Friday, November 30, 2007

Tag! I'm "it"!

I've been tardy in responding to these tags, so here I go! (By the way, no time to tag anyone else with these, so feel free to do them on your own blog or in my comments section.) Barbara of Tidbits and Treasures tagged me with the "Eight Random Facts" meme. Here are the guidelines:

Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
Write a post about your own 8 random things.
Post these rules.

At the end of your blog, tag 8 people and post their names.Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged.

Here are my random facts:

1. I got to ask astronaut John Glenn a question during a student news conference when I was in the fifth grade! I think that kick-started my career as a reporter.

2. I’m a fairly expert calligrapher,

3. I do a mean Dolly Parton impression.

4. My favorite TV shows are "Lost" and "American Idol."

5. The scariest thing I've ever done was running from the U.S Capitol grounds during what everyone thought was a terrorist attack, but was actually just a plane accidentally venturing into DC airspace! I thought I was going to die!

6. I was a missionary's kid...I lived in Beirut, Lebanon from March of 1965 to June of 1967.

7. If I was not a radio personality, I would do voice-over work full-time
and/or be a published writer of fiction.

8. My favorite cologne is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel.
Victoria Gaines of the lovely Light for the Writer's Soul" tags me with this "Writer's Strengths" meme.

I feel somewhat inadequate to answer this meme, since I am not a published writer...unless you count this blog and some articles and reviews I've done for Infuze Magazine online.

But I am a professional writer, since I write much of my own news copy and feature stories for the radio. So here are the guidelines for the meme:

Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment. Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you’d like to see share their strengths. strengths:

1) Writing comes very naturally to's really as easy as speaking or even breathing for me.

2) I have a fairly extensive vocabulary, and I'm a good speller.

3) I have a real love for's something I truly enjoy.

4) I'm fairly good at condensing a news story down to its most essential facts.

5) I believe I have an instinctive sense for what interests people--what they want to read about or hear about (on the radio.)

Well, that's it. I'm off for an appearance at the holiday open house of The Scroll Bookstore here in Rockford. It should be fun!

A blessed and lovely weekend to all...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

13 Things You Need to Know!

If you're busily cruising Thursday Thirteens and you don't have time to check out these links, do bookmark this page and come back later!

1. The cute Gingerbread House you see here is just too much fun. Created by Jenny of Allsorts, you can decorate it yourself by going here. Should be lots of fun for your kids too! (Hat tip to Barb at Stray Thoughts for this one.)

2. At this time of year, I start getting a rush of traffic from people trying to find info about beloved Christian singer Evie Tornquist Karlsson, whose "Come On, Ring those Bells" is a holiday classic. I'm setting up another holiday interview with Evie--but you may want to check out my past interviews with her.

For an audio interview I did with her last Christmas, go here. For a transcripted interview from 2004, go here.

3. Looking for a lovely Christmas-themed fiction book to enjoy while taking much-needed breaks from the holiday madness? I've got it for you. I just interviewed Robin Jones Gunn about her novella, Finding Father Christmas. The perfect gift for yourself or someone on your list who loves fiction.

4. BlogRush--Have you been noticing the BlogRush widget on my sidebar? I've been a part of BlogRush for several weeks now, but I decided not to blog about it until I'd tried it out for a while. It claims to potentially increase you blog traffic like crazy. I've found it, so far, to have increased my readership only very modestly, but I'm still giving it a go. If you're interested, go to the website and watch a video about it. There's no harm in trying it. I've positioned myself in the books category. I was initially in the "Christian" category, but all sorts of things were showing up that weren't remotely Christian.

5. I mentioned yesterday the wonderful diabetic-friendly pumpkin pie recipe I made for Thanksgiving (hat tip to Mel of The Amazing Shrinking Mom.) It occurred to me that people often make pumpkin recipes for Christmas as well, so if you're interested, it's here. Trust me, no one will be able to tell it's "healthy." My whole family enjoyed it.

