Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Hot Seat with Mrs. Claus

I had the privilege of volunteering at Hammond Hill Elementary's Santa Shop today and I had a nice little chat with Mrs. Claus. If you thought Santa was in charge at the North Pole, well you were wrong:

1. Mrs. Claus, what is your full name?

It is Jessica Mary Claus, but some fruitcakes think it is funny to call me "Mary Christmas". Pun intended, they say.

2. Why don't you go deliver toys with Santa on Christmas Eve?

Well...somebody has to stay back at the Pole and keep the spirits up and organize the chaos. With the new age of technology, we make our lists and check them twice using computers now. This younger generation of elves insisted on us purchasing Mac computers. Unfortuately with all the high-maintenance computer problems we have had, I have to stick around to constantly reboot and troubleshoot the computers. I'd rather use pen and paper.

3. What do you and Santa do during the Spring and Summer?

You can usually find us in the Florida Keys with some of our retired friends. One year we ran into Mister Heat Miser, which caused us to cut our fun-in-the-sun short. Being in the same place with "Mister Hundred and One" is just TOO MUCH! We ended up in Vegas after that.

4. Why is Rudolph's nose so bright?

Rudolph had a little "accident" in the toy shop and I hit him over the head with a frying pan. His nose fell off and now he wears a prosthetic device that glows red. Oopsie.

5. Do you do a lot of cooking at the North Pole?

Have you seen Santa's jelly belly? I have to make cookies all the time. Thank goodness for the new break and bake versions. And the elves are no better. They think the four food groups are candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. I spend a lot of time making sure everyone is happy and well-fed. It's not like we have pizza delivery around here.

Mrs. Claus, you are our hero.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

upside down

Our vacation is about to come to an end and we will be back to the real world tomorrow. We took the kids to Dollywood today. I have never been to an amusement park when I had to wear a coat, three shirts, gloves, and a hat. Usually it is 100 degrees outside and we have sweat dripping off the tips of our noses.

As we were standing in lines for the roller coasters, I started thinking about what a risk we take on these rides. We stand in line for 45 minutes to an hour so that teenage workers who are making minimum wage can operate a piece of machinery that will sling our bodies around at speeds in excess of 100mph, give us whiplash, and flip us upside down....and we don't even think twice about it. We have never even met the designers and engineers of these rides and we trust them completely.

We make the decision every day to exercise blind faith. So why is it that we sometimes hesitate to have faith in our Creator who knows us personally? Why can't we surrender ourselves to Him so that He can turn our lives upside down?

It would be a ride we would never forget!

Friday, November 23, 2007

the year we ate processed turkey meat

The Owings clan is in Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving weekend and we are hardly roughing it here in the mountains. The cousins brought the Guitar Hero and the kids have been swimming in the indoor pool. As I type it is 33 degrees and we actually saw a few snow flurries this morning. Well, that was the second time we woke up. The first time we woke up was at midnight to go to the outlet stores. We shopped until 4am and contemplated a stop at Denny's, but the wait was 30 4am!!!!

Did I mention that we ate Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant yesterday? Processed turkey meat, instant mashed potatoes and no macaroni and cheese.

This is the stuff memories are made of.

Monday, November 19, 2007

ima turkey

Did you know that the average, traditional Thanksgiving meal is around 3,000 calories? In comparison, the recommended calorie intake for an average person per day is 1600 to 2400 calories. To burn off 3,000 calories, one would have to walk 30 miles or swim 5 hours.

You're welcome.

the difference

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but we have gone off the deep end. Alan and I started decorating for Christmas this weekend, almost a week before Thanksgiving. The wreaths are on the windows and the trees are up, although ornament-less for now. It will take a few days before our house is back in order after emptying our attic of Christmas decorations. I was grumbling a little while decorating, wondering out loud, "WHY do we put ourselves through this? WHY do we make such a big deal about decorating for Christmas when it feels like a chore?" The answer became clear to me right away...BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT THINGS ARE DIFFERENT AROUND HERE.

The Christmas season is a time for celebrating personally and publicly that Jesus was sent into the world to make a difference. He had a different kind of birth. A different way of ruling. He wore a different crown. And He has shown us a different kind of love.

Yep. Something is definitely different around here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Thoughts from the David Crowder concert in Columbia last night:

The Myriad - awesomely weird/emo. The music was loud, lyrics were solid. And they sported the new fashion for male musicians...girls straight leg jeans.

Phil Wickham - see....nevermind.

Shadow worship must be the new thing, see picture above.

About 50-60 TNC peeps were there.

I love the Township Auditorium...small and intimate. We had great seats on the floor risers.

Why was there a gnome on the stage?

My favorite Remedy tracks: Glory of it All, Can You Feel It?, Everything Glorious, 1000 Tongues

My son's hair looks like David Crowder's in the mornings.

Alan says he is going to grow a "Crowder", the beard thing.

Great night of praise and worship!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

inside out

There was once a time when I got very uncomfortable seeing people cry in church. It's not that I am cold-hearted, I just don't cry much. If I cry, it's a BIG deal. Maybe that's why some of my friends call me The Tin Man. Not that I'm proud of that. I just tell them I'm crying on the inside. I couldn't even cry at a Beth Moore conference when everyone around me was boo-hooing. I tried though. For real.

This past week at TrueNorth Church, the message was about "Change". The challenge was for people to expose themselves to God so they could experience a radical change from the inside out that only God can accomplish. People were moved during the response time. There was a genuine desire for life change. My heart went out to those who are broken and desperate. There were tears...lots of them. And I was not uncomfortable because I was crying on the inside.

Monday, November 05, 2007

movin' on up

The Augusta area is movin' on up with the new lifestyle center opening up at the Augusta Mall just in time for the holidays. It is about time we got some new blood in town! These are the stores I am anxiously awaiting:

PF Chang's China Bistro - Oh yeah! I have been there once in the ATL. Got the lettuce wraps. Never have forgotten them.

Williams-Sonoma - a girl can't have too many kitchen gadgets.

Barnes and Noble - where I can feed two addictions at once: coffee and books

McAllister's Deli - This is why:
Orange Cranberry Club (Turkey, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, lite mayo, Swiss and cheddar cheese on Wheatberry bread with our signature Orange Cranberry Sauce)

Buckle - what was once my little internet shopping secret is now coming to Augusta in the spring. I love this store!


I saw this Clemson a cappella group, called Tigeroar, perform at Tigerama a few weeks ago. I was most impressed with their rendition of Kanye West's 'Stronger', beatboxing included.

Check out this video of the guys paying tribute to the six USC students and one Clemson student who died in the Ocean Isle beach house fire recently. My own Clemson daughter was at a mountain cabin in North Carolina with her girlfriends that same weekend, so this tragedy hit close to home for me.

The Clemson/USC rivalry runs deep and there is still a football game to be played on November 24. It will be interesting to see how the game and events surrounding it play out.

Because what brings us together makes us stronger.