Friday, October 31, 2008

Birthdays and Prayer

Happy 1st Birthday to the cutest and coolest nephew in the world. My sweet little William, Boo, Buddy, is turning a year old today and my heart breaks that I can't be there to celebrate because of work. I hate that I'm missing family getting together and missing getting to see some of the greatest in-laws in the world. Happy Birthday little Boo! I know all other presents and card will pale in comparison to Auntie KK's because I'm just that cool.


Me and my buddy

Also, I just wanted to share something I got via email today from my oh so wise daddy. He was responding to an email in which someone had sent a petition to get prayer back into a particular school. My dad has pretty great experience with this subject after dealing with "Prayer-gate" at Wingfield High School about 15 years ago.

I can't tell you enough how proud I am to be this man's daughter. I am what I am today because of him and the things that he had taught me and the way that he has shown me to follow, obey, serve and trust my Lord and Savior.

Here is his response. Think about it.

"I’m sorry, but any time I get anything about putting prayer back in schools I want to question 'Where did prayer go?!' The scriptures tell us to go into the prayer closet. Jesus wants us to realize that it is our hearts and not the volume of our prayers that he hears. We all know that prayer is one of the most powerful things associated with the Christian faith but it is also the most personal. We as members of the faith family should openly share with others our personal concerns as well as those for others ('where two or three are gathered…').

Here is the other side of that coin. If we were to allow 'prayer' in schools as it was when we were young, who would pray??? The Christians of course, right, huh? Of course, we would say the Christians but the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Muslim, Wicker, Satan’s church of what is happening now are asking why not them. We cannot allow the schools to become a platform for religions and cults to infect our children with pretty self-absorbing stories or philosophies. Diversity is a wonderful thing. It broadens our children’s minds but we are talking about a foundational stone of most religions and surely one of the Christian way of life.

Please consider this when you are approached with the 'Prayer in Schools Thing.' If those who claim to push this platform are genuinely that concerned, they should start a 'Campus Life Club', a 'Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club', or a 'Baptist Student Union High School Addition'. Then they can put an genuine emphasis on pray and praying for the changing of negative things in our school and homes of those who attend schools."

Bobby Walden
“The Assistant Principal Of Prayer”
Wingfield High School 1992-1994

I'm currently doing two bible studies (church and work) that just happen to be going through James. Maybe God really wants me to learn something from James, huh? I encourage you to read it. It's only five short chapters, and last night we compared it to a well written essay, but it's chock full of God's truth that is forever applicable. It's an easy read, time-wise, but a hard one. Very convicting but also very encouraging.

Last night in my church bible study, we finished up the book and talked about chapter five. The last seven verses talk about prayer and the power of prayer. I don't think that I've seen the power of prayer played out in my life more than this past year. It's amazing and it's overwhelming to look back and see how God has worked in my life and the lives of those around me. I'm currently trying to memorize this book because there is so much truth and so much wisdom that I just want to have it in my brain all of the time. I encourage you to do the same. Think of it as 109 verses, not a five chapters of the Bible. Doesn't sound as daunting of a task now, does it?

Here are the last seven verses. Meditate on them and really see how James explains the simpleness, yet complexity, and the power of God through prayer.

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

See also James Chapter one. This is like the thesis statement of the well-written essay. This is good stuff people!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Videos of the Day

First, Michael Phelps playing Guitar Hero in his underwear. If only things like this happened in my living room...



And just for fun. A little Spin Doctors on Seasame Street. It's just funny. Elmo makes me laugh. I got this off another blog. The writer had been talking about Prince Harry and Prince William.

Katie's Headlines

1. The Phillies won the World Series. Boo! Should have been the Red Sox but they blew it and got beat by the Rays, which means the Rays would have been my next choice. I guess the Rays couldn't handle the cold weather.

2. THE NEW YORK KNICKS WON A GAME!!!!!! This is huge news since they haven't won a game in well, like, ever. Not really, but they have sucked it up the last several years. Last night, they beat the Heat (sorry Dwyane), 120-115. Only once last season did the Knicks get to 120 points last season. And they did it with Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry benched. Thank goodness, NY got Mike D'Antoni.

I'm sure this guy is happy. And I'm happy he's happy. Just look at him. He started and scored 16 points. Ah, David Lee. "One win guys. That's one. Yippee."

3. Birmingham is cutting education budgets and handicapped bussing in Jefferson County because they don't have enough money. There is also a massive sewer debt. I'd understand this dilemma if our winner of a mayor, Larry Langford, wasn't spending millions upon millions of dollars to get the Olympics in Birmingham in 2020. Seriously, let's get all our ducks in a row first before we start stunting the future of our young people and before we take away the only way that our city's handicapped can get around and feel like normal people. I have friends who use that bus system everyday. A few weeks ago, they were going to go down to the city council meeting to state their case, but the electricity in their building (which is an assisted living building) just happened to go out before they were able to leave.

I'm all for restoring downtown and sprucing up the city and building a domed football stadium, but not when it costs our young kids' rights to a good education and our city's handicapped to a better way of life.

Mayor Langford, let's get our priorities straight. Take care of who makes up your city before you start worrying about what it looks like.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Cheated And I Lied And I Left The Cap Off The Toothpaste...

Not really. It's just one of those random TV/movie quotes that pops into my head every now and then. This one is courtesy of "Saved By The Bell: The College Years." Very random.

Anyway, I did cheat though. A while back I said that I wasn't going to listen to Christmas music until Nov. 1. I was holding myself to that. There have been recent moments of weakness but still, I've kept strong.

Until last night. It was just too cold on my way home from work. I left work at 7:30 last night. It was dark. It was dark and cold. It was dark and cold and windy. When it's cold, one of the only things that makes me feel warm and toasty inside (besides a cup of yummy Wassel and a fire) is Christmas music. There's just something about it.

Soooo...I cracked open the CD case and pulled out my most favorite - Avalon's Joy: A Christmas Collection, put it in the CD player of my car and played track four. "Jesus Born On This Day". Also made famous by Mariah Carey. MiMi ain't got nothin' on Avalon's version of this song. It's so much better. Anyway, that song is followed up by one of the best version's of "Winter Wonderland", then "Light A Candle", "Good News", "The Christmas Song" (also a great version) and "We Are The Reason" (fantabulous version). That last song is one of the best. It really does remind you of what the season is all about.

"We are the reason that He gave his life. We are the reason that He suffered and died. To a world that was lost, He gave all He could give, to show us the reason to live."

If that doesn't get in your gut and wiggle around a little bit, I don't know what will.

So anyway, I cheated but I have no regrets. 'Twas all worth it.

Well wadaya know...

I talked someone else into joining the blogging world and I'm sure it's going to be interesting. My BFF Casey has finally decided to take the plunge, if not for anything else than to document the last few months of "Wedding Mania". I'm pretty excited because if she does blog about life, it should be pretty entertaining. She's got a pretty entertaining life. Check her out here.

P.S. She gives me props for setting up the blog for her. I really didn't set it up. I just made it look pretty. Which I'm pretty good at I guess, unless it comes to myself. Cheez.
Welcome to the world o' blogging, Casey and Dane. Don't make me have to hound you about posts. Here's a sneak peak of their blog. It's the pretty little header I'm responsible for.

Monday, October 27, 2008

There Are Black People In Alaska After All

This is a great video!

Pumpkin Party

I'm all too ready for Thanksgiving a few days away from work. The past week has been crazy busy and this week is just going to be worse. There is so much to do and not enough time for me to do it the way that I want it to be done.

Anyway, I wanted to share the fun that I had this weekend with everyone. First of all, Samford went undefeated this weekend in every sport that competed. Football beat the Citadel in the Homecoming game 28-10. Soccer swept on Friday and Sunday and volleyball pulled out two crazy wins on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday's match was probably the best volleyball I've ever watched. Two great teams scrapping for a win. It's was fantastic.

