has an instant connection with the audience.”

(If you'd like to participate in Word Out Wednesday, just blog about anything you want to get the word out about, and check in here.)

I'm at the Internet Cafe today...

I'm blogging here today:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Around the blogosphere...

Here it is Tuesday, and I've had a really hard time scaring up energy to blog lately!

So I've decided to make a fly-round of the blogs on my bloglines feeds and tell you what some of them are up to. Here we go:

--Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee is talking about making good first impressions.

--Angela at A Life in Pages points us to an online vocabulary game that will help feed the world's poor.

--Debra of As I See It Now points us to some clothespin art.

--Darla of Beauty Inside and Out is asking for tips on keeping bunnies and deer out of her vegetable garden.

--Joe of The Evangelical Outpost doesn't think many homosexual man really want a monogamous marriage.

--Dave at Jollyblogger asks: "What are you afraid to say at church?"

--Linda of Mocha with Linda blogs about Lisa Samson's Embrace Me.

--Dena Dyer of Mother Inferior has an award-winning husband.

--Randy at Reflections in Life is remembering gospel music legend Dottie Rambo.

--Rodney Olsen posts a video from Haiti.

--Sherry of Semicolon says Prince Caspian is everywhere.

There you go...those are just a few. Maybe my own brain will feel a return to creativity at some point!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hallelujah, it's Friday!

I can't tell you how glad I am that it's Friday--even though, thanks to my trip to Texas, I only had a 3-day work week! Just a few things to share before the weekend sets in...

--Well, shut my mouth wide open! A girl named Whitney has become the first plus-sized model to win America's Next Top Model. However, looking at her pictures, the characterization of Whitney as being "plus sized" just makes me laugh...or cry!
--"Lost" completely blew me away last night. Fascinating show, great writing, terrific acting.
--Mrs Fussypants has given birth to an adorable little boy.
--It's been a while since I've participated in Fit Friday, but know that I have by no means abandoned my fitness journey. I've lost 27 pounds, and I exercise 4 or 5 times a week...sometimes more. I even exercised three of the four full days I was in Texas. I'm still using my knee brace, and it's working great.
--As a diabetic, I often long for something refreshingly fruity to drink. Lately, I'm loving Fuse Slenderize.
That's all I have time for today. Everyone go out and have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thirteen Things to Tell You About

As always, if you're flitting from Thursday Thirteen to Thursday Thirteen, bookmark this page and come back to pursue the links that interest you!

1. The "Lost" Season 4 finale begins tonight! The bummer: we won't get to see the last two hours of the finale until 2 weeks from now. If you can't wait until tonight, here's a few sneak peeks.

2. Sadly, while driving from Texas to Illinois last weekend, my husband and son came upon the wreck that claimed the life of gospel music legend Dottie Rambo. Now, Christian Newswire reports that what is believed to be the last interview with Dottie will air on the Gospel Music Channel.

3. Here's a video of Sandi Patty singing one of my favorite Dottie Rambo songs, "We Shall Behold Him." (That's Dottie herself in the background, obviously being blown away by Sandi's rendition.)

4. Men's Health recently highlighted the most unhealthy food in America.

5. Men's Fitness has named the 25 Fittest Guys in America--they say Tiger Woods tops the list, which also includes a certain presidential candidate.

6. I guess this is one way to beat those high gas prices!

7. Google has passed up Yahoo to become America's most popular website.

8. USA Today likes Prince Caspian.

9. Good News interviews C. S. Lewis stepson' Douglas Gresham about Caspian and related matters, and also talks with Gresham.

10. Happy 60th birthday, Israel!

11. UPDATE!!! (5/21/08) Thanks so much to Bonnie Bruno of MacroMoments for alerting me to the fact that my link to a children's drawing site (that I had originally posted here) had turned into a nasty adult site. Yikes! that kind of thing ticks me off. :(

12. Interested in The Hobbit movie? You can take part in an online chat about it with producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo del Toro.

13. I haven't experimented with it yet, but this website that bills itself as a "media playground" looks intriguing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back from Texas!

What a wonderful trip! Our main reason for going was to see our oldest son, Jonathan, graduate from Texas State University with his MBA. But another highlight was getting to spend time with our adorable grandson, Payton, and me getting to spend Mother's Day with my own well as spending time with all my loved ones who live in Texas. Thought I would share some pics:

At the Cafe Java on the morning of Graduation Day. My mom and Daylyn's parents are there too--it was the first time we had been with both Daylyn's parents since the wedding in 2004! (They live in Idaho.)

My face is always beaming when I'm in a picture with Payton!

Proud parents with our graduate! An MBA is quite an accomplishment...especially when you're holding down a full-time job and being a new daddy.

Jonathan, Daylyn and baby Payton--who was remarkably good sitting through the lengthy graduation ceremony!

