Friday, June 29, 2007

How much of a coffee addict are you?

This is a really busy day for me! I'm getting ready for the first discussion of Cindy's Book Club tomorrow sister, her husband and my nephew arrive tomorrow afternoon...and I'm heavily involved in 4th of July stuff here at 101QFL.

So, hope you'll forgive me posting a quiz today.

Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Actually, I thought it would be worse than that! I can do without coffee if I have to, but I'd really rather not.

Everyone have a blessed weekend! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thirteen Top Baby Names in England and Wales

Do we in the USA not know Jack about Baby Names?

I've always been fascinated by names. I stumbled on this website listing the top baby names of 2006 in England and Wales...thought it was pretty cool!

(I have to divide up the boys and the girls' lists, and I'm going to add some extras, so it's actually going to end up a little more than 13. Humor me. :))

Top Five Boys' Names in England and Wales in 2006:

1. Jack
2. Thomas
3. Joshua
4. Oliver
5. Harry

Top Five Girls' Names in England and Wales in 2006:

1. Olivia
2. Grace
3. Jessica
4. Ruby
5. Emily

New additions to the top 50 in 2006:


Top Baby Names in Scotland in 2006


Top Baby Names in Northern Ireland in 2006


Interesting: Jack has been the top baby name in England/Wales for the past 12 years!

Interesting: The top baby names in America in 2006 were Jacob and Emily. Here's the full list.

Jack came in at #35.

Oh, the Jacks in the pictures? Jack Bauer (actor Keifer Sutherland, 24); Jack Shepherd (actor Matthew Fox, Lost; my brother-in-law, Jack Trieber. my comments section, let me know if you a) have a child with any of these names or b) are thinking about naming your child one of these names.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BJ Hoff's The Song Weaver

...and an update on Cindy's Book Club!

A BJ Hoff book is always an event for me. I count her Emerald Ballad series among my favorite books, I was delighted to read her Mountain Song Legacy trilogy, which culminates in The Song Weaver.

Vintage BJ Hoff

After reading the first two books in the Mountain Legacy series, Maggie McAuley, her family, and Jonathan Stuart had become very real to me. I was delighted to see Maggie and Jonathan fall in love, and was looking forward to how their story would conclude.

BJ Hoff doesn't disappoint. Maggie and Jonathan, now newly-married, face adversity together with a strong reliance on their faith. Heartwarming without being cloying, "The Song Weaver" draws the reader in with solid storytelling and nuanced characters. Hoff doesn't sugarcoat the realities of living in a coal-mining town in the early 1900's, but she doesn't skimp on hope and grace.

A running thread to the story is the power of music to heal, build up and bring joy--not surprising, as BJ Hoff herself is a music lover and teacher.

Like a warm visit with a good friend over a hot cup of tea, "The Song Weaver" offers comfort and satisfaction...and you don't want the visit to come to an end.

BJ tells me her next book will re-visit a character from her Emerald Ballad series. I can't wait!

An Update on Cindy's Book Club!

As I've mentioned earlier in this blog, Cindy's Book Club is an idea that my 101QFL co-host Darren Marlar and I came up with on a very experimental basis.

Based on Oprah's Book Club...albeit on a much, much tinier scale...Cindy's Book Club is aimed at promoting and encouraging the reading of Christian fiction.

As I scan the blogosphere, I realize--avid reader though I am--I've only scratched the surface of the incredible Christian fiction books that are out there. They deserve wide readership. Some of the best writers of our day are writing Christian fiction; I'm convinced of that.

Cindy's Book Club is my small way of doing what I can to spread the word about some of these books.

We're just days away from our first book discussion, and I'm SO excited about it! Our listeners have responded very well, especially considering this is our very first month.

On Saturday, I'll join around 20 women who have read our June pick, Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson, at the Cannoli Caffe here in Rockford. We'll get to know each other, drink delicious coffee, talk about "Quaker Summer," and I'll give away awesome door prizes...which will include a copy of our July pick, Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck. I can't wait!

A talk with Sharon Hinck

Although Sharon Hinck's "The Restorer" is our August pick, I ended up interviewing Sharon today (I'll save the interview for airing in late July. Kristin Billerbeck wasn't available this week...I look forward to talking with her next week.)

Anyway, I had the most delightful time talking with Sharon! The Restorer is an unusual book, and one that, frankly, I wasn't sure I was going to like. It's a unique blend of fantasy and faith--pretty hard to describe. But as I told Sharon, she grabbed me from the first paragraph. I had a really, really hard time putting the book down--I LOVED it-- and I'm thrilled to spread the word about it.

Fortunately for me and those who have yet to fall in love with The Restorer, this is a series as well. I can't wait to sink my teeth into The Restorer's Son!

Any ideas?

Although, naturally, only people who live in this area can physically take part in Cindy's Book Club, I'd like very much to open it up to the blogosphere. If you have any ideas on how I can do this, please let me know.

For starters, if you're so inclined, check out the Cindy's Book Club blog on a regular basis. If you would be so kind, put it on your blogrolls as well.

You're warmly invited to read the books along with us, and comment freely on the blog. I would love to see this idea take off and make a real difference in promoting Christian fiction and exposing it to a wider audience!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm a Rockin' Girl Blogger!

Who doesn't love to get an award? Many thanks to Grams of Talk to Grams for giving me the Rockin' Girl Blogger award. My duty now is to pass the award along to five other bloggers. Here goes!

Mei Flower--I've mentioned Mei several times, because I love her quirky sense of humor and her amusing stories about being a high school teacher.

Miss O'Hara--She's actually a "Mrs" now, after her beautiful wedding about a year ago, but Miss O is as feisty as ever. She's not one bit bashful about stating her opinions on the issues, and she's always interesting and fun to read.

2nd Cup of Coffee
--Linda's blog is always an interesting and enjoyable read..she's a talented writer and she has a great sense of humor too! I guess I must like people--and blogs--with great senses of humor.

