Sunday, December 12, 2010

Running in a Winter Wonderland

Surely now I can claim to be a real runner. I still can't run more than a few minutes without having to stop and walk, but surely going out today and running in a snow "storm" gets me a few points toward "official runner" status, right?

I have never been an athlete. Ever. (Those of you who've known me since 7th grade feel free to chime in and support this claim.  You were there.  You saw it.)  I was the only person in Fellowship of Christian Athletes who was not an athlete. I was the one who hated gym class because it drug down my GPA and it was so incredible humiliating. I was the kid who could not climb the rope or do a single pull-up when we did the President's Physical Fitness test.

But I love snow. Won't it be funny if winter is what turns me into a runner? I was so excited today at the thought of going running out in the snow, that I went out before I even ate lunch. (Which shows how stupid I can be, because I knew I needed something for energy, but was too impatient.) So I was so tired and in my walking intervals I was going really slow because I was enjoying the moment (and because I am notoriously horrible at negotiating slick surfaces and was slipping along - had I known it was easier to run on slick roads than walk on slick roads, I might have started running years ago). But I did it. I was the lady you would drive by and shake your head at the sight of. But I am now thinking that the people running in the snow are not as crazy as we non-runners have always believed. I mean, if you are going to be uncomfortable anyway, why not do it in beautiful, serene surroundings rather than in the heat and humidity of August?? Right?

Just amazed at how much I am loving winter running. (or winter wogging, actually) Which is good since there is a lot of training to do this winter if I want to actually run most of the Mini in May. Not that I wouldn't love it more if Santa would get me some warm running clothes, smart wool socks, and yak trax!

(And yes, this blog post has a record number of "I"s in it, but it is a "yeah me" post so that in the middle of February I can look back and have some encouragement.  Next time I will try to write from a less self-centered point of view)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I think I will make today "Watch It Wednesday".  Here is another You Tube clip.  This is one of the songs Kaylie's dance class is working on this session.  Get to see them perform on Sunday!!


Another example of people with too much time on their hands....

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Life Book Movement

Bible Smuggling 101
Legally Saturating High Schools with God’s Word

In today’s divisive culture-war society, when news stories about separation of church and state thrive with controversy, one cutting-edge Christian ministry is having remarkable success spreading the Word of God. What makes it remarkable? They are doing it by distributing Bibles in public schools—legally.

Carl Blunt is the president and CEO of The Life Book Movement, a Christian mission centered on Blunt’s own contemporary, youth-oriented edition of a portion of the Bible called The Life Book, a unique presentation of Scripture designed to engage high school students with the truth of God’s Word. The Life Book presents a brief overview of the Old Testament and the Book of John using an interactive format with honest student comments and real-life questions in the margins. Readers are drawn into the only story that can change their lives forever.

Founded by The Gideons International as an innovative strategy to reach high school students with God’s Word, The Life Book Movement works in collaboration with churches throughout the country to provide the books for free to high school students. Blunt’s organization brilliantly threads a separation-of-church-and-state loophole by getting his publication into the hands of Christian high school students and having them pass the books out to classmates at school—a practice that is entirely legal, as long as the books are not distributed by school staff or other adults. Blunt says, “It’s like we’re helping students smuggle God’s Word into a closed country (public high schools) to reach an unreached people group because studies show that only 4% of today’s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians.” The goal is to ensure that every student in every high school in the United States has an opportunity to receive the gift of The Life Book. This approach presents a phenomenal opportunity to impact a generation with the good news of Jesus Christ.

The Life Book Movement is best described to students as a week-long mission trip to their local high school. Local churches work together in targeted areas to ensure The Life Book is offered to every student in each chosen high school. All churches involved receive the books at no cost from The Life Book Movement and provide the books, along with some evangelism training, to the students in their youth groups. The students then spend a week passing them out to their friends and classmates at school. One student who received the book said, “I got one today. I read it in almost every class today. I like it. It’s pretty neat and other people asked to look at it and then asked where to get one.”

Flying under the radar since its inception last fall, The Life Book Movement is rapidly closing in on distribution of more than 300,000 copies in public high schools across 21 states and even the British Virgin Islands. A quiet success, indeed, but extremely ambitious, The Life Book Movement has an ultimate goal of distributing The Life Book to nearly 18 million high school students when all is said and done. And, so far, the outlook is extremely promising.

Become a fan at and follow the movement at

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On The Road Again

Looks like Waggers is going to be accompanying me to San Francisco.  This "gift" was on my pillow when I went to bed last night.

Will post pictures of his adventures when I return home.

UPDATE: Not to be outdone, Kaylie left me this little note...
(I love our Hoops & Yoyo panic button!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Un-Happy Meals

Can't let this go without chiming in.  Toys in Happy Meals are not the reason why our kids are overweight.  Don't even get me started about parental responsibility.  Grrrr.  Maybe when I go to San Fran this week (see yesterday's post), I can pop over to city hall and give them what for.

San Francisco may order Happy Meals to go -- permanently
By the CNN Wire StaffNovember 9, 2010 7:05 a.m. EST

Ordinance would require most McDonald's Happy Meals to meet new city nutrition criteria
If nutrition standards are met, McDonald's and other chains can offer toys with meals
The measure is part of a "food justice" movement; officials expect a legal challenge

San Francisco, California (CNN) -- Happy Meals could become a thing of the past in San Francisco after a vote by the city's leaders Tuesday.

San Francisco's board of supervisors is expected to formally approve a ban on most of McDonald's Happy Meals in current form during a meeting Tuesday.

The move to turn Happy Meals into healthy meals was proposed because some in the northern California city felt that McDonald's offers toys to entice kids to buy meals that don't meet nutritional criteria.

The board already approved the ban during a preliminary vote last week.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has indicated he would veto the ordinance, but the board has enough votes -- eight out of 11 -- to override the veto, said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar who initiated the proposal

Under the proposal, McDonald's and other restaurants would have until December 2011 to improve their meals' nutrition with fruits and vegetables -- if the chains want to keep offering Captain America figurines or toys tied with latest films.

The proposed ordinance is part of a "food justice movement" and is designed to address how about 50 of the city's restaurants use giveaway toys to sell fast food whose nutritional content is being challenged by the city.

Officials said they hope their measure, the first of its kind for a large city, would encourage similar standards across the country. The San Francisco proposal was modeled after a similar law for unincorporated Santa Clara County, California,

Mar said the ordinance would be "a tremendous victory" in fighting childhood obesity. His fifth-grade daughter is in the 6-to-11 age group in which rates of obesity have quadrupled the past 30 years -- coinciding with the lifespan of the Happy Meal, he said.

"I do believe that toys and other incentives attached to foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories are a major reason for the alarming rise for childhood obesity in this country," Mar said last week. "This is a very modest ordinance that is an incentive for the industry to take responsibility for healthier choices for children and parents."

McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud has said the company was "extremely disappointed with the decision."

