Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Ran across this quote on www.pluggedinonline.com:
"Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people's weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short, and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you let in your mind. If you yourself don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there's no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap." —Roman philosopher Epictetus (AD 55-135), in his work The Art of Living
Some Questions for Today...
Rick  has these questions on his blog today, and I'll answer them:
1) What's the last thing you listened to on the radio?--A song on 101QFL:  "Move or Move Me," by FFH.
2) What's the last program you watched on TV?--The "What The...?" Awards on the E! Channel.  Pretty amusing show that pokes fun at celebrities and reality TV.
3) What's the last thing you prayed?--"Father, give my mom peace, strength and some rest today..."

Friday, July 16, 2004

Someday Heaven

What would you do if you were faced with a tragedy in your life that seems insurmountable?  If the unthinkable happened, would you be prepared to face it?  Would the grace be there, and be sufficient to see you through life when your worst fears are realized?
Today I interviewed a couple who, less than a year ago, were thrown into just such a situation.  Paul and Rebecca Bunke  lost two of their six children on August 4, 2003, in a traffic crash caused by a drunk driver. 
I've known Paul for quite some time, so my heart grieved for this family as soon as I heard the devastating news almost a year ago.  However, it is nothing short of amazing how God has used this tragedy to touch hearts and reach lives for the kingdom. 
Paul told me he doesn't refer to it as an "accident," but rather a crash or a wreck.  That's because he believes nothing is an accident in God's sovereign plan for our lives, and also because of the fact that it had a cause...drunk driving.
Amazingly, Paul and Rebecca have forgiveness for the man who caused the accident.  And they've turned devastation into ministry.  You can read the entire story on their website.  Also, if you live in the Rockford area, you can hear the  interview on Sunday, July 18th, at 5:30 AM on 101QFL or at 9 PM on Radio 91.
Paul will also be the special guest speaker Sunday night at 6:30 PM at Berean Baptist Church, 5626 Safford Road in Rockford.  
A book of comfort for children and parents alike...
I asked Paul and Rebecca about what things were of particular comfort to them in the weeks and months following the loss of their children, Sara and Philip.  They mentioned a book written for children, titled Someday Heaven, by Larry Libby. 
Although Paul says someone who has just lost a loved one doesn't need to be inundated with a library of books on grief, the Bunkes say they keep several copies of this book on hand to give to people who are grieving.
According to www.amazon.com:  "Explaining the mysteries of Heaven to a child can be a difficult task. But in Someday Heaven, author Larry Libby gives simple, comforting answers to difficult questions that children age 4 to 8 often have concerning heaven. "
But according to Paul and Rebecca, the book comforts children and adults alike in its simplicity.
While Paul continues his job as an investment broker, and Rebecca her job as a homeschooling mom, they hope to minister to others through their Bunke Family Ministries.   For more information on this outreach and more on the Bunke's story, go to www.bunkefamily.com

Here are my answers to today's Friday's Feast...join in if you like!
Appetizer Make a sentence using the letters of your favorite color. (Example: BLUE - Bob loves using eggs.) --PINK--Please ignore naughty knights?  (I know, lame....)
Soup If you were to be stranded on a deserted island and could only have one CD to listen to, which one would you want it to be?--Nope...I tried, but I just can't do it.  I couldn't get by with just one CD.  There's no way I could decide on just one.
 Salad How many people have you kissed in your lifetime?--Actually, not that many.  Definitely fewer than ten, little more than five maybe.
Main Course Someone offers to give you $2 million, but says you can only have it if you will give half of it to charity. Which good cause would you donate the $1 million to?--My church, my parents' church, other small and struggling churches,  evangelical foreign missions and agencies that help feed and care for needy and starving children, like Samaritan's Purse.
Dessert What would you like to name your next pet?--Good question.  I actually came up with the name for our German Shepherd, Stormy, because we got her during April when lots of storms were going on.  There's a possibility we may get a toy poodle.  Maybe something that would go good with Stormy.  Rainy?  I dunno.  :)  Or maybe a nod to one of my husband's favorite sports teams. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

What kind of book person are you?

