Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rudolph's Revenge


Last night, my aunt came up to visit and brought us some gifts. She gave me some yummy smelling bath products and Ben got some fire-hot habanero salsa. He was awake all night with a burning sensation in his chest!
Tonight, Ben is teaching Hebrew and preaching in Exodus.

I found out yesterday that we will need to go to Louisville once more and do an interview. In Spanish. I have never had to do that before, and interviews are always nervous anyway, so I hope that I do well.

We also got news that our housing is ready Louisville, so we can move in anytime. That is really good news for us and we are happy that we got the place that we wanted. It has two bedrooms and study making it very convenient for Ben's work and research. We are planning to move in the week after Christmas because the teaching semester begins for me on January 7th.

In exciting family news, we found out this week that Ben's cousin and his wife are expecting their second child next summer. This is a wonderful blessing for their family, and with a daughter that is sooo cute, we are sure that the new addition will be adorable.

This is their little Madelyn:

Monday, November 26, 2007

'Tis the Season!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. We went to Monroe and visited Grandmother and Pappy (Rogers). Then we had lunch with Meemaw (Hickman), Ben's parents, and Wade and Jackie. At dinnertime, we came back home and ate tamales with my mom.
We ended the day by watching Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. It is such a fun holiday movie with big musical numbers and no representation of actual human emotions. Just warm and fuzzies. Watching Holiday Inn is a new Thanksgiving tradition for us. If you like holiday movies, I highly recommend it.
The ABC television network offers 25 days of sometimes crappy, often tearjerking, holiday movies, so that is a good place to start getting into a festive spirit.

Here are some pretty holiday pictures to get you in the mood:

Have you heard of this?

I saw this report on CNN about Freegans who, although they have money, choose to forage for their meals.
According to Wikipedia:
Freeganism is an anti-consumerism lifestyle. The lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters that have passed their expiration date, but are still edible and nutritious. They salvage the food not because they are poor or homeless, but as a political statement.

They believe that they can find just about anything and everything in the trash. Soooo, they go to the trash bins at restaurants, corporations and grocery stores and pull out what they want. They not only find food, but also pet products, home furnishings, etc.

As a further sign of my obsessive cleaning, I was watching this and just hoping that they clean up the trash after they go through it.

While I certainly object to waste and hyper-materialism, I am not here yet. And, it is freaking me out. I can't stop thinking about these people digging through the trash and what else might be in there. These are pics of actual freegans digging through dumpsters:

And here is Ben posing near the trash that was all over the street in Rome. I have a feeling there are not a lot of Freegans in Italy:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Great Commercial

This commercial made me laugh out loud and that ain't easy.
Thank you, Jennie O. You have my business.

Conversation on Highway 80

Ben: What is that in the road?
Me: I don't know. Looks like a trash bag.
Ben: I can't go around it.
Me: Oh no!
Me: What was that?
Ben(laughing hysterically): a trash bag full of aluminun cans *gasp* (continued laughter)
Me: Look, those people are pulled over. They lost that bag out of their trunk. They probably spent all morning collecting cans for extra money and now they are all over the highway.
Ben: That was hilarious! *gasp*laughter* You have to blog about this.

Today, I am thankful for a husband who is easily amused and loves to laugh.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lifetime Movie = Thankfulness

I am not usually a fan of the Lifetime movie. I do watch a lot of re-runs on that channel, but the "Moment of Truth" movies are not exactly Oscar caliber. Today, I got lazy and did not feel like looking for the remote.

This movie came on called Shattered Hearts - I know what you are thinking - that title could represent any number of Lifetime plots. But this particular movie was about a high school couple and their families. The boy is diagnosed with cancer and he and girlfriend run away together. There is this one scene when it is Christmas and he is sitting in his little hospital bed with his little bald head and he is crying and apologizing because he had been feeling sorry for himself. The website says that this is based on a true story. I don't know about that, and wouldn't actually recommend the movie, but I am thankful that I watched it.

