Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WOO-HOO!!! Michelle wins Biggest Loser

...and, I'm going on blog hiatus for a bit

My favorite Biggest Loser contestant won the title and the 250-thousand dollar prize last night...thereby totally redeeming the show for me!

The Biggest Loser has tried my patience this season. I feel it lost a little sight of what fans really appreciate about the show--seeing hard work and determination pay off. Instead, we got way too much unpleasantness from certain participants.

Michelle Aguilar stayed sweet and pleasant throughout the show, while still being competitive and determined. I'm really, really glad she won.

I'll also give the show another chance in the season that begins January 6th. As I continue my own fitness journey, the show continues to inspire and educate me. I enjoy it!

Congratulations, Michelle, and God bless you!

...and I'm off to God's Country...

...otherwise known as the Great State of Texas!

I fly tomorrow (Dec 18th), and any prayers for traveling mercies would be greatly appreciated. I can't wait to spend Christmas with all the people I love down there, including my precious little grandson, Payton!

So if I don't get a chance to blog before then, a very sincere Merry Christmas to all of you who stop by this blog...and a very blessed New Year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Fijian foot massage

A couple of weeks ago, one of our 101QFL sales executives told me I need to schedule an appointment at Salon Crimson for a foot massage. As often happens in radio, we were going to be giving away a gift certificate on the air for the massage, and they wanted me to experience it firsthand so I could talk about it on the air.

He didn't have to twist my arm. I've had massages before, and I find them incredibly relaxing. I was a little puzzled, though, that a foot massage was going to last an hour. That's quite a bit of massaging!

Well, when I called to make the appointment, I found out that it wasn't just my feet that were getting the massage. It was actually a full-body massage DONE BY the feet of the masseuse!

I was a little surprised, to say the least. Although I had vague recollections of seeing something like this on TV, I had to admit it seemed like kind of a funny idea.

After experiencing it, I have to tell you that I definitely would recommend it. At first, the idea of someone's feet being on your person is just a little off-putting.

However, I quickly stopped thinking about it when the incredible relaxation set in! It was really easy to forget that it was feet that were performing the massage.

Why the feet?

I did wonder why feet would be employed in a massage, instead of the hands and arms.

Well, according to, there are several benefits. They say the foot massage is often a more effective treatment for damaged, painful or tight muscles; clients often say it's a deeper yet gentler massage, and it can be done through clothing or on bare skin.

It's also beneficial for the person giving the massage, as it "saves therapist's hands, neck, arms and shoulders while avoiding kyphotic strain, cervico-cranial hyperlordosis, repetitive strain injury to hands and many overuse syndromes."

Would I do it again? Definitely, if it was free! And I have to say the staff of Salon Crimson couldn't have been more gracious.

But I do have to admit, I enjoy a regular massage just as much.

If you want to know more about Fijian barefoot massage, here's a video.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm tagged! Seven things about me...

...and a wonderful birthday

Before I get into the meme, I have to mention my birthday, which was Wednesday. The picture is of my daughter Elizabeth and me at Red Robin, where she and my husband took me for lunch that day. (I added the seasonal border on Snapfish, just for fun.) Both of them got me gifts that I had mentioned in passing and was very excited about receiving! My husband was a sweetheart, and made me feel great. It was a happy day.

As I get farther on the down side of fifty, you would think each birthday would be more depressing. However, my wonderful family made it a happy occasion. And I have to admit that it's encouraging to know that I'm probably healthier now than I was in my forties. I'm definitely taking better care of myself. I'm going to continue my personal mission statement of being the very best fifty-something woman I can be!

Thank you SO much to those of you who took time to wish me happy birthday on Facebook. That was so much fun, and so appreciated!

OK, now the meme...

My wonderful blogging friend Ann-Marie has tagged me with a meme in which I have to tell seven things about myself. I must admit I'm going to cheat a little, because I was tagged with a similar meme a few years ago, and some of my answers will be the same.

Here we go:

1. I spent two years in Beirut, Lebanon, when I was a child (my parents were missionaries.) The picture you see is of Beirut, and it is remarkably like my first impression of the city from our ship. As a litte girl I was immediately enchanted by the beauty of the place, which was not yet marred by war.

2. In the fifth grade, while in Lebanon, I got to help interview astronaut John Glenn. (I've blogged about the experience here.)

3. My favorite book of all time, not including the Bible which goes without saying, is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.

4. My family tree includes a lot of Scottish and Irish on both sides, but my mother's father was full-blooded Greek.

5. I am a grandmother, and it's one of my favorite roles in life! Little Payton Charles Douglas Swanson will be 2 years old on January 31st.

6. I don't like circuses. I'm not scared of them, I just don't like them.

7. I am a voice-over artist, and my voice can be heard on tutorials for several computer programs and a lot of phone surveys for restaurants and other businesses, among other things.

