Thursday, April 28, 2005

The conspiracy to vote Scott Savol American Idol!

NO! Not Constantine! I shrieked (well, not out loud), when I saw that the dramatic, sometimes pretentious but always entertaining Greek-American rocker had been voted off American Idol last night.

I never thought Constantine would win it all, but I had hoped to have him around for at least a few weeks more. And I was baffled by the fact that the singer who I think should have been gone long ago is still hanging on--Scott Savol.

Now, I don't really think Scott is that bad a singer...he's just not one of the best that has been on there in recent weeks. Anwar before Scott??? Constantine before Scott??? For that matter, Nikko before Scott??? Uh-uh.

Well, check this out.

We were chatting about it on 101QFL this morning, and a couple of listeners called in to let us know that there is actually a website that encourages you to vote for Scott BECAUSE he's the worst singer!

Not only that, but there may actually be a conspiracy of sorts underway to do just that, with college students across America networking to vote for Scott in order to "vote for the worst."

From the website (which, by the way, fair warning: is NOT family friendly, especially the tag-comments):

"American Idol is the most watched television series in the world, but a pattern has emerged that makes the show pretty boring. The producers and judges pick one contestant to 'p*mp' and this contestant ends up winning, making American Idol less a show where the viewers pick the winner and more a show where the judges and producers get the viewers to vote for who they like. Borrrrrrring.

"So, here at, we have a solution. Help us by voting for the worst that American Idol has to offer. That's right, vote for the bad contestants."

And how about these encouraging words: "This show is not about finding the next big superstar. Your favorite contestant probably won't win, and will probably get a record contract anyway if they're good enough. Besides, TV is supposed to be about the entertainment value, and what's more entertaining than a fish out of water outlasting the big fish and sharks?"


I think it's next week that ABC is supposed to air its expose of American Idol. Dirt will be dished, I'm sure.

But I really hope that American Idol won't be proven to be a great big scam. I truly enjoy the competition, and I think the talent has been terrific this season particularly.

But I guess if Scott Savol does win, it will undermine the show's credibility in my eyes, and I'll have to re-think being a fan of it. Scott is not the best singer or performer in the competition--much better singers than he is didn't even make it to the finals.

Maybe I'll just switch to Nashville Star. :)

In the meantime? Still pulling for Carrie or Vonzell, and I wouldn't be upset if Bo took it all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Just time for a fly-by today...

My mom and my two sisters arrived this past Saturday (my mom and Lisa from Texas, Bev from Wyoming), and I've been having a blast with them! My sisters are my best friends, so I'm enjoying every possible moment with them.

I did want to point you to a funny exchange at Amy's Humble Musings. Amy was pondering why people seem to automatically know that she is a homeschooler. She describes a chat she had with a woman while their kids were playing at a playground:

"...she quickly cut to the chase and inquired, “Are you a homeschooler?”

"Gee, how’d she know?

"I pointed out that I wasn’t wearing a denim jumper, and I pointed out that she, too, is a homeschooler, as she has a baby and toddler underfoot. (Hint: learning doesn’t begin at age six.) Then, she asked me if I was religious. (That was a good one.) Now, not only do we talk the part, but we “look” it as well. (I’m thinking it was the Von Trapp family line-up that we do when we call our kids?)"

Love Amy's humor! The denim jumper line cracked me up.

Have a great day, everyone. :)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Les Miserables was OUTSTANDING!!!

OK, I thought no one could touch Colm Wilkinson in the role of Jean Valjean. But Randal Keith BLEW ME AWAY!!!

His voice is absolutely exquisite--silky soft and achingly sweet one second, soaring and powerful the next, beautifully conveying a world of emotion and feeling in every note.

I honestly can't think of enough superlatives for the performance of
Les Miserables that I saw at the Cadillac Palace Theater in Chicago this past Friday night.

I had wondered how the cast would stack up to the singers I had grown accustomed to from watching the 10th Anniversary DVD, which we own. I need not have worried. Each of the leads more than held their own. Besides Keith, Robert Hunt in the role of Javert, Tonya Dixon as Fantine, Melissa Lyons as Eponine (I must confess that Lea Salonga is my favorite in the role, but Lyons did fine), Adam Jacobs as Marius, David Benoit as Thenardier--all were superb.

