Sunday, August 27, 2006


Our kids got to see this movie during the summer when they went to Camp Debby in Dallas. They have raved on and on about it. During June we ate more Happy Meals than usual while trying to collect all the "car characters." Well, it finally arrived at the dollar movie, so we all went to see it last night. It was great.

I couldn't believe that I was wiping away tears induced by animated vehicles who talk. Perhaps that is another blog post for another day. Tears aside, the powerful message about relationships is what is so fantastic about this movie. It really celebrates how we become fully alive only when we are involved in people's lives. It shows a life that has become tired and bitter because of hurt and disappointment turn around and become one of engagement and contribution. It shows another where pride and arrogance are replaced with consideration, love and joy. It shows how we need the involvement of people who love and care for us so that we can blossom into who we are meant to be. Okay, tractor tipping aside - there are some deep messages in this movie.
Oh, and the flies and bugs are all little cars with wingy things - so cute!

I've been meaning to post about Curious George and have not done it yet. Another one I loved.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Kindness of Strangers

Really cool thing happened to me today. I have been intending to call and buy tickets for David to take the kids to see Disney on Ice: The Incredibles. It is during a weekend that I will be away taking a class and besides it seems like a Daddy date kinda' show. Well, I have forgotten to call a few times, then I tried to co-ordinate going with some of Spencer's little guy friends, but that was not coming together quite right either. Today, I decided to sit down and call to get the tickets.

When I heard the voice of the "customer service" person on the other side, I thought - Yikes, this is not going to go well. The poor lady sounded like she was having trouble staying awake at best. Anyway, I asked for what I needed and she became rather chatty and the process of purchasing tickets by phone continued fairly well. Almost at the end, she says "hold on a minute. I have a discount card in my purse that they gave us last year when Disney on Ice came through town and I would like for you to use it." I hear random scratching through her purse and a joyful "found it" on the other side. She comes back on the phone and precedes to tell me that it will save me $5 per ticket and she would like to do that for me. I was thrilled as you can imagine - okay so the $5 is not the issue (actually $15 on the 3 tickets) but it was the fact that she wanted to help me that way.

Now those of you that know me, know that I love a great deal. Free if possible. I am the self-proclaimed coupon/rebate/freebie queen and this was just my cup of tea!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Me on Music & Mat Kearney

There are tons of lists that circulate on blogs, you know the kind. Favorite books, things that irritate you, best vacation spots etc etc. I am always tempted by the Favorite Christian Artist list but can never actually get one posted because it totally depends on the day that I am asked.

I can easily flip flop between Delirious and Caedmon's Call just depending on my mood. I love the new indie band out of Seattle, Hyperstatic Union. On my more "adult, mature days" I love Casting Crowns, MercyMe or Newsboys. On my even more mature days (I am prepared for merciless mockery) I tend to throw back to Philips, Craig and Dean or Dennis Jernigan.

It would be inaccurate if I left out TobyMac. Our house is often rocking with a TobyMac dance party. You can create your own visual for this. Both Spencer and Michaela have some classic moves. Both David and I were blown away by TobyMac in concert - awesome!

I am always a rowdy fan of Tree 63. They birthed and grew out of a Community Church just 45 minutes from where I lived in South Africa. That national pride thing kicks in quite fanatically. Some of my favorites are By The Tree & Telecast. I grew up listening to Pop and Rock that was British and so there is little wonder that I am drawn to the British sound in Christian music.

Then I have my moments, when all I want is that single voice leading me in worship as I sing along. Hands down I love Chris Tomlin. But there are moments when it is Matt Redmon or Bebo Norman. Currently, I am playing my Aaron Schust CD constantly because it is my new favorite and I love every song on it. So many of the songs are great new worship songs I think. Oooh, but that makes me think of the "2 guys with a guitar genre" and I have some favs there too - Monk and Neagle (go Amarillo boys) & Shane and Shane.

So, that is my dilemma. I enjoy a wide range of Christian music, not just one genre. It just depends on the day and the mood. But these that I have listed really are some of my favorites. There are probably more that I have not thought of.

