Thursday, December 28, 2006

the poinsettia executioner

When Alan and I were dating, I told him that if he ever wanted to send me flowers, don’t do it. They don’t work for me.

Except for poinsettias.

So every year for my birthday in December, I get at least one poinsettia from Alan, sometimes more. I love me a poinsettia!

I am still learning the proper care of a poinsettia. It starts out so beautifully and by Christmas, the green leaves begin dropping. I shift to panic mode and try to revive it by drowning it in water, which apparently is not a good response. With very little leaf coverage, the plant appears wilted and bare. I turn the plant ¼ turn every few days to hide the damage, but by mid-January, it ends up at the landfill with all the others.

My nickname could be “The Poinsettia Executioner”, a name I came across while reading Anita Renfroe’s “A Purse-Driven Christmas”. The native homeland of the poinsettia plant is Mexico. And once in America, the plant loses its will to live after weeks of being tortured (such is the case at my house). Renfroe says that “it is as if they know they aren’t in Mexico anymore. And you can’t fool them by playing Spanish TV, either.”

So as the “Poinsettia Death Watch” commences, I am feeling guilty and unqualified to be the keeper of a poinsettia, the only plant that enters my house during the year. But maybe it isn’t my fault at all. Our dog, Tucker, hiked his leg on my plant twice this holiday season. Needless to say, he hasn’t been back inside since!

Monday, December 25, 2006

he just THOUGHT he felt good... he REALLY feels good.

I hate when my dad calls me and says, "Guess who died"...because my heart starts racing and I start thinking of all the people that I hope he doesn't say. I knew James Brown was sick, but I didn't expect to hear about his death on Christmas morning.

I'm sure that James Brown tribute shows are in the works as I type. His face will be on the cover of many magazines. More streets, buildings, and awards will be named in his honor. Folks will be lined up to pose with his statue in downtown Augusta. And rightly so...he was a great pioneer in the history of music as we know it. His influence goes unmatched across music genres. Not only that, but his desire to serve mankind should be his biggest legacy.

James Brown did a lot of good things...and has been accused of some bad things. The good things didn't get him into heaven and the bad things didn't keep him out. His relationship with God was his ticket. He was quoted by Don Rhodes as saying, "God is the greatest hit maker in the world. I'd rather be a poor man with religion than a rich man without it." He always acknowledged God's presence and power in his life.

The most fitting quote I've seen about James Brown came from Rev. Jesse Jackson:

"He was dramatic to the end - dying on Christmas Day. Almost a dramatic, poetic moment. He'll be all over the news all over the world today. He would have it no other way."

That makes me smile...and feel good, knowing that papa's got a brand new bag.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Christmas is always a special time at TrueNorth Church, because we pull out all the stops in celebration of the birth of our Savior. We have big plans for things never seen before at TNC. We will have fun. There will be loveand great music!

Our mission at TNC is to create a relevant experience by removing all barriers that cause people to retreat during the Christmas season. Our folks have been handing out cards with information about our Christmas services all over the CSRA…from North Augusta to Grovetown to Aiken. We have walked the streets of downtown Augusta, shopping areas, and our places of employment. And there are some people who just can’t get to us, so we are going to them! As a way of serving our community, TNC will be hosting a Christmas Feast at the Salvation Army on Christmas Day.

Not everyone enjoys this time of year though because of life circumstances, loss, or loneliness. Or maybe they just don’t feel worthy to come before the Christ-child. Studies show that the main reason many people do not come to church is because no one has invited them.

So…step away from the blogs, and put down that coffee cup and newspaper. As long as you have clothes on, stay dressed as you are. Yes, those sweatpants are fine. Go by and pick up your friend who hasn’t been to church since 1980-something. And consider this your invitation to join us for one or all of our three identical services.

Place: North Augusta High School Gym

Time: Saturday, Dec. 23, 6:00pm and
Sunday, Dec. 24, 9:00am and 10:45am

We have been waiting for you!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

elfin magic

Click here to see our worship leader, Kevin Bradford, in action at band practice! I think he has a side gig with the Keebler elves!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

breaking news

John Mayer announced on his blog on December 1 (my birthday,) that his next single to be released will be Gravity.

Thanks for the heads up, John.

We're waiting, waiting, waiting on the single to change!

Just keep me where the light is Ohh… where the light is!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the slowskys

According to the Slowsky's blog, Bill has posted a missing turtle poster for his wife, Karolyn (who has gone missing).

Bill! I think Karolyn has been hiding in our computer since Saturday. The internet has been running very slowsky and I can't do my stuff. Come and get her please!

Friday, December 01, 2006

what hill?

So today is my birthday...still under the hill. Here is a picture of a cake that Alan had made for me and brought it to band practice for me to share with the band. Wasn't that sweet? (pun intended)

Other peeps sharing my birthday...notice the comedians. There must be something about December 1 people:

Richard Pryor
Bette Midler
Woody Allen
Bart Millard (from MercyMe)
Jimmie Crawford (from NA)
William "Refrigerator" Perry

And tomorrow, Dec. 2, is Britney Spears' birthday...I won't even begin to wonder what her plans are!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

this is going to be fun

TV Land has compiled a list of the 100 greatest catchphrases on TV. Being a fan of pop culture trivia, I am hoping to catch the countdown special that begins airing on December 11.