I first saw this on a Christian blog, but for the life of me I couldn't remember which one...so I did a Google search and found it on a site called Collective Miscellany.

Since I am basically a TOTAL BOOK FREAK, I couldn't resist taking the quiz...I invite you to do so as well.

What Kind of Book Person Are You?

1) What is your favorite type of bookstore?
A. A large chain that is well lit, stuffed full of books, and has a café.--OK, I know that's the prosaic answer, but the truth is, I really do love the comfort and organization of a nice bookstore. I was just in Barnes and Noble with my daughter yesterday, and it was so nice to be able to sit in a comfortable chair and read a book I actually had no intention of buying. Plus, there's a Starbucks in Barnes and Noble.

However, there should be an option D here: any bookstore that isn't pornographic or occultic. I love books so much that even the smell of them gives me comfort and joy.

And I do love Christian bookstores. I know there's a certain amount of "Christian commercialism" that turns some people off, but I enjoy being surrounded by Christian books and music. My favorite local one is Lemstone; it's pleasant and tastefully decorated, and usually seems to have what I'm looking for.

B. A dark, rather dusty, used bookstore full of mysterious and vaguely organized books.
C. A local independent bookstore that has books by local authors and coffee.

2) What would excite you more?
A. A brand new book by your favorite author. I think I would have to go with this one. I get excited about a new book from authors like Francine Rivers, Maeve Binchy and others, because they don't churn them out frequently. I devour a new Kinsey Millhone mystery from Sue Grafton; I've read the entire series so far. I would REALLY get excited if Rosamunde Pilcher wrote a new novel. Her "The Shell Seekers," "September" and "Homecoming" are among my favorite secular novels, but she takes her time in coming out with new ones.

B. Finding a classic you've been wanting to read.--It's relatively easy to find classics. I read "Gone With the Wind" when I was a teenager, and would like to own it and read it again...but it will be easy to find when I decide to do so. I did blog here last fall about finding a treasured childhood book on the internet. That was wonderful!
C. Receiving a free book from a friend in the mail.

3) What's your favorite format?
A. Novel--No doubt about it.
B. Short story
C. Poetry

4) Favorite format, part II.
A. Contemporary fiction.
B. Classic novels.
C. Genre (mystery, espionage, etc.)
I'd have to say all of the above! I honestly don't care that much about the setting or genre...it just has to be the kind of book that I enjoy so much that I'm reluctant to put it down for any reason. That's my real test of a terrific book!

5) Favorite format, part III (none of the above) Fiction or non?
A. Almost entirely fiction. Occasionally, a really good nonfiction book catches my eye...but I'm not big on self-help books. If I'm reading nonfiction, it will probably be a biography or something to do with history.
B. Almost entirely non-fiction.
C. A mix of both.

6) Does the design and condition of the book matter?
A. Yes, I love a well designed book and keep mine in mint condition.
B. No, the words are what matter.
C. Yes and no, I appreciate good design and treat my books with respect but I am not obsessive about it.

7) On average how many books do you read a month?
A. I am lucky to read one.
B. I am dedicated. I read 4 or 5. Although there HAVE been times when I've read 10 or more. Lack of ime alone deters me from reading more. Also, I'm a very fast reader.
C. I am a fiend. I read 10 or more!

8) Do you prefer to own or borrow?
A. There is a particular joy in owning a book. I have a large library. Actually, I'm fortunate...thanks to my job, I'm able to get a lot of free books. However, I go through phases where I read library books like crazy. I prefer not to borrow from a friend, however, because (blush) I'm bad about returning books.
B. Why spend money when you can read it for free? I use the public library.
C. Different tools for different job. I do both.

9) Where do you get (the majority) your book news?
A. Newspapers.
B. Magazines.
D. Blogs.
--Again, all of the above, plus I receive catalogs from all the major Christian publishing houses.

