Props to my mom today.

My check engine light came on in my Jeep on Tuesday. My friend told me about a good, reasonable mechanic that would take me to work, too. So, I decided to visit this mechanic the next morning in the midst of my crazy schedule. Then, I remembered that Autozone has a service where you can have them read the computer readings for your car (instead of $70 or so the mechanic can charge you).

Autozone checked out my car and gave me four different possibilites for my check engine light being on. The only one that was most probable was a disfunctioning catalytic converter--which kind of sounds like a pacemaker for your car or maybe a way to upgrade it to a cadillac.

I called my mom on the way to the garage and she told me to just put some fuel injector cleaner in the gas tank, and I should be fine. So, I did it. And today, the check engine light went off. Praise God! And thanks to my mom for her diploma from the Hoopty Car School of Hard Knocks and Strange Noises.

On a more serious note, I had prayed that God would help be my mechanic and car advisor. It's hard not having a dad around (or a mechanically inclined husband) to give me car advice (although my dad was a much better 1040EZ advisor than a mechanic, but he did his best).

One of my favorite college memories is when my dad had to come help me with my unstarting car. He did a cool move where he poured gasoline into the carburator to get it to start. My mom was there assisting, and then had to use her favorite pink cardigan to get the flames to calm down that were shooting out of the engine from my dad's cool trick. At the end of the display, we figured out that I just was out of gas. The look on my dad's face was priceless. Praise God that he also gave me a very calm, patience-of-Job father.

Seven years ago today, I stood outside Vanderbilt hospital waiting for my aunt wearing my black hooded jacket. It was about 45 minutes after my dad had died. Or maybe not 45 minutes. Time becomes irrelevant in those situations. My mind was reflecting on how the doctors had swarmed the room trying to revive him, and then talked to my family in a special room about probable causes (a blood clot from having cancer).

Kind of ironic, that seven years later, I work in the medical field and today sat in a meeting at the same time of my dad's death seven years ago sitting amongst doctors again, but this time they are kind of like colleagues, discussing their education and experiences. Who would've ever put me here?

God heals hurts. And he heals hearts. And he heals catalytic converters.

God is good.

I got a text message from Kenya this morning. It said:

Your prayers are appreciated. We need God's intervention in these trying times. Please continue. May God bless you.

Just getting this message was a blessing. I love the man who sent this to me, but I will not marry him (despite how handsome he is) because he's my friend's dad. And he's 70 or so. But I love him very much. You can love people without having to marry them, you know.

Please keep praying for healing and peace for Kenya. If you've ever been there, you know that the people of Kenya have a unique way of taking residence in your heart within two seconds of meeting them. I love them all.

I found pictures today of “Winter Pets” on the Weather Channel website. Click here for the link. These pictures of pets and snow will melt your heart, and it makes me want to have a dog.

I guess it’s a good thing I’m getting ready to spend this next month watching four different dogs. By March, I could have lost the bug for a dog, but gained some fleas.

As I was looking for my keys, I heard these words flow from my mouth:

“Dang it. Where are my keys?”

And what was most surprising was that I sounded pretty much just like Hank from King of the Hill. Maybe I have been in Texas for too long.

I've noticed that sometimes I just like a food, and then all of a sudden, I love it. My relationship with Chuy's was like that. The first time I experienced Chuy's, it was okay. Now, it's one of my favorite things in the world as far as food is concerned.

At the Susan Komen race, I received a sample of Larabars. They were okay. Nothing to write home about. But today, I didn't just write home, but I wrote the company. And they wrote me back! It's like having a pen-pal with my favorite food.