6. Christmas Music Alerts: My daughter, who works at Borders, tells me one of their top-sellers every day is Josh Groban's Christmas CD, Noel. I must have this!

7. Another Christmas CD I can't wait to hear is Michael W. Smith's It's a Wonderful Christmas. Since his previous two Christmas CDs are among my favorite Christmas music, I can't wait to see if this one measures up. My friend Randy, a former radio colleague, highly recommends it.

8. Speaking of Christmas music, Jars of Clay has a new Christmas album out as well, and they will be doing a Christmas special on the Gospel Music Channel this weekend.

9. Ethan Powell--If you believe in prayer, please add this precious little boy to your list. Diagnosed with leukemia when he was taken for his eight-week check-up, at almost one year old, Ethan is still fighting for his life. If you can watch this video and not be moved, you don't have a heart.

10. Very interesting article about the producer of X-Men, Planet of the Apes and Star Trek III: Hollywood Heavyweight: How Ralph Winter's faith influences some of Hollywood's biggest movies. (Hat tip to

11. How to Encourage a Blogger (hat tip to Evangelical Outpost.)

12. Look up "cute" or "appealing" in the dictionary, and there might very well be a picture of him.

13. Sherry of Semicolon posts her list of Top Ten Best Movie Musicals Ever. I actually haven't seen four of Sherry's picks, but one of my personal favorites? The Phantom of the Opera.

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation

The highlight of my Thanksgiving vacation? Getting to spend time with my son, my daughter-in-law, and of course, the most wonderful, most beautiful, most adorable baby in the world--my grandson, Payton. The picture to the left was taken when we picked them up at O'Hare. My beaming countenance says it all!

Of course, my hubby is crazy about Payton. Here, you see them dancing at Quizno's.

My daughter Elizabeth adores her nephew. She had to work quite a bit, but she spent as much time with him as she possibly could.

My husband and me with baby Payton on Thanksgiving Day. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Kelvin and Sherrie, were kind enough to host the whole clan, and it was a wonderful time!

This will go down in history as the first Thanksgiving dinner at which I did NOT have fudge or real Coke. In fact, the only non-diabetic treat I had was a half of a small chocolate chip cookie. I did, however, indulge in my own Weight Watchers' graham cracker dessert and a Weight Watchers pumpkin pie I made after finding it on the blog of The Amazing Shrinking Mom. Both were absolutely delicious!

All in all, it was a wonderful holiday. Saying goodbye to my kids was really hard, but I'll see that baby again as soon as I can make a way to do so!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A universal Thanksgiving forecast!

...and I'm about to take a blogging break

I'm thankful for this little guy

Yes, I'm going to pull out the corny-but-funny Thanksgiving forecast I post every year! But first, I want to let you know that I'll be taking a blogging break for the next several days. I should be back around Wednesday, November 28th, Lord willing and if the creek don't rise!

I can't let this opportunity pass without expressing some of the many things for which I'm thanking God this season.

As always, my wonderful husband, children and extended family...but this year, a precious new person: my wonderful little grandson Payton. He is making his first visit to my home this holiday--unless you count Christmas last year, when he was inside his mommy's tummy. My heartfelt thanks to God for such a beautiful, wonderful little grandchild!

And although finding out I have Type 2 diabetes wasn't a funfest, I do thank God for not letting my friend Teri give up on making me take the blood sugar test that revealed the condition. It has actually ended up being a blessing, since a commitment to healthy eating and exercise has made me feel better than ever!

I could go on, but the Lord knows all the things for which I'm deeply, deeply thankful.

I want to wish all of you a wonderful, blessed and joyful Thanksgiving!

And now, as promised:

Thanksgiving Forecast

Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.

A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator.

Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If you're not in the mood for Christmas yet...

