Monday, January 31, 2005

Sometimes this radio gig is pretty cool

A major plus: getting to interview and/or meet cool people.

Today, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs stopped in the studio for an interview promoting his upcoming Love and Respect marriage conference in March at Rockford's First Assembly of God church.

I had heard great things about Emerson, and he was so personable and charming. Plus, he kindly autographed a copy of his book, Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs,for me. I'll definitely be reading it. The premise makes a lot of sense to me...that women need to feel loved most, and men need to feel respected most.

Last week, I interviewed Patti Hill, author of Like a Watered Garden, which I reviewed here not long ago. It was great talking to Patti and hearing about the journey that led her to write and publish her first novel.

By the way, I was very pleased to see that Infuze Magazine used my review of "Like a Watered Garden"...check it out. Infuze is a very cool online magazine; one of the staffers is Julie Anne Fidler of Fidler on the Roof.

I just did an interview today with Robin Lee Hatcher. I had heard of Robin, but didn't really become familiar with her until I started visiting her blog, which is excellent. I just finished Robin's Catching Katie, and can't wait to start Beyond the Shadows.

Robin and I had a great talk. I'll put transcripts of my interviews with Patti and Robin here on my blog in the near future.

More blog names I love...

Cool and clever blog titles:

Blogin' Idiot

Weapon of Mass Distraction
Dead Man Blogging

If you know of any cool, funny or clever blog names, feel free to note them in my comments section.

Oh, and happy Monday, everyone...

Friday, January 28, 2005

Happy Friday!

Disjointed ramblings on my favorite day of the week:

Just as fun and addictive as the real thing: Virtual Bubble Wrap....

Check out the nominations in The First Evangelical Blog Awards at the Evangelical Outpost....

Some blog names are so stinking clever. Here are just a few cool/clever titles I love:

Amish Fight Club
A Face Made 4 Radio, A Voice Made 4 the Internet

Got any favorites you'd care to add? I'm not talking content, just the sheer cleverness of the title!

Hollywood doesn't get religion

If, like me and Dave at the silent fool, you're still annoyed that The Passion of the Christ didn't get more Oscar props--even though you really didn't expect it to--check out this thoughtful Michael Medved editorial (hat tip to Thunderstruck.)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Rolling Stone may be the least of TNIV's worries...

Earlier this week, it was reported that Rolling Stone magazine reversed an earlier decision, and will allow Zondervan's ads for Today's New International Version of the Bible in its pages.

However, while the TNIV is endorsed by the likes of Willow Creek's Bill Hybels, , Lee Strobel, John Stott and Peter Furler of the Newsboys, some Bible scholars and others are seriously questioning the faithfulness of the translation.

The Southern Baptist Convention's 2002 national meeting rejected the TNIV New Testament, and AP's Religion Roundup today reports that the Southern Baptist-affiliated Lifeway Christian Bookstores will not be carrying the version.

According to this World Magazine article, "The major difference between Today's New International Version and yesterday's NIV, the most widely used contemporary Bible translation (which will still be available), is that the new translation features 'inclusive language.' That is, many words referring to the male gender (the generic 'he,' 'father,' 'brothers') will be changed to also include the female gender ('they,' 'parent,' 'brothers and sisters').

"The TNIV publicists, in a bit of Orwellian doublespeak, are calling such revisions 'gender-accurate' language. The problem, however, comes when the language is not accurate to the original text."

And at this site, Christian pastors, teachers and luminaries such as Chuck Swindoll, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. James Dobson, Elisabeth Elliot Gren, John MacArthur and others have signed a statement saying they cannot endorse the TNIV.

Meantime, this long list of theologians, pastors and others are giving their enthusiastic endorsement to the version.


For more info, here's more on why the Southern Baptists object to the TNIV.

(Many thanks to Phil Johnson of The Spurgeon Archive for providing me with several of the TNIV-related links.)

A whole lotta bloggin' goin' on...

I'm happy to report that my blog is now part of Women4God Blogs, which bills itself as "a collection of diverse Christian blogs by Protestant (Evangelical) women from around the globe." If you're interested in joining, instructions are at the site.

Another friend of mine joins the blogosphere...

My dear friend Don Elbourne chose his birthday, January 24th (which he notes that some professor has designated "the most depressing day of the year") to launch his blog, Locusts and Wild Honey.

Writes Don: "With my feet firmly planted on the bridge and and sappy melodrama flowing onto my keyboard, I plunge headlong into the blogosphere on my thirty-seventh birthday. I doubt I’ll make much of a splash, but want to use this site to record some of my thoughts, highlight my interests, chronicle my studies, and interact with the world outside of my little pool. I look forward to the new adventure."