10) Are books a professional obsession?
A. Yes, I work in the field (writer, reviewer, publisher, teacher, etc.).
B. No, I do it for fun.
C. Kinda, I write the occasional review but have a regular job outside of books.
--Again, all of the above. As part of my job, I review books and do author interviews, but that's just one aspect of my job. I review books on my website sheerly for fun, and to let my readers know about terrific books.

How about you? :)

Monday, July 12, 2004

Random thoughts on yet another Monday morning....

Just a few of the questions that float through my muddle brain...

--Why is it that so much phone-hold music makes you feel like you're in the middle of one of those goofy late 60's movies, the kind that "Austin Powers" pokes fun at?

--Why is it that when you go out in public looking what you feel is your best, you don't see a single soul you know...but when you're looking like a slob, you'll inevitably see a million people you know?

--Along those same lines, why is it that your house can be clean and shiny and no one will drop by, but when it's a total wreck, you will inevitably have visitors pop in...usually visitors who are the type who are die-hard cleanies?

--When you're running late to work, why do you get all the red lights...but when you're on time or even if you're a little TOO early, you get all the GREEN lights???

Or am I the only one that these things happen to???

Weekend Update

Wow, what a wonderful weekend...and mainly just because it was spent with people I love.

I ended up not doing anything Friday night. Doug and Elizabeth went to the Rockford RiverHawks game...Doug is the team chaplain and Liz works in the concession stand, so they are at every game. But I was really wiped out and just wanted to lay around watching TV Friday night, and that's exactly what I did. Justin works overnight at Wal-Mart, so he left fairly early in the evening.

On Saturday, Doug and I had some good "together" time. We grocery-shopped and ate lunch at my favorite Chinese place. Later that night, we went to the RiverHawks game together. They had been planning fireworks last week, but had gotten rained out, so they did the fireworks Saturday night, and they were really great!

Another thing...can you listen to Ray Charles' version of "America the Beautiful" without getting a tear in your eye? If he hadn't recorded anything but that, his career would have been worthwhile, in my opinion. Sadly, he passed away right after President Reagan did.

Now it's hard to believe it's Monday again already.

"Narcissistic navel-gazing"?

In her lively and interesting blog, Valerie observes her second "blogiversary" by asking some tough questions about the worthwhile-ness (is that a word?) of blogging in general, and continuing her blog in particular: "On this auspicious occasion, I pause to ask, Why? What's the point? Is this just a vehicle for narcissistic navel-gazing, or does it have some value? Is it more glorifying to God or to Valerie? Does it advance His agenda or mine? Does it really serve my neighbor or just myself? Does it exhibit more wisdom or foolishness?"

Well, there are certainly those who think people have blogs just to indulge their frustrated writing desires, and yammer on about things that couldn't possibly be interesting to anyone but themselves.

I admit, I've asked myself these questions, too. Why do I blog? Well, mainly because it's fun and I like it! It's kind of like having my own little column, albeit read by a relatively small amount of people...my own little platform. I love to write. I love the bit of creativity involved. I have a website that remains fairly static, with just occasional updates. This blog is much more immediate and convenient to post on, because it doesn't require things to be converted to HTML.

Then again, I think there's so much awful and downright evil stuff on the Internet, I like the idea of sending even a small ray of light out over the ether. In fact, I commented in response to Valerie's questions:

"I say, blog on, Valerie! I too have wondered if blogging is just, as you so aptly put it, 'narcisstic navel-gazing.' But I believe your blog...and mine...do have real value, if for no other reason than that they are little bits of salt and light in cyberspace. And isn't that what we are commmanded to be?"

And finally...just because...

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Thank goodness it's FRIDAY!!!!!!

And here are my replies to Friday's Feast. Join me? Add your comments here, or post them on your own blog if you have one.

If you were a color, which color would you be, and why?--Yellow, because I'm chicken? Uh, I really don't know...pink is my favorite color, but I never thought about actually being the color pink.

When was the last time you went to the doctor, and what was your reason for going?--Oh, goodness. It wasn't that long ago. I was plagued with sinus infections until a couple months ago. I think late April or early May was the last time I actually went to the doctor's office.