However, Friday night I got to have a little fun of my own. My roommate Kelly and I hosted a Pumpkin Carving Party at our house and it was great. We had a crowd there and there were some really creative carvings. Instead of telling you about it, I thought I'd just show you pictures. So here goes...

Jason and Sam getting down to business.
Raymond sports Sam's Hanna Montana wig.

Here I am, starting the process.

Tim is hacking out the intricate details of his design.

Say 'cheese', Dana!

Spiderman made an appearance as well.


This is mine and Kelly's pumpkin. It was supposed to be a rearend with handprints but there wasn't enough time to make it look good.

1st place - Tim's Wolves

2nd place - Josh and Raymond's Pink Flamingo

3rd place - Jason and Reagan's Ship

The girls - Kelly, Me, Dana, Reagan and Christa

Afterwards, we decided to get "Southern Living" with it and put the pumpkins outside on the ladder.

That's all I've got for you for now. There are a lot more things I want to share, especially some stuff that's been on my heart and things GOD is teaching me right now. I promise to share soon. Now, I must get to work.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don't Taste This Rainbow

Chocolate Skittles. Have you seen this? Moreover, have you tasted this? I'm not a fan.

Today, Rucker, one of our assistant baseball coaches, let me sample this not-so-tasty delight. I did not like it at all.

I'm a Skittles fan. Seriously. It's like a party in my mouth. I literally "Taste The Rainbow." I even have my own obsessive compulsive system of eating them. I pour the whole bag out, separate them in to color groups, then I make ever group an even number. I then proceed to eat the castaways from least to favorite color, making sure to donate the yellows to the less fortunate, or just throw them away. Next, I eat each color group by two, from least to favorite color as well. I know, I know. It's crazy. But I've done it since I can remember.

So, today when Rucker introduced me to the Chocolate Skittles, I thought, "This could be interesting." Readers, let me inform you, there is no such thing as a chocolate rainbow: a) they all taste the same and b) the aftertaste is horrible. Stay away.

Feel free to taste the fruity rainbow. Not the chocolate one. I don't even think this would please chocolate lovers.

Transition:

When I was in high school, we had a competition called "Colonel Classics." It's where every class (sophomore, juniors, seniors - freshman got to help behind the scenes) got together every year and wrote their own 30-45 minute play, adding music and dancing to it. It was a big production. Really. Huge competiton. The winner got bragging rights for the next year.

Anyway, my junior year, our play was called "Taste The Rainbow". (We always had crazy titles. My sophomore year was called "Smack: The Mouse Does Motown" and my senior year was "Wee Bee Buggin'".) It was about an island, Rainbow Island, on which one side was inhabited by the Color People and the other side was "The Dark Side" where the prince with no color lived with his motley crew.

Every year, the Color People held a Rainbow Festival to "present the colors" for the rainbow to appear. Color crystals were dropped into a pot (i.e. the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) and after a cute little step/dance routine from the Prism Patrol (holders of the crystals)...ta-da...the rainbow appears. (Yes, I was the white girl with rhythm, stepping on the prism patrol.)

Anyway, so the Dark Prince devises a plan to steal the crystals so the Color People can know what it is like to live with no color. Long story short, crystal are stolen, crystals are found, Dark Prince learns how to "feel emotions" and they live happily ever after.

During our finally, we threw out bags of Skittles. Fun times. Sometimes I miss those days.

Anyway, all the Skittles talk made me think of that. And all the talk of rainbows made me think of my favorite movie and favorite song, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," from The Wizard Of Oz."

I thought I'd share my favorite renditions of the song. Starting with American Idol's Katherine McPhee.



And finally, the original...Judy Garland


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Paul's Letter to America

My dad blogged a little about this the other day and it peaked my interest so I googled it to read the whole thing. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered a sermon almost 62 years ago entitled, "Paul's Letter To American Christians." It's an imaginary letter written to today's Christian Americans as if the Apostle Paul was writing it. It's lengthy, but it was so good, I couldn't not share. I contemplated just linking the speech and just citing my favorite parts, but the more I read, the more I really felt compelled to post the whole thing.

As my dad said, I truly believe that if Dr. King had not be assasinated, that this world would be a different place. Or at least it's fun and interesting to think about what the world would be like. I don't claim to be a history buff but I do find myself intrigued by many historical happenings. Especially, assasinations. I often wonder what life would be like if figures like Abraham Lincoln, JFK and MLK had not be killed. I tend to think it would be a bit different. Don't you think?

So without further ado, I give you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, Paul's Letter To American Christians as delivered November 4, 1956: (I've bolded the parts that I stuck out to me)

