Sunday, November 30, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I'm sorry to report that I had to leave my computer in the "kiss and cry" zone at Best Buy last Monday after the monitor started malfunctioning on Sunday. I'm hoping it will be returned soon with a new mother board and no problems, but I'm not holding my breath. I've already missed posting a handful of posts and regret that. I'll try to be up and running again soon. So stay tuned . . . .

Sunday, November 23, 2008


A friend once wrote about how life had changed from attending weddings every weekend to going to funerals. The celebrations in our lives change along with the seasons of our lives.

In my current season of life, birth announcements have far outnumbered wedding invitations in my mail box. So it was unusual to have a wedding to attend this weekend.

The bride has been a member of my community group for the past couple of years and has a huge heart for kids. In addition to loving on kids during the day while she teaches middle school, she uses her summer vacation to go to Africa to love on orphans. Her enthusiasm is infectious. So much so that she encouraged her husband Mac to go with her, not once but twice.

Here's the lovely couple:

At times, I've dreaded weddings because they aren't a lot of fun for singles. The whole bouquet toss makes me want to hide. But God has surrounded me with some great single ladies to encourage me as we walk this path together.

So after the Christmas cards come in, I'll have to see what the next round of celebrations looks like.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Real Friends

I joined Facebook on Sunday in order to view a friend's baby's pictures. I had no idea when I joined that I'd soon find myself rushing home in the evenings to see who had "friended" me and written on "my wall." I've immersed myself in this online subculture and have been trying to figure out how it all works.

Besides the sheer volume of people on Facebook, I'm shocked by how easily people "friend" one another. Shortly after I joined, I received several friend invitations from people I consider acquaintances or friends of friends. I didn't know exactly what to do. These aren't people I would look to if I needed help but would probably speak to or wave at if I encountered them on the street. Yet, as far as I can tell, there's no "acquaintance" subgroup to put these people in. Similarly, I haven't found a subheading for those true blue friends who have seen me through some tough times and celebrated with me on the other side. Instead, each person's friend total is listed in one grouping: You have 62 Friends.

So to all of you who are addicted to Facebook like me, has it loosened your definition of what a "friend" is? If so, is that a bad thing? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let Them Eat Fruitcake

When I want a quick read to break up my nonfiction reading, I often turn to chick lit. So I was excited when my friend Tina offered me the chance to participate in a blog tour for Melody Carlson's new chick lit book entitled Let Them Eat Fruitcake.

I love reading books during the same time of the year when the story is set. So I think it's no coincidence that this blog tour is taking place near the same time as the book is set. The opening scene takes place on Thanksgiving Day and follows the four unlikely roommates of 86 Bloomberg Place as they try to navigate single life together and prepare to throw a Christmas Eve party.

There's Lilani, who is working at Nordstrom after mysteriously dropping out of medical school. She's dating Gil, whose sister is fellow roommate Anna.

Anna is working at a publishing company and struggling with whether she has feelings for a co-worker or her ex-boyfriend who broke her heart but has found his way back into her life.

Megan works for an interior designer akin to The Devil Wears Prada and is dating a guy who doesn't share all of her beliefs.

And Kendall, who owns the house that the four girls share, is unemployed and hasn't yet learned that debt and guilt don't have to be her constant companions.

Let’s face it, relationships can be hard work--whether they’re with family and friends, coworkers and customers, or boyfriends and girlfriends. And when you’ve got your first place to live, a real job, and grown-up responsibilities, relationships are loaded with confusion, emotion, and secrets you can’t tell anyone but God. Thank goodness He’s always around to listen!

With such an encouraging message, Let Them Eat Fruitcake is a delightful, quick read. So before your holidays get hectic, go over to and pick up a copy of Let Them Eat Fruitcake for yourself or to give as a gift. To learn more about author Melody Carlson, check out her website here.

And if you leave a comment on this post by 5 p.m. CST on Novemer 21, your name will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the Collin Street Bakery. The Collin Street Bakery is world-famous for its - you guessed it - fruitcake and will deliver baked goods almost anywhere in the world. You can enter multiple times by commenting on more than one post (but only one comment per post will be counted). You are also eligible to enter by commenting on other posts in the tour; see the list of participating blogs below. [Disclosure: I received this book for free as part of the blog tour.]

A Little Bit of Sunshine
A Peek at My Bookshelf
Artistic Blogger
Behind the Mountain
Blog Tour Spot
Book Nook Club
Camy’s Loft
Christy’s Book Blog
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
His Reading List
i don’t believe in grammar
Kells Creative Musings
Leap of Faith
Lighthouse Academy
Lone Star Latte and Libre
Mystery, Suspense, and God, Oh My!
Net’s Notes
Real Women Scrap
Refresh My Soul
So Many Books… So Little Time
The Friendly Book Nook
The Writing Road
wandering, wonderings of a whacked-out woman
Write by Faith

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Freedom in Completion

Thirteen classes taught.

Twenty-two oral arguments listened to and critiqued.