What do you collect?--Well, I collect Coca-Cola stuff, although I'm not a particularly avid collector. I never buy expensive Coca-Cola stuff. Many of the items I have were given to me by friends and family or even radio listeners who've heard me talk about it. One listener gave me an awesome Coca-Cola radio that looks like a cooler. It works great; in fact, it's my kitchen radio.

My long-range goal is to give our basement the feel of a nostalgic diner, and put all my Coke stuff down there. I would absolutely LOVE to have a real, old, working Coke machine...the kind that you used to get glass bottles of icy Coke from. (Those of you that are old enough will remember how it used to taste, coming out of an ice-cold bottle...so cold there were actual little slivers of frosty ice in the drink. You just can't get Cokes that cold anymore!) However...the Coke machine desire is kind of a pipe dream, unless someone just gives me one (wouldn't THAT be awesome!?) With one child still in college and one yet to begin, my budget doesn't exactly include trivial "wants" like that.

Main Course
What were you like in high school? Name one thing you miss and one thing you don't miss about those days. (If you're still there, imagine how you'll remember it in the future.)--I guess I was viewed as kind of an intellectual. There were two kinds of popular at my school--athletic/cheerleader popular, and smart/funny popular. I think I was pretty much in the second group. I miss some of the people I went to high school with, especially a remarkable girl named Mary Durusau. She was the editor of the school newspaper when I was the managing editor. She was brilliant, talented, and so funny that I still quote her to this day.

For example, once we were talking about a local Catholic high school which was noted for male students who were, more often than not, remarkably handsome. Mary once said that one of the questions on the application for Jesuit High School was "Can you be goodlooking?"

I miss the pep rallies and the football games. They were incredibly fun and exciting. I miss some of my teachers. I guess most of all I miss the innocence of youth...and yet I wouldn't want to live it all over again, absolutely not.

Sadly, I've heard that my alma mater--Woodlawn High School in Shreveport, Louisiana--may be closed down soon. I really do have a lot of wonderful memories from my years there.

Pretend you're standing in front of your home, with your back towards your home. Describe the view - what can you see? Trees? Cars? A zoo? Wal-Mart?--The house belonging to our neighbor across the street (we live on a double dead-end.) Our neighborhood is very modest, but most of the residents take a fair amount of pride in their homes and yards. Our neighbor is a grouchy old Polish man. It's useless to try to be friendly to him, because there is no way he is going to reciprocate...he seems to be in a perennial bad mood.

However, his brick duplex is trim and neat, his yard immaculate, and he has something that we don't have...some gorgeous leaf-bearing trees in his front yard (we only have two evergreens.) Those trees are an ever-changing painting outside my livingroom's front window, depicting the current season. In summer and autumn, they are breathtaking. I'll sit on my livingroom sofa reading, and a flash of scarlet will catch my eye. It's the male half of a cardinal couple that frequents those trees. Lovely.

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Deep enough to dream...

I really, really like Chris Rice, so I'm delighted that Charmel just handed me a copy of his "Best of..." CD, Short Term Memories.

Most of my favorites are here, including "Deep Enough to Dream," which is the song that introduced me to the talented singer/songwriter back in 1997. I was immediately struck by Rice's vocal similarity to one of my all-time favorites, James Taylor. Since then, the Taylor resemblance has diminished somewhat, which is fine. Rice is an able vocalist in his own right, with a pleasant and folksy vibe to his singing.

But my appreciation for Rice has only grown. He has written some of the best (and I believe, most enduring) songs in Christian music in the past several years.

This CD also includes some of my other faves, including "Smellin' Coffee," the lovely "Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus), "And Your Praise Goes On," and what has become one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time (although it's perfectly appropos at any time of year), "Welcome to Our World."

And of course, no "Best of" Chris Rice CD would be complete without the enormously popular "Cartoons" :

"I was thinking the other day
What if cartoons got saved?
They'd start singing praise
In a whole new way"

Rice then proceeds to ponder on what it would sound like if Fred Flintstone, the Smurfs, Yogi Bear and other cartoon icons started singing praises to God. Of course, this song has to be heard to be appreciated.