A Flyover Blog--DK Raymer's blog is also interesting and absorbing. DK has a lot of good advice about writing and publishing as well.

A Life in Pages--Though she's a successful Christian author (one of my faovrites!), Angela Hunt blogs about a wide array of interesting topics.

So many other blogs I could name--tough to confine myself to five!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A tale of two fathers

"His purpose through me is not finished yet. I believe I miraculously survived and am alive to tell the remarkable testimony of hope and God's grace through tragedy. God can bring beauty from ashes. There is peace through Jesus. God is still good, all the time."--Robert Rogers

When a book titled Into the Deep crossed my desk a few weeks ago, I glanced at it, but put it aside, as I was reading at least three other books at the time. But something prompted me to pick the book up over the weekend, and I read it straight through. A slim volume, it's a quick read that is both extremely painful and unrelentingly hopeful.

Into the Deep is the story of Robert Rogers, who lost his wife and all four of his children in a flash flood in Missouri in 2003.

The scenes where Rogers has to identify the bodies of his children and his wife are nothing short of heart-wrenching. Early on in the book, when Rogers describes how playing with his family was among his greatest joys, and how he would literally bless them every day, we get a glimpse of the fact that this is an extraordinary man.

Not without hope

But it is in Rogers' response to the sudden destruction of his family that we see God's incredible peace and grace truly revealed. Yes, Rogers had his agonizing times of questioning God, and hours of anguished tears. But he was not without hope, and he has come through the tragedy "shining like gold."

After the tragedy, Rogers (who is an accomplished pianist and songwriter), was asked to speak at so many groups, churches and events, he ended up starting Mighty in the Land .

Says Rogers:

I started “Mighty in the Land” in January 2004 to change the way people live their Godly and family relationships - through a compelling message of Hope, Encouragement, and Priorities.

I want to challenge people to “Live a Life of No Regrets” through my family’s testimony.

I convey this message through spoken, written, and music ministry. I travel around the country and speak, play the piano, and sing without charge to groups who need this message.

The website tells Rogers' story and keeps track of his many public appearances, and the Mighty in the Land foundation " dedicated to advance adoption and care for orphans and special-needs children worldwide." (Rogers' youngest child, Alenah, was a special needs child adopted from China. She died, along with her mother and siblings, after having been with the Rogers' family for only eight months.)

Into the Deep

As I said, Into the Deep is a book about a tragedy, and if such things touch you deeply, you'll want to keep the Kleenex handy. But as you agonize with Robert Rogers over the loss of his family, you will also rejoice over a faith that is able to sustain a person over the most catastrophic and horrifically painful times. There is great comfort in the fact that Rogers can still say, "God is still good, all the time."

So why did I title this post, "A Tale of Two Fathers'?

As a news announcer on 101QFL and Radio 91 one of the first stories to confront me this morning was that of the arrest of Christopher Vaughn.

Vaughn is charged with the fatal shootings of his wife Kimberly and three children, Abigayle, Cassandra and Blake. Their bodies were found shot to death in their SUV along Interstate Highway 55 near Channahon, Illinois...ironically, just a few days before Father's Day. Vaughn had been shot in the thigh. He initially claimed his wife did the shooting.

Now, I realize that Vaughn is innocent until proven guilty, but I was struck by some of the surface similarities in this story and that of Robert Rogers. A man loses his entire family due to tragic circumstance...killed while together in their vehicle on what was supposed to be a fun family trip.

A jury of his peers will determine Vaughn's guilt or innocence; only he and God know the truth. But if Vaughn is guilty...if he really did perpetrate this heinous act on his innocent family...then, what a difference in these two fathers.

Robert Rogers lost his family. He would give anything to have them back. Without the grace of God, he wouldn't have been able to go on living.

If guilty, Vaughn snuffed out the lives of his family in cold blood. If he did this, what incredible, unthinkable evil.

If so, what a difference in two fathers.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

What American city are you?

You Are New York

Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.

Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

OK, I absolutely love New York City...but I don't think I really sound much like the description above. However, I took the quiz four times, and three out of four times it came out with this result. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The top 13 movies according to the American Film Institute

The American Film Institute last night unveiled its updated list of the top 100 movies in the past 100 years. Movies from the last ten years were added to the ballot. But, "Citizen Kane" is still voted the top American movie, ever. For the complete list, go to

I'm also boldfacing the ones I've seen. Let me know your favorites in my comments section!

1. "Citizen Kane," 1941.
2. "The Godfather," 1972.
3. "Casablanca," 1942. (I know, I know! My daughter keeps bugging me to see this, and I promise I will.)
4. "Raging Bull," 1980.
5. "Singin' in the Rain," 1952.
6. "Gone With the Wind," 1939.
7. "Lawrence of Arabia," 1962.
8. "Schindler's List," 1993.
9. "Vertigo," 1958.
10. "The Wizard of Oz," 1939.
11. "City Lights," 1931.
12. "The Searchers," 1956.
13. "Star Wars," 1977.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My interview with Sheila Walsh

"I discovered what it's like to face the end of your own dreams, but begin to discover perhaps what you've been looking for all your life--which is a relationship with Jesus Christ, based on nothing I brought to the table..."--Sheila Walsh

The Women of Faith 2007 Amazing Freedom conference is coming to Chicago on July 20th and 21st, and among the speakers is the lovely Sheila Walsh.

I had the opportunity of interviewing Sheila today for my radio show, Weekend Rockford, which airs on 101QFL and Radio 91.

Even though she was doing radio interviews at a rate of every fifteen minutes, Sheila was warm and gracious--and of course, I'm a sucker for a Scottish accent!

A struggle with depression

With a successful Christian music career under her belt, Sheila went on to become the co-host of the 700 Club. But a struggle with clinical depression ended her spot on that show, and brought her to the end of her rope.

