Friday, February 27, 2004

I answer Rick's Friday Five...

There's no "official" Friday Five today, so kudos to Rick for coming up with his own! I hereby answer them:

1. What is the top news story this week?--The opening of, and reaction to, "The Passion of the Christ"; and the ongoing flap over gay marriage

2. What are you looking forward to this weekend?--Sleeping in on Saturday!!!!

3. Do you watch the Oscars? Why or why not?--Yes, at least in part. Partly out of curiosity and partly because I want to see what the "beautiful people" are wearing (is that shallow, or what!?!)

4. What are you looking forward to as Spring approaches?--Walking on the beautiful Sinnissippi Bike Path...visiting family in the Austin, Texas area...wearing my jean jacket instead of my coat...watching my lovely Forest City bud and bloom...and, three words: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!!!!!

5. Is there anything at all to watch on daytime television?!?--Not a whole heckuva lot, if you don't have cable and don't care for soap operas! I watch daytime TV only when I'm home sick from work. I actually kind of enjoy "The View" and "Oprah."

The "Nine Layers" Quiz

OK, this quiz appears to have been created mainly for teeny-boppers (do people still use that word?) But I have some time on my hands, and I do like quizzes, so I'll bite. Here goes:
Nine Layers
• Name: Cindy (short for Cynthia)
• Birthdate: December 10
• Birthplace: Missouri
• Current Location: Illinois
• Eye Color: green
• Hair Color: usually dark brown, but I'm experimenting with highlights right now
• Righty or Lefty: righty
• Sun Sign: Sagittarius
• Innie or Outtie: innie
• Your heritage: Irish, Scottish, Greek, Spanish, French
• The shoes you wore today: chunky black heels
• Your hair: naturally curly to an annoying degree; have to use a heavy-duty big-barrelled curling iron to bring order out of chaos
• Your eyes: green--I like them ok, but they need a certain amount of make-up to "bring them out"
• Your weakness: chocolate
• Your fears: bad things happening to anyone in my family; roller coasters
• Your perfect pizza: Giuseppe's thick crust with ground hamburger and lots of tomato sauce
• One thing you'd like to achieve: learn to speak Spanish or French fluently

• Your most overused phrase on IM: I don't IM anymore...but it was probably the smiley-face
• Your first waking thoughts: "No! it can't be!"
• The first feature you notice in the opposite sex: face
• Your best physical feature: my eyes, I guess
• Your bedtime: usually 10ish, should be 9ish
• Your greatest fear: that something awful will happen to one of my kids
• Your greatest accomplishment: Honestly, I don't think of anything as being "my" accomplishment...God gets the credit and glory for anything good that I've done
• Your most missed memory: being with my mom and sisters while growing up

• Pepsi or Coke: Coke
• McDonald's or Burger King: Neither...BEEFaROO! :D
• Single or group dates: N/A
• Adidas or Nike: neither...just bought a pair of Reebok's 'cuz I'm going to start walking again. My favorite pair of walking shoes ever were Reeboks
• Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Lipton
• Chocolate or vanilla: chocolate
• Cappuccino or coffee: both...but the coffee would be flavored, preferably with CoffeeMate's "Cinnamon Vanilla Creme"
• Smoke: Never
• Cuss: I refuse to answer that on the grounds...seriously, I don't do it as a general rule, and never take God's name in vain
• Sing: 24/7! (almost)
• Take a shower everyday: No...usually a bath, though, sometimes morning AND night. Take showers more in the spring and summer
• Have a crush(es): Well...can you say "Russell Crowe"? :)

• Who are they: See above
• Do you think you've been in love: yes
• Want to go to college: Went to Bible college...would like to get a "real" degree someday, but I honestly don't know if that will ever happen
• Like high school: Yeah, I really did.
• Want to get married: I've been married since August 19, 1978
• Believe in yourself: I have a hard time doing so, but I'm doing better at it.
• Type with your fingers on the right keys: Yes
• Think you're attractive: To some people I am
• Think you're a health freak: No
• Get along with your parents: Beautifully
• Play an instrument: No, but I wish I did
LAYER SIX: In the past month, did you...
• Drink alcohol: No
• Smoke: No
• Do a drug: No
• Make Out: You betcha
• Go on a date: Yes, I go on regular dates with my hubby
• Eat an entire box of Oreos: No, thank would have added an instant five pounds, prob'ly
• Eat sushi: no
• Been on stage: No...unless you count special music at church
• Been dumped: no
• Gone skating: no
• Made homemade cookies: No
• Been in love: yep
• Gone skinny dipping: No...hard to find places to swim in Illinois in winter....and I wouldn't skinny dip anyway, too prudish :)
• Dyed your hair: No...but I did in January!
• Stolen anything: no

LAYER SEVEN: Have you ever...
• Played a game that required removal of clothing: no
• If so, was it mixed company: n/a
• Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Never
• Been caught "doing something": "Doing something"? I've been caught doing things I shouldn't, yes
• Been called a tease: Not that I know of
• Gotten beaten up: no
• Shoplifted: no
• If so, did you get caught: n/a
• Changed who you were to fit in: no, i don't think so