All this to say that on any given day, I love Mat Kearney. I have both of his CD's, Bullet and Nothing Left to Lose - fabulous! This morning I woke up thinking of a few lines from his song Bullet. It's about the cost of true discipleship just put into newer language. Most days, I don't think I reflect this..."I would take a bullet for you, I would cross any line, I'd swim across the sea, I would take a bullet for you, I would take a bullet for you, I would lose it all, I'd take my fall, To show you it's for real." This radical declaration of faithfulness and discipleship is really pulling at me. I think that God is calling me to something more costly in my life.

It took this much of a post on this one type of music. Don't get me started in the larger genre. I literally can flip-flop between... the great musicals (Phantom, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Aspects of Love, Mama Mia, Blood Brothers, 42nd Street, Cats, West Side Story, Joseph, Starlight Express, Sunset Blvd, 5 guys named Moe or the Buddy Holly Story, of which I have seen them all and often spent dollars I did not have because I simply can not resist a great musical) Kanye West, Jack Johnson, Bon Jovi, Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins, Vivaldi, Bee Gees (old stuff) and back again to Andrea Boccelli. Go figure. Music certainly is a gift from God for our pleasure and enjoyement and a return offering to Him.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Back to school dinner

Every year before school begins, we take the kids, actually it has always been Michaela for a back to school dinner of her choice. This year, seeing as though Spencer is starting school he was included in the mix. They chose Olive Garden and off we went. This has also been the time when we give Michaela a James Avery charm to represent something about her life that year. In Kindergarten she received the charm bracelet. In 1st grade, a backpack. This had a dual meaning - she was starting the "real" grades as well as it representing her love of everything detective. She would routinely pack a backpack of detective and spy stuff. I think it was one too many movies about the "Olsen and Olsen Mystery Agency." 2nd grade was a charm of a glove and ball as she tried Softball for the first time and was very good. 3rd grade was a heart - she had figured some things out about how to deal with friends through 2nd grade and is a good friend. 4th grade was a musical note because she was singing with the Amarillo Girls Choir, aswell as progressing with her piano lessons. This year, for 5th grade it was a megaphone charm. For two reasons - she has just completed a musical where she played part of a spirit team and the theme was around a University campus. And she has done a few art projects at a ceramics store that had megaphones on it. I like the idea that a megaphone is used to send a message very loudly - I pray that the megaphone also sends a message that she is a child of God and you can see the message by the way she treats people and lives.
Well, now the plan had to be tweaked a little because Spencer did not need or want a charm bracelet. So, what to get a boy? We decided on the a brown leather chord from James Avery and a little cross pendant. That way, if he get a little nervous at school, he has a visual reminder that Jesus is with him. And he seems to be getting a little nervous already. I look forward to the many pendants that we hope to have hang around his neck in the coming years...something to represent prayer, fun, friends, growth.
Most of all, we pray that our kids understand when they are grown that the intent was to mark the events of their lives, not the gifts themselves. Celebrations are such an important part of the rythym of life to us.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

From Larry James' blog

I have copied and pasted the following blog entry from Larry James of Central Dallas Ministries.

"Okay, I'm going to ask.What you are about to read is a first. Could be a last!I need to raise at least $100,000 by October 31, 2006 in order to pay the required acceptance fee to the State of Texas to receive our low-income, housing tax credit award, to keep our architects working on our City Walk @ Akard project and to pay down our food supply account at the North Texas Food Bank.

I have resisted the urge since beginning this blog to use it as a promotional fundraising tool for the work I attempt to accomplish.Actually, I am not giving up on that standard as I make my unusual request.Let me lay out my thinking.Lots of people who visit here on a fairly regular basis express strong opinions that people of faith should really play the leading role in ministry and uplift to the poor in our nation. Others express slightly different views, but no one has said that people of faith should not be involved.Then, there are lots of people who visit this space whose lives may or may not be shaped by faith. I can't really tell. And, of course, everyone is welcome--we need everyone and every perspective here. Still, folks without faith care a great deal about the plight of the poor and underclass in our country, as well as around the world.So, let's all get down to business.I need to raise $100,000.