My respect for Rice grew when I received a copy of his Living Room Sessions CD...which is simply Rice playing classic hymns on his own living room piano. His playing style is relaxed and pleasant, a bit reminiscent of a Jim Brickman style.

My daughter-in-law Daylyn and son Jonathan used Rice's arrangment of "For the Beauty of the Earth" in their wedding, as the bridesmaids walked down the aisle. Beautiful. Now whenever I hear that version, I think of that happy occasion.

I like Rice's thinking when it comes to preserving those classic hymns. In my opinion, they are a priceless treasure, and nothing stirs my soul musically quite like some of those timeless songs of worship.

Says Rice: ""I have recorded some of my favorite hymns on the piano in my home... I left a few notes in that don't quite belong, and you might even hear the piano bench creak every now and then, but I decided to leave the humanness in, like I found it in my church growing up."

But about "Short Term Memories"...my only disappointment is that the song "Hallelujahs" is not included. It's one of my very favorite Chris Rice songs, and was on his debut "Deep Enough to Dream" CD. Admittedly, more people may recognize it from Kathy Troccoli's version, but I prefer Chris's version. I like this song so much, I hope to buy the sound track and sing it myself.

Strangely, Grassrootsmusic.com lists "Hallelujahs" as track 9 on the CD...but my copy has "Life Means So Much" as Track 9, and "Hallelujahs" is nowhere to be found. Actually I do have the song on another CD, but it would have been nice to have all my Chris Rice favorites in one place.

Here are some of the lyrics of "Hallelujahs":

"O cratered moon and sparrow's wings
O thunder's boom and Saturn's rings
unveil our Father as you sing
and my soul wells up with hallelujahs
The pulse of life within my wrist
A fallen snow, a rising mist
There is no higher praise than this
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs"

Lovely lyrics...in my opinion, worthy to endure.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I am a Wacky Emotional Constructive Follower...

OK, you all know I'm a sucker for personality quizzes. I found this one via Paul Baxter's blog...and whaddaya know, I'm a Wacky Emotional Constructive Follower. Actually, the analysis sounds eerily like me:

"In a relationship, you require lots of attention and support. You often over-contribute and end up feeling depleted and cheated. You may benefit from more time alone than you grant yourself.

"Your driving force is the emotional support of others--especially affection. You can run on empty for miles if you have positive energy behind you. Without it--as it occasionally must run dry--you are depressive, listless, and difficult to motivate.

"You need a lot of affection. Get it any way you can, but never at the cost of your self-respect or well-being."

Wow...I usually don't put a lot of stock in these things, but right now I'm hearing the Twilight Zone theme.

Joni's Larry King appearance apparently rescheduled...

left a comment on my blog, letting me know that Larry King now has Gene Hackman sheduled for tonight. A quick trip to Joni's site informed me that the interview is now set for sometime in August. We're to check back on her site for a specific date apparently to be named later.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Joni Eareckson Tada to be on "Larry King Live"

I just received an e-mail from my friend Melodi informing me that Joni Eareckson Tada will be a guest on
Larry King Live tomorrow, Wednesday, July 7th.

I've been an admirer of Joni since I first read her autobiography back in the late 70's. A diving accident left her paralyzed from the neck down when she was a young woman. But with God's help, she has triumphed over incredible odds to become a voice for the disabled (with her "Joni and Friends" ministry), an artist and a prolific writer of inspiring books.

My own problems and drawbacks seem trivial when you look at what Joni and others like evangelist Tim Lee have had to deal with. Not only have they coped with severe physical limitations; they've reached thousands for Christ and been instruments of encouragement and blessing to many others.

Joni says she and her staff had been praying about the Larry King interview: "...that the Lord's name would be lifted up, that his Gospel would be made clear, and that it all would be done without sounding 'forced.' God answered! The interview went a full hour and Larry King covered such topics as depression, how can a good God allow suffering, stem cell research, my thoughts on Christopher Reeve and his approach to healing, when is it right to die, Wheels for the World, Joni and Friends Family Retreats, my marriage to Ken, and a lot about my art. We left that studio shaking our heads and smiling...

