Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Better late than never, right?

I finally do my video post

OK, I finally got a video up! The best thing it has going for it is that it's SHORT...but I do hope you'll watch it. Thanks!

I See What You're Saying from Cindy Swanson on Vimeo.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A fiction treat from Sandra Byrd...and some thoughts on "Heroes"

--Well, Sandra Byrd has done it again. I fell in love with her writing when I read her first book in the "French Twist" series, Let Them Eat Cake. Over the weekend I devoured--or should I say "savored"?--the second book, Bon Appetit.

After I interviewed Sandra in October 2007, I blogged:

While I've enjoyed some Christian "chick lit" lately, some of it can veer into the self-consciously cute and trying a little too hard to be funny zone. Not this book. Sandra Byrd's humor is wryly amusing instead of broadly slapstick, her protagonist's interaction with God believable instead of goofy.

And indeed, Sandra told me her books don't fit neatly into the "chick lit" category:

Bon Appetit is another treat, continuing the story of pastry-baker Lexi Stuart. Since the subject matter demands food puns, I'd have to say that Bon Appetit is light and sweet, but definitely substantial enough to satisfy...and yet leave you hungry for a little more. And we'll get that with Piece de Resistance, the third book in the series.

By the way, I am going to try to snag another interview with Ms. Byrd. Oh--and my 21-year-old daughter LOVED both of these books.

A little disappointed with "Heroes"

Senhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder Suresh

Heroes has never been my favorite current TV show--that honor would have to go to "Lost"--but I've always found it entertaining and engrossing.

However, after last week's fall debut, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed and even a little disturbed.

First of all, my favorite characters--the ones we have relied on to be honorable and good--are acting in ways I don't like. The character of Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) is much darker this season, at least so far. And what's with Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy)? From what we know of his character, he would NEVER behave in the way he's behaving in the first episode. Suresh is usually, like, the voice of reason.

Another disturbing element is the way religion is being introduced into the storyline of Nathan Petrelli. Sorry, but I don't trust a hit TV show to portray religion in a reasonable way, and Nathan's religious obsession, so far, is just looking weird to me. And what was all that about "a beast stalking toward Bethlehem" in Suresh's narration?

UPDATE: OK, I apparently revealed my appalling ignorance about poetry with that last sentence. I've been informed that the line about "the rough beast slouching [not "stalking"] toward Bethlehem" is actually from a poem by W. B. Yeats...which, like that episode of "Heroes," was titled "The Second Coming." Apparently it's about the dangers facing modern man. Mmm, yes, I'm feeling a little dumb right now. :)

The show has always contained quite a bit of violence, but it's looking even more violent and dark than ever. As fascinated and intrigued as I am with the story and the characters, is this something I want to dwell on-- even for an hour a week? I'm just not sure.

If you're a Heroes fan, I'd love to hear your viewpoint. Do let me know in my comments section.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Will we see what you're saying?

Remember I told you not long ago that Linda of 2nd Cup of Coffee is hosting a video blogging event? It's called I See What You're Saying. On September 30th, you simply video your blog post. Linda even explains how to do it here.

Well, it looks like Gayle of The Westie Crew is one jump ahead...and she's set the standard for the rest of us! Check it out...

Isn't she adorable?

Anyway, I'm hoping to participate (I'm not sure if I have all the proper doohickeys with which to do so.)

Right now I'm zonked from three-days of intense fundraising for the radio station I work for, 101QFL. So excuse me while I finish my work and get ready for the most important business of the afternoon...A NAP.

Happy weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wayback Wednesday

I will not go gentle into that gray hair

(Note: Right now, I'm in the middle of our radio station's annual 3-day fundraiser. Sharathon is a busy, crazy ride, with very little free time...so I'm exercising my right to pull something out of the archives of Notes in the Key of Life. The following was originally posted on February 22, 2004, so I apologize if any of the links are dead!)

