Thursday, September 30, 2004

President Bush rides by my son's house...

Justin, who is a student at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, had told us Sunday night that the president might be making a drive-by the next day on his way to a rally in Westchester.

Justin happens to live on the main street of Cedarville, smack-dab on the president's route.

I got this bulk e-mail from Justin yesterday, along with a batch of pics of the event:

"... George Bush was traveling by Cedarville on Monday on his way to the big rally in West Chester, Ohio. He was going to stop and give a brief address, but unfortunately a mixture of time and security prevented him from leaving his campaign bus.

"He ended up speaking to the crowds through a speaker as he passed in parade-type fashion, waving his way literally ten feet from the front porch of our house.There was a huge crowd to greet him (not quite as big as West Chester's 50,000)."

"Students skipped classes, adults skipped work, the mayor could have held a town meeting because basically all of Cedarville was there...While it was dissapointing that he didn't get out, it was pretty cool to see him in our quaint, college town driving down the same local street that I drive to school everyday."

Pretty cool, indeed.

By the way, I'll be watching the debate tonight, and literally hoping the best man
will win.

A whole lot of bloggin' goin' on...

For the first time, I submitted one of my posts to the Christian Carnival XXXVII. Apparently the Carnival is hosted by a different blogger every week, and this time it's at InterolerantElle.

I submitted InshaAllah, my recent post featuring a moving e-mail from my brother David, who is training Iraqi police officers in Jordan.

Looks like there are a lot of good reads there, which I plan to check out as time permits. Among them: my friend Rodney, who happens to be an Australian who is a radio personality, with a post about the Church of England trying to come up with novel ways to lure people back to church.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Discovering Lileks....

James Lileks

It seems that every time we mentioned tattoos negatively on the air, someone yelps. Apparently, it's a sensitive subject for some people. Now, hear me out; I'm not asserting that tattooing is a sin, or that you can't be a good Christian and have one. I just don't get the allure.

And apparently I'm not alone. My co-host, Darren Marlar, clued me in to the delights of the writings of Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist James Lileks, and I love what he has to say about tattoos:

"Let me be clear: I do not favor banning tattoo parlors. I do not favor stoning people with inky flesh, or herding them into pens, or encouraging anyone to shout FIE when they see someone who has decided to engrave his facial epidermis with a spider web for the rest of his mortal days. Whatever. Live and let live. It's your body. But after my last trip to the State Fair, I really wonder what people are thinking. …

"I'm not talking about the classics — the anchor tattoo, an emblem of service, a heart with MOM, or any other small embellishments of your biceps' terrain. I mean the florid decorations at the base of the spine, the spiky tribal symbols around the neck, the elaborate tableaux on the back that look like you were horribly burned by an old YES album cover. … All I'm trying to say it this: I know you're trying to tell us something, but it's really not coming across too clearly. Perhaps if you wrote it down on a piece of paper and handed it out, we'd get it."

Read the rest of the article here.

And check out Lileks on school truancy:

"I like this idea of taking away kids' driving licenses if they're chronically truant, but of course I would; I'm securely in the get-off-my-yard demographic, and anything that keeps these whippersnappers from speeding around snapping their whippers is as jack-dandy as cold sarsparilla and some horehound candies, by Gum. I live close to a school, and shortly after the last bell sounds they blast through the neighborhood full of youth's delusional conviction that there cannot possibly be a car coming in the opposite direction around the corner, and no child ever strays into the streets. One day I actually shook my fist after one. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes you feel as impotent and coot-like as shaking your fist at a carriage full of heedless youth. I went right inside and changed into Depends."

Funny! I love his way with words. Oh, you can read the rest of the truancy article here, and/or check out Lileks' blog.

Longlasting celebrity marriages revisited...

Oft-wed Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who she married twice

I love getting comments on my blog, but it happens infrequently, and even less frequently does something spark a discussion by more than a few readers.

So I was a bit surprised when my post yesterday--"Longlasting celebrity marriages--an oxymoron?" triggered some great comments.

Scott, AKA The Crusty Curmudgeon, pointed out a few more enduring Hollywood unions--"...don't forget George Burns and Gracie Allen (38 years), or Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy (52 years), or Paul and Linda McCartney (29 years). For all his other faults, McCartney says he and Linda were never apart except for one night. (On the other hand, he was spending that night in jail!"

From Tina: "'s a sad state of affairs. So many young people today look up to those in Hollywood and what kind of example is being set?"

Rodney pointed out that Hollywood stars are accustomed to having everything done for them: "Marriage isn't like that. Marriage only works when we are prepared to put the other person first and look after their needs. Most of us find that difficult but many of us have reaped the rewards of working through issues that need to be worked through."

