Friday, February 24, 2006

What You Can Do

While I was sick, probably hundreds of people asked my family and me what they could do to help. I'm never really sure what to say when someone asks that, because I'm never sure if they really want to help or if they're just doing social graces. But since I've gotten better I have a good answer.

During my illness and hospital stays, I received several transfusions of blood and plasma (at least 10 units). Sadly, I've never donated blood in my life, although my dad has donated regularly as long as I can remember. I was scared. But I've given lots of blood in the past year and can honestly tell you that it's not bad. I won't lie-- it ain't great-- but it definitely doesn't deserve the drama that I and so many other people give it.

So that to say... please donate blood! If donors hadn't given in T-town and in OKC, I don't know what I would've done! To find out how to go about it, this website is the search results for blood donation. I'm sure wherever you give, your gift will find a grateful recipient. My own dear mother, deathly afraid of needles, made a donation on Wednesday night. And it went just fine.

So go for it, folks! A little stick is worth what it will mean to the recipient. You could save a life! Gambatte kudasai!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ann-- the high school years

This weekend, barring the unexpected, something wonderful will happen. I will be making a 2 day trip back to my hometown, Stephenville Texas, for a good friend’s wedding shower. I haven’t been there in almost 5 years. Wow. We lived in Stephenville from 1988-1998, or for me, kindergarten through the 10th grade. I love Stephenville. I always did and it will always have a piece of my heart. I could go on and on about this, but I won’t.

Instead, the point of this post is to talk about my high school years. It’s kind of strange, because up until lately I never really thought about high school after I graduated. It was too painful to think about Stephenville, and I didn’t like Pleasant Grove (my high school for 11th and 12th grade), so I just never thought about it. And I never talk about it. Many of my closest friends really don’t know much about my life pre-college, I don’t think. So I want to do a little picture post and give you a brief overview of Ann, the high school years.

My freshman and sophomore year I was in the band. I played the French horn. This is my sophomore band picture. Hot, huh? :)

I loved being in band, and I was pretty good until I got braces. Definitely the funnest part of being a bander was marching at the football games. I had so many good times and fun memories of bus trips and practices. Just today I was looking back through my photo album and my heart just melted to see some of those faces again that I haven’t even thought of in years. Here’s my favorite group picture of us. I’m on the front row, second from the left with my hand to my face.

Another big part of my life my freshman and sophomore year was being manager and scorekeeper for the boys’ basketball teams. I did mainly JV my freshman year and varsity my sophomore year. I loved those guys and the coaches, and it helped that my fellow managers and statisticians happened to be my best friends. So much fun. It was a busy life for those months while basketball and marching season overlapped.

I had a serious boyfriend in high school; his name was Brandon. Our song was “All for You” by Sister Hazel (gee, that dates me!). Well, that’s about all I have to say about him. :)

Although I was always a good student, I never was thought of as “smart” until I moved to Texarkana. I think it’s because I decided to throw myself into school after moving here and signed up for all the hardest classes. School kind of turned into my extra-curricular activity.

But I did manage to have some fun. Here’s a picture of me from my senior prom. Funny thing. I heard once that my senior prom date and dear friend, Robert, happened to be living in Japan while I was. Small world, huh?

And then I graduated. Definitely one of the happiest days of my life, and not even a bitter-sweet happy. Just happy.

I’m leaving out a lot of things and a whole lot of people that I love very much, but that could get really boring really quick. And really long.

So there you go, now I’ve gone and revealed another layer of my life to you. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The Quotemeal for the day is this:

To love is to be vulnerable.

— C.S. Lewis

Very true, very appropriate.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Campbellism Exposed!

Like the majority of my blog readership, my church heritage is the Church of Christ, who are also called "Campbellites" after one of the founders of the restoration movement that spawned our denomination (and anyone who wants to expound on this-- you know who you are-- feel free). We aren't perfect, but we aren't horrible, either*.
Well, the primary Bible bookstore in our town is run by the Baptists (called "The Baptist Bookstore," but they let the goyim in). A couple of years ago I was looking around the store and happened upon their "tract rack" (yes, I suppose the CofC doesn't have a monopoly on them...). One of their tracts jumped out at me, because it was titled, "Campbellism Exposed! One Hundred One Reasons for Not Being a Campbellite" by Ben M. Bogard, LLD (and if anyone knows what LLD stands for, please let me know). It was only $.99 so I bought a copy.
Well it's quite interesting, let me tell you. This stuff is even better than "The Onion" or "The Daily Show"!
Mr. Bogard gives his reasons (all 101 of them) and then expounds on them. Here are some of my favorite reasons (just the titles):
  • Campbellites claim to have no creed, which is equivalent to claiming to be fools.
  • Campbellism makes priests of its preachers.
  • Campbellites make sport of praying for sinners.
  • Campbellism is made up mostly of people who have been excluded from other churches. (key quote: "The Campbellite church is an ecclesiastical slop-tub...")
  • Campbellism and Mormonism are twins.
  • Nearly all of the other churches have some truth, but Campbellism is false at every point. (key quote: "They are wrong on everything.")
The next two are my absolute favorites and have earned the status of being published in whole here.

