Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taking a break...

Actually, I'm not going to be fishing at all--but I do plan to spend a lot of time in and around water! I'm going to Texas for a couple of weeks, and I probably will spend very litte time online, so this blog will be on hiatus for a while.

I do plan to blog again July 6th at the latest, so please do join me when I get back.

Oh, and if you're a praying person, prayers for traveling mercies would be MUCH appreciated.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Mentoring fatherless boys with God's love...

I just interviewed John Smithbaker, the head of a wonderful ministry called Fathers in the Field.

Their mission? From the website:

Fathers in the Field was established with the deep conviction to answer God’s call to defend the cause of the fatherless through the provision of godly mentoring fathers. The ill effects of growing up without a father upon the boy, the family and our society are profound...

For a boy who has been abandoned by his earthly father, hearing the healing and encouraging words that he has a Father in Heaven who created him, loves him and will never forsake him is a powerful and grace-filled perspective.

The program pairs fatherless boys with Christian men who show them the love of their Heaveny Father. Implemented through local churches, the program screens the men carefully and provides them with the tools and resources to mentor the boys through introducing them to the great outdoors.

You can read here to find out how John Smithbaker--a fatherless boy himself--got the vision for the ministry.

Listen to my interview
with John Smithbaker here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My interview with Danny Gokey

It's no secret to any of you who read this blog that I enjoy American Idol. Every season I seem to zero in on one or two people who become my favorites, that I pull for along the way. But this past season, I found my favorite American Idol contestant of all time--29-year-old Danny Gokey of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I had already fallen in love with this young man's voice and spirit before I found out that he is a Christian, and that he actually led worship at a church in nearby Beloit, Wisconsin--which happens to be in the listening area of the radio station where I work.

I'm delighted that I was able to do a phone interview with him! I have to tell you that he comes across as sweet, humble, and good-humored...just as I expected.

We chatted about a number of things, from how his faith has gotten him through the past year (which included the unexpected death of his young wife, as well as his success on American Idol), to who some of his favorite Christian singers are, to his dreams and hopes for the foundation he named after his wife.

And of course, the big question: when is his album coming out?

You can listen to the entire 12-minute interview here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The "I'd Rather" Ladder

My dream car

Got this from my friend Jeremy on Facebook the other day, and thought it would be fun to do here. I can't resist these goofy quizzes!

THE EVER GROWING SURVEY! INSTRUCTIONS Given the choices, which would you rather do? Answer honestly and quickly. After you answer the current three choices given, think of and add FIVE choices of three to the survey. Then tag the person back who sent this to you and tag one new person as well. Let's see how much we can make this survey grow! To take and grow The "I'd Rather..." Ladder challenge, copy and paste this note as a new note and replace with your own choices and answers)

1. Conan O'Brien or Jay Leno or Neither

2. People's Court or Judge Judy or Neither

3. Skinny Dipping w/ Friends or All Out Water Fight or Neither
Uh, neither!

4. Fall Nights or Spring Mornings or Neither
Spring mornings

5. Board Games or Truth or Dare or Neither
Board games

6. French Fries or Tater Tots or Hashbrowns
Actually, I'd rather have a baked or sweet potato!

7. Watching movies at home or Clubbing with friends or Playing pool at the local dive
Watching a Movie

8. Suit or Jeans and a tee or nothing at all
Those are the only options???

9. Blondes or Brunettes or Red heads
On who? When my hubby had hair, it was blond, so I guess I'll go with that :)

10. Ford or Chevy or Dodge
No preference here. My dream car is the Chrysler 300.

11. Camping or Hotel or Neither
Hotel...DEFINITELY. Got to have my modern conveniences!

12. Coffee or Tea or Neither
Actually, both. Gotta have my morning coffee, but love to indulge in a lovely cup of tea.

13. Farm Town or YoVille or Neither

14. CNN or FOX NEWS or Neither
Fox News

15. Kris Allen or Danny Gokey or Neither
Go Go GOKEY!!!!

16. Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Segal or Neither

17. PC or Mac or Neither
I've never used a Mac but would love to...everyone says they're wonderful

18. Be Up Too Early or Be Up Too Late or Neither
Up too late--although that rarely happens

19. Christmas or 4th of July or Neither
I love both--can't decide!

20. Tan Lines or No Tan Lines or Doesn't Matter
How about no tan at all?

21. Qdoba or Chipotle or Neither
Chipotle's OK, but you can't beat TexMex like Chuy's

22. Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink or The Breakfast Club
Sixteen Candles

