Friday, December 30, 2005
January - I headed down to Alabama to visit my friends the last weekend of the month. I had a blast in my home away from home, but brought with me an ice storm. I thought I was escaping to a warmer climate in January.
February - This was a pre-transition month. A lot of little things happened that were a pre-cursor to some life changes I would experience the rest of the year, one of which was leading a small group during our Wednesday night women's Bible study time.
March - I was asked to sit on a panel for a girl's youth event, GirlTalk. That was my public speaking highlight of the year. I also was honored to be asked to co-lead the women's ministry at our church by Jessica, a leader I truly respect. To indicate even more changes, a job offer was on the table...
April - I left a job I took that truly wasn't a fit for me and accepted an offer to work with folks I've worked with for over 10 years. Yes, Virginia, you can go home again, and it feels wonderful. Due to the freedom and joy I felt from this change, my juices started flowing again, and this blog was launched.
May - My Dad made his fifth trip to the hospital, but thankfully, this one was successful. It was a long couple of weeks, and a long road to recovery, but I'm happy to say, he's still doing great
June - The most significant thing I can remember from this month was a multitude of weddings (including two on one day) and my joining of Blockbuster Online. Even the minor membership moves make the yearly review.
July - I made a return trip to Alabama for the 4th of July weekend. No ice storms this time! Truly, I feel at home there without an explanation other than precious friends who welcome me with open arms. The month ended with an infected wisdom tooth that had to be extracted - my first tooth extraction ever.
August - I joined a Fantasy Football League for the fourth year in a row. I'm consistent - I didn't make the playoffs again this year.
September - This was a big month - I turned 30-10. I really struggled with turning that age, but after living it for three months, it's not that bad - other than I still can't bring myself to type the number out. Ironically, the same month of my birthday, I was asked to come work in our college ministry, which has turned out to be a great blessing, even if, at times, it makes me feel old.
October - My month of unfortunate events. I never could shake the change of season cold and it got a good hold of me, sending me to the hospital for a little over a week. I've learned from that experience that if I don't feel good for more than a week or two, go to the doctor - I'm not wearing a cape, hence, I'm not superwoman. To top off the month, I fell on Halloween right after I left the hospital, and ended up with stitches on my forehead and a black eye as a conversational piece. I learned from that experience that I'm not in the Indy 500, no need to race through life.
November - After a little setback, November marked the beginning of the college girls' discipleship group, "The BRAT Pack - Biblical Relationships, Accountable Teaching." In just two months, I've witnessed these girls really growing and becoming special women. I love my girls and I can't wait to watch what God will do in their lives in 2006.
December - After my month of unfortunate events, I decided to be very lowkey for Christmas this year. I wanted to enjoy the holidays, enjoy the time spent with family and friends, and not get caught up in the shopping frenzy. I did all my shopping online or on December 23 and the stress factor was eliminated. I truly enjoyed the four-day holiday weekend I had and cherished the time I spent with my family and friends. I reflected on the past Christmases and realized how each year so much changes, and some things stay the same. I miss my Mom tremendously at Christmas, but I try to keep her jovial personality alive through all I do.
I hope you all will take time to reflect on your year. This is merely a snippet of my life - there is so much more that happened and that God did in my life, that mere blog pages couldn't do it justice. But, in my little corner of the blogworld, I will sit with my cup of java, scroll through my months of blog entries, and reflect on what soon will be last year.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Poppin' Fresh debuted in October 1965 (right after my world debut) and has been bringing "lovin' to the oven" for years. Like Tony the Tiger and the Green Giant, just seeing that pudgy little baker communicates a warm feeling of hot cookies, buttery biscuits, and flaky pie crusts.
Now, Pillsbury has brought the Doughboy to life on your computer. The recent series of "Dancin' Doughboy" commercials inspired a site where you can create your own dance routine for Poppin' Fresh. He can disco, do the hustle, and even the butterchurn, all by your command.
My favorite commercial in this dance mix series starts off with the soothing sounds of Barry White playing in the background. The Doughboy dances around in a sultry fashion and these words appear on the screen, "Who brings lovin' to your oven?" The best line of all follows while Barry White music continues to play...."The Other Mr. White" You go, Doughboy!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Some may find it an annoying banner for my blog, but it blends well with my color scheme so it's not too bad. I'll be honest, the money "reaped" so far wouldn't even buy a coke from our coke machine. But, I figure if I can support Google's business model, my blog will remain free forever...or at least a little bit longer. And, using the Google name everywhere in this blog ought to up my search results, therefore increasing my impressions, clicks, and moo-la.
All this sounds very corporate and profit hungry, but something rather incredible happened after my recent post on When the North Pole Meets Bethlehem. All Google ads are contextual, meaning their bots scan my posts to see what ads would most appeal to the reader based on the content. Much to my surprise, an ad "God Loves You" appeared shortly after my posting. I was intrigued enough to click through to see what it said. Lo and behold, it was the plan of salvation....explaining how we can know Jesus as our Savior.
For all the hype and hoopla around Google, their fortune, and their domination of search, I found that little contextual miracle impressive. There is nothing I'd love more than having someone read my viewpoints on Jesus' Birth, then having them learn exactly how they can benefit from that birth. Google spreads the Gospel. Obviously, God is in their alogorithm.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I'll preface my thoughts here by saying that no matter where you fall on this issue, I respect your choice. It has taken me days to really think through how I feel, and, given that I'm not a parent, it's not an extremely pressing issue in my household.
I was raised in a Christian home by parents who told me the Christmas story and why we celebrate Christmas at all. At the same time, I wrote letters to Santa, set out cookies and milk for him, and anxiously awaited Christmas morning. I loved all the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials that ranged from the story of Rudolph to Nestor, the long-eared donkey, that protected Mary and Joseph as they traveled into Bethlehem. I don't remember how old I was when I discovered there was no Santa - but it wasn't revealed to me by my parents or anyone else - I think I just figured it out. I do remember that I played along with the Santa idea for a couple of more years so as not to disappoint my parents.
Believing in Santa didn't damage me for life. Nor did it keep me from understanding the true meaning of Christmas. I decided to give my life to Christ at the young age of 8 years old - and the Santa dilemma never confused that decision for me. In fact, as I reflect on things, I think believing in Santa and realizing who Santa was, made me trust and believe in Jesus that much more.
Santa really couldn't see me all the time, and he didn't know if I was naughty or nice. But, Jesus is with me all the time, and not only sees if I'm naughty or nice, He knows the evil things I think at times. Santa always seemed to get me everything on my list - or most everything - that I asked for. Jesus isn't Santa, but He gives me all that I need, when I need it - and sometimes without asking. And when the Barbie Townhouse fell down two weeks after Christmas, or the next big gift came along, the gift of blessings from Jesus were priceless and timeless.
When Christmas Eve would come, I could barely sleep, knowing that Santa was coming. Of course, the moment I fell asleep, he would creep in and fill my stocking and eat my cookies. I couldn't wait for Christmas morning to get here. One day, Jesus will come back, and oh how I wish each night as I lay my head on my pillow I got so excited about His Return that I could barely sleep. And, when He comes that glorious morning, I won't just awake to an empty tray of cookies or presents piled beneath a tree, I'll see my Savior face to face. Now, that's the best Christmas present ever.