Don is a Baptist pastor, gifted writer, photographer, and computer whiz who is working toward his PhD in Biblical Studies. I'm indebted to him for designing my website.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More about movies

The 10 Most Redeeming Films

Via Sherry at Semicolon: Christianity Today's 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2004.

Sorry to say, I've just seen two of them: The Passion of the Christ and Spiderman 2.

I actually just saw Spiderman 2 with my daughter the other night, and absolutely loved it. Tobey Maguire is a wonderful actor--his emotions play out so beautifully on that cute, sweet face of his.

Good to see that Hotel Rwanda, which is getting a good share of Oscar recognition, is considered a redeeming film by Christianity Today: "Like Schindler's List, it's a sobering story. But it is also inspiring. It reminds us how evil rises incrementally, and how vigilant we must be in order to resist it. It stirs us to show courageous mercy, to err on the side of urgent love rather than hesitate and pay the price."

I've been wanting to see Finding Neverland and The Incredibles. Can anyone comment on these (or any of the other "redeeming films") for me?

"Passion's" composer is thankful for the Oscar nod...

AP's Religion Roundup reports today that "The Passion of the Christ's" score composer, John Debney, is pleased with his Oscar nomination, saying he's "very happy for Mel," and pointing out that Mel Gibson didn't take out ads soliciting Oscar nominations: "The fact that it's gotten three nominations
bodes very well for the academy and being able to sort of look at
the work as professional work."

"Passion" was nominated for best cinematography, makeup and original score.

And yes, there WAS a surprise in the Oscar nominations...

Contrary to my post title yesterday, there was a surprising absence in the Oscar nominations.

Scott of The Crusty Curmudgeon rightly points out in my comments section: "Actually, there was one Oscar surprise: nothing for Fahrenheit 9/11, which has been the darling of all the other competitions this year."

You know, that is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No big surprises from Oscar

Nominations are out today, and they're heavy on The Aviator, Sideways, Ray, Million Dollar Baby and Finding Neverland.

I wouldn't have been surprised if The Passion of the Christ was snubbed completely, but it did garner three: for cinematography, musical score and makeup. If you ask me, Jim Caviezel and Mel Gibson were robbed as far as best actor and director. Actually, the movie should also be up for best picture. But we all knew that wasn't going to happen.

Speaking of movies...

Via Scott of The Crusty Curmudgeon, the list of the Bottom 100 Movies of All Time. Scott's seen six of them. I've only seen one: Tarzan, the Ape Man. Do I have good taste or what? :)

How many have you seen?

Happy Birthday, Robert Burns

I admit it. When I was a teenager and going through my "poetry phase," I had something of a crush on Robert Burns.

Didn't matter that he lived in 1700's Scotland, and I lived in 1970's USA. Judging by his portraits, the dude was a hottie.

I'm honestly not crazy about his poetry...who can decipher lines like "For ae blink o' bonie burdies! But wither'd beldams, auld and droll, Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal, Louping an' flinging on a crummock, I wonder did na turn thy stomach..."

And I cringe a bit when I read that he fathered 13 children, in AND out of wedlock....eeesh.

But harboring a lifelong fascination with all things Scottish, I enjoyed Georgette Braun's article about Burns and local celebrations of his birthday in today's Rockford Register Star. Burns societies are alive and well, even here in the midwestern United States in he must have had something going for him.

Not only that, but a movie about him is in the works, and it's going to star Gerard Butler, the Phantom of The Phantom of the Opera movie. (That bit of casting alone is a selling point as far as I'm concerned.)

Robert Burns, 1759-1796. Happy birthday,'ve definitely endured.

Are you alive because abortion was illegal?

A simple personal observation about Roe-vs.-Wade from Rae at A Likely Story grabbed me with its quiet eloquence.

And here, another touching story about a life that almost didn't happen.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Another fun quiz!

Found this one through Julie of Fidler On the Roof...