"... I couldn't help but give the Gospel when, for the last question, Larry asked, "What do you think of Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion?"

Check your local listings and try to catch this interview. I've no doubt it will be remarkable.

How was your 4th?

Mine was nice, pleasant and blessedly uneventful (no debilitating storm like the one that happened last year.)

I did have to be in the parade on Sunday night, something the 101QFL and Radio 91 staffs have done for years. This time, I rode in Chris Carmichael's Jeep along with Chris, Rick Hall, and Darren Marlar of 101QFL.

I had never ridden in a Jeep with the top down before, and that was a lot of fun! However, I told Chris I can understand why Marilyn Monroe and those other fifties glam queens always wore headscarves when riding in a convertible...it wreaks havoc to your hair! BTW, did you know that Jeep owners always wave when passing each other on the road? It's kind of an unwritten rule, I guess.

The parade is always fun, because you can tell who the listeners are. They clap and cheer and generally make you feel great! And the little kids are absolutely adorable.

Plus, the weather couldn't have been nicer. Most years we swelter in the heat and humidity. This year it was perfect.

After the parade, when Doug and Liz got out of church, we met up and took Rick Hall with us to view the fireworks. I LOVE Rockford's fireworks...they are spectacular. We ended the evening at Steak n' Shake. All in all, a nice Fourth, made even nicer by the fact that I didn't have to work the next day!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Here's hoping for a wonderful holiday...

...and happy birthday to America, land that I love!

Thanks to Ashley, I discovered a new "meme" called Friday's Feast. Join me in answering the questions if you like...and happy FRIDAY!!!!

Name a board game you enjoy playing (Scrabble? Monopoly? Trivial Pursuit?) What's fun about it? Do you change the rules or go by the book?--I love Trivial Pursuit, but it's been ages since I played it! My husband and I make a killer team, because I handle literature and entertainment, while he handles science and sports. I also enjoy Scrabble, but I'm not as good at it as you might think. It's not really about having a good vocabulary; it's about knowing all kinds of strange words that are worth lots of points! Before my husband's stepmom became ill with Alzheimer's, she was a killer at Scrabble...pretty much unbeatable. When I started beating her at Scrabble, I knew something was wrong.

How's the weather been in your area lately? Hot and dry? Wet and muggy? Stormy? Beautiful? --"Beautiful" would pretty accurately describe it. Highs no higher than the low 80's, without too much humidity. As I understand it though, we're in for a few days of rain and thunderstorms, even a chance of it on the 4th.

Do you consider yourself an emotional person? What types of emotions do you experience most often?--Uh....YES. Yes indeedy. I experience pretty much the full gamut of emotions, usually pretty intensely. My Irish heritage, my Mediterranean heritage, or my Latin heritage...or a combination of all three???

Main Course

List 3 songs you've been listening to recently. Are these songs from a different category of music than you usually choose, or are you devoted to a certain type of tunes?--I listen to mostly Christian music, but will venture out of that genre for music that I think is beautiful and worthwhile. Here are a few I've been listening to lately?--

1)Mercy Me's "Here with Me"---here are a few of the lyrics:

"...I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I’m lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love"

2) My daughter bought "The Late Great PFR" on a sale rack recently, and I really love their "That Kind of Love":

"...where does that kind of love come from? They say that it runs in his blood..."

3) I also enjoy my daughter's Josh Groban CD. Come to think of it, I find myself sneaking her CD's quite a bit!

What's on your refrigerator door? Magnets? Your child's drawings? Photos? Calendars?--Magnets...including several CocaCola magnets because I collect CocaCola stuff. Several pics of my children. An old postcard I sent my son from Nashville once, just because I love Nashville and have happy memories of there. Stuff from Chicago, because I love Chicago. A schedule for the Rockford RiverHawks baseball team. A drawing by one of our friends' twin daughters---don't remember if it was Morgan or Raegan. Years ago, you could find lots of my kids' artwork on the fridge. Remember that old Wayne Watson song, "Watercolor Ponies"?

