Friday, January 30, 2009

Flashback Friday--Yeah

This song reminds me of my 30th birthday.....3 coworkers and I planned to go see the Chippendale's dancers ON my birthday! Unfortunately, Kelsey had a bad ear infection, but Milly, Cathy and I went and had a BALL! It was a fantastic way to usher in a new decade!! And it was one of those things that you definitely don't do very often, you know? (Cause ya'll have probably realized what a party animal I am!)

So here ya go, a St. Elmo section of Chattanooga boy made good! (My best friend used to live in that same part of town--its very close to the Georgia border!)

Do share your flashback!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Somewhat of a Dad update!

We still don't have a surgery date! He is supposed to have an echocardiogram and a stress test before they actually schedule it. The good news is that it hasn't gotten any bigger, so it is no more critical than it has been for the past six months. Apparently it is at the 'needs surgery' stage but not at the 'critical' stage, which really does make me feel better!

This week has continued to be crazy stressful. I am determined to remember that I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me! Even the simple, little things!

I can't believe that I'll be heading toward Blissdom in a week!!

Anything coming up that you're excited about??

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I must be doing something right...

cause ever since I posted the last entry on my blog, the Devil has been on my back!! The past few days have been very hectic and stressful. I know he (the Devil) can't stand that I am focusing on the Lord and letting go of things out of my control, so he's doing everything he can to thwart my efforts! But he's not gonna get me down! I'm going to continue to fight every step of the way and keep my EYES ON THE PRIZE!!

I found out that I am going to have a student teacher starting next week! I think it will be interesting, but I'm nervous!! I'm SO not an example to follow about organization! LOL But on the flip side, part of the reason I don't have a neat and organized work space is because I'm too busy teaching to sit down and straighten up. So maybe that is the good part that gets across! (At least I hope so!) The good thing is, I've known this girl for years! She was in our youth group, so she knows how I am...I can't decide if that is a good or bad thing, though!

So what about you, if there are any readers still out there?? How are YOU? Winter wearing you down, or are you just doing peachy? I'm sorry that I haven't been blog hopping regularly lately. These two classes are tres demanding, in addition to just LIFE, ya know?!

We will find out Thursday when Daddy's surgery will be scheduled. And next weekend, I'm off to BLISSDOM! Woo hooo! Of course the 'Mama Guilt' has already started...that I shouldn't be going, how will they do without me, etc. etc. etc. My mom and my husband have both been quick to 'straighten me out' and remind me that it will all be okay, and that it IS okay for me to go relax and enjoy something just for ME. Mom reassured me that even if Dad has surgery next week, that I need to still go, cause he'll be well cared for in the hospital and they'll need me more after he gets home.

And get this.....Chris told his mom (who I worry about thinking I'm awful for going away for the weekend) that I was going to a conference, but didn't specify what KIND of conference! hee hee I know, I know, I guess it is lying by omission, but does it really hurt anything for her to think that I'm going to something work related?!

Have a great week, ya'll!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

God is so awesome!

I know that you know that, but I have just been so BLESSED by him this week. I have gotten to actually talk to someone with whom things have been strained for years. I am dealing with some things that really could be upsetting me, but He has shown me how non-productive that is. I can feel His transformation in me each day, and I am so filled with His peace!! I am just so glad that I can trust in Him and know that no matter what is stressing me out, He's handled worse. No matter who I'm worried about, He loves them even more than I do, and wants the best for them. I'm just looking to Him for guidance, and of course, He's right there where He's always been...just waiting for ME to come to Him.

Dad finds out next Thursday when he will be having the open heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm in the thoracic region. Part of me is nervous about it, but at the same time, I'm filled with a calm that can only be from Him. I know that God will take care of Dad. It feel so good to trust in Him, why in the world do we ever take things on ourselves and worry??

I'm also realizing some things that have distracted me not only from my relationship with God, but also from actually being PRESENT with my family. I'm returning my focus where it belongs, and it feels so good! I feel like I'm internally running and skipping around the Alps like Maria in Sound of Music! I don't know how else to describe it!! And the a totally still body of water. Like glass. Maybe a whisper of a gentle breeze, but not enough to disturb the surface of the water.

I just love it. What many blessings I have! Even those adversities that I might face....they're certainly do-able, as long as I have my Christ, and my family and friends. I truly CAN do ANYTHING because He makes me strong!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flashback Friday--Deep Thoughts

This was the THING on SNL when I was in college. I remember the weekend before Spring Break when we were snowed in on campus (remember the Blizzard in '93?!) I was hanging out in the room with some basketball players and a couple of my sorority sisters, and we'd take a break from our dancing every once in a while and someone would read one of these Deep Thoughts! LOL

Looking back, I even remember then that they didn't always make much sense....and that was when I actually imbibed more than once or twice a year!

And now, it's time for Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy.....