Friday, December 02, 2005
I decided to share the words of the song here for multiple reasons. First, whenever I have something that stays with me this long, it usually means I need to share it. Second, one of my fellow bloggers, Katrina, shared her testimony and beliefs in on her blog recently. I thoroughly enjoy her writing, and seeing that talent used to express her beliefs was simply exquisite. And, third, I could write for days about what God has done in my life...the road where He has taken me, the evil me that sometimes went kicking and screaming, and the unending love that I can't fully grasp. But, I suppose the words of this song sum it up in a way that might take me much longer to convey. If you don't know that Grace, I'd love to share more with you...
Time measured out my days
Life carried me along
In my soul I yearned to follow God
But knew I'd never be so strong
I looked hard at this world
To learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began
Where human effort is all in vain
Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I'd be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace
So here is all my praise
Expressed with all my heart
Offered to the Friend who took my place
And ran a course I could not start
And when He saw in full
Just how much His love would cost
He still went the final mile between me and heaven
So I would not be lost
Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I'd be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
A J Caldwell, or Airman Caldwell, as I like to call him is the aforementioned person. A J is like that little brother that can drive you nuts one minute and do anything for you the next. I first met A J about 3 years ago at a one-day singles conference at our church. He was a new member and we happened to sit across from each other when the group went to Qdoba for lunch. We hit it off and have been friends ever since. A J once lived in an apartment I donned "Chez Hottie" since it was full of wonderful, godly men. He always thought it was completely due to him. I just let him think that to keep him happy. Do you see a pattern here?
The one thing about A J that I enjoy is his ability to dote on me, his sister in Christ. We don't spend a lot of time together (which he reminds me about regularly), but when we do, he almost always offers to valet my car wherever our group might meet up. He makes his living doing that right now, so he's great at that skill. It may be a small thing, but for a single, unattached gal, I appreciate my little brother in Christ melting my heart with an act of service. And, when he heard of my excitement when The Muppet Show came out on DVD, he gave me the copy he bought after he watched it. Another heart-warming moment.
A J will either love me or despise me after this post. Let's hope for a good outcome. This never-ending topic is now put to rest.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Now that online shopping has taken off, a new phrase has appeared on the scene - "Cyber Monday." That is the Monday after Thanksgiving (today) when the online retailers see the highest jump in holiday sales. Almost every media newsletter I received today proclaimed the glories of Cyber Monday. I think it's a bit overdone. You can order from a lot of online retailers up until days before Christmas for a Christmas arrival (see that little e-commerce site, Amazon). But, as a marketing professional, I'm all about the hype if it means a great economic upswing.
I'd like to don the Saturday after Thanksgiving as "Bountiful Saturday." I made my normal bi-weekly trip to the grocery this past Saturday and it was a joyous experience. Not only was it almost void of people because they had loaded up the carts before Thanksgiving, but all the pre-Thanksgiving sales were still in force. I loaded up on 12-packs of Cokes at a discount and got a loaf of bread for 99 cents! My grocery bill was $30 less than normal. Now that's something worthy of its own name.
I may not run to the mall on Black Friday, but I make it a point to do my grocery shopping the Saturday after Thanksgiving. And it gives me something more to be thankful for.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
4. Gimli-Gollum Gravy - it's good with an evil sort of kick
3. Darth Taters - they've been finely roasted and come out smokin'
2. Green Bean Casserole WITHOUT the crunchy little onions on top - who in the world makes that?
1. WKRP's Turkey Drop Surprise - As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!
Monday, November 21, 2005
It's also the week that the Christmas celebrations are triggered - if they haven't already started. Black Friday occurs the day after Thanksgiving when retailers feel the joy of ringing cash registers and visions of profits dancing in their heads. I usually put my toe in the water that day, but don't completely dive into the madness. Last year, I was working at another job that frankly had zero liberties, including the fact that I had to work the day after Thanksgiving. That has to be illegal or at the very least immoral. Thankfully, one of my many blessings this year is the return of the four-day weekend.
As you begin to prepare for however you celebrate this Thanksgiving, take time to truly count your blessings. And, as the air gets nippier and the Christmas carols begin playing, remember the real Reason for the Season. Don't get so wrapped up in the gift buying that you miss the real gift of Jesus that is the best Christmas Present ever.
Friday, November 18, 2005
The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation did a study that showed since 1998, sexual content on television has doubled. Seventy percent of all shows on television right now include some sort of sexual scene. But, where the real numbers shake out is when they break out the content by show genre. Comedy series contained 91% of sexual content, drama series contained 87% sexual content, but Reality shows contained a mere 41% of sexual content. The Bachelor and Bachelorette alone suck up that percentage number.
Although it's proven that Reality TV does contain some sexual content, compared to the other comedies and dramas, it is mild. No wonder I like Reality TV - it's one of the few places you can watch and not be inundated with sexual content.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
The problem I face is multi-faceted. I have a somewhat big foot (thanks to my Dad), a wide foot at the ball of my foot, but more narrow at the heel. And, I don't like to be constricted in shoes. I get this trait from my Dad. My Mom used to tell us, "You don't HAVE to wiggle your toes in your shoes." Au contraire, Dad and I do. So, the challenge of finding a comfortable shoe is tough. For dressier shoes, I can go with sandals in the right time of year - made for the wiggliest of toes. And, clogs and mules were made just for my feet - easy to slip on and off, and my heel doesn't clomp out of it because of the wideness needed for my toes to fit. I'm convinced that if God wanted us to wear shoes, he would have created them in the first six days. Thanks to the fall of man, we're now bound by shoes.
I searched the web over, after seeking out shoes in the local stores, and found a pair on Zappos.com - the Propet walking shoes. I recognized the brand, but never really knew much about them. Intrigue set in when their website claimed they were the walking shoe company - ok, that's what I do, walk. I was also impressed at their "Tips" page that told you how to specifically lace up your shoes if your toes are cramped, your foot is wide in places, or you have a high arch. I fell in love with the slip-on - easy on and off - and decided to purchase a pair.
I'd not been real impressed with Zappos in the past, but their athletic shoe selection is much better than the rest of their site, which is limited in size and expensive in cost. I have to say, though, Zappos won my heart as well. After opening my free account and placing my first order, they immediately emailed me to say they'd express ship my shoes at no cost, and I'd have them in one business day. A sure way to gain a customer. As promised, my shoes were on my doorstep in one business day. I slipped them on and breathed a sigh - what a feeling. I've worn my Propets for their first full day and I may never go Payless again.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
"Who are you trying to reach?"
"I'm sorry, you have the wrong number."
Ok, just a little lesson when reaching a wrong number.
Rule #1 - Don't respond to the Hello with an inquisitive Hello. You've reached a party, it's time to begin communication.
Rule #2 - Never, and I repeat, NEVER, ask "Who's this?" while never revealing your identity. Do you really think I'm going to tell a strange person who I am?
Rule #3 - Always ask for who you want, even if you hear an unexpecting voice on the other end. Who is to say that someone else grabbed the phone for your intended party.
Rule #4 - (Although it didn't happen on this call) Don't ask me "what number is this?" Ok, (A) you are a stranger, and (B) you want to know who I am, and (C) now you want to know what number you obviously just dialed? Tell me what number you are dialing and I'll verify if you dialed incorrectly or just have the wrong number.
