Two-for-one = my favorite kind of deal

This Christmas, why not buy wrapping paper and make difference all at the same time? Hallmark has teamed up with the Product (RED) campaign, and one of the first items to result is super-stylish reversible wrapping paper. Click here to see the colorful varieties and read more about the case. $5 is all it costs and, if they're still running the same promotion as when I went in, you may get a jumbo, Hallmark-brand roll of paper for free! So what are you waiting for?

Perhaps Sir Mix-A-Lot wasn't as shallow as we thought? ... And my children will be geniuses

Special thanks to my Mom for sharing this oh-so-enlightening research. Click here to read about the Brain/Butt Theory. The best line in the article:
"Does this PhD make my butt look big?"

Back in business!

I'm back from Thanksgiving/Blogspot holiday. If I was a serious blogger, I would have continued posting my nonsensical ravings for the last week ... so I guess it was as much a welcome break for you as it was for me :) Anyway, just wanted to check in and say "hello." And also, it gives me great satisfaction to be able to listen to my Christmas music boldly and unashamed (yes, the same music I've been piping through my head phones since August).

Deep, man...deep

Sure there are more important things to think about when you watch a presidential primary debate (like, "I can't believe Sen. Obama just called Sen. Clinton 'Hillary' and she didn't claw his eyes out," for instance). But listening to John Edwards on the attack, I could only ponder one thing...

Separated at birth?

Quote of the day

I don't know who said this, or where it originally came from, but it was at the top of a forward my Grandpa sent around. It's simple, but has profound implications:

"God determines who walks into your's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go."

A good birthday

In the spirit of sharing collections (like here, here, here and here), I thought I'd share some of the things that helped make my recent birthday extra-special. Of course, after I'd arranged everything for the photo and then "struck the set," I remembered a couple I left out [insert pilgrim candle holders and "Wisdom of Narnia" book].

I woke up early, grabbed a bite at McDonald's and hit the gym with Superman. Then we came home and broke in my new season of "Frasier." After a long bath and some lunch, I wondered some of my favorite stores for a couple hours before meeting up with a friend to finish up the shopping. Dinner was sushi and hot sake in a private room with hubby, followed by homemade citrus cheesecake and brownie bites (a la JEB) at my Mom's. Oh, and my 4-year-old nephew W called to wish me a happy birthday just after my bath earlier in the day.

Good birthday, good life. Thanks to everyone who sent their well wishes! You are a blessing to me.

All in the family

Ihearttexas is now Molly McGee, and she has a thing or two to teach us about old-time radio. See what I mean here.

Miracle Maker

Dedicated to Sarah Y., Ruth B., Fran H. and anyone else who knows The Healer in a way most of us --thankfully-- never will.
This is Delirious:

Divine discontent

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
{C.S. Lewis}

I have heard people describe the oft'-indescribable longing in humanity for communion with its Creator as "a God-shaped hole." Sounds about right to me. After years of exhortation, I've got the head knowledge to support this concept and not go seeking superficial satisfaction to fill that void. But my heart frequently forgets.

There are a couple different illustrations from my own life that come to mind here. One is that I've always wanted to be someone's best friend. I've wanted to be the go-to buddy when a spontaneous road trip is the order of the day or when innermost feelings must be poured out to a sole listener. I have been blessed with many wonderful friendships in my life, but have not found one like this -- at least with staying power. You get to an age when you must resign yourself to never being a bridesmaid, never owning one-half of a "best buddies" necklace, and never getting introduced as someone's best friend (when not preceded by "my sister and..." or "my wife and...").

But I've come to appreciate, as recently as this past month, that this could be one way God keeps me honest. I have a million blessings in my life to be grateful for. Is it really so vital that while on this planet, someone calls me her truest bosom friend?

The other longing that tugs at me often is for the home of my childhood. I find myself wishing there was still a big house where both parents lived, and come Thanksgiving we could all cram in and celebrate. Alas, there is no such place. My father resides on one side of the country and my mother on the other. While its been the better part of six years since they lived under the same roof, my heart still drops every now and then when I remember what it was like to walk into a kitchen and see Dad seated by the griddle and Mom sipping tea at the counter while the rest of us feasted on homemade pancakes.

It's sad, make no mistake about it. But it's also another situation God uses to gently remind me that His Father's house is exponentially better than any home life I've lived out here.

This discontent -- though it keeps us in tension and tied up in knots -- is divine. For us who do not know the suffering and affliction of many around the world, it's a reminder not to get comfortable; not to get so accustomed to blessing that we forget this is a fallen reality...
There is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother, and I am not home yet.

"I know there'll be a moment
I know there'll be a place
Where we will see our Saviour
And fall in His embrace
So let us not grow weary
Or too content to stay
'Cause we are not home yet
We are not home yet"

{Steven Curtis Chapman}

Always a good read

I ran out of time today to write the post I've been composing in my head this week; I'll try to get to it this weekend. But in the interest of not completely neglecting my posting duties on this fine Friday, I'll share what I recently found out is my Mother's favorite scripture (and it's a whopper)...

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great mercies we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
{Lamentations 3:19 – 26}