Now, what do you wanna share today?? Thanks for always participating, gals!! I love ya!
Don't forget to sign Mr Linky!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Grace for the Afflicted

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness

Paternoster (September 5, 2008)


Dr. Matthew S. Stanford is professor of psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical studies at Baylor University, where he also serves as the director of the Psychology Doctoral Program. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Baylor in 1992. After graduating from Baylor he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Prior to returning to Baylor as a member of the staff in 2003, he was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Orleans.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Paternoster (September 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934068446
ISBN-13: 978-1934068441


Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The church we were involved with at the onset of my son’s [mental] illness did not respond to us when we requested that a team come out and pray over him. . . . We were looking for support and comfort, and the churches we encountered were

not equipped to give that to us because they did not seem to have a complete handle on what we were dealing with. We have fallen away from the church, but not from God. —Laurie, mother of a son diagnosed with schizophrenia

“The Scriptures tell us that in Christ we have everything we need for life and godliness, correct? So can you explain to me why Anna’s bipolar disorder and her dependence on medication is not an issue of weak faith or sin?”

Only two of us stayed after the church meeting that morning, talking over coffee. I was a deacon in the church at the time, and the man who asked the question was a friend and respected elder. The question took me by surprise, and initially I was speechless (a condition for which I am, unfortunately, not known). If you have a loved one with a mental illness—or you yourself struggle with the debilitating symptoms—your first reaction to such a question may have been more along the lines of sadness, disgust, or anger.

But in my friend’s defense, he sincerely wanted to understand something he saw as alien and frightening. Was Anna sick, or was she spiritually weak? We know from 2 Peter 1:3 that we do have “everything we need for life and godliness.” Yet, even though Anna professed Christ as Savior, her life was a mixture of family problems, shame, suffering, and strange behavior. How should the church respond?

Science and faith have had a long and tense relationship. A dangerous and damaging battle—a battle between faith and psychiatry/psychology—is being waged daily in churches throughout the world. And lives are being destroyed. Men and women with diagnosed mental illnesses are told they need to pray more and turn from their sin. Mental illness is equated with demon-possession, weak faith, and generational sin. The underlying cause of this stain on the church is a lack of knowledge, both of basic brain function and of scriptural truth.

Mental illness is a frightening experience, not only for the afflicted but also for those who witness an individual struggling with strange thoughts and behaviors. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages eighteen and older (one in four adults) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1 Centuries of tension between the church and the scientific community have made pastors and laypeople alike wary of adopting scientific explanations for behaviors and thoughts that, on the surface, may appear sinful (e.g., suicidal ideations).

Again, I believe that the lack of understanding in the church related to mental illness is rooted in spiritual ignorance and fear. So, let’s look first to God’s Holy Word to gain a better understanding of how we were created, what effects the Fall has had on our physical bodies and minds, and who we are in Christ.

How Are We Created?

We have been created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26). We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We are complex beings, unlike any other living creature: the union of a physical body with an immaterial mind and spirit. While each aspect is separate, in some sense, they are connected and affect one another. The Scriptures attest to this truth.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:2)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) (all emphases, author’s)

The Body

At one level we exist in a physical body so that we can interact with the physical world around us. Our heart pumps; our stomach and intestines digest; our muscles relax and contract; our lungs inhale and exhale; our brain cells fire. We are God’s creative masterpiece: a miracle of skin, bone, and blood formed from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). But at the same time we are so much more. We perceive. We think and reason. We pray.

There is also an immaterial, nonphysical aspect to our being—what some call our mind or soul.

The Mind

What is the mind? This question has baffled philosophers and scientists alike for thousands of years. Are our thoughts and perceptions merely the product of neurochemical changes and electrical discharges in our brain? Or is our mind something more—something immaterial, more than the sum of our parts? I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. The functioning of our brain is integral to the existence of our mind, but that alone is not sufficient to explain it. Likewise, to imagine our mind as completely separate and unrelated to the physical does not seem correct either. Body and mind are intimately connected, each affecting the other. We retrieve a past memory of a fearful event in our mind, and our physiology reacts. Our sensory receptors are activated by familiar stimuli in the environment, and past thoughts and feelings rush to consciousness.

The Scriptures often speak of the mind. It is here that we . . .

Plan our actions

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Choose to sin

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. (Romans 8:6–7)


What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing

with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. (1 Corinthians 14:15)

Receive revelation and understanding from God

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Meditate on the truths of God

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

Are transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

(all emphases, author’s)

It is with our mind that we think and choose. It is our mind that controls our actions. And it is our mind that God wants to change through the process of sanctification, conforming us ever closer to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). A physical body formed by the hands of the Maker in union with an immaterial mind that controls and plans our behavior is a truly miraculous concept, though a difficult one to grasp. And the Scriptures teach us that we also have a third and even more amazing level of being, a spirit.

The Spirit

It is not uncommon for neuroscientists to talk and debate about the mind. We might use fancier words like consciousness or self-awareness to make it sound more “scientific,” but we are still talking about an immaterial, invisible aspect of our being. Things that can’t be seen make scientists uncomfortable. We don’t like to say that something is beyond our understanding or that it can’t be measured. We may admit that we don’t understand something presently but qualify our admission by saying that with enough study and the continued advancement of science we will one day. So to describe us as having a spirit, in addition to a mind and a body, seems almost heretical from a scientific perspective. But here is where we scientists must understand that Scripture is our ultimate authority and that it precisely describes our created being in the context of our relationship with God and our fellow human beings.

God created us as a unity of three parts, much like Himself. In our inmost being we are spirit, the very breath of God placed into a shell of dust (Genesis 2:7). That is how we differ from the other living creatures: both were created from the ground (Genesis 2:7, 19), but only humanity is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). I like the way Paul Brand and Philip Yancey describe it in their book In His Image:

“And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (2:7).