You see, just this morning, I opened another email about a family needing prayer. A young wife, six months pregnant is living on one failing kidney. Yesterday, we got an update on the 21 year old son of a friend. They are struggling to deal with his chemotherapy and praying for healing. And I've been complaining about crowded stores, a messy house and long drives.

So, today I am encouraging myself and you to stand in that 45 minute line at Wal-Mart and be thankful that you can stand. And when you are going nuts cleaning up after Thanksgiving this Thursday, thank God for each healthy appetite as you wash those plates. Rest and be thankful and pray for those hurting, sick, and grieving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Does Anyone Remember Jem?

That Smurf pic from the previous post reminded me of my all-time favorite Saturday morning cartoon. I used to love Jem. Remember her? She was Jerrica until she pressed her fabulous earring and then she became JEM! - Super Rock Star. As the theme song said, she was truly outrageous. And better than Barbie because she was soooo mysterious and she had a rock band.
Anyway, I have good memories of watching Jem , so I decided to google and see if it still comes on. Guess what I found?
There is a whole world of Jem-lovers out there and it is a little bit scary. There is one site called "The Cult of Jem."
People are continuing the story of Jem by writing their own "episodes."
You can even upload all of the shows and the songs that they sang! And I kind of want to!
If you are a Jem-lover, check out this site:

Only 3 Days Until Thanksgiving....

and today I am remembering the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Caedmon's Call:

I'm so thankful that I'm incapable
Of doing any good on my own
It's by grace I have been saved
Though faith that's not my own
It is the gift of God and not by works
Lest anyone should boast

I am thankful for this, because I don't think my works would be getting me very far these days....All of these moving plans and uncertainty and crowded stores have made me pretty grouchy. Remember him? -->

So, today I am thankful for God's free grace and for my sweet husband and family who love me even when I'm grouchy.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I have been running errands like a crazy woman today. I have been in nearly every city in the metro area for something and I am tired!
Yesterday, I got a call about a possible position at a fantastic arts and performance school in Louisville. This school is the #5 producer of National Merit Scholars in the country. It is a great opportunity, but they may need me as early as next month. This would mean that I have to go to Louisville and live in a hotel until Christmas holidays. Ben would have to stay here and continue his preaching until early January.
So, today I have been going superspeed to get my Kentucky license paperwork completed. They have been very nice and we are planning to have a phone interview soon. Please pray for these new developments and for the outcome.

And...for those wondering about Ben's acorn comment on the previous post.....

The other day the wind started blowing like crazy and I was hearing these huge banging sounds on the roof and cars. I thought it was hailing.

So, I went outside and stood there. No hail. No rain. Nothing.

Just then, a huge oak nugget (this thing was too big to be called an acorn) hit me on top of my head.

Ben was standing in the doorway and saw the whole thing. He thought it was hilarious because the oak nugget bounced off my head about 6 feet into the air.

Now, he talks about that all the time. I know... its not that funny, but he got a real kick out of it.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Month Is This?

Hum the tune to "What Child Is This?" when you read that title.

Seriously, have we just skipped Thanksgiving and gone straight to Christmas this year? My street is aglow with garish flashing lights, inflatable santas, and giant candy canes. There are no more pumpkins and scarecrows and sparkly fall leaves. All of the stores are packed with ornaments, wreaths, and shrink-wrapped gift sets.

With all of this hype, I am afraid to go to Target or Walmart. The crowds could be ugly.
I am doing a lot of my shopping online this year. There are lots of great deals out there. Check these out: - This one is great for stocking stuffers. - Everyone loves candles. - Get anything (except clothes and shoes) here. - Good deals plus $1 shipping! - This site gives suggestions for the people on your list.
My advice is to shop online, but if you are going to the stores, you have my respect. I have to return something to the mall today, so wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ode to a Blonde Friend

So, I went shopping with my friend, Angie today. In honor of the fun we had today, I thought I would share a story from our high school days. Back then, Angie and I worked together at a pre-digital photo shop. We used to leave work in the afternoons and go to get something to eat. One day, we decided to go to McDonald's. As we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed a sign on their board that read: #5 EVM - $2.99 - this is code for Number 5 Extra Value Meal

I turn to Angie and say, "What do you think about that deal?"