"There are watercolor ponies on my refrigerator door
And the shape of something I don't really recognize;

Brushed with careful little fingers, and put proudly on display
A reminder to us all, of how time flies.

It seems an endless pile of laundry
And a stairway laced with toys
Gives a blow by blow reminder of the war,
That we fight for their well being; for their greater understanding
To impart a holy reverence for the Lord.

But baby, what will we do when comes back to me and you?
They look a little less like little boys every day.
Oh, the pleasure of watching the children growing
Is mixed with a bitter cup; of knowing the water colour poines...
Will one day.... ride away

And the vision can get so narrow
As you view from your tiny world...
And little victories can go by with no appaluse.
But in the greater evaluation, as they fly from your nest of love;
May they mount up with wings as eages for his His cause.

Still I wonder baby, what will we do.....
When it comes back to me and you.....
They look a little less like little ones every day...
Oh, the pleasure of watching the children growing
Is mixed with a bitter cup; of knowing the Water colour ponies...
Will one day.... , one day..... One day.. ride away."

OK, NOW I'm emotional. Thanks a lot!!! :)

By the way...

My gnews and qnews e-mail seems to be fine now, if anyone needs to e-mail me.

Reminiscing about the great storm of July 2003...

Last year's Fourth of July celebration was followed by a severe storm that uprooted thousands of trees in Rockford, and left our home without electrical power for four days. It just so happened that my son and his girlfriend were visiting, and that was the weekend that he proposed to her. So last year's Fourth was pretty memorable for our family. The following is something I wrote about the whole event, and posted on my website.

July 16, 2003--The Storm, the Ring, and Other Things

Jonathan and Daylyn

The storm
On Friday night, the 4th of July, my husband Doug, daughter Elizabeth, son Jonathan, his girlfriend Daylyn and I sat on a park bench in a factory parking lot in the heart of Rockford, spellbound by the spectacular fireworks display. Doug and Elizabeth had found this particular spot last year, and from this vantage point, it really did seem as if the fireworks were being set off for our personal viewing pleasure. Funny how no matter how old I get, I never tire of a really magnificent fireworks show, and Rockford's really has to be among the best!

Little did we know that the Lord was about to put on his own fireworks display. Around 4:30 the next morning, a powerful storm woke the entire household. Well, I say I woke up...but it was really for just long enough to hear my husband, who was peering out our bedroom windown, say, "Maybe we should all go down to the basement..." I was conscious of the thunder and lightning and the sound of high winds, but that was about it. I mumbled something, rolled over and went back to sleep. Fierce thunderstorms are par for the course in the summertime here, and I thought it was just another storm.

I woke up a few hours later, sweltering. What? No ceiling fan? Ahh...no electricity. The storm had wiped it out for some 80-thousand Com-Ed customers in our area, but that wasn't the extent of the damage. One of the huge old trees in my neighbors front lawn had literally been jerked up by the roots. What a strange site...an enormous tree, leaning over on the front of our neighbor's house, roots literally dangling off the ends.

We got in the car and started driving around the city, (although later we heard the mayor was asking people to stay put as much as possible), and were dumbfounded by what we saw. It was like some kind of green holocaust. Streets so piled up with large tree limbs and branches that they were actually impassable. Huge, venerable old trees toppled over, uprooted, split down the middle or the tops broken off like so many giant matchsticks. Ingersoll Golf Course alone lost over 300 trees to the storm.

Later we found out that the storm had wreaked a wide path of tree and wire damage down the middle of Rockford, whirling its way down the major artery called Auburn Street that's just to the south of our neighborhood. The storm whipped up to over 100 mile an hour winds, and although it lasted barely 15 minutes, it left tree carnage the likes of which I have never seen. Thankfully, trees and power lines were just about the only victims. Not a single human injury or loss of life has been reported. Thank you, God!