When I heard that verse as a child, I imagined Adam lying on the ground, perfectly formed but not yet alive, with God leaning over him and performing a sort of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Now I picture that scene differently. I assume that Adam was already biologically alive—the other animals needed no special puff of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide to start them breathing, so why should man? The breath of God now symbolizes for me a spiritual reality. I see Adam as alive, but possessing only an animal vitality. Then God breathes into him a new spirit, and infills him with His own image. Adam becomes a living soul, not just a living body. God’s image is not an arrangement of skin cells or a physical shape, but rather an inbreathed spirit.2

Our body, while we see it as our true identity, is little more than a container for our true essence, which is spirit (2 Corinthians 5:1). It is in our spirit that we have the opportunity to be in union with the very God of the universe (Proverbs 20:27; Romans 8:16).

Bringing It All Together

So how does all this work together—body, mind, and spirit? Let’s look at a simple visual representation. Figure 1 shows three concentric circles, each separate but interacting with the one above and/or below. The outermost circle represents the body, which is in contact with the earthly environment (outside) and the mind. The middle circle is the mind, which is connected to the body through the functions of the brain and nervous system but also in contact with our immaterial spirit (the innermost circle). The body senses and reacts to the external environment; and the mind uses that information to perceive, understand, and interpret our surroundings. The mind also forms our thoughts and plans our actions. The spirit, when connected to God, works to transform the mind into the very image of Christ, which results in an ever-increasing display of godly behaviors through the body.

We are an amazing creation! The physical (body) interacting with the immaterial (mind/spirit). Physical beings designed to be in an intimate communion with the very Creator of the universe, who is spirit (John 4:24). That is how we were created, and that is how it was supposed to be. But humanity fell (sinned), and the consequences of our disobedience are felt every day, both spiritually and physically.

How Have We Been Affected by the Fall?

After the shock had worn off, I thought for a minute about how to respond to my friend’s question about Anna. I asked him, “Do you know anyone who has heart disease and regularly takes medication?”

He said that he did, but before I could continue, he asked me if I was trying to say that Anna’s bipolar disorder and heart disease were somehow the same. Throughout this book, I will try to answer that question. How are they the same? How do they differ? But first we need to answer a more foundational question: What are the results of man’s sin?

When a follower of Jesus Christ is asked that question, he or she will often quote Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Such a response correctly points out that spiritual death, or separation from God, is the result of sin. As children of Adam, we are sinful by nature and therefore spiritually dead and separated from God at birth (Romans 5:12).

I have always thought it strange, however, that the answer to the question rarely goes beyond the spiritual. Clearly, spiritual death resulted from our sin. But what about the other aspects of our being, our mind and body? How were they affected by the Fall? I have suggested that the Scriptures describe us as a three-part being, with each part interacting with and affecting the others. If that is true, then our sin must have also adversely affected our mind and body. I’m not saying that this truth is completely unknown in the church today. Plainly, the Bible teaches us that we are fully defiled by sin (body, mind, and spirit)—caught in what some theologians call “total depravity” (see Romans 3:12). Yet the church emphasizes the spiritual effects of sin while minimizing or disregarding the mental and physical effects. As I stated above, I think this results from a misunderstanding of what the Scriptures teach about how we have been created.


At birth, we are physically alive but spiritually dead. We are born with an imperfect body, scarred as the result of generations of sin. On the day that Adam and Eve fell, they forfeited their intimate relationship with God, and they became mortal. And we were placed at the mercy of the environment and natural biological processes that wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. But as Jesus teaches in the story of the man born blind, each time we struggle with illness and physical weakness is an opportunity for “the works of God” to be “displayed” (John 9:1–3).


When Adam and Eve fell, we were forced to fend for ourselves in a hostile and fallen world. Look at figure 2 to get a better idea of how and why we think and act the way we do. As we grow and mature, our body and mind learn to interact with and react to our fallen environment, all the while spiritually separated from God by our sin. The body, physically affected by the Fall, gathers sensations and stimuli from the earthly environment (small black arrows). Our mind, knowing only sin because of our separation from God, chooses to satisfy itself by the “If it feels good, do it” lifestyle, or what we in psychology call the pleasure principle. In doing so, it associates normal physiological reactions and sensations with lustful desires and wants, causing impure thoughts to come to mind almost instantly in common, everyday situations (James 1:14–15). It is in our mind that we choose to sin (2 Corinthians 10:5); and it is with our body (Ephesians 2:3), or “members” (Romans 7:23), that we act out our sinful thoughts (large black arrows). This process is altered only in the individual who comes to a saving faith in Christ Jesus, and even then that believer continues to struggle with a sinfully programmed mind and body (Romans 7:14–25).

In addition to the sinful desires that attempt to control us, another result of sin is physical death and decay.

Physical Death

God told Adam that in the day he ate from the forbidden tree he would surely die (Genesis 2:16–17); and while He certainly meant this in the spiritual sense, He also meant it in the physical sense. The moment that Adam disobeyed he began to age and decay (Genesis 3:19). Physical death came a little closer each day of his life, and so it continues for us. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that the whole of the physical creation was affected by our sin and longs for the day of redemption (Romans 8:19–22). Our bodies are damaged because of sin. We age. We get sick. We suffer physically and die because the physical creation has been affected by the Fall.