Angie says, "I don't know what it is, but you get five of 'em for $2.99!"

Love her!

This is kind of eerie....

Ten years have passed and he hasn't changed much. Every time I turn on Court TV, I feel like I'm in the ninth grade again. Wasn't this whole thing about sports memorabilia? There are gloves in lots of sports. Do you think he will try on some gloves this time?

Only The Nose Knows

Take a trip back in time with me. Back, back, back about ten years ago. A talented young baseball player on the #1 team in the state is playing in a game against the #2 team. He is playing first base when the catcher throws and hits him in the nose. Holding his bloody, broken nose in his gloved hand, the heroic first baseman retrieves the ball and keeps the runner from scoring.
Now, fast forward to present day. The young baseball player is all grown up and married. The consequences of that badly broken nose are still with him. After three surgeries, his nose is a bit crooked. He has a loss of the sense of smell. He snores. Loudly.
You may have guessed, that I am the wife of this stupendous athlete. I have bought the Breathe Right strips, I have poked him and rolled him over, and I have even resorted to sleeping with pillows on top of my head. The snoring continues unabated. Take a peek into this conversation, which took place just last night:

Him: Snooooooooreeee

Me: Sweetie, *nudge* you're snoring.


Me: Dear, *push push* I can't sleep with you snoring so loudly.

Him: phmmm

Me: Ben, *Shove* wake up. You are snoring and I am pretty sure the cops are gonna come and ask me to kill the bear that we are keeping alive in our bedroom!

Him: SNNNNNooooooore

Me: BEN! *Push Nudge Shove*

Him: What??!

Me: I am gonna go sleep in the guest room.

Him: Why?

Me: You are snoring like a chainsaw.

Him: No. I will go sleep in there. You stay here.

Me: Don't do that, you are already sleeping well and I am up.

Him: SNNOOOOOOOOreeeeeeee

I could still hear him across the hall, through the closed door, with a pillow on my head. Ben's heroic baseball moment all those years ago has turned into the thorn in my side. (Thanks, dude who hit my hubby in the face with a ball.) Sooo....anyone know how to cure snoring?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Do NOT Heart Mondays

I had a pretty good weekend, however Monday is not my best day.
It is so hard to wake up when you know the entire week is ahead of you and there is lots of laundry to do. Right now, I look like this ---->

Friday, November 9, 2007

I Heart Fridays

Friday always feels fun. Even though I work at home and keep a strange schedule, I feel like there is something exciting about Friday. One of my favorite things to do on Friday is go to the movies. So, in the spirit of movie-loving Fridays, I am listing and linking to some movies that I am looking forward to.

August Rush: This one might be a cryer. Synopsis from Yahoo: Two musicians shared a night a dozen years ago that produced a son who shares their talent -- and then some. The young boy grows up an orphan, but feels connected to this mother and father he's never known through the music inside him. Now twelve years old, the boy goes to New York to find his parents. There his prodigious talent catches the eye of Wizard, a street musician who takes the boy under his wing. Meanwhile, the boy's father feels called back to his musical roots in New York, while the boy's mother enlists the help of a devoted social worker to find her son. Can their common love for music bring them back together?
Mr. Majorium's Wonder Emporium: I LOVE fantasty movies at the Holidays! Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is the strangest, most fantastic, most wonderful toy store in the world. In fact, it's a magic toy store and everything in it comes to life – including the store itself. The Emporium only asks one thing of its customers; you must believe it to see it. "
Enchanted: Such a fun idea to bring an animated fairy tale into the real world! Synopis from IMDB: Classic Disney fairytale collides with modern-day New York City in a story about a fairytale princess from the past who is thrust into present-day by an evil queen. Soon after her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and love after meeting a handsome lawyer. Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?
National Treasure 2: Call me a nerd, but I loved the first National Treasure and I am psyched about the sequel. Synopis from IMBD: Treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates looks to discover the truth behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, by uncovering the mystery within the 18 pages missing from assassin John Wilkes Booth's diary.
Those are some fun movie recommendations. Maybe it will give you something to look forward to on a Friday! If you want ratings and information on kid-friendly movies, check out Christian Spotlight They can save you from shelling out money for something that you really don't want to see.
UPDATE: We saw August Rush. I am sorry to say that is was not very good. Robin Williams character was just creepy. We also saw Enchanted and even Ben LOVED it! Such an entertaining concept for a movie and beautifully acted.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Conference Day 3