"It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for. Public opinion continues to be overwhelmingly against this misguided legislation," Proud said in a statement. "Parents tell us it's their right and responsibility -- not the government's - to make their own decisions and to choose what's right for their children.

"We are extremely proud of our Happy Meals which give our youngest guests wholesome food and toys of the highest quality. Getting a toy with a kid's meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald's," Proud said.

Under the proposal, the food and beverage would have to contain fewer than 600 calories, and less than 35 percent of total calories would come from fat.

The meal would also have to contain 0.5 cups of fruit and 0.75 cups of vegetables and offer less than 640 mg of sodium and less than 0.5 mg of trans fat. Breakfast would have the option of offering 0.5 cups of fruit or vegetables.

City officials expect a legal challenge from McDonald's once the ordinance is approved.

"They hired fancy lawyers for this and flew them out here to meet with us and basically to strong-arm us into not doing this," Linshao Chin, legislative assistant to Mar, said. She said McDonald's attorneys argued corporate First Amendment rights.

McDonald's declined to respond to Chin's comments.

McDonald's, Burger King and Subway are among the restaurants that offer such toys or other incentives in San Francisco, but McDonald's was described by city officials as taking the lead in opposing the ordinance.

The California Restaurant Association also objected to the ordinance because, said spokesman Daniel Conway, "it's insulting to parents and it's more generating headlines than trimming waist lines."

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Are Family

Guess who I get to see this week???!!?!  Below is a video jeopary clue:
(you don't have to watch the whole thing, but if you want a giggle, watch starting around the 1:15 mark)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The G.O.A.T.

Follow-up:  Guess it is not surprising, but the number one player (at least for this poll) was........Jerry Rice!  (Or, as John Gruden apparently refers to him: The GOAT (greatest of all time)) 

The top ten:
  1. Jerry Rice
  2. Jim Brown
  3. Lawrence Taylor
  4. Joe Montana
  5. Walter Payton
  6. Johnny Unitas
  7. Reggie White
  8. Peyton Manning
  9. Don Hutson
  10. Dick Butkus
I mock the whole concept of these ultimate lists, but gotta admit, it is kind of interesting.  Not a football mensa or a big debater, but intrigued by who isn't on the list - especially when stacked against some of the guys who are on the list.  (Randy Moss, 65?  Really?  Jus' sayin')

Now you have something to ponder as you drift off to sleep tonight....

Who Will Be Number One?

If you've been paying attention and are inclined to care about these things (and actually get the channel via your cable or satellite or whatever provider), you have noticed that the NFL Network has been counting down the Top 100 Greatest NFL Players, "as determined by a blue-ribbon panel of knowledgeable football minds" (complete with clips and background on each player during a series of documentaries).  Or at least the top players until next year, when they do the top players born on a Tuesday, followed by the top players over the past six years but not including 2005, followed by the top water boys, most mockable kickers, top sound bite, top "top ten" list, and on and on forever.  Aside from folks paid to talk about football and cranky people who like to yell at others via the anonymity of the internet, I wonder how many people really care about all these lists.  It seems like they are always doing one, so what makes this the be all and end all?

(According to NFL Network, this list is crucial to the betterment of society because:
"The Top 100 members not only contributed to the lasting legacy of the game, but have also shaped the lives of football fans from a variety of backgrounds, age groups and eras through memories and "remember when" moments. It is these unique and personal recollections that set this series apart as notable individuals from the world of sports and entertainment serve as presenters for each featured player.")

Anyway, I digress.  Tonight the top ten are finally revealed!  I know, you haven't been able to sleep.  It is kind of exciting because somebody will be number one and a bunch of somebodys will be ranting and raving.  Here is a partial list of who won't be number one:
  • Deion Sanders (cuz he's #34.  Ahead of Ray Nitschke, Bart Starr, Ditka, LT, and Joe Namath, just to name a few)
  • Mean Joe Greene (who I was much more familiar with as a guy from a Coke ad than an intimidating ball player.  PS: he's #13)
  • Emmitt Smith (#28)
  • Bruce Smith (#31)
  • Ray Lewis (#18 - Behind Ronnie Lott (11)? Really?)
  • Deacon Jones (#15)
  • Barry Sanders (#17)
  • Brett Favre (#20 - wonder if staying in the game has lowered or raised his stock)
  • Merlin Olsen (#27)
  • Randy Moss (#65?!?!?  Seriously?  Wondering if he'll still be a Titan by the time the play the Colts Dec. 9 and again Jan 2, 2011)
  • Michael Strahan (#99)
Haven't heard a lot of it this year, but if you are into the whole Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning vs current-hot-QB-who-just-won-a-Super-Bowl (or even just won a game) argument, um, Peyton won.  Or at least he got ranked higher than Mr. Brady (who was #21, right behind Brett Favre.  Interesting.).  Peyton must be on the list, because not only are Favre and Brady, but Fran Tarkenton and Terry Bradshaw - and if they are in, Peyton's in.  So he is somewhere 10 or higher, which ranks higher than 21.  And I have a hard time seeing some upstart beat out some of the quality guys lower on the list.  I don't think Peyton should be number one, though - I have a lot more "remember whens" featuring other players not even ranked than I do Peyton ("Hey honey, remember when Peyton went up to the line of scrimmage and then backed up and hollered some stuff at his line and then took the snap?" doesn't get said a lot around our house) - but it will be interesting to see who ends up in the top ten and how they line up.  There's got to be somebody assumed to be in the top ten because they are nowhere else in the top 100 that isn't going to make the cut.  Wow.

(I did not get the express written consent of the NFL to utilize their name and players' names in this blog, but hopefully I have not violated their very strict copyright code)  :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In my defense, I'm a Republican

Today one of our brides was in for lunch at the restaurant where I work.  She introduces herself and I told her I'd be working at her wedding on Sautrday and was looking forward to it.  Then I turn to her companion, an older lady who looked very familiar.  I go to a rather large church and so there are lots of people you see and recognize, but don't know by name.  About once a week, someone comes into the restaurant, looks at me and says, "Don't you go to Traders Point?"  So, making the (very dense) assumption she was probably from church, I turn to the second lady and say, "You look very familiar, do I know you?"

Why, oh why, can't I just keep my mouth shut???

She (very graciously) smiles and says, "I'm Judy O'Bannon" (aka former First Lady of the great state of Indiana).  Well duh, yeah, that would explain why she looked so familiar.  After I turn sixteen shades of red and trip all over myself trying to save what little dignity I might have left, she says, "Do you watch the show?"  Oops!  What show?  Mrs. O'Bannon has a show??  So of course, I had to say no - to my even greater humiliation.  Oy vey.  Fortunately she was very kind and gracious, but I was horrified over the whole ordeal - and relieved I would not be the one serving her.  At the rate I was going, I'd have ended up dumping soup in her lap.