However, while we were all born “dead in sin,” which affected our body, mind, and spirit, there is an amazing truth for those who have been “born again”: we are new creations in Christ; the old things have passed away; the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

Our Identity in Christ

Have you ever thought about what it means that you are a “new creation”? It means that you have been fundamentally changed; what you were before becoming a Christian no longer exists. That is not how I used to see myself. I lived Sunday to Sunday, holding on to some kind of faith-based fire insurance that I could turn in at my death in order to get into heaven. I certainly didn’t see myself as Paul describes the believer in Ephesians 1, having every spiritual blessing. I now recognize that as a believer in Jesus Christ I was chosen before the foundation of the world; predestined for adoption as a son of the living God; purchased out of slavery to sin and death; forgiven of all my sins—past, present, and future; given spiritual wisdom and revelation; and marked as such until the day that I stand before Him holy and blameless.

Do you see yourself that way? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then that is exactly how God sees you—whether you accept it or not. It doesn’t matter if you are struggling with mental illness. You are a new creation in Christ if you have received Him by faith. And we who minister to those who struggle with mental illness should remember that they are His chosen children, if they are in Christ, and they should be treated as such.

A Transformed Life

We were born with a fallen nature, which we received from our ancestral father Adam. But when a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he or she is “crucified”! The “old self” is nailed to the cross with Christ, never to return (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20). God gives us His Spirit; Christ’s very life takes up residence in us (Colossians 3:1–3). We have His righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9) and a new, Christlike nature (Ephesians 4:24). Spiritually, we sit at the very right hand of God Almighty (Ephesians 2:6).

So, just like my friend said, as believers we are complete in Christ, having everything we need for life and godliness in Him (2 Peter 1:3). That is true in the spiritual realm, but remember that we are a unity of three parts. What happens to our body and mind after we are transformed in the spirit?

Being Conformed to the Image of Christ

You were born affected by sin, and you lived some period of time before coming to Christ. Consequently, you have habits, thought patterns, and biological predispositions that are the result of your old self. This “sinful flesh” does not disappear because you have been given a new life. But change is now possible, whereas before it was not.

Let’s look at figure 3 to help understand our new life. We now see, in the inner circle, the very life of Christ within us. The Scriptures teach us that we are to submit ourselves to Christ, allowing Him to transform our minds (Romans 12:1–2). In the diagram this is represented by the small white arrowheads. As our minds are transformed and our thoughts are taken captive to Christ, He begins to take control of the “members” of our body (symbolized by the three large, black-and-white arrows), and our behaviors change (Colossians 3:5–10).

Why Write This Book?

At this point you may be saying to yourself, I thought this book was about mental illness and Christianity. When are you going to talk about my son’s disorder? I need to know what to do! Why am I having these thoughts and feelings? I don’t want to be like this!

Those emotional responses, and many more like them, are why this book has been written. But beyond that, I have seen the limitations of psychiatry and psychology firsthand.

As a research scientist studying human aggression, I see the results of the Fall every day—broken men and women who want to behave differently but feel as if they have lost control of themselves, wives who fear their husbands, children who seem destined to repeat the sins of their fathers. In my laboratory, we test the effectiveness of different medications on aggressive behavior. In many instances the treatments are successful: the patient’s aggressive behavior is reduced in intensity and frequency. But is that enough if the person still does not know Christ? The medication treats only the physical effects of the Fall. The mental effects often remain; and if the patient does not know Christ, so does his or her spiritual separation from God.

I hope this chapter has shown you that we have been affected by sin at all three levels of our being. Both believers and nonbelievers carry the physical and mental effects of sinful programming. Fortunately, believers have been transformed in their inner being and are righteous before their Maker. But that does not instantaneously remove the sinful “flesh” we still carry around. Sanctification is a process by which our minds are transformed through submission to Christ. Biological defects and weaknesses do not go away by themselves, no matter how much we want them to or have faith that they will. God can certainly choose to heal us supernaturally, and in some cases He does so. But we should see our weaknesses as an opportunity to grow in our faith (2 Corinthians 12:7–10; James 1:2–4). Like the man born blind, we are flawed so that “the works of God might be displayed” in us (John 9:3).

1. Ronald C. Kessler et al., “Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of Twelve-Month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), Archives of General Psychiatry 62 (2005): 617–27.

2. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, In His Image (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), 22.

My own take on the book:

I really appreciate this book and the author for writing it. As someone who has suffered for years from depression, I have often had to defend my decision to seek Christian counselor and take medication. This book answers those who believe that I am wrong by doing this with Biblical answers. What a refreshing thing to read that solutions to mental illness can come from the Lord!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In His time....

I remember a song from way back in the day, from a Psalty album we had (anyone remember Psalty?!) that went something like this....

In His time
In His time
He makes all things beautiful, in His time
Lord, please show me every day
As You're teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say
In Your time

In Your time
In Your time
You make all things beautiful, in Your time
Lord, my life to you I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to you a lovely thing
In your time.

I need that reminder today! Thank you, Lord, for taking care of things so I don't have to!

And just so you're left with a lovely visual image for this, here's a pic of Psalty!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

In the Name of Love

This video, and John Legend singing this song, shatters me. I've never gotten emotional about Martin Luther King, Jr., but when I showed this video to my class last week while teaching them about him, I wept. When it was over I told them that if it weren't for him, that all of us who were sitting in that room wouldn't be able to be together on that day.