I would like to share with you an imaginary letter from the pen of the Apostle Paul. The postmark reveals that it comes from the city of Ephesus. After opening the letter I discovered that it was written in Greek rather than English. At the top of the first page was this request: "Please read to your congregation as soon as possible, and then pass on to the other churches."
For several weeks I have worked assiduously with the translation. At times it has been difficult, but now I think I have deciphered its true meaning. May I hasten to say that if in presenting this letter the contents sound strangely Kingian instead of Paulinian, attribute it to my lack of complete objectivity rather than Paul's lack of clarity.
It is miraculous, indeed, that the Apostle Paul should be writing a letter to you and to me nearly 1900 years after his last letter appeared in the New Testament. How this is possible is something of an enigma wrapped in mystery. The important thing, however, is that I can imagine the Apostle Paul writing a letter to American Christians in 1956 A.D. And here is the letter as it stands before me.
I, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to you who are in America, Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
For many years I have longed to be able to come to see you. I have heard so much of you and of what you are doing. I have heard of the fascinating and astounding advances that you have made in the scientific realm. I have heard of your dashing subways and flashing airplanes.
Through your scientific genius you have been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains. You have been able to carve highways through the stratosphere. So in your world you have made it possible to eat breakfast in New York City and dinner in Paris, France. I have also heard of your skyscraping buildings with their prodigious towers steeping heavenward. I have heard of your great medical advances, which have resulted in the curing of many dread plagues and diseases, and thereby prolonged your lives and made for greater security and physical well-being. All of that is marvelous. You can do so many things in your day that I could not do in the Greco-Roman world of my day. In your age you can travel distances in one day that took me three months to travel. That is wonderful. You have made tremendous strides in the area of scientific and technological development.
But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress. Your poet Thoreau used to talk about "improved means to an unimproved end." How often this is true. You have allowed the material means by which you live to outdistance the spiritual ends for which you live. You have allowed your mentality to outrun your morality. You have allowed your civilization to outdistance your culture. Through your scientific genius you have made of the world a neighborhood, but through your moral and spiritual genius you have failed to make of it a brotherhood. So America, I would urge you to keep your moral advances abreast with your scientific advances.
I am impelled to write you concerning the responsibilities laid upon you to live as Christians in the midst of an unChristian world. That is what I had to do. That is what every Christian has to do. But I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially. They live by some such principle as this: "everybody is doing it, so it must be alright." For so many of you Morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. You have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. How many are giving their ultimate allegiance to this way.
But American Christians, I must say to you as I said to the Roman Christians years ago, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Or, as I said to the Phillipian Christians, "Ye are a colony of heaven." This means that although you live in the colony of time, your ultimate allegiance is to the empire of eternity. You have a dual citizenry. You live both in time and eternity; both in heaven and earth. Therefore, your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God's will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it. You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.
I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism. Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism. I still contend that money can be the root of all evil. It can cause one to live a life of gross materialism. I am afraid that many among you are more concerned about making a living than making a life. You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of the wheel base on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to humanity.
The misuse of Capitalism can also lead to tragic exploitation. This has so often happened in your nation. They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth. Oh America, how often have you taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. If you are to be a truly Christian nation you must solve this problem. You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. You can work within the framework of democracy to bring about a better distribution of wealth. You can use your powerful economic resources to wipe poverty from the face of the earth. God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe "enough and to spare" for that purpose. So I call upon you to bridge the gulf between abject poverty and superfluous wealth.
I would that I could be with you in person, so that I could say to you face to face what I am forced to say to you in writing. Oh, how I long to share your fellowship.
Let me rush on to say something about the church. Americans, I must remind you, as I have said to so many others, that the church is the Body of Christ. So when the church is true to its nature it knows neither division nor disunity. But I am disturbed about what you are doing to the Body of Christ. They tell me that in America you have within Protestantism more than two hundred and fifty six denominations. The tragedy is not so much that you have such a multiplicity of denominations, but that most of them are warring against each other with a claim to absolute truth. This narrow sectarianism is destroying the unity of the Body of Christ. You must come to see that God is neither a Baptist nor a Methodist; He is neither a Presbyterian nor a Episcopalian. God is bigger than all of our denominations. If you are to be true witnesses for Christ, you must come to see that America.
But I must not stop with a criticism of Protestantism. I am disturbed about Roman Catholicism. This church stands before the world with its pomp and power, insisting that it possesses the only truth. It incorporates an arrogance that becomes a dangerous spiritual arrogance. It stands with its noble Pope who somehow rises to the miraculous heights of infallibility when he speaks ex cathedra. But I am disturbed about a person or an institution that claims infallibility in this world. I am disturbed about any church that refuses to cooperate with other churches under the pretense that it is the only true church. I must emphasize the fact that God is not a Roman Catholic, and that the boundless sweep of his revelation cannot be limited to the Vatican. Roman Catholicism must do a great deal to mend its ways.
There is another thing that disturbs me to no end about the American church. You have a white church and you have a Negro church. You have allowed segregation to creep into the doors of the church. How can such a division exist in the true Body of Christ? You must face the tragic fact that when you stand at 11:00 on Sunday morning to sing "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name" and "Dear Lord and Father of all Mankind," you stand in the most segregated hour of Christian America. They tell me that there is more integration in the entertaining world and other secular agencies than there is in the Christian church. How appalling that is.
I understand that there are Christians among you who try to justify segregation on the basis of the Bible. They argue that the Negro is inferior by nature because of Noah's curse upon the children of Ham. Oh my friends, this is blasphemy. This is against everything that the Christian religion stands for. I must say to you as I have said to so many Christians before, that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus." Moreover, I must reiterate the words that I uttered on Mars Hill: "God that made the world and all things therein . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."
So Americans I must urge you to get rid of every aspect of segregation. The broad universalism standing at the center of the gospel makes both the theory and practice of segregation morally unjustifiable. Segregation is a blatant denial of the unity which we all have in Christ. It substitutes an "I-it" relationship for the "I-thou" relationship. The segregator relegates the segregated to the status of a thing rather than elevate him to the status of a person. The underlying philosophy of Christianity is diametrically opposed to the underlying philosophy of segregation, and all the dialectics of the logicians cannot make them lie down together.
I praise your Supreme Court for rendering a great decision just two or three years ago. I am happy to know that so many persons of goodwill have accepted the decision as a great moral victory. But I understand that there are some brothers among you who have risen up in open defiance. I hear that their legislative halls ring loud with such words as "nullification" and "interposition." They have lost the true meaning of democracy and Christianity. So I would urge each of you to plead patiently with your brothers, and tell them that this isn't the way. With understanding goodwill, you are obligated to seek to change their attitudes. Let them know that in standing against integration, they are not only standing against the noble precepts of your democracy, but also against the eternal edicts of God himself. Yes America, there is still the need for an Amos to cry out to the nation: "Let judgement roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."
May I say just a word to those of you who are struggling against this evil. Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
In your struggle for justice, let your oppressor know that you are not attempting to defeat or humiliate him, or even to pay him back for injustices that he has heaped upon you. Let him know that you are merely seeking justice for him as well as yourself. Let him know that the festering sore of segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro. With this attitude you will be able to keep your struggle on high Christian standards.
Many persons will realize the urgency of seeking to eradicate the evil of segregation. There will be many Negroes who will devote their lives to the cause of freedom. There will be many white persons of goodwill and strong moral sensitivity who will dare to take a stand for justice. Honesty impels me to admit that such a stand will require willingness to suffer and sacrifice. So don't despair if you are condemned and persecuted for righteousness' sake. Whenever you take a stand for truth and justice, you are liable to scorn. Often you will be called an impractical idealist or a dangerous radical. Sometimes it might mean going to jail. If such is the case you must honorably grace the jail with your presence. It might even mean physical death. But if physical death is the price that some must pay to free their children from a permanent life of psychological death, then nothing could be more Christian. Don't worry about persecution America; you are going to have that if you stand up for a great principle. I can say this with some authority, because my life was a continual round of persecutions. After my conversion I was rejected by the disciples at Jerusalem. Later I was tried for heresy at Jerusalem. I was jailed at Philippi, beaten at Thessalonica, mobbed at Ephesus, and depressed at Athens. And yet I am still going. I came away from each of these experiences more persuaded than ever before that "neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come . . . shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.
I must bring my writing to a close now. Timothy is waiting to deliver this letter, and I must take leave for another church. But just before leaving, I must say to you, as I said to the church at Corinth, that I still believe that love is the most durable power in the world. Over the centuries men have sought to discover the highest good. This has been the chief quest of ethical philosophy. This was one of the big questions of Greek philosophy. The Epicurean and the Stoics sought to answer it; Plato and Aristotle sought to answer it. What is the summon bonum of life? I think I have an answer America. I think I have discovered the highest good. It is love. This principle stands at the center of the cosmos. As John says, "God is love." He who loves is a participant in the being of God. He who hates does not know God.
So American Christians, you may master the intricacies of the English language. You may possess all of the eloquence of articulate speech. But even if you "speak with the tongues of man and angels, and have not love, you are become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Charleston View

If you couldn't tell by my last couple of posts, I was in Charleston, S.C., this past weekend with the Samford volleyball team. I think this is the most horrible and most fun trip I've ever had with them. The eight-hour trip up took 12 hours for various reasons (see below posts) and after we had an hour added, we got to the hotel in Charleston at 2:45 a.m. on Friday and had to be up by 10 a.m. the next day.

We had breakfast at Breuger's Bagels, which is my new favorite place. They have the best cinnamon sugar bagels ever.

We completely bombed against College of Charleston (the other top team in the conference besides us), had our 12-match win streak snapped, could no longer say we were undefeated and pretty much got our hineys handed to us on a platter.

So to cheer us up, one of the girls' parents has a friend who owns three beach houses out in Mt. Pleasant, I think. We had dinner at one of them and it was great. I really wish I had gotten my camera from the hotel so I would have pictures of the beautiful view but so it goes.

Anyway, we got back to the hotel early, 9ish, and everyone crashed. Well, except me and Jen (one of the assistant coaches). We had to stay up and watch the Red Sox win.

The next day we started off with breakfast at IHOP. Yummy! Then we headed to the Citadel to play the last match of the weekend. This place is neato. It's like your driving into a medieval fort of some sorts. Very interesting. I've included some pictures of this because I remembered to get my camera out of my bag before I put it on the bus. Enjoy.

The view from across the drill field. I sort of wish we would have been there on a weekday to see all the groups drilling on the square.
A plane. This plane was actually flown by Citadel graduates. Cool, huh?

The national anthem. It kind of had a different feeling in this place. If you looked around, there were lots of people just standing at attention, looking straight ahead. Very cool. These were someo of the nicest people though.


Lineups. In blur mode. I had my camera on "action" but it still came out this way.

A lamp post.

My feeble attempt at being artistic.

