Thursday, June 25, 2009


Who are the College World Series champions?! Well, not Southern Miss (yet, though they made an EXCELLENT first-time showing in Omaha), but as a good second-best for this USM-alum-and-BR-resident, LSU is the big winner! Yay!

The Tigers pulled past Texas last night with a fun win (especially if you're a Tiger fan!), achieving the best 2 of 3 for the past 3 nights.

Baseball, while fun, is definitely not football, but as I have learned from experience, any LSU enthusiasm is worth the participation and more contagious than anywhere else I've ever been.

So, it must be said -- congrats, Tigers, on your 6th College World Series championship! Sweeeeeeet!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The South

I saw the saying below on a plaque in a store window when I visited my friend Rachel in Oxford, and am so glad I took a picture of it so I could look at it again and again.

I'm also so glad I am from the South. So glad. :-)

The South
/tha sou'th/, noun
The place where...
1) Tea is sweet and accents are sweeter.
2) Summer starts in April.
3) Macaroni & cheese is a vegetable.
4) Front porches are wide and words are long.
5) Pecan pie is a staple.
6) Y'all is the only proper noun.
7) Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy.
8) Everything is darlin'.
9) Someone's heart is always being blessed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Southern Miss: To The Top!

I haven't always been as gung-ho about my alma mater's athletics as I should be, but moving to a place where SEC is king and sports fans are rampant has changed my tune and raised my awareness about sports in all conferences, including USM's.

And how timely.... for the first time ever, Southern Miss is going to the College World Series in Omaha!
(Of course, so is LSU, but my loyalties must remain true to much as possible, at least. I have actually contemplated wearing all gold, then accessorizing one side of my body in black and the other in purple for times like this...)

The games kick off this weekend (Saturday, LSU plays Virginia at 6pm CST; Sunday, USM plays Texas at 6pm CST). Unfortunately, I'll miss most of the action because of an out-of-town shower I'm helping to host. Fortunately, it's baseball and not football, so it won't seem so action-packed every second of the games. :-)

It's so hard to imagine that my Golden Eagles might actually end up playing the LSU Tigers for the championship, but an idea I'm willing to cheer on and anticipate till all's said and done!

So geaux Tigers, but Southern Miss: to the top!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Adopted for Life

I have not yet finished reading my cousin's most recent book, Adopted for Life, but so far, it's fantastic.

I've tried not to read it from a relative's perspective who walked through the childbearing (adopting & birthing) process that the Moores of Louisville have been through for the past decade (or more?). Of course, objectivity is usually easier said than done. I'm partial to my cousin's intelligence and wit, and to his and his wife's unwavering faith and trust in our Father to provide all their needs.
But I just read an non-relative's viewpoint of Adopted for Life, and while it made me swell even further with pride for Russ and his work and Maria and HER work, it also made me very glad that Russ wrote this book.

So here's the objective perspective of Adopted for Life -- not from a cousin's angle, but from a reader's:

June 11, 2009...7:40 pm

Russ Moore’s “Adopted for Life”, a Book to Change Lives

Theology is alive. It should be felt, not merely taught. It
should reach into all areas of our lives, bringing light and health to
them. The heft of God’s teaching transforms both the way we think and the
way we live.

Theologians who embody this kind of approach are rare (though increasing in
number, I think). One who stands out is Russ Moore of Southern Seminary of Louisville, KY. A systematician, Moore has a capacious mind, a gift for wit and drama, and an imagination that grasps the significance of biblical truth. He is a
pastor-theologian, simultaneously the Dean of the world’s largest seminary
and a Teaching Pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville. He is a proud and loving father of four.

Recently, Moore authored the book Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, 2009). The book comes highly recommended–no less than sixteen scholars and leaders endorse the book, including such luminaries as Robby George, Chuck Colson, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur. The diversity of this group alone shows the respect Moore draws from the broader Christian community.

The text itself is full of passion, biblical theology, and humor. It is not a straight theology of adoption, a personal reflection on adoption, or a handbook on the rudiments of the adoption process. It is a mixture of all three. As a result, the text simultaneously teaches, edifies, provokes, and moves the reader. Though a text that purports to cover adoption, it ends up covering much more, and stands in my mind as something of a mini-biblical theology of salvation.

I cannot commend the book highly enough. In the face of numerous heartbreaking miscarriages, Moore and his wife Maria traveled to Russia to adopt two boys some years ago, the story that provides the backbone of the text. After beginning with this personal touch, Moore proceeds to cover theological and practical aspects of adoption in midrash-like chapters that set the matter in cosmic perspective. Adopted for Life is a good title, though The Drama of Adoption might also have captured the spirit of the text.

Many Christians are catching a heart for adoption. This is a most welcome trend. I am quite sure that those who are on the fence about adoption will, after reading this powerful book, find themselves irresistibly drawn to contributing to the cause in some way. The image painted by Moore of his first visit to the Russian orphanage where his sons lay in darkness and filth is indelibly printed in my mind. It will be in yours, too, and with the rest of the book, it will drive you to pray and to work to contribute to the culture of gospel-centered adoption as an application of the theological doctrine.

I am deeply thankful for this unique and engrossing book. It is not often that a text incites one to want to thank an author for it. But I am grateful to Russ Moore for Adopted for Life, and also to Justin Taylor and Crossway Books for pushing this project (and living it out in Justin’s case). I agree with Al Mohler’s assessment of it: “one of the most compelling books I have ever read.”