Teh Souper Rhodamine FunQuizz
When was the last time you danced all night?Never I deprived?
What was the last zoo you went to?San Antonio
What was your fav animule there?koala bears
What's your favorite landmark in the world?The Statue of Liberty
Do you like overalls? why?No, not on me...I'm just not an overall kind of person
Who is the cutest person in your life? why?My 3-year-old niece Channing...she's just adorable
Scorching, humid summer or painfully cold blizzard?Neither--but if I really have to choose, scorching least you don't have to mess with coats
Whats your favorite beer?n/a
Whats your favorite boardgame?Trivial Pursuit
Whats your favorite work of art?Don't have just one favorite...I like Monet and Mary Cassatt
What's your least favorite song?"Imagine," by John Lennon. Yecch.
When was the last time you cooked something from scratch?Sunday before last
What did you cook?Does French Toast casserole count as "from scratch"?
What's the weirdest thing thats ever happened to you?Hmm...nothing comes to mind right now
Whats your most irrational fear?That when I get up to sing in front of the church, I'll trip and fall and show my underwear
Briefly describe your strangest dream:I've had lots of strange ones, but can't think of one in particular right now
What's something you know about that not many other people do?Calligraphy
What's something about you that not many people know?I was part of a group of fifth-grade students who interviewed John Glenn in 1967
Do you like cucumbers?Love 'em...especially with balsamic vinegar and salt
How many digits of Pi do you have memorized?I know nothing at all about Pi
If forced to choose, would you rather be blind or deaf?Oh, hard one...I love music so much...but I would hate not to be able to see...I guess deaf
Whats the most interesting book youve ever read?The's amazing
What's your least favorite movie?"Godzilla"--I wouldn't watch that if you paid me
If I could do one thing for you, what would it be?Give me an all expenses paid trip to England, Ireland and Scotland
If you could live in any time-period, when would it be?probably this one...I just like the modern conveniences too much
Sweet or sour?It depends. Sometimes sweet AND sour.
What's the worst thing about NYC?That it's too far away for me to visit on a regular basis
Whats the worst thing about your town?That it's too far away from my mom
Whats the happiest thing you can think of?Having all my children under one roof with me


Million Dollar Rip-off?

Far be it from me to "spoil" a movie that has a great big hidden twist. BUT...after reading the article in USA Today about Million Dollar Baby, I was curious.

I had seen the trailer and thought how heartwarming and inspiring the movie looked--Clint Eastwood a father-figure trainer to against-all-odds female boxer Hilary Swank--and even commented to friends and relatives that I'd like to see the movie.

Well, not any more. In USA Today, conservative film critic Michael Medved says, "It is dishonest in its marketing. They didn't want to tell people what it is because no one would come."

I was curious enough that I went to conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel's website and read her whole article about the movie, spoilers and all.

After reading it, I agree with the person who emailed Dan Kaiser of The Movie Spoiler: "To keep something that totally changes what the film is about hidden like that, to me, is deceiving. If they had that in the preview, I would not want to see it. I would have been so angry had I spent my money."

I won't be seeing this movie, either.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Happy Friday to all...

The Christian Carnival is up at Sidesspot. If you're not familiar with the Carnival, it's a great tool to give your blog a little exposure. You can enter a post that will be linked on whoever's blog happens to be hosting that week. It's also a great way to familiarize yourself with other great blogs.

Patriot Paradox has a continually updated list of upcoming hosts on his sidebar.

It's been a long time since I've taken the Fridays Feast Quiz...

So here goes (answer the questions here in my comments section, or on your own blog):

Appetizer - What is one quality you really admire about yourself?--Hmmm...well, I'm not really into self-admiration. But I think I'm a pretty loving mother.

- What kind of shampoo and conditioner do you use?--It varies...I'm always looking for new ways to tame my curly mane. Right now I'm using something called Farouk BioSilk. Elizabeth and I are both VERY pleased with these products (we've been using the shampoo, conditioner, glazing gel and silk therapy.) But I find it helps if you change things up every now and then, so I will sometimes switch to Matrix Sleek.Look or Graham Webb products, which I also really like. And on a regular basis, to control a tendency to dandruff and itchy scalp, I use Pantene Pro V Anti-Dandruff shampoo, which I highly recommend if you have that kind of problem.

Salad - Describe your favorite movie scene. You know, the one that just gets to you every time you watch it.--There are many, but one that immediately comes to mind is when Jimmy Stewart is standing on the bridge in "It's a Wonderful Life," and he begs God to let him live again. Then it starts snowing and ZuZu's petals are back in his pocket...gets me every time!

Main Course - If you were a veggie, which one would you be, and why?
A tomato? I dunno...that's a hard one!

- If you could take a weekend trip within 100 miles of your current residence, where would you like to go?--Without a doubt, Chicago. I love, love, LOVE Chicago!!! It is without question one of the coolest cities in the world.

Here's another fun thing to do on a snowy Friday...

Via Lisa Samson, anagram your name.

Here are some of the anagrams you can create from "Cindy Swanson":


Does this mean I'm going to get victory over candy? I hope so...

Here's another:


Wasn't there a movie called "Sid and Nancy" about punk rocker Sid Vicious? Hmmm...


I like New York City. Well, it goes on and on...strange but interesting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

All right, I admit it...

Yeah, I was plopped down on the sofa in front of the American Idol season opener last night. What's more, I enjoyed every minute of it--from wincing through some of the most awful singing I've ever heard in my life, to already starting to pull for a few of the hopefuls, to cracking up laughing at the unintentional humor of contestants like Toni Braxton's cousin Derek (what a strange singing voice!) and the delusional Mary Roach.

