Wednesday, June 28, 2006

C'Mon, Get Happy!

OK, you can just start calling me "Shirley" (as in "Shirley Partridge"). Adam, Greg and I just returned from an outing to Patrick's Music, where our youngest family member was registered to take drum lessons.

In case you haven't been keeping track, this is great news for the family band. Greg (Dad/ER Doctor) plays a mean guitar. He has a standing gig on his acoustic at our 9:30 Mass, but also plays some great electric guitar stuff.

Greg's musical talent has been passed down to Eric, who plays guitar, bass, and saxophone. The two of them have a blast "jamming" together.

The mom of the house plays (or, rather, is trying to learn) fiddle. I have weekly lessons and am lucky enough to have men in my house who can play along with the songs I'm learning. It's surprising how good I sound when Greg or Eric are accompanying me - mostly because they play much louder than I do! My fiddle teacher is trying to teach me to play sitting down, but according to Nana I need to be able to dance and jig while playing, so I practice both standing and sitting. The only problem with this is that I could never dance, even when I wasn't playing a violin, so the dancing skills are in serious need of work!

Adam has become proficient this year on two instruments: the recorder and the ocarina. If you're in my house for any length of time at all, you'll be treated to a pretty mean version of the theme from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Since we were in New York, Adam's been asking for lessons on a new instrument: the trumpet. His Dad and Brother have been trying to gently coax him into playing the drums instead. We wanted it to be Adam's decision though. So today, we took a trip to the music store where Eric and I have our weekly lessons. They graciously allowed Adam as much time and space as he needed to try both instruments, which helped to cement his decision: the drums. We'll see how it goes - I talked Greg out of buying a drum set today (I think he really wants one for himself!). Adam has his first lesson on Monday with a teacher who seems to be very nice.

You may have heard that a few months ago my formal dining room was officially turned into the family music room. It gets much more use than the dining room ever did! Looks like we may have to make room for a rhythm section in there soon!

Playing together is very fun. So far, I'm the weak link. The boys would much rather play Eagles tunes than Bluegrass, but they humor me. None of us may ever play outside of our home (with the exception of my Mass playing hubby), but the fun we are having with each other right now is just wonderful. I'm not sure how I will feel in a few weeks with the sound of drums crashing all the time, but I think I'll prefer that to the sound of video games!

And hey, there's always ear plugs...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Stuck in Traffic in Chicago???

Keep an eye out for banners promoting one of my favorite books for 2006, Fr. James Martin's My Life With the Saints

Here's the press release with the full scoop:

Expressway Banner Campaign Urges Chicago Drivers to “Use Their Common Saints”

As the summer travel season heats up, motorists on Chicago’s Kennedy Expressway can look to the saints for help handling their daily commutes, thanks to a new banner campaign by Loyola Press. “Use Your Common Saints” will feature messages from St. Jude, St. Anthony, Joan of Arc and St. Joseph, reminding drivers of the virtues of patience—and good humor.

Beginning on June 26, the Catholic publisher’s banners will greet eastbound drivers (toward the Loop), from the back of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, which abuts the Kennedy at Evergreen Street (about 1300 North, between Division and North Ave.).

First up: “St. Jude knows an alternate route”; followed by

• “St. Joseph says construction takes patience” on July 10;

• “Joan of Arc says keep your cool” on July 24; and

• “St. Anthony offers roadside assistance” on August 7;

• “St. Ignatius encourages Mass transit” on August 21.

“People feel like they need a little help in life, so they call upon the saints,” says James Martin, S.J., a Jesuit priest and author of the Loyola Press book My Life with the Saints, a surprise bestseller that has sold 12,000 copies in three months. The tongue-in-cheek approach is in keeping with saintliness, he says: “The lives of the saints show that joy and laughter are sure signs of God’s presence. They encourage us to laugh at life.” Besides, he adds, “Nobody would pay attention to them if they were boring.”

The banners will feature the Internet address Visitors to the site will be able to read an excerpt about one of the four saints from Fr. Martin’s book.

Fr. Martin is a popular author and media commentator on religion and spirituality.