In orphanages across the world, children languish, unwanted, unnoticed, unheard. Their lives have no purpose or beauty. Most of them will suffer through childhood and go on to an early death, fizzling out like comets in a sky that nobody sees. It is my hope and prayer that the book will go far and wide, spreading a culture of adoption in Christian churches, causing families to abandon ordinary, easy, low-cost, low-reward Christianity and drive them instead to take on the challenge of adoption. Whether fertile or infertile, rich or poor, all who live wisely and generously can in some way participate in this outworking of biblical theology.

May we not allow these children to languish and pass away. May we embrace a culture of life that is costly and full of grace. May we spend less on ourselves and more on missions and missional adoption. Let us join the Moores, my own parents, and countless others who have acted on a vision for adoption and make our way into darkened, decrepit orphanages across this earth, bringing light to the abandoned just as Jesus Christ our Lord has brought it to us.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Gone With the Wind

This weekend, I went to see the Southern classic "Gone With the Wind" on the big screen at Paula Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge. It didn't hurt that I was with three of my favorite BR girls EVER, and that it was on a gloriously beautiful Sunday afternoon in one of the South's loveliest downtowns.

I hadn't seen this movie in years -- why don't I watch it at least once a year?! -- and I practically swooned with the Southerness of it all. It was fantastic, in the way that historical memorabilia always is. It held drama, history, shame, beauty, sadness, desolation, desperation, comedy, and, last but not least, the classic brattiness/strength of Scarlett O'Hara.

There were vitally poignant points that I took from this viewing, including:

  • Everyone has a Scarlett. This is not always good, depending on who you are in her world, but one can always learn a lesson or two from her!

  • Everyone has an Ashley -- that good-hearted, kind soul who is just beyond reach.

  • Everyone NEEDS a Mamie. Not an actual personal servant, mind you, but a friend that is closer than a brother, and who will speak truth -- tell you when your waist will never be at 18 inches again, and when you are acting like a spider, and when you are no better than "white trash." Everyone needs that. 24/7.

  • The South is beautiful.

  • The South made some mistakes.

  • Some slaveowners treated their slaves well (not as animals, but as employees). This was good for me to see, as a born and bred Southerner.

  • Land is vital.

  • Family is the most precious asset, no matter what else is at stake.

But even with the poignant observations, my favorite memories of this day of all were my beautiful friends' reactions:

Angelle, tough but sweet Louisiana girl:
"I love how strong Scarlett is, even if she IS manipulative. I hope I'm like that."
(And don't worry; she totally can be if the situation calls for it.)

Erica, preciously hopeless romantic and Pollyanna to the end:
(in response to everything, including when something bad happened to the villains)

Chrissy, fun and sporty California girl-turned-Louisiana native:
"Boy. That Scarlett was a handful, wasn't she?"

Really. My gorgeous variety of BR girls, a Southern classic, a downtown that allows for such fun and safe outings, and a beautiful (and not yet too hot) summer day.

Who could ask for anything more?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Roger and Elaine

I came across my very favorite gender joke/explanation for how we think (or don't?) while attempting to clean out my very full email inbox.

IMHO (in my humble opinion), it's quite blog-worthy. Hope you like, too:

--- Roger and Elaine ---

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine.

He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.
And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Gee, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward . . . I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: . . . so that means it was . . . let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means . . . lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here!

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed -- even before I sensed it -- that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those dogs.

And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the rats.

And Elaine is thinking: maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their....

"Roger," Elaine says aloud.

"What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...I feel so ..."

(She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Roger.

"I'm such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Roger.
"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that... It's that I...I need some time," Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Roger," she says.

"Thank you," says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn.

Whereas Roger gets back to his place, opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechs he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. (This is also Roger's policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, months later, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown and say: "Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"

--- the end ---

On the Film Reel

I recently rented "New in Town," a romantic comedy that I thought would be right up my alley for my mood that particular day.

The movie stars Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr., so how could I not like it?! And like it I did, but only like. I definitely didn't love it, or consider it a genre classic (like I do "When Harry Met Sally" or "How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days").

I do think that certain movies call for certain moments, and maybe my movie/mood stars just weren't aligning for "New in Town." I mean, it was cute, but not something I'd want to purchase. Or maybe I was feeling more cynical than necessary for something so light and fuzzy?

At any rate, I did walk away with two distinct observations:

1. I do love that Harry Connick, Jr.

2. Renee Zellweger and Ellen Pompeo (Meredith on "Grey's Anatomy") could easily play sisters. At times, the similarities in their physical and personality characteristic are downright uncanny!
Ellen Pompeo, left
Renee Zellweger, right

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Agent Orange: Signing Off

After my hit-and-run in May, I held up pretty well during the accident itself, and even when talking to my Daddy and the insurance company. But when I stood at the Enterprise counter and heard I'd be driving an orange Kia, I couldn't stop the tears from filling my eyes.

Orange? I just wanted to be invisible! Unfortunately, the only other option was a minivan. Fortunately, I got over my orange spasms...well, pretty much. Hearing, "Oh, that's YOUR orange car in the parking lot" at the office coffee pot got old, but at least it was a rental.

Not surprisingly, I wasn't sad to turn in the orange Kia last week when I got my new (to me!) car. I did, however, get a photo with it. This is specifically for Michael Long, who loves the color orange, and for all the naysayers who kept telling me "It can't be that bad."

Well, it could, and it was. For me at least. You try being the victim of a hit-and-run, then sitting at a traffic light next to a bright yellow car and feeling like you're an integral part of Crayola's line-up.

So long, orange Kia!