Sheila tells me how she went from depression to being a Women of Faith Speaker:

Here, Sheila has encouragement for Christians who are struggling with clinical depression:

"God Has a Dream for Your Life"

"I believe that God wants to teach us how to dream again. I believe too that he wants to fulfill our dreams. It might not be in the way we anticipate, but if we are open to his heart, this great adventure will change us...I think that when we stop dreaming, a part of us dies. So I say it's time to dream again, knowing that with God, nothing is impossible!"--Sheila Walsh

Sheila Walsh's new book is God Has a Dream for Your Life.

She says God's dream for us is far different from the American dream of always needing "more, more, more." Rather, God's dream is that we will be set free, as illustrated in the Women of Faith 2007 theme verse: "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36

The Gigi Books

Sheila says one of the endeavors that gives her joy these days is writing her series for little girls, the Gigi Books. She tells me she loves the response of little girls to the series.

The next book from Sheila Walsh will be "Get Off Your Knees and Pray." She says the book is about what it's like to live a lifestyle of prayer, as opposed to ten minutes in the morning.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Books! I read books!

A book review from the archives

I am an incurable bookworm. Especially in these days of summer, when there is NOTHING worthwhile to watch on television, I head for the bookshelf.

While avidly promoting new and recent Christian fiction, it occurred to me that I have a cache of book reviews I've done in the past and stored on my website.

These books can't be considered old by any means, but perhaps they slipped through the cracks of your reading material. I decided I'm going to occasionally haul them out on this blog for your reading benefit.

My first offering from the archives:

Sadie's Song, by Linda Hall

How many times have you heard the cliche, "This book was so good I couldn't put it down," or "this is a real page-turner"? Well, I can truthfully say both about Sadie's Song by Linda Hall (Multnomah).

I picked up the book when a power outage gave me some serious spare time, and I literally read it straight through, stopping only for a few short breaks for absolute necessities! Yes, Sadie's Song is that riveting.

I had enjoyed a few of Linda Hall's previous books, including Katheryn's Peace and Island of Refuge, noting that Hall's is a unique voice in Christian fiction.

Her style is realistic and matter-of-fact, yet powerful and even beautiful, drawing the reader in with characters so believable you half expect to get a phone call from one of them, and stories so compelling and intriguing, you can't rest until you've reached the end. And then, you're disappointed that the ride is over!

Sadie's Song is the story of Sadie Thornton-- an average, slightly overweight and disorganized but loving mom of five. To all outward appearances, despite a house that's too small and money that's too tight, Sadie has a fine life--a handsome, loving husband who is a pillar of his church, and five beautiful children.

But appearances can be deceiving, as we're about to find out.

The story opens with Sadie's church prayer chain requesting prayer for a little girl who has disappeared. The news of the missing girl shocks the Maine fishing village where Sadie lives, especially since it follows another recent missing child case that ended in tragedy.

The case of the missing little girl is woven throughout the story. But even as that case touches Sadie's life on several levels, we see her precarious existence begin to unravel. She must deal with her increasingly volatile husband as well as each of her children, who are acting out in various ways--particularly her violent five-year-old son.

Meantime, well-meaning church members have been misled about her situation, the mom of the missing girl wants to be her friend, and Sadie...who long ago sacrificed her significant musical talent for her hearing mysterious music that no one else seems to hear.

As we discover more about the domestic violence Sadie lives with, and the new suspicions that plague her, we find ourselves becoming ever more sympathetic and drawn to her. Will Sadie have the courage to stand up to her husband and take control of her life? Will she re-embrace her long-abandoned musical talent? And most importantly, will she find that God has not deserted her?

These questions, interwoven with the mystery of the missing little girl, do indeed keep the pages turning.

Linda Hall belongs to an online message board frequented by Christian women, and she asked them for their personal stories of being abused by Christian husbands. This research, shocking and sad as it is, helps lend a tone of authenticity to this powerful tale.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Melange

Main Entry: mé·lange
Pronunciation: mA-'länzh, -'länj
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French, from mesler, meler to mix -- more at MEDDLE
: a mixture often of incongruous elements

A reading meme: do you peek ahead?

From Mei Flower comes these questions:

1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?
2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?

I completely agree with Mei on this. To both questions: NO, never.

As Mei says, reading is a journey. You let the book unfold. To peek at the back of the book would completely defeat the purpose.

I can think of only one exception: if I've pretty much given up on a book, but am just curious enough to want to know how it ends, I'll read the ending.

How about you? Give me your answers in my comments section, please!

Pornography: not funny, not cute, and not a victimless crime

I was very happy to read that an enormous worldwide pornography ring involving pedophilia has been broken up by British authorities.

Normally, I'm a rather passive, nonviolent person. But pornography, especially (but not limited to) that involving and victimizing innocent children, is enough to send me into a rage. To me, the lowest of the low scum of the earth would perpetrate something so awful, so heinous. In my opinion, pedophilia is the absolute nadir of depravity.

Coincidentally, author Angela Hunt mentions television's portrayal of porn in a blog post about the supposedly family-friendly TV show, "Kyle XY"...which is apparently not that family-friendly. Writes Angela:

"In another scene, the kids were tussling with a box that contained a Oujia board. The ninth grade boy didn't want his sister to play the game. The reason why became obvious when the box spilled, revealing the boy's stash of pornographic magazines. At that point, all the kids in the room laughed, and an 11th grade boy said, 'Dude, I've got one word for you: Internet.'

I'm sorry, but I personally know too many adults whose marriages are on the rocks because of Internet pornography. Yet here it was, presented as innocent, funny, natural, normal..."

I've seen porn portrayed as funny and harmless on countless TV sitcoms. Actually, it's not a laughing matter. Just ask its victims.

UPDATE: Apparently La Shawn Barber has even less tolerance for these people than I do. The woman has convictions of steel!

