Monday, April 30, 2007

The Hot Seat with Matthew

1. Who is your favorite superhero and why?

Superman because he runs superfast, has heat vision, and superstrong muscles.

2. What are your favorite things about kindergarten?

Eat snack, go outside, and have free play. Learning too.

3. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A rockstar.

4. Do you know any knock-knock jokes?

M: Knock knock.
L: Who's there?
M: Nobody.
L: Nobody who?
M: (silence)
L: Oh, I get it.

5. Who loves you more than mommy does?

God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit

what NOT to wear!

Prom is this weekend. Here is a sample of what NOT to wear:

Saturday, April 28, 2007

dance sister dance!

I ripped this off of Gene's blog. Words cannot express what you are about to witness:

Friday, April 27, 2007

relay for life

So I was emailing my Journey Team and writing a blog post at the same time yesterday afternoon when I got a phone call about someone in our church who just found out his body is full of cancer. John is 43 years old and has two teenagers.

Suddenly my blog post seemed really stupid. In fact I wanted to just shut down my whole blog site. I was in a daze. I even drank milk straight out of the jug for the first time ever because who cares? Somebody just found out they are dying from cancer and everything else is NOTHING in comparison.

I am related to this man and his wife through Journey Teams. They belong to a group that came out of our group, which makes me feel like their grandmother or something (or maybe a young aunt). Their Journey Team is a great testimony of how important it is to experience authentic, meaningful relationships. Watching them from the outside makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

Relay for Life Cancer Walk is tonight at North Augusta High School beginning at 6pm. John will be there to walk the survivor lap, "relaying for his life" if you will, after just finding out his prognosis yesterday. His whole Journey Team and other supporters from TNC will be there to walk with him.

If you have not been touched by cancer at some point in your life, chances are you will. Come support this worthy cause. It is a great community experience that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Hot Seat with Beth Julian

Meet Curtis and Beth Julian, my neighbors. Check out Beth on the HOT SEAT this week! 1. What's a girl like you from Kingston, TN doing in North Augusta?

My first visit to the Augusta Area was with my parents in 1985 to visit someone in then-called “Humana” hospital. My first impression of the Augusta area was not favorable. Who would have guessed that five years later I would be marrying someone from my hometown and moving to the area where he had moved after college—North Augusta.
First impressions can be deceiving! I love North Augusta, would not ever want to move away. This is home!

2. I hear you drive a "hooptie". What exactly is a hooptie?

Hooptie (n.) - a car that gets you to and from work. It is not your family car but just a car that you can abuse and neglect. Hoopties are usually cars that were nice when new. A hooptie can still be a nice car but it is not your prized car.

A month ago I complained constantly about our van, our now hooptie, and couldn’t wait to replace it with a new car; however, since purchasing our new Yukon XL, our 2000 Ford Windstar is now the Julian’s beloved “hooptie.” Our Yukon stays parked because…well I’m not sure exactly why. But a month ago I couldn’t wait to get a new car to replace our falling apart, paid-for van. But I now drive the hooptie with a smile on my face knowing that I have a Yukon XL at home that is not paid for, taking up a lot of space in our garage, and too clean to allow the kids to even walk near. Weird isn’t it!!!

3. What does the phrase "it takes a village" mean to you?

I am proud to call myself a “village people.” The phrase “it takes a village” is spoken often in my neighborHOOD. This phrase means that I couldn’t survive without my neighbors and friends. I couldn’t cook, feed my family, do my taxes, pressurewash my house, transport my children everywhere, feed my dogs while on vacation, get to all the practices and appointments, get minute-to-minute information about current North Augusta events, feel loved, feel safe, or even have fun without my “village.”

I told someone the other day that you know you live in a great neighborhood if you can quickly name 6 neighbors who would be happy to give you a can of Cream of Chicken soup or a bottle of ketchup from their kitchen at a moment’s notice and not expect to be paid for it or it to be replaced. I love my “village.”