PS - I looked it up and she has a show on PBS entitled Communities Building Community.  Guess what I'll be watching Thursday at 7:30pm?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Memories

Sitting at home after another fun Trunk or Treat and watching Sunday Night Football.  Having flashbacks to a Monday Night Football game played on Halloween many, many moons ago.  Memorable because the Colts won.  Big time.  Did I mention this was back in the day when any Colts win was huge, let alone a prime time TV domination???  Good memories, good memories.

Here is how the Chicago Tribune remembers it...(I know, how random is that?  But it was the only article I could find online about the game.  Ok, I didn't really search very hard.)

Last Halloween Monday Night Game No Treat
October 31, 1994
By Don Pierson.The last Monday night Halloween football game was a frightful affair in Indianapolis when the Colts beat the Denver Broncos 55-23 in 1988. It was so out of character that the Colts haven't scored nearly that many points in any game since. In two subsequent Monday night appearances, they have scored a total of only one touchdown.

The night even featured players dressed in unfamiliar costumes. It was Eric Dickerson's first Monday night game for the Colts after his 1987 trade from the Rams. Dickerson celebrated by scoring four touchdowns in the game's first 19 minutes, his last great game on a national stage.

Denver's running back was Tony Dorsett, playing his only season in a Broncos uniform after a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys.

The Colts had a 45-10 halftime lead, eliminating suspense early enough to leave viewers plenty of time to trick-or-treat. Denver thought the ball was a pumpkin, losing 4 fumbles.

Go Colts and Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Mark of Love (GIVEAWAY!)

The Mark of Love

The Mend Mark tells a powerful story in two words

Have you been “Marked?” The Mend Mark is a mission, a movement, an entire revolution. It is a bracelet meant to remind its wearers of Christ’s love and sacrifice, and its message is the passion of its creator, Hunter Harrison.

The Mend Mark is an innovative and distinctive bracelet that is designed to reflect the scars and nail holes of Jesus. When worn, the band resembles the deep holes of the nail driven into the wrists of Jesus during his crucifixion. By bringing the story of Jesus’ life and death to constant awareness by wearing a bracelet, Mend Mark is meant to powerfully remind wearers of the ultimate act of love Jesus made for all of humankind.

Harrison’s mission is to remind all to remember Christ’s love in both his life and death. But more than only a poignant recollection, the Mend Mark is meant to inspire and motivate wearers to live a life of service. Harrison strives to bring people together around the simplicity and power of love as lived by Jesus. But this is no example of passive love. The Mend Mark calls individuals in all walks of life to love with a profound sincerity and commitment great enough to change a neighborhood, a community, a world.

Harrison leads this call to love and sacrifice by example and joins hands with each Mend Mark bracelet purchaser to take the first step in global change. A portion of each bracelet sold goes to support Living Water International, an organization combating the clean water crisis victimizing over one billion people worldwide. Each $5,000 given will result in one well drilled, providing a community with clean water.

But wearers should be prepared to be seen. Unique in its design, the Mend Mark is sure to be noticed and gives wearers an opportunity to share the story of the profound love of Jesus for each and every person. “It was important to me that the design was simple and generic enough that the observer had to ask about it to know what it meant. But I also wanted it to appear distinctive enough that it sparked curiosity,” reveals creator Hunter Harrison. “I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them.”

Launched in late 2009 after a year and a half of packaging, material, and design development by Harrison, the bracelet has been sold across the United States, Canada, and the UK and has been featured in retail stores as well. The Mend Mark bracelet movement has grown to further fame after being worn during performances by American Idol winner Lee Dewyze, Idol runner up Siobhan Magnus, Decifer Down, Israel Houghton & New Breed, Pillar, and Finding Favour, to name a few. Says Harrison, “I want it to be more than just another bracelet; I want it to represent a movement.” Based on the way things are going, a movement is exactly what it is becoming.

Order online for $9.99 at

GIVEAWAY!  Leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day Saturday, November 6 and I will enter you in a drawing for your very own Mend Mark bracelet!!  (Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brotherly Love

I love my brother, but I don't think I'd let him sleep on me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nicaragua? Okay...

How do I communicate this without getting too long-winded?  Here goes: As you may know, my daughter Kaylie has Asperger's Syndrome.  She has participated in the special needs ministry program at our church since she was around three years old.  Like she does at school, at church she participates in the mainstream classroom, but when she was younger she had a "buddy" who accompanied her to class.

In 2005, our church began partnering with Nicaragua Resource Network to serve special needs kids in the Managua area (the capital of Nicaragua).  In this culture, special needs children are often hidden away by their families and not afforded the same opportunities as other children.  A special needs classroom was created to bridge this gap and this Agape Program continues to be supported with finances and mission teams from our church.

A recent team pictured with some of the "Agape kids"

While I have known about this program and the girls have helped with service projects geared to benefit this school and these kids, I never really felt called to go serve on-site.  I think I have been in general avoidance mode because I feel inadequate as the mother of a special needs child.  I am not near the advocate that I should be and come up severly lacking when measured against my fellow special needs moms.

But now there is an opportunity for the whole family to go serve and we feel God is telling us to go.  Kaylie, with her loving, generous heart, wants to know if it is time to start packing yet.  She is beyond ready to go (I am excited to see what plan God has for her as she becomes an adult.  I am convinced He has big plans for her servant's heart.)  Hannah, for now, is most excited about the airplane ride.  Jim wonders how we will pay for the trip, but he, like Kaylie, is always ready and willing to serve.  And then there is me.  (Somewhat) reluctantly going along for the ride because I am convinced God is ordering me out of my comfort zone and to face head-on what He has given to our family.  If I am going to serve other special needs moms, I better learn how to be a better special needs mom so I can set a better example.  And I better learn fast and save fast, as the trip is in January.  (That's a lot of betters, so you see why I am overwhelmed!)

This trip does not excite me the way going to Austria did, or serving in the inner-city has, and I have not anticipated it the way I do one day getting to go to Haiti, or Africa, or China.  But I am excited because I know God's hand is in it and I think sending special needs kids to serve other special needs kids is a beautiful idea and will be a marvelous little glimpse of heaven.

Pray for us, please, as we prepare to serve that God would continue to put all the pieces in place.

To learn more about this work in Nicaragua, please visit the Nicaragua Resource Network and the TPCC Short-term Missions Blog.  Thanks!  If you would like to sponsor our team financially the address to send donations to can be found here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Foliage and Falling

Are you into foliage?  I don't think I even knew the word existed until I moved to New England and some friends invited me to go north to look at the foliage.  Beautiful.  Gorgeous.  Wish you were here.  Who knew?  How I got that far in life liking fall that much without learning such vital terminology, I have no idea. 

Have foliage on the brain because A) it's fall and the leaves are, in fact, changing and 2) it's my anniversary!!!  Fifteen years ago this week we were married and had a lovely fall honeymoon.  To Vermont and Williamsburg.  Foliage, USA.  Exotic, no; beautiful, yes.  (Plus that was a horrible hurricane season, so it actually worked out in our favor to NOT be Bermuda-bound.) 