Watch this and don't tear up. I dare you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Do you have on your full armour?

I was intrigued by a post and some questions asked at Internet Cafe Devotions yesterday. It is a worthwhile read!

Here are the questions posed:

What piece of armor do you overlook?

Are you having a difficult time staying in prayer and devotion daily?

Right now, I seem to be overlooking the fittings for my feet that contain the gospel of peace. I'm not finding peace, and I know that it is probably no one's fault but my own, deep down. My problem is rooted in frustrations at church and work and the extra stress added by being back in school. But I know if I went to God in prayer and devotion more consistently, it would certainly help me. I am not feeling very spiritually fed, so I need to take it upon myself to SEEK spiritual food for myself!

And as I said in the answer above, YES I'm struggling to stay in prayer and devotion right now. If you could pray for me on this, I would be very appreciative!

We didn't make it to church today since the town was basically iced over, along with much of the region! We did try to make it to Children's Choir practice tonight, but our family and the director and his wife were the only ones to show up. The boys and I watched a podcast today from Generation Church that was very good...not too long to hold the boys' attention. I did get my interview questions done that I've got to do for my assignment this week done, and wrote my lesson plans, but I'm still hoping for this snow that they say is coming!

Hope you had a good weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flashback Friday--You Oughta Know

It was a crazy time in my life.....I was living alone and working, and had no prospects on the horizon as far as men went. I was still hurting over a relationship that had ended years before, though I had had a very 'rebound' type relationship since then.

We, meaning my sister, brother in law, and I, took our youth group on a trip that summer. The place we ended up staying was a piece of work, I tell ya! No pool, so the kids weren't ever thrilled with being there. Some demanding youth who were drama queens. More kids than we could fit on the church van, so I had to drive my beloved Grand Am everywhere we went.

It's funny, though those senior high youth that rode with me were then 9/10 years younger than me, they are now very much my equal and friends. I work with one, one just finished pharmacy school, and one is serving our country in Iraq.

We played Alanis Morrisette's CD nonstop! I don't remember if we ever listened to anything else on the entire trip! On this song, I would try valiantly to skip over the bad word part, but every time I tried, I ended up turning it UP for that f-word!! The kids just laughed at me. It wasn't like they didn't have their own CD at home where they heard the same word.

And this was a song that I really felt summed up my feelings for the ex-boyfriend who broke my heart at the time. Looking back, I know he wasn't the best thing for me and that God had better plans in store for me. But at the time.....

So this is for you, Kellie, Diane, and Evan! I'll always remember the fun we had on that trip!

What about you? You KNOW you have a Flashback in ya! Share it on your blog, and come link up here with us! TGIF!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

OK, so I was wrong.

Dad is NOT finding stuff out today. Apparently they haven't finished reading the CT scan. I'm not sure when he'll find out, but I'll keep you posted. He DID have an appointment with his bladder doctor (he had bladder cancer over 10 years ago) and got a clean bill of health from him, so that is good news!

I started my new classes on Tuesday. Oh. my. I'm so glad that the girls who have been through the program told me that things would be very different than from last semester or I would have seriously be having a panic attack! I was pretty nerved out as it was! LOL And add to this that it was snowing and I was hearing scrapers go around the road below our classroom....and she kept us 10 min. over.....yeah, I was nerved out! Of course, roads were fine once I got on the interstate.

I worked on just the READING portion of our assignment for about 4 hours and took about 20 pages of notes last night. No, I'm not kidding. So yeah, gonna be WAAAAY different than last semester!

In good news, we're on a 90 minute delay tomorrow because of the expected cold temps! So woo hoo on that one!

Nothing else too exciting is going til tomorrow.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Go, Maria, Go!

This is my 14 year old FRESHMAN niece who is getting playing time on the varsity team! She's scrappy like her Mom! (I can't claim any influence on athletic ability--her mom got all those genes!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Daddy is so silly...

I talked to him this afternoon, and he was telling me how when the computerized voice on the CT scan told him to hold his breath, he'd say,"Okay!" and when she said breathe he would say "Thank you!" I laughed and told him I had had a CT scan and heard the lady, and he asked me,"Did you answer her?" Of course, I told him no, to which he answered, "Well, you probably hurt her feelings!"

Needless to say, nothing is wrong with his sense of humor!

Still praying for a miracle, but preparing for the probable reality of open heart surgery in our future.


I tell ya, guys, the devil's been working on me. I must be ready to do some mighty work in God's name, cause he is fighting me every step of the way. I attempted to start a Negativity Fast last week, and the insomnia was not the only thing I was fighting! I had a dear, dear friend deal with a loss last Friday, and my dad goes for a CT today to see if the aneurysm in his aorta needs to be operated on. Chances are, it does, but we are still praying for a miracle. He goes on Thursday to see what it said.

I start back to class tomorrow, and apparently this professor piles it on quite a bit more than the one I had last semester, so I'm a little worried about that.

Just pray, ya'll. He knows what I need more than I even do, so if you pray, I know He'll answer!!

Have a great week!