...maybe this will help

"My hope is that Christmas Memories becomes a tradition for families today, to look at the past to remember, the good times, the blessings, to catch a glimpse of a bye gone era, a simpler time and how people lived and celebrated CHRISTMAS… and then to have a discussion of REMEMBER WHEN? To me the importance of Christmas Memories is that we should celebrate Christmas EVERYDAY! "--Michael Davis, director of Christmas Memories

I heard from a voice from out of my past today. Michael Davis used to be a sales executive here at 101QFL back in the 90's. He has since gone on to the more creative side of media, producing films and documentaries with North Carolina-based Uptone Pictures.

Mike's latest project was created out of his love for vintage 8mm family movies that he picks up at garage sales and flea markets. Soon he had amassed hours of footage--and when he realized that much of it was of family Christmas celebrations, Christmas Memories was born.

The movie is a montage of family Christmas movies, enhanced with narrated stories and evocative music.

Says Mike:

"The coolest thing that I have seen over and over as we have screened the film to various focus groups is that people pull from the film things that are unique to them. While someone sitting next to them in the same viewing would pick something completely different from the same exact footage. The fact is the film literally transports people back to a time and place or a moment which has been saved in their minds for years, in some cases decades. So, when they see these images they are immediately back in the kitchen at Grammas house eating cookies on the kitchen stool. Or they are back putting ornaments on the tree as a blizzard roared outside. It has just been a lot of fun to see this kind of thing."

The movie is available at many Christian bookstores, or you can order it from the website. It will also air on television numerous times during the Christmas season, including nationally on Christmas Day on the CW Network.

In the meantime, here's a taste of it--the title song, sung by Jill Parr.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Francine Rivers at work on a new novel "Redeeming Love" is released in hardcover

As I mentioned Friday, I interviewed beloved author Francine Rivers, and I'm delighted to confirm that she is working on a new full-length novel...her first in several years. (In recent years, Rivers has written novellas.)

Rivers' classic novel, Redeeming Love, is now available for the first time in hardcover. The book is a re-telling of the story of the biblical prophet Hosea, who was commanded by the Lord to marry a prostitute...thereby illustrating God's unconditional love.

Redeeming Love was the first book Francine wrote after becoming a Christian. She set the story against the backdrop of the California Gold Rush, which was familiar to her readers. However, her readers were used to steamy love scenes...something missing in Redeeming Love.

Author Francine Rivers

In this sound clip from our interview, Rivers talks about how Redeeming Love came about...and how her secular readers accepted it:

In the following sound clip, Rivers talks about the novel she is now writing:

We Francine Rivers fans will have to wait a while for this one...she tells me it probably won't be in print before spring of 2009.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Amazing Grace" is out on DVD now

I interview Chip Flaherty of Walden Media

"We went, overall box office worldwide, over 30 million dollars, which really sent a signal that you can make a movie based on a historical figure who is motivated and inspired by his newfound faith, and that it's going to find an audience."--Chip Flaherty of Walden Media

Back in February, I interviewed Chip Flaherty, the executive vice president of Walden Media, about the movie Amazing Grace, which was about to be releasd in theaters.

Walden Media is the production company behind such movies as "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "Charlotte's Web," and "Bridge to Terabithia."

"Amazing Grace" is now available on DVD, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Chip Flaherty again the other day.

Chip Flaherty (right) and his brother Michael Flaherty (left), president of Walden Media

In this sound clip, Flaherty talks about the terrific response to "Amazing Grace," both in its theater release and now on DVD.

In this sound clip, Flaherty talks about the advantages of owning the DVD:

Christian fiction lovers will be happy to know:

I just interviewed beloved author Francine Rivers about the new hardcover edition of her classic bestseller, Redeeming Love. And it's true: she IS working on a full-length novel...her first in quite a while!

Francine tells me the plot centers around four generations of women who are forced together because of a flood. She says the book is going to be pretty lengthy, with a lot of dialogue and insight about how women of different generations view their faith.