Here are some of my favorites that made the list:

"Come on down!" (Johnny Olson, "The Price is Right")

"De plane! De plane!" (Tattoo, "Fantasy Island")

"Hey hey hey!" (Dwayne Nelson, "What's Happening!!")

not to be confused with

"Hey hey hey!" (Fat Albert, "Fat Albert")

"How you doin'?" (Joey Tribbiani, "Friends")

"I know nothing!" (Sgt. Schultz, "Hogan's Heroes")

"Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids" (Trix cereal ad)

"Up your nose with a rubber hose" (Vinnie Barbarino, "Welcome Back, Kotter")

"Well, isn't that special?" (Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, "Saturday Night Live")
"You rang?" (Lurch, "The Addams Family")

And my all-time favorite…
"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (Arnold Drummond, "Diff'rent Strokes")

So I came up with a few TrueNorth catchphrases:

"This ain't yo mama's church" (The core group)

"We ain't skeered" (The staff while preparing to move services to the gym)

"Hear me this morning" (Steve Davis...we had to break him of this one)

"You've just been slammed!" (Walt Tanner, closing out announcement videos)

This is just an abbreviated list. If anyone has more to add, please feel free to leave a post!

Monday, November 27, 2006

the three of me

I am the proud "baby mama" of these three children.
This is a picture that I took for our Christmas cards, although I decided on the family one instead.
Sometimes I wonder "who are these people anyway and where did they come from?"
They might not look like me, but they act like me sometimes...bless their hearts!

eating humble pie

I am not on stage today.

Our youth band is leading worship and I am able to experience our service from a different point of view. This is the second time in over two years I have had the opportunity to be off from the band and not be out of town.

And I like it. I really like it.

My daughter is to my left, my sister is to my right, my friends are seated around me in every direction, and I’m watching my husband do his SOUL team thang. There are other people around me who I don’t know and I am hoping to get a chance to speak to them.

A few things I am learning today:
1. How to check my kids into Kidzstuff. Alan usually does this part.
2. Clapping during several consecutive songs makes my hands tingly.
3. People want to stand up during a song, but they are waiting for someone else to stand first.
4. I can focus better when my thoughts aren’t drifting to the next set list and when to head backstage.
5. I don’t have to be a super-worker, just a super-worshipper.

Today is a humbling experience. TrueNorth Church can happen with or without me and I realize I’m just a tiny part of God’s big plan for this church.

And I am okay with that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

pass the cranberries, please

I've never gotten a voicemail devotional before until yesterday when my uncle left a message, reminding me that Thanksgiving isn't about food at all, but about being thankful to God for all the blessings that we have received from Him.

I'm thinking he was trying to invite himself over for dinner, but I'm not sure.

I had to memorize Psalm 100 as an elementary student at the Baptist school that I attended. I was probably not a happy camper at the time about memorizing something so lengthy. But I am thankful now, because it is a passage that I continue to hide in my heart.

So as you are deciding whether you want white meat or dark meat, pause for a second and remember what Psalm 100 is asking us to do:

1. Make a joyful noise to the Lord
2. Serve the Lord with gladness
3. Come before His presence with singing
4. Know that the Lord is God
5. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving
6. Enter into His courts with praise
7. Be thankful to Him
8. Bless His name

We don't even have to get up from the dinner table to do these things! Actually, this passage should be our way of life...a spirit of thanksgiving every day.

Thanksgiving riddle: Why was the turkey allowed to be in the band?

If you know the answer, post a comment...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

mom, it's not fair!

...that's what my kids screamed last night when we had to bury another cat...Frisky. Does this story sound familiar? It's because we just went through this 3 weeks ago with Frisky's twin, Socks.

I have friends who are having issues at home like plumbing, microwave, dishwasher, termites, etc.

We have to be different and have ANIMAL issues.

In the past three weeks:
1. Our cat, Socks, died.
2. Someone left an ugly pig head on a platter on our front porch as a Halloween joke. A real, dead pig head. Not funny.
3. A snake showed up at our front door during Journey Team. We found out AFTER the guys played with it with a plastic fork and let it go that it was a rattlesnake.
4. My parents' cat, Buddy, who I've known for 15 years, was put to sleep.
5. My sister's dog, Dixie, ran away.
6. And now...Frisky is dead.

We are heartbroken again.

That's it...I'm not blogging about any more animals!

Jesus is not their homeboy

According to recent news reports, a company in Los Angeles offered to donate 4,000 brand-new Jesus dolls to the Toys for Tots program, which distributes toys to needy children during the holidays. The doll is used as a witnessing tool for children, reciting over a minute's worth of various scripture. The Toys for Tots program refused the donation for fear of "offending someone".

If this story is true, I think "Someone" WAS offended.

Monday, November 13, 2006

forget about it

Audio Adrenaline performed "Ocean Floor" at the concert Sunday night. I knew that song before, but never paid it much attention until I heard it live:

Your sins are forgotten
They're on the bottom
Of the ocean floor

These lyrics remind us that not only does God forgive our sins, but forgets them! Satan reminds us of our sins, but God will always keep his promise of forgetting. So why do we continue to bring them back up? They're gone...buried and forgotten.

Isaiah 43:25 (New International Version)
"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

Micah 7:19 (NIV)
"You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea."

mercy me concert

MercyMe put on a great light and video show. Bart even presented a mini-message. He talked about how God doesn't need us, but He desires us and that "It's all about Him". Not just mostly about Him. ALL about Him.
The first words in The Purpose Driven Life are "It's not about you". This has become the buzz-phrase of the century. After the first two hundred times of hearing that phrase, it has started to become cliche for me. It has been so overused that the impact has been lost, especially when it is used as a weapon. Isn't it more meaningful to say "It's all about Him"? That's where our focus should be anyway.

obstructed view

Our Journey Team went to the MercyMe/Audio Adrenaline concert last night. My ticket stub did not say I would have an "obstructed view" seat.

Can you guess who this person was that kept leaning forward?

(Just kidding, honey!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

i can't always get what i want

‘Tis the season to start Christmas shopping. I have accumulated quite a large stack of catalogs in the mail recently from LLBean to Pottery Barn Kids. We have a tradition where our kids take the ToysRUs Big Book and mark their initials by the toys they want. They always choose too much, so the list is narrowed down and then sent to Santa.