(I'm restarting the Negativity Fast via email, and if you'd like to join me, please leave it in your comment! I'd love for us to be able to support each other!)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Flashback Friday--Black or White

January often brings this song back to memory! I heard it the other day and thought,"THAT is a song I need to do a flashback on!" It started one night when we were freshmen in college. It was the first of the semester, so we didn't have lots of homework and studying to do yet. My friend Robin (notice she often is my partner in crime in these stories?!), me and her then roommate Allison were hanging out in one of the lounges in what was then the student center. Hey, there was a big screen COLOR tv! Allison and Robin had a black and white tv, and my roommate and I didn't have a tv at all, so color? Big screen? You get the idea!

This video came on, and it was absolutely amazing! To see the people morphing into each other was like nothing we had ever seen--if I remember correctly, it was groundbreaking at the time. Allison had the tendency to buy TONS of music, so she had the song before long, and we would drive around campus just so we could hear the same song! I always think of that when I hear this song!

I couldn't embed the video, but you can click here to go to You Tube and see the full version with bass amplify! (hear the crowd go "ahhhhh" and "ooooooh" over BASS AMPLIFY!

What about you? Surely there is a song or tv show or SOMETHING that you love remembering and takes you straight back to that time in your life! Here's your chance to share it with the world! Don't forget to come back and sign Mr. Linky so we can check it out!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Insomnia

Do you sense my frustration here?! Yep.

Any prayers or suggestions are coveted and appreciated!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Curious as a Cat #7

1) What is the cause that you believe is the most worthy of all those available?
Any cause that directly benefits children

2) What problem is the most common among people your age?

Um, lately seems to be their spouse deciding they wanna have their cake and eat it too, or on the flip side, getting CAUGHT with you pants down!

3) Who do you feel is the most underappreciated actor (male or female) in the history of Hollywood?
In the history, man that is a lot of actors! The two that come to mind are Faye Dunaway and Minnie Driver.

4) Show and Tell. What comes to mind first when you see this picture? Or, tell a story if it reminds you of one.

First thing that comes to mind?? What in the h*ll is that?! I didn't know it was dishes til I copied it! LOL

This one's for YOU Lisa!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Be Strong and Curvaceous

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Be Strong and Curvaceous (All About Us Series, Book 3)

FaithWords (January 2, 2009)

Plus a Tiffany's Bracelet Giveaway! Go to Camy Tang's Blog and leave a comment on her FIRST Wild Card Tour for Be Strong and Curvaceous, and you will be placed into a drawing for a bracelet that looks similar to the picture below.


Shelley Adina is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She knows the value of a relationship with a gracious God and loving Christian friends, and she's inviting today's teenage girls to join her in these refreshingly honest books about real life as a Christian teen--with a little extra glitz thrown in for fun! In between books, Adina loves traveling, listening to and making music, and watching all kinds of movies.

It's All About Us is Book One in the All About Us Series. Book Two, The Fruit of my Lipstick came out in August 2008. Book Three, Be Strong & Curvaceous, came out January 2, 2009. And Book Four, Who Made You a Princess?, comes out May 13, 2009.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (January 2, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446177997
ISBN-13: 978-0446177993


BE CAREFUL WHAT you wish for.

I used to think that was the dumbest saying ever. I mean, when you wish for something, by definition it’s wonderful, right? Like a new dress for a party. Or a roommate as cool as Gillian Chang or Lissa Mansfield. Or a guy noticing you after six months of being invisible. Before last term, of course I wanted those wishes to come true.

I should have been more careful.

Let me back up a little. My name is Carolina Isabella Aragon Velasquez . . . but that doesn’t fit on school admission forms, so when I started first grade, it got shortened up to Carolina Aragon—Carly to my friends. Up until I was a sophomore, I lived with my mother and father, my older sister Alana and little brother Antony in a huge house in Monte Sereno, just south of Silicon Valley. Papa’s company invented some kind of security software for stock exchanges, and he and everyone who worked for him got rich.

Then came Black Thursday and the stock market crash, and suddenly my mom was leaving him and going to live with her parents in Veracruz, Mexico, to be an artist and find herself. Alana finished college and moved to Austin, Texas, where we have lots of relatives. Antony, Papa, and I moved to a condo about the size of our old living room, and since Papa spends so much time on the road, where I’ve found myself since September is boarding school.

The spring term started in April, and as I got out of the limo Papa sends me back to Spencer Academy in every Sunday night—even though I’m perfectly capable of taking the train—I couldn’t help but feel a little bubble of optimism deep inside. Call me corny, but the news that Vanessa Talbot and Brett Loyola had broken up just before spring break had made the last ten days the happiest I’d had since my parents split up. Even flying to Veracruz, courtesy of Papa’s frequent flyer miles, and being introduced to my mother’s boyfriend hadn’t put a dent in it.

Ugh. Okay, I lied. So not going there.

Thinking about Brett now. Dark, romantic eyes. Curly dark hair, cut short because he’s the captain of the rowing team. Broad shoulders. Fabulous clothes he wears as if he doesn’t care where he got them.

Oh, yeah. Much better.

Lost in happy plans for how I’d finally get his attention (I was signing up to be a chem tutor first thing because, let’s face it, he needs me), I pushed open the door to my room and staggered in with my duffel bags.

My hands loosened and I dropped everything with a thud.

There were Vuitton suitcases all over the room. Enough for an entire family. In fact, the trunk was so big you could put a family in it—the kids, at least.