• Age you hope to be married: I'm already married
• Numbers and Names of Children: Jonathan, Justin and Elizabeth
• Describe your Dream Wedding: My own wedding was small but pretty
• How do you want to die: I haven't really thought about painlessly as possible, I suppose
• Where you want to go to college: Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio (if I was doing it all over again)
• What do you want to be when you grow up: a writer
• What country would you most like to visit: Ireland, with Scotland and England right behind
• Number of guys I have kissed: Would probably just need one hand to count those
• Number of boyfriends you've had: Same as above
• Number of drugs taken illegally: None
• Number of people I could trust with my life: Wow...good question...
• Number of CDs that I own: Around 100, 150?
• Number of piercings: two in each ear
• Number of tattoos: none
• Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: I dunno...a few?
• Number of scars on my body: one major one
• Number of things in my past that I regret: At least one major one. Regrets of mine usually involve hurting someone I love :(

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Reflections on motherhood (cue "Sunrise, Sunset" in the background)...

A couple of blogs today got me thinking about motherhood and the brevity of my childrens' childhood. Where on earth did the years go?

First, it was MomBear's blog asking that very question and commenting, "Sure, I remember events, but sometimes I just want my babies back." I hear you!

Then it was Rebecca's blog, reporting on the latest from her precocious youngster: "Now that he's feeling better again, Nicholas has started talking in similes -- an interesting new development, seeing as he invents his own and they don't always quite follow the usual pattern. Today, for instance, he told me that I was "stubborn as a mouse". And this evening he told me solemnly:

'Mommy, you're as famous as a donut.'"

I couldn't help but chuckle, remembering funny things my own precocious youngsters have said down through the years.

I remember once in particular when I was hearing Elizabeth's bedtime prayers. She couldn't have been more than five at the time, maybe younger. In the midst of thanking God for the beautiful trees, flowers, etc,. she added a heartfelt, "...and the houses! The Victorian houses! They're so...beautiful!"

I stifled my laughter at the time, realizing that she had often heard me point out and gush over the beautiful Victorian houses in our city. I had to wonder, though, if that was the first time God had ever been thanked for them. :)

Justin had the cutest way of speaking when he was little. He couldn't say his "S's," pronouncing them as "D's" instead. Once, when the Chicago Bear's Super Bowl Shuffle was popular, he exclaimed: "I can ding that dong! The Duper Bowl Duffle!"

Early one morning, I puzzled over his request when he crawled into bed with me: "Mommy, let's juggle chudders." I finally figured out he wanted to "snuggle each other."

Those were the days. And yet it seems my children have gotten more fun and enjoyable as they've gotten older--more wonderful to be around--just when it was time for them to leave home.

Probably at no other time is a parent as forcefully confronted with the brevity of their offspring's childhood as at their child's wedding. I experienced this in January, as my firstborn entered into holy matrimony. I was prepared to make good use of the Kleenex at the actual ceremony, but I was blindsided by a sudden jolt of emotion at the rehearsal. When Jonathan emerged from a side room to take his place at the altar during the practice run-through, I was suddenly struck with the fact that my baby was now a grown man. It was as if a crazed VCR machine had fast-forwarded through all the years between his adorable babyhood and where he stood now, handsome and grown-up and independent.

If you're reading this and you're the mom of a little one, do something for me. Even if that little one is driving you up a wall right now, go grab them and give them a big hug and a kiss for me. In no time at all, they'll be grown up.

As David Kauffman sings, "Turn around slowly, life is a racer. A blink of an eye takes us from here to there. Turn around slowly; treasure each day here. These precious moments may come to be rare....."

I took the Book Quiz....

Yeah, I love quizzes. After reading about the quiz on Stacy's blog, I headed over the the quiz at Blue, and here's the book they say that I am:

You're One Hundred Years of Solitude!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Lonely and struggling, you've been around for a very long time.
Conflict has filled most of your life and torn apart nearly everyone you know. Yet there
is something majestic and even epic about your presence in the world. You love life all
the more for having seen its decimation. After all, it takes a village.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Hmm. I've never read the book. and I don't really think the above paragraph describes me, although it's somewhat appealing to my vanity. (Except for that line saying I've "been around for a very long time"! Well, I guess 47 years is a while.) I do love life, in spite of seeing its decimation...but I don't subscribe to the sentiment that "it takes a village" to do much of anything, really.

Quizzes are fun, though. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Revisiting a teenaged crush...

In 1971, I was in my freshman year of high school. I had a big crush on my best friend's older brother and on a TV star named Pete Duel, one of the stars of the TV show, "Alias Smith and Jones."

Something came up in a conversation yesterday about that show, and I was suddenly I back in 1971, my romantic teenaged heart beating with unrequited love for Vic Reeves and Pete Duel. I don't know whatever happened to Vic Reeves...the last I heard he was married and living in Wisconsin...but Pete Duel took his own life on December 31, 1971. He would have been 64 years old today.