I remember what Santa brought me for my ninth Christmas. My very own CASSETTE PLAYER…complete with a built-in microphone. I actually had to talk into the player, not a handheld microphone. I also got my first two cassettes…Carly Simon and Captain and Tennille. I memorized every word to every song on both tapes. Don’t laugh.

I also remember what I didn’t get that Christmas. I asked Santa for a Stretch Armstrong. Even though it was a boy toy, I really, really wanted a Stretch Armstrong. I wanted to see how far I could pull his arms and legs and if they would go back to their normal shape.

I didn’t get Stretch Armstrong. Santa got confused and gave him to my sister, who didn’t ask for one. So what’s a Santa to do when he finds that out?

Bless his heart.

Isn’t it difficult sometimes when God doesn’t give us what we want? It’s even harder when someone else gets our goods. I am thankful that God sees the big picture and gives me what I need.

Stretch Armstrong wasn’t all that anyway.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

have you noticed?

Over the past six months or so, I have noticed a phenomenon that has blown me away. It seems that on just about every street corner, there is a “cash advance” business. I checked out and found that in North Augusta alone, we have Ace Cash Express, Advance America (3 of them!), Advance Till Payday, Affordable Cash Loans, Approved Cash Advance, Cash Now, Check Advance, Check Into Cash, Check Max, Express Check, Express Check Advance, Great American Cash Advance, Mr. Payroll, Payday Your Way, Quick Cash, and Stewart Cash Advance.

I am amazed that this town can support eighteen check-cashing businesses. Obviously they are doing something right and reaching lots of people! Hmm....

Monday, November 06, 2006

the rumors are true!

We DO play with snakes in Journey Team. This one showed up at our front door Sunday night!
Snakehandler for the evening was Brad Wasden.

Friday, November 03, 2006

guilty pleasure

I spent Friday morning at Stacey's 'gettin my hair did', which means an hour and a half of peace, a captive audience, and someone to play with my hair. The employees at Reynolds Wrap will be getting a bonus next week, based on the amount of aluminum foil I had sticking out of my head.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures at Stacey's is the thirty minutes I spend with my foiled head under the dryer and also....well, I don't know if I should say. I mean, some people might be offended by the fact that I'm a real person. But, here it goes...

I like to read her tabloids...especially The Star magazine.

There. I said it.

I don't read them for the articles though, only the pictures! Sometimes I just want to NOT use my brain (which is in motion 24/7), and reading The Star does not require much brain power. I secretly enjoy seeing pictures of these supposedly beautiful people, without makeup and airbrush, being caught off-guard. And there's more drama in one of their days than a month's worth of Days of our Lives episodes.

It makes me thankful for the simple life that I have...and reminds me of what is really important in life.

Guilty pleasure? Maybe it's not a pleasure at all in the end...but I AM guilty.

the way NOT to make candy apples

I wanted to do something 'special' for my kids for halloween, so I decided to try my hand at making candy apples. It was a relatively easy task once I got the caramel to the right consistency. I even rolled them in nuts AND red hots for extra flavor! This is a picture of what we came home to after trick-or-treating. All of the caramel and toppings slid off the apples, because....what part of "refrigerate immediately" did I NOT understand?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

poor socks

It hurts to have pets.

I blogged about my cats, Socks and Frisky last week. And this weekend, Socks went to kitty heaven. On Saturday, Allison and her BFF, Elizabeth, discovered a very still Socks lying in the wet morning grass, apparently a victim of a cat-hating dog. Did you hear the kids wailing and screaming? The sounds could be heard for miles.

Socks and Frisky were twins, never apart, always wrestling and playing. Here is a picture of Socks with his arm around Frisky about 4 months and 20 pounds ago. To pay my respects to our precious Socks, here is my best attempt at an obituary.

Socks Owings
NORTH AUGUSTA, SC - Socks Owings, age 7 months, died Friday night, October 27 or Saturday morning, October 28 (details are sketchy). Funeral services and burial were conducted at the residence on Saturday, October 28 by the Right Reverend Alan Owings.

Socks was a lifelong resident of North Augusta. He enjoyed wrestling with his twin brother, Frisky. He also liked to torture the boxer that lives at the same residence. Socks was well-known for his loud purring and his love of Friskies Ocean Fish Flavor cat food.

Additional survivors include his mother, Mama Kitty (address unknown) and a half-sister, Gray Kitty. He was preceded in death by another half-sister and brother, Kitty and Kitty Kitty. Socks is also survived by his loving caretakers, Kacie, Allison, and Matthew.

Memorials may be made to the TrueNorth Church Building Fund.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

smoke what you sell

In the past couple of years, I have been approached by several Arbonne International representatives who are concerned about my financial well-being and want to help me make LOTS of money. If I join the “pyramid” (even though they say it’s NOT one), I get to be my own boss, have an unlimited income potential, and participate in a Mercedez-Benz car program.

But they don’t tell me about their product.

Arbonne is a company that sells products related to skin care, nutrition, weight loss and aromatherapy. The products might be outstanding, but I wouldn't know…the reps have never told me. I’m not even sure if they are smokin’ what they’re sellin’!

I was reminded of my Arbonne experience while reading What Was I Thinking? By Steve Brown. This is what he has to say about it:

A friend of mine says that much of the evangelism and witnessing
done by Christians is a pyramid scheme. The purpose is to acquire
the product (i.e., salvation), sell it to others, and then train those others
to sell it…so those others will, in turn, acquire it and train others to sell it.
The problem, my friend says, is that we don't always use the product. We
just sell it.

