Friday, December 29, 2006

And That's the Way it Was...2006

This morning, the Today Show did their annual video montage of highlights from the past year. I'm quite the Today Show fan and I'm a sucker for any year in review spots, especially from a show where I've experienced most of them. I thought I'd take a look back over the year, from my blog point of view...what happened in me and others? And, what did I report on....

January - My year kicked off with a great celebration at a local bowling alley, and a somewhat awkward encounter with a former acquaintance - of the single man persuasion. I predicted this might dictate my year of relationships of the romantical kind. Um, yeah, that pretty much summed it up.

February - The great Don Knotts passed away. I never tire of chuckling at a good episode of Andy Griffith and his escapades with Barney Fife. What a loss.

March - I had yet another registered letter delivered to me in error and a fender bender in my parking garage. Someday, someone from Romania will come over here stalking me if the Postmaster General doesn't finally tell someone it's not me.

April - To keep with the Today Show theme...Katie Couric announced she was leaving and Meredith Viera announced she was taking her place. Katie wasn't my favorite, but messing with the groove of my morning show wasn't something I was looking forward to...but time has shown Meredith is a great replacement.

May - Winnie the Pooh got a star on the Walk of Fame and Taylor Hicks found fame instantly as the newest American Idol. The connection? They both are cuddly fellows.

June - My house was struck by lightning (confirming that it is easier to get struck by lightning than marry over 40). Speaking of marriage, I also enjoyed one of the best weddings ever by witnessing the union of Kyle and Ashley Barrett.

July - I reunited with an old (in time, not age) friend to spend a glorious day in Nonesuch, Ky. There is nothing like a friend that can pick back up with you no matter the miles or minutes that separate you.

August - I took a trip to visit my friends, Chad and Tracy, in their new home of Adel, Georgia, for my summer vacation. It was one of the best vacations ever. No need for huge theme parks or busy schedules - spending time with good friends is the best vacation ever. And, I ended the month with new eyes as I had successful cataract surgery.

September - We experienced "Flood 2006" in Louisville causing my road to collapse and an impromptu slumber party at my house. We still have barracades up where the road has been repaired but not repaved. I turned another year older becoming officially over 40. I truly wasn't looking forward to that, but had one of the best birthdays ever.

October - Stop the presses! I finally got published! Definitely one of the biggest highlights of my year. I'm still basking in the glory of it all but I need to focus on getting published the second time. I'd hate to be a one hit wonder. My church also celebrated 100 years in existence. Anything that lives to 100 deserves a big celebration.

November - I got yet another registered letter from the post office and quickly returned it to the Postmaster General. When will the madness end? And, I completed 80% of my Christmas shopping by the end of November.

December - I blinked and Christmas was here. I was thankful I did a majority of my Christmas shopping before December to save time for the parties and socials of the season. My favorite part of Christmas? Not necessarily the gifts, but spending time with family and friends, laughing and enjoying the bonds we have. And, my other favorite part was buying the gifts for the Operation Christmas Child boxes I filled and the Adopt a Family we had at my workplace. I would cease all other gift-giving to do more of that.

I hope your 2006 was a wonderful journey down the path that you trod. May God bless you greatly in 2007!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Second Chances

Kentucky seems to always have its problems. Aside from the great press we get on the first Saturday in May for the Kentucky Derby, many times, the state is viewed as Hickville, USA. We're stereotyped as barefoot, pregnant, and uneducated. Even the most recent season of The Amazing Race had a team from Eastern Kentucky. Good ole David and Mary were precious, but definitely what the world would view as normal Kentuckians.

For those outside of Kentucky, let me assure you that we have Starbucks here, we wear shoes on a regular basis, we have multiple bookstores validating our abilty to read, and we have a variety of food cuisine to choose from at our local restaurants.

This morning the news was all a flurry about Miss USA, Tara Connor. This little 20-year old was the first Miss Kentucky to take the crown in the fifty plus years of the pageant's existance. Her hometown of Russell Springs, as well as the entire state, was proud to say we finally made it. Yet, her crown, of late, has become tainted. It's been revealed that prior to her 21st birthday, she was found carousing around in the bars of New York and "actin' a fool" as we say it down South. Would Trump ask her to give back her crown? What type of role model is she for American girls? Many people were on the edge of their seats - especially Miss California who was in the wings to take the crown - waiting to hear the final decision.

Trump decided to give Miss Connor a second chance. She'll be entering rehab, but with her crown intact. Donald Trump stated he believes in second chances and thinks the glamour of New York overwhelmed her. Interesting way to approach a very touchy situation.

This whole episode is quite a dichotomy. I realize there are probably some contracts and forms Miss USA must sign that require her to behave and act in a certain way. But, a role model is a role model. Who is going to call out other role models for the younger generation? ....Paris Hilton and her sexually-explicit climb to fame...Britney Spears and her so-called relationship with Kevin Federline and all the hoo ha that went along with that?

I don't condone Miss USA's behavior, but if we're going to be concerned with her lifestyle as a role model, let's not just stop with the Kentucky girl.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dating Lessons from a Reindeer

Last Friday night I watched the annual presentation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I never tire of watching all those Rankin-Bass Christmas specials...they bring back memories of my childhood. I'd always watch them with my Mom and one of them would be airing the night we would put up Christmas decorations. I still bust out singing the Snow Miser/Heat Miser song at random moments.

As I watched the episode on Friday night (I own the video, but somehow seeing it "live" makes the Christmas season right), I noticed some interesting lessons on dating, provided by the cute little doe, Clarice. She's the reindeer that stole Rudolph's heart. Let's see what Clarice can teach us about the world of dating for us humans...

Lesson 1 - "Let the buck pursue you" - Clarice merely noticed Rudolph, batted her doe-lashes, and he asked her if he could walk her home. She didn't plot a conniving plan with the other does in the wood on how she could manipulate the situation to nab her a buck. Maybe I need to bat my eyelashes more.

Lesson 2 - "Reindeer are fragile." - Once Rudolph's red nose was revealed, he was shunned from ever playing reindeer games again. With his head hung low, he wandered over to Clarice, probably figuring she'd reject him too, but, oh no. Clarice encouraged Rudolph about how special he was with his bright red nose...and that she thought it was cute. After some deer ego boosting, she breaks into song with "There's Always Tomorrow." to continue her quest to edify Rudolph. Men are fragile too, we gals sometimes forget that.

Lesson 3 - "Clarice was patient." - While Rudolph went off finding himself with Yukon Cornelius and Hermy the Elf who would be a Dentist, Clarice was back on Snow Mountain worried what would happen to him. After Rudolph's return and the Bumble's demise, Clarice was right there...patiently waiting. And she didn't nag him about why he went off on this misfit journey or complain that he wasn't paying attention to her. She knew he would eventually return and she would be there. Patience is a virtue, and a very difficult thing to do. Trust me, I've been single a long time.

When Johnny Mercer wrote Rudolph, Clarice wasn't a part of the story, but thanks to the Rankin Bass story writers, we now know the doe behind the buck.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Magnolia Memories

After my last post on movie lines, I had a friend from my past, Lisa, e-mail me that she enjoyed that memory reminder. She was part of the group of friends that saw the movie for the first time in the theater. Since I mentioned previously my love for Steel Magnolias and its ability to fill a blog entry, Lisa's reminder confirmed it needed to be done.

The evening we saw the movie was eventful - obviously if after all these years she and I both remember the details. Lisa, Antoinette, Daniel, Alisa, and I all crammed in Alisa's Mom's car and headed to Showcase Cinemas to see the movie. Now, back in the day, this was the only Showcase Cinemas. That Bardstown Road location we visited has since closed, but it used to be THE place to hang out in the 80's. Oh nevermind there was no stadium seating...who needed that? It had multiple glorious screens to catch all the new flicks. I remember how excited Daniel was about the movie. You see, he loved Dolly Parton...and, being a true thespian, he knew the importance of a person like Sam Shepard actually playing a part in this movie. Add to it the fact that this was originally a play, and Daniel was pumped. We laughed, we cried, we remembered all the movie lines. And we wandered the parking lot looking for our "lost" car when Alisa got past the blonde moment and started looking for her Mom's car, not hers. It was a night to remember.

The memories don't stop there. A former co-worker of mine found out my affinity for movie lines and quoted an extremely obscure line "Looks good, looks real good" to see if I could identify the movie. It was Steel Magnolias....the doctor's response after Shelby's kidney transplant. At Christmas when I told her there was a fire sale at the Baptist Bookstore, she asked me to clean them out of Baby Jesus' to make a wreath...yet another line. Nothing bonds co-workers like a common thread of movie lines.

About 5 years ago, I met a great friend, Brad, who had recently moved to Louisville. In a long ride from Asheville, North Carolina to Louisville, I heard Brad's story. Amidst his story, he spouted, "you can broaden your horizons your way, I'll broaden my horizons mine" and immediately a light went off. Could it be? Another fan? Yes, Brad was a Steel Magnolias fan, too, and had the movie memorized. A small way to bond, but 5 years later, it's interesting to think that movie had a part in developing our friendship in the beginning.

Many people despise the movie, while others love it. In looking back over the memories, the way it has united me with people is a bit uncanny. But, no matter how odd, I wouldn't trade them for the world. If you've never seen the movie, give it a spin. I'll give you my one non-spoiler review....the movie begins and ends at Easter. And, for those of us who are called Christians, our lives must begin and end at Easter too.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Top 5 Movie Lines that Changed My Life...and Why

5. "I believe... I believe...It's silly, but I believe." - Miracle on 34th Street
Little Susan really didn't want to believe in Santa Claus, but she did anyway. Although I knew eventually Santa Claus wasn't a man coming down my chimney, this movie showed me at a young age what faith was all about.