The banners are just one way that the 94-year-old Chicago-based publisher fulfills its mission to build bridges between the two-thousand-year-old Catholic faith and today’s spiritual seekers. “Our goal is to nurture faith-filled lives,” says Joseph Durepos, Loyola Press Acquisitions Director. “Proclaiming these messages on the Kennedy drives home the idea that God is with us in all that we do, even when we are stuck in traffic.”

You can take a peek at the banners by clicking here. I'll be in Chicago for a visit in late July, so I'll get to see St. Joan of Arc's banner in person. What a great tool this is for spreading the word about our faith, our saints, and an awesome book! Let's just hope people don't try to check the site while they're driving!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Great Stuff Alert!

I've just finished updating the weekly columns over at and I can't believe the vast array of incredible writing I get to share through my web site.

Some day, I've love to go on the "Catholic Mom Victory Tour". I'd load up my VW bus with my laptop, my fiddle, my sleeping bag (and maybe a few boys, but not necessarily!)

I'd bop up to Northern California and visit Lisa Barker , where I'd probably laugh myself silly.

Then I'd head east to meet some of the incredible cyber friends in person who I've grown to love over the years.

I'd stop by Michigan and say hi to Heidi and her kids. While in the midwest I'd have to stop and see Susan and Marybeth.

I'd have coffee with Patrice and Pat in Massechussets.

It would be such a neat thing to meet these women in person - they enrich my life so greatly each week when they share the gift of their writing at Whether it's making me laugh out loud, cry a tear of inspiration, or just know I'm not in it all alone, they never cease to uplift me.

Treat yourself to a cup of coffee and check out what's new at this week. And if you're willing to put up an crazy chick in a VW bus for a few days along the way, let me know....

Taking Charge!

I passed by the field of the sluggard, by the vineyard of the man without sense; And behold! it was all overgrown with thistles; its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall broken down. And as I gazed at it, I reflected; I saw and learned the lesson: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest-- Then will poverty come upon you like a highwayman, and want like an armed man. Proverbs 24:30-34

Greg and participate in a couples' Bible Study, and at the moment we are studying a book entitled Proverbs & Parables : God's Wisdom for Living .

The other night, we studied the Proverbs in Chapters 23 and 24, and were asked to indicate which proverb spoke most directly to our hearts at this time. If you pick up the good book and take a look, you'll find it overflowing with helpful two and three line insights. But for some reason, the proverb above is the one that really slammed me between the eyes this week.

It's so easy to let things get away from us, and to make excuses about it. "I'm too busy to balance the check shop for fresh take my mop the kitchen pray the Rosary...(fill in the blank...)."

Maybe you don't do this, but I do - all the time! I end up with a sense of being overwhelmed because my good intentions don't translate into action so much of the time. And yes, I've got good excuses, but like the "sluggard" in that parable, even a little "rest" can lead to my field being overgrown by thistles!

So what's the answer? For me, it's about taking charge, making a plan, and then just doing it. The first part of my plan, of course, needs to be prayer and lots of it! From there, however, comes the part that sometimes trips me up: breaking the problem down into realistic, manageable and attainable steps. If I look only at the overall goal, it seems too insurmountable to even attempt. However, if I take the time upfront to set tiny "babysteps" (yes, I get those Flylady emails too), I'm pretty sure I can make some progress.

Case in point: my children's scrapbooks. OK, I'm choosing a low stress example here, but bear with me. If I try to take on the task of getting my kids' photo albums updated (since they were last touched in late February of the year 2000...) it could feel pretty impossible, especially if you look at some of the scrapbooks being created these days! But if I say to myself, "Spend fifteen minutes today and put together one page for one boy, alternating each day", suddenly it becomes a little more possible.

I just finished reading a "mommy lit" book where the main character hires a Life Coach. The Life Coach advises her to make a list of all of the things in her life with which she is either "Satisfied" or "Dissatisfied" and then to prioritize the list and tackle the items one by one. I think I could probably manage the making of this list myself, perhaps even without the aid of a Life Coach.

OK, these are just some general musings for the morning and now it's time to go drive Eric to the hospital for his volunteer job. If anyone's got tips for me, or just wants to commiserate, you know where to find me!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Via email from the lake

Via camera phone from the lake...

Via email from the lake

Via camera phone from the lake...

Happy Birthday to Me...

Well, it was actually a while ago, but Greg and I got around to picking out my gift yesterday. We've been discussing it for a while, so we just had to find time to go acquire it.