“Close the door, why don’t you?” said a bored British voice, with a barely noticeable roll on the r. A girl stepped out from behind the wardrobe door.

Red hair in an explosion of curls.

Fishnet stockings to here and glossy Louboutin ankle boots.

Blue eyes that grabbed you and made you wonder why she was so . . . not interested in whether you took another breath.


How come no one had told me I was getting a roommate? And who could have prepared me for this, anyway?

“Who are you?”

“Mac,” she said, returning to the depths of the wardrobe. Most people would have said, “What’s your name?” back. She didn’t.

“I’m Carly.” Did I feel lame or what?

She looked around the door. “Pleasure. Looks like we’re to be roommates.” Then she went back to hanging things up.

There was no point in restating the obvious. I gathered my scattered brains and tried to remember what Mama had taught me that a good hostess was supposed to do. “Did someone show you where the dining room is? Supper is between five and six-thirty, and I usually—”

“Carrie. I expected my own room,” she said, as if I hadn’t been talking. “Whom do I speak to?”

“It’s Carly. And Ms. Tobin’s the dorm mistress for this floor.”

“Fine. What were you saying about tea?”

I took a breath and remembered that one of us was what my brother calls couth. As opposed to un. “You’re welcome to come with me and my friends if you want.”

Pop! went the latches on the trunk. She threw up the lid and looked at me over the top of it, her reddish eyebrows lifting in amusement.

“Thanks so much. But I’ll pass.”

Okay, even I have my limits. I picked up my duffel, dropped it on the end of my bed, and left her to it. Maybe by the time I got back from tea—er, supper—she’d have convinced Ms. Tobin to give her a room in another dorm.

The way things looked, this chica would probably demand the headmistress’s suite.

* * *

“What a mo guai nuer,” Gillian said over her tortellini and asparagus. “I can’t believe she snubbed you like that.”

“You of all people,” Lissa agreed, “who wouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings for anything.”

“I wanted to—if I could have come up with something scathing.” Lissa looked surprised, as if I’d shocked her. Well, I may not put my feelings out there for everyone to see, like Gillian does, but I’m still entitled to have them. “But you know how you freeze when you realize you’ve just been cut off at the knees?”

“What happened to your knees?” Jeremy Clay put his plate of linguine down and slid in next to Gillian. They traded a smile that made me feel sort of hollow inside—not the way I’d felt after Mac’s little setdown, but . . . like I was missing out on something. Like they had a secret and weren’t telling.

You know what? Feeling sorry for yourself is not the way to start off a term. I smiled at Jeremy. “Nothing. How was your break? Did you get up to New York the way you guys had planned?”

He glanced at Gillian. “Yeah, I did.”

Argh. Men. Never ask them a yes/no question. “And? Did you have fun? Shani said she had a blast after the initial shock.”

Gillian grinned at me. “That’s a nice way of saying that my grandmother scared the stilettos off her. At first. But then Nai-Nai realized Shani could eat anyone under the table, even my brothers, no matter what she put in front of her, so after that they were best friends.”

“My grandmother’s like that, too,” I said, nodding in sympathy. “She thinks I’m too thin, so she’s always making pots of mole and stuff. Little does she know.”

It’s a fact that I have way too much junk in my trunk. Part of the reason my focus is in history, with as many fashion design electives as I can get away with, is that when I make my own clothes, I can drape and cut to accentuate the positive and make people forget that big old negative following me around.

“You aren’t too thin or too fat.” Lissa is a perfect four. She’s also the most loyal friend in the world. “You’re just right. If I had your curves, I’d be a happy woman.”

Time to change the subject. The last thing I wanted to do was talk about my body in front of a guy, even if he belonged to someone else. “So, did you guys get to see Pride and Prejudice—The Musical? Shani said you were bribing someone to get tickets.”

“Close,” Gillian said. “My mom is on the orchestra’s board, so we got seats in the first circle. You’d have loved it. Costume heaven.”

“I would have.” I sighed. “Why did I have to go to Veracruz for spring break? How come I couldn’t have gone to New York, too?”

I hoped I sounded rhetorical. The truth was, there wasn’t any money for trips to New York to see the hottest musical on Broadway with my friends. Or for the clothes to wear once I got there—unless I made them myself.

“That’s it, then.” Gillian waved a grape tomato on the end of her fork. “Next break, you and Lissa are coming to see me. Not in the summer—no one in their right mind stays in the city in July. But at Christmas.”

“Maybe we’ll go to Veracruz,” Lissa suggested. “Or you guys can come to Santa Barbara and I’ll teach you to surf.”

“That sounds perfect,” I said. Either of Lissa’s options wouldn’t cost very much. New York, on the other hand, would. “I like warm places for my winter holidays.”

“Good point,” Gillian conceded. “So do I.”

“Notice how getting through the last term of junior year isn’t even on your radar?” Jeremy asked no one in particular. “It’s all about vacations with you guys.”

“Vacations are our reward,” Gillian informed him. “You have to have something to get you through finals.”

“Right, like you have to worry,” he scoffed, bumping shoulders with her in a chummy way.

“She does,” Lissa said. “She has to get me through finals.”

While everyone laughed, I got up and walked over to the dessert bar. Crème brulée, berry parfaits, and German chocolate cake. You know you’re depressed when even Dining Services’ crème brulée—which puts a dreamy look in the eyes of just about everyone who goes here—doesn’t get you excited.