Second Weddings

An interesting article in the USA Today about second weddings. Apparently, second-weds aren't settling for a quiet ceremony in front of a judge, with the bride wearing a beige suit. They're going all out...and some of their friends and family, who have already shelled out for gifts, showers, etc, in previous weddings, aren't too thrilled with the idea. Any thoughts?

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Ruth Bell Graham passes away

"We've rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven."--Billy Graham

Comments are resonating throughout the Christian blogosphere today about the passing of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham. She died Thursday (June 14, 2007) at the age of 87.

A rekindled romance

I love Billy Graham's comment about "rekindling the romance" of their youth. How incredibly sweet...and how wonderful to know that true love can last far beyond the beauty and vigor of youth--or as Shakespeare put it, "Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle's compass come..."

A remarkable woman

By all accounts, Mrs. Graham was a remarkable woman. Her children are reflections of her lifelong devotion to the Lord:

"Between 1945 and 1958, Mrs. Graham gave birth to five children, whom she raised – sometimes single-handedly – while her husband was away on extended national and international evangelistic crusades. The three daughters and two sons who survive her are all actively involved in ministry, including eldest son Franklin, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) founded by his father."--from a news release

From President Bush:

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Ruth Bell Graham, a remarkable woman of faith whose life was defined by her belief in a personal, loving, and gracious God. She was an encouraging friend, accomplished poet, and devoted mother of five and grandmother of 19.

"Ruth's marriage to her husband Billy was a true and loving partnership. As the wife of the world's most beloved evangelist, she inspired people around the world with her humor, intelligence, elegance, and kindness. Laura and I offer our prayers and condolences to Billy and the Graham family. --President Bush

Share your thoughts

From her online memorial, this loving comment:

“I cannot fathom a world in which she is not present. I have been comforted, inspired, and helped over the years by her passion for the lost (around the world, and especially for China); her dignity and grace as a wife and mother in the spotlight; and her ongoing legacy of books and poetry. One Wintry Night remains a treasured volume in our home. Sitting by my Laughing Fire and Legacy of a Pack Rat have moved me, challenged me, and brought me laughter and tears. I feel as though I’ve lost a friend. I am praying for Billy and the entire family. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.”--Donna-Jean

Note: I am pretty sure that is my friend and fellow-blogger Donna-Jean of Liberty and Lily.
Look at the lovely memorial page here, and add comments if you wish to.

I'm sad to say I've never read anything by Ruth Bell Graham. Please recommend your favorites to me in my comments section. And go out and have a blessed weekend!
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(Hat tip to Karla of Looking towards Heaven for the lovely photo of Billy and Ruth Graham.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thirteen Things I Miss About My Dad

With Father's Day coming up, I can't help but have fond memories of my own father, who passed away in July 2004. (I blogged about his passing here.) I seem to miss him more instead of less as time goes by. Here are 13 of the many things I miss about my dad:

1) His dedicated and passionate love for the Lord

2) His sense of humor--including his corny-but-funny jokes

3) His love of music--something he passed down to all of his children

4) His beautiful singing voice. I can still hearing him sing his signature song, Submission:

Not what I wish to do
Nor where I wish to go
For who am I, that I should choose my way?
The Lord shall choose for me
Tis better far, I know,
So let him bid me go, or stay.

5) Hearing him play the trombone--something he continued to do until he got really sick

6) Talking with him. Long, meaty conversations, about everything from politics and current events to theology and everything in between. I miss that so much.

7) Going on walks with him. Every time I visited my folks in Texas or they came up to visit me, my dad and I would go walking together.

8) Hearing him pray. Many's the night I would hear him praying in another room as I fell asleep.

9) The way he would literally be on the edge of his seat when there was a fight scene in a movie or TV show

10) The way he would play with his grandchildren--horsing around with them when they were younger, playing Dominoes or other board games with them as they grew older

11) The funny songs he would make up on the fly--and often inserting our names into
existing songs

12) The way he would greet me when he phoned me: "Cindy? This is your daddy..."

13) The many ways he showed his love for his family

I miss you, Daddy.

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments.

The Christian Carnival is Up!

Head on over to to see the latest edition of the Christian Carnival. Looks like some really good stuff there! And Nick has done a great job of showcasing the posts in a creative and fun way.

If you want to take part in the Carnival or know more about it, go here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Way-back Wednesday

...a Baby Boomer quiz!

Often on Wednesday, I'll take a trip back into the archives of this blog. I call it "Way-back Wednesday." Today, I give you something I originally posted in June 2005. Enjoy!


Remember reaching into a huge cooler of pop bottles chilling in ice-cold water? Remember taking a long swig of Coca-Cola that was so cold it had slivers of ice in it? Remember paying 20 cents a gallon for gasoline? Remember listening to top 40 AM radio?

If you do, you're probably a baby boomer.

My 101QFL cohost, Darren Marlar, gave me this quiz on the air this morning, and it was a nice little walk down Memory Lane:

Look at the items below. You'll know that you qualify as a true Baby Boomer if you remember...

1. "Cruising" on a Friday night, listening to the Top 40 on your AM radio.--(Oh, yeah! I don't even remember being aware of FM radio until I was a sophomore or junior in high school...and it definitely wasn't top 40.)

2. How much popcorn you made when you got that first microwave.

3. When there were only 3 TV channels -- and it was so hard to choose what to watch!--(At least you didn't need a remote!)

4. Where you were when JFK was shot...(or RFK)...(or MLK, Jr.)...

5. When the "Domino Theory" meant something other than planning to have pizza for dinner.

6. Who shot J.R.?

7. How scary it was to open that first Apple II...(or Tandy)...(or Commodore) add a card to increase the RAM from 16K all the way up to 64K.

8. When your teenage son or daughter first told you about the Internet.--(I'm on the young side for that one--my kids weren't teen-agers yet, but I remember when news stories were trumpeting the soon arrival of what they kept calling "the information superhighway.)