23. Vanilla or Chocolate or Neither
Chocolate...without a doubt!

24. Flip flops or sneakers or Neither
Flip flops

25. Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat or Neither
Oatmeal...especially the maple and brown sugar variety

26. Comedy or Action or Drama
How about romantic comedy? That's my favorite

27. Sunday Comic Strips or Comic Books or Neither

28. Superman or BatMan or Wonder Woman
Batman, especially if played by Christian Bale!

29. BBQ Ribs or Grilled Chicken or Grilled Steak
Grilled Steak

30. Single Life or Married Life or I Wish I Had a Life
Definitely married

31. Live in the Artic Circle or Siberia or Minnesota
Please, none of the above!

32. Rootbeer or Banana or Cherry Popsicle

33. Step in Dog Poop or Chewing Gum or A Dead Squirrel While Barefoot
Uh, none of the above!

34. The Smell of Flowers or Coffee or Bread Baking in the Oven
A toss-up betweent the coffee and the bread...both tantalizing fragrances!

35.Be Blind or Be Deaf or Missing an Arm
Goodness! Please, none of the above.

36. HERO'S or LOST or Neither
Lost, of COURSE!

37. Double Mint or Spearment or Juicy Fruit
Juicy Fruit...although my favorite these days is Orbit Bubblemint

38. MilkyWay or Snickers or Three Musketeers
Three Musketeers has always been my favorite

39. Jim Carrey or Robin Williams or Neither
Jim Carrey...if he's not being TOO over the top

40. Double Bubble or Super Bubble or The OLD Hubba Bubba (80's)
Super Bubble...although, see 37

OK, here's my five extra:

41. Shower or bath or neither?
Depends...usually prefer showers in the summer or when I really need to be woken up; baths for luxurious soaking.

42. Coke or Pepsi or neither?
Used to be a Coke girl all the way, but I don't drink any kind of pop now that I know I'm Type 2 diabetic. I do miss the occasional ice cold can of real Coke!

43. Crunchy or creamy peanut butter or neither?

44. Chicago Bears or Green Bay Packers or neither?
Sorry Wisconsinites, I have to go with the Bears!

45. White bread or wheat, or neither?
Wheat or multi-grain...the healthier the better!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop: The Case of the Faulty Flip-Flops

Did Chinese-made flip-flops sold by Wal-Mart cause chemical burns on some consumers’ feet?

The answer is yes. However, Wal-Mart halted the sale of the sandals in 2007, while the e-mail currently circulating makes it seem as if Wal-Mart is still selling them.

The e-mail I received starts out saying, “This is quite freaky. Summer’s coming you should all be aware.” And then in a large font: “Chinese Thongs sandals sold at Walmart!!! DO NOT BUY!!!”

The e-mail goes on to show photographs of the offending sandals, and some rather disturbing photographs of a woman’s feet with horrific flip-flop shaped burns on her feet.

The current e-mail is actually a shortened version of the original one, in which a woman named Kerry Stiles chronicled her experiences with the flip-flops and included over 30 pictures of her feet. You can get the whole story at her website. But this warning: don’t look at the pictures if things like that make you queasy!

The story is actually true, and was reported on several mainstream newscasts. Wal-Mart admits to only 10 complaints about the sandals, but Kerry Stiles believes there were many more cases that didn’t contact Wal-Mart, judging by the accounts of people commented on her site.

Wal-Mart instructed its stores to stop selling the flip-flops back in September of 2007, so you won’t be in danger of buying them now.

What caused the reaction? No one is quite sure, but as writes: “When millions of products like these "Sand-N-Sun" thongs are released on the market, it's not hard to imagine that someone somewhere might experience a reaction to one of them. People are allergic to a wide variety of substances that might not affect others in the population.”

Fortunately, Kerry Stiles’ feet did eventually clear up.

Confirming another internet rumor, this is Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop…reminding you to check it out BEFORE you hit that “SEND” button!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Monday Melange

Main Entry: mé·lange
Pronunciation: \mā-ˈläⁿzh, -ˈlänj\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French, from mesler, meler to mix — more at meddle
Date: 1653
: a mixture often of incongruous elements

--Do you have a favorite movie that few other people seem to know or care about? Author and movie critic Jeffrey Overstreet asked on his blog: What movies are in your top ten favorites that probably aren't in anyone else's?

I submitted The Secret of Roan Inish, but apparently I'm NOT alone in loving that movie. Overstreet himself told me it's one of his favorites, as did another commenter.

This charming, mystical little movie is set in Ireland, so it had me at "hello."

What about you? Any little cinematic gems you particularly treasure?

