Archives for April 2009

My Pick, Your Pick, God’s Pick

Here’s your chance. Time to weigh in with your Idol pick. You didn’t think I’d let American Idol go by this year without a mention on the blog, did you? :)

Idol has been loaded with talent this season. In fact, I think this particular group of finalists, especially now that we’re down to the top five, shines like no other group has in previous years. The contestants remaining are definitely the cream of the crop, each one with his or her own unique abilities and sound. At this point, it’s exciting just to see what they’re going to do from week to week.

With that said, let’s go ahead and get down to the nitty gritty. Who’s your favorite? Your pick to win it all? As much as I like Danny and think he’s super-talented, my number one pick is Adam. He simply outshines everyone consistently from week to week. As far as I’m concerned this season, he’s in a class by himself — vocally and performance-wise. Every time he sings, he does something to amaze me. He’s crazy good.

Now I know we’re going to have some differences of opinion on this matter of a favorite — that’s okay :) Go ahead and sing the praises of your pick with a comment. It’ll be fun to see who you all are pulling for and why.

Okay, we’ve done my pick and your pick — now what about God’s pick? You know what I think? I think He’s already picked them all.

In fact, He’s already picked us all. He’s crazy about us. He loves us so much He sent His Son into the world to make a way for us to be with Him forever. He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance(2 Peter 3:9b KJV) and spend eternity in heaven with Him. Yes, He loves us all. Amazing, huh? We need only to accept His love and place our faith in Him.

So as for me? I choose Him back. I’d say He’s in a class all by Himself. He’s crazy good!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

Flickr photo by Chris Owens

**The next issue of Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out the first of May. Don’t miss out — sign up to receive it if you haven’t already (see sidebar). Thanks!

Beating the Odds

Here’s a sight we’d never thought we’d see again — Don’s mom enjoying another outing to Pizza Hut. If you’ve been reading my blog the past few months and have seen the frequent updates on her recent health crisis, you’ll know exactly what I mean. This little lady is beating the odds.

Mom has a long and complicated medical history that’s led up to the serious health situation she faces now, but I won’t begin to explain it all here. Bottom line is that damage done by radiation treatments for cancer she battled over 40 years ago has finally resulted in the kidney failure of her one remaining kidney.

For the past several years she’s been getting regular outpatient IV fluid infusions to help keep the kidney functioning (unfortunately, she’s not a candidate for dialysis). With each new crisis, the kidney has more difficulty rebounding and stabilizing once again. When she crashed in December, it took longer than previous bouts, but the kidney managed to pull out of it. However, when she crashed again in January, the situation proved to be more dire. The doc told us she would not be getting better this time.

This lady doesn’t go down easily, though. She’s a fighter. Even though every day has been a struggle (up until a few weeks ago when the kidney finally started rebounding — and it’s still not easy), she’s done what she’s needed to do to stay alive. And as a result, she’s beating the odds. Nobody thought she could come back from this latest crash, but she has. We call her our Energizer Bunny because she just keeps going and going :)

Beating the odds is nothing new to Mom. She began doing it over 40 years ago when cancer nearly took her life. The way she saw it, she had five kids to raise and had to beat the odds. She even beat them once again 11-12 years ago during another episode of her ongoing health challenges. And here she is now, over a decade older and still fighting. One of her doctors has been heard to say, “She’s a tough ol’ bird.”

In addition to Mom’s fighting spirit, there have been a lot of prayers going up for her — and our God is a mighty God. He says in His Holy Word, “Behold, I am the Lord, The God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 KJV).

Do you have some odds that need beating today? Call on our mighty God, for whom nothing is too hard. And like Mom, do what you need to do to stay in the game. Be a tough ol’ bird.

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

**The next issue of Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out the first of May. Don’t miss out — sign up to receive it if you haven’t already (see sidebar). Thanks!

"To Die For" Giveaway!

How about continuing our celebration of spring with a yummy-licious “To Die For” Giveaway?! In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday, I have a $15 Cheesecake Factory gift card to give to one lucky R&R reader. That’s right — Cheesecake Factory!

All you need to do to enter is answer the following question by leaving a comment on this post by noon (CDT) May 6th. If I don’t know you personally or don’t already have your contact info, you must include your email address in your comment to be eligible for the drawing. And now for the question: What is your favorite restaurant/dessert shop dessert?