From author Jeri Massi:
"I think you and your colleague may have missed the difference about the culture of Hollywood----that which is sacred to the American public is retained, but it is redefined into something that is entirely different from what middle-class Americans would recognize or accept."

Do take a moment to read everyone's comments if you can.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Longlasting celebrity oxymoron?

The other day I made a careless comment about Britney Spears' recent marriage to Kevin Federline. I can't remember what the context was, but it was about something that didn't have a long shelf life...and I said, "probably lasts about as long as Britney Spears' new marriage will last..."

That was catty and unkind, I confess. But you have to admit there are some pretty major red flags going up about this particular union. It led my co-host Darren Marlar to bring up the subject of celebrity marriages on the air.

One caller thought we were being a little harsh on star marriages, and even our general manager, who joins us on the air as our meteorologist, opined that the divorce rate among Hollywood stars is probably no worse than that of the general public.

So I was racking my brain trying to think of longlasting celebrity marriages. There was Bob Hope and his wife Delores, before Bob passed away. I think they were married for nearly seventy years. Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne have been married fifty years, I think. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward have been married about 46 years. Billy Crystal and his wife Janice have been married for 34 years. Mel Gibson and his wife Robyn have been married for 24 years. But it would seem to me that those unions are the exception in Hollywood, rather than the rule.

Maybe I'm being overly critical here, but it would seem that the majority of Hollywood stars go into marriage with the idea of sticking with it for as long as it's mutually enjoyable and beneficial.

Actually, it's amazing to me that any marriage can weather the inevitable storms without God as the central focus. Only then can a marriage be that "Perfect Union" that Matthew Ward sings of:

"There's a love that lasts a life time, a love between a man and wife,
A love so strong it goes beyond our reason; it flows from God above.
A perfect union formed within His hand, the hand that formed the earth, the sky, and sea
Still joins hearts together; joining them in three-part harmony.

"But there are times in every union when hard times and troubles fall,
Tearing at the seams of love, trying to deafen first love's call.
Though the winds blow and the storms of life set in,
there's a Captain who can calm the raging wind...

"Hand in hand we'll seek the Father, and the Father's precious Son, And the power of His Spirit that will keep our hearts as one..."

Oh? You thought I forgot about Monday Madness?

Not a chance. :)

As always, I invite you to join me in answering the Monday Madness questions, either here or on your own blog:

1. Pet Peeves:--Oh, wow...I know I have several, but I can't seem to think of them right now. Here's one: cigarette smoke anywhere in my near vicinity.

2. Favorite Sounds:--Rain at night...the voices of my loved ones talking and sister Lisa singing...a baby giggling...many different kinds of music...

3. Desk Items:--I must have a UniBall pen, preferably a Vision or VisionElite. (I absolutely CANNOT write with a pencil, and only certain kinds of pens will do.) Other than that: my computer, scratch paper, post-it notes, scotch tape, scissors and a letter opener.

4. Biggest Fears:--losing a loved one.

5. Biggest Challenges:--maintaining a strong prayer/devotional life. Losing weight.

6. Newest 'Toys':--I don't need toys as long as I can have books. :)

7. Most Used Words:
--"amazing," "hilarious," "awesome." I need to come up with some different superlatives.

8. Most Mispelled Words:--Honestly, I'm not bragging, but I hardly ever misspell words (ironically, I started second-guessing myself and actually looked up "misspell" to make sure it was spelled correctly!) That's not to say it doesn't happen occasionally, though.

9. Favorite Disney Characters:
--I know this is going to sound un-American, but I'm not that crazy about Disney. I do like "The Little Mermaid," because she was voiced by a Rockford girl, Jody Benson, and I think her voice is just beautiful. I tend to like the older Disney cartoons like "Cinderella."

10. Bookmarks on Your Homepage: Several work-related, like "AP Primecuts" and "iisradio." And a long list of diverse sites and blogs I visit regularly.

Friday, September 24, 2004

My vote for Rockford Man of the Year

OK, I don't think there even is a Rockford Man of the Year contest, but if there was, my vote would go to Greater Rockford Airport director Bob O'Brien.

Since taking over as airport director, O'Brien has been unflagging in his efforts to turn RFD from a beautiful ghost-town, languishing in the shadow of the mighty O'Hare, to a working facility that people can actually get on a plane and fly out of.

O'Brien crossed a major hurdle last night, when the Rockford Airport board voted unanimously to allow him to offer interested airlines the financial incentives they demand before they'll commit to RFD.

I love O'Brien's enthusiasm, which resonates even in the airport news releases I get, many of which he has obviously written himself. I love the constant sports analogies that pepper his conversations about the airport: "We're definitely within the ten-yard line now," he said of last night's board decision.