My daughter and I can't stop talking about it. We are now more confirmed Les Miz freaks than ever.

This was Elizabeth's first major stage musical, and she was absolutely enthralled. Like me, she was completely familiar with the music, and wondered how this cast would measure up. There was no need for worry.

If you ever get a chance to check out a touring production of Les Miserables, I encourage you to do so!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Going to Les Miserables tonight!

I am thrilled to say that, Lord willing and if the creek don't rise, I'll be at the Cadillac Palace Theater in Chicago tonight watching Les Miserables!

The tickets are a birthday gift from a dear friend (yes, my birthday was in December), and we're finally getting around to going. My husband, my daughter, our friend and her daughter are going.

The Cadillac Palace Theater in Chicago

I know the production mainly through the DVD of the 10th anniversary concert of Les Miserables. It will be interesting to see how the actors/singers in this touring production will stack up to Lea Salonga (Eponine), Colm Wilkinson (Jean Valjean) and Philip Quast (Javert.)

A year ago, we saw Phantom of the Opera in Chicago, and the leads turned in excellent performances and made me a fan of a play that I had never seen and wasn't very familiar with.

I absolutely LOVE the music in Les Miserables. I also appreciate the Christian world-view that permeates the play. Grace/mercy versus legalism/justice--it's a pretty classic theme. I love the character of Jean Valjean--he epitomizes a redeemed soul. I think Valjean's lyrics in "What Have I Done?" are a picture of salvation:

"I am reaching, but I fall
And the night is closing in
And I stare into the void
To the whirlpool of my sin
I'll escape now from the world
From the world of Jean Valjean
Jean Valjean is nothing now
Another story must begin!"

My favorite songs in Les Miz are "One Day More," "On My Own," "A Little Fall of Rain," "Javert's Suicide" and the finale.

I'm also thrilled because I have beloved family members coming to visit me tomorrow. My mom and my two sisters will be here for a week! YAY!!!

Hope everyone has a blessed weekend!

Quote o' The Day

"The only job worse than Iraqi police officer is crack wh*re, but crack wh*res have longer healthier lives and make more money."--My brother David , who is training Iraqi cops in Baghdad

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Waiting for Narnia

I first read C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia when I was a missionary's kid in Beiruit, Lebanon, in the mid-60's. I've been captivated by Narnia ever since.

Each of my children read the books, and I read them with and to my kids.

When I first heard that that "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was coming to the big screen, I was excited but skeptical. Would the film-makers remain faithful to the spirit and world-view of the books?

That remains to be determined. But I've got to tell you, visiting the movie's website has me excited and intrigued.

If you're a Narnia fan, check out the videos about the making of the film. (You will have to register to enter the site.)

This could be good!

NO! Not Anwar!

America voted, and America is out of its everlovin' mind! I simply can't believe Anwar Robinson got the boot from American Idol, while Scott and Anthony stayed. Scott is just all right; he has never "wowed" me. And Anthony is sweet, but in my humble opinion, he should have been gone weeks ago.

I can only hope that Anwar will still get a shot at a recording contract and that we'll be hearing from him sometime in the future.

In the meantime, I'm pinning my hopes on Carrie and Vonzell.

But I'm sure going to miss Anwar. :(

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Standard Christian, by Jeri Massi

absorbing online fiction

Not only am I enjoying a bounty of real-life books right now--I now have a story-blog to keep up with!

Jeri Massi yesterday debuted A Standard Christian, which is a sequel to her "Secret Radio" story blog.

A Standard Christian
takes up the tale of Grace Jovian, who has just graduated from Bible college and now must face the real world. I've read the first two installments, and am hooked again already.

Although Jeri doesn't shrink from skewering religious hypocrisy in her writings, her message of true faith and genuine Christianity comes through loud and clear.

She's not afraid to write fiction that causes people to ask the hard questions, writing in her blog: "This is a huge universe, and it ought to make us question and wonder and not understand certain things. To cling to unbelief is the sin of unbelief, but to cling to dogma because you're too afraid to honestly explore the promises and decrees of God is also the sin of unbelief. The hungry have to eat; the thirsty have to drink, the people who ask questions have to find their answers. I hope that A Standard Christian will help people discard images of 'good Christians' who never question or doubt, so that they can focus on finding out their Savior's power and grace to them by asking Him the hard and earnest questions He alone can answer."