I have to agree with MSNB's Andy Denhart's article: Is this for real? "Are they putting us on?

"There are four possibilities here: Mary’s friends really do think she’s a good singer; her friends are liars; she’s in desperate need of professional help; she’s an improvisational actor or a radio-station intern pulling one over on the judges and on us.

"The only remotely palatable option is the last one, because the others all involve serious delusion, as did most of the other auditions that made it to the air Tuesday night."

Truly, some of the contestants were so terrible, it really did make me wonder if they were planted there for entertainment purposes.

Well, it worked for me. I was entertained, and I'm definitely on board for another season of "American Idol."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Quote o' The Day

"As to why I read any book more than once--it's because I've been drawn into the book's world, become a part of the characters' lives--characters too vivid, too real, too engaging to ever forget. And it's because the author told me a story that took up occupancy in my heart and in my memories--a story that became a part of me, just as I once became of part of the story. Always, it goes back to the characters, the people who 'literally' got under my skin!"--Author B.J. Hoff

B.J. posted today on books she's read more than once, and she perfectly articulated why I re-read certain books as well.

Here are some I've read...and read...and read:

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Villette, by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis

I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them right off the bat. Some of them I read on a fairly regular basis. I'll think, "Well, it's about time to read 'Jane Eyre' again," and I do it. Weird?

By the way, it's been years since I've read B.J.'s "Emerald Ballad" series. I'm currently working on buying the entire series, and you can bet I'll re-read them.

Are there any that you've read more than once?

Smellin' coffee...

Just now getting around to doing Ashley's last Food for Thought meme...this time, all about one of my favorite subjects...CAFFEINE!

Here we go:

Tell about your favorite:

1. coffee (gourmet or regular, whole bean or ground, black or with sugar/cream/milk)--I'm not crazy about Starbuck's coffee at Starbucks--too strong for my taste. But I like their Breakfast Blend made in the coffee pot at work, with sweetener and creamer added. Favorite creamer: Coffee-Mate's Cinnamon Vanilla Creme.

At home, I use the Black & Decker Home Cafe Brewing System I got for makes one very delicious cup at a time--perfect for me, because no one else in my family drinks coffee. Right now I have Millstone's Hazelnut Cream. Yum!

And believe it or not, I really enjoy the cappucino at the local gas stations. Especially when "Pumpkin Spice" is in season!

2. tea (favorite blend, home remedy)--I love Earl Grey, Constant Comment,(with only sugar and sweetener added), and I also enjoy Irish Breakfast Tea with sugar and milk.

3. hot chocolate (with milk or water, flavored or plain, marshmallows or whipped cream)--I really don't drink a lot of hot chocolate. When I do, I like to put a dollop of Cool Whip in it.

Bonus: Do you drink seasonal favorites like cider or wassail?--I love mulled apple cider. I just add Aspen Mulling Spices, and heat it up. Absolutely delicious.

With temperatures in the single-digits as we've had here lately, hot drinks are a MUST. Soups, chili, stew, coffee, tea or cocoa are very necessary comfort foods in times like these!

Appropriately, I now leave you with a few lyrics from Chris Rice's joyous "Smellin' Coffee":

"Last thing I remember, sayin’ bye to yesterday

Glad to see it over, pullin’ covers over my head

But what were You doin’ while I dreamt the night away

‘Cause I can tell that somethin’s different

And my eyes ain’t even open yet

I’m smellin’ coffee

Birds are singin’ just outside

Here comes Your mercy streamin’ in with the morning light

My heart is racing waking up to Your smile

It’s a good morning, yeah

It’s a good morning"

Monday, January 17, 2005

Liz and I had such an awesome weekend...

Doug was out of town, so it was Chick Time to the max! On Friday, thanks to deep freeze temperastures, we cocooned...and watched not one, but two movies.

Gerard Butler

I had picked up Timeline for 5.96 at Wal-Mart, and we really enjoyed that one. Honestly, I don't even remember when this movie was at the theaters, and I have a hunch it didn't get very good reviews, but that didn't stop us enjoying it.

Admittedly, one of the chief attractions for us was that one of the stars is Gerard Butler, , who plays the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera movie.

Not only is Butler very attractive, he is also Scottish, and I could listen to a Scottish or Irish accent all day long. Based on a Michael Crichton book, the story is implausible but fun and interesting...good escapist entertainment for a chilly evening.

Later that evening, we broke out the microwave popcorn for a movie neither of us had ever seen--West Side Story. My co-host, Darren Marlar, had loaned me the DVD ages ago, and I kept forgetting to watch it. With Doug gone (he would have hated it), this was the perfect time.