I like him because he's proactive and passionate about his job, and I like him because he's making things happen. For years, Rockford residents have had to trek to O'Hare, over an hour away, before we could fly anywhere. Now we can at least fly from Rockford to Florida and Vegas, and maybe soon to Detroit, Denver and even Atlanta and Phoenix.

The day I hop on a Rockford plane that takes me to Texas, I'll be one happy Rockford resident...and I'll owe the lion's share of it to Bob O'Brien.

It's Friday! It's Friday! It's Friday! It's....

OK, so I'm a little hysterical. :)

And time again to answer the Fridays Feast quiz...come on, join me, either in my comments section or on your own blog!

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest), how attractive do you think you are?--Nuh-uh...not gonna go there. In the first place, I have a very low opinion of my looks. But even if I didn't, I'm amazed at people who can actually describe themselves as being very attractive. It displays a level of self-confidence I can't even imagine. And in the second place, I just don't agree with the scale of 1 to 10 thing, in terms of attractiveness. There are so many variables when it comes into what makes a person attractive. I for example, think Russell Crowe is highly attractive, but I know many women who think he's totally unappealing. So although I'm not technically answering this question, it does give me an excuse to post this picture.

On a more personal level, I would rate my husband WAY high on the scale; I fortunately find him extremely attractive, but it's based on a variety of factors that I'm not sure would always register with some scale.

Wow, I sure devoted a lot of space to answering a question I wasn't going to answer!

What local restaurant would you recommend to a visitor to your town or city?--Well, it depends on what they're looking for.

--For a classy, fine dining experience--Giovanni's
--For the most delectable pizza this side of Chicago--Giuseppi's'
--For amazing Italian dishes and melt-in-your-mouth steaks--Maria's
--For down-home Midwestern cooking--The Machine Shed
--For the best and most diverse fast food menu--Beefaroo

There you go...just can't narrow it down to one.

What's a lesson you had to learn the hard way?--Actually, it's a lesson I've learned more than once: Everything has consequences.

Main Course
Name something in your life that you feel you can depend on 100%.--My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

If you could see the front page of a newspaper from September 24, 2104, what would you imagine the headline might be?--Wow...a hundred years from now. I can't even venture to guess...but maybe "Bush ahead in the presidential polls"? A descendant of the present Bush dynasty, of course. :)

Happy weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


I'm proud of my younger brother David for many reasons. He's a former Marine, Desert Storm veteran, police officer, SWAT team leader...he seems to relish a kind of danger in his life that I would recoil from. Thankfully, though, there are people that are drawn to it,maybe even called to it...and I think he is one of those.

Still, I thought he had lost his mind recently when he signed up to go to Iraq for one year to train Iraqi police officers. Yes, the pay is more than good. But every time another news story about a beheaded American flashes on the TV screen, I physically flinch. I don't want my baby brother to become one of those news stories.

Here is where my belief in the sovereignty of God gets put to the test. Do I really believe that David's times are in God's hands? If so, he's just as safe in a war zone, with bullets flying, as he would be patrolling the streets of the small town in which he is a policeman.

So far, David hasn't made it to Iraq yet. An initial stopover in Jordan has dragged out, with the Iraqi police candidates being sent to him instead of him having to go to them in dangerous Iraq. I would like it just fine if he ended up spending the entire stint in Jordan, although that isn't likely.

Anyway...I said all that to say this. David sent me an e-mail today that I found extraordinary, even moving. He's always been a good writer, and this e-mail illustrates that, as well as giving a first-person report on the unique circumstances in which he finds himself.

David titled the e-mail "Shala," but I'm certain he means "InshaAllah," which is Arabic for "God willing." Please read on.

"Finished training another class of Iraqi cadets on the range today. The majority of them come to me with no shooting skills, no concept of the fundamentals of marksmanship and no experience with a pistol. Most of them understand the controls of the AK-47 assault rifle but not how to hit anyone that isnt standing right in front of them.

"They look at me with suspicion in thier eyes on the first day we meet. I have them for a week. Paul and Jeff, two Canadian Mounties, Ricky Don, a big Louisiana boy, that goes by the nickname 'Redneck' and I, begin to teach them the skills that will hopefully save their lives.

" They come to us with courage. All of them have risked death to come here and by taking this job having taken the most dangerous policing job in the world.

"Some of them were military and were on the other end of the gun in Desert Storm where I served as a Marine. These are the ones I seem to enjoy the most. Perhaps we have more in common. Military men the world over are not so different. Most of them take up this career out of a combination of desire for the safety of their families and communities and financial desparation. The same reasons I took this job.