4. "Where the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." - Sound of Music
I don't know if this line was first uttered in this movie, but that's where I first heard it. This was somewhere around the part of the movie where Mother Abbess sings "Climb Every Mountain" and quotes Psalm 121...."I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help." That was a favorite passage of my Mom's which became a favorite passage of mine.

3. "Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life." - Mr. Holland's Opus
I cry every time I watch this part of the movie. Mr. Holland lays aside his dream of writing the most beautiful opus to invest in young lives. For someone like me who longs to write the great American novel, but is preoccupied with investing in the blessings of my life, this movie is very affirming.

2. "Not all who wander are aimless." - Mona Lisa Smile
Many view this movie as a stand for feminism, but the teacher, Katherine Watson, wasn't anti-marriage, she was a supporter of women having purpose. Her singleness in the 50's wasn't as easy as women have it today. This movie encourages me that I have a purpose to invest in the lives of others, even as a single woman.

1. "I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special. " - Steel Magnolias
I could write an entire blog entry about why Steel Magnolias is my all time favorite movie. But this line has formed my life. I would rather enjoy the moment, 'carpe diem', than live a life of mediocrity. My life is a wonderful collection of many 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Mystery of Quiet Time

In the Christian world, there is a phrase we commonly use called "quiet time" - the way we describe the personal time we spend growing in Christ. It can contain prayer, Bible study, journaling, and/or scripture memorization. Although there are a myriad of structures to a personal quiet time, there is no hard and fast rule of how it should look.

And, therein lies the rub.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day, inquiring about how I structured my devotional time (another moniker for quiet time). She knows my somewhat obsessiveness of routine and figured I could share some insights. So I lined out what I do each day, and what I strive to do each day, and what I wish I could do each day. And, confessing to her that I'm not where I want to be. This exercise of explanation made me throw out the question, "Do you find this "quiet time" a mystery?" We, as Christians, throw out that phrase and lingo freely, yet how many people have really been helped practically by being shown what that looks like? For someone new to Christianity, they think quiet time is that game your Mom used to make you play when you'd run around her feet for an hour giggling and driving her crazy. Or that it's some magical mixture of some act that when you're done you say, "Wow, I'm all better now!"

I believe the reason we are so nebulous about this quiet time is because if we truly were transparent enough to share what we do daily, we'd be ashamed to call ourselves Christians. I know many days I am. I'm convicted when I know I'm counting down the hours to the next episode of Heroes, yet, do I get that excited to look forward to spending time with God? And, do I go beyond that "quiet time" slot to actually practically live out my Christianity? Am I "Praying without ceasing" as the Scripture teaches? And, do I look at daily experiences in my life and meditate on what God is doing in my life through this?

I'd love to know if anyone else has battled this mystery of quiet time. Instead of measuring your effectiveness through what you can check off on your quiet time list, look at your life and see if you have grown more in the last 3 months, 6 months, or a year; that's a true indicator that you are allowing your quiet time to take root. At this time of year, I'm thankful that I have a God who loves me beyond how little I show that love back in return - a quiet, unrelentless love.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


One of my favorite movie lines is from the chick flick, Return to Me. Bob Rueland, the character played by David Duchovny, lost his wife, Elizabeth, in a car accident and found love again in Grace, played by Minnie Driver. I'll avoid any spoilers, but if you love a good romance, check this one out. Bob's captivating line is "I miss Elizabeth. I'll always miss her. But I ache for Grace."

Everytime I hear that line I let out a feminine sigh. Oh to be loved so much that he aches for me! Recently I had a conversation with a great friend of mine about my singleness. She had passed along an article in hopes of encouraging me, but alas, it was one of my less than stellar days as a single. In thanking her for her well-intentioned act (probably no one other than my Mom who's gone on to Heaven wants to see me married more than this dear friend), I explained to her my longing to be married in a way that finally makes sense to me.

I ache to be married. It's a nagging emotional pain somewhere in the depths of my heart. Part of it comes from the way God created me to crave relationship and the other part comes from my taste of good relationships along my journey. Some days I feel the ache more than others and begin to question, "Do I not desire marriage anymore?"since my ache had dulled. And then while replying, an analogy dawned on me that worked and helped me realize, yes, Virginia, I still want to get married.

I have a chronic illness known as rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike the osteo version, this usually hits in your 20s and 30s and is an immune-based disease, not a wearing out of the joints. I was diagnosed quite a few years ago and have been treated for it to allow me to live a fairly normal life. Sure, I have my physical limitations, but for the most part, I do what I want. But, as part of this disease, pain is an everyday occurance. A day doesn't go by that I don't have some ache or pain in some joint of my body. Some days are better than others. The bottom line is, the RA doesn't go away, it's still there, just not as apparent on some days.

And then it hit me.

That's exactly how I can describe my longing for a mate. The ache is there, just not always apparent everyday. Not because it has left, but because I've learned to deal with it, much like my RA. If I focused on my RA symptoms on a daily basis, I'd not get much accomplished. And, some days, if I focused on my singleness everyday, I'd wallow in the mire of "woe is me."

Aches and pains are indicators that something isn't right. And, although I am complete in Christ, I know the marriage ache indicates my desire for relationship. My RA may never go away this side of Glory, but, if God blesses, maybe my marriage ache will.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Smart TV

Back in the Spring, I started watching Alias. Now, granted, the last season of the series ended in the Spring, but I was starting from ground zero, Season 1. From the pilot, I was hooked. It was smart tv. A show that made me sit on the edge of my seat, and try to figure out all that is going on that isn't clear. It was like watching a puzzle on my tv screen. I like to watch televison for mindless entertainment at times, but I enjoy a good show that shakes the cobwebs in my brain.

I've finished Season 2 and am taking a hiatus (I'm so Hollywood at times) before continuing with the storyline. Season 2 ended with quite a shocker so I'm savoring it a little while longer. I know that in 3 more seasons, Alias will be over for me.

Given my love of Alias, I decided to find a new show this Fall I could watch that would challenge my mind. Since the late 90's, I haven't watched a lot of network TV (other than a few Reality shows) but I decided to check out the new offerings. After watching week one of a few shows, it was a no-brainer that my Fall TV romance was going to be with Heroes.

For those who haven't seen it, the show consists of random people who have supernatural powers, such as flying, time/space teleporting, mind-reading, and other odd gifts, like painting the future. To explain it any further would require a long conversation. There are many different plots running simultaneously and characters referred to as "HRG" (Horn-Rimmed Glasses) that require a full dissertation on their dossier.

I'm hooked. They had me at the Pilot episode. As a viewer, I know enough to follow the show yet don't know enough to figure out everything that is going on. I'm even geeky enough to tape it so I can watch it again to catch anything I might have missed. The show's creator and producer, Tim Kring, is doing an excellent job with subtle nuances that I'm sure will play a bigger role later.

A lot of folks are complaining that it is an X-Men ripoff or just a lame attempt at a Marvel Comics repeat. Come on people, television isn't rocket science, but appreciate the fact that it is at least Chemistry I level. And, may I remind those same people, JJ Abrams got a lot of flack about making Alias too complex, even being challenged to dumb the show down for better ratings. Thankfully he stuck to his guns.

You can catch all the episodes on in their entirety if you want to catch up. Then you can join in the discussions of "Who is Sylar?" "Can Peter really fly?" "What's up with HRG?" "How many hours until next Monday night's episode?"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Who Says Theology Professors are Boring?

I miss Denny and Susan Burk. This wonderful couple lived in Louisville for a few years while Denny attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to get his PhD. As active members and leaders in our church, I got to know them through our connections at church. Susan is one of those women that everyone loves. She's the epitome of a "gentle and quiet spirit" and girls would stand in line in hopes of being mentored by her. I miss her smiling face. And, I loved how Susan adored Denny and was quick to point out the reasons why he was God's man for her. She recently was blessed by entering motherhood after the birth of their sweet little girl, Emily. Susan will be a dynamic mother.

Denny is truly one of my favorite theologians. He can take something complex and make it understandable. And, he's not afraid of being goofy, crazy, and just plain real. I like that in a theologian. After Denny obtained his doctorate, he and Susan headed to Dallas where he teaches at Criswell College. And, he teaches young adults at First Baptist Church, Dallas. I even periodically listen to his teaching podcasts from there just to get a dose of Denny. I know that church is blessed by the Burks.

Now for the fun part.....

Denny recently directed this video short that is about the funniest thing I've seen lately. Lest you think all theologians are crotchety old guys...take a look at this....

Halloween Hustle

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Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Finally Published...Really...

I'm not normally one to shamelessly promote myself. But, pursuing a side career in writing has been a dream of mine for a long time. I've gotten my share of rejection letters or even worse, no responses at all and after a while it causes lots of discouragement....especially when you have people saying "You should try and write professionally." And, I answer, "well, I've tried" and leave it at that.

My job gives me opportunity to do some sales and marketing communication writing, which keeps my english and grammar sharp, but when you long to be a cross between Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck, you can't really work that into a sales sheet.

Back in August, I submitted an article to our local paper, The Courier-Journal. They have a Saturday Scene section that includes a column called "The Best." Each week, columns written by various people tout the joys and perks of all sorts of products and services. I'm a religious reader of that column and often pondered submitting my own piece. Finally, I did. At the time, the editor told me it would "probably" be published in October, but knowing my past track record, I wasn't holding my breath. Then, the end of September, a day or so before my birthday, I got the word it was going to appear on October 28th! I was ecstatic! Nothing else could have made me happier than if a man had dropped to one knee and proposed. In the immortal words of Mater, "I was as happy as a trailer in a tornado!" I'll receive $40 and all the fame I can stand. And, getting paid for writing constitutes my first real published piece.