Natalie Wood is lovely and some of the songs are great and have rightfully become classics ("I Feel Pretty," "Somewhere," "Tonight"). And I was prepared for the sad ending, knowing that the play was based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

Liz asked me if Hispanic people were upset that Natalie Wood was chosen to play Maria, and not a Latina actress. I'm sure Wood was chosen because she was a box-office draw, and nothing against her, but it certainly would have been more authentic if a Hispanic actress was playing the part.

Anyway, I enjoyed watching it with my daughter as part of a cozy Chick Night.

On Saturday, we went to lunch at Applebee's and then hit the mall. Fun!

Pulling the Plug on the Internet?

"Instead of making life easier — the essential promise of technologies since the steam engine — the home PC of late has made some users feel stupid, endangered or just hassled beyond reason."

That from an article, via Steve Beard, about a trend toward getting rid of home internet.

Interesting. In fact, Beard's blog, "Thunderstruck," which I just recently discovered, is pretty cool. Sort of like the Matt Drudge of pop culture from a Christian perspective. Check it out.

Friday, January 14, 2005

What authors do you have in your library?

I finally started packing this week to move into our new home, and I'm blown away by all the books I own. I filled several boxes (smallish ones, so they won't be too heavy), from our bedroom alone.

I'm thrilled that our new house has a lot of bookshelf space already in place. Finally, someplace to PUT all these books. I've had to store them in drawers and even under sofas and beds.

I give away a lot of my paperback Christian fiction books...first to my mom, who is hungrily rediscovering the joy of reading, then she passes them along to my sister, who shares them with her daughters. But even so, I have tons. And I keep the ones I cherish the most, and am seeking copies of ones I never owned but really want in my library.

For example, a friend launched my love of B. J. Hoff's writings several years ago by loaning me the Emerald Ballad series. I've now purchased two of the series, and am on a quest to buy the rest.

I also want to own Francine Rivers' "Mark of the Lion" series. I gave them away years ago, but now I want my own copies. In fact, come to think of it, I'd like to own everything Francine ever wrote.

And I'd really like a nice hardbound set of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. And a good quality hardbound copy of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre...I only have two well-worn paperbacks as it is.

Well, I said all that to say this: Ashley has passed on another cool meme, this one about the authors you have.

This is how this meme works: copy this list, delete the names of the authors you don't have on your home library shelves, and replace them with names of authors you do have. Bold the replacements. Then link to me.

Charlotte Bronte
Louisa May Alcott
Jane Austen
Emily Bronte
J. R. R. Tolkien
Charles Swindoll
Charles Dickens
John MacArthur
C.S. Lewis

Join the fun!

With wind chills dipping to as low as 20 below here this weekend, it's going to be perfect for snuggling up with a hot beverage and a good book. Have a blessed weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

If you lost a loved one in 2004... are a member of a club you never wanted to be a part of. And you probably are familiar with the poignant sadness of experiencing a first holiday without that loved one. For me, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my father especially stung.

Through Cedarville alum and beautiful writer Kevin Young, I just discovered the blog of Cedarville University president Dr. Bill Brown. (As many of you know, my son Jonathan graduated from Cedarville in 2002, and my son Justin is a student there now.)

These comments of Dr. Brown resonated with me: "Missing my dad at Christmas was the most memorable memory of the holidays. Many of you have been through the same. The 'first' of everything without a loved one is always the hardest. Then you adjust.

"Being with my dad when he died has made me fear death less.[my emphasis]. Interesting. The reality of God's presence really takes over at the edges of life. That's where the 'quiet desperation' Thoreau spoke about gets loud and comforting at the same time."


I will add Dr. Brown to my blogroll and make a point of visiting him often.

You should be blogging?

LaShawn Barber
If you aren't familiar with LaShawn Barber's Corner, you're probably fairly new to the blogosphere. LaShawn's intelligent, articulate insight into political issues adds a valuable dimension to my knowledge of current affairs.

Anyway, check out her post about today about blogging. LaShawn thinks it's important and we should be doing it. For what it's worth, I'm glad I'm already on board!

Be still my beating heart...Donny Osmond has a new album out...

...and USA Today is actually giving it a positive review!

Actually, I wasn't a big fan of the adolescent Donny, but I thought his voice matured quite pleasantly in later years.

USA Today's Elysa Gardner uses the words "wholesomely funky" in describing one tune, and says: "Sure, there's enough corn on this CD to supply a multiplex theater on a rainy Sunday afternoon, but Osmond serves it with such unaffected grace that it will never make you queasy."