"As I teach them and they realize that I am genuinely concerned about their success and their survival you begin to see their prejudice against Americans weaken and fade away. As their skills grow they begin to show respect and even appreciation for thier instructors.

"On the first day of shooting they are awful. I coach and train, break bad habits, yell, order pushups, and give correction. On the second day of shooting the marksmanship begins to improve and they begin to take pride in their abilities which are still sub par. I then stop pushing them to pass and teach them the subtle techniques that take them from being capable of qualifying to excellent marksmanship.

"On qualification day my students come to me to make sure I will be with them on the line. They all tell me that God willing they are going to shoot a perfect score for me.

"They are a tribal people and respect strength and a formidable teacher. They respect someone they can justifiably fear. This is why they so easily flock after Warlords and tribal leaders like children follow football players and Superheros.

"On qualification day I am no longer harsh or hard, I encourage and praise and advise and none of my students have ever shot the minimum qualification score, and most are either perfect or just shy. It is on this day that I experience job satisfaction, and the same students who once eyed me suspiciously express their heartfelt gratitude and their joy over having surpassed another obstacle. One which may save their lives.

"As they shake my hand and put their hands on their heart with huge smiles on their faces, I feel a sort of kinship with them as police officers. My prejudices also are difficult to hang on to as they become for a short time my children, my students in whom I am well pleased.

"And again the reality strikes me that within a year most of these smiling faces will have shed their blood in the sand in the most dangerous place in the world. 'Are you going to shoot a 50 for me today?' 'InshaAllah'( God Willing).

"May God help them, their families, their courageous hearts, their childlike attitudes, and may they live to see some kind of peace in thier homeland."--David

And my God keep bless you and keep you, my precious brother, and make His face to shine upon you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ooh-kay...this is one of the strangest things I've ever heard...

When we read this in the Rockford Register Star this morning:

"You want to check out a strange corner of the Internet? Try these guys: A Finnish choir of shouting men. Their rendition of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' absolutely must be heard."

My 101QFL cohostDarren Marlar and I couldn't resist following the link. What we found there is undoubtedly one of the weirdest things I've ever heard in my life.

All I can say Strange!

B.J. Hoff is shutting down her blog

I'm very sad to report that one of my favorite authors, B.J. Hoff, has decided to shut down her blog, Grace Notes. As an aspiring writer, the blog had quickly become one of my favorites. B.J. possesses a wealth of practical knowledge as a talented and seasoned published writer of Christian fiction, and she was being generous enough to impart this knowledge in her blog.

However, B.J. posted something about Christian fiction the other day that touched off some controversy in the comments section of her blog, and she feels it unwittingly became a venue for some things she never intended:

"...because I’ve never believed internet discussion boards or blogs are the optimal venues for complaints or criticism–especially those of a harsh, strident nature, I’ve hoped to maintain a certain restraint on Grace Notes that would keep it from becoming merely a place to rant.

"Please understand that I concede anyone’s right to criticize whatever they please. But I do think there’s a proper place and medium for that sort of thing, and this web log isn’t the place."

B.J. believes the discussion caused the blog to veer off its intended course, which was to "be a forum for writers and aspiring writers, focusing on craft and only on craft."

It's the blogosphere's loss, and the loss of people like myself who derived great benefit from the wise counsel of a veteran writer of fiction.

I would love to see B.J. write a book about writing at some point. Who knows, maybe that will happen sometime down the road.

In the meantime, she continues to write quality Christian fiction. I recently finished Jubilee, the third in her American Anthem series, and I enjoyed it immensely.

And now, I sound off about Christian fiction...

I have to disagree with people who believe Christian fiction is characterized by shallow tripe written by inferior writers.

No doubt, that stuff is out there...but it's certainly NOT the stuff I'm reading. As one who has read Christian fiction since childhood, I have watched the medium grow and mature in quality and excellence.

I would have to ask those who are decrying the state of Christian fiction today, and making blanket generalizations about it, just exactly what have you read lately?

Come back and talk to me about Christian fiction's inferiority after you've read at least one recent (I stress recent because a few of these authors have improved greatly in quality and content since their early days of writing) book by the following authors:

~Jane Kirkpatrick
~Francine Rivers
`Liz Curtis Higgs
~B.J. Hoff
~Linda Hall
~Lisa Samson
~Angela Hunt
~Nancy Moser

And that's just a handful of the wonderful authors I could mention. Until you've read a decent sampling of these and other fine Christian fiction authors, you have no credibility when you complain about the state of Christian fiction today.

Yes, I'm sure there is tripe out there, and I'm sure there are negative aspects to the Christian fiction industry.

But the bottom line is...if you love to read fiction, and you want fiction that's going to enhance your Christian life and benefit your heart and soul...there's plenty of good stuff out there.