And last but not least, boys in uniform on guard duty.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Too bad the Mississippi State Bulldogs couldn't pull out a "W" and the Red Sox got cheated out of trip to the World Series. Oh well, Go Rays, anyway.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Happening

Have you seen this movie? It's full of craziness. We are watching this movie on the mammoth bus ride home from Charleston, S.C., and I'm starting to wonder why we put it in the DVD player in the first place.

We are only halfway through and it's been on crazy "happening" after the other. You should here the screams that are coming from this bus, not to mention the crazy comments.

"Don't breathe when you go outside!"

"Run from the wind!"

"Shut the window you idiot!"

"That old lady is one crazy _____!"

I don't what is causing all the "happenings". It seems to be some crazy supernatural pollen-type substance in the air, making its way through the Northeast by way of the wind. It seems to be causing some pretty intense allergy headaches because all these people start walking backwards and then killing themselves. These guys must not have heard of Zyrtec. Otherwise, we wouldn't have this problem

I'm speaking from experience that allergy headaches are nothing to mess with. I've had some doozies lately but never have I wanted to kill myself or bang my head through a glass window.

Ok, so it's just the movies and maybe it's something more than just pollen but whatev. This is a crazy movie.

I'm also pumped about my wireless internet card from AT&T. I've got internet on the go and now I'm currently keeping up with game seven of the ALCS -- GO SOX!

Ok, the movie is over and it was the worst ending ever. If you must, rent it yourself. At your own risk.

Now we are going to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who picks out the next movie. Good luck, Dex (our coach) is the only person who brought movies. And he was weird taste as you can tell. The Happening belongs to him.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sittin' On The Side Of The Road...

I'm on a bus, just about two hours into an eight hour trip to Charleston. Yes, I'm with the volleyball team. There are too many other opportunities I get to be on a bus for eight hours. It delights me (Sarcastic, much?)

Anyway, we are just getting into ATL. We should've been two hours past ATL by now. What was the hold-up, you ask? I'll tell ya.

About 15 miles from the state line, our fast-paced truckin' quickly slowed down to a 10 mph creep. We'd hit some construction and figured we'd be past it in no time. Twenty minutes later, we're still going 10 mph. And soon, we can to a complete stop. Folks, this was no stop-and-go traffic. This was DEAD STAND STILL. We were parked at mile marker 177 on I-20 eastbound for 45 MINUTES! A two hour and 15 minute drive has now taken four hours. We've still got six hours to go to get to Charleston, plus a stop for dinner.

Let me tell you...there's something about a bus that brings out the best in people. We are a pretty funny group of people Each person on this team -- players, coaches, trainers and even lil' ol' me -- we keep ourselved entertained and in stitches. Hilarity ensues with this group on bus trips.

Our girls were throwing out some hum-dingers. Some I can't even repeat because I laughed so hard that I can't remember them now. We made a game out of watching the cars edge onto the median, jump it and travel back up the on ramp to get out of traffic -- going in drive and reverse. There was mud, and we were just rooting for someone to get stuck. A few people peeled out but no stickers. Darn.

We watched as a crowd of people gathered on the side of a newly paved part of the road that was blocked off by orange barrels. We tried to imagine what they were talking about. We think at one point there was talk about riding horses and waving at people, or so we gathered from the choreography from one guy. Maybe they were just playing a harmless game of Charades.

Our girls wanted to go door-to-door or "car door-to-car door" and raise money. For what? I don't know. One girl just wanted to go ask a truck driver what was going on. She said, "They always know what's going on. They know their stuff!" Whatev. Needless to say, no one exited the vehicle.

Meanwhile, we are getting various reports of what is going one up ahead. One report said traffic would be hault for 84 minutes. Sounds about right. Finally, one girl got word from her dad that there was a tractor trailer overturned at an exit about 10 miles ahead. It was blocking the westbound lane and wreckers were blocking the eastbound lane, trying to get the mess of an 18-wheeler back upright.

When we finally started going, applause erupted. You would have thought we just won the NCAA Championship. We were all glad to just finally be moving.

Now we are making our way through ATL, trying to find a restaurant at which to eat. I hope we find something soon. I'm starving.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Only In Mississippi...

No offense to you EMCC or camo fans out there. This was just too good not to share. My volleyball team came up with the "great" idea of black/glow-in-the-dark football a couple of weekends ago. They thought that it would be cool to watch, until I told them that it was just an injury and a lawsuit waiting to happen. Now this -- camo football. Nice. Only in Mississippi.
EMCC Football Coach Buddy Stephens To Appear On Local TV Shows In Advance Of Lions' West Point Game

SCOOBA, Miss. – East Mississippi head football coach Buddy Stephens and EMCC vice president for athletics Mickey Stokes are scheduled to appear on two upcoming local television shows to promote the 16th-ranked Lions’ Saturday afternoon football game against Itawamba to be played at West Point High School.

The East Mississippi tandem will first be featured on the West Point of View program scheduled to air Sunday night at 10 p.m. on WLOV-TV/FOX 27 out of West Point/Columbus/Tupelo. The 30-minute show, hosted by Terry Smith, will be devoted entirely to Saturday’s EMCC-ICC football game in West Point. The following morning, Stephens and Stokes are slated to be interviewed live early Monday morning on WCBI-TV’s Sunrise program out of Columbus. Scheduled to take place around 6:40 a.m., Monday morning’s WCBI-TV Sunrise segment is scheduled to last around three minutes with Jackie Finch handling the interview duties.

In addition to East Mississippi scheduled to don Mossy Oak camouflage jerseys for Saturday’s contest against Itawamba, pre-game activities slated for the West Point game will include a swearing in of 30-35 Air Force recruits plus a planned flyover of T-38 Talon jets courtesy of Columbus Air Force Base and the United States Air Force. A United States Army ROTC cannon will also be on hand to sound off following all EMCC scores during the game. An EMCC recruiting station, hospitality tent and tailgating opportunities will also be available during Saturday afternoon’s EMCC-ICC game at West Point High School. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Written by my favorite sports information director, the great David Rosinski

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Epitome Of (Dis)Organization

If you are feeling anxious and ashamed of the mess that is your bedroom, office, school desk and/or car, friends, be reassured. You are an obsessive compulsive neat freak compared to the owner of the office featured in the pictures below. I won't drop names because I'm ashamed for him.

There are about three printers and two phones in that pile that no longer function. Watch your step, what you pick up and where you sit, you never know what kind of sticky substance you'll run across. If you think this is bad, you should see his car.

Remember friends, cleanliness is next to godliness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Apparently, I'm A Good Bleeder?

It's the end of the day. What have I left to do but blog?

Today I went to a health fair at Samford. I'm not much for these kinds of things. I usually just feel like I'm going to a science fair. However, Michelle and Mrs. Wanda asked if I wanted to go. I didn't have much to work on at the moment so I went. And the fun began.

When we got there, we found out there was a contest. And contest? Michelle and I were game. We love contests. It's the athletic department in us. The first 50 people to go around and complete a survey of questions by finding answers at each booth and turn their questionnaire in, got a free tshirt. And as my Daddy says, "You can't go wrong with a free tshirt." And it was grey. Not white. Jackpot.

So Michelle, Mrs. Wanda, Lee and I start out to each booth, butting in line, running over whoever we can. This is a contest people! What are you standing around talking about the economy and who's up in the presidential polls for?! There are tshirst to be won!

After 15 minutes of furious fact-finding, we were done. Teamwork. It's how you get things done quickly and efficiently. We turn in our questionnaires and...TA-DA...free tshirt. Woohoo!

After securing our loot, we head back in to get down to business. We all were curious to see what our medical stats were. So we headed over to the blood pressure table. I'd had some of my stats taken yesterday when I went to the doctor but I never got a look at what they were. Except for my weight. We won't discuss that.