In a world of identity theft, and crazed lunatics, I don't give much info out at all - especially to strangers randomly calling my phone. Put yourself on the other side of the receiver and I think your wrong number etiquette will improve.
Monday, November 14, 2005
The only real difference in the two Apprentice versions is the mogul hiring the Apprentice, and the closing line to the departing interviewee. Donald made famous the phrase "You're fired." (Well, it was already a well-known phrase at corporations everywhere), but Martha used the softer "You're just not working out for me." - the Dr. Phil-like commentary of "How's that working for ya?" Some complained that the "softness" of the show made it bland. But, I disagree. The tasks were equally challenging and the drama amongst teammates always evident.
The key to Martha's loss is easy. The confusing marketing message of the Apprentice. NBC should have saved this version for an off season between Trump's version, which is gaining high ratings. Having that show as a "filler" would satiate the appetite of Apprentice fans while waiting for the next Trump newbie to be hired. Both of these shows premiered at the same time, on different nights. For the first few weeks, I couldn't remember if Jim, the irritating wild card, was on the Martha version, or the Trump version. (Oh, wait, that was Markus). Only diehard geeks like me would stick it out. Others decided to cut bait of the lesser appealing version (Martha), and commit to the old standby (Trump). It's the age old mistake of mixing your marketing messages. Gee, maybe that needs to be a lesson on an upcoming Apprentice task.
After I read about this cancellation this morning, I got an update this afternoon solidifying my theory. An article on AdAge interviewed Jeff Zucker, President of NBC, discussing the wins and losses of this televison season, and he cited that they never should have put both versions of Apprentice up against each other. Go fig.
Friday, November 11, 2005
If I have to pay 37 cents to mail a letter (and soon to be 39 cents), I like to think my money goes for more than just to deliver my package, but also to make receiving it a bit more enjoyable. It's the least our US Postal Service can do for charging outrageous prices for what we can do for free online. One of their recent debuts of gallery stamps are the Muppets - once great TV, now can be found on letters across the world.
I recently bought a bunch of these stamps, ironically ordering them online. If you read my previous post, my unfortunate fall at the post office was due to a trip to buy these very stamps. After that incident, I thought it was worth the dollar for shipping to avoid another ER visit. Charging a dollar to deliver stamps is a whole other blog topic.
The Postal Service is full of choices - Audrey Hepburn, Ronald Reagan, Disney Characters, and a multitude of flowers, flags, and animals. So, if you have to spend the money, let your personality show through.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The lesson learned here is that I've got to slow down, regain balance in my life, and learn when to say no. I'm an extremist and love to live life to the fullest, but I'm not Mrs. Incredible. I'm healing slowly but surely (on both counts). There is a saying that goes "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger." I don't feel like I could fight any battles right now, but it has made me stronger in my faith, and stronger in my convictions that I have to take care of myself. A tough lesson for someone who lives to take care of others.
Hopefully my hospital stays and yummy hospital food (yeah, right) are over for a long time. I think I could write a whole blog on my experiences, but I'll just savor them and sprinkle them throughout the blog when you least expect it.
Monday, October 17, 2005
For my birthday, my best friend, Christie, gave me Disney's Cinderella on DVD. I have been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember, and the story of Cinderella was always one of my favorites. My Mom used to get me every Disney video the moment it made it out of the Disney vault (wherever that is!), so it was also special that Christie chose a gift that my Mom would have gotten me had she been here to celebrate. If you love Disney movies, this one is a must have, especially for the romantic. The DVD with all the extras is well worth spending the time to watch.
As I sat down to watch it a week ago, I couldn't wait to really get into it as an adult. The movie opens with the story of Cinderella - her Mom passed away when she was very young, her Dad remarried then passed away, and now she lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters, basically as a slave in her own home. The next scene shows her waking up in the morning to all her little animal friends and breaking into the famous song, "A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes." It's funny how God uses even fairy tales to get my attention. I thought, "Do I wake up with that positive of an attitude every morning?" Here's a gal who is living in the dungeon of a huge house and spends her days and nights toiling away at the mercy of her so-called family. Yet, she wakes up to the new day dancing around her bedroom and singing about her dreams and wishes. I normally wake up and hit the snooze multiple times, think about what I have to do for the day, stress about what I didn't get done yesterday, and stop long enough for a quick quiet time that slips from my memory by lunchtime.
Even though Cinderella lived under harsh circumstances, she didn't allow her environment to dictate her attitude. I find myself not only allowing my environment to rule my mood, but also allowing circumstances to influence my actions. This revelating scene caused me to remember a scripture I've known since childhood - "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24. I'd do well to recite that scripture a few times before hitting the snooze button.
Although it's a fairy tale, this story is full of other great reminders of my faith - the idea of the fairy godmother coming at Cinderella's lowest point, just as God comes in at 11:59 when we're faced with midnight doom. Or how anything we dream of or we do are merely rags, and God can wash over us with the redeeming blood of Christ and make us a new creature, just like Cinderella on her way to the ball. I chuckled when the King described the Prince's experience when meeting Cinderella, "He will catch a glimpse of her from across the room. The one predestined to be his bride." Ok, Prince Charming's family are reformed theologians.
I've always claimed to have the heart of Cinderella...always wishing, always dreaming, always hoping. Now, I'm going to strive to maintain that faithful attitude because I have a whole lot more to be hopeful for than a fairytale princess.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
"Lying lips are detestable to the Lord" - Proverbs 12:22. When I was a child, every Sunday morning while I was getting ready for church a cartoon short would be on television - Jot the Dot. Jot was a, well, dot, that taught biblical truths. He was produced by the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission. Jot would change colors based on his emotions and experiences. I loved Jot...he was so innocent and I identified with him so much. Maybe because he was cute and round, I don't know. But, one of the episodes Jot found himself in the middle of a lie. And, that verse kept haunting him to remind him what the Bible said. I still remember the big LYING LIPS chasing him around to remind him. In the end, Jot told the truth and asked for forgiveness. I just remember thinking, "Wow, God sure doesn't like lying, so I better not lie." Even years later, I remember that lesson and scripture.
I miss Jot. Oh, Veggie Tales are great and tell wonderful Bible stories in a new and appealing way. But, the world needs more Jot. Simple, short episodes of Bible teaching that are written on the hearts of little ones never to be forgotten.
Monday, October 10, 2005
This weekend one of my accomplishments was mattress flipping. Now, this may not seem like a huge deal to some folks, but it is for me. I like to flip my mattress every 3,000 miles or so - or 300 naps - or however you want to calculate it. But, getting that full-size mattress flipped without tearing up my bedroom, or breaking lamps on nightstands can be a challenge. I decided to tackle it once again, and after a few interesting dance steps around my bed, the mattress was flipped. I was so proud! I'm about the only person that would get that excited about mattress flipping.
I'm blessed to have some great male friends I can call upon to do some of the heavy labor stuff that I just can't do. But, I'm not always dependant enough to ask. So, until the day comes I have a man to share my mattress, I'll just rejoice in the fact that I can flip it myself.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Ok, am I the only one that sees this as a ginormous issue? First off, the 'viewing' of that part of my anatomy is reserved only for medical professionals and my future husband, thank you very much. I have a real issue providing a picture of myself that requires payment to see....sounds a little "prostitute-like" if you ask me. What makes this "acceptable" in the world's eyes is, "hey, it's for a great cause!" So, does that mean if I work the local street corner on the weekends, but donate all my proceeds to International Missions, that makes it ok? I think not.
