Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Showers of Blessings

Lately I've been overwhelmed with blog topics. Seems as though when I get inspired, I just can't stop. But today, I hit a road block. I rely a lot on life experiences and current events to drive my topics, plus any other random things I stumble across. Unfortunately, everywhere I turn I come up with nothing....except for the burden for these folks hit by Hurricane Katrina.

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 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

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

We've all been glued to our television sets watching the horrible devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Although I don't have any friends or family that live in Louisiana or Mississippi, I do have friends in Alabama, and know many who do have loved ones in the midst of this storm. Watching the eye of the storm move into the Gulf Coast region was ominous. As we were experiencing stormy weather as far away as Kentucky, it made me feel like I was somehow stuck in my own version of The Day After Tomorrow movie.

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

Are you Ready for some Football?

My fantasy football draft was Saturday. This is my 3rd year of competing and I'm far from an expert, but I like to gloat a lot. I never understood football. For a girl, I'm very sports savvy...I'm as content watching ESPN as I am watching most any other channel. (I know, you are scratching your head wondering why I'm single, I'm with ya.) And, I enjoy learning about new sports. When I was in elementary school, I taught myself how to score tennis by simply watching non-stop tennis matches on television.

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

Top Five Things I Wished I'd Thought of First

5. A brand name that becomes a verb "You can google and find your information" or "Can you Fedex this package?" Or a brand that becomes the name for any brand - Coke, Kleenex, Band-Aids

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

Running on Empty

You know you are getting old when you say, "I remember when gas was 97 cents a gallon!" I'd be happy with $1.97 per gallon these days. Predictions state that within the next year we could see gas jumping as high as $4-$5 per gallon. The disturbing part of this scenario is that it just doesn't affect your gas tank, but your airline tickets, shipping costs, and anything that has to get to you via a gas-powered vehicle.

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

Everything Old is New Again

Back in the late 70's early 80's there was a show called "The Battle of the Network Stars." It normally aired on Sunday afternoons. (Or that's when I watched it.) It starred teams made up of Network TV stars....Gabe Kaplan from Welcome Back, Kotter, Farrah Fawcett of Charlie's Angels, and Lynda Carter from Wonder Woman, to name a few, and was hosted by famed sports commentator, Howard Cossell. And, one of my favorites also competed - Scott Baio (Yes, I used to have Tiger Beat pictures of him in my room.) They competed in teams, designated by colors, in various challenges - obstacle course (my favorite), football, jousting, swimming, and various other physical tasks.

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

A Mouthful of Memories

Recently I invested in a small, petite tube of Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer. I'd been eyeing it for some time since I heard Burt's Bees products were good, and being a lover of girly things, I finally caved. The glory of this product is it serves two purposes - it's a lip balm, and it colors your lips. Add to that the convenience of a tube that fits snuggly in my purse and you've got yourself a buyer.

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

Good Things Come to Those that Wait

I first really learned the concept of the word "deferred" when I started working for a publishing company. We sold annual subscriptions for various prices and accounting for the revenue was unique. We'd collect $150 for a year's subscription in advance and then defer that income over the next twelve months. Although we already had all the money, we didn't experience the revenue until the publications were shipped.

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

All Hail to the Queen

You will notice a new little button on the right side of my blog (scroll on'll see it) for NationStates. One of my friends invited me to join in on the fun, and as an avid fantasy football freak, I thought it sounded interesting.

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

Here's Johnny!

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. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Soulmates, Soirees, and Skepticism

This past weekend I persuaded 3 of my friends to join me for a Television Preview screening. I'd received 4 "free" tickets in the mail to come to one of our local hotels, watch a couple of un-debuted shows, and respond to surveys regarding the shows and commercials. Being a bit of a TV junkie, I got excited. (I'm a geek on so many levels...and I wonder why I'm still single) Being a marketing professional, I realize how much weight is put on this type of audience data.

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

Six Degrees of Separation

I read a lot of blogs. It's part of being a member of the blogosphere. In my journeys across blogland, I do what I call "blog hopping." I have a certain circle of blogs that I read regularly, and, when I have time, I'll jump to a blog from a post on another blog. Basically, I can be six or seven blogs removed from my original starting point. It's a great way to find interesting blogs and post on other blogs in hopes to lure my own blog hoppers back to my world.

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

A Surprise in an Egg - And it's No Yolk!

Last week I went to a Bosnian cafe with my friend, Erica, and her friend Stephanie. The food was so-so, but we drooled over the case of pastries when we paid our bill! While at dinner, Erica said, 'They've got those chocolate eggs with toys in them!" I was clueless, but intrigued. She said they were chocolate egg shells that contained a toy surprise. Combine "toy" with "chocolate" and I'm a happy camper!

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'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It's Time to Play the Music, It's Time to Light the Lights

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. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 08, 2005

It's A Girl!

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. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Top Five Cool Things the Discovery Crew found in Space

5. The Robinson Family is still Lost in Space

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

It's Been a Great Ride...

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. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Remember When...

Have you ever heard people say..."I remember when..." I used to think that statement was reserved for the older and wiser generation, but I'm beginning to realize that I can make that statement now. And, I don't like being older, and I'm sure not as wise as I'd like to be.

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 account and type, I grabbed a spiral notebook tucked in my nightstand...