Jeri is an immensely talented writer. You can read my review of her Valkyries books here, and a transcript of my interview with her here (Part One) and here (Part Two.)

By the way, Secret Radio is no longer available online, but is in printed form.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I'm fiction rich!!!

Few things make me happier than being able to delve into a really good book. Thanks to the fact that I interview authors on my radio show and review books on my website, I am in the luxurious position of getting free books in the mail. It's like Christmas every time a box or package arrives!

Thanks to a recent influx of books, I am at this moment fiction rich! (I will admit it does seem to go in cycles...there are times when I'm so desperate, I'll read the back of the ketchup bottle.) Anyway, I'm loving this.

Let me share with you a few of the things I've been reading.

The Departed, by Kathryn Mackel

I started this book last night, and I have it to thank for being sleepier than usual this morning. I had a really hard time putting it down.

Although I'm not always drawn to Frank Perretti-style fiction, this hooked me immediately. I had never heard of Kathryn Mackel before a publicist e-mailed me and asked me if I'd like one of her books for possible interview/review. I was instantly impressed with her writing and her ability to immediately draw the reader into the story. I have no doubt I'll be reading more Kathryn Mackel books in the future...and it's always a delight to find an author who is new to me!

Second Time Around, by Nancy Moser

Although Nancy Moser is one of my favorite authors, I was a little late getting to this book, which is a sequel to Time Lottery (read my review of Time Lottery here.)

Time travel has always fascinated me, and Nancy puts a creative and spiritual spin on the subject in these books. Again, Second Time Around defined the phrase "page-turner"--I was propelled forward through the book involuntarily, bent on finding out what would happen to the three "time lottery" winners who got the chance to visit an alternate reality in the past.

Nancy's style is crisp and clear; she's all about the stories and the characters, and as an added bonus, her books are loaded with biblical truth and scriptural references.

The Dwelling Place, by Elizabeth Musser

I must have received this book some time ago, but I stumbled across it when I was packing things to move to my new home. Boy, am I glad I found it! Elizabeth Musser is definitely an author I will seek out again.

On her website, Musser says: "My heart’s desire is to write captivating stories which draw the reader in, all the while dealing with the deeper issues of faith, forgiveness, perseverance and trust. I desire that my books be simply stepping stones in each reader’s path toward his own personal faith in Christ.”

And that's exactly what The Dwelling Place accomplishes. With her writing, Musser creates a world peopled with characters the reader comes to care about, and situations that you can't wait to see resolved. Spiritual matters are dealt with in a genuine and un-cliched manner. I was reluctant to see the book come to an end.

Fortunately for me, The Dwelling Place is actually a sequel, although it easily stands alone. I can't wait to read the first book, The Swan House.

And although I thought Elizabeth Musser was an author that was also new to me, I now realize that I've read two previous books she wrote: Two Crosses and Two Testaments.

If you think all Christian fiction is inferior, you need to check out some of the great stuff that's out there today. I double-dog-dare you to come up with fiction in the secular market that's any better than the writers I've mentioned here!

Quote o' The Day

"A girl in Canada won a spelling bee with the word otiosity. It means 'uselessness.' I wonder if a useless person is an 'otiot.'"--Opie of Not Always Mayberry

Monday, April 18, 2005

Farrah made me cry

This is how I remember her

Yeah, I grew up in the 70's. I remember one summer when I was in college, watching this new show called Charlie's Angels. I was captivated by Farrah Fawcett--the long-limbed, athletic, tanned figure, the dazzling mega-watt smile, but most of all THE HAIR...the gorgeous, thick, out-of-control mane of blonde highlights.

Like most young women my age, if I couldn't BE Farrah, I was going to try to look as much like her as I could. So I sported the blonde highlights and the classic Farrah flip-back (me and ten million other college girls!). That's about as close as I ever came to looking like her, but boy, did I envy her beauty.

Well, finding myself alone and in control of the remote last night (a rare occasion!), I decided to check out the new TV-land reality series, Chasing Farrah.

First of all, and I'll try not to be unkind here, but I no longer envy Farrah her looks. The poor thing is a prime example of plastic surgery run amok. Her once-lovely face is almost unrecognizable--and I have to say, why? Surely the normal aging process would have been kinder to Farrah than the cosmetic surgery. (Yes, she still does have a terrific figure, I'll give her that.)

