31 December 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


In years past, I always looked upon the tradition of setting resolutions for the new year with disdain. "New Year's Resolutions," it seemed to me, were only set to be broken. In theory, I never *officially* set any.
Looking back, however, it occurs to me now that just because I didn't go through the specific act of writing them down and telling everyone doesn't mean that I didn't have any.
Certainly, there have been many things that I have hoped for in years past -- perhaps silently wishing them to happen with the turning of the new calendar. And I find myself pondering the many disappointments of things that didn't happen in the past year that, I was so hopeful,
would.

So, as I sit here on New Year's Eve 2007, I have decided to give up my pseudo-intellectual snobbery and actually share with you here what I hope for the coming year.
Here are my 2008 "Resolutions."
1) I would like to lose weight and get healthy again. I have type II diabetes and my thyroid is a mess. A year ago, I was on NO medication. Now, I am on 4 different types per day! (yikes!)
For Christmas, I bought myself a membership to the Women's Center for Fitness so I could start working out regularly again. I actually love to exercise and miss it when I go long periods without it. Before children, Clay and I were pretty serious weight-lifters (NOT body-builders! There IS a difference! I prefer to look like a GIRL, thank you very much). I also used to be a pretty good kick-boxer (NOT Tae Bo, actual KICKBOXING).

2) I WILL finish writing my book. This will entail some sacrifices in other areas of my life (see the following resolutions):


3) I MUST cut back on so
me of my commitments. I am praying earnestly to decide what these will be, but something has to give. My time is stretched so thin now that my family is starting to suffer. And I don't EVEN want to talk about the laundry that is piling up!!! So, something will have to be cut or, at the very least, cut way back.

4) I would REALLY like to keep my 'A' in Elevate and I would like to devote more time to studying the topics that we are covering in our classes. I don't want this to simply be a passing fancy; I want to actually learn this stuff and carry it with me, always.

That's it -- at least for now.
Those are four things that I am truly hoping will come to fruition in the coming year. It's kind of cool posting them here because now I have a permanent record and can come back a year from now and see what has been successful and where I still need work -- an annual "checklist," if you will.

What about you?
What are you wishing for, believing God for, wanting desperately to happen in 2008?

Whatever your dreams, goals, or ambitions, I hope that you realize them all. May 2008 be a wonderful year for you and your family.

Much love, Summer =)

27 December 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!


Like my background?
Could be the only snow we here in Baton Rouge see this year...
*sigh*
If there's one thing I miss about Arkansas (besides my family and friends), it's the snow. Most years, we would get at least one decent snow -- or at the very least, a dusting! Some years, we were snowed in for days! The year before we moved here, it snowed so hard, my car got stuck coming home. We had to walk the last 2 blocks to our house. Clay couldn't even get out to go to the hospital so we spent the next 3-4 days building snowmen and sledding down the steep hill near our house (another thing I miss: hills!).

Yes, if I could just have one truly selfish and silly prayer request this year, it would be for SNOW. Natasha *vaguely* recalls what it's like, but poor Raisha has never even seen it! I would love to see her face watching those beautiful flakes fall from the sky...
Then again, there IS such a thing as TOO MUCH SNOW -- like the winter I lived in Denver, Colorado.
Um, yeah.
You gotta REALLY like snow to live there.

I absolutely LOVE living in Louisiana -- in fact, we have permanently "adopted" it as our home state (sorry, Razorbacks). But couldn't we just have an occasional snow day? Is that really too much to ask? I don't think so. After all, it snowed in L.A. a couple years ago... so anything is possible, right?

25 December 2007

24 December 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas & a blessed New Year!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog.
Don't eat too much fruitcake and make sure the eggnog's not spiked.!
Love, Summer =)

21 December 2007

I Am Legend

Ok, so I'm not really a "horror flick" kind of girl, but I had heard my mom talk about this book and I knew it was a modern remake of the cult classic, Omega Man., so I thought it might be worth seeing... Fast forward to Wednesday night:

It is, without a doubt, the SCARIEST movie I have seen in a REALLY long time!!! I am not kidding. This movie will mess with your mind.

But it's also intriguing.
A modern film with a clearly religious message and an obvious Christian allegory -- who woulda thunk it?
SPOILER ALERT
(don't read unless you've already seen it or aren't planning to):

Will Smith (one of my favorite actors) does a superb job as the film's main character. Intent on "saving the people of the earth from certain demise," he ultimately surrenders his own life in order to save theirs. Just before he lays down his life, he pleads with the "monsters" who, though once human, have lost nearly all evidence of their humanity.
He tells them: I can save you; just give me a chance -- I can save you.
But they are only intent upon his -- and ultimately, their own -- destruction.