9. When the Beatles sang "I want to hold your hand" to Ed Sullivan.--(Yep.)

10. The unbelievable taste of good ol' Ripple wine.--(Have to pass on that one.)

11. How "neat" it was to hear the Beach Boys actually sing surfing music at the beach, on your transistor radio.--(Transistor radios! Loved 'em. My sister had one that looked exactly like a Coke can. My mom said she almost threw it away a million times, thinking it really was a Coke can.)

12. When you bought your first car that actually had seatbelts installed.--(Not really...I always remember seatbelts being there.)

13. When you said that you'd never trust anyone over 30.--(Nope...that was the "hippie" era. I was still pretty young then.)

14. What a TV test pattern looked like, when the channel went off the air at midnight.--(Yep, and the national anthem playing which meant it was time to go to bed. That was actually a good thing--a point at which you could NO LONGER WATCH TV.)

15. When we gave up trying to win "hearts and minds" and settled for "peace with honor".

16. When the price of gas jumped up to 50 cents per gallon.

17. When everybody did the "bump" in their leisure suits at the disco.--(I never frequented discos, but I sure do remember that era. Eeesh...leisure suits. How could we have ever thought those were cool? I bet they take hundreds of years to decompose in the landfills...)

18. Making love, not war, on your way to Woodstock in your flowered VW van.--(Again, too early for me.)

19. Watching the first man walk on the moon with "one small step..."--(Yep, I was glued to the (black and white) TV when that happened.)

20. When Carnaby Street came to Main Street, and everyone wore mini-skirts and platform shoes.

How many of those items do you remember?

Add up your score and compare with the grade levels below:

16 - 20 remembered: You qualify as a true Baby Boomer -- you were there and remember it all.

11 - 15 remembered: You're probably old enough, but they say that "memory is one of the first things to go..."

6 - 10 remembered: It's nice to have you youngsters join us here today.

Less than 6 remembered: Either you're real young or you once were a friend of Timothy Leary's -- wasn't he the one who said "If you remember the '60's, then you weren't really there?"

I have a few to add to the list

Remember when every girl wore their hair long, straight and parted down the middle? You could look at your high school yearbook and it would be rows and rows of girls with that look (except for the black girls, whose Afros were so big they sometimes didn't fit in the picture.)

With my naturally curly hair, oh what pains I took to obtain that look. I spent every night with my hair in a pony-tail on top of my head, rolled into two enormous rollers bigger than orange juice cans.

Remember, years earlier than that (circa 1968, '69) when everyone wore fishnet hose? The really cool girls had different colored ones to match with every outfit.

Remember when yarn ribbons were the must-have accessory for hair?

Remember Dippity-do?

Did you have a crush on either of the guys on Alias Smith and Jones? (Read about my crush on Pete Duel.)

Which Monkee did you think was the cutest?

Got any to add to the list?

Originally posted June 2005

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My blogging story

OK, I'll bite! Chili at Don't Try This At Home has a blogging carnival going on in which she's asking people about their personal blogging story. So here I go:

How did you start blogging?

It actually started with my website. The first time I can remember hearing the word "blog" is about five years ago, when I mentioned to my friend Don Elbourne, who is something of a computer whiz, that I would love to have a website. Don said he'd design a website for me, but he asked me if I wouldn't rather have a blog instead, that I could easily add things to. I was so ignorant at the time that I said, "No, I'd rather have a website." I really had no idea what blogging was all about.

The site is still there, but it's fairly static...I rarely change anything on it.

About a year later I was reading another friend's blog when I thought, "Hey, I could do this." So I signed on with Blogger on October 10, 2003. Here's my first post:


I guess this is my introduction to the world of blogging....a modern technological wonder that appears to be tailor-made for people like me, who can't seem to stop putting their thoughts on paper (or cyber-paper, as the case may be!)

I think this is going to be fun!

And it has been fun. I enjoy it immensely.

Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it?

I can't say I started out intending to have a "big" following--(and I still don't think of my blog as having a "big" following)--but I surprised myself by how quickly my competitive spirit kicked in. In real life, I really am not competitive. But not long after I started blogging, I realized I wanted people to read my blog.

So I began actively trying to attract readers, and I still seek to attract readers. I commented on other people's blogs, participated in blog showcases like The Christian Carnival, and even e-mailed "big" bloggers and asked them to visit my blog. I still do these things. The fact is, even though blogging is a personal outlet for my writing and creativity, I do want an audience!

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

At first, my blog was more journal-y...more about me and stuff I was doing. I still include such things, but my blog has become more topical. I do the news and I'm a morning show co-host on a Christian radio station, , so I have a never-ending supply of info to pass along to my readers, some really important and some just plain fun.

I'm passionate about Christian fiction, and do frequent author interviews and book reviews. I like to use the blog to help promote the best of Christian fiction.

Lately, I've become more concerned about using this platform as "salt and light" in the blogosphere. I want to make it clear that I'm a Christian, and hopefully attract others to Christ. My personal mission statement, for several years, has been the Mother Teresa quote: "O Lord, let Your light shine on others through me." That is my goal in life and on this blog.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

See my reply to the previous question.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

Probably how to use pictures and links to make the blog more visually interesting and timely. But I learned that pretty quickly.

Also, I really don't mind Blogger, and I can't see myself leaving it...but I wish I had gotten a more attractive, less generic design earlier on. I've just had my Bluebird Blog design for a week or so, but I'm so thrilled at how Susie personalized my blog and made it soooo much more visually appealing. Wish I'd done it earlier!

Do you make money with your blog?

OK, maybe someone can help me with this. A while back, I signed up with Google Adsense. But I don't remember how to check on my account! If I was making any money from it, would they e-mail me or something? I honestly don't remember how it works. The ads are there on my sidebar, but I don't know if they're earning anything.

I'm intrigued by the idea of having ads on my blog. I may look into it. Does anyone have any advice for me?

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

My husband reads it pretty much everyday, but NEVER comments!?!