But that's not really why I'm blogging about Farrah. The show last night focused on her parents, Jim and Pauline. They allowed the cameras into their Houston home, and they were the most charming thing about the show last night.

First of all, Jim reminded me of so many Texas men that I've known all my life (including even a little bit of my dad), that it made me a little sad and nostalgic right off the bat. Farrah's relationship with him is very sweet. Although she's in her late 50's, she is still Daddy's little girl, which was just the case with me and my own father, who passed away last summer.

Farrah's mother, Pauline, was lovely. It was obvious that little or no plastic surgery had been done on her--although she was quite old, there was none of that pinched and cookie-cutter look to her face. Yet she was a very attractive lady. I could also relate to Farrah's relationship with her mom. I adore my own mother, and it was obvious Farrah was crazy about hers.

At one point, Farrah got emotional when she was talking to the camera about her love for her parents and her concern about the fact that they were growing old, and she might have to face life without them someday.

At the end of the show, a taped phone message could be heard. It was Farrah's dad, obviously calling from his wife's hospital room, telling Farrah she needed to get there as soon as she could.

The show closed with an "in loving memory" note, and the birth and death dates of Pauline Alice Fawcett.

Yeah...I cried.

Poor Ann Coulter!

To make the cover of Time magazine, but to look a little like you would in a fun-house mirror, has to be a bitter pill to swallow! More here.

A wonderful Sunday...

Yesterday, the entire Swanson clan got together to celebrate my father-in-law's 80th birthday. He is still in good health and going strong, which bodes well for my husband. In fact, my husband's grandfather lived to be 103!

Anyway, all of us brought stuff to eat, but my sisters-in-law, Pat and Gail, made the entree: Fiesta Chicken. Check out the recipe below.

It was a great, enjoyable family get-together.

Incredibly delicious Fiesta Chicken recipe

This is what I had for lunch yesterday, made by my amazing sisters-in-law, Pat and Gail. I plan to make this later this week when company comes. It is INCREDIBLY good. (Note that it calls for heavy cream, but Pat used half-n-half instead.)

Fiesta Chicken

1/2 C. butter

1 3/4 C. cheddar cheese crackers finely crushed

2 T. taco seasoning mix

8 chicken breasts boned, skinned and flattened (Pat used the tenderloins that come frozen in bags at Sam's and Wal-Mart)

5 green onions chopped

1 (4oz.) can chopped green chilies

2 C. heavy cream (my sister-in-law used Half-n-Half instead)

1 t. instant chicken bouillon

2 C. grated Monterey Jack cheese

Melt butter and pour two-thirds into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

Combine cracker crumbs and taco mix. Dredge chicken in this mixture. Pat it on so that you get a lot of the mix on the chicken. Place the chicken in the baking dish.

In the saucepan with the butter add the onions. Saute until softened. Then add the green chilies, heavy cream, instant chicken bouillon and the Monterey Jack cheese. Mix and stir until smooth. Pour over the chicken breasts. Bake uncovered for 50 - 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serves 6 - 8.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A fun meganame quiz

Cynthia Susan Swanson's Aliases

Your movie star name: Crackers Thomas

Your fashion designer name is Cynthia Paris

Your socialite name is Cindoza Austin

Your fly girl / guy name is C Swa

Your detective name is Dog Woodlawn

Your barfly name is Gingersnaps Shirley Temple

Your soap opera name is Susan Edgewood Place

Your rock star name is Three Musketeer Jet

Your star wars name is Cynsto Swaste

Your punk rock band name is The Contented Cuspidor

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A report from my dear colleagues in Nashville...

Chris Carmichael, Former Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell, and Rick Hall

Nope, I didn't get to go the Gospel Music Association convention in Nashville this year. It's the first time I haven't been to Nashville during GMA week since I first went in 2000. However, the next best thing is hearing from my co-workers, Chris Carmichael and Rick Hall, who have been broadcasting live from GMA all week.

I'm particular thrilled for Chris, who has been working here at 101QFL for six years and is just now getting to experience GMA. I love Chris to death, and I'm happy for him that he's finally getting this opportunity!