#12- Campbellites everywhere have a contemptible grin that nobody else in the world has. That which is characteristic of them everywhere can't be a happen so.
Just dispute the Campbellite doctrine at any point, or preach heartfelt salvation in their presence, and at once they begin to grin.
Nobody on earth has that grin except the Campbellites. I began to notice it many years ago in Kentucky. I wondered if it was not just a local matter produced by ill-breeding. But I went to Tennessee and found the same grin. Then I went to Missouri and they also had the grin. Then I moved to Arkansas, and they still grinned. Then I went to Texas and Oklahoma, and the grin abides. There is something in the Campbellite doctrine that produces it. You can dispute with
Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Mormons and infidels, and you will never see that grin. But even the boys and girls among the Campbellites have it. The grin shows a mingled feeling of contempt, insolence, ill-breeding, ignorance and wickedness, a combination to be found in no one else but the Campbellites.

and my other favorite...

#101-- A poem entitled "The Campbellite Imagination"

We have a people here on earth--
And Campbellite is their name--
Who don't believe the Word of God,
And hence reject the same.

They have an imaginary God,
An imaginary Son,
An imaginary Spirit,
And these three are not one.

Their imaginary Lord
Has an imaginary plan
And they imagine that this saves
A real sinful man.

With imaginary gospel
Preached in imagination, too,
They catch a hardened sinner
And plunge him right through.

He say that he believes
In this imaginary Christ,
Has imaginary safety
In his sin-polluted life.

Then the preacher takes him in
On an unscriptural plan,
And decides the state
Of the poor deluded man.

And the Devil surely laughs
At these deluded folk,
Because he knows if they are right,
Religion is a joke.

Do you imagine they are saved,
And will enter heaven's land?
No, surely they will each one fall
Into the Devil's hand.

Let's preach and pray, and work and sing
Yea, call upon our God,
'Till even the Campbellites repent,
And trust in Jesus' blood.

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins,
Even Campbellites may plunge in
And lose their guilty stains.

Oh goodness, I'm laughing even as I type! I promise to you guys that this is serious a tract written by a serious man in a serious Christian book store.

If anyone's interested in seeing a copy of this, let me know and I'll see if copies are still available. What I wouldn't give to talk to Mr. Bogard! I'll investigate and see if he's still alive. :)

So there you go-- the truth on us Campbellites! And I had you fooled all along! You just can't see my contemptible grin from behind my computer screen! Muah ha ha!

*This is not a blog on denominationalism. I believe in equal denominational opportunity-- each tradition's followers have the same potential for both good and craziness.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Oh What a Night

Since the past many months have been mostly melancholy, I have been trying to do things lately that I know make me happy.

For example, while I was in the hospital I saw the cast of a new broadway show, Jersey Boys, perform. It is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Their performances were stellar and I was just enamored. So recently I found the cast recording on amazon, and I ordered it. It arrived today, and I've already listened to it three times. I love singing along but my voice gets so horse from all that falsetto! My songs of the moment are "Walk Like a Man" and "My Eyes Adored You," but my all-time forever favorite is "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." So this is my musical recommendation of the week.

Also, lately I've been catching up with old friends. I grew up in Stephenville, Texas from kindergarten through my sophomore year of high school. It is my hometown, and my heart will always be there, but I had lost touch with just about every person from there (except Nina!). But this week I've been reconnecting which brings back all kinds of memories. Ha, facebook actually serves a purpose! And actually I think I'm going to go back (for the first time in five years) in a couple of weeks for a friend's wedding shower. That'll be interesting!

Continuing with the theme of remembering, last night I called a dear friend and we reminisced over past adventures and I laughed til there were tears streaming down my face. And that is priceless.

Today I took time to look through all my photo albums. It made me realize that I have had a lot of fun with a lot of amazing people in my little life! The one that probably got me the most was the album from my second trip to Brazil. It's just so nice to look at myself in those pictures and realize that I was truly, truly happy then. It makes me think about what I want to do after I fully recover. I think I've been following my mind too much the past couple of years, and it's time to follow my heart for a while, if that makes sense.

In superficial news, I also love the show "Dancing with the Stars." Drew and Stacy are amazing. I think dancing is awesome, and would love to try it. But first you need a partner, and I have no partner, and if I did I doubt he'd want to take dancing lessons. And I wouldn't want to be one of those girls who makes her other half do something like dance classes. :)

That's all for now! I'll close by saying that if you've found yourself down lately, do something that you know will cheer you up. Crank up those great songs that you love to belt out (when no one's listening), look through old photo albums of the good times you've had, or catch up with an old friend.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm so vain...