I think my son Jonathan, my sister Bev and my mom read it fairly regularly. Also some of my cousins in Texas. Other than that, no. My other son and daughter pretty much have no interest in it at all, I think. Bev, Jon and my cousins occasionally comment--thank you, dear ones!

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

Don't use the word "random" or "random thoughts" or "random musings" in your title or's been done to death. I think I used "random" in my description early on, but I dropped it. My blog isn't really random anymore, most of the time, unless I do a post specifically made up of random thoughts.

Find something to set yourself apart, if possible. I play up the fact that I'm a radio personality. Do you have a hobby or something interesting about your background or career? Do you have a great sense of humor? Are you artistic?
Be yourself and let your personality shine through.

And here's a third one, no extra charge: Don't let blogging become a chore or one more thing you "have" to do. Blog only if you truly enjoy it!

Have you heard the "Jungle Jam" radio show?

...and today is "Buy Yourself a Toy" Day

Wikipedia describes Jungle Jam this way:

"Jungle Jam and Friends: the Radio Show!, or just Jungle Jam, is a radio show with Evangelical Christian themes as well as witty, entertaining stories geared for both juvenile, teen, and adult audiences that take place either in the Jungle or with the Jungle Jam gang. The show also features an and Friends segegment, usually an adventure on RazzleFlabben Island with Marvy Snuffleson. Created by Jeff Parker and featuring the voice, writing and sound editing talents of Nathan Carlson, Phil Lollar, David Buller and many others, the program first aired in 1993. Within two years, it was airing on over 800 radio stations. Cassettes of the broadcast were available from Word Entertainment until the year 2000. At that point, the show was taken over by Fancy Monkey Studios, Inc., who sell CDs of the broadcast at"

I had never heard of Jungle Jam until "Marlar in the Morning" host Darren Marlar came to 101QFL. He's received permission from to serialize the Jungle Jam stories in shorter form here on the station.

The stories play early in the morning when kids are getting ready for or being taken to school, and kids are not the only ones who love it. The stories are humorou and extremely well-acted, -written, and -produced. They teach Christian values in an extroardinarly charming way.

I've already decided that my grandson, Payton, will be hearing Jungle Jam as soon as he's old enough to enjoy it! You can order the CD's at I highly recommend them!

Buy Yourself a Toy Day...

When my 101QFL co-host Darren Marlar informed me that today is "National Buy Yourself a Toy Day" and asked me what my favorite toy was as a child, the first thing that popped into my head was "Etch a Sketch"!

Sure, I loved baby dolls and Barbie dolls. But I can remember amusing myself for hours with an Etch a Sketch. (Come to think of it, it's amazing how many of us grew up quite happily with the complete absence of high-tech toys. No video games or computers for us--and we liked it fine!)

The tape recorder

One of my favorite ways to amuse myself did have at least some primitive technology. It was the tape recorder--and as I look back on it, I see that it was a clear sign of what I would later end up doing as a career.

I was probably only eight or nine when my sister and I first began singing into my dad's reel-to-reel, while my parents were missionaries in Lebanon. We didn't have TV, so we had to get creative about coming up with fun things to do.

We would sing, have our own "radio shows," even read "commercials" out of magazines.

Later, back in the states, a cassette recorder became one of my best friends. I would "interview" anyone who would let me, and again record my own radio shows.

It's funny, I didn't realize in those days that I wanted to do radio as a living. I always wanted to be a writer. But even back then, my life path was making itself pretty evident.

But enough about me...

What was your favorite toy as a child? Did you like it enough that you'd go out and buy it for yourself, on this "Buy Yourself a Toy" day? Or maybe you still have the original...or maybe you'd like to buy yourself one of today's toys? Let me know in my comments section!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Robin Lee Hatcher's Return to Me

"It was Roxy, the prodigal, who captured my attention at first, but I also loved getting to know Elena, the good daughter, and discovering her hurts and hopes. By the time I was done writing the novel, I'd come to care about every member of the Burke family. I hope you will, too."--Robin Lee Hatcher

One of two siblings goes off to waste an inheritance on riotous living, while the other sibling stays home and does the right thing. The wayward sibling returns, broken and beaten down, to a joyous welcome from the father.

Sound familiar? Yes, it's the biblical story of the Prodigal Son. But in her new book, Return to Me, Robin Lee Hatcher has taken the essential elements of the age-old tale to spin a modern story of two sisters. And under her skillful pen, the result is an enjoyable and absorbing read.

I've enjoyed many of Robin Lee Hatcher's books because of her ability to weave a story and make the characters come to life. Return to Me is no exception.

The story begins with Roxy Burke at the end of her rope. Her quest for singing stardom in Nashville has come to a dead end, thanks to her own unwise, prideful and irresponsible decisions. She has literally wasted all her inheritance, is broken and desparate.

That's when she decides to go back home to Boise, Idaho.

The story of how her return is accepted by her father, Jonathan, and Elena--the "good" sister--is interesting enough. But Hatcher adds a complication: Elena is now engaged to marry Roxy's former love, Wyatt.

It's to Hatcher's credit that we pull for Roxy, despite the obvious mistakes she's made and the bad things she's done. There is an appealing vulnerability to her character.

Woven throughout the story are flashbacks into the characters' past lives that give us a greater understanding of them and provide insight into their present actions. The result: you care about Roxy, Elena and Wyatt, and they become real people.

Hatcher makes no apologies for including a clear Christian message in the story. You will finish the book with your faith affirmed, and with the satisfaction of having experienced a very good read.

Cindy's FYI--Monday, June 11, 2007

--Is there a link between children's vaccines and autism? The first in a series of hearings on the issue takes place in a federal court in Washington today.

--Apple is in talks with Hollywood studios to make movies available for rental through iTunes.

--A glimmer of good news when it comes to gas prices.

--Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson sees islamofascism and neoatheism as twin threats.

Friday, June 08, 2007

An update on Cindy's Book Club!