I had to snap out of it. Thinking about all the things I didn’t have and all the things I couldn’t do would get me precisely nowhere. I had to focus on the good things.

My friends.

How lucky I was to have won the scholarship that got me into Spencer.

And how much luckier I was that in two terms, no one had figured out I was a scholarship kid. Okay, so Gillian is a scholarship kid, too, but her dad is the president of a multinational bank. She thinks it’s funny that he made her practice the piano so hard all those years, and that’s what finally got her away from him. Who is my father? No one. Just a hardworking guy. He was so proud of me when that acceptance letter came that I didn’t have the heart to tell him there was more to succeeding here than filling a minority quota and getting good grades.

Stop it. Just because you can’t flit off to New York to catch a show or order up the latest designs from Fashion Week doesn’t mean your life is trash. Get ahold of your sense of proportion.

I took a berry parfait—blueberries have lots of antioxidants—and turned back to the table just as the dining room doors opened. They seemed to pause in their arc, giving my new roommate plenty of time to stroll through before they practically genuflected closed behind her. She’d changed out of the fishnets into heels and a black sweater tossed over a simple leaf-green dress that absolutely screamed Paris—Rue Cambon, to be exact. Number 31, to be even more exact. Chanel Couture.

My knees nearly buckled with envy.

“Is that Carly’s roommate?” I heard Lissa ask.

Mac seemed completely unaware that everyone in the dining room was watching her as she floated across the floor like a runway model, collected a plate of Portobello mushroom ravioli and salad, and sat at the empty table next to the big window that faced out onto the quad.

Lissa was still gazing at her, puzzled. “I know I’ve seen her before.”

I hardly heard her.

Because not only had the redhead cut into line ahead of Vanessa Talbot, Dani Lavigne, and Emily Overton, she’d also invaded their prime real estate. No one sat at that table unless they’d sacrificed a freshman at midnight, or whatever it was that people had to do to be friends with them.

When Vanessa turned with her plate, I swear I could hear the collective intake of breath as her gaze locked on the stunning interloper sitting with her back to the window, calmly cutting her ravioli with the edge of her fork.

“Uh oh,” Gillian murmured. “Let the games begin.”

© 2008 by Shelley Adina.

Used by permission of the author and Hachette Book Group USA.

I REALLY loved this book! I want to read the rest of the series now! I would certainly recommend it to any teenage girls, or you women might enjoy it too!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cafe Chat: January 3rd

Over at Internet Cafe Devotions, a sister site to Christian Women Online, a question in posed each Saturday. Today the question was this:

What is the most important truth/lesson you feel God taught you in 2008? How will that truth change your life in 2009?

I think that the biggest lesson that God taught me was that I need to make time for Him. Yes, I already knew that, but it was taught to me so profoundly while dealing with the rash of '08. If you missed it, go back to July and read through October, cause that is how long I dealt with it! I was very frustrated and distraught at several points in the whole journey, but since I often had to sit with an icepack on my backside, I had plenty of time to devote to The Word. I've tried to, at the very least, start my day with an online devotion since then and have done fairly well with that. I have also started doing a short devotion each evening with the boys, and have done pretty well with that.

I'm headed in a good direction for '09! I need to keep my focus on Him!

Head on over to Internet Cafe to see what others have to say!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Flashback Friday--Jack and Diane

Happy Friday, ya'll! How are you? Recovered from your hangover?! I attended two awesome virtual parties via twitter over New Year's, actually 3! First we had #lameNYE, and that morphed into #nyetwarty, and then the next day we partied on #happy09! It was fun! If you haven't ever joined in on a twitter party, I highly recommend it! There are several ways to do so....such as and Then enter the hashtag you're looking for, and all the tweets containing that show up!

Anyway, on to the flashback! I usually have a song running through my head but I didn't this morning. So I went to my trusty iTunes playlist to see if anything sparked a memory. Nothing really came up, but I did stumble upon one of my favorite songs of all time: Jack and Diane! It doesn't really bring back any concrete individual memories, but I absolutely love the line,"Hold on to 16 as long as you can/Changes come 'round real soon/Make us women and men".

How absolutely true is that?! Though I'd change it to 13 or 21 or something cause I didn't so much enjoy the 16 year, but that is beside the point! So here it is, the very cool video of John Mellencamp (though he was still John Cougar at the time this came out!) at his best in "Jack and Diane"!

Now it is your turn! What is "takin' you back to the old school" today?! C'mon, you know you wanna join in!! After you make your post, link us up here on Mr. Linky so we can come see!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nashville, here we come!

im_going_yall Badges

I'm so excited! My buddy Robin over at Dixon Chicks and I are going to Blissdom! I can hardly believe it! I put off asking Chris what he thought about the idea til last night and honestly thought he was gonna say no way. I think I'm stressing Robin out with the spontaneous 'let's do it' but durn it, we deserve some fun too! I may have to forgo my annual trip with my mom to Lake Junaluska in the spring, but I'm sure she'll understand, esp. if Isaac is playing baseball....which I'm pretty sure he will be.

So if ya stop by here and comment, I'll make me a list of who I'll be looking for, cause I want to see you ALL!

Did I mention I'm excited?!