It can be true with the Bible too. We can spend so much time defending
and “selling” the Bible to others that we don’t use the product very much.
And we can spend so much time articulating our doctrinal position from
the Bible that we forget why it was even important in the first place. We
can be so enamored with the Bible’s truth that we forget that the truth is
to be lived and used, not just acquired and memorized.

Thank you, Mr.Brown for reminding us that the doing is as important as the selling.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wally World

I was a Wal-Martian yesterday. I hate Walmart, but I love having one. What would it be like to be a fly-in-the-aisle at Wally World? I wonder how many conversations take place like this one from yesterday, between me and my 10 year old:

Me: Allison, what cat food do you think Socks and Frisky want this time?

Allison: I don’t know, I’ll call them.
(She picks up her airphone).
Hello, Frisky? What cat food do you want to eat for the next month?
Oh, you want FRISKIES!
Ok, there’s a purple bag, a blue bag, and a yellow bag. I know you don’t like the milk pieces in the purple bag, so do you want yellow or blue?

Me, acting like Frisky: What color bag do I have now?

Allison: You have the yellow bag.

Me, acting like Frisky again: Okay, then I’ll have the blue bag with the ocean fish flavors.

Allison: Okay, bye Frisky.

Me: Meow, Mommy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Catalyst 2006 - Guiness World Record Pillow Fight

When the staff and lead team went to the Catalyst conference last week, we participated in a Guiness Book of World Records Largest Pillow Fight with 10,000 other people. Check out the video and check out the song (you may need to click 'play' twice)! It was crazy!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

need more coffee

Good morning and happy coffee! I was thinking about going back to bed this morning after the kids left, but the coffee was calling my name. And I will be bouncing off the walls soon.

My earliest memories of coffee consist of old men sitting around the counter at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, reading their newspapers all morning.

Sip and read. Sip and read.

I became a coffee drinker myself while working twelve hour shifts in a pharmaceutical lab. That was nasty coffee. You know, the kind that tastes like charcoal and tobacco. But it got me through some long nights. My favorite coffee moments these days are the mornings I spend at the computer, catching up on the news and my favorite 'net places. Does this mean I am turning into an old man?

Sip and click. Sip and click.

10. You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
9. You can type 60 words a minute with your feet.
8. You can jump start your car without cables.
7. Starbucks owns the mortgage on your house.
6. You're so wired you pick up FM radio.
5. You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse.
4. You're the employee of the month at the local coffehouse and you don't even work there.
3. All your kids are named Joe.
2. You chew on other people's fingernails.
1. Your birthday is a national holiday in Brazil.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

this ain't right the joke is on me now. I uploaded my picture to to see which celebrity they matched my face up with. I matched up with:

Heidi Klumm(yeah,right)
Heather Locklear(whatever)
are you ready?.....CONDOLEEZA RICE!!!!

This thing is MESSED UP!!!!!!

identity theft

I just had to try it.

I ventured upon, a site where you upload a picture of a deserving victim and the site scans the image. The image is then compared to a database of celebrities to match up the potential likeness.

There is a 55% chance that Steve Davis is really Nick Lachey. That explains everything!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Hi. My name is Laura. And I'm a Sudoku-holic.

The Catalyst folks have a great sense of humor. They must have thought they were really cute by putting a Sudoku game at the bottom of each speaker's note page in the schedule booklet. Because now I'm an addict. And the rest of my family are co-dependents. Our weekend has been consumed with Sudoku challenges.

Sudoku is a game of logic and numbers. If you want to learn how to play, go here. And this is the place that I go to print the games. They have different levels of difficult from EASY to EVIL!

Thanks a lot, Catalyst people!

the clean-up

Alan and I went to the Catalyst conference with the TNC staff and lead team this past week. It was great to get away with the gang again and recharge our batteries. The speakers were very well as the music! One of my favorite musical moments was Steve Fee with a gospel choir backing him up, singing the "I got soul but I'm not a soldier" line of the Killers' All These Things That I've Done.

One of the speakers was Rick McKinley, a pastor and also Donald Miller's friend (author of Blue Like Jazz). He had some great one-liners. One of them was: "You don't have to clean up your act to HEAR about Jesus." This has to be one of the main reasons people don't want to go to church...they don't feel worthy because of their sins.

So I got home from my trip and there was a daily devotional in my inbox, which totally applied to McKinley's message. Here is a portion of it:

While you do not need to change your lifestyle before you come to Christ,
once you do come to Christ, your lifestyle should show tangible changes.
If it does not, then one could doubt whether Christ has really come into your
life. The way you live should reflect what you believe. As John the Baptist
said, "Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from sins and
turned to God"
[Luke 3:8]NLT

There is no pre-requisite, no resume, no standard, no criteria you have to meet to come to know Jesus. Tell this to your "fish" when you invite them to church. They don't have to be GOOD enough, just BAD enough. Then they will experience a clean-up like never before!

Monday, October 02, 2006

m-m-m-my jehovah's

I took my friend Melanie to a day surgery appointment last week. We were in a small waiting room (about 10x10) and enjoying our girl talk in peace. Then “they” came in…four people who were apparently connected in various ways to another patient that was having a procedure done. Within thirty seconds, we knew they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Somehow they slipped that piece of information in during our introductions.

Then Mel left me. Alone. With “them”.

I spent about an hour with my Jehovah’s Witnesses. We did not talk about religion. Except I did refer to the fact that I am in a band at my church. I saw them make eyes toward the Bible that was in my lap and then there was silence. And tension. Four of them turned into seven of them as we waited. I was outnumbered big time…more tension.

During our time together in the waiting room, this is what I learned about my Jehovah’s:

1. They like the same things that I do. They watch Saturday Night Live. We talked about Will Farrell and his cowbell, Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations, and other SNL faves. I laughed at their stories and they laughed at mine.