My column featured Blockbuster Online, which I've praised on this blog more than once. Unfortunately, I can't link to an online article for the world to read. Only staff writers at the CJ get their articles online. But, if you are in the Louisville area and can get your hands on a copy of Saturday's paper...enjoy!

**Update** You can now view the article online by going here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Celebrity Geneology is a cool site that allows you to upload your photo and see what celebrities you most look like. I posted back in January about this site, and when I ran the scan then, with the same picture, I looked like Rita Hayworth and Kate Winslet. Recently, this site began offering some nice blog and web page tools to post a collage of those stars you most resemble. I got a different result due to the addition of more faces of celebrities to the database. Here's my famous "geneology"...

Ok, I'm a bit frightened that one of my look alikes is Monica Lewinsky. For the record...I've never been to the Oval Office....

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Scene of the Crime

Yesterday morning I arrived at work after a long commute. I had to head to downtown Louisville via LaGrange to bypass a couple of accidents that had the main travel arteries clogged. All the way to work I had a weird feeling that something wasn't right.

I got to my office and turned on the light to find an interesting sight. My hard drive, keyboard and mouse were packed up and sitting in my side chair. My flat screen monitor was sitting on the floor, and the monitor stand was leaning against the wall. My first thought was "I'm getting a new computer" soon followed with "Maybe I'm laid off and didn't know it." Given my past experience, that wouldn't surprise me.

I've watched enough television and movies to begin sleuthing out what was going on. I realized that some papers and post-it notes I had at my computer were either in the trash or wadded up on my desk. The first sign this wasn't a job of tech support but some would-be thief. I headed back to talk to my boss and in the mean time the story unfolded...

Apparently the evening before, sometime after 6pm when I departed, an unseemly fellow was lurking around our office. Our cleaning crew noticed he didn't belong and questioned him, to which the less-than-astute robber said, "I'm with the cleaning crew." Our guy said, "Um, no you aren't, because I'm the cleaning crew." And, off the guy went, with my office half disassembled.

It's kind of a creepy thing, but I'm quite thankful no one was hurt. We recently had an assault about a block from our office - oh the joys of working downtown. We now have our doors secured at all times and a security sweep every evening. Nothing like a close call to make you realize you have no precautions in place.

As if that wasn't enough, on my way to church after work, I saw a crumpled up body on the side of one of the streets as I waited at a traffic light. At first I thought it was a bag, but then I saw an arm. Either someone was homeless and curled up sleeping, or wounded, or drunk, or heaven forbid, dead. I called 911 and they assured me a unit would go check out the situation.

This concludes today's episode of "Law and Order: Special Blogger's Unit"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An Epiphany on Men

I've always wanted 5 minutes in every man's mind to figure out what's going on up there, but most of them tell me it would frighten me. This weekend the mystery of men continued...

Guys get really excited about competition, war games, and such. That's great....I hope they all protect me in battle. This was evident at our college retreat as the guys flew 90 miles an hour down the interstate to get to the paintball field leaving us girls in the dust. And, the 1:30 am Wal-Mart run they made to buy "cammo" wear for the following day confirmed their obsession. Boys, dontcha love them?

Another interesting tidbit is their love of fire. Quite the pyromaniacs, they are entranced by the flames and like to do odd things to the campfire. Saturday night as we made smores around the fire, the guys felt the need to throw marshmallows directly into the flames. Nothing really happened other than some sparks, but they thought it was the coolest. Go fig.

Then, I had my epiphany...

I now know why God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. He knew nothing would grab a man's attention like a non-consuming flame. I'm amazed at how God knows how to uniquely reach us in the most effective manner.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Paintball and Pansies

I'm currently recovering from a weekend college retreat, "No Pain, No Gain." I love my college students, but spending a weekend with them reminds me how old I really am. I'm old enough to be the mother of most of them which really makes me feel ancient. But, some of them assure me I'd be the coolest parent, so that takes away some of the angst of it all.

Our weekend was full of food, discipleship, and fun. The sessions were led by Brian and Heather Payne, members of our church. Brian is a full-time professor at Boyce College and Heather is a member of the contemporary Christian group, Point of Grace. We are so blessed to have them in our church family and even more privileged that they could lead during this weekend.

One of the fun events for the weekend was playing Paintball. We loaded up the cars and headed for Waddy, Ky, about 45 minutes outside of Louisville. Once we arrived at our destination, we traveled by tractor through a 15-minute ride of the 207 acres that were owned and used by this family for Paintball outings. It was a gorgeous day and we rode by their home, which was a large log cabin. After the first round of Paintball, a few of the students were complaining that they couldn't move and I reminded them - "see me in about 20 years." During the break as we served lunch, Brian led a devotion on putting on the full armor of God. My favorite "Brian-ism" of the weekend came out of that devotion time - "When you go out into the world to fight the Spiritual battles, if you get pricked, you better bleed Scripture." Now that's good stuff, I don't care who you are. After a few hours of Paintball fun, we headed back to home base.

Heather spoke to the girls this weekend about how God prunes our lives so that we can grow. Quoting John 15, she used the Vine and the brances illustration from Scripture to visualize how we have to be connected to the Vine, Jesus Christ, in order to grow. Being a celebrity in Christian circles hasn't made her lose her humility. As a leader, I was able to spend some time with her, and I see her as "Heather Payne" and not "a member of Point of Grace" - she has so much wisdom and insight to share and she's just like any other woman, dealing with a full-time job, being a wife, and raising 3 sweet children.

At the last session she gave each of us a pansy as a reminder of what we learned about cultivation, pruning, and growth. I do not have a green thumb. I've killed multiple african violets. But, I'm willing to give this a whirl and pray for the best. My first job is to repot it, which will be a first for me.

All in all, it was a great weekend - cookouts, bonfires, paintball, and pansies - all surrounded by the study of God's Word. I pray that this weekend will forever shape and "prune" all of us.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Gospel According to Geeks

After being in technology publishing for 15+ years, I've become quite the tech geek. I don't own lots of gadgets, so I'm not an uber geek, but I know enough techspeak and how to manipulate technology that the common man would don me a geek. I remember attending one of my high school reunions and telling my former classmates what I did for a living and they stared at me blankly as if I just conjugated the book of Psalms in the Hebrew language. They responded with, "I barely know how to attach something to e-mail."

One of the things I do daily in my current job is work with HTML (HyperText Markup Language). To define it simply, it's the code that is hidden behind web sites and e-mail newsletters to make them look aesthetically more pleasing than something you just produced on an old IBM Selectric Typewriter. There are multiple applications that allow a novice like myself, to product HTML pages with ease, and little knowledge of all the tricks of straight HTML coding. Products like DreamWeaver (not the 70s hit) and FrontPage are just two well-known HTML creation applications. The ingenuity of the product is you design it in one view and then it magically creates the code behind the scenes. Knowing how to use the product makes creating HTML pages a snap. All is well, until something pesky happens and your design view suddenly looks askew.

This is a challenge I face often. A stray space or symbol appears in my design. Or extra space between lines are there without my knowledge. I'm stuck and then have to begin looking through the code to decipher the problem. One extra space in the code or one stray ">" can cause extreme havoc. And it's normally something I've done to add some odd character in the code. But, once all is in order, the design flows properly and beautifully.

During one of my recent Bible studies, I read through the 38th chapter of Job. This is a chapter where God answers Job by defining who He is. Reading through it truly gave me a refreshing look at really Who God is and what He can do. My favorite verse is 35: "Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?" I get this great visual that the lightning bolts line up in front of God and say, "Hello, Captain, Here we are!" That whole chapter speaks to the mighty power and control of God's Hand.

As I go through my day wrestling with my HTML creations, I realize the code is in the background really doing the work. And, when I start to get my hands in the mix, it messes it up. God is like the Ultimate HTML Coder. He is behind the scenes designing our lives and shaping us into who we are. I'm reminded that when I try to do it on my own, it looks horrible and even one small stray thing can cause my life to go into havoc. It's good to be reminded that He is God and I am not.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Date in Time

Forty-one years ago today I was enjoying the comfy nursery at Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, celebrating my first 24 hours on earth. It was a Wednesday. Somewhere down the hall, my Mom was in her room ecstatic about her new baby daughter. As a 37-year-old first time Mom, I'm sure she was anxious about all that came with the name "Mother" but had waited a long time to be called by that name.

Mom had married my Dad at the tender age of 19 after four years of dating. They met through the mail - not e-mail like romances of today, but the postal mail. A friend of a friend had twin brothers in the Navy and asked my Mom and her best friend if they wanted to write to them. My Mom's best friend jumped on it and chose her man Mom providentially got "stuck" writing my Dad. And the rest is history.

Like all newly-married, young couples, they wanted a family. But over the course of 18 years of marriage, it just wasn't in God's Plan. Mom suffered many miscarriages and exactly a year and a month before I was born, gave birth to a premature son that lived only 5 hours. She had the name "Mother" briefly, but thought, after that, she'd never hear the words come from the mouth of a child. Her doctor, a strong, forthright soul, encouraged her to keep trying. Thank goodness he did. God had the plan for a child at just the right time.