...and the "cutting" issue revisited

As I blogged about earlier, we here at 101QFL are experimenting with something this summer. Given my passion for fiction--particularly Christian fiction--my co-host Darren Marlar and I separately came up with the idea of "Cindy's Book Club." (We were so surprised when we found out we had both been thinking about this idea, unbeknownst to each other!)

You know, like Oprah's Book Club, only on a MUCH smaller scale. OK...on a miniscule scale, comparatively.

But my thinking is, if Oprah has done so much for fiction, why couldn't I do my small part to promote Christian fiction?

A measure of success already

During the months of June, July and August, I will be featuring three different Christian fiction titles. (Admittedly, they are somewhat female-focused, but our target demographic happens to be a female "soccer-mom" type.)

The first book is Quaker Summer, by Lisa Samson--a perfect choice to kick things off for the summer.

We're partnering with the Cannoli Caffe locally, and several bookstores are on board with us to help promote it.

We even have a Cindy's Book Club blog--you can go there to find out the details of how we're doing this. At the end of each month, we'll have an actual book discussion at th Cannoli Caffe, where participants can discuss the book, enjoy their delicious coffee at a reduced price, and win door prizes.

I have no idea how successful the book discussion will be, but we do have some solid figures from the bookstores. People are requesting the book, and in some cases, books are practically flying off the shelves. One bookstore received 8 copies one day, and six of them sold within two hours. Another bookstore also sold 7 copies in a matter of a few hours. Now the bookstores are stocking up, making sure they have enough.

To me, this is VERY encouraging. This project is in an experimental stage, and it may undergo some changes throughout the next few months, but I feel its goal of promoting Christian fiction is already starting to be accomplished!

You can take part

Even if you don't live in the area and therefore can't come to the book discussion, I'd love for you to take part. If you've already read "Quaker Summer," I'd love for you to comment on the Cindy's Book Club blog. If you haven't read it, pick up a copy today and let me know on the Book Club blog how you're enjoying it or any thoughts you may have on it.

Also, for your info, the next books will be (July) Split Ends, by Kristin Billerbeck and (August) The Restorer, by Sharon Hinck.

If this is successful, there's a chance the radio station will continue the Book Club past the summer. And even it's not extended, I'm thinking about keeping the Book Club alive through my blogs.

Reaction from my post about cutting...

"I was very disappointed in the Cut song - and couldn't imagine a Christian young woman singing it, without a context of other songs on the album or website that offer clear hope. There are ways to do it that aren't 'preachy'
if that's her concern, I don't know."--the mother of a girl who struggled with cutting

My post the other day about cutting and Plumb's song, Cut, elicited an e-mail from a woman whose daughter began cutting herself at age 15. The woman describes the shock and horror of discovering this was happening in her solid Christian home.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Fast-forward several years: The daughter is doing well and is now married to a fine Christian man.

But this mom shares my concern about the song "Cut" failing to provide any hope for the cutter:

"I'd never heard of Plumb, so I went to her site, where that song was instantly playing. I found it very disturbing.

"There is nothing in that song that in any way is helpful, in the true sense of 'helping.' It identifies the pain. If that is considered 'helpful' in showing a young woman - or a parent - how this feels or that someone else feels it, then I suppose it is 'helpful.' But it offers absolutely no true help or hope - and in fact, I believe it adds to the haunting, eerie, romantic tragedy-feel of it."

As I mentioned in the previous post, kudos to Plumb for her compassion and her desire to raise awareness of the issue. This is not meant to trash her as a person and an artist. However, I think many parents and friends of cutters may echo that mom's concerns about the song.

If you are a cutter reading this post, please read my other post about the issue, which offers hope in Jesus Christ, as well as several helpful links.

And may all of you have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thirteen Things to Let You Know About

1. Paris Hilton is already out of jail. But she won't be out partying for at least 40 days.

2. Some companies have a Results Only policy? This is my kind of job. Hat tip to Goodbrownie.

3. (In my best mom voice): I told you so! I knew those shoes with wheels on them had to be dangerous.

4. She's being called the Polish Anne Frank: diary discovered. Hat tip to Lisa Samson.

5. Letters written by the late author Flannery O'Connor are being made available to the public. Hat tip to

6. Model Gisele Bundchen thinks no one is a virgin these days:

"Today no one is a virgin when they get married ... show me someone who's a virgin!" she said.

Actually, I could point her to quite a few.

7. A new poll suggests that the more people watch television, the less likely they are to go to church or believe in traditional morals.

8. The San Antonio Spurs have a secret weapon: a group of nuns who are praying for them and cheering them on.

9. Ford has passed Toyota in initial quality rankings. (Can I get a "Yay!" for American-made?)

10. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was a real life hero recently.

11. In case your mom never taught you or you didn't take home ec, this video will teach you how to sew on a button. Hat tip to The Evangelical Outpost.

12. A lesbian is suing the Christian online dating service eHarmony. Hat tip to La Shawn Barber.

13. Author Jean Blue is proof that even great grandmas can write mystery romance.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

The Christian Carnival is Up!

Actually, it's been up since yesterday. I'm a little belated in my announcement.

What, you ask, is the Christian Carnival? It's an opportunity for you to get your blog noticed and to introduce yourself to other bloggers.

Check out the current Carnival, hosted this week by The Bible Archive. (Rey did a very clever job in rounding up the posts.)

And go here to subscribe to an e-mail list that will keep you informed about upcoming editiosn of the Carnival.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"I am cut"

A song about cutting creates awareness...and some controversy

I do not want to be afraid
I do not want to die inside just to breathe in
I'm tired of feeling so numb
Relief exists I find it when
I am cut--from Cut, by Plumb

This morning on 101QFL's Marlar in the Morning show, Darren and I got a call from a father who just found out over the weekend that his 17-year-old daughter is cutting herself. The caller told us that his "world blew apart" when he found out--actually, through a school guidance counselor--that his daughter was inflicting wounds on herself.