Monday, September 20, 2004

An update on Nicholas Jonas...

One of the search engine searches that frequently lands people on my website and this blog is "Nicholas Jonas." Apparently there are a lot of you out there who really care about this very talented young man.

Last year around Christmas time, the 11-year-old made a splash with his hopeful song, "Joy to the World/ A Christmas Prayer." I mentioned in my blog at that time that my colleague Charmel Jacobs had interviewed Nicholas on Radio 91. That mention garnered so much interest that I decided to write a little article about Nicholas on my website.

Today I got an e-mail from Bill Werner of Christian Concert Ministries Inc:

"I enjoyed your piece about Nicholas Jonas from last Christmas Season. I wanted to update you on Nicholas. He has signed with SONY RECORDS and already has a single released entitled 'DEAR GOD'. Sony will be releasing his full CD (ALL or ALMOST ALL written by Nicholas and/or his brothers) at the end of November 2004. He will be on the Columbia Records Label as well as INO Record label. Things are moving fast for this nice boy but, one thing isn't changing and that is his love for the Lord."

Nicholas is a remarkable young performer who has appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables, Annie Get Your Gun, Beauty and the Beast, and others. But not only is he talented, it's obvious that this young man has a real heart for others.

He is the founder of the Nicholas Jonas Change for the Children Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps needy, sick and homeless children. With his clear testimony, Nicholas has been able to, in his words, "spread the Word" about Jesus in the New York theater community.

Kudos to Nicholas Jonas for being salt and light in his world.

Monday again...

...and of course, time for Monday Madness! Go ahead, answer these...either in my comments section or in your own blog. It's fun, and don't we all need a little fun on Monday?

1. My _love seat in the TV room_ is the most used piece of furniture in my house. Other than that...or maybe MORE than that, our beds, probably.
2. The one electronic 'gadget' that I use most often is my _microwave._
3. My favorite appliance, and the one I absolutely cannot live without is the _big giant curling iron__(the better to endeavor to tame my unruly locks with!) Second would probably be my microwave, then my crock-pot.
4. One thing that I thought I just HAD to have at one time, and I now barely ever use, is my _toaster_. I guess I just don't make toast as much as I thought I did. But I'm still glad that I have it, for those occasional times that I do make toast.
5. I find it easiest to keep in touch with family and friends via _telephone_. And now I have a cell phone with unlimited weekends and weekdays after nine pm! Yay!
6. I own more cd's (or other music media) than I do _DVD's _.
7. All my important addresses are stored in/on my _day planner__.
8. If I had to live without TWO keys on my keyboard, I would choose _________. (I dunno!)
9. I probably own about _____ pieces of software that I haven't used in years. (N/A...I don't really own any software of my own.)
10. There are a few food items that I try NEVER to run out of, and those would be _ketchup, Miracle Whip, milk, margarine, sliced cheese and bread.__
Hey, as long as you have those last three items, even if your cupboard is bare, you can always make grilled cheese sandwiches!

Friday, September 17, 2004


...and time again to answer the Friday Feast questions. Go ahead, answer them or in your own blog!

How are you today?--Do you really want to know, or are you just being polite and I'm supposed to say "Fine"? Well, if you really want to know, I'm FANTASTIC mentally and emotionally, because it's Friday...BUT...I'm bummed about my eye problems. They've been really red a lot lately, and I can't seem to get rid of the problem, either with prescription or over the counter remedies. To make it worse, I broke my glasses beyond repair, so I can't even fall back on those. What? You don't care? Oh, OK...I'm fine. :)


Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.--I know everyone always says they don't watch much TV, but I honestly don't.(I prefer reading, and I can't be bothered to fight over the remote.) I try to watch "Trading Spaces" on a regular basis, even though Paige Davis is just short of annoying with her relentless perkiness and that Doug guy is actually MEAN, and a self-absorbed prima donna. But I still love seeing a couple of rooms transformed. I try to watch "The Apprentice" regularly, but I was too tired last night. And I try to watch "Scrubs" makes me laugh out loud more than any show on TV right now.

What's the scariest weather situation you've experienced?--Once when we were visiting our sons at Cedarville University, we were just a few miles from Xenia, Ohio, which was the site of a famous tornado several years ago. We were on our way to dinner in Xenia, in fact, when everything got really strange, and I really thought WE were going to be right in the middle of a tornado. It was a nail-biting moment, but thankfully, the tornado didn't happen...just a really fierce storm.

Main Course
If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?--IRELAND!!!

What do you usually wear to sleep?--Awfully cheeky, aren't you? What business is it of yours? Oh...well...the truth is, nothing very exciting, most of the time. Usually a gown or a nightshirt that I probably deemed "pretty" when I bought it, but now I'm tired of. Cuz I always hang on to them for too long. In wintertime, I will sometimes wear sweats to bed. Comfort is usually my chief criteria for sleepwear.