Six years ago today, my Mom was in another hospital. This extended visit wasn't for anything joyous, but it was a time when her life was slowing passing away. She had battled an illness for quite some time and the year prior had been filled with hospital stays, ER runs, and realizations that a life was coming to an end. Six years ago yesterday, I spent my birthday in a hospital, but not sleeping away the day in the comfy nursery but at the beside of the one who birthed me into the world as I watched her take each breath, fearing the next one was her last. Six years ago today, it was a Friday, just like today. And at just before 6am, my Mom passed from this life to her glorious home in Heaven.

Who would have thought those dates in time would collide bearing the giving of life and the passing of a life? As my Mom slipped into eternity after a week-long coma, I just felt somehow that God graced her an extra six hours so her passing wouldn't be on the day when she once gave life. I'm thankful God allowed her to be the bearer of my life. A life she shaped and continues to shape even after 41 years.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Top 5 Shows That Didn't Make the Fall Lineup

5. "180 Degrees" - Random people are connected by simply turning around.

4. "Studio A at Rockefeller Plaza" - The continuing saga of the redesign of the Today Show set and the arrival of new co-host Meredith Viera, all performed to the backdrop of the irritating "It's a New Day!" theme song.

3. "Project Assembly Line" - Contestants vie for freedom from their factory jobs in this latest reality show. The worker that creates the most efficient assembly line wins an office job in a lovely cubicle and a DVD of the "I Love Lucy" chocolate factory episode.

2. "Desperate School Teachers" - Educators lament their hopeless future and poorly-compensated profession while completely missing the joy they have of molding the lives of our future.

1. "Suddenly Suri" - After her breakout spread in Vanity Fair, this weekly drama follows the life and times of Suri Cruise. Don't miss the 2-hour wedding special when her parents finally tie the knot, entitled "Getting the Cart Before the Horse."

Monday, September 25, 2006

A River Runs Through It

Sometimes the greatest memories and the funniest stories occur out of unplanned events. My friends, Chad and Tracy, came to Louisville this weekend from sunny Georgia to participate in a wedding at our church. Since their move South in January, Chad hadn't been back to Louisville, so his short few days here were extremely packed with activities.

Friday evening was slated as the time that Chad and Tracy would spend with the rest of the OPCs (a Ya-Ya like sisterhood, there's a story there) after the wedding rehearsal. We all gathered at my house and waited patiently for them to arrive. Christie and I had seen them in August, but Beth and Amy hadn't seen Chad since they left in January. As the rain came pouring down, we were comfy inside my hilltop home enjoying the company of best friends.

We had a grand time. I bought those yummy Pillsbury cookies that require no cooking skill whatsoever. Tracy has an affinity for those cookies and they were always a staple for every gathering - this time was no exception. Getting everyone together was a challenge. Saturday was a busy day for the attendees - Beth had to work, Amy was moving her grandmother, and the rest of us had a wedding to attend. But, aside from a few thundering booms and lightning flashes, we laughed and talked into the night, unaware of what was happening in the rest of the Louisville area...

Finally, around 1am, we decided to call it a night. Everyone headed to their cars and down the hill to exit my community and head their separate ways. But, as they headed to the bottom of the hill, they found a raging river across the only entrance and exit to my community. Amy walked back in and said, "We can't leave, there's a raging river down there." I was amazed. I'd lived here for 5 years and never seen that sort of flooding before. Chad and Tracy were determined to get through, so the remaining four of us went down there to talk sense into them. Amy, being raised in the country, was the "raging river" expert. She advised them not to attempt to cross lest they be swept away with no hope. They said they wouldn't and we drove back home, watching in our rearview mirror to see if they'd try to gun it across, but thankfully they didn't.

Thus began the Impromptu Slumber Party. It would have been a lot more fun had we all not had commitments early the next day. Beth had to be at work at 6am and was fretting that she'd get fired for not getting there. Chad had a 10 hour drive after the wedding the next day and needed his sleep. And, Amy, although she had to move her grandmother the next day was somewhat excited at the possibility of being stranded together. Amy always brings the lighthearted side to every situation.

We turned on the TV and realized the whole city was being deluged with water. Many streets and even part of the interstates were shut down and more rain was expected. Although it helped to know it wasn't just us, it didn't ease our anxiety about escaping the next day. The covenant God made to never flood the earth again gave me confidence that we may need a small ark, but that it wouldn't consume our whole world. All of us tried to get some sleep and pray for the rain to stop.

You are probably wondering, so what happened next? Well, Beth was able to get out at 5:30 as the raging river had subsided. The rest of the troop escaped at 7am while the getting was good and Amy successfully moved her grandmother. We had a couple of tragedies. In cleaning up the kitchen, I inadvertently poured out what I thought was a cup of water someone had been drinking when really it was Chad's contacts. Tracy was able to retrieve one out of the sink, but the other one met its demise down the drain. Christie lost a pair of earrings she had just received from Tracy for her birthday, but they gloriously appeared on my driveway the next morning. And, after the floods subsided, part of my street cracked and collapsed. It's still not safe to pass on the side that remains intact, but I've escaped a couple of times now and awaiting the repair work to be done, praying that it doesn't give way.

You just never know how a well-planned party is going to turn out....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Aromatic Marketing

I love Play-Doh. Growing up as an only child, I gravitated towards toys that could be entertaining and didn't require 2-4 players. I often joke about playing Battleship by myself, but that's a story for another day...

Play-Doh is a timeless toy. It transcends age. You won't see many adults playing with Barbies or GI Joes, unless a small child is around, but it is completely acceptable to play with Play-Doh your entire life. I've even been known to keep a can on my desk as an office toy and stress reliever when needed.

I was a purist as a child and didn't have all those activity sets where you could play a chef and pump out Play-Doh food, or imitate a doctor and cure your puppy, or the infamous "Fuzzy Pumper" that allowed you to grow hair and cut it all in one sitting. I just like making things with my Play-Doh. Back when I was a kid (gosh, I feel old starting a sentence with that), our Play-Doh didn't change colors when mixed together unlike the brand of today. I preferred my own Play-Doh cans because the kids at school and church always mixed the colors and ruined half the jars of Play-Doh. My mind would reel as I thought of all the things I could create. I got lost in the creative world of sculpture.

The most exciting moment is when I got a new pack of Play-Doh. The thought of it even now brings back sweet memories. I'd crack open the cardboard container and slowly open that fresh can of Play-Doh. Ahhh, that sweet aroma. The colorful slab of Play-Doh was carefully shaped to fit in the cylinder and come out of the can ready for action. I can still remember that aroma....

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Play-Doh. And, the folks at Hasbro have put together a year-long celebration. One of the highlights of the year is a the release of a limited edition fragrance "eau-de-Play-Doh" scent. For about $19, you can experience the aroma of your childhood days in a spray form. You know, I enjoy a good aromatic memory, but for $2, I can go to the local store and buy a few cans of the stuff and experience the smell. Why don't I think about these money making ideas sooner?

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

Five years ago today, I woke up like any other Tuesday morning and got ready for work. I turned on the Today show and watched Matt and Katie cover the day's events like any other day. As I flipped off the television around 8:30 or so, I headed out the door to work.

The day was sunny with a pre-Autumn smell in the air and I loaded up a CD into my player for the ride to work. I was oblivious to how the world changed in that short ride to work. As I entered my office, I was bombarded by co-workers in chaos telling me what was going on.

At that point, our life in the United States changed.

The day seems somewhat of a blur. We were all sent home around 11am because we clearly were pre-occupied with more important things of the day. Along with that, our parent company was located in Arlington, Virginia, right outside of DC, and was a defense contractor for the US government. Our communication with them that day ceased as the Pentagon was attacked and all the city was shut down as the job of rescue and recovery began.

Today we remember the day that changed our lives. We now are familiar with the phrase "homeland security." We associate colors like red and orange with security levels. And, seeing a loved one off at the airport gate is precluded by an extensive security check. On the news coverage today, they reported a statistic that one in five of us has been touched by someone that lost a loved one in the attacks of 9/11 or knew a 9/11 survivor. I'm one of those "ones" - good friends of mine from high school were stationed at the Pentagon. Because of the second hit to the World Trade Towers, he went to a different part of the Pentagon to watch coverage and left his office - an office in the wing that was hit. The story his wife has relayed to me made the television scenes I experienced come to life.

I rarely become political on this blog, and some may see this as a political statement, but I see this as my view of the situation from my conservative viewpoint. On a day when we remember the thousands of lives that were lost, I'm thankful that we've avoided any terrorist attacks since that fateful day. At a time when, just three years before the attack, we were consumed with the actions of an intern in the Oval Office, we were jolted to reality and thankfully led by someone who gave some integrity to the Oval Office. I challenge anyone today to tell a soldier overseas that their battle is in vain. I'm thankful that men and women are willing to fight on any land for my freedom.

The Pew Research Center recently did a study that revealed 82% of Americans view 9/11 as equally serious or more serious than the Pearl Harbor attack. Amazing that we argue the reasoning for defending our freedom now but we were ready to obliterate the Japanese nation after Pearl Harbor. Today will surely be a date which will live in infamy. May God bless America and keep her safe from all enemy attacks.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thanks for Flying

In my career, I've been laid off three times. Once due to a company relocation, once due to a company buyout, and once due to a company shut down. For all the layoff experiences I've had, none have been tremendously torturous. I've learned not to nest too much at any job and be sure everything personal at my desk can fit into one box.

When the first lay off occured due to a company relocating, I was one of about 120 folks feeling the layoff. After having 7 years of service, the severance package was sweet, and the corporate office provided outplacement help and, of all things, group counseling. That was a Camelot environment before the evil corporate folks started wielding their management power so by the time that happened, I was relieved to be out of there.