My BP was 112/80. The first number good. The second number not so much, according to the nurse lady. She said, "That 80 needs to be a bit lower." Did I tell her that I had just had a cookie before I came? No. The roomie said that could be why it was 80. Or maybe it could've been that I just walked into my boss's office which is like walking into a trash heap of unorganization. Watch where you step!

Next was the blood glucose/sugar test. I saw one of our former tennis players and headed right to her station. I knew she would take care of me. The first prick of the day. Middle finger of the right hand. Good. Blood sugar - 99. Pretty good. As long as I'm not over 200, right?

On to cholesterol. I don't like this word. It just sounds bad. Two cool nursing students were at this table. They seemed to know what they were doing. Second prick of the day. Pointer finger of the left hand. The non-crooked pointer finger. Prick.

"Wow, your a good bleeder!" says the nursing student.

"Um, thanks? Is that good?" says I.

"Well sure! Do you take blood thinners?" says the nursing student as she puts gauze pad after gauze pad on my finger to stop the blood from dripping onto the table cloth.

"Um, no?" says I, trying to think if Tylenol Cold and Sinus counts as a blood thinner.

After what seems like and eternity later, she announces that my cholesterol is 186. I'm taking that as a good sign since my little sheet said that less that 200 mg/dL was desirable.

So I'm healthy I suppose. The sheet also had a section for body mass index. I decided to forego that experience. After seeing the number of the scale at the doctor's office yesterday, I think I'm pretty aware that I'm a tad bit chubby and I need to do something about it. And Mrs. Wanda made me skip the prostate exam booth. She said I was too young to know about that stuff and there was no need for me to learn how to tell if someone has prostate cancer right now. I wasn't interested anyway. I had my eye on the table with all the Blow Pops.

Oh, by the way, each booth at the health fair had candy. Candy? Candy. At a health fair. I'm singing, "One of these things is not like the other." Where are the granola bars and fruit baskets? All the way in the back. The very back. Hiding.

Did I make it back there? Nope. I grabbed a pack of Skittles (to eat later by in my own OCD way) and Mike and Ike's and jetted. Besides, I had work to do, right. Yeah.

So, all in all health fairs are okay. We learned a little bit and got a free pen and pedometer out of it. Every five minutes, someone walks by my office declaring how many steps they are up to so far today. I know know that it's approximately 100 steps to the women's bathroom. Thanks, Vaughan.

Has my pedometer come out of the box yet? Yes. Have I used it? No.

Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happiness, Joy, Jackpot

I want a lot of things -- my own house, a dog, a new computer, an iTouch, a boyfriend/husband, for my friends to live closer, a vacation. A girl can want, right?

I'm a happy girl. Really, I am. But I often think if I could get just one of these things, I'd be just a bit more happy. However, I think I need to take my own advice.

I gave a friend some advice the other day when he was struggling with a situation he was in, or getting out of. He said he felt lost and needed to find himself and be happy again. I don't understand that. I've used this phrase before but now I just don't get it. Why does a person need to find himself/herself? If you're trying to find yourself, you're looking for something/someone you are not. You know, always, deep down inside, who you are. It's who you are when no one is around, or when you're around those few people that you can truly be yourself with. (Like my happy dance, I talk about it, but only a select few people have actually seen it in action.) Ok, bad analogy. Anyway, my advice to him was something someone told me in college when I went through a similar situation. Happiness comes from happenings. Joy comes from the Lord.

If you are stripped of everything you have, would you still be the same person? Are all of your possessions what make you happy or do you have a joy that comes from a hope that is rooted deep down inside you?

Up until a few years ago, I couldn't tell the difference between happiness and joy. Recently, I've seen the effects of pure joy take form in my life. No matter how bad of a mood I get in or how bad my circumstances are, I just think about something my Dad always says: "Remember who you are, and whose you are."

I am me. I'm me. I can't do anything about who likes me and who doesn't. BUT I'm a child of God. I've been adopted into his family by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and I belong to Him. I believe what the Bible says and I want to strive everyday to live as Christ and obey the commands (Follow me, go and make disciples, love one another) that God has given me. I want to be an instrument through which the LORD of all nations can use to accomplish His will.

I looked up the definitions of happiness and joy. This is what I found.

Happiness - n. Good fortune; pleasure; contentement; joy; implies an active or passive state of pleasure or pleasurable satisfaction.

Joy - n. The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; a source of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.

Do you see the difference? Happiness is temporary. It's effect to a causation. It's a product. Joy is a state of being. A source of great delight. A source. Joy is a cause. Something or someone great valued and appreciated. Do you know what that something or someone is in my life? Jesus Christ. Galatians lists joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit of Christ is in you, you have joy. It's an automatic source to tap into. And in the same way, we are a joy. We are greatly valued by God.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, "The joy of the LORD is your strength." I really think that this has become so real to me in the past year. No matter how hard the world seems to hit me, I remember WHOSE I am and WHO is inside me, and I find the strenght to make it through, and praise God for his faithfulness.

I studied the following passage yesterday and got a little more out of it than I expected. This is from Luke 12:

13Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
14Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" 15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '
20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Isn't this what we often do. We collect our possessions until we have no more room left and then we "upgrade" so our lifestyle can fit our belongings. Then we sit back and enjoy what we have, without giving thought to those who don't have.

If we are storing up all treasures here on Earth, investing in the here and now, what will our return be? All this earth has will fade away, so we should be "storing up treasures in Heaven." The treasures that in indestructible.

Matthew 6:21 says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If Jesus is in my heart, and my joy comes from Christ alone, and if my heart is in line with what Matthew 6 says, Jesus is my treasure. And for that matter, I hit the jackpot!

Dancin' Fool

I love to dance. I'm not a really good "freestyler" in my opinion, but I like to think that I can rock some choreography. One of my favorite things to do when I was in college was to go to dance aerobics. It's the only kind of aerobics I can get into. Except maybe kickboxing on a good day. I could be in such a foul mood and go to dance aerobics and leave with a new attitude. It just makes me happy. I'm sure it's the endorphins.

When I was little, I wanted to be a Knicks City Dancer. Not many people know this. Well, now I guess they do. I once saw a show (I think it was Road Rules) where people had to try out for the Knicks City Dancers to complete a challenge. I think it was two girls and two guys. Needless to say, the two girls made it. Two white boys with no rhythm = eliminated at the first cut. Really?

I often dance in my room by myself. I'm not ashamed. You should see my "happy dance". I do it on my bed win the Red Sox win a big game. I did it the other night, being careful not to fall off. I was a cheerleader for five years and my favorite part was the dancing. I would have been on the dance team but my high school got rid of it right before my freshman year. Well, that and I don't think I could do a pirouette correctly to save my life.

Anyway, all this to say, So You Think You Can Dance is one of my favorite shows ever. I get to live vicariously through the contestants and trick myself for a couple of hours into thinking that I could actually do some of the stuff that they do on that show. Dancing and watching people dance just makes me happy. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that it involves music. Because, you know, music is pretty much my lifeblood.

So I heard this song this morning that a couple danced to on the show this past season. I don't usually remember a lot of numbers but this one has stuck with me for some reason and I think of it every time I hear this song. The musicality of the choreography is incredible and the passion and emotion in the dancers is en pointe. I thought I'd share it. Enjoy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Birthday, Red Sox and Thoughts

This weekend, three of my best guy-friends are celebrating birthdays -- Drew and Chris on Saturday and Kyle on Sunday, except Kyle celebrates his birthday for like a month. It's like Mardi Gras, or as he likes to call it, Kyle Gras. Tonight, we are celebrating the 28th annual Kyle Gras Extraveganza. So he says.

Anyway, I just wanted to send out a bloggerifc Happy Birthday to three of my favorite people. I'm going to be post the same horrible pictures I did last year in hopes that it spurs us on to get some new updated ones sometime soon. I'll also add a few of my favorite things about each of them.

