Thursday, January 31, 2008

Random thoughts on a snowy day

A couple of updates: I've posted my January and February newsletter columns on my writing site. I like them. If you've never visited my other blog, is mostly an archive of various things I've written, including all the columns I've written for my church newsletter. I've thought at different times that it might be interesting to gather them into some sort of collection, but then maybe they wouldn't be that interesting to other people.

I swear this has been the longest political season ever. But we are finally in the actual election year itself. I've never been comfortable with the mixing of religion and politics, but I live in a part of the country where it is almost assumed that if you're a Christian you're a conservative Republican. So I regularly get those forwarded e-mails from nice well-meaning people all about the horrors our country would face if some particular candidate (inevitably a Democrat) were to be elected. (A few minutes with would probably save you a lot of time, folks.) But my point isn't to rebut every nasty political rumor. Like I said, look it up yourself. No, a thought occured to me the other day : Politics is not the Gospel. No political candidate can usher in the Kingdom of God. Even more important, no political candidate can stop the Kingdom of God.

Think about it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Where I've been ...

I got to spend some time with my grandson (and daughter and son-in-law) last week and took pictures of Kiernan. I do think he's beautiful. Even when he hides. (He was asleep like that, but maybe he'd had enough pictures, too.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

30 years and counting ...

Thirty years ago today, Bob and I said "I do," in the presence of a fair number of family and friends. It was not an elaborate or expensive wedding, but it was very fun. I don't have a wedding picture handy, but this is pretty much what we looked like back then. We have changed a bit. But we still make each other laugh and we are still thankful that God brought us together. Through his grace we've weathered some storms and our bond is stronger.

Here's to the adventure of the next 30 years!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Classic rock at its best

Back in the mid-1970s my friend Rebecca introduced me to the music of Joe Walsh. By far our favorite album was a solo effort from 1972: Barnstorm. I wore out the vinyl long ago. For some unfathomable reason, it has not been available on CD until now. When I happened upon it on Amazon last week, I called my husband and asked if it was OK to order it. Being a wise man, he said yes.

It came Wednesday and I have to say, it has held up well. It's definitely an album to listen to as an album. Each song flows to the next one and the cumulative effect is wonderful -- and it's layered with musical texture. (It's a great album to listen to on headphones.) It's a hard album to classify -- yes, it rocks out (this is Joe Walsh, after all), but you'll find some jazzy elements (Joe Vitale's flute solos, for example), prog rock in the classic ARP synthesizers, and hints of country. It has it's soft, melodic side, but also a bit of Walsh's biting irony.

Sometimes an album from one's high school and college days doesn't live up to one's memories of it. I'm glad that's not my experience with Barnstorm. If anything, I appreciate the musicianship even more. If all you know of Joe Walsh is Rocky Mountain Way or his work with the Eagles, give this album a listen. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CFBA Tour: Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008

If you're at all interested in writing for Christian magazines or looking for a potential publisher for the novel sitting on your hard drive, then this is an essential resource. Sally Stuart has been putting together this guide for more than 20 years, so she knows what she's talking about. And her guide includes new things every year -- this year's edition even features a section on blogging. So check out The Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008 or visit Sally's new marketing blog.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Welcome Kiernan!

We were so excited and happy to be able to welcome Kiernan David Gaughan, born Saturday Jan. 12, 2008, at 6:48 a.m. He weighed 6 lbs., 5 oz. and is 19.5 inches long. He is absolutely beautiful. Julia and Mike are the proud parents and, as you can see, Bob and I are pretty proud grandparents.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekly update ...

No baby. After getting us all excited on New Year's Day, he's decided he wants to think about this whole birth thing. But if he doesn't arrive this weekend, he has a date with destiny on Monday.

Meanwhile, I watched a really good movie this week: Once. It's a little independent film -- a musical -- set in Ireland. It stars Glen Hansard, of the Irish band the Frames, as a street musician/vacuum cleaner repairman, and Marketa Irglova as a girl who sells flowers. They meet and make beautiful music together, though with a bittersweet ending. What I loved about this movie, besides the great music, was how real it seemed. I felt very much like I was there with the characters. It's a quiet movie, in a lot of ways, with the most intense emotion being expressed in the music. Hansard and Irglova are real musicians and wrote the music for the movie. The songs tell a lot of the story and flow naturally from what's happening -- music is their language and part of the fabric of their lives. I like that the characters aren't rich, either. In one scene, the girl raids her daughter's piggy bank to get batteries for a cd player so she can listen to the rest of the guy's songs. She whispers to her sleeping daughter "I'll pay you back." Then she goes out to get the batteries and you see her walking back home, in her robe and fuzzy slippers, singing along with the music. It's sublime.

If you're not good with accents, you might want to watch with the subtitles on, since the sound is often rather quiet and they are all Irish or Czech. The movie is rated R because of the frequent dropping of the F-bomb, especially early on. But that's the only reason. It's a lovely, sweet movie and I recommend it. (It's one of Jeffrey Overstreet's 25 favorite films of 2007, too. Here's his review.)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Still waiting

Yes, we're still waiting on that grandson.
In the meantime, here's a link to some pictures I took with our new camera (we finally went digital so we can take pictures of the grandson once he actually arrives). I'm not a great photograph, but I think these turned out pretty good. (We got an HP Photosmart M632 -- a very inexpensive camera, but very easy to use and it takes pretty good pictures.)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The waiting is the hardest part ...

Tom Petty says it so well. Because that's what we're doing right now and it's hard -- our daughter has been having contractions since Tuesday afternoon, but doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. She went to the hospital for a while that night, but then they sent her home. So our grandson is on the way, but not in a big hurry to get here.

Or course, I'm sure my impatience is nothing compared to Julia's (or maybe even Megan's, who is so very eager to be an aunt).

(The picture is from October, when we went to a family baby shower in Illinois. That's Julia's little cousin Isaiah talking to her tummy.)