... I probably think this blog is about me. Oh wait, it is. :)

Although I find this incredibly vain, I am interested to see what people would say, even if just one person participates.

If the spirit moves you, just go to this website:
and pick 6 words that you feel describe me best. It would probably only take you a couple of minutes.

Arigato! Gracias! Obrigada! Thanks!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love is different than you think...*

I've been wondering what to post on Valentine's Day (yes, I think in advance about blogs... yes I am a dork), and I really haven't come up with any great ideas. I have nothing terribly clever, wise, deep, or funny to say about love that hasn't already been said.

So that said, my prayer and wish for you is that you will feel the love in your life-- from God, family, or friends, and that you will be able to accept that love and reflect it on to the people you come in contact with.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

PS-- The title is one of my favorite song quotes about love. Gold star if you can identify the artist!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Book Recommendation-- Five Love Languages

Yesterday... or technically the day before yesterday, I read a book that I'd like to recommend. It's called The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman. I read the original Five Love Languages my freshman year in college (on the advice of my dear friend and roomie, Angie), and it really opened my eyes as to how I could better love the people in my life. The original one is intended for married people, but the principles can be applied to all your relationships.

Simply stated, the premise is that each person has one of five primary love languages. They are:
  • Quality time
  • Words of affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch
Most people have one primary language that they speak, and one that they most respond to. Many times they are the same, but sometimes they're not. The author is careful to point out that while each of these is a language of love, people usually have one that they favor above all others.

For example, my love language is "words of affirmation." I think this probably correlates somewhat to my being an English major and loving to study words and such. I tend to also give this as my way of showing affection to others.

But here's the key. Let's say I have a friend whose primary love language is physical touch, but I never give them a hug or pat their shoulder. Then even though I praise them with words all the time, they might not feel loved. I need to make the effort to realize what my loved ones' love languages are and speak to them in a manner that shows them how much I care.

It's really a concept that can revolutionize your relationships.

I usually avoid singles books because they're very hokey in my opinion... very much of the "bag 'em, tag 'em, and drag 'em home" type mentality (yes, I actually saw that literal phrased used in a singles book once-- I can tell you which one if you ask me). But this book is about learning to love better. Yes, it was geared towards relationships singles (and singles of all types) might be in, but there is a version for marrieds, one for men, and one for dealing with children. There might be others I don't know of, you can check on amazon. So I recommend that all you bloggies choose a book that best suits your situation and check it out for yourself.

Anyone else out there read it? Anyone know their love language? Or have a story of how learning the love languages has improved a relationship?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


"The most difficult lie I've ever had to contend with is this: Life is a story about me."
--Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz

Today I came to the realization that I have have a self addiction. I think being sick has had a lot to do with it, because when you're sick you really do become the center of the universe. When you're in the hospital you have a little buzzer and nurses come at your beck and call, your parents will do or get anything you want, people come to see you and bring you gifts, and you get cards all the time. It's pretty cool, in a way. :)

However, as I make the transition back into normal life, part of me misses the attention I received. Don't get me wrong-- I am thrilled to be going back to "normal", but the selfish side of me still wants to be catered to. Just proves I'm human, I guess. :)

Once again, as often happens, I come to the end of writing a post and think, "why am I posting this for the world to read?" Maybe it's kind of like step 1 in addiction recovery-- admitting you have a problem. Maybe it's for accountablity. Maybe it's to help edify others. Maybe just to make you think. Who knows.

"Love is a many splendored thing...

... love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love."* :)

If you don't live under a rock or haven't been in a store for the past month, you know that next Tuesday is Valentine's Day. As usual, this will be a day of mixed emotions for me. On the one hand I am so so lucky because I get the chance to love so many people in my life. On the other hand, I am a single girl. I'm usually not anxious about the fact that I'm single, which is really a gift from God. But I will admit that as I approach 24 I'm starting to feel a little old.

However, when I get to thinking about how I "should" have a man by now, I am reminded of all of the dorky people I know who get married. If they can do it, so can I! And then I remember all of the fantastic single people I know and think, "they're smart, good looking, and holy... I'm in good company!"

Despite the moments of anxiousness, overall I trust God's good taste and sense of timing when it comes to finding the right dude for me. Til then, I'll just keep my eyes open. ;)

*Gold star for the person who can identify the quote!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Angels of Compassion

Angels of Compassion-- me, Bek, Summer, Lori, Alissa; Angie, Amber, Meredith, Misty
Spring of 2003

These are my girls. We were all in the incoming class of 2000 at OCU, specifically the honors program. Through the years we bonded through homework, Bible studies, personal crises, engagements, weddings, graduations, practical jokes, career searches, and all of the other things you experience in your college years.