Today was the final installment of the John Reed Miller Lecture Series at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson. We are so happy that Dr. Mark Dever came to share his messages on preaching. It has been a blessing and a challenge to us.
The morning began with a lovely Q & A session at breakfast. Dr. Dever was able to answer questions from some of the local pastors. ( He didn't sit at our table, but he was closeby and he did give Ben his email address. We are old friends now, so we will probably catch a movie or eat Chinese food or something when he is in Louisville. )
Anyway, the topic of today's lecture was "The Art of Preaching." Some important notes follow.The information discussed was mostly for the benefit of those preparing sermons, but there are insights for listeners, parents, Bible teachers, and church members here.

*Familiarize yourself with the Biblical text before consulting commentaries. This means you should think about the text and pray over it - start with the original language if you can. Consult different translations and come to understand the text yourself. Then, create an exigetical outline, followed by a homiletical outline - at this point, it is safe to consult commentaries.

*Make your sermon more than Sunday morning. (This applies to listeners, too!) Some suggestions: Find a Christian who will read the passage and offer conversations, questions, prayer, Read the text during your daily devotionals, Talk about the sermon afterwards, Review the sermon with others.

*Introductions of sermons are often underused. Use this opportunity to inform the congregation on why this text specifically matters to them, and to show the non-Christian that you intend to engage with them.

*Illustrations in sermons are often abused. This should illustrate, not obscure the scripture. Use extreme caution with personal illustrations - you do not want to become the main attractions/personality of the church.

*Density of sermons is debated. It is good to challenge the listeners with new vocabulary, demanding ideas, etc. What about kids? Blessing the parents blesses the kids! Preach sermons for adults - the message should be as serious and weighty as life itself.

*Tone of sermons should reflect that we live in a fallen world. Aspects of tone: biblical, humble, clear, sober & serious, and joyfully confident.
*Conclusions should not draw attention to the speaker, but leave the hearer with the cross to consider. Quietly back away and leave them with the weighty truth. Avoid casual announcements and light songs after conclusions. Perhaps close with a moment of silence allowing the congregation to gather their thoughts.

* The Privilege of preaching is that this is the most urgent need of the church and the world. The Peril is to take encouragement of your own relationship with God from the success of your ministry. God never saved anyone for being a preacher.

It was so refreshing to experience this conference and to be around these preachers, young and old, as they seek to serve the Lord better by preaching His word faithfully. If anyone is interested in hearing more, you may want to attend Together For the Gospel. This is an incredibly popular conference event held each year. In 2008, it will be in Louisville, KY!
Not to drop names or anything, but our totally cool friend Mark Dever is a speaker. He, along with John Piper, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan (from Jacktown!), John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and Thabiti Anyabwile will be speaking at T4G 2008.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Conference Day 2

Today, there was another lecture in the John Reed Miller Series at RTS. Dr. Dever spoke on "The Use of Preaching in Edifying the Church and Evangelizing the Lost."
Before I offer some of the notes that I took during the series, I must take this opportunity to freak out. I totally shook Mark Dever's hand today. And he kept calling me "Katie," but after a little while, he got it right and now we have a joke. I have a joke with Mark Dever. We told him that we listen to his sermons on cd and he said that we should email him if we ever have questions. He is really nice and offered some suggestions to Ben about his Bunyan work and gave him a name of someone to connect with at Southern.
Okay, now for the notes from today:

*How much of preaching is reinforcing the existing culture? Are preachers thinking of the congregation as consumers. The term "seekers" implies something like this. The focus of sermons on "you and your needs" can produce a comfortable, suburban faith.