From Ulovebeth to Larabar:
Dear Larabar,
First of all, I love Larabars. Because of that love, I have been pondering two requests:
1) Can you please offer the smaller size larabar as an item available for retail sale? I would even buy them in a bag or a box.
2) Could you offer to distribute Larabars to Starbucks? I think they would be a great addition to the selection of items they currently offer.
Thanks so much for making a great product. I had my first Larabar after running the Susan Komen 5K in Houston from a sample I was given, and I've been hooked. My co-worker and I are always "borrowing" each other's Larabars. (I think I owe her about 10.)
All the best,

Response from Larabar to Ulovebeth:
Dear Beth,
Thank you for contacting LaraBar. We appreciate your interest in our products.
In response to your specific request, the mini version of our bars is currently used for event and in-store sampling purposes only. I will be sure to share your comments with our sales team.
Regarding your interest in seeing LaraBars at Starbucks, we have attempted several times to have our bars available in their stores. Unfortunately at this time it is not possible. We will continue to work toward this goal.
We greatly appreciate your support and patronage!
Best wishes,

So not only are their ingredients natural and wonderful, they also write back their customers.

I love Larabar.

-I don’t like Louis Vuitton bags. I don’t think they really match anything (what color are they anyway? Brown? Green?) and the money could be used to buy a much cuter bag, or save the world.

-I thought about giving a random male customer at the post office my phone number because he helped translate for a man that was trying to buy water, helped a lady find the trashcan, was mailing Houston postcards to Spain, and then, he smiled at me sweetly.

-The lobby piano player at one of the hospitals and I have been exchanging smiles for about 2 years now. Today, he was playing some beautiful music, and I was trying to peer from a distance over his shoulder to read the title, and I ran into a trash can.

-In my daypack, I have a bible study book, a bible, and the new Victoria’s Secret swimsuit catalog. I accidentally brought the catalog in my bag today. I have a fear I’ll get hit by a car, and the contents of my bag will be included in the accident report.

-I'm worried about the writer's strike. What if they bring back Circus of the Stars?

Please pray for Kenya tomorrow. It’s a big day for the country. A UN rep is coming to talk peace with the leaders and candidates. Pray that God brings peace and healing to a country that has been dealing with outbursts of anger and violence. Susan, my sweet Kenyan friend, has been requested by her sister, Tina, to urge people to pray on Friday from all over the world. So since you are part of the world (in the world, not of the world), please pray for peace and for God’s righteousness to be sought.

In other thoughts…
As I made my office wish-list for supplies today, I was kind of struck by thinking about if I made a wish-list to God what it would look like. If I wrote down everything I really needed from God, what would be on the list? The list would be between me and God, of course, but I will reveal that if I’m completely honest with myself, there wouldn’t be a single item that could be purchased with moulah (even from Harrod’s) on it.

It’s been something I’ve been chewing on today.

Here’s what I like:
Lindt chocolate bars
Joseph Schmidt chocolate truffles
Anything else from Chocolate du Monde
Heart earrings
Fake tattoos
Gift cards for spa services
Starbucks stuff
Nail polish
Musical card
Possibly a song written with my name in it, or just sing “Beth”

I think I possibly am losing my mind, because I purchased rollerblades at Target on Friday night. They were on sale for $4.98.

I found this How-to on wikipedia.

They forgot the #1 element: PRAY.

This could be interesting.

If you're over 13, I encourage you to see a movie that I thought was delightful. 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl was fun to watch. It didn't change my life, or cause me to develop any great passion for saving the world, but it did make me laugh and get so engrossed that I forgot about the theater showing Alien Predator the Requiem for the first 10 minutes of the show.

The reviews aren't so great for it, but trust your Happy Little Trees reviewer. If you enjoyed My Best Friends Wedding or Sweet Home Alabama, or any other chick flick such as these, go see it. And if you've ever had the wonderful privilege of being in a friend's wedding, definitely see it.

My father died from pancreatic cancer on January 31, 2001. This week at work, a list was sent out for some possible risk factors for pancreatic cancer. My father smoked for most of his adult life. He had quit about 4 years before he died, and I'm not sure that smoking was the complete cause of his cancer, but I'm sure it didn't help. About six months before he was diagnosed with cancer, he was diagnosed with diabetes--which I also just learned is common before a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

Something else that my family has researched is a correlation between eating processed meats and pancreatic cancer. Even before knowing this, I've dabbled with being a vegetarian, and also with not eating red meat. I don't eat a lot of red meat, but I'm not a good vegetarian because I don't like enough vegetables, but I'm trying.