I couldn't help but think, if we were "exposed" for what we truly are -- with the effects of our sinful nature displayed for all to see -- we would not be so very different from those hideous "monsters."
And Christ is pleading with us to give Him a chance to change us into something new and better than what we are now.
But (like those degenerate beasts) so many choose to stubbornly press forward in their self-destructive, chaotic existence, refusing the only glimpse of hope they will ever see.
Death is certain, yet still they resist.

The acting is wonderful, the suspense and scare factors are through the roof, but the story of man's self-destruction through his own intellectual arrogance is a message that is so relevant today. In this age when we -- through scientific progress and modern innovation -- act as though we are nothing less than gods, ourselves: This movie is a wake-up call.
It demands a reevaluation of what we think we "know," and what we believe.

Would I see it again? I don't know... Like I said, I'm not really a fan of scary movies, but the message behind this film definitely deserves consideration. If you are not weak of heart, I highly recommend it.
You can check it out here:
I AM LEGEND TRAILER

As Promised...

I forgot to post a pic of my Christmas tree. Here it is...
It's about 9 feet tall and very full so it takes us a good day or two to get it up and decorated.

Clay and I aren't allowed to have a real tree anymore. The first year we were married we had a little, live, "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree.
We, um, well.... We forgot to water it.
Ever.
After about 3 weeks, it was getting pretty crispy. I still have a scar from when I walked past and received a laceration from one of its branches.
About a week before Christmas, we noticed a slight hint of smoke coming from the tree. We immediately unplugged the lights and thus avoided any catastrophe, but ever since, we have resigned ourselves to using an artificial tree.
Plus, it's jut better for the environment, right? =)

20 December 2007

Temporary Fix *sigh*

Well, I had to completely change my template to get my title pic to work properly. I don't understand it; I re-sized the pic 3 or 4 times -- ultimately reducing it by more than half of the original pixel size! -- and it still didn't work.
I hate that.
Anyway, until I have time to sit and play with it a bit more, this will have to do...
Carole!!! I need your help!!!

19 December 2007

WHAT is Up With Blogger???

For those of you who have asked... I have NO IDEA why my title picture is messed up.
Actually, I kinda do:
It's SUPPOSED to be a picture of my eyes, but Blogger did some ridiculous update to help those who are upload-challenged and (essentially) ruined the title pictures for the rest of us!
I am trying to get it fixed, but this is just FYI so you wouldn't be wondering...
Anyway:

What a Weekend!

Last Saturday, my girls and I had the opportunity to volunteer at the NEW Baton Rouge Dream Center @ Winbourne for the Christmas Outreach. It was SO AMAZING!
There was food and games for everyone -- space walks, basketball, face painting, and cookie decorating. We gave a toy to each child who came and boy,did they come!
People in the neighborhood were curious as to what was going on in the old Winbourne church. This is what they saw:


Later that evening, my middle daughter was in the Christmas production given by the Children's Praise & Worship Team. They did a fabulous job! I wish I had more pictures to show you, but my camera was acting funny...
These kids performed for ALL 4 SERVICES at the Highland campus! And at the 10:00 service they got to perform for a very special guest: Governor-Elect Bobby Jindal!

14 December 2007

God Is Not a Republican...



And neither is He a Democrat.

But I am constantly amazed at the number of Christians who will fight to the proverbial death, declaring He is one or the other (usually the former rather than the latter).
I don't believe that God thinks *politics* are all that important anyway and I'm pretty sure He doesn't care for the way we sling around our points of view as though we are spouting His Gospel.

The fact is, political stance is NOT a SALVATION ISSUE.

Do I need to
repeat that???
Seriously, I think some of my acquaintances would disown me if they new my true political leanings.
I am a MODERATE.
No, that's not a fence-rider; it's someone who actually thinks and considers each issue and each candidate and doesn't just cast a partisan vote.
I know many Christians who would question my sanctification should they find out that I once campaigned for Pres. Bill Clinton. And some of my Democrat friends would gasp in horror if they found out I voted for George W. Bush. What I don't get is why they think they have a say in how I vote at all.

Typical of Americans, we often take for granted our
freedom to vote as we choose and to express our political differences. In MANY countries of the world (and I'm not naming names), political dissidence is grounds for imprisonment or even execution.
And while I might not agree with everything you say regarding your political beliefs, I would fight to the death for your right to say them.