--Get ready to get inundated with Spam! No, not the e-mail variety (I'm already inundated with that, thank you), but the edible kind. Apparently Hormel is seizing on the tight economic times as a good excuse to tout the budget-friendly...meat? More here.

--Organic Sparkling Green Tea Root Beer? Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer? Apparently an old favorite is getting jazzed up just in time for summer. My personal picks for Best Root Beer Ever?

A & W--preferably in a frosty mug
Culver's--wonderful flavor
Stewart's--you can buy this at Cracker Barrel

Least favorite: Mug's, Dad's, or any generic brand.

Sadly, the best root beer is NOT sugar free, so I no longer indulge in my favorites. :(

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mary DeMuth's Daisy Chain: sweet, compelling and intriguing

In what has been a very hectic past several weeks for me, Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth has been languishing in a "to-read" stack on my nightstand/bookcase. I'm so glad I gave in to it during a rare lull last evening and read the entire book in one sitting.

Daisy Chain has that rare combination that makes for a wonderfully compelling novel: a poignant sweetness, a strong sense of place, characters that are vividly drawn and multi-dimensional, and an intriguing mystery that, alas, doesn't get solved at the end of this book. (I'm guessing we have to wait for book 2 or even 3 in this trilogy before we get to that resolution.)

It's also a coming-of-age story for the main character, 14-year-old Jed. Just as he's feeling the beginning stirrings of first love, the object of his affection--his best friend and tomboy companion, the vibrant and remarkable Daisy-- vanishes completely.

To make matters worse, Jed blames himself. He was the last person to see her after refusing to walk her home one night.

"Your family isn't normal," Daisy once told Jed, and boy, was she right. His preacher father is abusive and cruel; his mother is miserable and depressed. His little sister, Sissy, is smart and sweet, but he has to defend her from bullies who cruelly make fun of her lisp.

(In many ways, Jed and Sissy's relationship reminds me of other literary brother-sister duos, like the one in To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Yet there is so much beauty in this novel, it outshines the depressing and even tragic situations. In the midst of his angst over Daisy's disappearance and the ongoing battles with his father, Jed meets wonderful people who really reflect the love of Christ, and through them he learns about that love's ability to triumph over even the worst circumstances.

Mary DeMuth's writing is clean and spare, but lovely and evocative. She writes about spiritual matters in a way that's genuine and touching, never overly-sentimental or preachy.

I loved this book, and can't wait to read the next one in the Defiance Texas Trilogy.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I've been a terrible blogger!

My grandson Payton is full Cubs regalia

I know, I know, I've been awful! However, I have to reiterate again that I don't want to let go of this blog completely. I hereby determine to be a better blogger!

I'm re-entering the blogging world by blatantly ripping something off from a co-worker. This is from my 101QFL morning show co-host, Darren Marlar:


Everyone hates Mondays. In fact, they can actually be hazardous to your health. But you can take some of the stress out of the day and actually start the workweek feeling good, with the help of famed psychologist Dr. Robert Butterworth. "Mondays are so stressful that they can be life-threatening," declares Dr. Butterworth. "The highest proportion of workplace injuries on Monday." He says Mondays are also characterized by an increase in on-the-job heart attacks. Here are 10 great tips from Dr. Butterworth, to get you sailing instead of slumping into work:
o Don't stay out late Sunday night -- Just take it easy and on Monday morning you'll head for work and refreshed and raring to go.
o Take a look at how you spend your weekend -- If you're exhausted after two days off, schedule more leisure time for Saturday and Sunday.
o Exercise on weekends -- especially if your job involves physical labor. Working out will help keep your muscles loose so you're much less likely to hurt yourself when you get back into action Monday.
o Avoid heavy, fatty foods on Sunday night -- Research shows that heart attacks frequently occur after eating like this, and many heart attacks happen on Monday mornings. By combining risky food with a risky day, you're playing with fire.
o Try to wrap up projects on Friday if you can -- You won't have to worry about the unfinished work all weekend -- and you'll arrive at work with a fresh outlook.
o Allow extra time to get ready Monday mornings -- Arriving late will add to your stress and get you off on the wrong foot.
o Don't over schedule your Mondays -- Avoid setting urgent deadlines that day. Spread your workload out over the week.
o Plan as few chores as possible for Monday nights -- If you always do the laundry on Monday nights, for example, consider switching it to a different day. Use the time to unwind instead.
o Line up a pleasant social activity for Monday -- Have lunch with a co-worker or rent a video you've been wanting to see.
o Eat breakfast Monday morning -- Have an energizing meal of juice, cereal and some type of protein. If you don't, your blood sugar will be so low by mid-morning that you'll just be dragging your feet.

Happy Monday, everyone!
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