I'm just glad to see someone who's known as a clean-cut, nice-guy family man, actually get a good music review from the mainstream media.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A good cause

One of my regular blog-stops is A Likely Story, so when Rae speaks, I listen. She left this in my comment section this morning:

"Greg Hammonds, whose wife died of breast cancer, is hosting a comment fundraiser with the money raised to go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s programs for education and low-cost or free mammograms for low-income women. For every comment made, he or another of the sponsors will donate $1. So, if you have the time to simply comment or even better to provide a link to direct traffic there, it would be super :D"

Done, Rae! I also visited the site and left my comment. What a wonderful idea!

Remembering the Bookmobile

When I was a junior high school student in Vidor, Texas during the late 60's, one of the highlights of my life was the arrival of the Bookmobile.

The Bookmobile was simply a trailer that would park next to the school. It was filled with brand-new paperback books, and at certain times, we students would be allowed to enter the Bookmobile, browse, and buy. Of course, we had been informed ahead of time, so we had had the chance to weasel some change from our parents.

I can remember, as a sixth-grader, entering an essay contest sponsored by our school newspaper, the Jolly Roger. The winner of the contest in each grade was to win five dollars to spend at the next appearance of the Bookmobile.

The subject was patriotism. I can remember painstakingly crafting my essay, filled with my heartfelt thoughts about loving my country.

I won. And you would have thought I had won the lottery. I will never forget entering the Bookmobile, filled with the heady aroma of new books, knowing that I would be able to buy a bunch of them (remember, most paperback books cost about 50 cents each at the time!). What a wonderful memory!

Debra is the one who put me in this reminiscing mood, with her post about what she's reading now. One of the authors she mentioned was Betty Cavanna, who was one of my favorites in my bookmobile days.

Other Bookmobile favorites of mine included Rosamond du Jardin, Mary Stolz and Elizabeth Enright.

When we lived in Vidor, we had just returned from Beirut, Lebanon, where I experienced my British phase (Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfield, E. Nesbitt, etc). The Bookmobile marked the beginning of a new phase, but I never really left the first one. Throughout my life, cherished books and authors have stayed with me--either in the physical form of a book, or in my heart and mind.

The Internet is making it possible for me to become reacquainted with those hard to find books, and it's like re-discovering old friendships. In this day when life is moving so swiftly, it's sweetly comforting to pause and visit another time.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Of Brad and Jennifer and motherhood and perfect bodies...

Why do I care that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are splitting up? Well, maybe it's because the end of their relationship means that we'll never get to see the child that the union of two such beautiful people would have created. But seriously, I think it's sad any time a marriage dissolves, even if it's between two celebrities that I know only through their images on screens and in magazines.

I did find one quote that disturbed me, if it is indeed true. From a Fox News story:

"A pal said Aniston doesn't want to take the time off to have a kid — and she doesn't want to endure the physical effects that giving birth will have on her sexy body.

"It's about the children," the pal said. "She just doesn't want kids right now — and he wants kids."

Of course, the "pal" goes un-named, and I don't know how much credence to give that comment. But if it's true, it's really, really sad.

Jennifer's perfect sexy body is going to deteriorate at some point. There comes a point when all the plastic surgery or vigorous exercise in the world is not going to halt the inevitable effects of age and gravity.

Look at Elizabeth Taylor--easily one of the most beautiful women in the world for a long time. Say what you will about her lifestyle, but there is one thing that seems to be true of her, from all the accounts I've read: she adores her children, and they adore her.

I'm willing to bet that now that Liz is a senior citizen, in bad health and having lost most of the looks that made her a screen goddess in her day--well, I'm willing to bet that now she's really, really happy she had children who are around to love her and care for her in her old age. She is probably not regretting the decision to mar her sexy body in order to give birth.

(One other thing--a slew of Hollywood movie stars have had babies in the past year, and most have regained their girlish figures through their own hard work and discipline along with the expert advice and resources at their disposal. Having a baby doesn't have to mean you can never be beautiful or sexy again.)

Of course, whether or not to have children is a highly personal decision. Other reports say Aniston put off having kids because of the shaky condition of her marriage--a wise decision, if that's the case.

All I'm saying is, deciding not to have children because it will ruin your perfect body is shallow and sad. But then again, if a person is that shallow, maybe they shouldn't be having children at this point anyway.

Speaking of Jennifer Aniston...

Some Hollywood actresses are actually decrying the out-of-control plastic surgery that seems to be the prevailing trend. I don't know about you, but it alarms me when I see a favorite actress of-a-certain-age who is practically unrecognizable due to such surgery.

And I think the whole culture sends such dangerous messages to young women and girls...the message that you have to be physically perfect, that that's what's important.