If you love Francine Rivers as I do, the thought of a hefty Rivers novel will be right up your alley!

Francine tells me she doesn't have a title yet. She thought about "Flood Waters," but her daughter laughed and said, "Mom, you can't have a title like 'Flood Waters' when your last name is Rivers!"

She says the manuscript is due in August of '08, so we're looking at spring or summer of 2009 before it will be released. Something tells me it will be well worth the wait.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Gobble Gobble Recipe Event!

(scroll down if you're here for Thursday Thirteen)

I am all for some good traditional Thanksgiving food. But I also like to mix things up (much to the irritation of my "don't-mess-with-a-good-thing" husband). I've enjoyed making cranberry-orange sauce... pecan stuffing... pumpkin cheesecake...

And this year will be no different. I'm interested in what y'all are making for your Thanksgiving meal. We all know the tried-and-true recipes... But what do you do differently to make the holiday meal extra special?--Karla of Looking Towards Heaven

Karla at Looking Towards Heaven is sponsoring a bloggy recipe event today. Post a recipe and stop back and her place to let her know you did!

My contribution? Well, since I hope to not completely blow my diet on Turkey Day, I'm going to bring a carb-friendly dish that has gotten rave reviews in the past from people who had no earthly idea that it's low-calorie and low-sugar. Let's just not tell them, OK?


--Graham crackers (your choice...I use the chocolate ones)
--2 boxes fat-free, sugar free vanilla OR white chocolate Jello pudding
--3 cups milk
--1 carton Cool Whip (fat free or sugar free if you wish)
--chocolate syrup

Make pudding with 3 cups of milk. Mix the Cool Whip in with it.

Line 9 by 13 pan with graham crackers (don't crush them, just lay them'll have to break them off some to make them fit).

Cover with pudding/Cool Whip mixture.

Add another layer of graham crackers. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.

This does not have to be frozen, but if you put it in the freezer for a while, it tastes like ice cream sandwiches. It really tastes like something sinfully fattening, but it isn't at all!

The Top 13 TV Icons

...according to TV Land and Entertainment Weekly

I hereby count them down (and I'm not saying I necessarily agree with these choices or the order they're in!):

13. Jackie Gleason

12. Dick Van Dyke

11. Roseanne

10. Dick Clark

9. Homer Simpson

8. Jerry Seinfeld

7. Mary Tyler Moore

6. Carol Burnett

5. Walter Cronkite

4. Bill Cosby

3. Oprah Winfrey

2. Lucille Ball

1. Johnny Carson

You can see the entire list of 50 Top Icons here.

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Living victoriously with diabetes

"It’s [diabetes] a part of my makeup, part of who I am. It built a lot of character, for who I am now. That comes out in the way I write. There are some inspiring songs on my new record –- a song called FREE for one, about how nothing’s impossible. You can achieve the unexplainable."--singer Elliot Yamin, in an interview at Diabetes Mine

...and responding with grace to "The Golden Compass"

Today is World Diabetes Day...something that might have passed by fairly un-noticed by me in the past, but is now of vital interest to me. As I've mentioned on this blog, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in September. And as I've found since my diagnosis, I'm far from alone.

According to the World Diabetes Day website, diabetes currently affects 246 million people globally, including nearly 21 million children and adults in the United States.

Diabetes and its complications can be deadly, but you don't have to become a statistic. If diabetes runs in your family, you can start down the road to prevention NOW. Books like the one I reviewed here can be a huge help in explaining how to live and eat in order to prevent diabetes or to stabilize your blood sugar if you are diabetic.

Diabetes is NOT a death sentence! I feel better than ever since I've made regular exercise and healthy eating part of my life. In fact, I actually enjoy my food more than ever!

Here are some other great websites and blogs that will tell you more about preventing and/or living with diabetes:

--dLife--tons of resources and recipes!