All of the most memorable things to happen in my adult life have happened in the fall: my wedding, the birth of my children, my daughter getting baptized.  Which pretty much cements fall as my ab-fab time of year.

Random recent fall photos:

Zoo Boo 2009

Pre-Anniversary trip to Mackinac Island to celebrate our 15th!

Clowning around at my cousin's fall wedding in very un-October-ish weather.

Do you fall for fall too?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Be Available

The official word:

Timeless Wisdom from the Pastor’s Pastor

Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s BE series offers simple but not simplistic knowledge

The Old Testament contains vast riches of spiritual knowledge, and Dr. Warren Wiersbe mines the depths of that wisdom with straightforward clarity in David C Cook’s latest updates to the “BE” commentary series. Wiersbe carefully examines many aspects of the Old Testament and makes spiritual applications as Christians explore the lives of the Jewish people. The lives of God’s chosen people paint a picture of courage and bravery, despite their tendency to disobey, and the rulers and prophets of this time played a vital role in bringing God’s message to His people. Throughout these commentaries, God’s faithfulness to respond to cries of repentance provides strong examples of how He continues to lovingly lead His people.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe has devoted his life to the deep examination of God’s Word. He is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, and the author of more than 150 books. The “BE” series is comprised of fifty titles and, with more than four million copies in print, has helped countless numbers of readers to better understand and apply God’s Word to their daily lives. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentaries combine historical explanations and thought-provoking questions with the unchanging truth of Scripture in such a way that Christians can easily grasp the relevance of the Old Testament.

· Be Available: Accepting the Challenge to Confront the Enemy—This is a study of the book of Judges and encourages people to be available, no matter how dark the day. Be available to trust God’s Word, yield to His Spirit, and do His bidding. (September 2010/ISBN: 978-1-4347-0048-3/199 pages)

Tricia's Take: 
I loved this book from the get-go, as it started with the premise that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things - one of my favorite biblical truths.  This book was more than just a study on a book of the Bible, it included life application as well. (Something we don't always get in Old Testament bible studies.)  Dr. Wiersbe, as always, has wonderful insight and does not shy away from the tougher portions of the book, but attacks them head on and helps us to understand a little better. I love how he pulls out the theme of "Be Available" from the stories of these fallen men and women who agreed to serve God and who He then used to do powerful things.

It was a very dark time in the life of Israel.  As is repeated often in the book - there was no king at that time and everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes.  Rather than hide or isolate themselves, the judges chose to answer God's call to serve Him and His kingdom, even in dark and overwhelming circumstances.  What an example for us to follow today - to not be discouraged, but to bodly stand up and make a change.  (Thank you, as always, to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010


(DEEELICIOUS hand-painted chocolates!)

I've been working at Ghyslain Bistro at The Sanctuary (Nancy Noel's art gallery) for about 6 weeks.  Very excited to see us in the food section of the paper last week.  Check it out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pierced Ears!

(Ugh!  So far behind on the blogging.  Need to get focused....)

Hannah has been begging for pierced ears for some time now.  I kept putting her off, but planned all along to let her get them pierced around the age she is now.  Unbeknown to her, I bought earrings for her at the Swarovski store when I was in Austria and was holding them for her birthday.  On Hannah's birthday my cousin Kacia came over to surprise Hannah and pierce her ears.  We told Hannah we needed to run an errand and Hannah said, "Can't I just stay home?"  I told her sure, but she might change her mind after she opened her present (the earrings).  She was SO surprised and excited.  Until it was time to actually do the piercing.

Suddenly not quite so sure about this...
"Wait, I'm not ready."  I was so sure she was going to hit Kacia's hand and Kacia's finger would get pierced.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

God Knows YOUR Name!

(Enjoying this book by Beth Redman.  It is nourishment for the soul and encouragement for anyone who's ever felt less than worthy.  God loves each and every one of us!!)

God Knows Your Name
An excerpt from God Knows My Name by Beth Redman.
©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

“I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isa. 43:1)

A name is given and considered. A name imparts meaning, value, identity, and significance. Your name was chosen specifically, and especially, for you. A name gives both humanity and dignity to a person. The Enemy would have you live a nameless existence—feeling anonymous, illegitimate, unknown, unimportant, inglorious, and unfit to be named. Nineteenth-century London was a time of such material, emotional, and spiritual poverty that “children were so utterly uncared for that some were even without names, and were known to each other by nicknames.”

In direct contrast, God says that He has a name for us. Where we feel worthless and insignificant He bestows worth and significance upon us when He calls us by name and chooses us for His glory.

Anyone expecting a child has flipped through baby-name books, looking at the meanings and origins of names and thinking about how they sound. I’ve found names I loved and then been dismayed to find out they meant something like harlot, wench, or crooked nose!

Click here to watch the God Knows My Name book trailer!

Someone recently told me of a child who had been named Jezebel Harlot! That’s a pretty negative connotation to speak over a child every time she is called. Ideally, a name needs to suit the person carrying it. When my husband suggested that we name our third child “Rocco Redman,” I thought he had gone a bit mad! Normally my husband’s track record in making decisions is spot on. There really is no point arguing with Mr. Matthew Redman because over the years I have found he is nearly always right. However, on this occasion, I wasn’t so sure.

I wanted our third child to be called Benjamin, but Matt got the older children on board—and in the end I came to peace with the fact that if he was anything like his dad and his brother and sister, he would easily live up to something as strong and bold as Rocco! The name means “rest,” and so far he has turned out to be the most relaxed, peaceful, deep-sleeping, and gentle-spirited boy… and he has the confidence and joy required to be Rocco Redman. In new environments, his name still causes a little reaction, but it is so perfect for him, and I love that every time I write or call him by his full name, Rocco Benjamin Courage, I am affirming and speaking rest, sonship, bravery, and boldness over him.

In the same way, your Father God named you as precious, chosen, and beloved. You may not be named Rocco, but when God calls you, He speaks over you His truth, freedom, and life. Your part is to make a good choice—to continually believe and live under those things He named you and never to seek to hide behind another name. Many of us each day live under other labels that the Enemy has given us from past or present experiences—unwanted, failure, doubter, ugly, unlovely, needy, drama queen, mistake, disgrace, shamed, forgotten, and many more lies.

Click here to download Beth Redman’s song “God Knows My Name,” written exclusively for this book.

Those thoughts and feelings cannot possibly originate from God—for He is the giver of good and perfect gifts, and the God of all comfort. Those negative impressions of yourself and the words my own dad wrote in his email to me originate from the Enemy—who we know to be a dirty liar.

Perhaps you think your problems and insecurities are too great to overcome. By the kindness and mercy of God in my own life, I can assure you that this is not the case. I was abused physically, put down verbally, and rejected. I suffered humiliation many times and sadly began to act out how I felt about myself. In public I felt wretchedly insecure. I couldn’t go out with friends without feeling self-conscious and unimportant. I hated myself inside and out.