*Preachers do not need to look to the culture for methods and acceptable materials for preaching.

* Preaching is meant to inform our minds, instruct our consciences, and warm our hearts. Sin must be considered. Warning, admonition, condemning sin is appropriate in sermons.

* Why Expository preaching? What will most edify the church is preaching that exposes God's word. Every part of scripture contributes to the church. It is good to preach the truth and even better to preach the truth in a way that enables hearers to see where it comes from.

*Applying God's word does not undermine the Gospel message. Application teaches humility, recovery, conviction, etc.

*Three different kinds of application: ignorance, doubt, and sin. Inform the ignorant with the truth, urge the doubting to believe, and exhort those struggling with sin for a joyful obedience of God.

*Remembering that there are non-Christians around can clarify the preacher and remind him of God's grace. Addressing unbelievers in the congregation provides a model for Christians as they speak to non-Christians in their lives.

Tomorrow, there is a breakfast in Mark Dever's honor, and then the final lecture on "The Art of Preaching." Since we're all cool now, he will probably want to sit at our breakfast table.


It is really cold here today. The temp right now is 34 degrees and it is supposed to rise to 60 as a high today. A freeze warning is in effect for Jackson tonight.
Today is a really busy day for us. We are attending the second day of the John Reed Miller Conference. Then, I have to go and get my teaching license so that I can get reciprocity in Kentucky as a licensed teacher. Finally, Ben is preaching tonight in Mendenhall on Exodus 26. Last night, we attended the Life Action Revival again, and it was very good. They are a gifted group of people and have been a blessing to the church that they have visited this week.
The news says that it has been snowing in New York. Keep warm, Laura!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Conference Day 1

Wow! Ben and I have just returned from the John Reed Miller Conference. It was really a terrific encouragement and challenge for pastoring. Mark Dever is a commanding speaker and offered some intriguing insights and observations on preaching. Here are a few of my notes and some things to think about from his lecture today:

*Is a "good" church one without conflict? This wasn't actually a central idea, but it resounded with me. It is well-known that Mark Dever has a gift for marrying God's truth and evangelism. It is such a need in Christians for us to find a way to stand firm in our truth while being evangelistic. We must then know how to graciously handle any conflict that may come.

*Are many preachers using humor in the pulpit in hope of making the world accept our Christian message? The laughter of a congregation is not the measure of connectivity. Humor may emphasize a lightness of our attitude toward serious things.

*The monologue of the sermon is a powerful and accurate symbol of our spiritual state. Hearing His word is God's gift of Grace to us - we do not deserve it and we do not contribute to it. God creates and instructs His people through His word.

*The sermon is central in significance - it should shape the worship service. A congregation must learn to listen to sermons and come to church expecting to work, be instructed and apply God's word through the sermon.

* The center of every sermon should be the Gospel.

Ben got to meet Mark Dever briefly and he was a little bit starstruck. He listens to him on his ipod all the time and it was kind of surreal for him to actually meet the man.
Although this conference is geared toward pastors, it offered helpful insights for any church member. These are the things we need to consider when looking for a church or a pastor. Also, we can begin by teaching ourselves how to come to church in expectance of the sermon. It is a gift of God to hear His word. I know from my husband's schedule that it takes work to create a sermon. He labors over the word and prays for it and prepares his heart. We listeners should do the same.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday, Monday