I'm sure these folks have the best of intentions to raise money for breast cancer research. And, I know many breast cancer survivors, so I'm extremely aware of the good this does. But, have we stooped so low as to have a pay-per-view anatomy parade to get folks to donate?
Monday, October 03, 2005
Ok, there are problems here on many levels. How in the world did someone get to this competition that couldn't even read? I realize that football players and other athletes do it all the time, but given the rigorous schedule these contestants keep, including reading and memorzing unknown music, I'm amazed that she survived. Second, what a sad testament to our school system. She dropped out of high school as an unwed mother, but she should have been able to read long before that. Third, if it hadn't been for this unexpected blessing of fame in her life, her daughter, Zion, would most likely have grown up unable to read. My love for books, reading, and writing came in the lap of my Mom who read to me constantly. So much that I couldn't wait to read myself.
Thankfully Fantasia is working with a tutor now to learn to read. More than her talent to sing, I hope her status of American Idol will help other kids out there come forward if they can't read and cry for help. America already falls behind many other countries in educational levels, it's time we get the train back on track.
Friday, September 30, 2005
4. Select the next Supreme Court Justice
3. Break the DaVinci Code
2. Rewrite your choice of trilogies - Star Wars or Lord of the Rings
1. Find Nemo
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
I was challenged by my friend and mentor, Sharon, to take today to write down 40 blessings in my life (Ok, you quick ones can figure out why 40). So, here they are, in no particular order.
1. My eternal security in knowing I'll live forever in Heaven - this one gets top billing. Without it, daily living is really a drag.
2. A godly mother who I miss dearly that impacted my life in ways I may never truly grasp. Every birthday I remember her in a special way because 5 years ago today, I watched her slip into eternity.
3. A rock solid godly father - My Dad wasn't a Christian when my Mom married him, but accepted Christ shortly after. Today he still stands as an awesome example of what I long for in a mate. His love for my Mom was unbelievable.
4. A Stepmom that gave my Dad hope - After the passing of my Mom, my Dad found someone to share his life with. Although it was initially hard for me, I'm certain my Dad wouldn't still be with me today without her companionship.
5. A Wise Granddaddy - I was his only grandchild...and we'd go on walks and talk about life. And, he was the funniest, wittiest man I knew as a child. I didn't realize until he was gone that I inherited his talent for writing.
6. A loving Granny - She secretly painted my fingernails the first time when my Dad thought it made me look like a streetwalker. She always dressed like a model, and could cook a dinner to die for. I miss spending time at her house...I loved going there.
7. My best friend, and NOK, Christie - Without any siblings, she has been my "next of kin." God truly knew I needed a sister who understood me and loved me unconditionally. In many ways our lives have paralleled and our friendship is certainly timeless.
8. A home I love - I am blessed to have a beautiful home. As much as I love to be social, I'm completely content to be at home with my books and the comfort of the place of refuge where I live.
9. A job I love - My career path has definitely been interesting. After leaving the world of technology publishing, I realized it truly was my first love. I adore my job and being back in that field working with people who are like family.
10. My church - Being an only child, my church is like an extended family. Our church has been through a lot over the years, and I have the war wounds to prove it. But, God is so faithful.
11. My OPCs - Christie, Amy, Tracy, and new member, Beth - The five of us are very different, yet have a bond that many people are lucky to get with one person in their life. I'm so thankful God brought the five of us into our "Ya-Ya" sisterhood of OPC.
12. The mentors in my life - My Mom was the greatest of these, but other women, Carol, Alisa, Sharon, Jessica...are all women I look up to with great respect and hope to emulate in many ways.
13. My friend, Kevin - His first response will be, "I'm not in the Top 10??" Kevin and I became friends at a time when I needed to see that there are still wonderful guys out there. He knows all my faults and still loves me.
14. My car - A practical blessing, but without it, I'd be trapped at home.
15. My health - Even with the health issues I have, I am able to have a fairly normal functioning life - for that I am blessed.
16. Women's Ministry - I serve with one of the greatest women's ministry teams on earth.
17. Gift of writing - I never knew that all that English would one day pay off...not just for pleasure, but even in my vocation
18. College Ministry - I recently agreed to work in this ministry of our church. As I age and realize what a pivotal time that was in my life, my heart turns more towards that age group.
19. Those I have discipled - Amber, Tracy, Lydia - All three of these young ladies have been married in the past year. I'm so proud of what God has done in their lives.
20. My first job at the Cobb Group - I didn't know in 1991 that accepting that job would forever change my life - almost every job since then has had a Cobb Group connection
21. Dr. Beach - He was my pastor when I accepted Christ. I had such a fear of the water and being baptized, and he was so supportive in helping me through that.
22. Dr. Bryant - The doctor that delivered me. After many miscarriages and the loss of a premature son, he encouraged my Mom and Dad to keep trying. After 18 years of marriage, his encouragement paid off. Had I been a boy, my middle name would have been Bryant.
23. Car accident when I was 7 - As tragic as that was, none of us lost our lives, but my understanding of death became very real and led me to make a life-changing decision at the age of 8.
24. Mr. Downing - My elementary school principal, and OPC Amy's Grandaddy. He made it fun to come to school. I never did forgive him for retiring a year before I left elementary school.
25. Books - I love to read....I hope the written word never goes out of style
26. Paige - We became best friends in such a unique way that only God could orchestrate it. In many ways, we share so much in common, and though many miles separate us, we remain very close.
27. Failed Relationships - Being single at this point in my life is NOT what I expected. But, each past realtionship has taught me more about myself.
28. A diverse career path - From accounting to payroll - from PR to marketing - to insurance agent - back to marketing - I've experienced a lot in my short life.
29. Gift of encouragment - I love to encourage people..it truly makes my day brighter
30. A love to talk - I enjoy great conversation - and not just talking but listening. Conversation is one of the greatest schools in the world.
31. Sense of humor - Although sometimes wacky, laughter is one of my favorite things
32. A great memory - I'm blessed with the ability to remember dates, times, events, really well. I've always feared if Alzheimer's hits, I'll go crazy.
33. Gift of discernment - This one is truly something I never really saw in myself until others had to point it out. I can only hope my counsel is beneficial and not detrimental
34. Church friends - So many to name, so little space. They are what makes up the family I love at my church
35. Work friends - A different group of people entirely, but people you pioneer with you always stay close to.
36. Rita Hall Shourds - My Marketing professor in college that, in the midst of one major, she enlightened me to the wonderful world of marketing where I truly had strengths
37. Television - May seem shallow, but as an only child, my books and television were my eyes to the outside world.
38. Mr. Springs - My junior english teacher who challenged me about writing my research paper on a topic he thought was impossible. He knew better - and that I'd be up for the challenge. He chose me as his Senior Aide, and taught me never to back down on a challenge
39. My time on the high school newspaper staff - For two years I served on that team. I loved it and never realized I'd end up in the publishing industry.
40. My age - I've really dreaded this birthday, but I know with age comes some wisdom and lots of life experiences. I can't wait to see what the next 40 look like!