Then Jesus called my name. And everything changed. I hardly recognize the person I was back then. Our names may conjure up memories, but not always truth. I know that ultimately I am defined not by what others think of me when they hear my name, or what my earthly father says about me. Instead, the authority and compassion of the God who called my name define me. He loves, He shapes, He convicts, and He lavishes us with affirmation.

It’s time we heard His voice the loudest.

God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved by Beth Redman
David C Cook/July 1, 2010/ISBN 978-0-7814-0365-8/188 pages/softcover/$14.99

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Bridge Walk 2010

It has become tradition for us to walk the Mackinac Bridge with Mom and Ron every Labor Day.  Well, actually, Hannah and I walk and Jim and Kaylie meet us at the Levering Cafe (aka "Big Chicken") for lunch.  And we don't technically walk with Mom and Ron, as Mom is usually trying to set land speed records and leaves us in the dust shortly after we start walking.  I was really worried that this year we were going to have to walk in the rain, but the weather turned out great!
7:00am: Bus ride to the north side of the bridge
Mom & Ron (and the arms of a really loud lady sitting in front of them)  Take a good look, you won't see them again...(until the walk is over)
7:45am: Port-o-potty lines.  Fortunately this year Mom didn't have to go
7:48am: No Running.  Unless you join the Governor on her "fitness jog" before the Walk begins.  Would love to do that sometime, but you have to get picked from a lottery.  With my luck, by the time I got picked, I'd be too old to run it.
7:49am:  We're walking, we're walking...

7:57am: Yay!  Sunshine!
8:15am: Almost to the first tower

8:22am:  Looking down:  This is the base of the pillars, as seen through the grates on the bridge.  At this point, I think we are about 200 feet above the water.

8:22: Looking up: The towers rise over 550 feet above water.

8:30am: I love sunbeams!!

8:33am:  Dudes at the top of the south tower.  I bet that is an amazing view!
8:42am:  Self portrait.  We have matching freckles. 
9:09am:  The end!!  Five miles complete!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Running on Empty

Friends, this is a blog entry I posted on Spark People.  Since I've been doing horrible keeping up this blog, I've decided to post some of my SP entries here as well.  At least then it looks like I've been blogging. :)  On both fronts, I am sure very few people read this or care, but I am getting it off my chest and this is my blog, so in this little corner of the blogosphere it is all about me.

(I need to start taking a dictaphone with me when I go jogging or walking. I come up with all these things I want to say while I am walking and then by the time I get home, shower, do a few chores or go to work or something, and then sit down to put my thoughts on paper, I forget half of what I meant to say. I might be the next great American novelist but for a dictaphone...)

I ran four miles today!!! I was so proud of myself. (Note the "was". This will come up later.) We are up at my mom's and I went out and ran the streets around her home. They have hills and everything - no hills in my neighborhood, so that was a nice change. So, I'm out there, I'm feeling good, my HRM isn't squawking at me to slow down, I'm running hills, I've got all the time in the world, so I am adding distance, and life is good. I ran a whole hour.

(Yes, I know - don't do too much too soon. But the hills were really unavoidable (unless I want to run past the neighbors house upwards of 10 times, which I don't) and for once I wasn't trying to squeeze in some quick exercise before running (ha ha) to the next thing on my calendar. And it was cool, so I did not feel like I was going to internally combust, so I kept running.)

At this point I must interject (yet again) and say 1)I could never be the next great novelist because I have too many tangents when I write and 2)I feel dishonest saying I ran four miles and for 60 minutes. I didn't run 60 minutes, I did what someone on one of the message boards has dubbed "wog"-ing. (Kind of like the Mog on SpaceBalls, the movie, but yet totally different) When I run, I am still at the point where I walk, then jog, then walk, then jog, then walk, etc, etc, etc. This week it was 3 minutes walking, 5 minutes jogging. I know Jeff Galloway (and whoever else) says I'm running, but I'm not. I'm walking. I'm jogging. I'm walking. I'm jogging. (Lather, rinse, repeat) Spark People, defender of the reasonable, advocate of moderation, doesn't even consider what I am doing to be running or jogging, as my pace is generally more than 12 minutes/mile. I don't know what to call it, but it ain't runnin'.

Which brings me to the letdown phase of the blog post. Back to me right after I ran: I'm exhilerated. I did hills, I did distance, I did time, and I felt great. At the end of the run, I still had more in me - I wasn't totally exhausted by any means. This is something I never thought I could do and were I not physically there to witness it, I would have sworn it was all a dream. Can't tell you how many times in my life I have tried to run and couldn't make it 1/2 a mile. Including back in my "in shape" days when I would power walk with a stroller loaded with 2 kids, a diaper bag, sippy cups, hats, snacks, etc. And here I am, 38 years young, and I am running. For 5 minutes straight at a time. And not passing out from lack of oxygen. Never underestimate the power of the "I did it!!" feeling you get when you overcome a physical hurdle. It is incredible.

Until you get home. And you realize that in those 60 minutes, you only ran 4 miles. Which gives you the unremarkable time of 15 minutes/mile, your slowest jog/walk logged to date. And your hard work netted a calorie burn that would barely offset a mocha. Why can't I just appreciate that I did hills, extra distance, extra time, all while doing a better job than normal of keeping my heart rate in range?? No, I have to focus on the depressing fact that I "walked 15 min/mile" and burned a very puny number of calories. It totally threw off my groove. (Another side note, I think the cooler temps made a BIG difference heart rate wise - will be interesting to monitor this as we hit fall and I get more conditioned (hopefully)).

I have come to grips with being a scale-oholic and am at a good place on that front, only to found out now that apparently I am a fitness calorie-burn monger who feels like a loser if she doesn't achieve a certain level in the fitness tracker. Bah humbug. What is wrong with me?

Superwoman Revisited

So, I finally finished Chasing Superwoman (see original blog entry below).  Have I mentioned that I'm stubborn?  If not for my own stubborness, I would have dropped this book after the first 50 pages.

I feel guilty for not liking it, but yet, I didn't like it. Not sure how much of my dislike is that it wasn't what I expected. I thought the book would offer some kind of insight on work/life balance as a mother, but it was more of a collection of stories about the author's life with a few spiritual thoughts thrown in at the end almost as an afterthought.  Not even great stories about her life.  Better outlet for her ramblings would be a blog or something (which I think the author also has, actually); then she can do what I do and get it off her chest and it may never been seen by human eyes, but you feel better because you've rationalized whatever you're doing at the time that is leaving you guilt-ridden.  Surprised this manuscript got her a book deal.  Surprised and jealous - I could so do what she just did.

I wasn't even going to finish this book, but stuck to it expecting something to pop out anytime and it just never did. Fortunately it was a very quick read, so not as frustrated about spending time on it as I might have been.
Well, so now you know...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Old Bibles

Where do old Bibles go when they retire?  This isn't a joke, I really am wondering - when you get a new Bible, what do you do with the old one?  Surely you wouldn't just throw it away, but can you give away a used Bible?  Mine tend to get marked up and would be a hot mess for anyone else to try to wade through. 