We live close to several lakes and one pretty calm river, so I've been interested in finding a way to get out on the water with the boys more frequently. When I was growing up, our family owned a motor home and a trusty ski boat named "St. Jude" who always ran reliably at least the first day of any ski trip. We grew up camping and skiing with friends several times a year. I have great memories of trips to Lake Havasu (the California side) where the most ambitious thing we did for a week was to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch the glassy water. After skiing from 6 to 8 am, we'd come back to camp and spend the rest of the day languishing next to the 105 degree lake water. From my memory, the adults would sit in chairs at the shore, partially submerged to keep cool in the 118 degree heat while the kids played in the water. Serving of adult beverages (mostly Lucky Lager, I think) started around ten in the morning. I'm pretty sure we rarely showered or brushed our teeth, and we usually had our run of the campground, which we shared with a band of wild burrows. As we got older, each of us brought friends, and the families of our friends began to join us. Sometimes at trips closer to our Orange County home (like Mission Bay in San Diego), our favorite priest would come out to say Saturday evening mass for the campers. It was incredible. One of my fondest camping trip memories was the year when I was a young teenager and my clothes were all sprayed by a skunk on the first night of the trip. I spent the rest of the week in my bathing suit and a good friend's practice football jersey...I'm sure I would have smelled better in the skunk clothes by week's end.

These are memories the Hendey boys won't experience. My husband's idea of camping is staying in a two star hotel. We have done some pretty minimal camping trips with the boys, but not many. But I can't miss the chance to take advantage of some fun afternoons out and around the lakes that are so close by. We had our fun pontoon boat outing earlier this week, and it was great.

What I really wanted for my birthday was a kayak - one of those swift little numbers that can whoosh down white water rapids or paddle along the coastline in Monterey near the seals. Well, that's not going to happen this year - we determined we should by a two person model (no boy is allowed to go paddling yet without a parent). The price and size made them impossible at this point. We did look at some cute and very sporty one person kayaks (they even had cupholders!). But alas, now is not the time for mom to go paddling off into the sunset on her own...those days will be here soon enough, I know.

So what we settled on is a thrifty inflatable model that can be used by two people at a time, and can be deflated and thrown in the back on the Volkswagen Bus for easy transport. She's been christened "Renown" - we're big Horatio Hornblower fans in our house and the Renown was Horatio's third ship, where he first served as a real Lieutenant.

Renown hit the pool yesterday, and she's headed off to Millerton today for a picnic lunch and some paddling. She's a far cry from St. Jude, but she'll do the trick for now!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lake Life

Tuesday night we headed up to Bass Lake, about one hour from home, for Greg's annual residency program dinner and roast. Greg (on electric guitar) and Eric (on bass guitar) performed a musical montage of songs like "Angie", "Hotel California", "That's What I Like About You", and more with the words all changed to pay homage (and some abuse) to the graduating residents. It's such a fun tradition and it was great to see my men up there playing together. Adam took charge of making and holding up a "CLAP" sign at the end of each number, but no promptings were needed - there was full on dancing and standing ovations! My husband is so cool! Of course, he took his share of roasting from the residents too - they referred to him as "HendeyMan" with a cape and big "H" on his chest.

This photo was taken on my cell phone on the pontoon boat we rented for a few hours. We took the boys boating - yikes, for the first time ever and this is so close to home! They loved tubing behind the boat and both did great tricks. But Mom won the award for the most spectacular crash of the day - I got a bit cocky trying to ride on my knees and jump the wake! What fun!! I swallowed half of the lake, but it was worth the cold dip to have such a great day with my boys.

Life is indeed beautiful - what a perfect way to spend the first full day of summer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New York Postscript - Seeing the Big Apple with Teens

I just had to share a few great tips for anyone traveling to New York City with teens. We had such a fabulous trip! Since this is our third year in a row to visit NYC in mid June, and since we've done most of the major "tourist" things recently, we saw a few new sites this trip. Here are a few of my favorites:

National Comedy Theater - Who would imagine that you could take your eleven and fourteen year old sons out to a comedy club in New York City on a Friday night?! Our boys love stand up and improv comedy, but finding "clean" comedians can be a huge chore. We found the perfect venue! Manhattan's National Comedy Theater offers clean, and incredibly funny, comedy shows on Friday and Saturday nights. It's team improv, kind of like a comedy contest! We attended the Friday night early show and bought our tickets right before the performance. At $15 per ticket, I would say it's a great value. Our boys sat in the front row and were very involved in the performance. (If you're shy, don't sit in the front row!). If you're looking to laugh yourself silly, give this place a try on your next visit to New York.