We'll, start with Chris, since alphabetically he's first. Sweet Chris, or Christopher, or Christopherson is really one of my most favorite people. He often keeps me entertained during work hours with funny emails, often plotting how we will move to Hawaii and start our own business. Doing what, we have no clue. One reason that he's probably one of my most favorite people is because he loves Big Brother just as much as I do. He applied to be on the latest one and got rejected. I'm sure that's why this season wasn't as interesting. Also he's made several trips to Birmingham from Montgomery just to hang out with me. Happy Birthday Chris! I'm jealous you get to be in Starkville this weekend but there's a plate of chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen screaming your name!

Now, on to Drew, or Drewballa as I often like to refer to him. I really think that Drew and I were probably supposed to be, in another life, brother and sister. Drew was my bestest friend in high school and continues to be one of the greatest guys I will ever have the pleasure of knowing. We are so much alike it's scary sometimes but I can always count on Drew for an encouraging word or the plain truth about a situtation anytime. We've helped each other through some pretty tough times and I'm so grateful to God for a few like him. His family is a blessing as well, his mom like a second mom to me and his younger sister like younger sister to me. Happy Birthday Drew! I miss you!

And last, but certainly not least, sweet Kyle. I don't think that anyone has ever been so successful at making me laugh more than Kyle has. God really has blessed me with such a great friend. Kyle called me the other night as I was driving home from Chattanooga and I really think we talked for half of the trip. Our friendship is great because we are in the same business and can relate stories to one another. However, I think my most favorite thing about Kyle is that he would do just about anything for his friends. And he has a lot of friends. So Kyle, Happy 28th Annual Kyle Gras! I'm sure it will be a blast!

Now onto another one of my favorite topics. The Red Sox. Tonight is the first game of the ALCS. The Red Sox are vying to repeat. I'm hoping it is successful. They will be playing a very good and very determined Tampa Rays team and I'm a little nervous. I saw these two teams play each other when I was in Tampa in July (Thanks for the free tickets Mandi! Check out this post for details.). Tampa beat the Sox. 3-1. Boo.

So here is the breakdown. The first two series in Tampa, the Rays swept. The first two series in Boston, the Red Sox swept. The next series in Boston, the Red Sox only won one game. Same thing with the last series in Tampa. So the Rays lead the Sox in 2008, 10-8. The series starts in Tampa. If it goes by home field advantage, Boston has it all the way. Two games in Tampa, three in Boston, two back in Tampa, if necessary. The Red Sox are pitching Dice-K tonight. That's a pretty good start. I hope.

I have to say, I'd love for my Red Sox to win. But if my some crazy happenstance, it does not happen, I'll be happy for the Rays. And I have a little cowbell ready to clang against whoever, they may face in the World Series, IF, and only IF, they get past the Sox first. I'm a sucker for the underdog. In this case, that would be the Rays.

And lastly, my thoughts turn to more serious things. The economy. The president interrupted regularly scheduled programming this morning to say the same things that have been being said for the past few weeks. People are freaking out, mostly in NYC, about all this economy stuff and the stock market plummetting and what not. Me? I don't really worry about it. Why? Well, because 1) I really have no clue (Ignorance is bliss, right?) and 2) I know who controls it all.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I don't worry about what the economy does or how much money I have in the bank and what's going on Wall Street because God says:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20
I'm not counting on my worldy wealth and worth to get me through the day. What gets me through the day is knowing that I serve a God who gave up all of his glory to come to Earth and take on human flesh and go through everything I will ever go through and be despised by his own people, died a cruel death after taking on all the sin of the world, past, present and future and then defeated the grave by rising on the third day. What gets me through the day is the constant love, grace and mercy that I feel and see acted out every day by my God. What gets me through the day is knowing that I'm not here for me. I'm here for Him to use me to impact others and no money, fancy car or diamond ring can ever top being an instrument for God to use.

God holds this whole world in his hand. You know the song. I'm sure you're singing it right now. The point is that if I have put every ounce of my faith in him, I have nothing to worry about. Life or death means nothing because my eternity is secured in him. He controls what really happens in the world, and like I'm trusting this chair that I'm sitting in to hold me up off the ground, I'm trusting God, in his infinite widsom, to hold me up in this world. I'm don't lean on my own understanding. I lean on a solid rock called Jesus Christ.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Holidays

Today is my holiday from doing work. I'm about to leave in an hour to go to a volleyball match in Chattanooga, and I've decided that since I'll be working all night long, that I don't have to do any work AT work today. So, I'm just going to blog.

My calendar says today is Yom Kippur. To all my Jewish readers, "have an easy fast" as they say. It started me thinking about holidays and what random national holidays there are out there. I did a little google search (remember, I'm on a work AT work strike today), and I found some doozies for October. There's a list of monthly holidays, weekly holidays and then daily holidays. I'll share my favs. And along the way, I found this cool blog.

Did you know that October is:
- Adopt A Shelter Dog Month (geez, I wish I had time for a dog)
- Celebrate Sun Dried Tomatoes Month (this one is for you, Dad)
- Celebrate Bilingual Child Month
- Church Library Month AND Church Safety and Security Month
- Gay and Lesbian History Month (there's a history?)
- National Bake and Decorate Month (Bethany and I could have so much fun with this. If only we lived closer.)
- National Go On A Field Trip Month (I think I'm going to propose an observation of this at my office.)
- National Rolling Skating Month
- National Sarcastic Awareness Month (I'm aware.)
- National Seafood Month (I shall be observing this.)
- Pastor (Clergy Appreciation Month (I appreciate you, Bubba (Ross).)
- Photographer Appreciation Month (Yay for Ann Wade!)
- Raptor Month
- Squirrel Awareness Month
- Self-Promotion Month

This week is:
Oct. 2-9: No Salt Week (I broke this yesterday.)
Oct. 4-10: World Space Week
Oct. 5-11: National Work From Home Week (I wish!), Emergency Nurses Week, Fire Prevention Week, The Magic of Differences Week, Mental Illness Week, Mystery Series Week, National Carry A Tune Week (this one's for you, Mom and Anna! Use it in class!), National Metric Week, Nuclear (new-clear) Medicine Week

Today is:
- Alvin C. York Day
- Cosmopolite Day (This is pretty sweet.)
- International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction
- International Top Spinning Day (YES!)
- National Bring Your Teddy Bear To Work & School Day (Why did I not know about this? Spitball (my baseball bear) could have been introduced to the world of sports info.)
- Native Americans' Day

October 31 is also a special holiday in my family. It's not just Halloween to us anymore. Last year, it became William's birthday. I'm so sad that I can't be there this year to celebrate the first birthday. (Darn work!) However, I know he's going to look so cute and have so much fun and I can't wait to come home and play with all of his toys, especially the Ball Popper, courtesy of Auntie KK.

P.S. Say a special prayer for the boy next Monday, Oct. 13. Little Boo has to get tubes put in his ears and I'm sure it's not going to be pleasant.

Reaching by Prayer and Teaching

I've been pretty emotional today. I'm not really sure why. I'm sure it's just a girl thing but it's a fact that I've been emotionally moved by a couple of things today and as a result, this post may turn into a jumble of random tangents. Bear with me. I'm writing as it comes.

This morning as I was doing my daily blog-browse, I read two specific posts by to people that surprisingly brought tears to my eyes. Both involved prayer. Both involved school. And both were written by teachers.

Prayer has been a huge part of my life. It's been how I've praise, thanked, communicated, wrestled and argued with God, my Savior, through so many of the highs and lows of my life. It's been the avenue of answers and silence from God, both are blessings. So I'm touched when I'm told stories of prayer being a part of circumstances that are often looked upon as circumstances in which prayer is not allowed. Like school.