Some people (including the artists themselves) question the need for an awards event like the Doves...but there's no denying that for a Christian music fan, it's a blast! I miss the whole GMA experience. The seminars impart valuable and practical advice, and it's just fun rubbing shoulders with the artists. I hope I get to go again someday. (I was set to host a tour of Nashville during GMA week this year, but not enough people signed up, so it was cancelled.)

Chris and Rick have been keeping a blog of their GMA experiences, and they've also put up a photo album of some of the artists they've been interviewing. Great job, guys!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who reads what?

Curious about what famous people are reading?

Bloggers are always sharing what's on their bookshelf or nightstand. For example, I can tell you right now that author BJ Hoff is reading Richard Lederer's The Revenge of Anguished English; author Lisa Samson is reading Mary DeMuth's Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Joy of karagraphy is reading Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz.

Fiction freak me...or should I say, I...just finished Stephanie Grace Whitson's A Garden in Paris, and have just started Elizabeth Musser's The Dwelling Place.

What are celebs reading? Well, apparently quite a bit of obscure and little-known stuff, according to this year's just-released list of Who Reads What.

Former librarian Glenna Nowell of Maine puts the list together. She says, "There's such a diversity of books, and not well-known, not best sellers."

Except for Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which shows up on the reading lists of columnist Jay Ambrose, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and at least one other celebrity.

I remember reading In Style magazine not long ago and being a little surprised to find that Queen Latifah was reading a book by Joyce Meyer. The rapper-turned-actress told the same thing to Lifetime magazine: "I'm reading a book called MANAGING YOUR EMOTIONS by Joyce Meyer. Sometimes we swing back and forth between emotions. This book is about finding the middle ground. It's a Christian book, but it's great for everyone because it doesn't knock you over the head with ideology."

A few years ago, U2's Bono, after a conversation about faith with Oasis band member Noel Gallagher, sent Gallagher a copy of Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing about Grace?

Author Jeri Massi blogs today about the power of books--even fiction and "light" reading--to communicate ideas, good or bad, to the reader: "[T. S. Eliot] observes that through the gates of light reading, ideas contrary to the Scripture can be passed to the reader, who unsuspectingly imbibes them all. Eliot does not advocate the abandonment of fiction; rather, he advocates that readers recognize that fiction is a legitimate means of communicating ideas. There is no such thing as 'mere entertainment'. All media come to us with the values and point of view of their creators woven directly into them. No communication is really 'light' communication, though a discerning reader learns when to take communication lightly."

Author Liz Curtis Higgs told me in a recent interview that she started out writing nonfiction, and she doubted the power of fiction until she read Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series (also one of my personal favorites!).

After reading those books, Higgs says, "I got the power of Christian fiction. Up until then, I'd been a non-fiction writer with stories brewing inside me, but not convinced that you could really teach people and really move them spiritually through fiction."

No doubt about it; what you read affects who you are. The cliche "GIGO--Garbage In, Garbage Out"--is trite, but true.

So, what are YOU reading? :)

A sweet story of a friendship

Rae of A Likely Story shares her memories of a special friendship that includes a vital lesson: pay attention when you feel the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Check it out.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Book review: Liz Curtis Higgs' "Whence Came a Prince"

When Liz Curtis Higgs began writing "Thorn in My Heart," she had no idea it would turn into a series of books. True, Higgs believes her decision to set the Genesis story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel in 18th-century Scotland was God-directed. But she didn't know that Leah/Leana's story would be followed by "Fair is the Rose," which focuses on the Rachel character. And now, there's "Whence Came a Prince,"(Waterbrook Press), the story of Jamie, who is the 18th-century Scottish equivalent of Jacob.

I read and enjoyed both of the first two books, but let me tell you, Higgs has outdone herself with "Whence Came a Prince." Her style of writing--always beautifully flowing, lyrical and evocative--has truly blossomed into full flower in this book.

If you haven't read the first two books, you're probably asking, "Wait a minute---Jacob was married to Leah and Rachel at the same time. How does Higgs pull that off in 18th-century Scotland?" I had the same question when I first started reading the books. But pull it off she does, albeit using some creative liberties with the story. You’ll have to read them yourself to find out exactly how she does it.

Higgs has saturated herself with Scottish culture and ambience, with repeated trips to the country she now calls her second home-- and the fact that she's availed herself of the lore in hundreds of Scottish research books is obvious in the telling of these stories. But her meticulous research is seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of the story.