2. They love each other. I got the scoop on the lady that they were all there to support. She was like the “Aunt Bee” of everyone there. I found out that they weren’t all blood-related but “spiritually related”. They took turns going in to see her and were truly concerned for her.

3. These JW’s go on mission trips and are mission-minded. They have a passion for what they believe in and want to share it with everyone.

My fears came from my upbringing that you should avoid getting into a conversation with a JW. When they ring your doorbell, you turn off the TV and all the lights, then call your neighbors and tell them that “they” are coming up the street. They might brainwash you or out-talk you during a debate and have you questioning your own beliefs.

But what began as a feeling of uneasiness on my part turned into compassion for my JW’s. I felt sorry for them because they think that what they believe is true. And I bet they felt sorry for me too, bless my heart. I know that I should not judge them, because guess what Jesus said? Love them. And if the door opens up in the future for me to share my beliefs, I pray that I will put aside my fears and speak the Truth with confidence.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I get forwarded emails from people all the time. I delete most of them. But occasionally there will be a keeper...this is one of them.

Q&A from a doctor who wants to clear up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

whatchootalkinbout, Jesus?

My parents are vacationing with some friends in Ireland right now…a trip of a lifetime. Daddy has always wanted to go to Ireland because of his Irish heritage. And because of his love for golf, they arranged to attend the Ryder Cup while in Ireland.

Mom called last week and said they stuck out like sore thumbs at the tournament. Earth to Mom! When you wear matching American flag shirts and flag visors in a foreign country, you are going to draw attention to yourselves. My dad and his friend were even interviewed by a local radio show. Daddy, don’t get too excited…they wanted you on the show so they can make fun of your southern accent. Please tell me you didn’t say, “How ‘bout them Dawgs!!!

I got to thinking…How are we as Christ-followers supposed to stand out in a crowd? Should we be standing on the street corners with our Christian tracts in one hand and a bullhorn in the other, shouting “Turn or burn!”? Or do we behave the opposite way by staying in our “holy huddles”, isolating ourselves from those we are called to witness to? The answer is clear in Matthew 22:36-40, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Whatchootalkinbout, Jesus?

Two simply stated commandments, although not easy ones. What is simple is not always easy. And if they were natural for us to do, Jesus wouldn’t have had to tell us, point blank, to do them. Loving God means obeying Him. Loving others means accepting them and serving them. It’s not the Christian t-shirts or bumper stickers that make us stand out. It’s not about judging or condemning others. It’s all about the love. Period.

Friday, September 22, 2006

do what?

Over two years ago, my family decided to help start a church in North Augusta. All I knew was that it would be contemporary in style and focused on unchurched people. We traveled with a small group of people for five weeks to visit other churches that were similar to what we had envisioned. One of those weeks we travelled to NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. When we left I said, "That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!" NewSpring soon became a major role model for TrueNorth Church.

NewSpring is pastored by a goofball by the name of Perry Noble. He is a self-proclaimed redneck. But his passion for Jesus and for people is contagious throughout his congregation and perhaps that is why NewSpring is very close to outgrowing their new worship facility that was just completed this year.

I read several church leader blogs every of them is Perry's. I have learned that the Innovative Church Conference was held at Granger Community Church in Indiana this week. And according to Mark Batterson's blog (I dont know him or why I added him to my favorites) it appears that Perry was speaking and was in rare form. According to Mark's blog, here are some of the quotes from Perry that only Perry can get away with:

"Pastors, I have a word from the Lord. Get rid of the preacher hair."

"I was pagan of the year eight years running."

"Church ought to be the most engaging place on the planet. If the tomb is really empty we ought to act like it."

"Get out of the box or let God out of His. He wants to move."

"I've been accused of lots of things, but I've never been accused of being deep."

"We lose steeple people all the time."

"If you target the people nobody else wants you won't be able to stop growing."

"Be more concerned about who is coming in the door than those who are going out the door."

"A church is not effective when a pastor ministers to the people. A church is effective when the body ministers to the body."

"People will sit on their blessed assurance as long as you let them."

And the prayer that the New Spring staff prays: "Dear Jesus, Yes. Amen."

You gotta love this guy!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I'm hooked.

John Mayer's new CD, Continuum, is about the best and most mature piece of music I've heard in a very long time. His R&B/Blues/Clapton/Hendrix/Gaye sound definitely screams who his influences are. It is obvious now that John's previous works, Room for Squares and Heavier Things, were attempts to please a record label. He is clearly not selling out to anyone on Continuum. This CD showcases his strengths. Well, that would be everything...guitar, vocals, and songwriting.

If you haven't picked this up yet, buy it, download it, borrow it..whatever you do, just get it.

You'll be hooked too.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

dude ain't no lady

There ain’t nothin’ girlie about my man!

I call my hubby at work and invite him to lunch…just us, no kids. I tell him I’ve been wanting to try out a new café in town and then I say we can go to Lowe’s afterward and look at ceiling fans. His voice perks up when he hears the word Lowe’s.

Ok…so I am a little late getting there due to a slow check-out line at Walmart. Alan has been hanging around the gift shop part of the cafe while waiting. Not a good thing…and a bad way for me to start off our lunch date.

We enter the café area, where there are about six tables in a very small room. Pastel tablecloths and lots of feminine details accent this room. Alan says that he is very uncomfortable here. This place is way too girlie for him. I go into a trance because I hear the two ladies behind me say the words ProTools, band, and Jesusfest. I want to turn around and see who they are because I’m nosy like that. Alan realizes I am eavesdropping and rolls his eyes.

When the waitress comes over to our table, I ask her to tell him that lots of men come in here for lunch. She says she can’t tell him that because they don’t. Apparently the last man that came in here said he had to leave because there was WAY too much estrogen in here for him. Wimp.