At a picnic the next day to honor Jon--Grandpa obliged Payton on the swing.

Also at the picnic--my adorable little niece Arden (my brother's youngest daughter.)

My beautiful mom and me on Sunday morning, Mother's Day. It was the first time I've spent Mother's Day with my mother since 1976!!!

The only child of mine I got to be with on Mother's Day--my firstborn, Jonathan.

Mom with three of her children (my sister Bev couldn't make it)--me, David and Lisa.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Packing my bags....

I'm getting ready to head out tomorrow for O'Hare and Texas! My son Jonathan is graduating with his MBA on Friday night, and God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be there.
I probably won't be blogging while I'm gone, so look for me again around the middle of next week.
Of course, I would appreciate any prayers for traveling mercies...which remind me of a funny post on Stuff Christians Like:

The first time my brother prayed for "traveling mercies" I thought he was
praying for a band. Honestly, it sounds like a side project Dave Matthews and
that insanely muscular violin player are involved in. "Tonight, opening up for
Widespread Panic, it's the Traveling Mercies!"

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday Melange

Main Entry: mé·langePronunciation: \mā-ˈläⁿzh, -ˈlänj\Function: nounEtymology: French, from Middle French, from mesler, meler to mix — more at meddleDate: 1653: a mixture often of incongruous elements

Stuff to tell you on this beautiful Cinco de Mayo morning...

--The C.S. Lewis Society is planning a luncheon and private screening of Prince Caspian in San Francisco on May 17th. (from

--Speaking of Prince Caspian--here are 12 spiritual lessons you can learn from it. (hat tip to Evangelical Outpost.)

--Are you a mom whose mornings are really crazy--and has kids who are Jonas Brothers fans? You might want to enter the "Moms Craziest Morning" contest here.

--I must say the late Heath Ledger is riveting in the latest trailer for The Dark Knight.

--For some reason, I find the mullet hairstyle (so popular in the 80s) hilarious. So I loved The Top 15 Most Awesome Celebrity Mullets. (Of course Billy Ray Cyrus is on the list--did you even have to ask?) By the way, I totally forgot that both Chuck Norris and Kiefer Sutherland used to sport mullets. The most outrageous, though, has to be Andre Agassi, who looked like he had a squirrel attached to the back of his head.

--Diabetes: The Musical? The winner of this year's Bayer Dream Fund will " 'compose and perform a play about managing life with diabetes,' complete with song and dance numbers." (hat tip to Diabetes Mine)

--A document called The Evangelical Manifesto is expected to be released this week. The document "faults Christians on the right and left for 'using faith' to express political views without regard to the truth of the Bible.

--A Zion, Illinois man wants to legally change his name to "In God We Trust."

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

13 things to tell you about...

OK, apparently The Powers That Be at Thursday Thirteen want us to use their suggestions for a topic each week...but I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to do that very often! Today, as I often do, I offer you a list of a variety of links' n things. If you're busily cruising TT's, but you see something that sparks your interest, bookmark me and come back later!

1. Today is the National Day of Prayer. You may want to check out this page on "How Prayer Works" and this one for some great quotes about prayer. One of my favorites:

"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness."
-- Martin Luther
2. Although she didn't always perform well or have an amazing voice, I'm sad to see Brooke White leave American Idol. And I guess I'm not the only one. Linda at Second Cup of Coffee links to an MSNBC story about how Carly Simon is a big Brooke White fan.

3. For fellow Lost fans: an interview with incredible actor Michael Emerson, who plays Ben Linus.

4. Al Mohler has some wise words about Grand Theft Auto IV.

5. Meantime, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is up in arms against Grand Theft Auto IV.

6. Author and blogger Katy McKenna Raymond has come up with a (tongue-in-cheek) creed that I can definitely get on board with! An instant classic, in my opinion.

7. More really awful and hilarious old school Christian album covers in Purgatorio's latest edition of Divine Vinyl.

8. A list of the 50 Most Influential US Political Pundits.

9. The serious problem of eating disorders, especially among young women and girls, is the target of the faith-based True Campaign. From the website:

The True Campaign exists to end the crisis of poor self image by
challenging cultural ideals about identity and beauty, so we can be free to
impact our world as God intended.

I just interviewed Constance Rhodes of the FINDINGbalance, which is co-sponsoring the True Campaign with Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders...will blog more about it later.

10. The Miley Cyrus thing is really frustrating for a lot of parents.

11. Meantime, Tyra Banks is defending Miley.

12. If you enjoyed my interview with singer/author Andrew Peterson, check out his team blog, The Rabbit Room.

13. I'm almost finished reading Jane Kirkpatrick's wonderful A Mending at the Edge. Check out more about Jane and her writings here.
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