Jamie comes across as flawed, but charming as well as humble and repentant--as tricky as his Biblical alter-ego, but no less attractive and lovable for his flaws. As we've seen in the earlier books, he has escaped the consequences of deceiving his father, and fled from his brother's wrath by venturing across Scotland to the area of his mother's birth. He has fallen head-over-heels in love with the beautiful Rose, only to be thrown together with the less stunning but appealing Leana, who he grows to love as well.

In "Whence Came a Prince," Jamie is living with the hand that God has dealt him, albeit with some sadness and regret. The situation with his hateful, cheapskate uncle Lachlan is coming to a head, and Jamie must return to the land of his father. But does the murderous anger of his brother await him? And how will the situation with the two women he loves be resolved?

Higgs' sensitive empathy with her characters brings them to life and makes us feel their pain, their joy, their faith, transporting us into their world to the point that we're sad when the story is over and we have to close the book.

But it's not over yet. The fourth book in the series-that-wasn't-supposed-to-be-a-series, "Grace in Thine Eyes," will tell the story of Jamie's daughter Davina.

Note: For more of my book reviews, go to the reading page of my website.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Big sunglasses are back!

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Not too long ago I saw them popping up on the faces of Hollywood stars, and now they're becoming ubiquitous. That's right--BIG SUNGLASSES ARE BACK!

And I rejoice. I always thought big, ginormous sunglasses looked so glamorous and chic. They called to mind the ever-elegant Jackie O and Sophia Loren. But then, trendsetters starting running around in teensy granny glasses, looking like a bunch of John Lennon wannabe's...and suddenly it was painfully unfashionable, even laughable, to sport sunglasses that covered up not only your eyes, but half your face.

So I gave in and started wearing the teensy ones, even though they really weren't my best look. And it's not just a looks matter either, when you get to be my age---you're fighting wrinkles with every weapon in your arsenal, but your itsy bitsy granny glasses aren't even shielding your crow's feet? Come on! (I remember reading in one of Fran Drescher's books that she wasn't giving in to the tiny sunglasses trend, on skin-protection grounds alone. I had to admire her chutzpah in going against the fashion grain.)

Paris Hilton

Halle Berry

Finally, the tide is turning. Style mavens everywhere started turning up with good-sized eyewear again (of course, one of the first celebrities I saw wearing big sunglasses again was one of the miniscule Olsen twins, and anything would look big on them! They look like little insects with their huge sunglasses on!)

The delightful Kathy and Judy of WGN Radio were talking about the fact that large eyewear is back...not only in sunglasses, but in regular glasses. They gave kudos to women like Jackie O and Sophia Loren, who never stopped wearing them!

And remember, as recently as Ronald Reagan's funeral last year, we wondered why Nancy didn't update her maxi-glasses for more fashionable smaller ones? I read that Nancy's kids had tried to urge her to do just that, but she stuck to her guns. Those were the glasses she liked, and she was going to wear them!

Nancy Reagan

As for me, I now wear my got-them-at-TJMaxx-for-10-dollars big black Steve Madden sunglasses without fear of reprisal from the fashion police. And I couldn't be happier...because if big sunglasses are back, can big hair be far behind? :)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Quote o' The Day

La Shawn Barber
"You once admired my courage to speak boldly for conservative values. The same courage allows me to speak boldly for the biblical view of the Gospel. If I’ve lost favor with you, so be it. But the courage is still the same, and it will cease for no man."--La Shawn Barber

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Jane Fonda's conversion to Christianity a factor in her breakup with Ted Turner

I've always had very ambivalent feelings about Jane Fonda. While I have been diametrically opposed to her politics, I've stood in awe of her acting ability (post-"Barbarella," of course!)

When I heard a few years ago that Fonda had become a Christian, I was frankly skeptical. Rather pharasaically I suppose, I thought I'd sit back and wait to see what kinds of fruit resulted from this conversion.

Now, Fonda has written a book in which she says her conversion was one of two reasons for her break-up with media mogul Ted Turner. (See this FoxNews story.) Her conversion, and his "continuous cheating."