4. Tell me about your journey team.

Our J-Team gets it! We do life together. We are an awesome, diverse group who truly love each other. We are a family….not perfect…just a family. I know my J-Team members will be there for me for life. We are like a “well-oiled” machine that works and works well. I look forward to our Sunday meetings. It feels like home wherever we meet.

5. Do you consider yourself a Martha or a Mary?

Hello, my name is Beth Julian, and, yes, I am a “Martha.” I didn’t believe that I was a Martha, but since being told this over and over for the past two years, I’ve had to admit to myself that I must be a Martha. One way that I stay sane is by having the phone numbers of the true “Marys” in my life on speed dial. I couldn’t be a Martha without my Marys.

Friday, April 20, 2007

leadership 101

As an officer of the National Honor Society, Kacie was asked to speak during the annual induction ceremony this week. This is what was provided for her to read:

Leadership in its highest sense is not simply the outgrowh of a magnetic personality. Leadership, in order to benefit mankind, must proceed from unselfish motives, strong character, and a self-informed mind. The price of leadership is sacrifice, a willingness to yield one's personal interest to the interest of others. Humility is a prerequisite here, also; for the success of any cause is endangered when the leader thinks himself higher than the cause. A true leader is marked by self-confidence and poise, both of which are born of experience, knowledge and an understanding of man. No matter what power and resources may exist in a country, they are ineffectual without leadership.

Wow. She is learning at a young age what it really takes to be a leader. Some of these qualities totally go against human nature. But they are attainable when the leader doesn't think of themselves as "number one". Sometimes leaders are called to be last.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

cricket chirping

Setting: Allison and me driving home from gymnastics, listening to a live band CD.

Allison (age 10): Mom, did you hear the crickets chirping?

Me: What are you talking about?

Allison: When the lead singer tried to make a joke and nobody laughed, that awkward silence is what I call cricket chirping, because that is all you can hear.

Me: Of course.

That's my girl!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

national chocolate eaters month

The current sermon series at TrueNorth Church is “The Pursuit of Happyness”, and during our Journey Team study we were asked to complete the sentence “Happiness is …”. Knowing that we weren’t really expected to answer in a spiritually-correct way, my answer was “Happiness is CHOCOLATE!” This must explain why one of my favorite movies of all time is “Willy Wonka and the CHOCOLATE Factory”…those rivers of chocolate are just irresistible!!

At McKenna and Andrew’s wedding last year, they had a chocolate fountain at their reception. You know the drill….put the fruit on the skewer, hold it under the fountain stream, repeat, and repeat, and repeat. After a while I said forget it….I got a cup and stuck it under the fountain and drank the chocolate right out of the cup. I had a great chocolate moustache! It’s true.

Since April is National Chocolate Eaters Month, here is some fun stuff about chocolate:

1. Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can!
2. I'd give up chocolate, but I'm no quitter....
3. Nobody knows the truffles I've seen!
4. Chocolate…Here today, gone today!
5. Just give me the chocolate and no one gets hurt!
6. Seen recently on a tee shirt ~ EMERGENCY ALERT: If wearer of this shirt is found vacant, listless, or depressed, ADMINISTER CHOCOLATE IMMEDIATELY.
7. There's more to life than chocolate, but not right now!
8. All true chocoholics know that chocolate is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean. Beans are veggies. Duh!
9. Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get. Forrest Gump in "Forrest Gump" (1994)
10. Exercise is a dirty word...Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

And one more quote to prove my theory that chocolate makes people happy:

Chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and behavior by making you happy. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally. So, eat lots of chocolate! Elaine Sherman, Book of Divine Indulgences

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Hot Seat with Walt Tanner

I am starting a "5 questions"-type post that will appear on my blog periodically. It is a chance for folks who visit my blog to get to know the crazy people I hang out with. My first victim is Walt Tanner, student pastor at TrueNorth Church. Say hi to his wife Betsy too!

1. What is the biggest challenge facing student pastors today?

Time. Students have so much coming at them with an overload of school work, tons of sports – (b/c every parent thinks their kid is going be a pro), myspace, hanging out with friends, bf and gf….so as a student pastor it is hard to get them to a place where we can start to transform them. Once a week if that – is tough. But with God anything is possible!