This picture was one of the last nights we were all together. As we geographically drifted apart because of marriages, graduations, and intense load work in our major classes, our friendships took on a new role. One of us moved up north to begin a new chapter of her life and found herself homesick and lacking direction, so we rallied around her and a couple even make a trip up to see her. Another gave everything up to move to Central America to spread the light of the gospel and again, trips, emails, and care packages are there to show we support her in her work. When I was sick, these amazing women rallied around me with visits (both in person and through a personalized DVD), gifts, cards, and email.

These are just the examples I thought of off the top of my head to show the ways that we have stuck together through thick and thin to cry with each other tears of joy and pain. I know for a fact that "smaller" gifts of love are passed between all of us each day through emails and phone calls and thinking back on the great memories we share.

I know we're just a few years out of college and as the years go by it will be easier to lose touch. But these girls are some of my best friends, and no matter how far we spread out or now infrequent the emails become, I have faith that there will always be a special bond of strong love between us.

Some of my best friends are guys. But there is a special purpose and gift to having good friends of the same sex. In fact, I've always said that you have to be suspicious of a person who has trouble keeping friends of the same sex. A strong group of male friends is one of my criteria for a potential spouse.

So those are my girls. Once Bailey McBride, upon hearing of some of the stories of our friendship, remarked that we were like "angels of compassion" to each other. I couldn't think of a more appropriate title for these women.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Book of Daniel

This week "The Book of Daniel," an NBC series, was cancelled due to pressure on the network and sponsors from crazy Christian fundamentalists.

The complaints against it were varied, but included the fact that the main character, a priest, and his family had an assortment of issues. The priest popped pain pills, the wife was a semi-alcoholic, the son was gay, the other son slept around. I never understood why this was an issue of contention for Christians. Isn't it about time that Christians are portrayed in the media as real people with real struggles? Do we all really want to be looked at as Ned Flanderses??? Moreover, the family was also portrayed unconventionally. Sure they had their problems, but they all really loved each other, despite their problems.

Another source of contention was that Jesus was portrayed as a character in the show. The priest would often talk to him, seeking encouragement and advice and help. Jesus was kind of a hippie on the show, but in the good sense. He was laid back and kind, and even funny. There was never a time spoken where I thought to myself, "Hey, Jesus would never say that!" In fact, I thought it was quite a good portrayal of what Jesus would probably say. I don't know what the beef with Jesus was, but if the detractors actually watched it they might realize it wasn't bad.

The other big issue was the fact that the church portrayed accepted homosexuality. This is the only issue I could see as being an actual stumbling block to Christians. But the church depicted is an Episcopal church, and that reflects their beliefs (I guess, I haven't really studied Episcopalian creed). I think it comes down to people saying, "I don't want people to get the idea this is what I stand for and accept as a Christian when it isn't." BUT. If we're going to start getting mad about a misrepresentation of Christianity, let's get Pat Robertson off the air. How about all those "send me your retirement and I'll pray for you" televangelists?

Ugh. I'm pretty ticked about the whole deal. I liked the show. Yeah, it was a little "busy" with it's 2345 story lines, but I enjoyed it.

I don't know, maybe some of you guys wanted the show cancelled. Care to share your thoughts?

I wasn't tagged, but I still want to play

I saw this on another blog, and although I was not "tagged," I'm going to do it anyway. Consider yourself tagged if you want blog filler. :)

Four Jobs I’ve Had:
1) Scorekeeper/statistician for high school basketball games-- funnest. job. ever.
2) Receptionist at a dry cleaner-- maybe I should tell y'all some of my stories from that place...
3) Telemarketer for OC-- bad on so many levels
4) Writing tutor-- oh man, I have some stories from there too...

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
1) Dumb and Dumber
2) Legally Blonde
3) Singing' in the Rain
4) The Wedding Singer

Four Books I Could Read Over and Over
1) Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
2) Leaving Ruin by Jeff Barryman
3) Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
4) East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Four Places I’ve Lived
1) Stephenville, TX
2) Texarkana, TX
3) Edmond, OK
4) Hitachi, Japan

Four TV Shows I Watch
1) Dancing with the Stars
2) Days of our Lives
3) Oprah
4) Desperate Housewives

Four Places I’ve Been On Vacation
1) Walt Disney World
2) Singapore
3) Nasu, Japan
4) Rio de Janiero, Brasil (folks who went with me-- would this qualify as a vacation??? hahaha)

Four Websites I Visit Daily

Four Favorite Foods
1) Grilled cheese sandwich
2) Cheese ravioli
3) Fried rice (the kind I make)
4) Cherry vanilla coke from Sonic

Four Places I’d Like to Be Right Now
1) Brasil
2) Japan
3) Edmond
4) Tennessee
Notice I stayed vague so I could be in more than one city at once in these places. :)