Monday, September 26, 2005
One of the things I admired about Bob, was his ability to express his true feelings in an eloquent, unoffensive way. I remember one time our marketing team was pushing to run a promotion that was a bit on the eccentric side. We had some editorial support for the idea, but Bob was quite frank about the fact that he didn't find it a very profitable idea. Although he didn't think it was the grandest of ideas, he allowed us to proceed forward. Needless to say, the novelty of the promotion was great, but it didn't provide a lot of measurable success for the organization. Once again, Bob knew best.
I wondered what his current company, my former employer, would do as a tribute to his memory. Their memoriam was truly remarkable. It lists links to articles and video footage with Bob at his best. There are also links to his online obituary, guest book, and a threaded discussion to reminisce the good times with Bob. I understand that they are compiling DVDs for his 4 children to have as a remembrance of their father for years to come.
His employer captured the essence with the quote that leads off the memoriam page. J Michael Straczynski, writer of Bablyon 5, said one time, "Like everyone else, I am going to die. But the words - the words live on for as long as there are readers to see them, audiences to hear them. It is immortality..." May Bob's words live on for many years to come.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I spun around the levels of the parking garage to arrive at my normal exit on to First Street with my window down, and my access card ready to swipe. I realized very quickly that I was behind a person without a clue. The first hint? She put her car in reverse while I was sitting behind her. Evidently she's a newbie to the parking garage gig and she got out of her car to tell me she was stuck - a slave to the obvious. I explained to her that she needed to wave her card over the scanner to allow the bar to raise. What had she done? She had put her card in the box below. I suppose she thought it was like an ATM and would spit it back out to her - but it just ate her card. So, I smiled, proceeded to back out and exit on to Main Street. I told her I would let the guard know that she was having issues.
Now, by my title you'd think I place all the blame on the driver who shoved her card in the unknown box. Although that probably wouldn't have been the first choice for me, I have to say that parking garages aren't great with their instructional direction. And, knowing the low level of attentiveness of drivers and lack of just plain common sense, they need to take some steps to correct that. A simple note under the scanning eye that states, "Please hold your access card over the green light to exit" would be sufficient. Of course, as I've stated before, instructions aren't always the answer.
Knowing how difficult it is for most people to operate in this world, it makes all the more sense why shows like Survivor are so appealing. Half the world can't find their way out of a parking garage, so surviving with 15 strangers on mangos and rice is definitely worth a million dollars.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
As a marketing professional working in technology publishing, what I learned on Saturday mornings is valuable to me today. We deploy thousands of emails per week and they go through testing...and more testing....and more testing...before they hit an inbox for public consumption. We have multiple sets of eyes proof every email to assure that our readers get a version minus typos and blatant grammatical errors.
Another part of my complex job includes research. I read a lot. I'm subscribed to tons of e-newsletters myself that direct me to the latest scoop in the media world, the technology world, and the internet world. What I've discovered as I read all this copy on a daily basis is how lazy most editors are getting at other sites. A day doesn't go by that I don't read an article online that has a typo. Granted, I'm sure some of our content isn't perfect either, but it's sad to think that all of this information overload is causing us to lose our commitment to strong spelling and grammar. We already shorthand our way through instant messages and text messages using acronym lingo like LOL or b4 to save keystrokes. Maybe our world could use a good dose of Schoolhouse Rock again...
Monday, September 19, 2005
My process when a decision like this comes along, is first to pray about it. I've learned the hard way in the past that if this isn't numero uno, I'm sunk. And, not just a simple prayer voiced, but real meditation on it...a praying lifestyle. I ponder it, pray, think, analyze scenarios....all in the presence of God. Get a picture of Pooh sitting on his honey pot saying 'THINK THINK THINK" and you got a good visual. My prayer life would be much richer if I applied this method to every prayer I uttered. Secondly, I keep the radar up with every scripture I read, every sermon I hear, and every devotion I read for anything that God might be saying to me about this impending decision. And, thirdly, I seek godly counsel. I'm blessed to have people right smack in the middle of the situation to talk to, people somewhat detached, but aware of the players in the game, and godly friends who are completely unconnected, yet know me very well, that can help me discern the situation.
Now that I've come to my decision, I look back on another life-altering decision in my life that I made many years ago - the decision to accept Christ as my Savior. It was life changing in the very best way. I had been raised in a Christian home, raised in church and knew about God, but one day it hit me that unless I committed my life to Him, I would spend eternity separated from Him in hell. Due to some circumstances, death was very real to me at age 7 when that happened, but even then, I was as laboriously of a mover as I was with this decision today. I talked to my parents, my pastor, and most important, even as a little one, internalized it a lot. Then, finally when I was 8, I was ready to make that commitment. Although in a simpler form, the decision-making process was similar to my process today.
It's interesting that our decision making is heavily influenced by our personality. Everyone is different, and everyone arrives at decisions differently. But, it's amazing that God created us in our mother's womb, even our intricate personalities. For even though I'm far from the age of 7 today, I still attack decisions in the same way. So, the next time you work with small children, observe their personality. You will most likely see the personality of a future leader.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
For almost 100 years, Vogue Magazine has been one of the leaders in fashion publishing. Last week they went to press with "Men's Vogue" - a new publishing venture for the Conde' Nast empire. The target audience is the 35 and over male - heterosexual, thank you very much (I'm tired of the homosexual agenda slathered on everything that moves) - white collar professionals with an even more targted focus on the six-figure earning man. Gee, sounds like my kind of demographic. And, what better model for the cover of their first issue than the beloved bachelor, George Clooney. Smart marketing to launch a men's publication with a definite feminine appeal. In the immortal words of ZZ Top - "Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man."
Friday, September 09, 2005
I chalked up my love for him because he sang songs from an era when my parents fell in love. He was a marvelous vocalist and songwriter who could write words to melt your heart. And, he's still faithfully married to his wife, unlike many famous folks who hit the spotlight. But, since the tragedy in the Gulf Coast, I've found even more reasons to love him.
Being a New Orleans native, as many of his band members also, he jumped in right away to come to the aide of the survivors. He put on his waders and treaded water across the streets of his hometown. He headed up a benefit concert aired on NBC and their affiliated networks in less than a week from the devastation. And, he's recently been named the chairman for the Habitat for Humanity project in the Gulf Coast region.
On a recent NBC news show, I witnessed him walking (and boating) the streets of New Orleans and literally carrying an elderly man to safety. He and his team also came across a woman trying to get to the Superdome with her children, unaware it had already been evacuated. He loaded her up in his vehicle and took her to the NBC compound. He said, "I know I should be writing songs about this, but right now, all I can think about is helping these people."
Unless one of my faithful blogger readers can denounce this statement, what appeals to me most is that not once on any of the coverage, have I heard him place blame on local, state, or federal government officials. He merely is trying to get the job done. Beaucoup d'amour, sweet Harry.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
What a great opportunity to love on some people who really need the love. The team of chaplains and ministers there are great. I've witnessed their love and commitment to supporting the troops there and heard my friends talk about the many ways they have reached out and encouraged the families on base. Now, they get to take their ministry to the next level - loving on families that have nothing but each other. The power of God's love will definitely be evident there.