One of my favorite memories of high school was praying with the football after games. It was only the Lord's Prayer, and it lasted only about 12.5 seconds, but it was a highlight of my night. I remember my friends Jennifer, Jessica, Lana and I would make it a point to go out an pray with them. It was inportant to us. So, now, it makes my heart soar when I see 30-40 college football players circle up in the endzone a few hours before the game, holding hands and praying, fervently, for themselves, each other, their opponents, the fans and whatever else God is laying on their hearts at that time. And, yes, we have a public prayer before our games. We can do that. We are Baptists.

See prayer isn't really welcomed in schools. There was a big to-do about it when I was in fifth grade that involved my school district and more specifically, the school my dad worked at. I won't go into all the details now, mainly because I don't know half of what went on, but I will say, rules are rules. Most are meant to be abided by, few are meant to be broken. But no one should be forced to do anything that they don't want to do. (And the tangent has just reared it's ugly head for the first time in this post.)

Anyway, both of these girls shared stories of when prayer was used in a school setting. One by a group of eighth graders. Another by an eight-year-old hoping God would help him and his classmates do well on a big test. Eight years old. I don't care what anybody says, that's cool.

So shifting gears a bit, to the teaching part of this post, teachers hold a very special place in my heart. So many teachers have had a huge impact on my life. I went to a high school where just about every other teacher/coach was like another mother or father to me. But a few stick out among the crowd in the impact that they had on me. First, there's Coach Rob. The coolest teacher every who made world history the most exciting subject ever. After his class, I wanted to become a world history teacher in high school. Coach Rob is an amazing man of God. He was one of those teachers you could go talk to about a friend who just didn't get the God thing. I had several of those convos and prayer sessions with him. His test bonuses were bible verses. He'd put a bible verse on the board and we would get bonus points if we could memorize it and write it out on the back of our tests.

Another on was Mr. Bridges. He's another great man of God. He was never afraid to speak truth into someone's life because he knew that was more important than any math problem he could ever teach. He's a great friend.

There are several more but I want to talk about the three most important teachers in my life. My Dad, my mom and my sister. They are all educators. Yes, I'm the only one in my family who doesn't have a summer vacation. Anyway, I was privileged enough to have my mom as a teacher. It wasn't as bad as you would think. It was actually lots of fun (lifetime supply of passes, ha). Anyway, she knows how much fun it was; I dedicated my senior Valentine's Day column in the school newspaper to her. Back when she retired from JPS, her friends made her a little book of memories and photos. They also had students from years past write her letters. I took the book this past year and made it into a scrapbook to give to her for Mother's Day. I was a little nosey and read the letters. It touched me to know how many people and in how many ways my mom had touched. To most of them, she was a mom away from home. Most even just called her Mama Walden. My mom was there to talk or give a ride home. She scolded and encouraged, confronted and comforted.

My dad is a principal now but he started out as a teacher. A science teacher (my dad rocked my science projects). He was a teacher/coach. He coached soccer (they won the district championship, or the state championship. I don't remember. I was five.), football and track, if I remember correctly. Most of his soccer players ended up spending the summers with him as he roped them into being lifeguards at the Y where he was aquatics director. There are several of them who actually go to my sister and brother-in-law's church now. I think it's been neat for him to see who they were then and who they are now. He's had a pretty heavy impact on a lot of kids. Just like my mom. There's not a place we go where we don't run into a former student of theirs and the last thing they say is what an impact my mom and dad made on their lives.

Thirty-five-ish years later, they are still making their impact. My mom is in a different school and my dad is too. Different settings, new set of people to impact. Their job is truly their mission field. My mom love to have her kids sing sacred songs. Not because they sound good, but I really think it's because she can shed a little God-light into the lives that she is with 8 hours a day. My seriously prays for every person he encounters every day, whether he likes them or not (you know, pray for you enemies). My sister has only been a teacher for three years but I know she's impacting people already. She did it even before she was teaching, back in high school and college. And of course, she's had a pretty huge impact on my life. She's pretty much one of my spiritual heroes.

Anyway, to sum it up. I owe a lot of my life to teachers. We all do. Most of them spend more time with our children than we do (I don't have children. I'm speaking generally.). Whether they or we like it or not, they do have an small (or large, depending on who you are and where you come from) effect on how we mature and grow up.

Do them a favor, thank a teacher today. Whether it is yours, your child's or just one that you know. Thank them for what they do and who they are. They don't get half the paycheck or credit for the things that they put up with these days.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting To Know You

This is the 2008 edition of getting to know your friends. I've gotten this from two people today, Bethany and my daddy, and I think I've done this one before. I'd email it back to them but they would be the only ones I'd email back, considering the rest of my friends on my email list would probably not care and immediately press delete. Anyway, I've decided to make a blog out of it. I'm slightly bored right now at work.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
8 a.m. I got to work at 9:30. Two reasons: 1) I worked all weekend long. I thought I deserved to sleep in a bit. 2) One alarm went off at 6:30, one at 7 a.m. They were reset after I thought I needed another bit of sleep after having a horrible dream that kept me up crying for at least a half hour in the middle of the night.

2. Diamonds or pearls?
I'm a KD Lady, so both.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Hmm...the only one that comes to mind is The Dark Knight but I know I've seen something since then.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
That's hard. It's a tie between Chuck, The Office, 24 and Project Runway.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
It depends. Crescent Rolls, Biscuits...this morning it was french toast sticks.

6. What is your middle name?
Jane

7. What food do you dislike?
Turnip greens

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
It's a tie again...Francesca Battastelli's Paper Heart and Brooke Fraser's Albertine

9. What kind of car do you drive?
2003 Saturn L200

10. Favorite sandwich?
Philly Cheesesteak

11. What Characteristic you despise?
Lies or denile...especially in myself

12. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Australia...Sydney to be exact

13. Where would you retire to?
Anywhere there is a beach

14. What was your most memorable birthday?
hmmm...I remember just about every birthday. I've gotta go with the 16th surprise party at church though. I was oblivious.

15. Furthest place you are sending this questions to:
Wherever "the net" takes it

16. When is your birthday?
July 26

17. Morning person or a night person?
Night

18. What is your shoe size?
7ish

19. Pets?
Randi...he's my far away pet

20. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?
I'm definitely not pregnant. (Repeated from my dad, "I'm not pregnant," and Bethany "I'm not pregnant either.)

21. What did you want to be when you were little?
I had a different one every year -- a playground architect, a teacher, a pediatrician, an OBGYN, a physical therapist/athletic trainer/orthopedic surgeon, a sportscaster, a news anchor, Katie Couric, a New York City (Knicks) dancer and a Broadway star

22. How are you today?
Pretty good

23. What is your favorite flower?
Tulips

24. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
The day that I finally have off

25. What are you listening to right now?
Sportscenter

26. What was the last thing you ate?
Lenny's

27. Do you wish on stars?
When I see one

28. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
I actually answered this one once before and I'm going to search for my answer. Hold please. Found it! Sunset Orange. The traits for this hue are warm, sociable, good-natured, jovial, and glowing. Sounds like me. I think.

29. How is the weather right now?
Pretty awesome.

30. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My
My cousin Julie

31. Favorite soft drink?
Cherry Coke

32 Favorite restaurant?
O'Charleys

33. Hair color?
Brunette

34. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Legos (this stems from wanting to be a playground architect).

35. Summer or Winter?
summer

36. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Vanilla

37. Coffee or tea?
Sweet tea with EXTRA lemon

38. Do you want your friends to email you back?
Whatev

39 When was the last time you cried?
Last night after my crazy scary nightmare

40. What is under your bed?
boxes and boxes and bags and clothes in boxes

41. What did you do last night?
Watched baseball

42. What are you afraid of?
Snakes and drowning (and yes, I am/was a certified lifeguard)

43. How many keys on your key ring?
I don't know...6?

44. How many years at your current job?
3 (2 were spent as an intern)

45. Favorite day of the week?
Any day that I have off

46. Do you make friends easily?
I've gotten better. I'm not one of those crazy outgoing people.

Ah, Nostalgia...cough, cough

Careful not to choke. It's often a dangerous thing.