--Diabetes Mine--a blog with a wealth of info written by Amy Tenderich, who has Type 1 diabetes. Currently she's featuring an interview with American Idol finalist Elliot Yamin, who is diabetic.

--Side by Side--The blog of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Responding with grace to a controversial movie

You've probably been hearing a lot about the upcoming fantasy movie, "The Golden Compass." The movie is causing some concern because it's based on a series of novels written by an avowed--some would even say "militant" atheist, Philip Pullman.

Jeffrey Overstreet

Yesterday, I interviewed Jeffrey Overstreet, author of the fantasy novel Auralia's Colors. Overstreet is also a movie reviewer and avid film buff.

I was able to ask Overstreet his views on "The Golden Compass." I had planned to share sound clips from our conversation, but I ran into some technical problems with that. However, Overstreet does talk about "The Golden Compass," Pullman, and the rest of the novels in the "His Dark Materials" series on his blog.
Here are some of Overstreet's insights on the books:

The book, The Golden Compass, showed up on my radar screen back in 1995. My wife and I both are big fans of fairy tales and fantasy stories. We both grew up with The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia, and the books of Madeleine L’Engle. And when I started reading The Golden Compass, I thought to myself, ‘This is the most imaginative, enthralling fantasy novel I have read since The Lord of the Rings.’ For me, that’s saying a lot; I’ve read a lot of fantasy. I was so captivated by the characters, by the world that author Philip Pullman created.

“But then, as we went into the second and third book of the trilogy, something very strange started to happen. The characters and the situations started seeming more and more pointed to present us with an aggressive idea or with an aggressive argument about the way the world is. It was very discouraging for my wife and I as we read the third book, because these characters that we had come to know and love were suddenly turning into pawns in Pullman’s clever game to try and portray the Church as devoid of anything loving or good or gracious.

“In the third book in the series, The Amber Spyglass, where everything that began in The Golden Compass comes to fruition, you have characters turning to each other and saying things like ‘Christianity is a mistake, a powerful and seductive mistake, but a mistake all the same.’ [Note: Overstreet says this is not a direct quote from the book.--CS]And you start to realize that it is playing out exactly what its author, Philip Pullman, has said in interviews – that he wrote this book to strike at the idea of Christianity portrayed in C.S. Lewis’ work … He has openly said in interviews that if there is a God, and if he is as Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down, which is exactly what the characters in the series that The Golden Compass end up doing.

“[Pullman’s] characters, as they make their way through the world, end up waging a second war in heaven. And Pullman portrays them killing God, who turns out to be just a supernatural imposter who’s feeble and cruel and senile. He [Pullman] has determined to draw young readers into this world, and try and show them a world in which … Christianity … is a tyrannical institution, and God is a tyrant. And all the church, which he calls the Magisterium, wants to do is control them. And as a result, God is overthrown in the end, and you have a restaging of the Garden of Eden at the climax where eating the apple as an act of defiance against God, is the triumphant conclusion.”

Respond with grace

While Overstreet has real concerns about "The Golden Compass," he cautions Christians to respond to the movie with love and grace. He points out that when Christians go on the attack, they run the risk of turning into the very stereotype as which they're often viewed:

“… whenever Christians are linked with movies in the media, you can expect it has something to do with protesting. And it’s already begun. There is such a loud, aggressive protest against 'The Golden Compass' happening, that Christians are playing right into the hands of the ugly stereotype that the world has of us; which is that we only wake up and get busy when we’re angry about something."

He has a point there.

My own opinion is that I will avoid "The Golden Compass," no matter how innocent it seems, because I won't knowingly support the work of someone who hates God and has an obvious agenda against Him.

But I hope any interaction I have about the movie will be seasoned with Christlike grace.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"The best new fantasy novel you've never heard of"

"Overstreet's writing is precise and beautiful,
and the story is masterfully told."
- Publisher's Weekly on Auralia's Colors

The powerful, lyrical Auralia's Colors, by Jeffrey Overstreet

Although I count the Chronicles of Narnia among my favorite books, and I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings books--the truth is, as an adult, I've never been a huge fan of the fantasy genre. However, I've been proven wrong about this not once, but twice in recent months.