Layoff two came after a whirlwind of 3 years of building a company and surviving one buyout to fall prey to the second buyout. The evil second takeover had a sub plot of snuffing out folks who had been there from the beginning and wouldn't bow to the new royalty. Or continue to proclaim, "That's not the way we used to do it." My boss was more emotional than I was because she was heading back to California with a job.

The third time I survived two layoffs before I was part of the company shut down. This non-growing company was stunted by the acts of 9/11. Our parent company providing our funding was the largest defense contractor for the US government. When 9/11 happened, their focus had to shift, and our little technology venture had the plugged pulled.

I always perk up when I hear of large company layoffs because, after being in small ones over the years, I have a sense of what the employees are going through. I'm intrigued by a couple of company layoff strategies of late. Radio Shack laid off 400 of their employees by notifying them through e-mail. I suppose this is somewhat of a cold way to lay someone off, but given our faceless age of society, I can see why Radio Shack chose that option. Not that I agree with it, mind you. But, when I endured lay off #2, none of the HR folks wanted to do my exit meeting because they were too emotional to face me, though they finally did. Life is rough and the tough things have to be dealt with head on. I certainly hope this isn't a trend of the future that we solve all conflict and issues electronically.

The other case I heard about was from Northwest Airlines. This one, a bit more comical, made me chuckle. When you've been through as many lay offs as I have, you can't help but laugh at things. You can laugh because you see how you survived. As part of the paperwork provided to exiting employees, there was a booklet included entitled, "101 Ways to Save Money." Some of the real gems on this list were "Brown bag your lunch," "Always shop with a grocery list," and my personal favorite, "Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash." Management apologized for not reviewing the resource before handing it out and has since pulled it from their exit packet.

I truly love my current job and we're on track to grow a stable company, although to some it may seem a risky place to be. But, no matter what happens, I know I'll get through it. And, I hope I never have to link to this layoff entry in a future layoff announcement of my own.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Clear Vision

I've been a bit silent lately on the blog due to recent eye surgeries I had. Now that I'm back to somewhat normal (who IS really normal?) I thought I'd update my blog. Yet, being practically homebound over the two weeks I had each surgery, not a lot happened in my life - other than this miraculous surgical procedure.

For quite a few years, I've had cataracts on both eyes. Now, I'm quite young for such a condition, but they were brought on due to another medical condition I have. But, according to my opthomalogist, everyone will get cataracts if they live long enough. For those who don't know, a cataract clouds the lens you view the world through. The advancement in medical research allows a lens replacement surgery to fix that problem with ease. The doctor simply removes the clouded lens and replaces it with a new bionic one. (Ok, maybe not bionic, but it makes me feel agent-like to say that) The blessing in this condition was that through this procedure, he could power the lens to correct my severe nearsightedness. I've worn glasses or contacts since second grade and if my contacts weren't in, I better know exactly where my glasses were or I was lost. For the first time ever, I can wake up in the night and read the clock (prior to second grade, my Mom read the clock for me) I still have some blurry-ness 15 feet or so away due to the astigmatism I have, which will soon be corrected by glasses and eventually contacts if I prefer. But, for now, I can read, watch TV, work, and drive corrective lense free!

Being stranded at home had its advantages. Aside from catching up on a lot of rest, I was able to spend a lot of time with God. He has a unique way of getting our attention by forcing us to slow down to be able to talk to us. Through this experience, I've learned a couple of things. I never really knew how bad my vision was and how cloudy it had gotten until I had surgery. Now everything is so clear and colors so vibrant. It's a lot like sin in my life. I start off gradually doing something once or twice, then it becomes a habit and I don't realize the hold it has on me. Just like my eyes, I had no idea I was seeing so poorly because the decline was so gradual.

I hope I remember this lesson learned through the experience of getting a new pair of eyes. I can see things clearly like never before - although, for those who are curious, Blogger word verification is still hopeless to read. One day, though, everything will be even clearer than I can imagine it now...and what a vision that will be...."For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." - I Corinthians 13:12-13

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


As a customer of Blockbuster Online, I'm privy to thousands of movies, including complete seasons of TV shows. This past weekend I finished Alias, Season 2. Friends of mine told me I'd really dig Alias, and though I had never watched it, decided to take advantage of the freedom of keeping DVDs as along as you want with my Blockbuster membership and watch TV on DVD.

I've become somewhat of an Alias geek. The series came to a close in the Spring - so leave it to me to be such a late bloomer. From the moment I watched the pilot episode, I was hooked. J J Abrams, the creator, is a mastermind in the complexity of twists, turns, and surprises. This guy is a story-telling genius and the most amazing part is he's my age. I'm always intrigued by people who can conjure up an unbelievable story in their head and make it come to life. As I've followed the storyline along, I've also watched the extras on the DVDs and realized that Alias had a bit of a rocky start. It seems even ABC asked J J to dumb it down for better ratings. I had a boss one time that asked me to dumb down and I found that preposterous. Thankfully, J J stayed true to the intertwining of the storyline and didn't water it down for those in the complexity-challenged viewing audience. If you can't follow the complex story line, you most likely won't appreciate the show.

For those of you who've never watched the show, the story begins with Jennifer Garner playing Sydney Bristow, a double agent who works for SD-6, a part of the enemy, while thinking, initially, she's CIA. After being brought to the good side by her double agent spy Dad, Jack Bristow, she spent the first season trying to take down the bad guys. Season two takes a whole new twist as the scenes change and the people change sides - some apparent bad guys become good, some apparent good guys become bad, and you start seeing double. (For those who've watched the show, you know what I mean.)

Now that I've finished season two and take a much needed breather before adding season three to my list, I've realized there are some good things about TV on DVD. The upside is I can watch two or three episodes at one time and not have to fiddle with fast forwarding through commercials or waiting a week for the next installment. But, there is a downside.

I miss the days of everyone talking about what happened on a show the night before. I've just watched the end of a season with a honey of a cliffhanger and no one to debrief with. I'm most likely the only person on the planet that is at this point of the show. Either you've never watched Alias, watched some episodes but aren't a fan (I don't understand why, but, I digress), or you've watched the whole series. If you've watched the whole series, you're dying to tell me what happens next, of which I do not want to know and ruin my excitement. If you've never watched it, I have to recap the last 44 episodes since the pilot for you to understand what I'm talking about. And, if you've watched it but aren't an avid fan, you quickly feel the need to find me some medication to alleviate this Alias obsession I have.

The world no longer waits patiently for the answer to "Who shot JR?" anymore. It's somewhat sad that we've lost that TV camaraderie that we once had. Alas, this is blogger...I'm going radio silent...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ahh, To Be a Kid Again

This week starts the 37th season of Sesame Street, the place I used to visit every afternoon in my childhood days. As part of this new season, the folks at the Children's Television Workshop are introducing a new character, Abby Cadabby, a fairy in training. Her big round eyes and her purply pink pigtails are adorable and she waves around her magic "training" wand causing all sorts of things to turn into pumpkins unexpectedly. Recently moving from Fairyside Queens, this 3-year old is scared about meeting new people and friends, but her friends on Sesame Street are there to help her adjust to her new environment.

Sesame Street takes a lot of heat from folks because of the apparent underlying liberal messages but, as a grown-up, I owe a lot to Sesame Street. You see, as an only child, many times, the television was my way to learn how to interact with others. My Mom monitored my viewing, but she'd let me watch Sesame Street unaccompanied, and she'd join me for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood right after. I learned numbers, letters, and all about far off lands from my hour with the folks on Sesame Street. And, I was a viewer when only Big Bird could see Snuffy and Mr. Hooper was still alive. As an older person, I was glad they addressed Mr. Hooper's death and explained to children where he went. I couldn't wait to hear, "Today is brought to you by the Letter B."

So, welcome, Little Miss Abby. I hope you bring joy to lots of little apprehensive children who are scared to start school alone, frightened by having no friends, or simply absorb your method of making friends. Maybe they, too, will be willing to reach out and make new friends.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Small Town Appeal

After my recent vacation trip to Adel, Georgia (population 5,000, give or take an ant), I was re-introduced to my love of small towns. I was raised a city girl here in the booming metropolis of Louisville, Kentucky. It's not New York, but, after our recent realignment of boundaries, we are the 16th largest city in the US. The amenities of a city are very nice - lots of options for food, fun, and frolic - but the hustle bustle can get a bit wearing at times. When we got closer to Louisville on our road trip home, I swore I could feel the 'bub' swelling of the impending 'hub bub' of the city.

I have other friends that live in a small town in Alabama (Phenix City) and the same appeal is there that I found in Adel. The slower pace, the friendly people, and the relaxing feel of the environment. While in Adel, we were 5 minutes from most everything - except major shopping and food establishments, which was still only 20 minutes away in Valdosta. In Phenix City, the same thing occurred. We weren't far from Columbus, Georgia, and this very long strip mall that had every store you would need (along with a Super Wal-Mart) and restaurants plopped along the parking lot.

Although it can be a little daunting in a town where everyone knows your business, there was something comforting when I walked into the local Adel Rite Aid and the checker carried on a conversation with me about the previous night's storm. I can barely get a "hello" out of the checkers in Louisville. Being single, living in a small town would probably be a lot more difficult than living in a city. But, I think if I was married, I'd be perfectly content in a small town. (So, all you farmers out there looking for a wife....).