See, I am not exaggerating.  This is a page from the Bible I used in high school.

Me, I've saved all mine.  (Of course, I save a lot of stuff)

Some are on bookshelves...

some live in my bedroom...

and on the bookshelf in the bedroom, I think there is one more.  Plus a huge family Bible that never comes out of its box.

It is kind of cool to pull them out and flip through and see how God was talking to me at that point in my life.  Also is fun to look through a Bible you haven't used in awhile and see what you left tucked between the pages.  Here are some recent findings from the Bible in the first picture.
  • Inside the front cover: a letter written to me from younger friend when I was going off to college and she was still in high school.  Haven't talked to her in years.  It was surreal to read.
  • My bookmark was in Isaiah 40 & 41.  Guess I have loved those passages for a long time.
  • Between Matthew 5 and 6, a piece of paper with a friend of mine's address (again, from HS youth group) in my handwriting and a personal message from him in his: "Git [sic] a real life".  On the back of the paper: The Beatitudes.  Quite the eclectic mix.
  • In the back, a Christmas card from 50 Watts, my fave youth group leader; a bulletin from the church we visited on the TPCC senior spring break trip; the playbill from a play I was in (I think senior year?); and a timeline I wrote in 1990.  Unfortunately the time line had no future predictions for me to look back on, but very cool to look back at some past events that when I was 18 seemed like milestone moments in my young life.
So, back on the shelf until next time, I guess...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chasing Superwoman. And she just lapped me. Again.

Tricia here: As further evidence of my non-supermom/superwoman-ness, not only am I late with this post, but I haven't finished the book yet, even with the extra time.  I've always done some amount of work outside the home, so I was intrigued to hear what this "working mom" had to say.  So far I am undecided as to my opinion of the book.  Will let you know.  (Assuming I ever finish!)  FYI: The article below was written by the author.

Devoted Mommy

Susan DiMickele gives insight to the struggle between “Cathy Career and Susie Stay-At-Home”
Article written by: Susan DiMickele

Who has it easier, a mother who stays at home, or a mother who works outside the home? Actually, I should probably be asking a different question -- who has it harder. Motherhood is hard work, no matter how you slice it.

As a wife, mother of three young children, and lawyer who works outside of my home in the face-paced environment of a large law firm, I can’t even begin to answer this question. Nor would I want to. Based on my own journey and my limited perceptions about what’s going on in the homes of other women, I can’t advocate one path over another or declare that the path I’ve lived is more or less demanding, exhausting, or rewarding. Sure, human nature is such that I always tend to believe that no one understands what it’s like to walk in my shoes, but my self-absorbed pity party is hardly unique.

The short answer is that all mothers work. And we don’t just work, we work hard. Instead of focusing on the differences between stay-at-home mothers and mothers who work outside the home, I often wish we could focus on what we have in common. Shouldn’t the church be a place where we come together?

Let’s face it, there are certain misconceptions about motherhood and careers. And there has been little healthy dialogue about these stereotypes within the church.

What stereotypes am I talking about? I’ll start with career women, since I fall into this camp. (I not only fall into this camp -- as a working mother in a demanding profession who is likewise very passionate about raising my children, I’m the first to acknowledge the constant tension between my two worlds of work and home.)

Cathy Career is selfish. She’s careful not to have more than two children because they might interfere with her success. Her husband is forced to do laundry and fend for himself around the house, and she doesn’t have time to bake cookies or pack her children nutritious lunches, so her family is always eating junk and picking up fast food. She doesn’t have time to volunteer at church (or get involved in a church for that matter) and she’s lucky if she shows up once a year to volunteer at her kids’ school. She’s intimidated by stay-at-home moms because she assumes they think she’s a bad mother -- that she’s putting herself or her job before her family. After all, what’s more important, your family or a paycheck? Her identity rests on what she does outside the home.

Susie Stay-At-Home is obsessed with her children. She takes her kids to “Mommy and Me” classes and spends her spare time making homemade jam and elaborate family scrapbooks. She never buys any new clothes, spends most of her time cooking and cleaning, and she barely gets out of the house -- except when she is volunteering at church or school. She’s a Sunday School teacher and a proud “Room Mom.” She serves her husband like a king and never makes him do chores around the house. She’s intimidated by career women because she assumes they think she doesn’t have ambition -- or worse, that she doesn’t have a brain just because she’s with her children all day. Her identity rests on what she does inside the home.

Do these stereotypes sound familiar? While I’ve never met Cathy Career or Susie Stay-At-Home, it didn’t take much imagination on my part to write about these two fictional women. Yet, in reality, these stereotypes hold little value. I would go one step further and argue that these stereotypes even hurt us, especially inside the church. Why drive an artificial wedge between women of faith who desperately need one another?

In reality, mothers who follow Christ have much in common. For starters, our identity is in Christ. He defines us. It’s not about whether we work or stay at home. It’s not about us, and it’s not about what we do -- it’s about who He is and what He’s done for us.

And when it comes to our children, we’re all on this road of motherhood together. The world is threatening -- even screaming for -- the hearts and minds of our children. As mothers, we’re striving to protect their innocence, teach them about Christ and model a life of faith so they can be transformed, not conformed, to the world we live in. So we pray that our daughters won’t derive their identity from pop culture and our sons will grow up to be honorable men of character. And while we do our best, we all make mistakes, and we know that God’s grace will far surpass our own efforts every time.

Yes, all mothers work. We all want the best for our children. And, as mothers, we really need to come together. What better place for mothers to unite in faith and values than inside the body of Christ?
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. I Corinthians 12:1

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Be Compassionate

Tricia here:  As someone who grew up in church, I have heard countless Sunday School lessons and sermons on the gospels. Probably have Luke 2 memorized from hearing and reading it so often. Dr. Wiersbe still managed to provide new info and new insight and help me to think about these passages, not just skim them over out of familiarity.  The book was easy to read and would be good for the young or the mature believer. Dr. Wiersbe gives several verse references in his commentary which were great for going deeper into the lesson and text.  Looking forward to reading my next "BE" book!
Dr. Warren Wiersbe Equips Believers to Meet Today’s Challenges
An exciting group of revised editions of the timeless “Be” series to release this summer

The twenty-first century Christian faces unique and disturbing moral challenges that demand a great degree of Biblical wisdom and understanding in order to successfully defeat a tireless enemy. With greater and faster technology bombarding lives with an ever darkening array of moral depravity, it is essential that Christians be able to discern the enemy’s attack and answer God’s call to share truth and light both responsibly and dependably. Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s “Be” series is filled with the timeless truths of God’s Word, and his books will adequately equip today’s believers with the tools they need to reach a world in desperate need of an eternal hope.

David C Cook’s latest additions to the revised “Be” series include insightful introductions by Ken Bough, updated content for today’s readers, as well as new study questions for each chapter. Each of these expositional commentaries incorporate material from Dr. Wiersbe’s “Be” series into a small group Bible study format and focus on a specific book of the Bible. This effectively updated series of books incorporates topics as they were originally presented in the “Be” books.