Yes, I admittedly have some regrets in my voting record -- not for my decision in voting -- but for the person(s) whom I feel have let America down in so many ways. Take that however you want.

One thing I cannot do, however is base my decision on whether or not I think that candidate is TRULY a Christian. Seriously, I don't have the audacity to pretend that I am privy to such personal information as that is completely between that person and the Lord.
Some very bright, well-meaning Christians have asked me to do just that:
"But can't you tell by their past behavior? Can't you judge a tree by its fruit?"
I have given this a lot of thought since that conversation and I think
if that were true, I'm sure there are moments -- whole days even -- when observers would question MY faith. Indeed, there are a LOT of great, Godly leaders who would be considered "bad fruit" if judged only by their faults:
*David had an affair with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered.

*Moses killed another man (an Egyptian) in a fit of rage.

*Noah got stinking drunk not long after God spared his life on the ark.


Am I disparaging these great men of the Bible? No, because I don't judge the extent of their lives by their moments of human frailty. Shouldn't we use the same measure of grace that God has extended to US when weighing the faults of those seeking public office?
This is not to say that we should turn a blind eye to an immoral lifestyle. Indeed, we should pray fervently over our decisions and we should consider ALL of the available information before making up our minds.
Ultimately, my point is this:
Stop using God as your political endorsement.

It's disrespectful to Him and it's awfully presumptuous of you.

Give people the RESPECT and the FREEDOM to make up their own minds.
And then let God take care of the rest.
He is more than capable.

12 December 2007

Quick! Somebody Get a Geek In Here!

I think I can breathe now... The past 8 days have been such a whirlwind that I have not had a moment to do much of anything I've *wanted* to do (like write on my blog).

About a week ago -- for no apparent reason -- my computer crashed. Yes, a week before my Elevate FINALS, my computer crashed.
And I mean, CRASHED. I could not even pull it up in "Safe Mode" -- never a good sign. I couldn't even get it to perform a System Recovery! My computer has been showing signs of *issues* for several months now, but since it was only 3 years old, I kept putting off getting it looked at.
BIG MISTAKE.
My CD-RW drive stopped working awhile back and I kept MEANING to buy a key card to store my backup information. Unfortunately, I never did.
EVEN BIGGER MISTAKE.

The lovely, well-paid folks at "Geek Squad" have determined that the crash was NOT caused by any virus or trojan or even by spyware. Fact is, they really don't know what caused my computer to stop responding! No lightening storm; No physical injury to the PC tower; No kool-aid on the keyboard. Nada.
THe only culprits I can see are one of two (or a combination of both): In the week before the crash, my computer was updated automatically with a Norton Internet Protection update and (the next day or so) with a Microsoft Windows update.
I'm pretty sure one (or both) of these caused the problem.
What I DON'T understand is why the damage was so extensive.

I took my PC in for data extraction, but they were not able to recover ANYTHING.
NOTHING.
Everything on my computer's hard drive is gone. Pictures, letters, important documents, tax info, all gone.
By the grace of God, Clay had suggested to me to email some of my more important documents to myself via my web-based email addresses. I last did this 2 days before the crash.

The thing I regret the most is the loss of pictures.
Sure, it's going to be a pain getting Quicken reloaded and caught up, and there are SO many important emails that I am now remembering and cringing that I never forwarded!
But, you live and learn.
The computer was a total loss, so "Merry Christmas to me:"
I have a new computer!
I have heard NOTHING good about Windows Vista, but can I just say, (so far anyway) I LOVE IT! It works so much better than the old Windows XP -- and it's so much more chic. Very cool, almost-Mac'esque visual qualities.
True, I really wanted to buy a Mac Notebook, but I will wait for that.
Besides, it costs about $2,000 more than what I spent on this puppy. =)
Maybe this is a blessing in disguise?
In any event, at least I can get back to blogging now!


03 December 2007

There's No Place Like Home!

Whew! It's good to be home! We've been out of town for 10 days and I must say, even though I love seeing my family and in-laws, it's really nice to be back in my own bed. =) Thanksgiving was good, but now that we're home, I feel rushed to get into the full swing of the Christmas season. Thanks to the "virus from hades" that I experienced before we left, I did not get even half of my Christmas decorations up like I had planned. My tree is now up and we are going to decorate it tonight. Hopefully, I can get all the yard decor and lights up in the next day or two. I have Elevate finals in 1 week so add that to the stress as well... I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I will be posting more soon. Stay tuned...