She's not alone. Statistics are hard to come by, because it's a practice that's easy to hide. But when a "cutter" spoke up on the singer Plumb's message board, it was flooded with other young people who cut.

This morning's caller asked us to play Plumb's song, "Cut," because he sees it as a cutter's cry for help.

Ironically, we had gotten complaints about the song because it's about cutting--and because although it expresses a cutter's emotional pain, it doesn't offer any hope.

After we played the song this morning, we got an e-mail from another listener:

I was one of the people that emailed to question that song being played. The song does not offer hope in Jesus Christ. I know Cindy said that this morning and that was my issue. I know someone who Cuts and she called the song CUT as “her song.” She heard it and said oh that is "my" song. She did not know I knew she cut at that time.

I know there are a lot of people doing this but this song does not offer a way out and almost I feel encourages it because all it says is “I only find peace when I am cut.”

When I emailed before I stated if the song was followed with help for those that are cutting then the song would make an impact on those listening to the song.

A conversation point

Plumb dedicates at least one song on each of her albums to people who are hurting.

“Those songs opened the floodgates for abuse victims to have conversations about what they were going through, and helped to define my mission as an artist. I decided to dedicate one song on each album to people who are hurting, because these songs have let people know they’re not alone, which is the first step to healing.”

She spoke to CNN about "Cut," explaining that it has fulfilled her goal of being a touchstone for conversation about cutting and allowing cutters to open up about their problem.

You can see the video of the CNN interview here.

No Hope Offered?...There Is Hope

I commend Plumb for her compassion and for raising awareness about a very important issue. But I agree with the e-mailer that the song falls short. It doesn't even insinuate that there is hope for the pain or numbness of the cutter. I believe the song could have included a glimmer of that hope without weakening its dramatic message.

If you are a cutter, please know that there is hope in Jesus Christ. Here is a site that explains, simply, how to become a Christian.

Perhaps you already are a Christian. Please know that you can go to God and His Word for the help you need...and please, talk to a trusted counselor about what you're doing. Please seek help--it is out there.

From the testimony of a former cutter:

A person enslaved by a pattern of self-abuse does not have to stay there. It may take a long time to recover. There may be temptations to cut, or even lapses on the path of healing. Teens need to know that "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when [not if] you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Someone breaking the habit of self-injury can still be hit with destructive thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, but simply re¬membering and believing the truth can go a long way toward setting them free. Addressing the Galatians, the Apostle Paul told God's people to "stand firm and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). For the young cutter, that yoke can feel absolutely overwhelming. But I am living proof that there is hope!

Here are some other resources about cutting:

A Window into a Cutter's World

Help for Cutters or Those Who Self-Injure

Redemption on the Razor's Edge

Hurting Beyond Words: The Silent Agony of Self-Injury (a booklet you can order)

Helping a Teen Cutter

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A dose of Momsense

(Hat tip to Amy of Amy's Humble Musings.) If you're a mom, or if you have one--you're gonna love this!

By the way, that's the delightful Anita Renfroe, who tours with Women of Faith.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Book Trailers--The Wave of the Future?

...and a great idea for your book trailer!

Not long ago, I stumbled on the blog of an author who had "trailers" for her books--just as movies have trailers that give you a preview of what the movie is about.

While I didn't care for this author's genre, I thought the idea was pretty cool. Why not use the Internet to provide cool previews of your book? I wondered if Christian authors were trying this technique. I honestly had not heard of it before.

Just a few days later, I get an e-mail from Christian fiction writer Brenda Coulter.

Brenda writes:

"In the past couple of years authors and publishers have been producing "book trailer" videos in steadily increasing numbers, yet most internet-savvy fiction readers still don't know they exist. The trailer for my soon-to-be-released inspirational romance novel is an excellent example of how some writers are turning their creative skills to making promotional videos that will intrigue readers. I hope you'll consider posting it on your blog."

Check out Brenda's trailer here.

And now my great idea...

If you're an author who is considering creating book trailers, why not add a voice-over? I just happen to be a professional voice-over artist, and my prices are VERY reasonable!

How do you like me now?

Do you like the new look of my blog? I LOVE it! Susie of Bluebird Blogs created this look for me. She is awesome, and I highly recommend her if you're considering a new design. I think it captures the spirit of how I envision my blog. Let me know what you think!

Friday, June 01, 2007

My husband doesn't watch commercials.

That's not my husband in the picture, but it could be--it certainly captures one of his typical poses! He doesn't have a lot of time to watch television, so when he does, I guess he figures he's not going to spend time on commercials. I've told him that all of the power and money and ideas on Madison Avenue are wasted on him.

Well, apparently he's not alone. According to the Associated Press, new research indicates that more than half of the users of digital video recorders (DVR's) fast-forward through commercials while watching prime-time network TV. (Read more here.

OK, commercials can be annoying...and even disturbing. And network TV shows seem to choose their most vulgar clips to use in their promo's. But aren't there a few TV ads that you consider your favorites?

The Billy Graham Library Dedicated

The new Billy Graham library, set to open to the public next Tuesday, was dedicated yesterday.

The 88-year-old evangelist spoke for some seven minutes to the august crowd. But I think one of the sweetest things was the tribute he paid to his ailing wife, Ruth. Ruth Bell Graham has been bedridden for months. Said Graham: "I go in to be with her several times a day...I go in and see her and remember all the great things we've shared together."

He added, his voice heavy with emotion, "I want to honor her, and tell you how much I love her, and tell you what a wonderful woman she has been."

Graham allowed the museum to be built only after he was assured it would be aimed at glorifying God, not Billy Graham.

Is this Nessie?

An amateur scientist claims to have captured the Loch Ness monster on videotape. Watch this Scottish news report.(I must admit I was almost distracted from the story by the lovely Scottish accents of the newscasters!)

Everyone go out and have a blessed and wonderful weekend!
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