I'm a memory person. I remember EVERYTHING. Just ask my family. They are often amazed at the things I remember and the details that are stuck in my mind of things. So many things have memories attached - movies, songs, places, sayings. So many things. So, often I find myself wandering off into a catatonic stage of nostalgia, remembering certain times with certain people, certain friends, and thinking, "Those were fun times," or "Wow, I really thought I was happy then."

So have you ever wanted one of those moments back? Have you ever waited so long for something or someone to come around and when it finally does, you're just over it? Do you find yourself just shrugging and walking away? This happened to me the other day, and I can't explain to you the feelings of joy and pride I had when I realized that I was actually over something. I was completely done with the situation. Dunzo. I think I've been done with it for quite a while now, going on about a year and a half maybe, but to see that actual completeness and closure right in front of me, was so great. I was truly proud of myself for finally seeing that I can move on with my life.

As most people know, or as I hope most people know, God gets the glory and praise and thanks for anything that happens to me in my life. I've realized more in the past three years than anytime in my life that God takes people out of you life for certain reasons, just like he puts other people in your life for other reasons. I've had several people taken out of my life in the past few years for various reasons, and although, I'm sad for some, others I have to really thank God for. A couple of these people are still somewhat in my life, but they play no considerable role whatsoever. They do not affect my everyday life anymore, and I count that as a blessing. I truly believe that if God hadn't stepped, as he's so great to do, and taken those people out of my life, and taken me out of those situations, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

So, thanks God, for never giving me more than I can handle, and providing a way out, whether through my own choice or your intervention.

In other news...

This weekend was a pretty successful weekend in my sports world. The Samford volleyball team won their ninth straight match (the longest win streak since 1991) and are now 15-2 (the best start ever). The Samford football Bulldogs won their first game against a SoCon opponent (it's our first year in the conference) and the Mississippi State Bulldogs didn't lose. I mean they didn't play, but still they didn't lose.

On the other hand, I stayed up way past my bedtime last night to watch 12 innings of complete crap as the Red Sox choked in game 3 against the Angels. Five and a half hours is not an acceptable game time for any sport. I'm hoping they get it together and finish it tonight. And I know the announcers have a job to do in informing the audience of the streaks and records and other things like that but they keep jinxing the game when they talk about it. Oh, and someone needs to teach Craig Sager how to dress. He kills me every night with the mint green and pink and orange coats and purple striped ties and oh boy. I'm sure he wears what he wears so that the cameras can spot him easily in the crowd but still...

That's all I've got for now. Until next time...

Friday, October 3, 2008

How do you say...

Ok so I missed the VP debates last night because we started having small group at our house on Thursday. I know, I know. On Thursday night? That's like the best TV night ever. I know. But the Lord does what he wants to when he wants to right. It was a good night. We're studying James. Other than Romans, it's probably the most convicting book in the Bible. Sheesh!

Anyway, I caught a little bit of the replay last night as I was flipping through the channels, trying to find a suitable program to fall asleep to. I hit CSPAN. Ding Ding! This is sure for a snooze. However, I actually found myself listening somewhat intently. Both sides made good points and at one point I found myself wondering why Joe Biden was even on the same ticket as Obama. It just doesn't make sense.

Anyway, as the topics quickly changed from same-sex marriage to the Middle East and nuclear warfare, I found myself a little annoyed.

I love Sarah Palin. Please know that upfront. I don't care if she doesn't know it all. No one does. And I think she is the only person in this race who actually does pretend like she does. That's the great thing about her. She's got just enough experience for me and more than enough experience in other things (oil) than anyone else in this race.

However, it annoyed me a little when she would pronounce "nuclear" as "noo-cue-lar" and not "new-clear". So does the W. I just don't get it.

So I began to ponder, how do you say this word? Surely, it is not "noo-cue-lar".

So I looked it up. Yes, my friends, dictionary.com. But to my surprise. It is listed both ways. Here is what dictionary.com lists as it's pronunciation note:

—Pronunciation note: In pronouncing nuclear, the second and third syllables are most commonly said as [-klee-er], a sequence of sounds that directly reflects the spelled sequence ‑cle·ar. In recent years, a somewhat controversial pronunciation has come to public attention, with these two final syllables said as [-kyuh-ler]. Since [-klee-er], the common pronunciation of ‑cle·ar, might also be represented, broadly, as [-kluh-yer], the [-kyuh-ler] pronunciation can be seen as coming from a process of metathesis, in which the [l] and the [y] change places. The resulting pronunciation is reinforced by analogy with such words as molecular, particular, and muscular, and although it occurs with some frequency among highly educated speakers, including scientists, professors, and government officials, it is disapproved of by many.

There you have it.

So my question is, how do YOU say it? I'm taking a poll. Vote at the top right. I want to see if there really is a distinct difference. And I also just wanted to try making a poll. Check back for results soon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You say who is on what?!?!?

Ole Miss is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Yes, folks. The same Sports Illustrated that flaunted the large piece of man-ness know as Michael Phelps just a month ago. The same Sports Illustrated that had Paps and his crazyness on the front last year. (Sidenote: This crazy man named Craig who is reporting for the ALDS sure does not know how to pick a sports coat. It's orange. Or maybe that's just my TV.) Yes, even the same Sports Illustrated that had Lawrence Roberts wrapped in Chirstmas lights sitting on Santa's lap just five years ago (Ok, that was SI On Campus, but it's still the same company).

And for the record, I won't post a picture of the cover because I refuse to litter my blog with such rubbish. Google it if you choose. Anyway, why are they on the cover, you ask? Who freakin' knows. The tag line says: Rebels rise. Upsets change everything. Ole Miss 31, Florida 30. Alabama 41, Georgia 30. Oregon State 27, USC 21.

You may ask, "Why Katie. What is your problem?" I'll tell ya. Let's look at the rankings. Florida was number four. Ole Miss, unranked. Georgia was three. Alabama, eight. USC was number one. Oregon State, unranked.

Let's just forget the lovefest that Sports Illustrated has with Houston Nutt and Nick Saben for a second.

Although USC was a very overrated number one, I think Oregon State deserves their props.

Let's look at the facts:
- It's been 41 years since Oregon State has beaten a No. 1-ranked team.
- The Beavers had a 21 point lead at halftime.
- Although SC pulled the ever-famous come-from-behind that they always do, they couldn't get the job done because of a guy named Greg Layburn who intercepted a pass with less than three minutes to go and ran it back to the SC 2-yard line.
- Freshman at quarterback for OSU.

Ole Miss has upset people before. Florida has been upset before. My mind goes back to a little game last year against a team called Auburn, who had just lost to a team called Mississippi State (19-14) two weeks earlier. The score: 20-17. Auburn. Just about the same calibur of team that Ole Miss is this year. Only Ole Miss has a better quarterback this year. Yes, I said it. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

So with that said, give Oregon State some love. They probably weren't even receiving votes in the polls. I'm thinking Ole Miss might have been. I know the SEC is the best conference in the nation, with the Big 12 coming in at a close second. But the PAC-10 is bad. USC is miles above it's competition there. They go to Corvallis and just get embarassed for the first three quarters of football. That's an upset, no matter how you look at it. Home field advantage or not.

So, Beavers. I salute you. Way to play the underdog card. Well done. SC fell to nine. Florida, to 13. Ole Miss, still unranked.

Now I must go cheer on the BoSox. They are playing some wicked bad ball right now.