The first was in the instance of Sharon Hinck's fascinating The Restorer. More recently, I've been happily surprised by Jeffrey Overstreet's Auralia's Colors.

I was able to interview Jeffrey Overstreet today for my radio show, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even in conversation, Overstreet is a wordsmith, words flowing eloquently and effortlessly to articulate the thought he wants to get across.

The title of my post is actually from a review of Auralia's Colors, and the quote from Publisher's Weekly? My thoughts exactly.

The book hooked me immediately, and throughout the book I marveled at Overstreet's gift for weaving a story as compellingly as his heroine weaves her magical colors.

The story is about a land where colors have been outlawed. Everyone must dress in drab and neutral browns and grays. Into this world comes a strange child who was found abandoned as a baby. Auralia is one of the most interesting fictional characters I've come across in a while, and Overstreet imagines her world and his characters in complex, vivid detail.

In this soundclip from out interview, Jeffrey Overstreet gives us an overview of the book:

Yes, there are spiritual parallels in Auralia's Colors, but they're not heavyhanded or cliched. Like the prince's mentor in this richly-imagined story, they simply draw the reader to truth and light.

After reading Auralia's Colors, you'll be pleased, as I am, that there are three more books coming in this series. You can find out more about Jeffrey Overstreet and his books here, and more about Auralia's Colors here.

Tomorrow, I talk with Jeffrey Overstreet about the controversial new movie, "The Golden Compass."

Monday, November 12, 2007

A book that could save your life

...or at least add some years to it

"A sprinkling of cinnamon adds flavor to apple pie and oatmeal—but did you know that it can also significantly lower your blood sugar? Or that pumpernickel is the best kind of bread for keeping blood sugar stable? You’ll want to discover these foods if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes—and even if you don’t, since keeping blood sugar steady is proving more and more important to weight loss, heart health, and even memory and critical thinking! Get off the blood-sugar rollercoaster and you’ll also have more energy and fewer junk-food cravings."

When I found out I was diabetic a couple of months ago, my mom ordered a book for me that has turned out to be an incredible help, and I have to share it with you--even if you're nowhere near being diabetic.

The book is Reader's Digest's Magic Foods for Better Blood Sugar.

I read the book with avid interest the moment I received it, and I've been making recipes from it for the past several weeks. (This past weekend, I made the lentil and bean chili and the apple bran muffins.) My husband and daughter have raved about the recipes, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that they're filled with good things for us.

One of the things I've noticed since I've been eating diabetically (to coin a phrase?) is that my cravings have been greatly reduced. This is just one of the by-products of getting off the blood sugar roller coaster. I am so grateful to my mom for giving me this book, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to make their diet healthier.

Eating to maintain stable blood sugar will benefit you in so many areas, not just diabetes-related. Many of these foods are rich in antioxidants and other things that help prevent things like cancer, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and even Alzheimer's and depression.

The book is so reader-friendly and informative, I find myself consulting it frequently. I'm trying to incorporate all of the "magic foods" into my diet, although I still haven't tried a few, like turmeric and jerusalem artichokes. For the first time in my life, I bought (and am using) things like whole wheat flour, flax seed and wheat bran!

It's actually put the fun back into cooking, too! I was getting into a real rut, but making things like pork chops with peach salsa and orange beef stir-fry has really--no pun intended!--spiced things up in my kitchen.

Here's a list of the "Magic Foods":

brown rice
Brussels sprouts
chicken and turkey
citrus fruits
Jerusalem artichokes
olive oil
peaches, apricots, plums
peanut butter
pumpernickel bread
rye bread
sourdough bread
soy foods
spinach and other dark greens
sweet potatoes
wheat germ
whole wheat bread and flour

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

A blogging award I'm honored to receive

This award, given to me by Malcolm of Pop Culture Dish, really means a lot to me. Malcolm awarded me in the "Staying True to Their Beliefs" category, and I am truly honored.