On August 18, the night before classes began, I couldn't imagine getting to this night. A night of freedom. The hardest parts of my job are behind me. All that remains is to grade the briefs, two of which are done.

In many ways, this time has flown by, or at least the latter part did. To think that Michael Phelps was on television winning gold medals when I started teaching helps put this in perspective. That seems like eons ago.

But I didn't get to this point on my own. Many prayers were answered. Prayers for health, protection, wisdom, words, and stamina. And I learned more than I could have imagined. Not just about teaching but about myself. Things that I'm sure I wouldn't have learned unless I went through this ordeal.

I appreciate all the encouragement you have given me and all the prayers that have been offered on my behalf. They supported me and carried me.

And now, I place my "professor" title on a shelf to collect dust, and I relax in the freedom that comes from fulfilled requirements and a job that's done.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Out of the Rut

If left to my own devices, I'd indulge my "homebody" nature every weekend, and all of my weekends would look alike. But this weekend, I managed to break out of the rut.

Last night, I attended The Great Debate. In the wake of the movie Expelled, a local church brought together four speakers representing various perspectives on intelligent design. Two of the speakers had been featured in the movie, so it was interesting to see them in person and to watch them debate each other, which they did not have the opportunity to do in the film. I'm not sure I took away any new insights, but that's probably because my views are well-settled on the issue.

I spent today helping my friend Clarissa get her nursery ready for her second child. Her love language is acts of service, and I often have trouble figuring out how to serve her because she seems to have it all together. When she spoke of her need to get the nursery organized, I jumped on the chance to help her and to spend time chatting with her, knowing that come Friday, she'll have her hands full with a newborn and a three-year-old daughter.

Afterwards, I went back to my normal routine of watching Saturday night college football and praying for losses to enable the Longhorns to move back up in the rankings. Old habits die hard.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don't Postpone Joy

I read the above statement on a note card at the Christmas in Cowtown event a few weeks back. It has lingered on my mind because I seem to think that I have to wait for joy.

Until the house is clean.

Until the errands are run.

Until the work is done.

Until the Longhorns return to #1 in the BCS rankings.

Until the semester is over.

Until the New Year.

Until I'm married.

Until the next presidential election.

Until I have a family.

Until . . . .

It's not as if I don't have things in my life to be joyful about. I have many. But I often find myself in numb mode, living life by simply going through the motions. Trying to achieve a certain accomplishment or status to get my joy.

But this little statement--Don't postpone joy--along with Paul's words to
"[b]e joyful always" (1 Thes. 5:16) are great reminders that we can choose to live joyfully every day instead of postponing joy as a future reward that must be earned.

What will you choose to be joyful about today?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Reminders of Truth

On this election eve, I need some reminders of Truth to lean on as the fears and questions about the outcome of the election swirl in my head. Amidst this uncertainty, here are some Psalms that focus on God's sovereignty:

But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge. (Psalm 141:8)

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. (Psalm 71:5)

Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. (Psalm 68:20)

Father God, I pray for Your grace to cover this election and for You to be glorified in the outcome. Help me to remember to pray often for those in positions of leadership. Amen.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

August Evening

After reading a good book or watching a great movie, I often struggle to find appropriate adjectives to capture the essence of what I experienced. I'm in the midst of that struggle tonight after having watched the beautiful film August Evening, which I previewed twenty minutes of back in December. It was well worth the wait to see the full-length, critically acclaimed film.

August Evening, which was filmed in my hometown and in San Antonio, felt like a trip home to see family and friends. I realized while watching the film that I've often failed to see the beauty in my hometown and have instead focused on how rundown parts of it are becoming. But writer, director, editor, and Gonzales County native Chris Eska captured the beauty of familiar downtown buildings as well as picturesque countryside vistas.

But even more than the beauty of the town, he captured the beauty of relationships that exist among different generations. The film follows a migrant worker's family as its members deal with life's disappointments and the love that exists in spite of such disappointments.

Unlike Hollywood movies with multimillion dollar budgets that often leave you and your pocketbook feeling a bit empty, this Texas film's authenticity is a rare find. So check out the screening information on the film's website and take the opportunity to watch a film that is deserving and worthy of the "Best Film" designation it has been winning at film festivals across the country.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hearty Pansies

I love how the seasons of the year mirror what God can do in our hearts. As I mentioned in the previous post, I recently pulled out the vinca flowers in my miniature garden and sent them off to recycling. I replaced them with pansies, which can weather the late October heat as well as the bitterness of an unexpected January freeze.

As I pondered the diverse conditions that pansies can withstand, the first thought that I had was that it would be a good idea to have the same resillience as these pansies. However, the more I reflected, it struck me that it would be unauthentic to show no weakness, and it is a bit disturbing that they don't change into something better after being tried by fire and ice. Instead, the pansy above that I planted will simply multiply over the coming months.

So, I think I'll stick with the heart that God gave me that often bends and breaks but seems to have a bit more character after enduring the storms of life.