Apparently I'm not alone. Culture Clips
has this quote from Renee Zellweger: "I saw [a picture] in an open magazine at a hair salon recently. Of Jennifer Aniston. A gorgeous photograph—she was perfection. And they have these arrows pointing to what she could change with plastic surgery: How about this? Look at this thing, and look at this. It made my heart sink. What does that teach a girl who’s looking through the magazine? It teaches her that if there’s something wrong with this incredibly beautiful woman, then what’s wrong with me? It saddens me that I’m involuntarily a part of that.”

"The Passion of the Christ" wins People's Choice Award...I'm confused, though...

It's kind of puzzling to me that the "people" gave best drama to "The Passion of the Christ," but the "people" also gave best picture to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" and best TV comedy to "Will and Grace."

I didn't watch the show, but Charmel tells me that the "Will and Grace" clip was one in which a gay character quipped about some "hot pictures" of Jesus in an art museum. Yeeccch.

I'm glad "The Passion" is getting some kudos, but it was snubbed by the Golden Globes and I doubt seriously if the Oscars will recognize it.

Meantime, another Culture Clips quote--this one from Christian film critic Steve Beard: “The Passion [of the Christ] reminds viewers that Christianity was born out of blood, pain and tears—a far more gritty reality than a Thomas Kinkade painting or a Precious Moments nativity scene. This is no small lesson to a culture whose crosses are studded with diamonds instead of splinters. The Passion is the Sunday school flannel board lesson for a generation that grew up on violent video games, skipped church and stood in line to watch Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1.”

Friday, January 07, 2005

That Dentyne commercial

I have as good a sense of humor as anyone, but I really think the Dentyne Fire commercial in which a young girl gets hot-and-bothered, jumps on her boyfriend and starts to disrobe--all in front of her parents---is in really poor taste.

Also, given all the problems we face in today's society with teen pregnancies, STD's, etc, it's also pretty irresponsible.

Come to think of it, TV and radio commercials are getting increasingly racy and offensive. And yes, that bothers me a lot.

Couldn't be more appropriate...

...Ashley's Food for Thought meme is about soup today...and with temperatures dipping into the teens here, soup is sounding really good!

Here we go:

1. When was the last time you had soup? What kind was it? Was it from a restaurant, from a can, or homemade?--I actually think it was Campbell's tomato soup...which is my very favorite canned soup of all time. My mom used to give me grilled cheese and tomato soup when I was sick...what comfort food!

2. What is your favorite restaurant soup?--BeefARoo's Chicken Tortilla's AWESOME, but they only make it on certain days. I also had a really excellent seafood gumbo soup at Jason's Deli while in Texas. Tasty, just the right spiciness...yum. (Unfortunately, we don't have Jason's Deli here. :( )

3. What is your favorite canned soup?--See number one! Coming in a distant second would be Campbell's chicken gumbo.

4. What is your favorite homemade soup?--Probably this Taco Soup that I've blogged about's wonderful! I also love chicken soup, but I hate to de-bone chicken!

Bonus: Cornbread or crackers?--Oh, no contest...CORNBREAD!!!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Oh, I almost forgot! Guess what... son Justin got me for Christmas?

Click here.

So you want to write a book? JUST DO IT.

Robin Lee Hatcher

Of course, I'm preaching to myself here.

One of the great things about the blogosphere is the instant access to the wisdom and practical knowledge of published authors who blog. And one of my favorite author/bloggers is Christian fiction writer Robin Lee Hatcher. Robin's blog today features some great advice to first-time writers on getting past those writing hurdles.

My favorite quote: "Lots of people think they would like to write a book. They think about it, they talk about it, they just never do it. So the first rule is, plant your behind in the chair and write."

Robin's blog is lively and attractive and features her thoughts on a variety of things, not just writing.

Here are a few other of my favorite writer/bloggers:

Lisa Samson
BJ Hoff--currently on hiatus because of her husband's illness, but check out her archives for some invaluable stuff
Linda Hall

...and check out a few others listed in my blogroll in my sidebar.

Do you frequent any other author blogs you'd like to share? Let me know in my comments section...

Yet ANOTHER snow day!

I really can't remember the last time local schools had TWO consecutive snowdays. We really got hit with the white stuff. As usual though, faithful radio person that I am, I made it to work... with a lot of help from my husband. (He got to go home and go back to bed, but I'm trying not to be bitter about that. :))

And to those of you kind enough to ask, I am feeling a bit better today.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Let it...snow?

OK, how fair is this...I'm the one who's sick, but my entire family gets to stay home today EXCEPT for me!?!

Yep, it's a snow day. Actually, I'm kind of surprised everyone cancelled school today, because it looks like the bulk of the snow is going to happen tonight before 2 AM. But who am I to argue with the powers that be?

My favorite Christmas presents

My husband gave me a beautiful Fossil watch, which I absolutely love. But have I told you how much I like my Black & Decker Home Cafe?