Our family never lived in a small town, but I think my Mom would have loved it. She would talk to strangers even in the big town of Louisville and not think anything about it...even when she found out more than she wanted to know. I'm sure the "Mayberrys" of the world would get old, just like the big cities, but a change of pace wouldn't be a bad the lyrics of the Rascal Flatts song...

"I miss Mayberry
Sitting on the porch drinking ice-cold cherry Coke
Where everything is black and white
Picking on a six string
Where people pass by and you call them by their first name
Watching the clouds roll by"

Friday, August 11, 2006

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I recently returned from my summer vacation to a little town in south Georgia called Adel. Now, you'd never find this place unless you were intentionally looking for it as it lies somewhere between Tifton and Valdosta on your way down I-75 to Florida. You may ask, "How in the world did you choose that destination?" Well, back in January, two of my greatest friends, Chad and Tracy, moved to Adel to serve at the First Baptist Church. Chad is Minister of Music and Tracy is his wife and partner in ministry.

Since their relocation down south, my friend, Christie, and I had been trying to coordinate a time when we could visit, and finally, all of our schedules matched up to make the August trek. Christie, Tracy, and I are part of a close group of friends that have gone through a lot together and bonded from some interesting experiences that could fill a blog. We were so excited to get to spend time with she and Chad again that we were willing to endure the 10-hour drive to get there.

Tracy and I go way back. We both grew up at the same church, and I first remember her when I assisted with children's choirs at church. After leading her in that capacity, our next encounter was in the singles ministry. She reminds me that my comment of "I've been single too long if Tracy is now in singles" wasn't a very welcoming way for her to enter post high school days, but I've done what I could to make up for that faux pas. Through many experiences during that time, we bonded. Tracy and I have a lot in common, as was reminded to me during my recent visit. It's those things that make me miss her even more.

Chad met Tracy at our home church. I'll admit that I didn't see if at first, but now, I can't imagine her with anyone else. They are best friends and I feel like I've known Chad all my life, just like Tracy. The coolest part was being able to watch them grow together, fall in love, and get married. My house served as Chad's laundry location when he had no facilities at his own apartment. In the words of Tracy, "Only Chad could draw 12 people to watch him do laundry." We'd plan a dinner menu, cook and enjoy a family meal - all while Chad did his laundry. Card playing, American Idol watching, and other assorted activities were all part of this every other week ritual. I'll never forget those nights.

As Christie and I headed to Georgia, Tracy promised to call us every hour. And, she did. She tracked us better than a GPS and calculated the exact time we'd arrive so she and Chad could have supper prepared. When we finally pulled up in the driveway of their adorable house, Tracy was out in the yard to flag us down. Reaching our destination was a welcome sight.

Our visit began with a house tour, led by Tracy, complete with lighting cues from Chad. As we got settled for the evening, Tracy recapped for us the itinerary during our stay. This is one of the things, of many, I miss most about Tracy. She is a planner extraordinaire. Being a bit of an obsessive planner myself, she and I would be the control freaks, um, er, members of our group of friends. When things would spin out of control, you could count on Tracy to get us back on track. Down to explaining the use of the guest bathroom and towel assignments, Tracy was meticulous with details on every aspect of our stay. Some people might find that overkill, I find it refreshing. The creme de la creme came on Sunday morning. Tracy left for church and put in a roast for lunch (for those who know Tracy, she has become an outstanding cook - yep, you read that correctly). Along with the map of Adel, complete with directions to the church, she left a note for us to put in the potatoes after 10am. The note read "Put the potatoes (not the water) in the roast pot after 10am. Please submerge as many as possible." She had laid out the potholders for pot retrieval, and set out all that we would need for breakfast. When I walked into the kitchen and saw that "Tracy touch" I smiled.

The vacation was great. I loved Adel. It was great to see where their life is now and to meet a lot of people I've heard them talk about in name only. Small towns have a lot of appeal, and I'd be happy to live in one if I wasn't single. Until then, I'll enjoy many visits to my new vacation spot, Adel, Georgia.

One of the added bonuses of the trip was witnessing Chad's first musical at the church. A children's musical called "Acorns to Oaks." I had a sappy moment when I watched Tracy orchestrate the children where they needed to go and sat on the front row making sure everything was running smoothly. It reminded me of a time when I sat on a church pew as a children's choir worker watching Tracy perform...and I was experiencing a visual reminder that the torch was being passed...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Purse By Any Other Name is Still as Sweet

In a recent post on sunglasses, I revealed my need to find just the right pair of sunglasses - and once I do, I never want to have to search for them again. Well, I'm also that way about purses. I'm a pretty low maintenance purse chick. I don't change out purses everytime the wind blows, or my shoes change, or my nail polish changes. If you do, more power to you. After changing purses so much at one time that I left my auto insurance card in the wrong purse, I realized it wasn't worth the effort. Plus, a quick scan of my handbag history and you'll see an overwhelming abundance of black purses. So, why change from black to black?

I've always admired Vera Bradley purses. Those lovely quilted purses that come in all shapes, sizes and fabrics just looked stylish no matter what you are wearing (see above) and were washable to boot. But, the price of those puppies are outrageous. Most range in price from $60 - $100, which is much more than I have spent for my purses from Target. I try to be frugal as much as I can, so I couldn't justify that kind of money - even if I carried that purse until Jesus comes. Chances are, I'd grow tired of it eventually.

The purse I was carrying was a lovely crocheted black number that came from Fashion Bug. Reasonably priced, it fit the bill almost perfectly. Almost because it didn't hold my planner. I carry a calendar, not a Day-Timer or Franklin planner, but a nice inexpensive calendar from Staples that has enough room to write on each day and glance at a month. Along with its size, this purse was also beginning to wear out. A crocheted fabric is soft and flexible, but also privy to snags and eventual holes. So, I decided it was time to get serious about the search for a purse...

I shopped at my normal discount places...Fashion Bug, Target, Jewelry & Handbag Warehouse, and even Payless Shoes (you can find some nice bags there, ladies)....but to no avail. I knew what I wanted, but couldn't find it. Then, I Googled the phrase "quilted purses" and my dreams came true.

The first non-sponsored link that came up was for Jean's Unique Creations. It was like Vera Bradley for the common man! Jean provides purses, accesories and small luggage in your choice of fabric. And, even provides wonderful accessories for walker and wheelchair users. My Mom made these pouches and bags for herself so she could cart things around the house while on her walker. After seeing the prices of these purses (the highest priced bag is $49.95), I knew I had found a purse supplier. And, the deal was cinched when I read that she is now "retired" and her husband runs her orders to the Post Office, does the housework and loves to cook. It sounded much like my Dad and Mom, although Mom never sold the things she made.

I've spread the word to everyone I know - and my Stepmom has even bought her own purse! If you've always longed for a Vera Bradley, a Jean's Unique Creation is a purse just as sweet....and be sure to tell Mrs. Jean that Rose sent you.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Puttin' on the Glitz

Last Saturday was a glorious day! The 150 degree weather decided to tame down and I had plans to meet one of my "friend for decades," Alisa. We've been friends for, well, decades. But during the last decade most of our interaction has been through e-mail and letters. Alisa is someone who reminds me of the value of the written word...and written with pen and paper. We have seen each other face to face a couple of times in the past year, always saying "We need to get together." She lives about 2 hours from my house, outside of Lexington. Well, after our last encounter, I decided to initiate a free Saturday to spend with the person I first called friend, and now call mentor in many ways - and still after all the guidance is through, she still is called friend.

She said, "I'm taking you to the Glitz. Don't ask questions, just meet me in Lexington and I'll take you there." Now, our past life has included many a crazy adventure, and we're both older and more mature (yeah, right) , but the thought of an "Alisa Adventure" made my toes tingle. I decided to trust her and be prepared. The drive to Lexington was great and much needed after a long week. You can't beat the drive from Louisville to Lexington and passing all the horse farms. Now, that's Kentucky. I met her at a Lexington shopping center parking lot and hopped in her car, "Baby" (she always names her cars - she has an Escort named, "Shady Lady"), and took off to parts unknown.

There are certain things about old friends you never forget - or are reminded rather quickly if you do. Alisa is a madwoman on the road. I love it, and it's probably where I get my love for speed, but I chuckled when we took the sharp country curves at high speed and her darting didn't make me flinch once. We arrived at Irish Acres Gallery in the small town of Nonesuch, Kentucky. Yes, for all you city slickers, we have a town named "Nonesuch." That's what gives us Kentuckians character. This lovely gallery is housed in a former elementary school that's been refurbished to resemble nothing of a school. The Glitz is the gallery restaurant located in the basement and what once was the school cafeteria. Trust it looks nothing like a school cafeteria and the food is far, far better than any square-shaped pizza or carton of day old milk.

We started our journey through the gallery to see a bit before our lunch reservations and it was simply exquisite. Two floors of antiques, decorations, and what nots from centuries ago up until today. I resembled a child staring at the TV as I tried to take in all that I saw. Every decorated room had a theme and tons of artifacts. For an imaginative mind like mine, I could come up with a story behind every piece. Alisa was the perfect tour guide. She'd been there many times and could take me on just the right path and point out her favorite pieces. She immediately told me there was one room that was saved for last...

Lunch was delicious and started out with their "Glitz Refresher" - a mix of spiced apple cider, cranberry juice and other spices. Served in chilled champagne flutes, I felt like a queen. When we finished off our Nonesuch Kiss, the signature dessert, we resumed our gallery tour. All the while, I'm getting more excited for that final room. After a couple of hours, the time had come. Alisa and I are certifable drama queens. We claim we attract drama, but only a thespian can truly recognize drama when she sees it. So, we both had the grand build up as I turned the corner into this room...