Have an amazing weekend, everyone!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Time only for a quick fly-by today...

Today's going to be a really busy day. Darren Marlar and I will be doing a live remote at Great Harvest Bread Company from 11 AM to 1 PM today...and before that, there's our coverage of See You at the Pole, and a live phone interview with Republican U-S Senate candidate Alan Keyes.

However, I did want to draw your attention to my comments section from yesterday's post, in which Joy has some very real and well-articulated concerns about "Secret Radio," and in which author Jeri Massi responds. I recommend that you read both.

I have a great deal of respect for Joy and appreciate her viewpoints as well. And I LOVE getting response to this blog.

That's all I have time for today. Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Jeri Massi's "Secret Radio" is out today

Jeri Massi, author of the excellent Valkyries series, is out today with Secret Radio. It's the fictional, but often very true to life, story of a young girl's senior year at a fundamentalist Christian college.

Jeri would probably be the first to admit that some of her viewpoints can be controversial. But I have spoken at length with her over the phone, interviewed her on WQFL and WGSL, and communicated with her via e-mail for some time...and I am truly convinced of her sincere love for the Lord and passionate desire to do what's right.

It may be hard for people who have never been involved in such circles to really grasp, but Secret Radio captures and exposes aspects of this subculture that can indeed be extremist and often hypocritical. I'm speaking as someone who did grow up in it, and as such, I believe I can discern both the good and bad things surrounding Christian fundamentalism. And yes--as with any movement--there are good and bad things.

Secret Radio will no doubt offend fact, in its online form, it already has. But I believe it sends a message that needs to be sent, and dang it, it just makes for really good reading! I have not yet read the printed version, which I believe expands on the original story, adds some new characters, and fleshes out the original characters. But I did read the original online version in its entirety, and it captured me...just as I was captured by "Valkyries" earlier.

Jeri Massi sure knows how to tell a story. She knows how to pull in a reader and get them involved in the characters and their lives. And...knowing that I don't have to agree her on everything...I can still enjoy the work of a wonderfully talented writer.

By the way, Jeri tells me the online blog of Secret Radio is still up, and she will continue adding episodes on it through the end of the story, sometime in January.

Also, if you'd like to hear my radio interview with Jeri, click on the link on my sidebar.

Rockford RiverHawks really do rule!

The Rockford RiverHawks baseball team won the Frontier League championship! I was in the stands Friday night when it happened, as the Hawks beat the Evansville Otters 14 to 9. Kudo's to the RiverHawks for a great season.

I have truly entered the age of technology...

Yep, as of yesterday, I finally have my own cell phone! Now we'll see if I become guilty of the same annoying cell phone behavior that has irked me for so long: yammering loudly in public places (cell yell); gabbing endlessly on the cell phone when real life friends are sitting with me, bored and ignored; subjecting strangers to my family squabbles and histrionics...

Sheesh, I hope not!

Friday, September 10, 2004

I love Friday!!!!

And once again, I take the Friday Feast quiz. Go ahead and answer the questions with me, in my comments section, or on your own blog!


What movie soundtracks do you own?--OK, let me think. "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", "When Harry Met Sally," "What Women Want," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Something's Gotta Give," "13 Going on 30"...I think that's it. I like soundtracks, though. They're usually a nice mix of songs, and often contain a lot of classic standards and oldies that I love.

How much cash do you usually carry with you?--Very little, unless I just got paid. I think right now I have a grand total of two bucks in my purse, and that mostly in change. (It's always nice for eating at Taco Bell, though. :))

Are you more comfortable around men or women? Why?--Again, it depends. I'm extremely comfortable around close women friends and women I'm related to. But in work situations, I don't know why, I tend to be more comfortable around men. Probably because I work in an extremely male-dominated profession.

Main Course
What is the most mischievous thing you remember doing as a child?--Wow. I can't remember doing anything really mischievous. I was a fairly serious child who was anxious to please and never wanted to make waves. I had a happy childhood, but "mischievous" is just not a word that could be applied to me.

Who is the funniest member of your family?--That would have to be a tie between my sons Jonathan and Justin. They are both just really, really funny. I love being around either or both of them because they make me laugh so much.

RiverHawks Rule!!!

Our local Frontier League team the Rockford RiverHawks, could become Rockford's first professional baseball champion since the 1950 Rockford Peaches tonight. The Hawks play the East Division champion Evansville Otters tonight at Marinelli Field.