Joy of karagraphy bemoans her first gray hair today, but takes consolation: "There are still far more dark-almost-black hairs — only God knows how many — resiliently residing upon the same scalp as that lone silver beacon of mortality. And I can pluck beacons in the single digits, no problem. As long as grey hairs remain an anomaly, I’ll live. I may live even longer than that."

My reply to Joy in her comments section: "Ah, yes…how well I remember the days when it was just a lone gray hair here and there…easily pulled out. It’s when they start multiplying rapidly that you’re faced with the decision: go gray gracefully, or rage, rage against the dying of the brunette? I chose the latter. Constant coloring is a pain in the behind, but I prefer it to the tired look I get when the grays proliferate."

It IS a pain, because my hair color was one thing I really liked about myself, and I have never been able to appromiximate is closely enough out of a bottle.

I've gone the highlighting route as well. I like it for a while, and then I start missing my dark hair again.

So, this is the decision most women face as they age. Cover the gray, or gracefully segue into a head full of grays? What is it to be? Well, I've made my decision and I'm sticking with it. When the silver upstarts begin to gather on my temples, I feel it ages my appearance way beyond what I'm ready for. As I said, it makes me look tired. It does not make me feel pretty.

My paternal grandmother continued coloring her hair, as far as I know, until she died. And she always looked younger than her years, although I'm sure that wasn't the only factor.

What about you? Do you cover the grays, or have you gracefully submitted to the effects of time?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Books! I read books!!!

Allison Pittman's With Endless Sight

Rarely has a Christian novel affected me as deeply and emotionally as Allison Pittman's "With Endless Sight."

It's the story of Belinda, whose seemingly prosperous family uproots from Illinois to head west toward Oregon territory, much against the wishes of her proud and beautiful mother. Belinda's family has its faults and failings, but they have gifted her with a grounding of faith--something she must draw on repeatedly during the trials that ensue.

Not long before the family reaches their destination, a shocking tragedy shatters Belinda's life and abruptly alters the course of the story. The narrative shifts from being an account of a family's sometimes troublesome but overall fairly pleasant trip west, to a story that must venture into places of deep courage and raw pain.

Pittman handles mature themes with gentility and grace; her portrayal of Christian faith rings true and unvarnished. Belinda is a strong, honest and nuanced heroine, her story compelling and very difficult to put down.

I haven't read the first two books in this Crossroads of Grace series, but the brief appearances of both previous heroines in this story makes me want to do so. At any rate, I'll want to read anything by Allison Pittman. She is without a doubt a very gifted novelist.

Linda Hall's Shadows at the Window

This is the second suspense novel Linda Hall has written for Harlequin's Steeple Hill line, and it's obvious why Hall has won awards for her mystery-writing.

This is an enjoyable read, perfect for snuggling up with on a fall evening as you sip a mug of hot cider.

Lilly is a girl with a secret past--but that past is now confronting her in a frightening way. The mystery of just who is threatening to destroy Lilly's new life will keep you turning pages. Hall has a deft touch when it comes to suspense: a scene where the heroine is trapped in a basement, perhaps with a killer, is one of the scariest things I've read in a while.

Interwoven into the mystery is some solid truth about how once we become a new creature in Christ, we can truly put our past sins to rest.

I really liked this compact mystery, just as I did Hall's previous Shadows in the Mirror. However, I do hope Hall will be able at some point to return to her full-length novels--not just her excellent mysteries like Chat Room, Dark Water, and Black Ice, but to meaty, substantive books like Sadie's Song and Margaret's Peace.

Hall tells me that the Christian bookselling industry has a hard time figuring out how to market her books, which often defy pigeon-holing. Too bad, because she's a wonderfully talented writer who deserves a wide audience.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

13 of my favorite TV characters of all time

I'm delving into the archives of Notes in the Key of Life to participate in the Thursday Thirteen meme! This was originally posted , so you'll see references to some shows which were airing then, but are no longer on.

What are YOUR favorite TV characters? Let me know in my comments section!

...in no particular order (and yes, some of these go waaaay back...)