I find it very providential that the space that is available for that many people to be housed and sheltered is due to the vacancy that occured from the deployment of troops to Iraq. While they are overseas fighting for our freedom, they have made room for us to take care of our own. Chances are, you won't see that angle presented on the evening news.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
After watching the coverage this morning, it became a bit more real to me. These folks have lost everything, have had to evacuate their home, and travel somewhere else. A couple interviewed on the morning news in Gulfport, MS, said, "We may have lost everything, but we have each other." That was precious. I can't fathom what I would do in a situation like that...talk about stretching your faith.
So, for today's entry, I thought I'd count a few of the blessings I take for granted. I have a roof over my head and a bed to put my head upon. I can pick up my cell phone, home phone, or work phone and make a call anytime. I have a place to go to work and earn a living. I love the job I have. I can go into the kitchen and pour water out to drink and it's not contaminated. Even though it cost me almost $35 to fill up my tank this morning at $2.79 a gallon, I'm thankful I have a car I can fill up that can take me where I want to go.
I could go on, but sometimes, with tragedies like these, it's good to stop and thank God for those small insiginificant things that I take for granted. I think I'll go fill up my water bottle and enjoy the refreshment....
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The other thing that struck me was the first promise of God I ever learned - The Rainbow Covenant. We all are probably familiar with the story of Noah. God was going to destroy the earth because the people were being disobedient. So, he asked Noah to build an ark to house his family, and two of every animal. Noah, being the only righteous man, spent years building the ark to spec. When the rain ceased after 40 days and nights, God made a promise to Noah; He would never destroy the earth again by flood, and the rainbow would be placed in the sky as a reminder.
As a child, this was a fun story because you got to be animals marching on the ark, or you climbed into an ark made out of a box and pretended to be shut up in there for 40 days and nights. And, every time I saw a rainbow, I remembered the story. But, as I watched this coverage of Hurricane Katrina, seeing the city of New Orleans being swallowed up by water, and feeling like it was coming this way, I was comforted. The promise of the rainbow became so much more vivid and important when I realized that the earth wouldn't be destroyed. My prayer is for all the families touched by this tragedy. I hope that soon they will begin to see and feel "rainbows" of comfort from those who will be helping them back to a normal life.
Monday, August 29, 2005
My journey into NFL Football began when I was invited to join a Yahoo! Fantasy league with co-workers 3 years ago. I'm competitive, and would be the only female, and thought, 'why not?' That first year I ended 9th out of 10 teams, with my shining victory being a defeat of a playoff contender, thwarting them from the playoffs during the last regular season game. I learned that year, "Don't trade your players all the time." As a coach, they'd have a bad week and I'd trade them off. Not much grace on my team that year.
My second year was much better and I began to understand the game of football more, making me a more effective coach. I ended the season 7th or 8th, I can't remember, but I know my record improved. I also became more interested in college football, realizing that knowing future NFL players is helpful. I also have a great friend who was patient in explaining the NFL game to me that season.
Now it's my third season, and I'm psyched! I got the first draft pick in my league, and I think I didn't do too shabby in my picks. My goal (no pun intended) is to reach the playoffs this season. Not bad for a girly girl.
Friday, August 26, 2005
4. The idea of making something connected by wires, wireless. Cell phones are as prominent as a tethered phone line, and sometimes the only phone of choice. Wireless connectivity for laptops make working anywhere, literally, a piece of cake.
3. Asking ordinary people to audition to live 40 days on an island, sing acapella, or race all over the world.
2. Selling water in bottles. And reinventing water by adding flavoring to it.
1. Putting pants on a sponge and naming him Bob.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
So, for those of you, like me, who let that empty light on your dashboard shine a little too bright for a little too long, here's a website that can help. Gas Buddy provides local real-time gas prices. They aggregate from over 150 sites that help consumers find the lowest prices on gas. It allows for consumers to post via their local area sites the gas prices they encounter on their drive around town - or where they bought their cheap gas today. And isn't restricted by the bias of one certain gas franchise.
I thought I'd try it out this week when my car started running on fumes. I searched under the interactive map on the home page and clicked on my city. When I found the cheapest place listed, I headed there after work. Much to my enjoyment, the gas really was that cheap. I passed other gas stations on my drive home that were as much as 25 cents more on the gallon. So, before you head out to get your gas, be sure to check with your gas buddy.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Amazingly, someone's marketing genius is at work again. We don't have Network stars anymore. With the onslaught of cable and the mass of Reality TV shows, our "stars" are much different today. So, the folks at Bravo have now brought us "The Battle of the Network Reality TV Stars." The same format as before, except the teams consist of former stars of every reality show known to man. It's hosted by various other reality stars such as Omarosa, from The Apprentice, and Bob, from The Bachelor. There is a little twist. At the end of each show the 3 losing teams have to vote someone off, a la Survivor.
I have to say, even though reality TV ticks a lot of people off, this is pretty clever. I caught the first episode the other Sunday afternoon (how ironic) and saw Charla, the midget from Amazing Race, jousting with an American Idol contestant. Only in America.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
To my surprise, when I applied it the first time, I got this great rush of minty flavor. That was a bit unsuspected since I had purchased the Watermelon shade. Two of my most favorite flavors are cinnamon and mint - well, chocolate too, but chocolate has its own throne. Realizing that this newfound product carried a great minty flavor made it that much more appealing. But, as I tasted the flavor it brought back an odd memory.
Isn't it funny how tastes and smells are such memory connectors? When I tasted that lip shimmer mint flavor, it reminded me of my Granny, and the gum she always had in her purse for me - Wrigley's Doublemint gum. Burt's Bees has captured the Doublemint flavor in their tubes of lip shimmer. That green-wrapped gum is still around, but since my Granny's been gone, I've not chewed much of it. With so many gum choices out there, the old standbys get pushed aside. I remember sitting in church with my Granny when I was little and playing in her purse. It was all just a ploy to see what kind of candy or gum she might have tucked away. She always had a pack of Doublemint waiting for me.
Now, everytime I apply my colorful lip balm, I can think of my Granny. And how she always had a treat for her only grandchild tucked away in the folds of her purse.
Monday, August 22, 2005
I was reminded of a Scripture recently that I love and have claimed a lot in the past, but it had faded into the back room of my memory. Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true there is life and joy." This is a verse, as a single person, I cherish. It allows a dreamer like me, someone who never gives up hope, realize that although hope may be deferred, when the dream comes true, it is very joyful. Someone made the comment in a Bible study I was in last week that she never saves seats in church. I told her I don't either, my husband may come and sit there. The facilitator of our study, and my associate pastor, overheard my comment and said, "Always a woman of faith." A hope deferred.
I often wonder if that dream will be fulfilled, yet I realize that I'm a dream fulfilled from a hope deferred from many years ago. My parents had a hope for a child for nearly 20 years before their dream was fulfilled in my birth. I'm not only an unexplainable life, but a real life example of how a hope deferred can make the heart sick, but that dreams are fulfilled by God's grace.
Friday, August 19, 2005
NationStates is based on a book called "Jennifer Government" by Maxx Barry. This futurisitc satire, although I've not read it, is based on corporations running the world. Gee, doesn't that happen now?....out in the that little town of Redmond, Washington? The object of NationStates is to create your own nation and run it within a myriad of regions of the world. I currently run "The Queendom of Fleur Rouge" - for those non-multi-linguals in the crowd, that's the Queendom of Red Flower (i.e. Rose). I reside in the Texas Pacific Coast where my conservative leanings can drive the rest of the liberal nations crazy. I'm even a member of the UN.