My mouth gaped even more. The sparkle and the shine of all the decorations almost took my breath away. It was the wedding room, with sparkly wedding decorations a huge faux wedding cake and other assorted glittery things. Alisa truly knows me well. Nothing would have made that day better than the man of my dreams stepping out from behind an antique piece, dropping to one knee, and proposing. I mentioned that to Alisa in case she needs to prompt a future suitor. It was by far my favorite room.

When our day was sadly over and I drove back home to Louisville, I reflected on my day. I was so excited to finally see Alisa for more than a moment, face to face. And she escorted me around a place she knows all too well...and saving the best for last. I got excited when I thought - that's how Heaven will be. When I get there, there will be people I've longed to see, and many a story to tell. And then, I'll turn a corner, excited to see my favorite place...the throne of Christ. It will be far more glittery than the wedding room at Irish Acres, and the Man of my dreams will be there, I'll finally see Him face to face, the One who loved me long before I was born. How bright the Son will shine.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Sunglasses That Wouldn't Die

I'm pretty tough on sunglasses. I'm not an extreme sports player or have a physically demanding job, but for some reason, my sunglasses take a beating. But, when I find a pair I like, I want to hold on to them forever.

When I could finally wear sunglasses, after switching to contacts, I couldn't wait to buy a pair of Ray Bans. I saved up my money and went to the old Service Merchandise store to pick out my pair. I had priced them everywhere and chose the least expensive retail option. I loved those sunglasses. They gave me a coolness factor that I'd never had before. But, I was highly protective of them, always worried they would disappear or get damaged. I think I finally quit wearing them when the fad faded.

Sunglasses are like purses for me. I can wear any of them, but when I find one that fits like a glove, I never want another pair (or pocketbook.) I had a pair I loved that came, from all places, Avon. Those precious sunglasses were the victim of destruction from my series of unfortunate events last Fall. Due to my sensitive eyes, I needed a pair of sunglasses and quick. Thankfully, God was watching out for me and the next pair of sunglasses I found at Walgreen's were the perfect cousin of the pair that had a sad demise.

These lovely Foster Grants were perfect. Until a few short weeks later when I put them on my face and the right lens popped out. What?!? Are you kidding me? This can't be happening. Unfortunately, a Walgreen's purchase of sunglasses doesn't come with a warranty. So, I carefully popped the lens back in and eased them over my ears and, voila, it stayed in place. What relief. Until a few days later when it happened again. I thought about getting another pair, but these, even with the hopping lens, were still a great pair of shades.

Over the coming weeks I managed to drop my sunglasses a few times followed by a shriek of horror expecting the hopping lens to pop out or break. Neither would happen, but oddly, the left lens chipped...twice....on two different drops to the ground. Although these shades were a great follower of the pair that got smushed in my fall at the post office, they weren't as durable. Those sunglasses had all but been stepped on when they finally got caught under the crush of my head as it hit the concrete. I was disappointed that a couple of tosses on a tile floor were too tough for these Fosters.

I began to get the sense that Mr. Foster Grant wanted to die, but I wasn't going to let him. At least once a week my hopping lens would fall out, but I'd retrieve the ground...out of the pocket in my purse...wherever it landed. I'd simply pop it back in and away I'd go. I had contemplated getting a new pair of shades, but really loved Mr. Grant and hated to go shopping again. Then it happened. Foster ditched me.

Monday was a holiday for me and although it wasn't a holiday for the rest of the world, that made it easy for me to run errands and get lots accomplished. I went to Staples to pick up a few office supplies and, as I always do, stuck Mr. Foster in my purse pocket when I entered the building. After making my purchases and heading out the door, I reached for the Grants, and they were gone! I thought maybe I had put them inside my purse and decided to get to my car and begin the hunt. Foster Grant was gone. Maybe he jumped out at Staples in hopes to just die quietly among the printer cartridges and PDAs. Wherever he left, I'm sure he's at peace now that I'm not sloshing him around and dropping him every other day.

I left Staples and headed directly to Walgreen's to procure a new pair of shades. A nice cobalt blue polarized pair of Panama Jack's now cover my eyes from the sunlight. Hopefully Jack will be kinder to me than Foster.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Top Five Insignificant Things That are Significantly Annoying

5. When walking into an elevator, there is no universal location for elevator buttons. Every time I walk into an elevator, if I turn the left, they are located on the right and vice versa - all while the elevator door is closing on me.

4. No bathroom paper towel holder dispenses just one paper towel. Either a small corner is ripped off, requiring you to pull another complete towel, or multiple towels come out at the same time.

3. Whether you retrieve ice from the freezer or the door of your fridge, inevitably one cube will fall to the floor. To avoid this as much as possible, I keep my door ice on the "crush" setting at all times - then only small pieces hit the floor.

2. Radio traffic reports. Who was the genius that decided that traffic reports on the radio start without any intro other than a conglomeration of screeching sirens and honking horns? Even a short, "And now for the traffic report..." to forewarn me would be helpful. It catches me off guard every time and I hit my brakes or jump expecting to be hit by another vehicle. And, to top it off, the reports are always wrong - I have been at the exact location of a reported traffic jam and it's smooth sailing, yet been in the midst of standstill traffic that I never heard about on the radio.

1. People who can't breathe without the cell phone to their ear. People walk, drive, and carry on with life all while holding a cell phone to their ear and chatting with someone. If I had a criminal mind, I'd hit all these well-distracted folks who obviously have little concern with their surroundings. And, to make the streets more dangerous, they migrate to their cars, continuing on the phone. If you are that popular, let me introduce you to BlueTooth Technology.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How to Kill a Bug

I remind people often that I didn't vote for women's liberation. All that nonsense occured before I was of voting age. My common response is "I am not, 'I am women hear me roar' but I'm 'I am woman, get my door.'" Thank you Ms. Feminist for removing my rights as Queen. After all the poor men were brainwashed that we women didn't need them, I became of age to date and they were too scared to commit.

I joke that I am not as independent of a woman as I seem - I just play one on TV. Desperate times call for desperate actions. And, when one of those "boy jobs" appear, I have to put my man pants on and do it.

Surely, I'm not alone. I know many single women who are surviving in the world alone - not by choice, but by God's Design - and need some support and assistance with those less than appealing tasks, such as killing bugs.

I don't like bugs. I may not like their creepy crawliness ways, but I'm also not so weak that I scream bloody murder the moment I see one. I've lived long enough to know, I'm bigger than him and as my Dad always told me, "Hey, they don't eat much." But, since I'm not the "hunter" but the "nurturer" I don't prefer murdering bugs. Not because I'm Tom Cruise and think it's my reincarnated great great great Grandfather, John Wilkes Booth coming back to assasinate Bin Laden, but because it's frankly icky. The killing part is kind of fun. Taking a whack at a bug does release some pent up anger. But then you have to clean up the bug guts - ewww. And some of those critters are hard to whack because their 100 legs make them move pretty doggone fast.

So, for all of you out there who would like a step by step in killing bugs, keep reading.
1. When you see a bug, don't scream, run through the house or stand on a chair. The sound of the scream or running through the house could cause him to scurry. And, standing on a chair makes it a bit difficult to dispose of the small animal.
2. Calmly walk to your bathroom and grab a can of hairspray. Ladies, we all should have at least one can of that stuff in our house.
3. Take the can, aim at the bug and shoot. He'll either freeze from suffocation from the fumes or be so sticky he can't move from the spot. Either way, you now have the upper hand.
4. Once he's immobilized, you can whack at him, put him out of his misery and enclose him in the nearest paper towel.
5. Take the mummified bug and dispose of him in your toilet. One good flush and there is no worry of him resurrecting out of your trash can and terrorizing you in the middle of the night.
6. Wash off the crime scene. Hairspray is sticky and you want to remove all evidence that you had to slay that bug with assistance from Pantene.

I had a teacher in 3rd grade who helped me off with my jacket one time when the zipper got stuck. She yanked it over my head and said, "There's more than one way to skin a cat." And, ladies, there's more than one way to kill a bug.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's Easier to Be Struck by Lightning...

There is a statistic that was recently debated as false that it is easier to be hit by lightning or attacked by a terrorist than to get married over the age of 40. I first remember hearing that stat in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle" but it was apparently based on an actual study. In recent weeks, after revisiting those that compiled the study, it was revealed that those numbers are false.

Although I've not been personally touched by a terrorist, it's evident that we've all felt the pain of 9/11. And, most of us could go six degrees through our connections and touch someone who was directly affected by that horrible day. So, maybe that event alone has swayed the study statistics. I have great friends from high school that were directly connected to 9/11 - one of them being a 9/11 survivor from the Pentagon and his wife, who to this day shudders at the recollection of that frightful day.

So, on to the next statistic....being struck by lightning. This is not a very common occurance, and so, I can understand the correlation between lightning strikes and marriage after 40. Sadly, since I am over 40, it's not an encouraging thing to think about. Well, I've now proven that statistic as truth.

About a month or so ago, the Spring thunderstorm season started around these parts. We've seen our share of tornadoes and strong storms, and I've been very blessed to have been passed over. But, earlier in May, I wasn't. Oddly, my house was struck - but a random act of striking. One of my cable boxes was hit, my DSL modem, and my caller ID box. Thankfully my TV and DVD player hooked to that cable box were fine. And, even more importantly, the computer was unharmed. The harshest hit, the one that somewhat freaked me out, was the hit in my enclosed patio room. My Dad actually found this one when window cleaners came to my house. As they moved the blinds, they noticed a melted spot, and then a black mark on the carpet in the corner. Even an innocent folding chair got in the bolt's crossfire and now has a tatoo on it's backside. Thankfully no fires occured and everything is fixable or replaceable.