--Lisa on "Green Acres," played by Eva Gabor...she was so ditzy and quirky, she cracked me up.

--Barney, played by Don Knotts, on "The Andy Griffith Show." Need you even ask why?

--The Virginian (I don't think they ever gave his name), played by James Drury, on "The Virginian." Mysterious...manly...you know, the strong, silent type

--Al, played by Dean Stockwell, on "Quantum Leap." Not sure why...I just really liked him.

--Phyllis, played by Cloris Leachman, on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She made an art form out of being snobby and clueless at the same time.

--Herman Munster on "The Munsters," played by Fred Gwynne. Again, he was just funny...and he had that great, deep voice. The thought of monster as lovable goof...

--Emily, played by Suzanne Pleshette, on "The Bob Newhart Show." She was just a cool character...a pleasure to watch.

--David Addison, played by Bruce Willis, on "Moonlighting." His smart-aleck wise-cracking kept me watching, and promised his future stardom.

--Rob Petrie, played by Dick Van Dyke, on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Again, no explanation needed--he's a legend.

...and more recently...

--Hugo "Hurley," played by Jorge Garcia, on "Lost." Hurley's down-to-earth sense of humor is one of the things that keeps the show from spiraling into inaccessible weirdness.

Dr. Jack Shepherd, played by Matthew Fox, on "Lost." I know a lot of viewers don't care for Jack, but I think he's the heart and soul of the show.

--Peter Petrelli, played by Milo Ventimiglia, on "Heroes." His basic goodness and likeability make him immensely appealing. For me, there could be no show without Peter.

--Hank, played by Fred Ewanuick, on "Corner Gas." He's just so likably goofy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"The Biggest Loser" is off and running!

...and other stuff to tell you...

One of my favorite TV shows--in fact, one of the few TV shows that I even watch!--is back! The Biggest Loser kicked off last night with eight teams of two family members each--four parent-child combinations, and four husband-wife combinations.

It's impossible not to get personally invested in the lives of these contestants. From the first show, when you see them struggling to get up a hill, stay on a treadmill for a few minutes or lift a weight--till the end of the season, when they emerge slim, fit and healthy--it's a fascinating metamorphosis.

I already have my favorites, but that sometimes shifts a bit during the course of the season.

For someone who is own their own fitness journey, the show can't help but be extremely motivating. However, there are a couple of things that do concern me. Is it really healthy for these hugely obese people to lose weight so quickly? And how long will most of them keep it off? It will be interesting to see if there are any long-term studies on that.

For now, though, it's obvious that job number one for most of them IS to get the weight off as quickly as possible--not just to win the big bucks, but because their very lives are at stake.

Other stuff to tell you:

--Barb at A Chelsea Morning is giving away a Chris Tomlin CD.

--Joe Carter morphed his Evangelical Outpost into a team blog not long ago, but he says his popular "33 Things" posts are now a regular feature at Culture 11. I don't think I've ever read a 33 Things post that hasn't contained a lot of fascinating stuff.

--A sad but heartwarming story about a man who literally gave his life for his son. He sounds like a truly remarkable man. (Hat tip to Amy's Humble Musings.)

--I'm a calligraphy buff, so I was interested in checking out this calligraphy site (hat tip to Jen at Unmerited.)

--Can't wait to try this: an apparently foolproof way to peel an egg. (from Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee.)

It's Wednesday, folks!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A strange anniversary to celebrate

...I mark a year of knowing I'm diabetic



So, a year ago on this date I got the shocking, dismaying, disheartening news that I have Type 2 diabetes.

Actually, it wasn't official yet at that point. As I blogged shortly afterward:

My late father was diabetic (although that's not what claimed his life), my brother is, and a host of relatives and ancestors. For years, I knew I was at risk, and I had great intentions of being proactive and preventing it. Unfortunately, my efforts were sporadic and inadequate.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Teri was here for the weekend. Teri had just found out a few months earlier that she is diabetic. She kept bugging me to take my blood sugar, and I kept resisting. I guess a part of me thought that what I didn't know wouldn't hurt me.