Each weekday, you are presented with an issue. One day it was capital punishment, another day the extinction of our nation's animal (the skunk). The way you cast your vote determines the classification of your nation. Each day you are ranked in your region, "The healthiest nations, the most compassionate towards citizens, the largest insurance industries." There are no winners, but it provides a great way to feel like you can run a country the way you want it. There are also forums you can participate in, regionally or world-wide.
Maybe I'm a sucker for any online competition, maybe I just like a way to actually throw my conservatism in other's faces, or maybe I just like the title "Queen." In any case, if you have a penchant for things political, get a group of friends together and be king of the world.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
A friend of mine (thanks Anhela!) sent me this picture. Her aunt's boss took this while on a business trip in Los Angeles. For those who can't recognize him, it's Johnny Depp. And, he was attending the premiere of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." He flew in for the event while currently filming Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3. I've recently become a Johnny Depp fan after I heard him interviewed for this latest release. The interviewer asked him, "So, you've done a lot of 'family-friendly' films lately - Finding Neverland, Pirates of the Caribbean, now Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - is there a reason why?" And his response was, "I'd like to be able to make movies that my children can watch, so I'm leaning towards doing more family films." Big props to you, Johnny, for creating films that are suitable for the whole family to watch.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
To make sure the evening wasn't a complete bust, we had dinner first, where my friends found joy in asking me if we were all going to be sold a timeshare, get chips installed in our necks, or be gassed. My response was..."whatever happens, at least I have some good blog content..."
So as not to appear too "geek-ish", I told them we shouldn't arrive before the doors open. But, much to my surprise, when we got there shortly after the doors opened, there was a line! Whew, I'm not the only geek in town. The emcee (or is that MC?) instructed us that we would be seated by our group and to follow the instructions (my friends' final opportunity to gig me about getting gassed). We were seated in a circular format and began filling out our surveys in regards to our product preferences. I didn't know the world had so many toothpaste options!
The two shows we watched were "Soulmates" and "Rescue Party." The first show, "Soulmates" starred some chick from this past season of "24" and was a time travel/romance/mystery weekly drama. We got the condensed 25 minute version, so the plot was a little choppy. It was a so-so drama, but better suited for a "movie of the week" - which was one of the survey questions I got to answer.
The second show was "Rescue Party" - a reality show where you have 24 hours to plan a party on a small budget. My friend, Kevin, who was one of my victims, um, er, attendees, deplores reality tv. The greatest thing for him was the ability to write on his survey "Please let reality tv die!" Although I enjoy reality tv, this show was a loser. There are already too many "makeover - party - food" reality shows that this one didn't hold my attention. And, it seems that was the consensus of the room. We had a power surge and had to start over and the crowd wasn't too happy about that.
Overall, it wasn't a bad night. I got to have an enjoyable dinner with friends, free opportunity to watch unseen television shows, and a lifetime of ridicule from my faithful friends.
Friday, August 12, 2005
The other day I was blog hopping and came across an entry I just haven't been able to forget. I'll keep this as anonymous as possible so as to protect the unknown individual. This guy is evidently openly homosexual and had received a Christian email from a college friend. I don't consider myself very naive, but I will say this post has haunted me. His comments about his feelings on Christians was probably the strongest I've ever read. It's as though the enemy himself was writing this entry.
I believe the Bible is the true, infallible, inerrant Word of God. Let the world throw their arrows. I believe homosexuality is a sin - and no different than any other sin I commit - one is as bad as another. But, I do know one thing - my heart hurts for this person. He doesn't see the truth, wouldn't even listen if I tried, which grieves me. I care about his soul, even if he doesn't.
If you think America is a God-fearing nation full of folks who love God, salute the flag, and support our troops, try blog hopping for a while. It may open your eyes.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
I purchased my Kinder Egg on the way out, anxious to break that baby open and see what was inside. The first thing was to eat the chocolate shell. I'm not a chocolate snob (I love chocolate as much as I love a good man!), so unless the chocolate is rank, I'm going to love it. Once I ate the outer shell, I found the oval shaped plastic container of my secret toy. Upon opening, I found a cool little wizard guy with a detachable hat. That may not sound very exciting to the average Joe, but it makes for a very cool conversation piece for my desk at work. But, then, as if the chocolate and toy wasn't enough, there was a Magic Kinder Code. It instructed me to go to the site, enter my code, and receive my prize. The fun just keeps on coming! I entered my code and got to play an online game. Chocolate, toys, and games - who needs Willy Wonka?
Kinder Eggs originated in 1974, in Italy, when Ferrero decided to expand their chocolate line for children. You'll find them mainly in Europe and rarely sold in the US due to the edible shell around non-edible parts. The interesting thing about the toys is they are quite the collectible items.
If you ever find a Kinder Egg, go wild and splurge....you'll enjoy it.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show Tonight! Today "The Muppet Show - Season 1" debuts on DVD. Now, that's some quality TV. From a "friend of a friend" who purchased the DVD at lunch today, one of the funniest lines....Fozzie says: "Gonzo is so dumb that when he heard we were running short on water...he said we should dilute it." Funny stuff.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Susan Anne Catherine Torres entered the world at 8:18am on Tuesday, August 2, weighing in at 1 pound 13 ounces, and measuring 13.5 inches long. Born about 3 months before her original due date, the baby is doing fine and the delivery went well. This picture shows little Susan holding her Daddy's hand. I've been following this story and covered it on my blog in June. You see, little Susan's Mommy, Susan Torres, was stricken down with brain cancer and pronounced brain dead in May. At the father's request, she had remained on life support in hopes to bring their baby to a point where she could deliver. And that day came last Tuesday. It's bittersweet as Jason welcomed his newborn daughter on Tuesday, and said good-bye to his wife on Wednesday as she passed away not long after the birth. I plan to follow this baby's life as long as the media will cover it - I can't wait to see what God is going to do in the life of this miracle child.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
4. The Moon really is made of cheese - swiss, cheddar, mozzerella, and pepper jack to be exact
3. You can fry an egg on the surface of Venus
2. You can swing on a star and carry moonbeams home in a jar, but you can't catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
1. A flying red Dodge Charger with an '01' painted on the side, shamelessly promoting the upcoming release of "The Dukes of Hazzard" movie
Today marks the end of an era. Pat Day, the winningest jockey in racing history, is retiring after 32 years. Amazingly, his only Kentucky Derby win was on Lil E. Tee back in 1992. What makes this story great is the next chapter in Pat Day's life. He'll be moving on to ministering to youth and working with the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America program. Among the world of racing there has been no man that stood so tall for the gospel than Pat Day. Godspeed, Pat - may the rest of your ride be even more glorious.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I watched a classic movie last night "Sunset Boulevard" starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. During one of the scenes, William Holden's character, Joe, talks about "collecting all my nickels to make some calls." I found that scene odd for a couple of reasons...1. You mean you could make a call in 1950 for a nickel on a pay phone? and 2. Newsflash: No cell phones in the fifties.