Here's a bit about the award, from the blog of Mama Pajama:

"After looking, reading and watching many many Blogs and bloggers I decided to issue some recognition to those fellow bloggers I feel maintain integrity in the Blogs. All these bloggers incorporate within their wonderful sites, an integrity not always seen. They share terrific stories, topics, discussions and images. All Well worth a look."

I'm now passing the award on to five other bloggers, in the five specified categories:

For Creativity:

Linda of 2nd Cup of Coffee

Linda has one of the most varied, interesting and appealing blogs around!

For Staying True to Their Beliefs:

Joel Griffith of The Seventh Sola.

Joel is never shy about expressing his opinions in a thoughtful and articulate manner.

For Keeping It Real:

Ann-Marie of The Lefthanded Rabbit

Ann-Marie's transparency and not-taking-herself-too-seriously wit are a delight!

For Social Conscience:

Rodney Olsen's The Journey

Rodney tackles a variety of social and spiritual issues on his very interesting blog...and thumbs up to him for starting the Thumbs Up! Awards--although I've been sadly negligent about participating of late. Gotta love that Rodney is a Christian radio person like me! :)

For the Spirit of Giving:

Grams of!

Grams has kindly given me several awards, and I'm happy to return the favor! Anyone who has come in contact with Grams and her blog will agree with me that she epitomizes a spirit of giving. Thanks, Grams!

A happy and blessed weekend to all who read here!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thirteen Very Interesting Things to Tell You About

Genie Francis in "The Note"

Some interesting links to pass along to you today! As always, if you don't have time to peruse them all now, bookmark this page and come back at your leisure. Happy TT to all!

1) To help promote the movie "The Note"(which will premier on the Hallmark Channel on December 8th and is based on a book by one of my fave writers, Angela Hunt), Hallmark has set up a special site where you can “leave a note” for someone special. After leaving a note, you’ll be able to watch a snippet from the upcoming movie.

2) Just a few days left to prepare a shoebox full of Christmas presents for a needy child as part of Operation Christmas Child!

3) Sunday is Prayer for the Persecuted Church Sunday. Go here to find out more.

4) A sweet phone call to a Christian radio station.

5) Looks like Jack Bauer is a casualty of the writer's least for now.

6) Target is halting sales of a gruesome video game.

7) Yet another toy recall...and this one isn't because of lead.

8) I've been hearing good things about the movie Bella. Here's Roger Ebert's review.

9) Peggy Noonan's thoughts on Hillary Clinton.

10) It's apparently pretty good right now to be Carrie Underwood.

11) How Starbucks has become part of American culture.

12) Plugged In Online talks about Phillip Pullman, on whose books the movie "The Golden Compass" is based.

13) I just re-read Francine Rivers; Mark of the Lion trilogy (after winning it in a contest sponsored by Barb of A Chelsea Morning. People, these books are beyond good. I had forgotten just how incredible they were. If you love fiction, and haven't read them, DO. A little note about which I'm very excited: I'm going to be doing a radio interview with Francine Rivers! it's in the planning stages now.

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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. It’s easy, and fun! br />

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A singer writes a charming children's book

My interview with Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay

I talked with Dan Haseltine, lead singer of the three-time Grammy Award-winning band Jars of Clay, for my radio show yesterday, and I really enjoyed it. (Despite pictures of Dan that always seem to show him looking extremely solemn, he was very pleasant and amiable.)

Dan has written a children's book, "The One, The Only Magnificent Me!"

I read to my kids a lot while they were growing up, but I must admit that since they've gotten older, I've been out of the loop when it comes to children's books. Now that I have a little grandson, though, I'm getting back in the loop! And I found that The One, The Only Magnificent Me! is a book I'd be delighted to read to a child.