Now I'm thanking God that Teri insisted. My blood sugar was very high. I made a doctor's appointment, and I'm now taking medication for Type 2 diabetes.

So why am I celebrating?

Don't get me wrong. I would much rather NOT have diabetes, given a choice. However, I'm firmly convinced that if it hadn't been for my diagnosis, I would probably have still been eating horribly...not exercising...making occasional, short-lived attempts to lose weight...putting my health on the back burner, and my life at risk.

Since my diagnosis, I've lost 30 pounds. That may not be a lot for an entire year, but I believe that the entire story could be told in inches, not just pounds...since I've exercised, both cardio and weight-training, faithfully for this entire year.

I've revolutionized my eating...and yet, believe it or not, I enjoy food more than I ever did when I was busily stuffing it into my face. I focus on having fewer carbs, but having the right kind of carbs--whole grains, good fiber, healthy fruit and vegetables. And yes, the occasional treat.

So yes...I'm celebrating. Celebrating something I don't think I've ever accomplished in my entire adult life: an entire year of consistent healthy eating and regular exercise. Something I don't think I would have ever achieved if it hadn't been for that fateful day when my friend insisted I take a blood sugar test.

YOU may be able to avoid that diagnosis. Start being proactive now about eating the right kinds of foods and getting fit. Believe me, it's worth it!

This book was a huge help to me, and I highly recommend it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Melange

Odds-n-ends to pass along...

--Heartwarming and amazing: a man's German shepherd dog called 911 and saved its owner's life.

--Family-friendly online bookstore Abunga.com is announcing the winners of its Kids' Choice Book Awards.

--More than 100 Southern Baptist relief units have responded to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike.

--I just interviewed the wonderful Thelma Wells, who will be one of the speakers at the Extraordinary Women conference coming to Rockford October 10-11. Speaking of extraordinary women, she certainly fits that description!

--A whole lot of people are apparently saying hello to Christian singer Chris Tomlin's CD, Hello Love. It's the highest charting debut for any album in the Christian industry.

--An independent movie about Methodism founder John Wesley will be released to theaters this fall.

--Christian uber-blogger La Shawn Barber tells who'll she'll be voting for on November 4th, and why.

--Woo hoo! One of my favorite shows, The Biggest Loser, returns TV tomorrow night. Host Allison Sweeney blogs about the new season.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Trying on a new meme for size: Friday Fill-Ins

1. I enjoy __a delicious Cappucino from Road Ranger gas stations________.

2. _Who will be the next president?_________ is something I wonder about often lately.

3. In your heart, you knew __I would love being a grandmother________.

4. Take _powdered sugar_________, add a little _butter_________ and you end up with __frosting________.

5. Life has gifted me with _a wonderful family_________.

6. __A hot bubble bath________ is an instant vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to _spending time with my husband____, tomorrow my plans include _cleaning my house and doing laundry____ and Sunday, I want to go to church_____!

Go here to participate.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My 9/11 Tribute to Joan Hoadley Peterson

The following was originally posted in 2006 on the 5th anniversary of 9/11, as part of Project 2,996:

I Remember Jean Hoadley Peterson

When I signed up recently to commemorate a 9/11 victim as part of the 2,996 project, I had no idea that the woman whose name was randomly given to me would have been a Christian--a woman who, just weeks before her death on Flight 93, said, "I don't know why, but I feel so ready to meet the Lord!"

Here I was thinking that I could somehow be a blessing by memorializing Jean Hoadley Peterson, but just reading about her has ended up blessing me.

Today I commemorate Jean Hoadley Peterson, who died along with her husband Don Peterson in the crash of Flight 93, the only terrorist-infiltrated flight on 9/11/2001 that didn't reach its intended target.