The ring
Jonathan and Daylyn headed to downtown Chicago for the day, and when they came back, Daylyn was wearing an engagement ring! We knew this was going to happen, but we were no less thrilled. Doug and I can sense that we are entering a whole new era in our lives. Am I ready to be a mother-in-law? Will I be a good one? I have the examples of my mom and my sister-in-laws to go by. ( I haven't really had the full mother-in-law experience, because Doug's mom died well before we met.)

Jonny did it right. He took Daylyn to the observatory atop the Hancock Center and went down on one knee to pop the question. Now a beautiful diamond in a white-gold setting graces her left hand. Daylyn is a lovely girl, and we already love her! The wedding is set for early January, so the next few months will be exciting as preparations abound.

...and other things
Well...we were without electrical power for almost four full days. I learned one thing: I'm glad I didn't live in the pioneer era. I've been reading a Jane Kirkpatrick series about an Indian woman who helped blaze the trail west in the early 18-hundreds, and my hat's off to those men and women. I found out that I'm truly spoiled. I missed a working refrigerator, being able to blow dry my hair and to read at night (how on earth did Abe Lincoln do it by candlelight?!)...I even, yes, missed watching TV and of course, listening to the radio. Most of all, I missed being able to cool off! Not even a window fan for relief. You just do not realize how dependent you are on electricity until you don't have it!

Speaking of candlelight...I view it in a whole new way now. Candles are great for fragrance and ambience, for evoking a romantic mood, and they certainly are kind to one's appearance--candlelight takes years off your age!--but it's not that great to see by. Ben Franklin and Thomas Alva Edison--guys, I appreciate you as never before!

Well, we survived. And we saw a future daughter-in-law that, as a house guest in a house without electricty, was the epitome of grace under pressure. Daylyn, we can't wait to welcome you into our family!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Still musing about music...

Aunt Sandra, who recently visited my folks in Texas, (she my dad's baby sister), e-mailed me in response to my blogging about songs:

"Your blog about music and songs reminded me that while we were at your mom and dad's, with Beverly,[my sister] whom Billie [my aunt] and I had not seen since the anniversary party for me and maybe our mother's funeral for Billie, Pepper [my dad] and Beverly sang a duet to 'You Are My Sunshine.' It was a vocal and piano duet. I remember our daddy singing that and it being one of his favorite songs of all times because it was written by the former governor of Louisiana, where daddy was born and raised. I think he really admired Jimmie Davis , as a song writer,and, as a governor, and went around the housesinging that song a lot, it being such an easy one to remember.

"Pepper still has a strong voice when he sings. Someone asked me to sing at church that Sunday morning. Then Beverly and I were going to sing a duet and the first thing I knew, it was your daddy, Beverly , Lisa and me in a quartet as the special music for the Sunday morning service. That was really a special song for me , to be able to sing with my brother and nieces, in that beautiful new sanctuary, in that wonderful church."

Thanks, Aunt Sandra! I agree that Daddy still has a beautiful singing voice. It makes me sad, though, that he's lost his ability to play the piano. Daddy had a unique style of playing...it was by ear, and it was kind of his own little unusual technique, but it worked! I have so many memories of him playing and singing...it was one of his very favorite things to do. In fact, when my parents would come up and visit me, he would often be at loose ends because I didn't have a piano.

Now I have a piano, but he won't be visiting me again.

"O Brother Where Art Thou" revisited...

My dear friend Randy e-mailed me about "O Brother Where Art Thou." Joy and Aaron had commented that they loved the soundtrack, but thought it was better than the movie...and I said I thought there were some pretty hilarious moments in the movie, although I couldn't recommend it unreservedly.

Randy begged to differ: "I love the soundtrack because it has a lot of my family history in it. But, as we are all different, the movie, to me anyway, was a stitch. I have always been fond of anything by the Coen brothers... I guess in a satiric sort of way, they do show the foibles of misguided religious thought.

"More than anything I see the movie as first rate lunacy with a laugh a minute. But, then again, I am the same person who absolutely loves 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail.'"

Now there's another one with some hilarious stuff in it!

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