It's perfect for me, since I'm the only coffee-drinker in my immediate family. I just slip a "pod" of coffee in the machine, add water and in seconds I have a perfectly-brewed cup of coffee. No messy coffee grounds, no wasted coffee sitting around. I love it!

And I'm not even getting paid to say that.

Ashley's Food Meme

One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley, now has her own meme, Food for Thought,which I will now proceed to answer:

1. Do you eat any "traditional" foods on New Year's Day? If so, what are they and what significance do they hold?
I normally make black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year's Day, but this year we attended a wedding on New Year's Day that included a sit-down dinner reception. So I didn't cook at all.

2. Do you cook your New Year's Day meal, go to someone else's house, or go to a restaurant?
Again, usually I cook a nice big meal at home, but the wedding altered our plans this year. Come to think of it, last year was different too...we were on our way to Boise, Idaho on New Year's Day, en route to my son Jonathan's wedding.

3. Do you have any New Year's resolutions (goals) regarding food? (For example, to eat less, to eat healthier, to plan better, etc.)
All of the above! I really liked an article I read in USA Today yesterday about how French women don't get fat, despite the fact that they eat delicious food. They eat slowly and savor every bite.

Challenge: I want to try one new recipe each month. Share a new recipe you've tried and really liked.

I blogged it earlier: this spinach salad that I had an office Christmas party and loved!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Back from Christmas in the Great State of Texas

Katie, Elizabeth,my beautiful mom,me and Daylyn at Ballet Austin/Austin Symphony Orchestra's "The Nutcracker"

Well, it was wonderful. Doug, Elizabeth, Justin and I drove to the Austin, Texas area to spend Christmas with my mom, my son Jonathan and his wife Daylyn, my sister Lisa and her family, and my sister-in-law Jade and my brother's daughters.

Some of the highlights:

--On the way down, staying the night in Springfield, Missouri with our friend Mary and her family and dining with them at Zio's--yum!

--The Faith Baptist Church of Round Rock's Christmas program starring my amazing niece Katie and my awesome nephew Nathan--directed by my ultra-talented sister Lisa

--Eating at Chuy's (actually, way too much eating took place during the entire vacation!)--some of the best chips and salsa anywhere

--Spending time with my awesome son Jonathan and his beautiful wife Daylyn

--Getting a French manicure (thanks to Lisa) at Halina's European Day Spa in Round Rock--wow, just walking in that place made me feel pampered!

--Going to Ballet Austin/The Austin Symphony Orchestra's production of The Nutcracker--in a word, it was magical. It marked the first time I've been to a ballet, and it was simply enchanting! Also, it was girl's night out--we all got glammed up and had a blast.

--The weather--except for a few days when the temperature dipped and the winds whipped up, it was beautiful most of the time, and we rarely even had to wear coats

--On Christmas Day, going up to Mount Bonnell and following the trail up to a magnificent view of the Colorado River and gorgeous mansions lining the shore--the weather was warm and there wasn't a cloud in the sky!

--Sleeping in...well, for me, anyway! I never got up before 7:30 and even made it to 9 and 10 a couple of days!

--Sister time with Lisa--nonstop talking and laughing with one of my best friends in the world

--Going to an antique store in Taylor, Texas after seeing the Nutcracker, and finding a beautiful framed black-and-white Ballet Austin poster for four dollars!

--Spending time with my beautiful, precious mother

Those are just some of the things that come to mind. Most of all, I am so thankful that I was able to spend Christmas with my entire immediate family (Doug, Jon and Daylyn, Justin and Elizabeth) as well as several members of my extended family. Most years when I hear "I'll Be Home for Christmas" I just have to cry...but this year, Christmas Eve really did find me "where the love light gleams." :)

Of course, there was an underlying sadness with this being the first Christmas without my dad, who passed away this past July. We went out to my father's grave the day before Christmas and put a poinsettia there. We held hands, sang a song, prayed and cried.

But this poem sent to my mom by a friend, did speak to our hearts and bless us.

So now it's 2005 and life rushes on apace. To be honest, I haven't yet had time to get reflective and form some thoughts on the impact of a brand new year...but I do pray a blessed and beautiful 2005 to all who visit this blog.

Quotes o' The Day

"The past lies in the settling dust of yesterday, the future boasts an open and winding path ahead.

"2005..."--Kevin Young

"This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?...Is it everything you dreamed that it would be, when the world was younger and you had everything to lose?"--Switchfoot,
"This Is Your Life"

Good morning, and welcome... a brand new year!

I'm back from two weeks in God's Country...the great state of TEXAS!

It was a wonderful two weeks. I'm going to blog at more length about it, later this morning. Just wanted to say "hi."

So, hi. :)
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