Her husband's Bible found

Several days ago I posted about the fact that I had been assigned Jean's name as part of the 2,996 project. I was amazed to get this response from Donna-Jean, a fellow blogger from New Jersey:

"Cindy, I know about Jean Hoadley Peterson. She and her husband Don were believers in Jesus Christ. They supported my uncle's evangelistic ministry here in New Jersey, that's how I first heard about them. They were very generous and supportive.

"Don and Jean were a retired couple, involved with Community Bible Study in their Jersey shore home; Don was a Teaching Director. They were the only married couple on Flight 93; they left behind six grown children and one grandchild.

"Don's dog-eared NIV Bible was one of two Bibles found at the crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In the Bible was his Community Bible Study lesson from Luke, with his answers written in."

She then referred me to this article about the Petersons, which includes a picture of Don's Bible. I encourage you to follow that link as well and learn more about Jean and her husband.

I was amazed. Out of all the names I could have been assigned, I was given the name of a fellow believer...a woman who, like me, believed in a hope beyond the grave. A woman who was a follower of Christ and a believer and lover of His Word.

So who was Jean Hoadley Peterson?

Jean was 55 years old when she died in the crash of Flight 93. She was a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a registered nurse.

According to the Wall of Americans website: "Mrs. Peterson was born in Evanston, Ill., and grew up in Lancaster, Pa. She received a nursing degree from the University of Rochester, and a master's degree in education from Columbia University. She, too, was deeply involved in church ministries and was a member of Community Bible Study in Spring Lake [New Jersey].

"'She did everything in a very quiet way, never expecting anything in return,' said her daughter, Jennifer Price. 'She was a devoted mother, and after we grew up she devoted her life to helping other people's children.'"

"The couple married in 1984 and are survived by six children. David, Hamilton and Royster Peterson, and Jennifer, Grace and Catherine Price.

"Mrs. Peterson is also survived by her parents, Walter and Virginia Hoadley; her brother, Richard Hoadley; and granddaughter, Charlotte."

Along with leading Bible studies, Don and Jean traveled with church friends to help a mission in Santa Lucia, and Jean volunteered at the Helping Hands Pregnancy Center in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.

According to this article, "On Sept. 11, they'd planned to take a later flight to a family reunion at Yosemite National Park, but at the airport seized a chance to switch to less-crowded Flight 93. Their memorial service drew nearly 1,000 people they'd worked with, helped or counseled and had to be moved to a larger sanctuary nearby."

I regret deeply that the earthly lives of Jean Hoadley Peterson and her husband were cut short by the tragedy of 9/11. But I celebrate the 55 years that she lived on this planet, and how she blessed and influenced those around her.

And I rejoice that I will meet her someday in heaven.


The 2,996 tribute to Don Peterson can be found here.

More on Don and Jean Peterson

Listen to my radio piece about 9/11--This was recorded a few months after 9/11. There are a couple of small glitches in the audio, but it has a sense of immediacy about it that I think brings back the emotions we were all experiencing at that time. Includes sound bites from that day.

Many thanks to Donna-Jean Breckenridge for her invaluable direction in this tribute

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Penelope--a whimsical movie with a good message

James McAvoy

My daughter and I watched a charming movie the other day that must have completely escaped my notice when it first came out. It was Penelope...a whimsical, funny tale that I think has a good underlying message about self-esteem for young girls.

Penelope is a young woman born into a rich family that has been cursed. The first daughter born to the family will be born with a pig's snout...and will remain that way until she is loved by "one of her own kind."

Christina Ricci does a good job as Penelope, bringing just the right touches of humor and longing. Although it's obvious she wants to be released from the curse, she's able to laugh at herself and create a rich world in the privacy of her own room, to which she's pretty much been exiled.

Catherine O'Hara is hilarious as Penelope's mother, who is frantically bent on getting her daughter married off to a blue-blood so the curse can be lifted. Her character should give pause to moms who unreasonably try to change their daughters.

But the real charmer in the movie, for me anyway, is James McAvoy (you'll remember him as the faun in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe) as the guy who falls for Penelope without seeing her...and whose love proves true even when he does get a load of the snout.