I found this link to a story about Duel's untimely death, which includes a quote from his younger sister saying that he never would have committed suicide if he hadn't been drinking at the time. Interestingly, the sister, Pamela Deuel Hart, became a Christian recording artist whose songs we played here on 101QFL years ago.

Any of you remember Pete Duel and Alias Smith and Jones? Apparently a lot of people do, judging by these sites I was able to find about them.

Another balanced view of "The Passion of the Christ"...

From Phil Johnson of John MacArthur's Grace to You and The Spurgeon Archive. another angle on Mel Gibson's controversial movie, which debuts in theaters tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Getting passionate about "The Passion of the Christ"

This is the week that Mel Gibson's controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ," makes its debut in theaters.

The movie is under fire from several fronts, from groups who charge it's anti-Semitic to, on the opposite spectrum, strict fundamentalist Christians who believe anything out of Hollywood couldn't be of any value. Meantime, some evangelical Christians see it as the be-all and end-all when it comes to evangelistic tools.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but have spoken with several people who have...and I tend to agree with Southern Baptist leader Adrian Rogers that perhaps the people most affected by the movie will be Christians themselves. Rogers believes the movie will cause Christians to realize in a greater way the price that Jesus paid for our sins, and help take our eyes off ourselves and put them on Christ instead.

Chad Bresson, the news director of WCDR Radio in Ohio, posted some balanced comments on the movie on a radio forum that I frequent. Bresson says Christians need to be ready to take up the slack on what he sees as the film's biggest weaknesses--first, the fact that it doesn't really answer "why" Jesus died for our sins, and secondly, what he sees as the short shrift the movie gives the resurrection. He believes Christians should be ready with answers on these issues from nonChristian friends.

My personal feeling? I believe God can use anything he chooses to advance His kingdom, and I hope this movie will do that. It seems to me that anything that gets people talking about Jesus and asking questions about Him could be a very good thing. I don't have to agree with every detail of the movie to be blessed by it or moved by it.

By the way, I found a link on the WCDR website to this site, from the publishers of Our Daily Bread, which seems to be a fairly reasonable and balanced response to the movie. It includes questions about the movie as well as reviews, and suggestions on how to "dig deeper."

Tim Jackson writes on the site: "The Passion of the Christ is not primarily an evangelistic film. Mel Gibson is a filmmaker, not an evangelist. He is also passionate about his Christian faith. His goal was to make a historically accurate and authentic film about the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life, based on the New Testament Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

"If you’re expecting this film to preach at you, it won’t. Rather, the intent is to let you see and experience for yourself what the suffering of Jesus was all about. What viewers choose to do with what they see is left up to them. In fact, Gibson uses his development of the biblical theme of truth by the way he embellishes on the character and struggles of Pontius Pilate and his question, "What is truth?" (John 18:38). Gibson invites the audience to wrestle, along with Pilate, with the facts about the One who claimed to be "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

"Interestingly, one of the lasting impacts of the film is the question that lingers in the mind of the viewer afterwards: 'What have I done with Jesus?'"

Friday, February 20, 2004

This cracked me up...

I subscribe to Dr. Bob Griffin's humor site, and this one almost made me lose it on the air today! After the news on Radio 91, I banter with co-hosts Ron and Charmel, and we often share humorous e-mails and stuff. I was reading this one on the air this morning and had to stop several times because I was laughing so hard! I've already gotten e-mails from people who said that my laughing so hard cracked them up as much as what I was reading! :)

Here ya go:

I Love My Job
(with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

I love my Job, I love the Pay!
I love it more and more each day.
I love my Boss; he's (she's) the best!
I love his boss and all the rest.

I love my Office and its location -
I hate to have to go on vacation.
I love my furniture, drab and gray,
and the paper that piles up every day!

I love my chair in my padded Cell!
There's nothing else I love so well.
I love to work among my Peers -
I love their leers and jeers and sneers.

I love my Computer and all its Software;
I hug it often though it doesn't care...
I love each Program and every File,
I try to understand once in a while!!

I'm happy to be here, I am I am;
I'm the happiest Slave of my uncle Sam.
I love this Work: I love these chores.
I love the Meetings with deadly bores.

I love my Job - I'll say it again -
I even love these friendly men -
These men who've come to visit today
In lovely white coats to take me away!

I continue to be impressed...

...with Kevin Young's blog.

This is a well-written journal of a thinking young Christian man. It makes me feel less dismal about the future of Christianity in our culture when I know that there are young men like Kevin out there.

OK, it doesn't hurt that Kevin's political views closely mirror my own, or that he is a graduate of Cedarville University, where my older son graduated and my younger son now attends.

Says Kevin: "I do not apologize for my political convictions any more than I do my religious ones. My faith permeates every facet of my life. Politics are an inseparable part of my spiritual journey."

I do the Friday Five!

Here we go, the Friday Five for today:

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?--My goodness...I think it was in April of last year, when I had pink eye! Praise God for good health. I need to get a check-up, though. I'm really bad about stuff like that.

2. ...went to the dentist?--Too long! wow, this is a guilt-inducing Friday Five. :)

3. ...filled your gas tank?--At least a month. I have a bad habit of putting ten dollars in it, here and there. My husband filled the Jeep during our Ohio trip, though.