The illustrations by Joel Schoon Tanis are colorful and appealing, and perfectly complement Haseltine's whimsical rhyming narrative: "I wish I had feathers. I wish I had wings. I wish I was covered with prickly things. I wish I was sort of a blue greenish red, with a hint of bright orange and a spike on my head."

The main message of the book? Even though you may yearn to be something you're not, there really is only one "you," and you are unique and special.

In this sound clip from our interview, Dan tells me how his own children, Max and Noah, were instrumental in the book coming into being:

In this clip, Dan talks about the similarities between writing a children's book and writing a song.

Dan and I also chatted about Jars of Clays' upcoming Christmas album, Christmas Songs, and Dan's upcoming humanitarian trip to Africa. You can hear the entire interview here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Autumn in the Forest City

I've been enjoying the fall colors here in Northern Illinois. Although I wasn't able to really capture the brilliance, I snapped a few pics yesterday that I thought I'd share. These were taken along the Rock River late yesterday afternoon.

This is my daughter Elizabeth with the river as a backdrop.

Gorgeous trees along the riverside.

The young red maple in our front yard...actually taken several days ago. It's already lost a lot of its leaves now. :(

The Auburn Street bridge.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Catching up!

I had strep and lived to tell about it...

Wow...I feel like I've just emerged from a cave. I was diagnosed with strep throat last Wednesday, and didn't go to work Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Thanks to those of you who continued to check out my blog despite the fact that nothing much was going on.

I am much better, by the way...faithfully taking my antibiotics. Thanks to those of you who showed concern!

Anyhoo, I do have some things to share with you today.

An inspirational dieter

At one point this past weekend, I was feeling well enough to peruse some blogs. I decided to check out some of the blogs I've never visited on the Christian Blogosphere blogroll, and that's how I ended up on the blog called The Dip Shtick.

Dave has lost 100 pounds. 100 Pounds!!! That's major. When I asked him for some tips and advice, he kindly sent me an e-mail...which he plans to expand on in a blog post.

Weight Watchers has been key for him, but he also gave me some terrific advice about attitude and persistence. Here's some of what he shared:

Persistence - to always continue when you mess up. To work through the hard days. To stay on the program even if you gain a pound.

Attitude - Maybe this should be first, but you have to have an attitude that you want to lose weight. If I didn't want to lose weight, it would be harder to have discipline and persistence.

Goals - Set short-range attainable goals. My weekly goal is to average 2lbs per week. I use to help me manage my short-term goals. Then I have medium range goals - with rewards. The roller coaster, the uniform all come with rewards. For hitting my 100 lbs, I rewarded myself with a fillet mignon steak. Still within my diet but something I rarely splurge on.

Hats off to David for his accomplishment, and thanks for the inspiration!

Other stuff:

--In anticipation of the 2008 Games, Chinese people are naming their kids "Olympics." (I guess Olympia Dukakis would fit right in, huh?)

--Sure, everyone has something to complain about...but singing about it in four-part harmony? I give you the Complaints Choir of Chicago.

--What level of education is required to read your blog? Supposedly you can find out here, but I couldn't get it to work...kept getting a "Sorry, something went wrong" message. (By the way, hat tip to Evangelical Outpost--whose blog reading level was "College: Undergrad.")

--This is funny! Obviously the cake decorators made a mistake.

Happy Monday, all!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The cutest little dinosaur ever...

This is my adorable little grandson, all decked in his dinosaur costume. Is he the cutest, or what?

I have to say a heartfelt thank you to my lovely daughter-in-law, who always makes sure that Payton's far-away grandparents (one set in Idaho, one set in Illinois) get plenty of Payton pics.

No Thursday Thirteen today. I was diagnosed with strep throat yesterday, and am still feeling pretty rotten.
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