Although hiding his beautiful Scottish accent with an American one (why? there are lots of other British accents in the film), it's easy to fall for his character. Who wouldn't love a guy who sees past a horrible defect to the beauty of the girl inside? McAvoy is not conventionally handsome, but he was quite attractive in this movie.

Although modern, the movie has a fairy tale feel. The creators of the film said they tried to portray it as taking place "any time, anywhere," and they pretty much succeeded.

Best of all, besides being fun and entertaining, the movie says good things to young girls in an age where eating disorders and teen-age plastic surgery are all too common.

I enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I talk with Karen Kingsbury

I was delighted to interview author Karen Kingsbury the other day. While I've read many of Karen's books, and enjoyed them thoroughly, this interview wasn't in support of one particular book. Karen is one of the featured speakers for the Extraordinary Women conferences, one of which is coming to Rockford October 10th and 11th.

Karen was a lot of fun to talk with. Her books have been amazingly successful, with nine of them hitting the number-one spot on the USA Today or New York Times bestselling list.

Her ministry has moved beyond writing to true activism, with her Red Gloves books sparking community projects across the country.

Click the link below to hear a condensed version of our radio interview (about 3 minutes.)

Karen Kingsbury Mini-interview

So many books, so little time...

I've been reading some really good books lately.

--I just interviewed Patti Lacy about her riveting An Irishwoman's Tale, and I'll be blogging about that interview shortly. (I've got to say, Patti's description of her visit to Ireland to do research for the book only made me want to go there more.)

--I took another trip to a parallel world with Sharon Hinck's The Restorer's Journey. Once again I marveled at Sharon's beautiful writing and captivating way of weaving a story. If you haven't read this series yet--even if you think you aren't into the fantasy genre--do. It's that simple.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday Melange

Stuff to tell you...

No, this is not Sarah Palin

--Zondervan is announcing a new biography of Sarah Palin.

--Speaking of Palin...Mark of Miscellaneous Creativity is not the only one that thinks she looks like a certain comedienne.

--Former American Idol Jordin Sparks defended abstinence rings on MTV's Video Music Awards. (Side note: is there a trashier event on television?)

--Could DVR save your relationship? (Hat tip to Christ and Pop Culture.)

--I just finished An Irishwoman's Tale by Patti Lacy...excellent! I'm interviewing Patti tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to it.

--Some--er, insteresting--retro album artwork in Purgatorio's latest edition of Divine Vinyl.

--The Gospel Music Channel is launching a new show focusing on southern gospel music.

--Is this the future Tiger Woods? 5-year-old makes hole-in-one

That's all I have time for, folks! Have a great Monday!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Blogging about blogging....

...a new meme on the subject of blogging

I made up the following meme to learn a little more about my fellow bloggers. I tried not to duplicate the questions from other blogging memes I’ve seen. This one seems to focus more on the social aspect of blogging, though I hadn’t originally intended it to have that emphasis — but “Why do you blog?” and “How did you get started?” went around often ages ago. But if you have never answered those question, feel free to do so!--Barbara at Stray Thoughts

Thanks, Barbara! Here I go:

How do you feel about being tagged for memes?

I really don't mind at all...but sometimes I'm so busy, it takes me a while to get around to doing them. Be patient with me! :)

Do you participate in any regular weekly memes? Which ones?

I used to do quite a few, but lately I try to hit "Thursday Thirteen" on a regular basis. Like Barbara, I see such memes as a way of reaching out to others who might not normally read my blog.

Have you found any bloggers that you began to read regularly after participating in a meme with them?

Definitely. Of course I can't think of them right now, but there are several that I've added to my Bloglines and blogroll because I so enjoyed their Thursday Thirteen posts.

Do you know of any readers who found you through a meme and became regular readers?

I'm not sure! If you found me through a meme and you're now a regular reader, will you let me know? Thanks!

Did you find any favorite blogs through comments or blogrolls on others’ blogs?