4. enough sleep?--Wednesday night. I was exhausted and fell into bed at 8:30 ( which is probably when I should go to bed every night, since I get up at 4 AM.) I woke up actually feeling refreshed and it made a major difference in my attitude and energy throughout the day.

5. ...backed up your computer? --Don't even know!

Well, guilt or no, I'm delighted that it's Friday. With the exception of our fun trip to Ohio, it's been kind of a stressful week. I'm ready to chillax (a great combination word that's a mixture of "chill" and "relax" ) this weekend! Hope your weekend is wonderful. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Just read "Redemption," by Gary Smalley and Karen Kingsbury...

...and I have to tell you, it was a really, really good read.

At first, I was a bit leery of these writing combo's consisting of established Christian fiction writers and evangelical luminaries. Were the luminaries just latching their names onto the star of a good author, for publicity or whatever reason?

Then I started reading Nancy Moser's series with Vonette Bright (see a link to my interview with Nancy on the sidebar here.) And I found that attaching an evangelical celeb's name to a good book doesn't hurt it at all, and their contribution and experiences may actually help.

What you get is the author's own unique style of writing, but with the added benefit of whatever the co-writer has to offer.

In the case of Redemption, Gary Smalley's considerable background and expertise obviously influences the story line, but none of Karen Kingsbury's excellent writing and storytelling ability is lost in the mix.

"Redemption" is the first in a series about the Baxter family, who live in Bloomington, Indiana. Apparently I found this series late in the game (my friend who I visited in Ohio last weekend gave it to me to read on the way home); at least two additional titles in the series are already on the market, and I definitely want to get my hands on them.

The story revolves around Kari, who discovers that her college professor husband is cheating on her with a young student. Kingsbury vividly captures the pain, grief and confusion inherent in such a situation for both Kari and Tim,her wayward husband. When the spurned ex-boyfriend of Tim's paramour turns volatile, you have the added spark of danger and suspense.

The plot also gives Smalley a platform to encourage married couples in such situations to fight to hold their marriage together, and offers hope to help them beat the odds.

"Redemption" also introduces us to the rest of the Baxter family, giving us a basis for future books that will flesh out their own stories. As I said, at least some of those books are already out there, so I need to play catch up!

I've been impressed with everything I've read from Karen Kingsbury, and this book does not disappoint, despite the fact that it a well-known Christian marriage counselor's name precedes hers on the cover.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Happy Birthday, Justin!

It's hard to believe my younger son Justin is turning 21 years old today! We were able to celebrate his birthday this past Sunday night while visiting him in Ohio.

Justin is a wonderful young man. It seems that ever since the day he was born, he has been capable and self-assured. I wrote this about Justin on my website:

"JUSTIN--My handsome son with the irresistable dimpled smile and the only child of mine that inherited my green eyes! You are so like your father, though. Logical, practical, analytical. Very athletic. Nothing ruffles you; you are the person to have around in a crisis. I really feel you could do absolutely anything you set your mind to. And you are one of the funniest people I've ever known! "

Justin, I love you! Happy birthday!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! (a day late)

Yesterday, February 16th, was my daughter Elizabeth's 17th birthday. I can't believe it's been 17 years since that joyful day! On Sunday night, visiting with friends in Ohio, we celebrated Elizabeth's birthday along with that of my son Justin, who turns 21 tomorrow.

Here is something I wrote two years ago, on Liz's fifteenth birthday. In the intervening two years, she has continued to become a more precious and delightful daughter!

Written on my daughter Elizabeth’s birthday, 2/16/2002

Fifteen years ago today, I gave birth to my precious daughter. I had known since I was around twelve years old that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Elizabeth. I have always loved that name.

I had two sons before Elizabeth came along. Jonathan and Justin were about as rowdy and energetic as two boys could be. I adored my boys, but I used to dream of a little girl that I could dress up in pink, ruffles and lace.

However, after the boys came along,my husband really didn't think we needed any more children. I guess the Lord had other plans. Jonathan was six and Justin three when I started feeling those unmistakable symptoms.

I began to prepare myself for another boy. I picked out a boy's name and called my baby that name the whole time I was pregnant. I wouldn't let myself even look in the girls' section of the store. I was so certain I was carrying a boy, that I was truly surprised when on the morning of February 16th, 1987, I heard the words, "It's a girl!"

Funny, now my husband has no idea how he could possibly have lived without Elizabeth. She wrapped herself around his heart from the word "go." Even now, few people understand each other like my husband and my daughter. They fuss at each other, joke and tease with each other, and even get downright mad at each other, but there's a wonderful father-daughter connection that can't be broken.

While she's all girl, and loves perfume, make-up and bubble baths as much as any girl, she also enjoys sports, and is tough enough not to take any guff off of anyone. That's what having two older brothers does to a girl! She can definitely fend for herself in any situation.

She has a great sense of humor, and can do impressions of just about anyone, famous people or just people in our circle of acquaintance. My sons are always making her do these impressions, and they think their sister is hilarious. By the way, they call her "Giz" or "Gizzard." Isn't that horrible? She's completely crazy about her big brothers,though.