I know I am in trouble when I taste the tea. It has a fruity taste. FRUITY. The eyes are rolling again. Alan plays it safe and orders a tuna salad sandwich. Of course it is on a croissant and there are no chips or manly french fries, only fruit garnish. FRUIT.

We make it through our lunch date and Alan looks at his watch and says he might have time to run through McDonalds before he goes back to work. I apologize repeatedly.

Next time, I’m taking a girlie girl with me.

Monday, September 11, 2006

we got it started

TrueNorth Church got it started yesterday as we launched our new services in the North Augusta High School Gymnasium. It took an incredible amount of man/womanpower to create an intimate environment for people to worship. I can’t take credit for any of it, because I just showed up with my keyboard. But my friends who were physically involved, said there was an amazing amount of love in that place as people were hoisting poles and trusses, putting up curtains, setting up chairs, building the stage, and even decorating the bathrooms.

And no one was complaining!

Someone told me yesterday that they felt like a first time visitor…in a good way! Speaking of first time visitors, there were a lot of them at both services. Our people are doing a great job inviting their friends to encounter a life-changing experience!

Steve’s message was about maintaining a personal relationship with Jesus. We get so caught up in our busyness that we sometimes forget about where our main focus should be. Steve was so fired up during his message that I’m not sure he even came up for air.

Also…about 20-something people got dunk’d for Jesus. I congratulated a man afterwards and he said, “For what?” Obviously he wasn’t the man that I thought got dunk’d.

Lack of sleep=Lack of brains.

I love being a part of this church…every time we plan something, God’s plan is always bigger than ours! We're just hanging on for the ride!

And by the way…white people CAN do hip hop in church...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

give it away now!

What did you do with your dollar?

This summer, during our parable series at TrueNorth Church, we explored the Parable of the Talents. Steve challenged everyone at church by giving them a dollar bill, with the direction to use the money to further the kingdom of God. This would result in hundreds of witnessing and mission opportunities by getting everyone involved.

This challenge really got people buzzing. You couldn’t run into someone from TrueNorth without being asked, “What did you do with your dollar?” I heard one guy say that he is more worried about what he is going to do with his one dollar than what he will do with his next paycheck.

I have to admit that I had big plans for my dollar. While searching for resources, I couldn't find a book about turning your dollar into a thousand in thirty days. I wanted to be like the guy who started trading with one red paper clip and ended up with a house. I didn’t get anywhere with that idea. Then I enlisted my Journey Team to combine dollars, but then we had ten different ideas about what to do with the money. That didn’t work either. So I just prayed that God would show me what HE wanted me to do with my dollar.

And He did.

I had to go to a lab for some blood work last week and while I was waiting on the clerk to complete my paperwork, I noticed an advertisement on the wall for the Light the Night Walk, a fundraiser for leukemia and lymphoma. They were asking for $1 donations. One dollar. That $1 just leaped off the page at me, but I didn’t do anything.

Once I was taken to the blood-sucking room, I was trying to take my focus off the big needle that was coming my way. So I made a dumb comment to the girl about what a nice big window she had in her room. Well, that opened the door for her to tell me about the homemade lamps that were sitting on her windowsill. And wouldn’t you know she made those lamps to raise money for the Light the Night Walk. She told me about a relative who had lymphoma and was cured and I told her about my friend, Jenny Lou, who had a bone marrow transplant and has been cancer-free for over ten years. My heart was racing and I knew what God wanted me to do. So I gave her my dollar and Alan’s dollar as a donation.

The creative team at TNC decided to spend some time in September sharing the dollar stories. If you would like to share your story, send an email to And if you are one of the hundreds who are participating in the dollar challenge, do not feel like your story has to be the best in town. Don’t feel like what you do with your dollar will not make a difference. Just go ahead and give it will be blessed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

bow to the crown

Meet Kacie. She is my 17 year old “baby gurrl”…please do not stalk her.

Kacie is in her senior year of high school and I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about the SAT, college choices, GPA, or class rank. And don’t even get me started on senior pictures, baby ads for the yearbook, or senior trip. I just want to pretend this isn’t happening.

I told Kacie a couple of weeks ago that I was going to “back off” this year. No more bugging her about homework, no more reminding her about stuff, no more meddling. My role is shifting from “manager” to “consultant”. Not that I like it…and I sure don’t want to talk about it.

The senior class chose this t-shirt “Bow to the Crown” to represent the Class of 2007. High school seniors always relish in the glory of tradition – that they are superior in rank to the underclassmen. They wear their gold cardstock crowns to the pep rallies with pride.

When I saw this shirt, the first questions to cross my mind were: Did I do a good job raising her to bow to the crown of Jesus Christ? Is her foundation strong enough to keep her focused toward the path of the throne?

We have so many responsibilities as parents. Keeping our children healthy, not only physically, but spiritually, is at the top of the list. It is not the responsibility of the church to provide my child with 100% of the recommended daily allowance of spiritual nutrition. After all, they only get my kid a few hours a week. But I am grateful to the churches who “partnered” with me, guiding me and equipping me as a parent.

Sometimes we have to talk about things even when we don’t want to or know how to.

Friday, August 25, 2006

word up

My schedule has been crazy this past week! I was going ninety to nothing (what does that mean anyway?) until Wednesday. I had a doctor's appointment and found out my hemoglobin is 10. Twelve is the lowest it should be. Ever since I found out about this "anemia", I have been so exhausted. Understand..I wasn't exhausted BEFORE the test, only once I got the results. So, I have been milking it ever since.

I have some stuff in my brain to blog about, but time and energy have not allowed it to happen. But I did want to post a link to a cool site I found from another blogger. Check this out:

This is called a "word cloud" and it takes common words from a blog and turns them into this cool visual. This site also offers your word cloud on a t-shirt or coffee mug if you're into all that.