Again, definitely...quite a few, in fact.

Did you find any favorite blogs from someone else’s recommendation?

Wow...I'm sorry I'm not being more specific, but I know I've found favorite blogs that way.

If you comment on someone’s blog, do you expect a response? If so, do you prefer that response to come through an e-mail, a comment from them on the same post, or a a comment on your blog?

I don't expect a response, unless I'm asking a specific question.

Do you ever struggle with your blogging “voice”?

Not really. I decided quite some time ago that "Notes in the Key of Life" is my blog, and I'll write about anything that strikes my fancy. I can't worry too much about niche-marketing here! I'm a person of many interests and facets, and I think all of them are represented on this blog.

Are there certain types of blogs that attract you?

My favorite are those that combine really good writing with humor and spirituality, although I read many blogs that are one or the other. A great sense of humor goes a looong way with me...as long as it's clean and family-friendly.

Are there certain types of blogs that repel you?

Definitely. I avoid blogs that feature obscenity, profanity, or pretty much any blog that doesn't pass my Phillipians 4:8 test. Also, if you're a constant downer, you're going to lose me.

What time of day do you usually blog?

It varies.

Do your family and friends know about your blog? Do they read it? Do they mind if you mention them? Do they suggest posts for it?

Yes, my friends and family know about my blog, and they all read it occasionally if not regularly. My hubby reads my blog pretty regularly. Hi, honey! (waving and blowing a kiss) (By the way, he's going to think that last line is corny :))

I can't remember if a friend or family member has suggested a post, but I think my husband likes it when I blog about our grandson, and he loves it when people comment about the baby.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

13 Things to Tell You About

More link love and interesting tidbits! If you're busy cruising Thursday Thirteens, bookmark this page to come back and peruse at your leisure...

--Being a voice-over artist, I was sad to hear that the king of voice-over artists, Don LaFontaine, passed away. If you've ever heard a movie trailer, you've heard him. Just think of phrase, "In a world where..." uttered in a deep, gravelly, awesome voice. Here's a video about him.

--The name of the upcoming new "24" movie has been changed.

--Yet another obit: The animator who gave movement to Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy and the other Peanuts characters has died. Bill Melendez was 91.

--Do you aspire to write Christian fiction? Here's a contest that might interest you.

--Speaking of Christian fiction, I had the privilege today of interviewing the wonderful Karen Kingsbury. I'll blog about it soon.

--The Xbox 360 is slashing its price.

--A Christian version of Guitar Hero will feature music from the likes of dcTalk, Flyleaf, David Crowder, 12 Stones and Casting Crowns.

--An interesting article about Sarah Palin.

--Apparently a lot of U2 fans like Obama, and vice versa.

--A New York woman has grown a six-foot-long zucchini!

--Well, I would never wear them, but someone has actually written an article in praise of ugly shoes.

--Barbara at Stray Thoughts features a great new meme about blogging. I plan to answer the questions soon.

--It's cool in Northern Illinois today! The high is expected to only be around 63.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Where has "Newsies" been all my life?

...and some pics from my Labor Day weekend

Well, my kids left yesterday. (Imagine me with a very sad face.) I had the most wonderful time with my son, my daughter-in-law and my adorable 19-month-old grandson.

However, my daughter-in-law had encouraged my daughter Elizabeth and me to watch Newsies. Liz is a big Christian Bale fan, and I have to admit he's a pretty appealing actor.

I thoroughly enjoyed Newsies! Christian Bale, at the age of around 17 or 18, does a great job in a singing, dancing, tough-talking role. He plays the leader of a group of newsboys who decide to go on strike in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. It's fun and engaging. (As far as family-friendliness: I was a little surprised that despite being a Disney movie, it contains a few curse-words.)

Wonderful Labor Day weekend...

My long Labor Day Weekend (I took Friday and Tuesday off in addition to Labor Day) was wonderful! It was just so awesome to spend quality time with Jonathan, Daylyn and Payton. Here are a few pictures from our weekend.

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