Fonda is quoted as saying she made the conversion without telling Turner: "I hadn't told Ted beforehand because by then I didn't feel we were on the same team. Alongside the frantic life we shared, I was living a parallel inner life, where I took care of my own needs ... I also knew that if I had discussed with him my need for spirituality, he would have either asked me to choose between him and it or bullied me out of it."

The book is My Life So Far. Sounds like very interesting reading.

Speaking of great reads...

I just finished a really wonderful book, A Table by the Window, by Lawana Blackwell. This book was so absorbing, with such a likable heroine and interesting situations, that I could hardly put it down. Expect a review soon!

Did I jinx the Illini?!?

OK, I admit it--I'm the biggest fairweather fan of all time. I really didn't care that much about college basketball this year until March Madness was in full swing--then I really started to care about the University of Illinois winning the national championship.

If I had left well enough alone and not cared, would they have won? Did I jinx them?

Oh well. It was fun ride, and there's always next year. (And that, by the way, is a phrase that Illinois sports fans are all too familiar with!)

Roger Powell

By the way, you've gotta love Illini forward Roger Powell, an unashamed Christian. Powell is quoted in this Fellowship of Christian athletes profile: "I want to let the Lord lead me—be it as a pastor, evangelist, youth minister or something else...I don’t know exactly what that calling is yet, but it’ll be in ministry.”

Very cool.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Poker-playing dogs repent (from "The Sacred Sandwich")

From The Sacred Sandwich: "The poker-playing dogs, immortalized in the famous painting by Cassius Coolidge, announced last week that they have repented of their former ways and have replaced their Friday night poker game with a Wednesday night Bible study. Laddie, top dog of the study group, hopes that their new painting, 'Dogs Reading Scripture' (seen above), will make them role models for other dogs caught in the vicious cycle of canine gambling. Says the collie leader, 'Our next goal is to stop drinking out of the toilet.'"

There's nothing like family...

As I mentioned here earlier, my husband's stepmom passed away on Good Friday after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's. We spent the latter part of last week commemorating her life.

For good or ill, funerals bring people together...old friends and family members we rarely see, and some who are nearby but busy schedules get in the way of spending time with. So often, it takes a funeral to make you stop and re-evaluate your own life and priorities. Family is one of the most important gifts God has given us. I want to make the most of it!

And now...for the first time in a long time...MONDAY MADNESS!

It's been a while since I did the Monday Madness quiz, so here goes (by the way, you can also answer these in your own blog, or in my comments section here):

1. ...did you have to turn your clocks forward one hour this weekend?--Yep. I love Daylight Savings Time!

2. ...what is the price of gasoline?--Crazy and depressing. It's hovering around 2.23 a gallon here. :(

3. ...which natural disasters, if any, do you have to worry about?--Pretty much just tornadoes, and this is the start of major tornado season here. However, although we often have tornado warnings and sightings, I haven't been in or near one yet.

The closest I came was July 5th, 2003, when portions of Rockford were hit by a very intense storm called a "microburst," that uprooted trees and downed power lines. (I wrote about this storm on my website.) Fortunately, no lives were lost in the storm, although very old trees were uprooted and snapped like toothpicks. Pretty scary!

4. you have a local newspaper, and if so, do you subscribe to it? Yes, we have the Rockford Register Star. Since the radio station subscribes to it, I don't have to.

5. you subscribe to a local cable company for television viewing? Yes, but it's too expensive and the prices seems to go up all the time.

6. ...what is the speed limit on your road/street?--30 mph on my residential street--40 on the main artery that my street is off of, and that I travel to work every morning.

7. far do you have to drive to the nearest post office?--About 6 or 7 minutes.

8. ...what is the average temperature in April?--The average temperature for April is 48 degrees here, but we're enjoying several days of 70s temps.

9. ...what is the average temperature in December?--The average temp for December is 25 degrees, but usually December seems a bit warmer than that...more like high 30's, low 40's during the day.

10. ...are your four seasons drastically different from one another?
If you want four distinct seasons, this is the place for you! Winter is usually cold, snowy, and long. Spring is gorgeous, once it finally gets underway, with sunshine and mild temperatures and gloriously blooming flowers and trees. Summer is hot and humid, although it's not unusual to have such a mild, cool summer that the local water parks struggles to attract customers. And fall is heavenly--a picture-perfect, textbook case of autumn, with vividly colorful trees, crisp air, blue skies, the works! It's most people's favorite season here.
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