So I'm going to take a One-a-Day with Iron now...gotta get my energy back up for Sunday!

Friday, August 18, 2006

bye, bye, bye

August 22 will mark the second anniversary of the public launching of TrueNorth Church. Don’t miss this Sunday morning as we reflect and celebrate what God has done to change people’s lives through TNC.

As we celebrate, we will also be saying goodbye these next few weeks to a building we have called home for two years. The high school auditorium reminds me of the old wineskin parable from Steve’s message last week. It is bursting from pressure. The gym will be our new wineskin, our new container that will stretch so that the church can reach more people for Christ in our community.

I remember being told that there was no need for a church of this type in North Augusta and that it would never work. When people are loving God and loving others the way we are commanded to do, God would never allow the church to fail.

There IS a need, and it IS working. Thank God for TNC!

Monday, August 14, 2006

this t-shirt is mean

You lost me at hello.
Always remember you're unique... Just like everyone else.
Out of my mind... Back in five minutes.
I'm busy. You're ugly. Have a nice day.

What’s up with all the sarcastic tees these days? They are everywhere! I always thought it would be a fun job to design t-shirts with sayings. I also thought naming the Jelly Belly flavors would be right up my alley. They've used up all the good names though. All that's left is Macaroni and Cheese.

I have a friend in my Journey Team who was at the grocery store with her TNC shirt on recently. A guy came up to her and said “Hey, you TrueNortherner! I go to TrueNorth too and isn’t it cool that we don’t know each other, but we really do in a way?”

I liked that story.

The TNC is coming out with new t-shirts for the fall (non-sarcastic ones). Be on the lookout for these at the information center on Sunday mornings. They sell quickly!

TNC 2nd service insider


Michael Landon, may you rest in peace.
You will always live on in the heart of our pastor, Stevie D.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

thank you for hearing me

My husband is a smart man (using my best Forrest Gump voice here). He doesn’t say much, but when he does, you won’t forget it.

Alan is also a great listener, even though he doesn’t look like he is listening. I need eye contact and an occasional grunt of acknowledgement. But he can read the paper, watch TV, and brush his teeth (with the loud electric toothbrush) all at the same time and still repeat everything I’ve said, even though it doesn’t look like he is listening.

Alan is not a big talker in the car. Lots of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. I have found that I have a captive audience in the car and it is the best opportunity for me to talk to Alan about “stuff”, because where is he going to go?

We talk about church a lot in the car. Not just our church…THE Church (capital C). On a recent four hour trip, I was on my soapbox about how some Christians can get so caught up in biblical “knowledge” that they become too focused on the knowing and not the doing. And that same attitude can be used as a tool by Satan for people to become boastful and self-righteous. Blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada, yada. No comment from my honey for about ten miles.

Then he said it. The one sentence that summed up all my ranting:

People don’t care about how much you know. They want to know how much you care.

So what took me ten miles to say, he said in a fraction of a mile. And he actually shut me up because I was speechless. I told you he was a smart man!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

i miss my MTV

It was the early ‘80s. I was perfectly content wearing out the joystick on my Atari, when something better and more socially interactive came along. MTV had entered my living room and my world would never be the same.

I am not embarrassed to admit this: I could act out and sing to every video that they showed. All fifteen of them. I didn’t have a single friend (or boyfriend) who was as crazy about this new concept as I was. They were quickly burnt out on When Doves Cry, Jump, 99 LUFT Balloons (not RED…I liked the German version better), Hey Mickey, and Hungry Like the Wolf. Then the Video Music Awards were introduced. I planned my weekends around the show, with my predictions in hand.

Then the ‘90s came along and I was involved in my career and raising a family. I still caught some glimpses of my MTV, but it was apparently changing faster than I could change a diaper. Grunge was on the scene…and I just couldn’t sing and dance to something I didn’t understand the words to. I could appreciate the new sound…it just wasn’t visual anymore. The Real World also caught my attention (my first encounter with reality TV). The Puck and Pedro/San Francisco season was the first and last season for me.

The alphabet and number groups (TLC, *NSYNC, DMX, POD, 50 Cent, Blink 182, and Sum 41) helped usher in the new century. (I hope they know that U2 started that trend in the 80’s!) To their disadvantage, their videos have been overshadowed by ride pimpers, spring breakers, and prank punkers. And there is more jiggle going on these days than a Bill Cosby Jell-O commercial. If I were to act out any of this generation’s videos like I did in the past, I might either break a body part or get pregnant.

MTV has “jumped the shark” because it isn’t about music at all. It’s about programming and money.

But they know their young audiences. The powers-that-be at MTV understand that the youth of this generation relate to things that are short-lived. Young people absorb themselves in technology and visual stimulation. They need a dose of reality by being engaged in real life situations.

The Church could learn a lesson from the MTVers. There is a responsibility to connect with the present culture, without compromising the Truth. Jesus did it. He knew his audience. Modern churches today are using cutting edge graphics, gargantuan video screens, diverse music styles, amazing light shows, and relevant, biblical Truth to reach the same audience that MTV is attracting.

Who is doing a better job?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

i don't want to miss a thing

I was in a marathon Creative Team meeting yesterday to help plan upcoming services and God was putting some BIG ideas in some TINY, little brains. If He didn't drive those meetings, we would never get out of first gear.

This Sunday is going to be an exciting service at TNC! There will be LOTS of surprises and awesome music...

...and I am going to miss it! Somebody take some good notes and decent cell phone pictures for me!

we're all in this together

This summer, I have been reading and re-reading John Ortberg’s book, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them. I can't get to the bookstore fast enough to get some more of his books. He is an amazing storyteller with a great sense of humor.