My husband Doug is the team's chaplain, and my daughter Elizabeth works at the stadium, so they have been avid Hawks fans all season long. And I'll tag along tonight, my fairweather fan-ness in full bloom. I mostly want them to win for Doug and Liz's sakes, but it will be a nice little boost for the whole city if they're victorious. Of course, if they lose tonight, they'll still have up to three more chances to win the Frontier League championship. Go, RiverHawks!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

We're not dissing Yellow Springs!

Nestled in a scenic nook of southwestern Ohio, very near Cedarville University where my son attends college, is the charming and quaint little village of Yellow Springs.

The first time I saw Yellow Springs I was delighted, and I've enjoyed driving through it many times since, although I don't think we've ever actually stopped and had a look around.

Well, this morning I got an e-mail from an artist in Yellow Springs who was taking issue with something my older son wrote. Jonathan (who left Ohio over a year ago)had mentioned the town in a bulk e-mail he used to send out called "droppin knowledge," and I put the piece on the writing section of my website just because I thought it was cute, and showed off what a good writer he is (yep, I'm not above some maternal bragging. :))

Jonny started out generously complimenting Yellow Springs on its spirit and atmosphere, saying, "The easy going nature of the inhabitants was infectious, and always put a smile on my face. I always thought that Yellow Springs was the epitome of quirky cool."

He went on, though, to express his disappointment at seeing a cheesey TV ad for the village: "Since when does Yellow Springs have to play that way? Yellow Springs is cool enough that the people that are too blind to realize that they should give HaHa Pizza or Moody Shoes a try don't deserve the prodding of a 30 second late afternoon television commercial. Yellow Springs advertising on TV is like Neil Young allowing his tour to be sponsored by Mountain Dew Code Red, it just doesn't fly. I would still love Neil if he accepted a sponsorship, but I wouldn't respect him as much, and I don't respect Yellow Springs as much."

Corinne's e-mail to me was gracious, but she clearly disagreed: "I find it hard to imagine the business owners came to any agreement together to pool enough money for such an ad LOL! Seriously I can't believe one ad by somebody (maybe it was roger hart who owns kings yard) would make you lose respect for yellow springs. come on now! the place still has its old spirit (just look what happened when the klan tried to have a wee march here a few months back) earth rose is still plodding along selling the same old great stuff, and village artisan's (of which I am a newish member) are still hanging in there in the old winds cafe location. And as much as you think it awful, if that ad brought people into town christmas time, well nice, coz I tell you some of us can barely pay the rent during the winter months. I am not looking to make lots of money, I just LOVE being able to show my work in such a great old building in such a wonderful little commminity, but we do need (NEED) some customers happening during the winter months in order to survive."

I quickly responded that the article was tongue-in-cheek, and that my son still thinks Yellow Springs is great. Corinne responded with another gracious e-mail that even gave me some recommendations on places to go next time I visit. I don't believe my husband and I have ever actually stopped in Yellow Springs, but next time I go, I definitely plan to grab a bite to eat at the Winds Cafe. Thanks, Corinne!

Back from the Lone Star State...

Well, I'm back to the old grind after a few days in God's Country. :)

I flew out of O'Hare Friday to spend a few days with my mom, who had just had double knee replacement surgery the day before. My sister Bev is staying with her for the next few weeks of recuperating. It will be a long, tough road to recovery, but I fully believe my mom will come through with flying colors. For such a little lady, she can be so strong and determined. She does need prayer, though, especially since she is going through this so soon after my dad's passing (on July 28th.)

It's something she's had to put off for quite a while, though, so we're all happy that she's been able to have the surgery and will ultimately be able to reap the benefits.

My visit was wonderful. I got to spend some quality time with my son and his wife, and my sisters, and as always it was wonderful to see my brother David's wife and daughter, and my sister Lisa's husband and kids.

Now it's back to work, and time to say goodbye to summer (although the season is officially still here, it's as good as gone), and gear up for hopefully, a beautiful autumn!

Seasons change...

Thursday, September 02, 2004


"One line of thought would have us believe that for fiction to be 'realistic' or 'edgy' or 'convicting,' it must also be void of redemption and tenderness and hope. But not only is that dishonest fiction, it’s also unrealistic fiction. For the Christian writer, to even make a pretense of writing a novel without hope, without grace, would be a lie and an affront to everything we believe. In truth, I don't think I would ever write another word...I don’t believe I could...if I had to work in such a bleak, desolate climate."--Author B.J. Hoff on "writing grace"

"Hail Alma Mater, Knights so True"

OK, so I'm old. I got an e-mail this morning inviting me to my 30th high school reunion..yes, that's right, my 30th. Woodlawn High School, Shreveport, Louisiana, 'Class of '74.

I don't even know how they found me. I am in occasional touch with only one of my former classmates--the inimitable and wonderful Mary Durusau. Perhaps she gave them my e-mail address.