You're supposed to tag seven people with this and leave comments on their blog letting them know you tagged them...but I'm going to take the lazy way out and just invite everyone who reads to do this. Feel free to do it on your own blog, or in my comments section...I love getting to know my readers!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My vote was for Ed--as "Biggest Loser" winds up...

...a less-than-stellar season

As you know if you read this blog at all, one of my favorite TV shows--one of the few shows I watch regularly--really tried my patience this season.

"The Biggest Loser" has been a source of real inspiration in my own fitness journey. This season, it was mostly about game-playing, manipulation, and really unpleasant people getting their way.

And yes, Vicky's ultimate game-playing plan succeeded. Her alliance with Ed and Heba did result in them, as blue team members, making it all the way to the final four, and could result in her winning the big 250-thousand dollar prize at next week's finale.

I hope not. I've like Michelle (and her mom, Renee, who left the show last week) from the very beginning. Their pleasant personalities and obvious niceness, along with their hard work, determination and healthy competitiveness, are what the show's all about for me.

I think that what has grated on my nerves the most is the fact that Vicky's plan has worked almost like clockwork, with only a few setbacks (notably when Amy C had the courage to vote off Vicky's husband Brady, and the fact that Michelle and Renee of the black team just kept working extremely hard and losing weight.)

Unpleasant and annoying though she is, Vicky is a hard worker and a brilliant game-player. I have to give her that. But that's NOT why I watch "The Biggest Loser."

Last night, blue team/alliance members Ed and Heba, who are married to each other, fell below the yellow line that puts you in danger of elimination. Now it's up to "America" to vote: who will be the third person in the finale, alongside Michelle and Vicky?

Ed made a plea for us to vote for Heba. He wants her to have the chance to be in the finale.

Well, I voted for Ed.

Why? Honestly, I'm not trying to be spiteful. It's just that after watching Heba and Vicky scheme and manipulate week after week to play the game, I just want something NOT to go their way.

This article
by Valerie Phillips does a good job of summing up why the show needs to shed the negative aspects that it seems to have embraced this season.

Phillips tells quotes her sister-in-law, who has lost 50 pounds with the help of the show:

"I was so excited for this season to begin but have been so disappointed at the mean-spirited people they have chosen, especially Vicky, who has such hateful thoughts and actions toward many of the other contestants." she said.

She hopes that NBC will heed her plea: "Give us back the show that inspired us. Give us back the show that made us believe we can do this. Give us back the show that gave me hope."

Amen to that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

OK, I know Blago is innocent until proven guilty, but I'm thinking...

...about what makes people in high places take risky chances?

And I thought our biggest news story today was the winter weather.

The arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today on federal corruption charges has sent a shock wave around the state, despite the fact that the governor has been under investigation for some time, and despite the fact that our most recent governor is serving time on federal charges. Sheesh.

While these are only charges and haven't been proven (yada yada yada), I can't help but wonder WHAT people in high positions--whether it be elected officials, pastors, evangelists or priests--are possibly thinking when they partipate in wrongdoing. They are taking enormous risks when they do so. How do they possibly imagine they can get away with it?

And yet it happens over and over again.

Why? I believe one explanation is summed up in the word hubris:

In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, not always with the lack of knowledge. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in the Greek world. The proverb "pride goes before a fall" is thought to sum up the modern definition of hubris.--Wikipedia

This from an article titled "Why Good Leaders Do Bad Things" (from the Graziadio Business Report, which--perhaps ironically--is put out by Blagojevich's alma mater, Pepperdine University):

"Leaders with strong virtuous values are more likely to act ethically than are leaders who are operating with a weak or non-existent value system. One set of values that seems to be universally accepted includes wisdom, self-control, justice, transcendence, kindness, and courage. [my emphasis]...

"When faced with challenging decisions, leaders who have not internalized a value system that includes these values will probably respond with more variability than will one who has such a system. It is primarily in the situation in which the leader does not have an internalized value system that mental gymnastics or mind games may cause an otherwise good person to make unethical decisions."

Thomas Macauley wrote: "The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he would never be found out."

Whatever happens in the case of Governor Rod Blagojevich, I think I speak for thousands of Illinoisans who want a break from even the hint of the taint of corruption. Oh, for leaders--whether it be in politics, business or religion--who have true integrity!

The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.--Proverbs 10:9

Monday, December 08, 2008

Chicago--City of the Year!

Kudos for one of my favorite cities

GQ Magazine has named Chicago "City of the Year."