She has a tender heart toward the Lord, loves Christian music, and I will often find her writing in her prayer journal.

I may sound like a bragging mom, but she is tremendously musically talented. She plays the piano, guitar and clarinet beautifully, and has even written poems and songs. Last fall she acted in her school play, "Meet Me in St. Louis," and did a beautiful job.

Lest I start sounding like those Christmas letters in which everything is disgustingly perfect, I'll admit that having a daughter has been something of an adjustment. The boys have always been extremely low-maintenance, and are generally in great moods UNLESS they're hungry. Feed them then, and they're good to go.

But as anyone who has both boys and girls can tell you,girls are totally different. There are these little things called HORMONES. They can turn a perfectly sweet little girl into a monster. :) That's OK,though...the sweet times more than make up for the hormonal times. I wouldn't trade my precious,beautiful daughter for anything in the world.

Most nights, I go to bed before anyone else because I have to get up at 4 in the morning. Often my daughter will crawl into bed with me, and we'll just talk for a while. About anything and everything. Those are the most precious times to me. I cherish them, and when she's grown and gone, those are the times I will hold onto like a valued keepsake.

Happy Birthday,Elizabeth. I love you!

All my love,


A visit to Ohio

Just came back from a wonderful 3-day weekend in Ohio! We visited with my son Justin, who is a junior at Cedarville University, then took him with us as we visited friends who live near Cincinnati. (The picture you see here is of the Dixon Ministry Center on the beautiful Cedarville campus.)

We worshipped Sunday morning at our friends' church, First Baptist of Glen Este, Ohio. The guest speaker was Matthew Recker, who has planted three urban churches in New York City...the most recent being Heritage Baptist Church in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan. Recker's message was stirring and inspiring, and we plan to visit the church when we take a group of high school seniors to New York in spring of 2005.

By the way, I absolutely love New York City and can't wait to go there again! Next year, God willing, will be my fourth visit to the Big Apple, and I totally look forward to it!

I do the Monday Madness quiz!...a day late!

This from the Monday Madness site:

"I've got a new idea this week.......First of all, pick a letter, any letter.................Got one? Ok. For the following questions, all your answers must begin with the letter you just thought of. (Honor system here, my friends!) Have fun with it! (Oh, I am in the process of updating my list so if you do not see your link yet, please know it will be there asap!) Thanks for your participation!! Remember; All your answers must begin with the letter you just chose! =)"

I chose "B."

1. Name two types of food that you could care less if you ever ate again.--Bologna and bratwurst.
2. Name one animal.--Bull
3. List three words to describe yourself.--Bubbly (sometimes!), balanced (I hope!), Baptist
4. Name two things you might find at a zoo.--beasts and bears? :)
5. Name three things you might find living in the water.--barnacles? (are those livings things?) and...blowfish?

Wow, that was a hard one! :)

Friday, February 13, 2004

Happy Valentine's Day!

...a day early...

Dedicated to my husband, Doug:

We Will Dance

I've watched the sunrise in your eyes
And I've seen the tears fall like the rain
I've seen you fight so brave and strong
You've held my hand when I'm afraid

We've watched the seasons come and go
We'll see them come and go again
But in winter's chill, or summer's breeze
One thing will not be changin'

We will dance
When the sun is shining
In the pouring rain
We'll spin and we'll sway
And we will dance
When the gentle breeze
Becomes a hurricane
The music will play
And I'll take your hand
And hold you close to me
And we will dance

Sometimes it's hard to hold you tight
Sometimes we feel so far apart
Sometimes we dance as one
And feel the beating of each others hearts

Some days the dance is slow and sweet
Some days we're bouncing off the walls
No matter how this world may turn
Our love will keep us from fallin'

And we will dance
When the sun is shining
In the pouring rain
We'll spin and we'll sway
And we will dance
When the gentle breeze
Becomes a hurricane
The music will play
And I'll take your hand
And hold you close to me
And we will dance

The music will play
And I'll hold you close
And I won't let you go
Even when our steps
Grow weak and slow
Still I'll take your hand
And hold you close to me
And we, will dance--Steven Curtis Chapman

I do the Friday Five!

From the Friday Five page:

1. Are you superstitious?--No. I believe whatever happens in my life is planned by a provident God who loves me and has a plan for my life.

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?--I recently heard actress Drew Barrymore say on Conan O'Brien that she used to have such an obsessive need to "knock on wood" that she would leave a building if she couldn't find any wood to knock on. I've also heard of athletes that were fanatically superstitious about an article of clothing or a certain ritual.

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?--Well, when one of my kids or a friend is in some sort of dramatic production, I usually do say "Break a leg"! :)

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual? luck...a provident God.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?--No, although I know there are Christians who do, because they say God created and ordered the planets. Too often it's associated with New Age beliefs, which don't harmonize with my Christian beliefs.

My vote for best name for a band?

Visited Rodney's blog and read about how he went to see a bluegrass band called The Sensitive New Age Cowpersons. Love it! :D

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

It's official! Chocolate is good for me!