Here's how you can help me do it.Stop reading.Write me a check.Or, if you prefer, reach into your wallet or purse and pull out a $1 or a $5 or a $10 or a $20 or a $50 or a $100 dollar bill and mail it to me right now.I guarantee that every penny will go toward the fulfillment of our vision for City Walk @ Akard, our housing development in Downtown Dallas designed especially for low-income and homeless persons, and toward paying for food for low-income families.I believe in the power of grassroots movements.I don't think we will be successful over the long haul if we don't have that kind of involvement and "downward" engagement as we move forward into even larger, more costly and demanding efforts.So, if you really care about the homeless and the poor in Dallas, send me a contribution.It doesn't matter where you live. We need national help to create a model that others can use, adapt and act off of. You can help us build it.

You may or may not care, but every penny given is tax deductible and you will receive a written record of your gift, if you include your address.I want to see how serious the readers in this blog community are about the poor.Make your checks payable to Central Dallas Ministries and mail them or your cash donations to:Larry James' Urban Daily, Central Dallas Ministries, P. O. Box 710385, Dallas, Texas 75371-0385.Oh, and one more very important part of my very serious request:Please forward this post to everyone you know who cares about poverty and real life solutions to its pain and challenge.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.By the way, you can read more about both projects by scrolling back in the blog archives or by doing a search of my blog for "Resource Center" and/or "City Walk @ Akard."Thanks for considering my direct request to join our team as a contributing partner. Such requests won't be frequent. However, when I make one, you can know that it is serious and important."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I've been tagged by Jim Martin

1. One book that changed your life: The Blessing - it has made me try to affirm people on the spot when I see something in them that is admirable, unique, or God like.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Armchair Mystic. It would help me focus the "alone time."

4. One book that made you laugh: Soul Salsa - I love the intensity of Len Sweet's style and the dry humor.

5. One book that made you cry: Nelson Mandela - a Biography. I am proud to say that this man was the president of my country. Potentially he is the only person who was capable of presiding over a country during the years of transition from Apartheid to Democracy, and he did with grace.

6. One book you wish had been written: "10 easy steps to moving churches from institutional to missional" - teehee, just makes me smile thinking that any of those steps would be easy.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Baby Wise. It just about put my husband and I in the grave trying to put a two week old baby on a schedule. We celebrated by "trashing" it and going with our gut!

8. One book you’re currently reading: The Young Evangelicals by Robert E. Webber

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren

10. Tag 5 others: Amy Grant, Angela Bruce, Dena Johnson, Don Eudayle, Gina Robinson - Bek, if you could find your password I would have tagged you too....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

FYI - re:previous posts

Habitat House Post:
Don, this is a picture of the completed house. Giving this family the dignity of a place to call home is truly kingdom work.

Amy Stroup Post:
Jim, it is amazing that you know the Stroup's. Our children's minister, Ken Danley, has been a family friend of theirs for years. I know we laugh about this, but it is one of the cool things (most of the time) about churches of Christ - there is no real degree of seperation.

Have a blessed day.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Amy Stroup

This is the 3rd year that our church has brought Amy Stroup from Nashville to do a concert. She is amazing. She is as talented at the piano as she is with her guitar and above all she is a great songwriter, worship leader and role model for kids.
If you are thinking of doing a concert and need a good artist, get hold of Amy. She is really growing her career as an "inde" artist and you will be blessed by the depth of her lyrics and the singability of her music. Check out (the site was having some issues, so if you don't get it first time, keep trying).

Amy grew up in Abilene and she has written a song called "chasing greenlights." She tells of how often when driving down Tredaway Blvd. in Abilene she would get caught at every red light. Soon enough she learned that if she drove at 28 miles, she could catch them all green. Her point is that when we allow God to drive, he enables us to hit the green lights and we can make our way through life (not for one minute saying it will be a road without struggles, but He will walk with us). However, when we are in control and keep wanting to yank back our life control we so often just hit red light after red light.
That seemed pertinent for me today. I think I will spend the rest of my life having to hand back control to the real driver.