I pondered on my experience watching that movie, made years before my time, and thought...will someone born in the year 2000 look back on our movies 50 years from now and say, "What in the world was a pay phone?"...or "You mean you actually had a cell phone that big?" I find myself aging by the minute when I can hear myself say the phrase..."I remember when.."
I remember when you had a choice of rotary phones or touchtone phones. I remember when a VCR cost $300 or more. I remember when I had to ask for an adapter that snapped into our old 8-track stereo so I could play my cassettes. (I realize that even some of the world today doesn't even know what a cassette is) I remember when you had to buy your movie tickets at the theater. I remember when you actually had to look up phone numbers in this large multiple-paged monster called the "Yellow Pages."
And, I remember when I wanted to express my thoughts, I didn't log onto my blogger.com account and type, I grabbed a spiral notebook tucked in my nightstand...
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Recently one of my bosses just returned from a trip to China to adopt his second little girl from there - Sarah. The stories he shared were amazing. Little "Mei Mei" (her Chinese name) was left at the orphanage gate at 5 months old. In this orphanage, they begin to potty train the children soon after they can sit on a toilet. They proceed to tie them to the toilet so they know what it's for. At the age of two they begin to teach them to do laundry. If adoption doesn't occur, the life of these little ones get worse. Little Sarah was quick to cling to her Daddy because the male orphanage directors are the ones who play with them and the female "nannies" are the ones that tie them to the toilets. Needless to say, learning to love her Mommy is a bit of a challenge.
Sadly, the laws in the United States make it nearly impossible for an American to adopt children from this country. Every state has different laws, some of which give a biological mother up to a year to change her mind. And, now, even some of the international adoptions are being threatened. Some Russian adoptees have been violently abused by their American parents - enough to cause Russia to want to put a stop to it. The saddest part is that the adoption rate in Russia is so poor that their only hope is to be adopted internationally. If they aren't adopted, statistics show they grow up and enter Russia military, engage in prostitution or commit suicide.
I never thought a lot about adoption until I began to hear the stories and learn the process from others who have. I can't imagine anything sweeter than adopting a child who has no hope and been abandoned and loving them as my own. Big Kudos to couples who spend the time and money to give love and life to an otherwise hopeless child.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Drive-Thrus are everywhere - restaurants, banks, drugstores, even dry cleaners! But beyond getting stuck in the slowest line at the drive-thru, my pet peeve is about the people who mis-use the drive-thru. We live in a world full of self-absorbed people (Newsflash) and that is escalated in a drive-thru line. Two examples....
I went to a local McDonald's to get a milkshake to ease the pain of my toothache. This high-tech establishment not only had two windows, but two speakers. I got behind a mini-van - the kiss of death, a mini-van at McDonalds that will most likely order 25 happy meals. She pulled up to speaker 2 while speaker 1 was completely free. I thought, "Well, maybe there isn't instructions on how to use these speakers or the other one is out." Oh no, after she ordered her long list and moved on, I pulled up and saw a sign that says, "If there is no car at speaker 1, please move forward." It was all about her and didn't realize the 25 cars behind her were wanting to order as well.
Next, I head off to the drug store to pick up my medicine. I broke Murphy's Law by getting in the faster moving lane only to get slowed down by the huge SUV in front of me. Once she got her prescription she sat and repositioned everything in her car, checked her makeup and assorted other tasks before pulling forward so I could do my business. Very few drive-thrus force you to pull directly in traffic. When I'm done and I need to put away money, or get ready to drive on the road, I pull forward enough to let the line progress until I'm ready to motor on. Not her. And sadly, when I pulled to the window, the druggist had put up a sign "Please end all cell phone calls before pulling up to the window." It's a sad day when people are so rude we have to tell them to do that.
Obviously part of my frustrations came from the pain shooting through my gums at the time, but I really believe the world would be a better place, at the drive-thru and everywhere else, if we thought about our fellow man first and got our face out of the mirror. Contrary to the world's view...it's not all about you.
Monday, July 25, 2005
To assist the more shy consumer, they've set up "flirting points" where they sell chocolate and other romantic gifts for someone to use as a doorway to introductions. (Like the "big red bow isn't enough??) They say it has been very successful and are testing it in other international markets. Maybe one day it will make its debut in the States.
I have pretty mixed emotions about the whole "singles night" at Wal-Mart. It definitely is a better venue than some alcohol-laden establishment. But, since most of the qualities I look for can't be revealed in the aisles of my local Wal-Mart, I'm not sure how successful I'd be at finding a match. I'm open enough to admit I've caught the eye of an unsuspecting male grocery shopper who I "check out" to see if he looks single. I do the normal ring scan, then check out his cart to see what he's purchasing. Trust me, I've never been forward enough to do more than smile and say hello.
Maybe I'll go to Wal-Mart, put a big red bow on my cart, and see if anyone notices. And, if they do, I'll quiz them on my other list of characteristics I look for in a mate. This could be a telling sign of why I'm still single....
Friday, July 22, 2005
I've spent two days nursing a horrible toothache and ingesting penicillin and hydrocodone to eliminate the infection and cut the pain. I'm now scheduled for the tooth to be extracted next Thursday after the infection clears up so they can properly numb my mouth for the procedure. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but this toothache has really been a bear.
When I thought about that, I realized what a great comparison this is to my Christian walk. Sin creeps into the smallest crevices of my life to begin to tear me down. It may start by chipping away at a weak area in my life where it can get a hold of me and then, unattended to, it corrupts my life and I suffer the pain from that sin. What started out as such a little thing festers into something that torments me until it is removed.
I'm thankful that God forgives me when I sin. And unlike the hydrocondone that may ease the pain for a moment, Christ's love eases the pain forever. Hopefully when this tooth is gone next week, my pain will be short-lived. But it will always remind me that only God can forgive my sins, heal my hurts, and restore me to life in Him.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The national champion women's lacrosse team from Northwestern University has caused quite a hubbub over this picture of their visit to the White House. At first glance of the picture it looks fine, but then if you peer down to the front row and their feet - flip flops. This made national news after Kate Darmody, one of the team members, got an email from her brother that stated, "YOU WORE FLIP FLOPS TO THE WHITE HOUSE?" The world is in a tither over this apparent fashion faux pas.
First of all, it never ceases to amaze me that we "gag at a gnat and swallow a camel" on these kinds of issues. I was raised by a father who, to this day, rarely attends church without a suit. Until I reached college, I thought shorts at church were reserved for Vacation Bible School. Although I've become more casual in my attire (I admit I wear flip flops to work because I can) I would most likely not have worn them to the White House. But my mouth hasn't dropped agape at the thought of these girls wearing them.
How is it that we never blink an eye at Paris Hilton using sex to sell burgers? Or Jessica Simpson donning her Daisy Dukes and strutting across the screen? Yet, a group of college women who won a national championship and got invited to the White House gets ridiculed for wearing flips flops. In looking at their attire, a majority of them are more conservatively dressed than their same age counterparts. But, shame on them for going over the line to wear revealing toe wear! People, have we missed the mark somewhere?
The team is auctioning off the flip flops Kate wore to help raise money for a young girl with a brain tumor - so good is coming of all the media hype.
Oh, and for the record, President Bush didn't say a thing. He probably didn't even notice. Chances are daughters Jenna and Barbara have traipsed around the White House in their flops.