Be Compassionate: Let the World Know That Jesus Cares uses the first thirteen chapters of Luke to explore the believer’s responsibility to tell the world that Jesus cares about them in a very personal way. (ISBN 978-1-4347-6502-4/softcover/185 pages/$12.99/July 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Seen or read The Blind Side?

(Tricia here:  When you are reading a good book or watching a good movie, sometimes you don't want it to end.  And when it does, you want to know more - what happens next, that kind of thing.  Well, if you enjoyed The Blind Side, allow me to introduce In a Heartbeat, a look inside the minds and hearts of the Tuohys, the family that adopted Michael Oher)

In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy with Sally Jenkins (Henry Holt, July 13, 2010) takes readers on an extraordinary journey of faith and love and shares unforgettable lessons about the power of giving. The Tuohys’ deeply inspiring memoir offers readers a detailed picture of a family that makes giving a way of life, the huge blessings that decision has brought to them, and the ways we can all make a difference in our own communities.

Q & A with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy Authors of In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving

Q: Besides dominating the New York Times bestseller list, The Blind Side has also broken Hollywood records. Why do you think your family’s story has captivated so many people?

A: We think people love the story because they recognize some aspect of themselves there. We want to be the kind of people who really make a difference in the world, but so many people are convinced they don’t have the resources to be that kind of giver. We wrote In a Heartbeat to share our story in our own words precisely so that people will begin to realize that they can be the kind of people who help change someone’s life.

Q: Let’s talk about the problem of homeless and needy children in America. How do you believe this problem can be solved?

A: There are a lot of intractable problems in the U.S., from terrorism to health care. But the problem of children in need is curable; we can all do something about it today, individually, through the smallest acts. If every church in the U.S. sponsored one child, we could wipe out the problem of homeless children in this country. There are a million Michaels. Not every kid has the potential to become a star player in the NFL, but he or she may be the person who grows up to cure cancer, or becomes a great husband or wife to someone.

Q: How do you respond when people marvel at the risks you took as you brought Michael Oher into your family?

A: You know, you take a risk every day of your life. When you get in your car and drive across a bridge you take a risk. You don’t know if your tires are good, or if the pilings are going to hold, or if the bridge will fall in. But you don’t really stop and think about it, do you? You don’t get up every morning and kick all four of your tires. You don’t stare at the bridge and say, ‘Yeah, I think it’ll hold me.’ How did you know that bridge wasn’t going to fall? Yet you went right ahead and crossed it. Everybody takes risks, every day. You just don’t realize that’s what you’re doing.

Q: How do you define “cheerful giving”?

A: This is not giving to impress someone who may be watching, and it’s not giving because you feel guilty. The Bible says it best: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”-- II Corinthians 9:7

Q: In the book, you sum up your philosophy of giving in “The Popcorn Theory.” Tell us more about that.

A: The Popcorn Theory is about noticing others. It’s about seeing, not turning away from the immediacy of someone in need. It starts with recognizing a fellow soul by the roadside—even if he doesn’t seem to belong in your lovely red brick neighborhood and he is the biggest damn piece of popcorn you ever saw and his problems seem too immense to take on. It’s about assigning that person value, and potential. Like popcorn, you don’t know which kernel’s gonna pop. They just show up. It’s not hard to spot ‘em. The Popcorn Theory goes like this: “You can’t help everyone, but you can try to help the hot ones who pop right up in front of your face.”

Q: What if I don’t have many resources? How can I be a cheerful giver without a bunch of extra money?

A: Too often we think we lack the means to improve someone’s lot. We’re wrong. The Popcorn Theory doesn’t require you to write a large-scale check, or to take a hungry boy with eyes like leaping flames into your household. But it does require that you perceive the person standing right in front of you, and extend a hand in kindness. Consider this story we heard from a U.S. Senator during a trip to Washington for an Adoption Coalition convention:
There is a little-known Congressional initiative to give internships to young people who were so unwanted they have aged out of the foster care system. This Senator employs one such young man. One day the Senator passed by the mailroom, and paused and turned around. He noticed that his intern, fresh out of foster care, had reorganized all the old files. “This room has never looked so clean,” the Senator said. “You did a great job.” A few minutes later the Senator decided to get a cup of coffee. He returned to mailroom and found that his intern had tears streaming down his face. “Son, did I offend you?” he asked. “No,” the young man said. “That’s the first time anyone has ever told me that I did something good.” This gift had nothing to do with money. What this kid needed most was encouragement and self-worth, and that’s what he was given.

Q: As you share your story, one of the points you stress is that generosity is not just your personal value. It’s a core value for the entire family. What specific things have you done as parents to help your kids become cheerful givers?

A: One of our practices is something we call “Get one, give one,” which means when you receive something, give part of it away. To impress the lesson on our daughter Collins, we sent her to camp with underprivileged kids and on a searing mission trip to the Guatemala City Dumps, where she saw families living in lean-tos amid the garbage, yet with pictures of Christ hung amid the wreckage. Collins came to understand how fortunate she was: “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17) She also learned how important it was to share some of what she’d been given. Long before Michael came into our lives, Collins and Sean Jr. learned to accept the presence of kids sleeping on the sofa or lounging around the house. Friends at the Briarcrest School whose parents worked two jobs. One afternoon 7-year-old Sean Jr. came home to find them playing with his X-box. He sought out Leigh Anne and said, “What gives?” She replied, “We’re just helping them out. Be generous.” Sean Jr. went back downstairs and watched the brothers play a video game. “I’ve got the winner,” he said.

Q: In the book, you point out that the most important gifts your children gave each other had nothing to do with money. Tell us about those gifts.

A: As Michael became a member of the family, he and our other kids gave each other two small but crucial mutual gifts—loyalty and protection. At Ole Miss, Collins and Michael went everywhere together, and they and their friends achieved a new level of racial integration at that old southern school. Even now, when our family attends Michael’s games, he remains extremely protective of his sister, insisting on one occasion that his teammate walk her to the car to keep her away from unruly male fans. And for Sean Jr. having Michael in his family means they do more as a family—he gets much more of each of them.

This is one of the blessings of cheerful giving. We have always felt that Michael gave us far more than he received. All we did was put a roof over his head. He has given us back a stronger sense of home and family.

In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving
by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy with Sally Jenkins

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Exhorter

How would you describe an "exhorter"?  Here is one definition.  I am looking for others.  Input, anyone?

EXHORTER: That special ability to find and communicate to others practical ways of serving God. The exhorter is a positive motivator, knowing practical Christianity will change the lives of others (Rom. 12:8; I Timothy. 4:13; Heb. 10:25).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rise Up and Sing

Me here:  I am not a worship leader, nor is that my giftedness or calling.  But I serve on a worship team under a female worship pastor and I love anything that will lead me to be a better worshipper and closer to God.  So I was curious to read this book.  I really liked it and think that any female with a worship role in her church should read it.  It was a quick read and gave good insight into what it is like to be a female worship leader.