Leave it to me to be able to be struck by lightning rather than get married.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Long Way Home

Last weekend I attended a singles retreat with my church. The location of the retreat was about 30 minutes north of Louisville in a lovely, secluded wooded area of Indiana. It was probably the most low stress, drama free retreats I've ever been on, which makes my first experience so enjoyable, I'm anxious to go back.

When we pulled out of there on Saturday afternoon, the weather was gorgeous and I looked forward to the drive home. I was so involved in the drive that I missed a turn and took a few more country roads than I had originally planned. But, after getting back on track, my car had found its way to the highway and headed for the bridge that would take me back to Kentucky. It was one of those days that you wanted to drive forever. I probably could have if I hadn't been so sleep-deprived from the weekend of fun. Even though I wasn't as perky of a driver, I felt the need to take "the long way home."

My Mom has been gone almost six years, which is hard to fathom at times. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her, miss her, or remember something she said or taught me. My Mom was notorious for her sayings and commentary - what a lot of folks miss about her. God has been gracious and has brought back to me "new memories" - those that were somewhere in the depths of my heart and soul, yet I hadn't thought of them in years. Like a sweet piece of peppermint candy, I'll savor those memories as long as they last and enjoy the refreshing aftertaste that keep that memory alive. A few weeks ago I had one of those moments and relived it this weekend.

I grew up in the south end of Louisville, yet we would drive to the east end of town to shop, eat, or run errands. Mom and I loved to go shop - mostly at craft stores - and then go try out the newest restaurant in town. Once we would be ready to head home, Mom would proclaim, "Let's take the long way home." I loved those words. That phrase meant that instead of hopping on the highway that would take us home in 15-20 minutes, we would take the scenic route. In Louisville, that meant driving through old Bardstown Road, the Highlands, up beautiful Eastern Parkway and around to the area of town where we lived. Mom would tell stories, point out significant landmarks, and laugh as we talked about almost anything. When I was younger and we'd be leaving one of our day excursions, I'd hold my breath hoping Mom would say those six wonderful words, "let's take the long way home." I could almost always count on her saying it every time.

As I drove home on Saturday, I relived that moment, but this time, by myself, and headed to the southeastern end of town where I live now. I reflected on how much Mom would have loved taking that "long way home" and as I traversed through new areas of town, I reminisced about memories that I have in those areas, much like my Mom did for me. The trip was complete as I stopped off at a local craft store to buy some yarn for a project I'm working on. There was a time when I rebelled against the statement, "You are just like your Mom." Now, I live for it. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me the joy in taking the long way home.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Show Me the Idol!

Congratulations, Taylor! You had me at harmonica. Soul Patrol!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Yes, Taylor, You Make Me Proud

Last night AT&T kept busy keeping their phone lines operational while one of the most-hyped elections since Bush-Gore 2000 occured - American Idol, 2006. Let's recap, shall we...

Round 1: The show opened with Kat's weird version of "Black Horse, Cherry Tree". Her crawling around the box drum players before was odd, and it was still strange the second time around. You expect the performance to improve, but that didn't happen. She should have sung "Someone to Watch Over Me", which was her second best performance ever. By far, nobody can pull off purple suede like Taylor. His revival of "Livin for the City" was outstanding. And, he reprised that Hicks 360 degree circle, sprinkler like dance that is one of his signature moves. Round 1 - hands down, Taylor.

Round 2 - I realized last week where Kat needs to focus her energy - Judy Garland tunes. The songs she shines on are songs from her era. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was superb, both times, and my second favorite performance of hers, "Someone to Watch Over Me" is a 50's throw back. Kat, quit trying to be Kelly Clarkspears or Brittney Underwood. Go with what you do best. If Hollywood ever does a remake of The Wizard of Oz, she should play Dorothy. She could play innocent farm girl pretty well. Simon could be the Tinman, Bucky the Scarecrow, Ryan the Cowardly Lion, Kevin Covais as Toto, and Taylor as the Great OZ. Taylor was ok his second performance, but he had it tough against Kat's best song. Round 2 - Kat's the winner.

Round 3 - I always am skeptical of what type of songs will be featured as the Idol's first single. Obviously "Inside Your Heaven" wasn't half the song "Jesus, Take the Wheel" was for Carrie Underwood (Side note: How cool was it that Carrie is winning a CMA award the same night as the Idol finals?..what a weird world) The song "My Destiny" was perfect for Kat since she thinks this whole thing is her destiny. And, she actually started the song out ok, but by the end, she couldn't keep up with the Kodak Theater Baptist Choir. It fell flat. Even Randy resorted to Paula's standard line, "You look stunning tonight." I was concerned that Taylor would have to sing the same song, but oh no, his song was "Do I Make You Proud?" Maybe those songs should have been switched...I can see Kat asking that question. But, Taylor nailed the coffin shut with that one. He showed off his vocal chops and we really saw that, yes, he can sing, even if you don't appreciate his fun dancing. Round 3, Taylor again, and according to Simon, who didn't want him to head to Hollywood, he's sealed his fate as the next American Idol.

Like Bush-Gore 2000, this "election" holds some similarities. Al Gore thought he invented the Internet - I think Kat thinks she invented music. And, Bush, this non-articulate guy from Texas folks never thought would win, now is serving his second term. Nobody thought Taylor would go this far either, but, you know what, America has known from the beginning he deserved it. So, it looks like that gray-haired, southern gentleman, Taylor Hicks, will be our next President, er, um, American Idol.

Blogger's Note: As I read through the articles online yesterday about predictions, I came across an article where the author used my former line "All you McPheever fans...Take a Tylenol." I suppose imitation is the highest form of flattery, but, I don't get paid to do it unfortunately.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Willy Nilly Silly Ole Bear

Too bad I missed this opportunity to fly out to Hollywood to see one of my very favorite cartoon characters get his own star on the Walk of Fame - none other than that lovable thinking bear, Winnie the Pooh.

On April 11, Pooh joined the likes of other animated stars, like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Snow White, alongside other celebrities who've made their mark in Hollywood. That date marked the 80th anniversary of the first publication of Winnie the Pooh's story in the London Evening News. Walt Disney is planning an 18-month long celebration to note this anniversary.

To me, Pooh is by far so much more a star than Mickey Mouse. Ok, so, maybe Mickey has those unforgettable ears and is the brand of Disney, but where's the substance? The mouse is pretty shallow and has a lack of commitment - poor Minnie has waited over 50 years for him to "do her right." Pooh, on the other hand, is a simple bear. Loving, innocent, and thinks a lot. That's what I love. He can say things that are simple and fun like "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"” Or he can be profound, "You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." That's good stuff. And his friendship with Piglet teaches us all the importance of being a friend.

The crowds that came out for this ceremony were noted to have been ten rows deep and one official commented that there were more people there for Pooh than when Brittney Spears got her star. Thank goodness for that. We love you, Pooh, and as you once said, "If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Amazing Graceland

We're down to the final four on American Idol. I haven't blogged much lately about the show, so I thought I'd take the time to give my thoughts as we head into the final two weeks of the competition. Last night's show was a tribute to the king, Elvis, complete with a trip to Graceland, escorted by Priscilla Presley. So, without further ado...

Katherine McPhee - This girl has a beautiful voice, but her pompous diva attitude kills me. Kat, let me introduce you to the word, "humility." Of all the remaining finalists, she is my least favorite when it comes to appreciating the road she's been traveling. I get the sense she has an entitlement attitude. After forgetting her words on the first song, and then letting the second song end weak, she has a high probability of going home tonight. She's a final four, she'll get a contract. All you McPheever fans out there, take a Tylenol.

Elliott Yamin - A friend of mine said early on that Elliott wouldn't go far because he lacked the "look." Hmm, see AI Season 2 winner, Ruben. Although Elliott may be thug-like, he had his game face on last night. The boy did what he had to do to have a hope of surviving in this contest. And, the fact that he sings with limited hearing ability amazes me. Elliott could teach Kat a few things about humility - that boy realizes how belssed his trip has been. There is a 50-50 shot he could go home tonight, but for all his hard work and determination, I hope we have an all-boy final three.

Chris Daughtery - As some of my closest friends know, I have an affinity for bald men. And, although Chris is a handsome dude and has a great voice, I just can't get excited at the thought of him as our next American Idol. I think it's his personality. Chris, put the mike stand down, we've been there, done that with Bo and Constantine. A friend of mine told me his wife says that she thinks he's the type of guy that would leave his wife if he got successful. Maybe that's it. Who knows. Whatever the outcome, the boy will get a contract and cut an album. I can't get past those silly sunglasses her wore last night while singing "Suspicious Minds" - it was like a flashback of the 70's version of Elvis.

Taylor Hicks - I've loved Taylor since I saw him audition. He's different, he's refreshing, and, well, he's cute. Then, he stole my heart when he strolled into the judges' room for the final word on the 24 finalists playing his harmonica. Last night, he stole the show again with his performances. You have to think to yourself....who of these four would be the most fun to see in concert? By far, it's Taylor. And, he's from Alabama, which alone gives him points in my book. I think America is ready for something other than the cookie cutter Idol winner. Taylor is far from cookie cutter. And, he can pull off a purple suit like nobody's business.

I'm not sure who will go home tonight, but I have a strong sense that our final two will be Chris and Taylor. And the world will vote "Rocker or Rock-a-Billy"

Soul Patrol!