Anyway, it's planned for sometime in November. It will be almost impossible for me to go, and I'm sad about that. I would really have loved it. I actually have a lot of good memories of high school, especially the exciting football games, the frenetically enthusiastic pep rallies, working on the staff of the Woodlawn Herald newspaper, and wonderful and funny friends like the aforementioned Mary Durusau, Becky Hudsmith and Billy Schmidt. I had some terrific teachers who influenced me in longterm ways..Mrs. Henderson, Miss Rhodes and Mr. Robinson come to mind.

To this day I can sing the school song practically word-perfect:

"Hail Alma Mater, Knights so true
Clothed in scarlet and royal blue
Our faith and love we pledge to thee
Written high in liberty
Your laurels are vast and as sure as the dawn,
We praise thee forever and ever Woodlawn!"

Corny, I know. But it does recall a very different time and a very different--or then again, maybe not so different-- "me."

I was idealistic, romantic, and very melodramatic. I had all the basic tools of youth, but not yet having acquired any real wisdom or practical knowledge, I didn't have a clue how to make the most of them.

I did already have in place the core values that still make me who I am, spiritually and politically, although time and experience have made me less dogmatic about some things and more tolerant of the opinions of others. I already knew that whatever I did in life, I wanted it to involve writing, and that has materialized.

It's strange to look back at the girl I was then--long, long hair parted in the middle, trying to force it to be straight to keep up with the style. A lot slimmer then, but still convinced I was "fat." Well-liked among my schoolmates, approved by my teachers, but so lacking in self-confidence.

If I knew then the things I know now, would my life have turned out any differently?

OK, enough of's getting way too deep. How about those Cubs? :)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Really random thoughts...

Just a hodge-podge of things floating through my life and brain lately...

~The painting of my kitchen is just about complete! My adorable 21-year-old, Justin, spent much of his last week at home (in between golfing)before returning to college, immersed in the task of stripping, priming and painting my kitchen cabinets. They were just wood with a kind of veneer that was really looking awful. They are now a lovely off-white. Doug and I spent the bulk of last Saturday painting, and it's all done except for some touch-ups and the wallpaper border.

The kitchen is still kind of in disarray because the job isn't quite finished, but it's going to look SO pretty! The "palette," as they say on Trading Spaces, is a light sage green and a pale buttery yellow. The border is absolutely's various kinds of fruit that harmonize with the green and yellow, but with cranberry and even purple accents.
Can't wait till it's all done, but Doug and I both have been EXTREMELY strapped for time, what with school starting this week, etc.

~Our young friend Chad is living with us now. Chad is the son of friends of ours who moved back to Ohio last year. But Chad wanted to come back and do his senior year at Berean with all the friends he had gone to school with for years. So we cleaned out the basement bedroom, which we had been using as storage, and made a cozy little home for him for the next nine months. He has a part-time job and plays every organized sport, so I don't think he'll even be around a lot...but he's a pleasant kid with a great sense of humor. So, for the next several months, he'll kind of be our surrogate Justin.

Some opinions on "The Emerging Church"...

I've gotten some feedback from my post yesterday on the "emerging church"...a movement I admit I know VERY little about.

Dianne writes in my comments section: "Of late, I find myself wishing we could clear away from the church all things that obscure its original purpose. Like you too, I come from a traditional (Baptist) background and while that's comfortable, how much what we're so comfortable with is really what Jesus intended when He established the church? I tend to think 'church' was intended more as an embodying or way of living out what Christ taught, rather than what we've made it today. We go to church, build churches, etc., but aren't WE the church? I don't know . . . just things I've been pondering too."

I e-mailed my friend Phil Johnson, whose opinion I truly respect although I don't always agree with him. Phil is the executive director of John MacArthur's radio ministry, Grace to You, heads up the Spurgeon Archive, and is a respected teacher and writer in his own right.

Phil's take on "the emerging church" is decidedly negative: "The so-called 'emerging church' is not merely about changing the way we 'do' church; it's about a fundamental world-view shift and a wholesale revamping of (not only church,
but) _everything_ historic Christianity has always stood for and fought for.

"In short, the 'emerging church' is an attempt to adapt Christianity to post-modernism. Post-modernism is fundamentally even more hostile to Christianity than modernism was. So I would see the 'emerging church' as an abandonment of true Christianity, certainly NOT an improvement on historic Christianity."

As you can see, Phil isn't known for mincing words. But other people whose opinions I also value would definitely disagree with Phil.

Phil and Baptist Bible Tribune editor Tom Harper provided me with links on the issue,(both pro and con), and I plan to do some further study on it when I have some spare time so I can form my own opinion.

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