Ellen's Stardust Diner - We wandered in off the street on Sunday afternoon and had no idea what a great time we'd have. This great diner is half Broadway musical, half American Idol. You may have to wait a few moments to place your order while your waitress belts out a tune on the microphone, but the food's worth the delay! The meals were a bit pricey (about $12 per entree), but given the fact that you're basically being entertained the whole time you're eating, it's a great family experience. One waitress sang a love song to Adam in front of the whole restaurant, and I thought he was going to climb under the table! The whole staff had great voices and singing along is encouraged! Check it out!

Apple Store Fifth Avenue - I'm about to take the plunge, so I thought I'd stop by the Apple Store and take a look at the laptops. Wow, what a great place. They have tons of products all out and available to be played with. Dad got a new iPod Shuffle for Father's Day and I convinced myself that it's only a matter of time until I switch. We had to drag the boys out of the store - they were having so much fun looking around and checking out the Mac Books. Now my only decision or white?

A lot is written about traveling with babies and younger children, but not much advice is given for meeting the special needs of adolescents and teens while traveling. It's a great joy to be seeing places like New York with our boys in this new and very fun phase of their lives. Do you have a favorite spot in NYC? I'd love to hear about it in the comments, or email me at - I'm already planning next year's trip!

Happy Birthday Patrick!

Dear Patrick,

How does the old saying go..."Better Late than Never!"??? Well, believe it or not, this post is intentionally delayed. I needed to be home to get my hands on this adorable photo of you with our newest littlest Patrick.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Our days have always been tied together in my mind, as your birthday follows mine by one day - it must have been a good month for Mom and Dad!

On the occasion of your birthday, I thought I'd take a moment to say thank you and to let you know how much I love you. It's kind of surprising, given the fact that when I was fourteen I found you to be the most irritating person who ever walked the face of the planet! I think we've both evolved a bit since then...

I'm so proud to have you as my brother - you are a wonderful man in every sense of the word! As husband and father, your commitment to your family shines. I love watching you with Justin and Patrick! They are lucky to have you in their lives. I know you studied under the best, so it's no surprise that you'd be a great family man.

One of my favorite aspects of your personality is your sense of humor - you make me laugh out loud, which is always a great thing! We have some fun and pretty crazy memories, which I will not memorialize here (and which you may - or may not - remember!). The mere thought of you usually makes me smile - both out of a wonderful sense of shared past and out of an appreciation for the person you have become in the present.

It's so good to know that with our family spread all over the country, I have you within an easy drive...long live the California pod! Your present will be late too (you'll probably get it when your son gets his!) - but my love and best wishes are being sent your way today! Happy Birthday - you're the best!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day Daddy

Dear Daddy,

Happy Father's Day! I'm sorry I'm not with you this morning to bring you breakfast in bed, but be assured that you're the first person I thought of this morning when I woke up. I'm the world's luckiest girl, and a large part of that comes from being raised by the world's best father.

The life lessons you shared with each of us are too innumerable to list here, but I've tried to learn most of them well, and you continue to teach by your loving example. Each day, I try to follow you example of living life to its fullest with a positive and loving attitude. I love the attention you pay to detail, and the energy with which you work at bettering some part of yourself every day. I love that you listen to people with your whole heart, and that you always remember what they have to say. I don't know if I'd prefer to die before you do or not, but I know if I do that you will faithfully pray for my soul every day, and that brings me great comfort.

I am on board with you on the importance of having fun, and a lot of it! If 18 holes of golf is a good thing, then 36 is even better - isn't that true for many things in life? I try never to leave one good party in search of another, and to be among the last people on the dance floor.

Watching your relationship with our mother has taught all of your children lessons in how to truly be a loving spouse - we all try to follow your lead in our own relationships and we're fortunate for having grown up with your marriage as our role model.