OK, I admit it. I'm a I'm probably grasping at straws here. But according to news reports, including this one on, scientists really have found some health benefits in the lowly cocoa bean.

While encouraging, the findings probably wouldn't justify me scarfing down a whole box of chocolates, though, so I guess moderation is the key.

Britney walks the aisle...and not to get married

Publicity stunt, or genuine emotion? This report says pop princess Britney Spears walked the aisle in an altar call at a California church recently.

It's been obvious from her actions in the past several months that this is one confused and misguided young woman. If her walk down the aisle prompts a positive change in her life, I'm all for it. If if prompts a genuine spiritual change, I rejoice.

By the way, it was quite a challenge finding a pic of Britney that wasn't blatantly sexy. After all, this blog is safe for the whole family. :)

The plethora of young women in the music industry who exploit their sexuality to a demeaning and offensive degree makes me proud of young female vocalists that rely more on their talent than their looks...and are not ashamed of their faith. Case in point:

Joy Williams. This young woman is a powerful vocalist and budding songwriter, who happens to have an outspoken and sincere faith.

Her song, "Every Moment" is a particular favorite of my daughter Elizabeth:

"We move on with no regrets to our destiny
Held by the hands of the father, we share his love and he leads us through
All these days, just slip away through our fingers so

Don't let go, hold on to every moment
Always know, hold onto every moment that you can

Running through yesterday into tomorrow, don't let it just drift away
Forget about tying the hands of time, give every minute to the One who's given today"

By the way, congrats to Joy for her Dove Awards nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year, along with CeCe Winans, Nichole Nordeman, Stacie Orrico and Rebecca St. James. Click here for a complete list of Dove Award nominees.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I just devoured two Nancy Moser books...

Last night I finished "The Ultimatum," after reading "A Steadfast Surrender" over the weekend.

Nancy's books are so absorbing, I have to force myself to put them down. She's a terrific storyteller, and her books never fail to make me focus on my own heart and ask myself some tough questions.

The recurring theme in the books is obedience...obedience to the voice of God in our lives. As so often happens when I read a Nancy Moser book, the message stayed with me long after I reached the exciting conclusion of the book.

Scroll down, or click on sidebar hear, to read my recent interivew with Nancy Moser. Or head over to reading page of my website to read my reviews of Nancy's books, "Time Lottery" and "The Seat Beside Me."

The mind of a tyrant

What turns a man into a tyrant?

Elizabeth is doing a speech on Saddam Hussein at school today, and I printed up a bunch of stuff from the Internet to help her. One of the articles I found especially captured my interest: Mark Bowden's May 2002 Antlantic Monthly article, Tales of the Tyrant.

The article provides a fascinating glimpse into the lifestyle of a dictator, and even takes a stab at deliving into how a lowly-born Iraqi villager becomes a feared and cruel despot.

What turns a man into a tyrant? In Saddam's case...and in the case of many other tyrants, whether on the world scene or in smaller arenas of businesses or even churches...the answer appears to be ego.

The tyrant is convinced of his own importance and worth, craves and then demands constant affirmation and praise. In the smaller arenas I mentioned, such tyrants may cause his subjects pain, heart-ache, and spiritual confusion...but when such egotism and vanity combines with ambition and political expediency to propel the tyrant onto the national or global scene, the result is cruelty, murder and bloodshed.

The tyrant needs monuments erected and murals painted in his honor. Saddam demanded a certain amount of time on Iraqi television daily for his poetry and paeans in praise to him. Bowden points out that Saddam was not really hedonistic, although he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Money was not at the core of his ruthless was pride.

The same thing that caused Lucifer to fall from heaven, and the same thing that all of us face to some extent in our own lives.

"He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30).

Monday, February 09, 2004

I do the Monday Madness quiz

I can't believe it's Monday already! Where did it go?

It was actually a pretty nice weekend. On Friday night, Elizabeth and I were alone, so we headed to Blockbuster to try to find a DVD to watch. NOTHING we wanted to see was "in." We walked out a bit dejectedly, when I said, "I know! Let's go to Barnes and Noble!" Liz was enthusiastic about that idea, so we spent a nice evening reading magazines and looking at books while she sipped a frappucino and I sipped a latte from the Starbucks there. Yes, Starbucks is ridiculously overpriced, but it's fun to indulge every once in a while.

Doug was gone again on Saturday evening, so after being a good girl and cleaning house and doing laundry all day, Elizabeth and I went out with my friend Teri and her daughter Ashley. We headed to the mall first, then to the Olive Garden for dinner. It was FUN. Just, you know, quality "chick time." Liz and Ashley have known each other all their lives, and they had fun reminiscing about silly and funny things they've done since they were little girls. Also, they got their picture taken at one of those mall kiosks, so we have a permanent reminder of a lovely evening.

And now to Monday Madness:

1. On Sunday afternoon, I like to just...take a nap. It's such a tradition of many years' standing, that around 1 PM on Sunday afternoon, I automatically start to nod off.