Yesterday, we had a wonderful Sabbath day. Ben preached a great sermon in Exodus and afterward, we enjoyed lunch with the Price Family at their home. They are such warm and pleasant people. They have six children, ages 1 month to 14 years. Each member of the family is a joy to know.
This weekend, we informed our church family of our definite plans to move in January. Although Ben was only preaching interim there, he had been asked to stay. We have come love New Home and our sweet friends there, but we feel that earning a Ph.D at Southern will be an incredible opportunity for God to use Ben. We have prayed about this and feel confident in the decision, but it will still be hard to leave the families that we have come to love so much.
Last night, we visited a local church which was hosting a Life Action Revival Team. I was not sure if this would be good, because some experiences that I have had with travelling revival teams have not been positive. At times, they are hyper-emotional, or their focus is primarily fundraising and any resulting impact on the local body are temporary at best. I was really encouraged by the Life Action Team. I think that their work is educational and encouraging for the average believer. Check them out online and see if they will be near you soon. This group is also sponsoring 12 Pray, which encourages believers to pray at noon each day for a spiritual awakening and rebuilding of our churches.
This week, at Reformed Seminary in Jackson, the John Reed Miller Conference Series will take place. The featured speaker is Dr. Mark Dever, the senior pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington and president of 9Marks. If you are in Jackson, this conference is worth taking your lunch hour for. The event takes place Nov 6-8, from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM. Ben and I are planning to go, so I will write some info here for those of you who are not able to make it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Case for the Blahs

Maybe I do know why I am down. I have always been such a mushy-heart and their have been some really depressing developments in my area lately.
This morning there was news of a terrible car accident that claimed the lives of two local teens, a brother and sister. It is so very sad. I can only imagine the grief of this family and their friends and schoolmates. I don't even know them, but I just want to hug them. Having lost two siblings myself, I am particularly saddened for the one remaining child in this family. This loss will shape the rest of his life. I am praying for their pastor today - that God will give him some words of encouragement for this stricken family. It is possible that the day will come when Ben and I have such a tragedy in a church, and I pray now that if that time comes, He will help us to minister to the grieving.
Also, this week has not been a good one for the ministry around here. I found out this week that a local church that we love and respect had to let their youth minister go because of an extra-marital affair with another staff member. He has two little kids. It is so discouraging for ministers and their families when something like this happens. The guy is probably a believer and just messed up in a really big way. But, because of his actions there are people who will shake their heads and say, "These things always happen in churches." Now, I am not really pro-youth ministry, but I am pro-church - not just because my husband happens to be a minister, but because I love my God and the church as His people. I had really wonderful experiences with church people. Unfortunately, I have had bad ones, too. We have to remember that as long as the church is on earth, it will still be made up of regular, sinful people. As Ben always says, "The best of men are men at best."

Pray for those who are grieving. Death, loss, and disappointment are parts of life, so there is always someone who needs prayer and comforting.

Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Not So Deep Thoughts

Hello and Happy Friday or whatever. Today, I have the blahs for no good reason.
<------I look like this. We are thinking about going to see Bee Movie tonight. Maybe that will cheer me up. Or maybe something good will come in the mail. I am not expecting anything, but you never know. Mail always cheers me up. Between the mail and Jerry Seinfeld, I should snap out of it by tomorrow.
Anywho, Ben preached on John Huss Wednesday. Huss was a very interesting proto-reformer. He came under the influences of John Wyclif and was eventually martyred for his preaching and writing against abuses of the clergy. The Roman Catholic Church considered his teachings heretical and Hus was excommunicated in 1411, condemned by the Council of Constance, and burned at the stake in 1415. An interesting tidbit about Hus: Amongst Hus' last words are allegedly that, "in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed." Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses of Contention to a church door in Wittenburg 102 years later. Just reflecting on his life and sacrifices are making me feel that I should really be in a lot better mood. Because of Huss and the men that followed him, I can read the Bible in my own language and attend a Protestant church, and I don't believe I have to earn merit with God. I feel better already!