There's so much that I could say about how much I love and admire you Daddy - please know that despite the fact that I'm not with you today, you'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

With love and big moose smoochies,
Your Favorite

Friday, June 16, 2006

I Love New York

I love the sights, smells, and action of New York City.

I love jumping on a subway on one end of town and emerging at the other fifteen minutes later to a whole new look and feel of the City.

I love watching my sons eat hot dogs at corner stands four times a day and counting Godiva "chocolixer" drinks as the protein for that day.

I love visiting a fencing club that was established in 1883 and a Mac store that houses the latest in today's really cool technology within one hour of each other.

I love having skinny crust pizza with broccoli on it, a nice Chianti and "the world's best cheesecake" for my birthday dinner.

I love being able to roam around St. Patrick's Cathedral every day of my trip, lighting candles and thanking God for all the blessings in my life.

I love visiting Trump Tower, FAO Schwartz, the big Niketown, and Central Park - walking blocks and blocks amidst the flurry of life here.

I love that we still have two days left - who knows what else we'll see, but I bet I'll love it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In a New York State of Mind

We're on the road again - we'll be leaving in a few hours to head to New York City for a quick (too quick) trip to an EM conference. We've taken this same trip for the past three years, and always have a wonderful time. We stay at the Marriott Marquis in the heart of Times Square. I hope to find time to blog from the road, but if not I'll be back at my desk Monday.

As someone I know says, "It's good to be a Hendey!"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Watch Out Ebert and Roeper

Over at the new Culture Spotlight Blog I have a crack new movie reviewing team: M & M! These two dudes from Bakersfield, ages 8 and 10, have taken up the challenge to view and critique the latest popular flicks and are generously sharing them at my site. So far, they've reviewed Over The Hedge and Cars. I'm quite impressed by their insights! Thanks again to Michael and Matthew - keep up the great work!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Team of Angels

Thanks to Trisha, who wrote me to share news of her family's trip this summer to bring hope and encouragement to others. Trisha wrote the following poem. For more information on her mission of hope, visit


I need a team of angels, Lord -
I don't think one will do
Please send me all the help from high
For what I am going through.

Guardians to watch over me
And help my soul to cope
I'll do the best I can to pray
And cherish gifts of faith and hope.

Things that made me smile today...Evening Edition

...watching Eric altar serve at Mass this morning - he looks so angelic up there! Also, what Mom can resist the site of an almost 15 year old in shorts, a tshirt, dark socks and black dress shoes? mother-in-law surprised me after mass today with an early birthday cake (it's later this week, but we'll be traveling and she knew I probably wouldn't get a cake if she didn't do it today! (Inside joke to my mom: guess what I got for my birthday "under there"...)

...the site of Adam sitting in the pool, eating dinner - what's better than simultaneous eating and swimming?

...Blue Man Group on PBS - we flipped on the TV tonight and found them rocking out on PBS. We love the Blue Man Group and are hoping to take the kids to see them when they visit Fresno in November.

...No school tomorrow!!!

This 'n That

A few updates:

My recent article on "Cool Tunes for Catholic Kids" is now running in the new Grapevine Magazine. You can read it online - click on the Spring 2006 link.

Check out the great new recipes from Christine this week - Cheesy Potato Beef Bake (for dinner) and Aloha Quick Bread (for weekend brunch). Thanks to Christine, I'll be adding recipes weekly, and may even start cooking!

I've just posted all of the new columns for this week. Take a look at

Kevin Has a Home by our Adoption Columnist Heidi Hess Saxton

Seeing the World Through Different Eyes by Patrice Fagnant MacArthur

Family Time and Getting Fit! by Jodie Lynn

Teaching Moments - Helping Others

Bartering: A Dynamic Feminine Practice and Emotional RX for Women by Michele Howe

Taking the Plunge into Racks of Swimsuits by Marybeth Hicks

Mornings Are For The Birds by Lisa Barker

Cool Tunes for Catholic Kids

A feature article I recently wrote for Grapevine Magazine is now available online for your reading pleasure. Those of you who know and love my procrastinating ways (i.e. my mom and my sister) may recall that this is the article I was working on while traveling to Chicago - the one that nearly didn't get written due to "technical difficulties". It's fun to see it in print! Go to the Spring 2006 issue to read my article.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Teaching Our Children to Serve

This morning, I will drive my eldest son, the fourteen year old, to his first job orientation. Having already passed the health screening, he will complete paperwork, learn the dress code and rules of his new job, have a tour of the facilities and review the objectives of his new position. Eric's new job, a student volunteer position at our local children's hospital, will have him serving two four hour shifts per week as a liaison in clinical and inpatient areas.