2. I'm behind someone at a traffic light, the light turns green and they just sit there, I...say something like "Come on, get moving!" knowing full well that they can't hear me, or just touch the horn very lightly!

3. My immediate reaction to someone making a nasty remark to me is...a strong feeling of hurt.

4. If I had to live in a state/country where it was cold most of the year, I would...go crazy or move. It's cold TOO MUCH of the year here as it is.

5. When the weather outside is hot and humid, I prefer in a pool.

6. My favorite 'comfy' clothes to wear around the house is...sweats.

7. If given a deadline at work/school to finish a project, I usually...procrastinate until I have to do it under pressure.

8. If someone gave me a pet for my birthday, I would...politely refuse it...we already have a pet.

9. As far as watching the clock on weekends, I...don't usually.

10. I usually wash my car about every...OUCH! not often enough! :) In fact, it could use a good wash right now.

And now a word from Grits...

Imagine, a rap/hiphop artist that doesn't rely on obscenity, misogyny and vulgarity to bust a rhyme, but still manages to be revelant and cool. Can such a thing be? Well, Grits is proving that not only can it be done, but it can be done with excellence and originality.

Here's a sample:

"Blood curdling truth
Working the word in as proof
Besides mine the guidlines of righteous paths taken
Tremendous speaking, fresh out the kitchen
And never switching from the homegrown
Hole it down like the ozone
This is for the playa playa
Make ya holla holla
The kid with no morals
Sell his mama for a dollar
They all fall down
They all fall down
They all fall down
They all fall
I've compiled this alongside with bone
So you can file this under for the opposing a nihilist
Doubt what you know nothing about reactionary
Belief in the scripture's fulfillment are contrary
To popular belief
Hellbound in a basket
Sucking on their teeth
Wound up in a casket
At close, you froze
Already chose the doors you go trough
The life you chose to lead
Determines the place you go to"

Friday, February 06, 2004

Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

Former President Ronald Reagan turns 93 today...making him the president who has lived longer than any other president. AP reports that Reagan, who has Alzheimer's, will spend the day quietly at home with his wife and daughter, Patti Davis.

Interesting that Davis, who used to be outspoken in her antagonism toward her parents, has come to a place of real closeness with them. Davis was one of Reagan's staunchest defenders during the recent flap over the Reagan mini-series, saying the writers were way off in their portrayal of her father as a half-crazed bigot.

Liberals despise Reagan with passionate vitriol. But you know what? I liked him, and admire a lot of things about him. Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

If you'd like to play a Ronald Reagan movie trivia quiz, click here.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Advice for aspiring writers...

Jeri Massi, author of the Valkyries fiction books, has some solid advice for aspiring writers on her Blog on the Lillypad.

A veteran published writer, Jeri says she learned a great deal about her craft by writing "Dr. Who" fiction directly to online readers. So, if you feel you're called to write, don't discount venues other than mass marketing to use your talent. And most of all, give your writing aspirations to God.

Says Jeri: " My advice to writers: write what people need and put the matter into God’s Hands. That doesn’t mean don’t get critiqued, don’t put yourself out on the web to judge your product by the reception it gets. It doesn’t even mean refusing to send a query letter or synopsis, because you can use publisher feedback (if you get any) to improve your skills...But if you make the claim of 'being called to write,' then write. Find a way to get important information or vital stories to the people who need to get that information."

The Bible says there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors, so I'm soaking up advice from writers like Jeri, B. J. Hoff and Nancy Moser, who've been kind enough to give me some personal counsel.

Speaking of Nancy Moser, I was thrilled to get copies of her books, "A Steadfast Surrender" and "The Ultimatum" in the mail today. Sweet! Quality fiction to delve's about time; I haven't read a terrific fiction book since Francine Rivers' "And the Shofar Blew" a few weeks ago. I devour good fiction like a starving woman. Good thing there are no calories in it! :)

Meantime, if you haven't done so already, you can read my review of Jeri Massi's "Valkyries," as well as books by Nancy, B.J, Francine and others, on the reading page of my website. And if you like, you can listen to my radio interview with Jeri.

A beautiful song...

Every time Radio 91 plays Jim Witter's song, "You Are the Son," I'm struck again by what a beautiful song it is.

I was able to meet this talented Canadian at last year's Gospel Music Association convention. He is an accomplished songwriter as well as a pianist and guitarist, and he has the quirky sense of humor that most Canadians seem to possess.

Among the lyrics:

"When I feel confused and small
Like I'm pressed against the wall
And it seems as if I have no hope at all
I reach down in my soul and ask you to take control
With your tenderness you always make me whole"

Click here to hear a clip of the song.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

One of the coolest blogs I've run across... Letters from Iraq, the online journal of Jeremy Botter, an army medic based in Tikrit, Iraq.

I've mentioned before in this blog that U-S service people are near and dear to my heart, because I vividly remember what it was like to be the older sister of a Marine in Desert Storm--my brother David, who is now a police officer in Texas.

Jeremy's blog is very well-written; often moving, sometimes dramatic, sometimes mundane, but always absorbing as he paints a picture of life in a war zone. Today, Jeremy's entry throbs with his pain after his camp was mortared and a sergeant was killed.