Don’t like dessert or don’t have a Cheesecake Factory near you? I’m sure you know someone who does. If you win, you can make someone’s day — or week or year! — by passing it along. (By the way, area folks, there’s a CF in Tulsa now.) Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the gift card to the lucky winner by Mother’s Day so you can use it as a Mother’s Day gift if you’d like…or hey, moms, treat yourself to this gift :)

As usual, I’ll kick off the giveaway sharing, but I have a confession to make first. Prepare to be shocked — I don’t like cheesecake. (Did I hear a collective gasp?!) That’s right — I don’t like cheesecake. I know, I know… I may be the only one on the face of the earth who can utter such words, but I can’t bring myself to be a phony about something as vital as dessert :) Truth is, I don’t like anything with cream cheese in it. Too much of a “whang” for me.

So what’s my favorite restaurant/dessert shop dessert? I think it’s the Molten Chocolate Cake at Chili’s. No big surprise that it involves chocolate, huh? :) Just click on the link, and you’ll understand why I love it so much. Mmm-mmm!!! You should just see me and my family attack one of these. It’s ridiculous :)

So what’s your favorite? C’mon and join this springy, Mother’s Day celebration — we might discover some yummy-licious passions we have in common!

“‘Let’s have a feast and celebrate.'” Luke 15:23b

*Flickr photo by adrian8_8, Creative Commons License

**The next issue of Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out the first of May. Don’t miss out — sign up to receive it if you haven’t already (see sidebar). Thanks!


Who else is hungry for a full-blown spring? Oh sure, we’ve seen signs of it for weeks now, but in our neck of the woods, we’ve had too many below average temps to see our thirst for spring fully satisfied. Maybe if we celebrate it here on the blog, we can coax it into full bloom. Join me in a Springfest today, won’t you? :)

Jan Karon, bestselling author of the Mitford series, says that spring “medicates the bones and revives the spirit.” I couldn’t agree more. Spring inspires fresh energy, a happy heart, and yes, even a bounce in the step.

With each passing day as spring unfolds, nature reveals the creativity and graciousness of God, who freely gives us wonder upon wonder to behold during this life-giving season. Christina Rossetti once said, “Were there no God we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts and no one to thank.” I wonder how anyone can take in the glories of spring and not acknowledge the Creator of our world or not feel compelled to give thanks to the One who lavishes such beauty on us.

With a spirit of thanks, let’s think today of the things we love about spring. Here are my five favorite things:

1. Dashing out the door without putting on a coat — no jacket-weather!
2. Lawns and trees turning green once again — color!
3. Birds singing and gathering materials for their nests — wildlife!
4. Wearing flip-flops — freedom!
5. Enjoying the great outdoors without freezing my fanny off — comfort!

Now it’s your turn to add to this coaxing-the-season-into-full-bloom SpringFest. Jump in and tell me your favorite things about spring!

“Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!” Psalm 66:5

Flickr photo by Dennis Wong

**The next issue of Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out the first of May. Don’t miss out — sign up to receive it if you haven’t already (see sidebar). Thanks!

Catch-Up Session

Talk about a long overdue catch-up session. That’s what my friend Teri and I enjoyed yesterday when we went to Tulsa for a day of fun before my Fellowship of Christian Writers meeting later that evening. Because of the increased demand of the past few months, Teri and I hadn’t been able to spend any real time together since New Year’s Eve. Crazy, I know, but true. And yes, we had some serious catching up to do.

Now don’t get me wrong — we’ve kept in touch and supported each other through emails and occasional phone calls, but we were more than ready for face-time and lots of it. The perfect solution? A Tulsa trip. You know, all that talk-time in the car, not to mention the shopping and eating stops. By the way, yesterday we hit Cheddar’s for a delicious lunch and found our way to MaggieMoo’s for a yummy chocolate dessert before my meeting. You didn’t expect us to celebrate friendship without chocolate, did you? :)

After all, that’s what yesterday was about — celebrating friendship and catching up, not only on news but on time together. And Teri and I weren’t the only ones I know who recently felt the need to do that. My daughter Kelli blew into town for a few hours this past Saturday for a catch-up session of her own. Friends from her high school Bible study group who were going to be in town for the Easter holiday decided to plan their own little reunion. I love to see people being intentional about maintaining friendships because that’s what it takes — intentional effort and planning.

Anyone else in need of a catch-up session? Some real time spent with a best friend, a long-distance friend, or even a significant other? Perhaps a catch-up session is even in order with the best Friend we’ll ever have…with the Lover of our souls.

So come on….let’s be intentional. Let’s make some plans. Let’s celebrate friendship. And go ahead — use chocolate as necessary :)

“Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father…” Proverbs 27:10a