In this book he tells a story of his friend who comes to the South and stops at a diner where grits are on the menu. He asks the waitress what a “grit” is. Her reply was, “Honey, they don’t come by themselves.”

Ortberg’s comments: “Grits don’t exist in isolation. No grit is an island, entire unto itself. Every grit is a part of the mainland, a piece of the whole. You can’t order a single grit. They’re a package deal.”

Ortberg continues with the Creation story. Everything that God made, he said was “good”. But in Genesis 2:18, God says, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

God requires for us to be in community with others. You can experience large group community at TrueNorth Church on Sunday mornings as well as small group community during the week. These small groups are called Journey Teams, where people meet in homes for fellowship and Bible study. It’s a place where you can develop meaningful relationships and share your spiritual journey.

Check out the website for the times and locations. There is an empty chair with your name on it!

Besides, you weren’t made to be the Lone Grit.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

the pleasure principle

First it was the perfect chicken sandwich, then the ingenious “eat mor chikn” cow mascot, now it’s “My pleasure!” to serve you.

Chick-fil-A has caught my attention again.

Let’s see. The food is hot. The tea is perfectly sweet. The tables and floor are clean. Shirley is bringing around the tea pitcher, asking if I want a refill, while dropping complimentary mints on my table. My kids are sweating in the play area. And the kids can exchange their kid’s meal toy for an ice cream treat.

Yep, I think it is their pleasure to serve me.

The purposes for serving in the church are to glorify God and build others up. When I look around TrueNorth Church, I see these purposes being fulfilled. The sermons are relevant. God’s Word is being taught. The music is diverse. The greeters are smiley. The children are learning about Jesus and bringing their parents to church. The parking lot is full. Mission teams are being sent out. Journey Teams are bursting at the seams. Prayer teams are on their knees. I can even smell the cookies being baked while I’m typing. “I wish I could describe it to ya!”

These aren’t jobs…they’re ministries.

Because it's our pleasure to serve Him!

Monday, July 24, 2006

i've got chills...they're multiplying

I wish everyone could experience the view from the stage on Sunday mornings at TrueNorth Church. It is such an amazing sight to see. God is truly being blessed by the praise and worship you are giving Him. Let this feeling carry you through your week.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

another one bites the dust

I dropped my cell phone into a full glass of Coke. No struggle, no splash, no drama…it just sunk straight to the bottom. I tried cell phone CPR using three sets of breathing and compressions.

It didn’t make it.

We were also without a home phone for two weeks this summer. One of those weeks we were on vacation and I couldn't check my ring, nothing. Alan went under the house and found the line that was messing us up and got us back in business.

Those who know me well, know that I love to talk on the phone. A lot. Always have. It's one of my favorite ways to build or maintain relationships…by spending time with people on the telephone (while multitasking of course…remember the ADD I caught from church?) Satan knows that one of God’s purposes for us is to live in community with others. Is he trying to take that away from me?

Or does God want me to be silent for awhile?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

lemon "aid" stand

I found a small plastic cup in my kitchen yesterday that had a few dollar bills and some change in it. I asked Allison, my 9.92 year old, if that was the money from her lemonade stand.

Her reply: I told Dad to put it in the offering.

The lemonade stand was started by Allison (left) and her BFF, Elizabeth (right), in order to purchase a Webkinz. They made a little over six dollars, which was not enough to buy the beloved critter. So they opted to split it and put it in the offering at church. We’re not talking 10% here. We’re talking the whole kit ‘n caboodle…100%.

And this is coming from children who DO NOT like to share, trust me. They think “share” was a lady from the 70’s who sang “I Got You Babe” with her husband.

I don’t think God wants 100% of our money…but 100% of our hearts. It looks like my kid is giving her heart to Him. And that makes me one happy mama.

Oh…and this picture was taken at church on Easter morning…matching Easter capris, you gotta love it!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

la cucaracha

My parents came over last night and Daddy, whose nose is always in the paper or watching the news, tells me that we are in World War 3…according to Newt Gingrich anyway (because he knows a lot!) I heard words like Suez Canal, Israel, Muslims, Hezbollah, Lebanon…and I heard the word ‘fools’ quite a bit. Then World War 3 happened in my den. Daddy chased ‘la cucaracha’ for me and was exhausted by the time he got him. It was quite entertaining.

I knew stuff was going on in the Middle East, but I didn’t know how mad everybody is and how many countries are involved and that any day our lives could change again forever like they did on Sept. 11, 2001. Condoleeza is supposed to be meeting with somebody about sum’n soon. What we need are people meeting with God and asking him to intervene. Would you join me in making a commitment to pray regularly for these countries? This is bigger than I thought…much bigger than the trivial things like la cucaracha in my den.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is all Jenny Lou's fault

C'mon get happy...if you think this title is a reference to the Partridge Family, you are right. I have some so-called friends at my church who call me "Mama Partridge" because I am the oldest person in our band, in which I play keyboard. Being the oldest doesn't mean I AM old though or that I look like Shirley Partridge - "surely" I don't! (No offense or anything, Shirley!)

If you go to TrueNorth Church in my hometown of North Augusta - and you don't have ADD - you will eventually get it like I did. I would like my blog to have a "theme" - maybe I will discover it through my writings and ramblings. But until then I will proly blog about these passions:

Jesus Christ - who constantly pursues me and calls me His own.
My husband, Alan - who constantly pursues me and calls me his own.
My three children - who constantly pursue me and call my name all day.
My music - it's everything. When I reflect on past memories, there's always a song playing in the background.
My church - TrueNorth Church (TNC) has turned my life upside down. And that's a good thing...actually, a God thing!

So. A whole lotta lovin' is what I'll be bringing. C' know what to do.