Summer vacation is a time for refreshment and renewal. I'm learning, as the mother of a junior varsity football player, that it's also the time for football practice, and lots of it. When I was growing up, my own parents discouraged summer jobs and encouraged family travel, summer learning and rest and relaxation from the busy school schedule. I hope to follow their lead in this respect, taking advantage of the chance to jump off life's treadmill for a few short months.

Summer also seems like the perfect time to teach my children to look for opportunities to be of service to others. In my community, they abound and are varied and fun. The program Eric will join this summer places teenagers in responsible positions in a respected Children's hospital. Our community also offers volunteer jobs in libraries, churches, schools and even mission trips. Our teens can help families build new homes through Habitat for Humanity or provide life-giving care to animals through our SPCA or zoo. They can teach art to children or serve at the right hand of a physician for a summer of research. The choices seem endless and fascinating.

One of my biggest goals as a mother is to instill in my boys a heart for loving and serving others, so Eric's summer venture seems a means to that end. Along the way, Eric will also learn to show up for work on time, dressed appropriately and with a positive attitude. He will learn to execute his duties professionally and with compassion. He will meet new friends and will likely have fun in the process. Eric will serve in a volunteer capacity, so his pay for this job will be the smiles he receives from the patients with whom he interacts and the warmth in his heart that comes from knowing he is doing the right thing - helping others.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Now I Know How Stars' Wives Feel!

Congratulations to my incredible awesome husband, who last night accepted his hospital's equivalent of the Academy Award!!! Greg works so very hard, while keeping a great perspective on the priority of family, so it was so wonderful to see him recognized for all of his efforts. While he was standing at the podium giving his speech, I wanted to stand up and yell, "Hey, that's my husband!!!", but I restrained myself. My only regret is not having brought the video camera to record the moment for posterity, but I don't think it's one I will soon forget. My pride level could only have been trumped by one other woman in the room - Greg's Mom. What a precious moment to watch your son prosper at his chosen profession, and to know that he is also a Godly and family oriented man - she did a great job raising him!

Each year the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco presents a total of four Kaiser Teaching Awards—three to faculty on main campus (one each to a member of the clinical department, basic science department, and volunteer clinical faculty), and one to a clinical faculty member in Fresno. These awards are extremely prestigious and important to faculty. Winners are presented a certificate and a significant monetary reward at the School of Medicine’s commencement in San Francisco. The Fresno recipient is also recognized for his/her achievement at the UCSF Fresno commencement ceremony.

The Kaiser Award criterion is teaching, not service based, and includes demonstration of teaching skills, motivation of learners, and communication abilities. Faculty and medical residents select the recipient.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What's New?

Hey Y'all! Have you missed me? Life is settling back down to its normal frantic pace after two weeks of celebration and having Nana here for a visit. I love having my mom in my home - it makes me envious of those of you who live close enough for nightly visits with parents and siblings. We're spread all over the country! I promise to post photos soon of some of the past weeks' events, including my son's graduation, which was spectacular.

I've added some new stuff this week over at, along with updates of all of our favorite columnists. Take a look at our new Family Dinners feature, featuring Christine's wonderful recipes. This will become a new weekly feature and I think it's going to be great! If you like Christine's recipes, you may want to follow the links on that page to her "Dine Without Whine" service - your subscription earns a small referral fee for and will go to help keep the site alive and well.

I've also just posted my latest Book Spotlight interview with Cheryl Dickow, author of Reclaiming Your Christian Self in a Secular World: A Woman’s Worth. Cheryl's book is great, as are her insights in our chat. This new Culture Spotlight Blog will be the new blog for book spotlights, musician interviews, featured artists and more. I may even start blogging over there about some of our family's favorite television shows.

For now, I'm off to a staff meeting at Church and then to pick up son #1 from football practice (yes, it's already started!!!). One favor to ask: would you please all join me today in praying for a special intention?

Mom, I miss you already! Can't you just come back - oh, and bring Daddy too! I'm a forty two year old woman with separation anxiety.