Another thing is the line between 'good kid' and 'bad kid' are blurred. It used to be that there was a clear line between good and bad (ie. The bad kids wore motorcycle jackets and had slick back hair – the good kids wore khakis and button ups.) Today’s students reach out there and push the limits more and more. Suburban kids look nice and know the right answers, but inside they aren’t what they seem – a big surprise to parents!

2. Now for the fun stuff....when can we expect a Baby Tanner?

Before I am 30. I am currently 28.5

3. Exactly how many foreign accents do you have?

- British “God save the queen”
- Irish “top of the mornin’ to ya.”
- Scottish “if it’s not Scottish – it’s crap!”
- Redneck “yall ain’t frum around here are ya?”
- Australian “put another shrimp on the Barbie”
- Middle European/Russian “ah yes – the vodka is wonderful.”
- Canadian “Yeah don’t ya know.”

4. Which has been your most favorite SLAMMED announcement video?

With the original slammed man Toby Mac! And I taught him the true way to SLAM.

5. Regular Dr. Pepper or Diet Dr. Pepper?

Is this FUR REEL? This isn’t even a question! Dr. Pepper is the only Pepper I recognize. When it was created in the 1800s – diet wasn’t in people’s vocab. I am currently on a DIET PLAN. People are like "so you are taking up that other Pepper?". NOPE. I am just cutting back. I would rather have one REEL DEAL – than three knock-offs.

And I am off the HOT SEAT!

living proof

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Beth Moore Living Proof Live conference in Columbia with a couple of my friends. I told another one of my friends that going to a Beth Moore conference was not at the top of my to-do list, but everything just fell into place for me to go. I have been struggling with some trials and discouragements lately and I told my friend that I EXPECTED God to speak to me this weekend. As the first session began at James 1, all I could do was smile because I knew God had showed up:

Each of us gets one mortal life.
Each one life is marked by multiple seasons.
Each season is colored by different trials.
For believers, every trial is assigned divine tasks.
Trials are permitted by God for a reason.
Trials are unplanned and undesired.
All trials are to complete God's workmanship (a portrait). The picture begins as black and white and our trials bring color to the picture.
Every trial evokes a test of will be tempted to doubt.
Every trial will expose a need of a new wisdom.
Ask for wisdom. If we don't pray, certain things will not happen.
Perseverance is courageous endurance.
Courageous perseverers are greatly rewarded.
God takes away our perversity and gives us back our dignity.
The one who falls is not always a fraud, but an idiot.
Distraction leads to addiction which leads to destruction.
Our number one motivator should be that we are madly in love with Jesus.
God did not create you to stifle your feelings - He wants you to be PASSIONATE.
Give the divine seed a clean soil by having a confession life.
Humbly accept the Word planted in you.
Renew your mind day in and day out.
You can't just "hear" the Word, but "do" it.
When God exhales his Word, we've got to inhale.
If you feel like there are no answers in the Bible, look intently and God will speak to you.
The higher God has placed you in ministry, the more of a servant you are called to be.
God can humble a proud person.

And in the words of Beth Moore, "Can I get an AMEN?"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

what about the 2?

This past Easter Sunday at TNC, each person was asked to fill out a spiritual survey. The options given were: (paraphrased)

A) already believing
B) began believing today
C) considering believing
D) don’t plan on believing

We were amazed at the number of responses that were turned in and that 128 of them were people who expressed interest in being contacted and/or began believing on Easter Sunday. Those numbers are a great reason to celebrate because that is why our church exists: to transform spiritual seekers into passionate followers of Christ.

But what about the 2 people who chose answer D, declaring that they never intend on making a decision to follow Christ. Those 2 people have been on my mind all day since I found out the results of the survey. The fact that they were in a church service is a start. I pray that something will draw them back each week and that their hearts will soften to the possibility of choosing B or C.