Those of us who don't have family or friends on the front lines tend to go about our daily lives, putting the "war on terror" on a shelf in our mind, taking it out only when a news story or an upgraded terror alert reminds us of the reality.

I'm grateful for young men like Jeremy Botter, and my thoughts and prayers will be with him as I continue to read his blog.


"Set small goals for your sanity ... but large goals for your soul."--encouragement for aspiring writers from author Holly Lisle.

Monday, February 02, 2004

I do the Monday Madness quiz...

Here of the only fun things about Monday: the Monday Madness quiz! (Answer the questions yourself in my comments section, or if you have a blog, post 'em there.)

1. I probably spend about _6 hours____ on the computer every day.--The computer is part-and-parcel of my job, so it's always on.

2. It always takes me _15__ minutes to get ready in the morning.--That doesn't include hair and make-up, which I do AFTER I get to work in the morning. I rise at 4 AM weekdays, and that is TOO EARLY to put make-up on.

3. I would rather go to the dentist than go to __the gynecologist______.

4. My favorite dessert is _my mom's brownie chocolate cake_______. It's like a Texas sheet cake. I usually make it for birthdays, but try not to keep it around because it's so ridiculously delicious and tempting. Hey, maybe I'll post the recipe here sometime.

5. When I go to the store for one item, I always walk out with about _5 or 6__. I know, that's terrible! But I always end up seeing things I forgot I needed...especially when I go to Wal-Mart.

6. If the statement, 'You are what you eat' was true, I would be a _buffet______. :) Seriously, I like all kinds of foods, even the healthy ones.

7. I set my thermostat to _____ in the summer and _____ in the winter. Wow, I'm not really sure what my thermostat is on right now. I usually leave the thermostat adjusting to Doug. Unlike a lot of dads, he's really not chinchy about heating...he hates to freeze. And as for the summer...well, our central air was broke until late last summer and we suffered and sweltered without it. So I'm just not sure about that one.

8. My favorite outdoor activity is __walking, or during the summer, being in a pool_______.

9. My favorite indoor activity is _reading______.

10. When I'm feeling down, I usually __pray and/or listen to music/and/or/call my mom or one of my sisters. And sometimes just wallow in feeling sorry for myself!_______. (I'm just being honest!)

I'm going with Jimmy the Groundhog's prognostication!

We who toil in the chilly climes of the upper United States will pathetically cling to any sliver of hope...and it was offered to those in my region this morning by a little creature that goes by the name of Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

Jimmy did NOT see his shadow today...and supposedly that means we WON'T get another six weeks of winter. Jimmy (or a series of his ancestors) has been doing this since 1948, and his PR people tell us he has an 80 per cent accuracy rate.

However, Punxsatawney Phil in Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania came up with the opposite verdict. Phil DID see his shadow today, drawing boos from a crowd of hundreds who gathered in 17 degree weather.

Of course, there's nothing scientific or real about any groundhog's forecast. We still have to get through the rest of the winter, whether a furry rodent-like creature saw his shadow or not. And we just have to take it one day at at time...although I will say, I feel celebratory when I finally turn the page from January 31st. January is my least favorite month of the year...and although February will, as Don McLean sang, "make me shiver," it still gives me a spark of hope that winter WON'T last forever. :)

Speaking of Groundhog Day...

I still think the movie of the same name, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell, is one of the funniest ever...certainly Bill Murray at his comic best.

My caveat when I mention a movie I like: I don't give a blanket endorsement to any movie, knowing there are things people may find offensive. But overall, this movie is sweet-spirited and hilarious.

It's about a weatherman who is kind of a jerk, who keeps re-living Groundhog Day over and over. Finally he learns some important, life-changing lessons.

Love how every morning when his alarm goes off, Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" is playing...

A tacky and tasteless Super Bowl half-time show...

I didn't really care about the Super Bowl. I do like to watch football sometimes, and as a good Texas girl, I can follow the game as well as anyone. But I happened to be home last night, nursing the nasty bug that has had me down for the past few days...and some idle channel-flipping brought me to apparently last few moments of the MTV-produced half-time show.

When Justin Timberlake ripped part of Janet Jackson's top off, revealing a major portion of her, shall we say, chest...I was stunned. "Did I just see what I thought I saw?" It happened so quickly, and the camera quickly bailed.

Well, yeah, I did see what I thought I saw. The Drudge Report has a story today about the flak that followed the unexpected bodice-ripping. Apparently, Justin Timberlake has apologized, claiming it was unintentional; CBS got flooded with complaints immediately afterward, and the NFL appears to be blindsided by the gesture. Others are saying that's a bunch of hooey...that it was planned all along.

Whatever; it all goes to show that MTV will continue to stoop to new lows. The channel, in its desire to be hip and outrageous, is just disgusting and outrageous.

My biggest problem with it is that kids really do think everything that proceeds from MTV is hip and cool, and they'll readily swallow anything that comes down it's pipeline.

Youth pastors today really have their work cut out for them. They, and the teens themselves, need a lot of prayer and support.

Related Posts with Thumbnails