I do love that city, but not so much for the reasons cited by GQ. From the Associated Press story:

Barack Obama's election as president, a yet-to-be built skyscraper and a Batman
GQ magazine says those are among the reasons it's picked Chicago as
its "City of the Year" for 2008.
GQ editor Sara Goldstein says Chicagoan
Obama's election is the most obvious reason.
But the magazine points to other
Chicagoans it says have changed the way the country does politics. That includes
Mayor Richard Daley and the president-to-be's chief strategist, David
GQ also cites Chicago's role as the backdrop in the latest Batman
movie, "The Dark Knight."
It calls the proposed 2,000-foot Chicago Spire the
next "American landmark" even though construction on the project has stopped
amid the economy downturn. If completed, it'd be North America's tallest

"Changed the way the country does politics"? Eeesh...I'm not so sure Chicago's politics are something to be proud of or emulated.

I happen to love the city because of all it has to offer culturally and its distinctive, exciting personality. It's just a really fun place to visit!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Gospel Music Channel's Top 10 Albums of 2008

The Gospel Music Channel has announced its Top 10 Albums of 2008. Interestingly, even though I work in Christian radio, there are a few artists on the list that I've never heard. If you enjoy any of them, let me know in my comments!

Oh, and this note: The Gospel Music Channel is offering you the chance to win all 10 CDs here.

Mary Mary - The Sound (Columbia/Integrity)
From the site: "..this duo continually sets new standards for artistic greatness, and The Sound has only solidified their lead in that regard. "

21:03 - Total Attention (Verity)
From the site: "The songs carry spiritual messages geared towards youth, yet inspiring for all, and an attention-grabbing sound that embodies the project's fitting name. "

Deitrick Haddon - Revealed (Zomba)
From the site: "'s Haddon's artistry and creative skill that allow him to blend it all together in a cohesive mix that simply works. "

DecembeRadio - Satisfied (Slanted Records)
From the site: "...these wild guys (in playing contexts only) return with even more muscle than the first round, all the while holding firm to their faith. "

Fireflight - Unbreakable (Flicker)
From the site: "...the high-octane troupe is carving out a niche of its own thanks to explosive chord progressions and spirited sing-a-longs. "

Josh Wilson - Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup (Sparrow)
From the site: "In an age where substance tends to triumph over style, Josh Wilson offers up both in spades. With vivid, faith-centered imagery in his songwriting..."

Newworldson - Salvation Station (Inpop)
From the site: "...fusing the soul roots of Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, and Donnie Hathaway with unapologetic, spirit-filled lyrics, while simultaneously injecting a huge shot of fun.

Brandon Heath - What If We (Reunion Records)

From the site: "There's an urgency in Brandon Heath's music that causes the listener to examine the world and their faith through a more finely tuned lens.

Crabb Revival - Runaway Train (Daywind)
From the site: "Fueled by a great collection of songs penned by patriarch Gerald Crabb, Adam, and Zach, this album is the standout in 2008.
From the site:

Greater Vision - Not Alone (Daywind) --I blogged about hearing Greater Vision in concert here.
I agree with these comments from the site:
"Great harmonies and poignant, powerful lyrics have always been the backbone of Greater Vision's music ministry and it's those qualities that make Not Alone one of the best discs of the year in any genre. "
What are your favorite albums from 2008? Let me know in my comments section...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday Melange

Benefit for Sydney Ives...Ugly Sweater time
...and "a lovely way to spend Christmas"

The little girl whose picture you see on the left is 10-year-old Sydney Ives. Sydney has an inoperable brain tumor, and I was privileged to m.c. a benefit concert for her yesterday.

You can read more about Sydney here and at her Caring Bridge site here.

As Sydney sang with her cousins and her beautiful mom, Tasha, I couldn't help but get emotional. Sydney has the most amazing spirit. As her grandfather said at the concert yesterday, she has faith far beyond her years.

Her grandpa told about Tasha reading the message on the Caring Bridge site from a woman who has accepted Christ after following Sydney's story for some time. "See, Mom?" Sydney said triumphantly. "That's why!"

Wow. To value one soul like that...

Anyway, if you're a praying person, do keep Sydney and her family in your prayers.

Two cool items from USA Today Pop Candy:

Ugly sweaters?

Well, it's that time of year again...time to don your ugly sweaters! Most of us have at least one or two ugly sweaters in our past, but who knew there would be a website devoted to them? Here's their mission statement:

"Our sole mission is to quickly & conveniently provide people nationwide with quality ugly sweaters that will end their sweater-searching woes and make them the talk of the party."


And if you've always wanted a beard..

(I can't say that I have), but you can Build a Beard here.

What Christmas music are you enjoying now?

Gotta say, I'm loving Kristin Chenoweth's A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas. It's a nice blend of the spiritual and the secular...from the quietly worshipful "Born on Christmas Day" to vintage perky, funny Kristin on "Christmas Island," with a lot in between...even a cover of the Carpenters' "Sing." You can see the video for "Christmas Island" here.

What's your favorite? Let me know...

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