There are many more D-answer people out there who are searching and TNC is in a position to reach them. It could be our neighbor, coworker, or family member. We should never stop praying or inviting!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Last week we rented our house out for the Masters tournament, went to Hilton Head for a few days, and stayed with my parents for five nights. My parents live three streets over from us and we had everything we needed except for one thing that we wanted.


I needed to call Clemson University one day to get some scholarship information for Kacie. Normally, I would find that information online, or at least get the school’s phone number. But I had to resort to the primitive way of dialing 411 for the phone number. Once I reached the department I needed, I was greeted by a recording that announced, “Most of your questions can be answered by visiting our website at”

No duh.

At one point during our stay, I just couldn’t take it anymore and asked Kacie to grab her laptop, because we were going to steal our own internet. So we parked across the street from our house, in front of Ed and Mary’s, and tried to rip off our own wireless internet. It wasn’t happening because Alan had our system locked down like Fort Knox. So we attempted to rip off Ed’s wireless, but we took off once we saw the dog come outside, knowing that Ed wasn’t far behind. We drove around until we could get a connection and ended up ripping off Jeff and Melanie. But I’m not in trouble because I called her later and told her that we had stalked her internet.

Gosh. All I wanted to do was check my email.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

first perspective

Speaking of the Masters, my 18 year old, Kacie, went to the tournament for the first time this year. She said she felt like she was in Disneyworld. There was the long walk from the car to the gate, then the turnstiles like they have at the parks to count attendance. Once inside, there was the shady area with all the sounvenir shops and programs with starting times, which symbolize the park map with show times included. From there it is like moving from ride to ride especially when following a particular golfer from hole to hole. Then there are the folks with the "special" badges, who get "special" access, like going to the front of the line on Space Mountain. And don't forget the long concession lines!

Funny how the first-timer views an event. I would love to get this kind of feedback from first-timers visiting TrueNorth Church by asking each person, "How was your first TNC experience?"

Monday, April 09, 2007

a southern thang

So this was one of those years when I did not make it to the Masters. All I wanted was for someone to bring me back a pimento cheese sandwich from the concession stand.

Make that two, please.

I am a pimento cheese snob. I don't eat just any kind. I can look at it and know if I am going to like it or not.

Pimento cheese should not be bright orange as some types are. Instead, it should be creamy and spread on squishy white it is at the Masters. I can recall many trips to the course, not paying much attention to golf, but people-watching, enjoying the scenery, and waiting for lunch so I can get what I really came there for.

Alan and Kacie went to the tournament this year and brought back my souvenirs, two pimento cheese sandwiches, wrapped in classic green cello bags. I have to admit that I was disappointed in my first sandwich. It tasted, well, plain. Nothing special. Not the treat I had built it up to be. Just a plain sandwich.

Then I realized what was missing from my sandwich. The sunshine. The heat. The azaleas. The experience. It is not just the pimento cheese that is so amazing. It is the whole package, the tradition.

So my second sandwich sat in the fridge for a couple of days until I took a digital picture of it for this post and tossed it in the trash. Next year I will remember not to mess with tradition, and enjoy my sandwich at the place it was intended for, the magical place called The Augusta National.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

i pity the fool

I pity the fool who missed Walt's message this past Sunday on faith vs. works. With this being an April Fool's Day message, we thought it would be A-Team-ish to play off Mr. T's phrase. Walt put a tongue in cheek twist on it by sharing a list of things Jesus would pity. The number one thing Jesus would pity is the fool who thinks he can work his way into heaven. My personal favorite would be that Jesus pities the fool who prefers diet drinks over regular. I am sure there are no pink, blue, or yellow packs of fake sugar in heaven!

My family has been in Hilton Head for a couple of days and I have discovered a short list of things that I pity:

I pity the white girl with freckles who thinks she can go on the beach for a couple of hours without sunscreen. That would be me...burnt up, sick in the bed, catching up on blogs.

I pity the foolish children who will jump into a swimming pool, no matter what the water temperature is!

I pity the dad who takes his family of five out to eat $eafood.

I pity the fools who let complete strangers rent their house for a golf tournament. I wanna go home!!!!!!