Discovering Your Spirit-led Ability to Lead Worship
Buckley offers a guide for women called to lead in worship ministry

Women are being called to lead worship in larger numbers than ever before, but many may feel ill equipped to do so. Lex Buckley discusses this trend in her new book, Rise Up and Sing: Equipping the Female Worship Leader. Buckley recognizes the unique challenges that women face as they enter positions that have been held primarily by men for many years. As a musician who served as a worship leader for Soul Survivor Ministries and who now serves with her husband leading the worship department for River City Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Buckley wants to encourage women to be discerning and Spirit-led about worshipping the Savior. She offers practical, down-to-earth advice to women who feel called to lead in this area of church ministry.

Drawing from the Bible, her heart, and her own experiences, Buckley begins by defining the many areas of worship ranging from worship leader and musician to worship team pastor and songwriter. She defines each role and discusses the differences that exist between men and women within these positions. From the pitch of the voice itself to the instrument of choice used to lead worship, there are many functional and practical differences that become obvious when a woman steps into a leadership role populated primarily by men. Understanding these differences and their impact on the style of worship enables a woman to lead confidently and more effectively, because she is able to better relate to the men with whom she is called to serve.

Buckley wants women who feel called to serve as worship leaders to be confident in their ability to lead and offers practical suggestions on songwriting, how to work with a worship band, and even ways to recruit members for and pastor a worship team. Rise Up and Sing also includes valuable insight from others in worship ministry including Beth Redman, Christy Nockles, and Kathryn Scott. These women want others who feel called to serve in this type of ministry to be well-prepared to follow God’s leadership in their lives and to wholeheartedly lead others in worship of their Savior. Women have much to offer their church family, and they can follow the examples set in God’s Word as they share their gifts with others.

Rise Up and Sing: Equipping the Female Worship Leader by Lex Buckley
David C Cook/July 1, 2010/ISBN 978-1-4347-0058-2/168 pages/softcover/$14.99

Get back up again

So what is this, day 2 of the new Mediterranean-eating me and I am already a mess.  Except for having some yogurt and not eating a hamburger, I don't think I was very Mediterranean at all today.  I am sure the 500+ calories I consumed eating a Reese's Cup Blizzard are NOT part of the plan.  Can you see a lady sunbathing on the beach in the south of France while downing a Blizzard?  Probably not.

But I did try to end the day on a positive note and for that I am proud.  Went on a bike ride and actually rode in the street.  (No, not in the middle of the street)  Usually I ride in our neighborhood, around the school adjacent to our neighborhood, or on a bike path.  The street scares me.  My old boss was hit while biking on the roads near her home and my Jim was hit by a car when crossing the street (not on a bike, but still enough to make me nervous).  Both of them walked away with no major injuries, but I don't want to push it.

I did it, though.  I rode in a big square on the streets near the house.  A square so I wouldn't have to make left turns (did I mention I feel like an idiot trying to do those bike signals they taught us in elementary school that no one actually uses?).  AND I kept going even when I realized my grand plan involved going over the railroad tracks.  Twice.  God was very good to me and kept me out of any hazardous situations, for which I am very grateful.

So I turned a bad day upside down and ended it on a good note.  (Yay, me!)  Now I feel much better and I am ready to conquer tomorrow - the Mediterranean way!  (but not topless)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Eating, Mediterranean Style

So the latest recommendation from the good doctor is that I should follow a "Mediterranean" diet.  Other than "Eat Fish and Olive Oil", I don't know very much about eating according to this lifestyle, so I am surfing the internet trying to learn more.

Here is what I have learned so far.  If you have something to add, or follow this plan/know someone who does, I would love to hear it!

More on Med Diet

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heeding Good Advice

Did you ever not follow advice that in hindsight was really good advice, that you definitely should have followed?

If the crew of the ferry says "You will get wet," they mean it.  They know what they are talking about.  Listen to them.

(view from top deck of ferry and another brave/clueless traveler during a brief moment of not getting splashed to death - note the water drops on the camera)

This actually happened last summer.  Top picture is Hannah at the car, post-soaking.  You can tell she is miserable.  You can't tell how wet she is because I put my new sweatshirt on her (she was so wet and cold that she was shivering).  Taking another trip to Mackinac soon and got me reminiscing about last year...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Walking like John Wayne

If you see me and I am walking like John Wayne, it is because we having been doing a lot of biking lately and it is killing my tookus.  Today we rode over 12 miles and I think my rear started seriously protesting at about mile 7.  When I am riding with the girls, we ride fairly slow, so 12 miles of biking is a LONG time on the ole bikero.  I think I am going to have to cave and spring for some padded bike shorts.  And maybe even a new seat.  And 50 inches of foam padding.

Whaddya think??

My Trip to Austria

In May I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Austria and also do some touring of the country.  I know what you are thinking:  Mission trip to Austria??  Well yes, it was a mission trip, even if it was what someone teased was the "sissy mission trip".  I was serving at a Christian institute outside Vienna, TCM International Institute as a short-term worker.  TCMI provides seminary training to students from eastern Europe and central Asia, providing an education that otherwise would be out of reach.  TCM's short-term workers provide housekeeping, hospitality, kitchen and groundskeeping assistance to the full-time staff of TCM, who in turn are serving the students living and studying there.  It was an amazing experience and I cannot wait to go back.  It was awesome to meet the students and faculty of TCMI and hear about what God is doing in their home lands.  Our group was extra fortunate in that we were able to attend this year's graduation ceremony.  Here are just a few photos from my time there.

Haus Edelweiss - the "big house", which holds the kitchen & dining room, student and staff housing, and a large classroom.
Our pastor, Aaron Brockett, giving the commencement address.  Graduates are seated to the left.  Isn't this room amazing??  It is in a very, very, very old monastery just up the road from Haus Edelweiss. 
A very happy graduate and his family.  His name escapes me at the moment, but he is from Hungary.
Me and my fellow Hospitality peeps.
Another building at the Haus Edelweiss campus.  With the red and green door, it looks like Santa's cottage. 
A view of Vienna from most the way up one of the towers of St. Stephens cathedral.  It was 300 some small winding steps up to this point.  Notice the overcast day - this was order of the day most the time we were there.  Except when it was raining.
Coffee at a real Viennese coffee house!!  The stuffed animal is Hannah's, like a not so Flat Stanley.  Also note the huge piece of apfelstrudel.  Yum!
One of the never-ending amazing views from the train on the way from Salzburg to Innsbruck.  As a native "flat lander", I could not get enough of the mountains.  So beautiful. 
Looking down the street in old town Innsbruck.  Can you imagine having that kind of view everyday??  I don't think I would ever take it for granted.  (Did you notice the blue skies?!  God was very good to provide sunshine for the tail end of our trip.  I think I appreciated the beauty of everything so much more because I was so grateful to see the sun)

Okay, that is all for now.  I have billions of photos though, and will show you more later.  (I'm sure you can't wait!)