I found this link today of mystery meat pictures. If you don't want to avoid processed meats after looking at this, you might need another type of psychological evaluation because it's pretty disgusting.

One of the main ingredients to avoid is sodium nitrite (also linked to leukemia). It keeps normally gray looking hotdogs a nice pink color.

I trust God completely for every day that he's given me, but I want to try to be a good steward of this temple instead of polluting it purposefully.

Please read labels when you can. And if these things are on the label, put the item back down: high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and sodium nitrite. I'm sure the list could get a lot longer, but those three are easiest for me to remember.

I included links so you can read about it if you have time.

I can't get that picture of the magnified processed stuff out of my head. Blech!

I can’t spell. It’s kind of embarrassing because I was once a teacher, and I really don’t spell that well. I have to look up words on google all the time to make sure that I have the right spelling.

It began in first grade when I was in a county spelling contest and misspelled “sit” as “set.” Before the big meet, I remember sitting in the family living room with little paper pieces of all my three letter words to study displayed on the family ottoman. I totally thought I had that thing in the bag.

Then, in fifth grade, myself and about 3 others were taken down on the word “horseback” which I spelled “horsebak.” I blame that one on nerves.

Words I have trouble spelling:
familiar (as familar)
similar (as similiar)
recommended (as reccommended)

Well, there’s more to the list, but I just can’t think of them right now.

I can spell some words right, and I see a few of those words misspelled pretty consistently—sometimes even by close friends. Do I point it out or let it slide? Is it rude or helpful to point out spelling mistakes? I usually don't say anything, because I don't always like to be told. It kind of makes my perfect world crumble a bit.

I try not to be prideful when I see the word spelled wrong—-because the number of brain cells a human has in no way correlates with the number of words we spell right—-even though my brother might beg to differ (my brother is a champion speller).

Today in a work e-mail, I realized that I misued the word “tirade.” So now, I'm not only a bad speller, but also a misuser-of-words. Maybe I am losing brain cells. Or maybe I’ve just been out of school for too long. Can you teach an old dawg new tricks?

I can’t believe it. I’m full. Somehow I got full. I only ate a ½ of a turkey and swiss sandwich, ½ a burrito bowl, some chips and guacamole, and somehow, I am full. Normally, I have to snack all day. But today I am full. It’s such a strange feeling. Even if somebody brought in a birthday cake, I would have to resist, because I am full.

I haven’t been this full since I visited the Potatoe Patch restaurant. My belly hurts just thinking about it. The waitstaff throw bread at you and you eat it because it feels like an accomplishment. The chairs are on rollers because they have to roll you out of there to your car, because you can’t walk after you eat all that bread and then a meal. Never eat there. Unless you have self-control when it comes to eating. If not, avoid it. Even if you think catching rolls sounds like fun.

I think my new answer for difficult things in my life will be: “That’s nothing more than a prayer request.” –instead of freaking out. Sometimes I have scenarios in my head of the correct reaction to life events, but the one that plays out doesn’t always fit with the originally planned response.

I forget the power of prayer too often. How amazing that God, the creator of the universe, hears little bitty me’s prayer.

Yesterday, I heard of a radio thing (105.7 has some good stuff to listen to while you drive) about how King Hezekiah laid out a letter on the ground that troubled him and he prayed to God. The radio thing was saying that as an example, we could literally lay our troubles around us, and lift them up to God.

So, if you see me at the altar with a Citicard, Discover card, Bank of America, and HSBC bills, plus a lingering Nelnet loan, and an empty engagement ring box, you’ll know what’s going on. But truthfully, he hears us. He listens to us. God. The big guy. The one and only. Hears our voice. And not only hears, but listens.

Some days, the paparazzi just won't leave me alone. It's tough being famous.

As a Christian, sometimes it can be a difficult balance between putting garbage in your brain from the world and the things of God. We know we don't need the garbage, but some of it is so catchy, what could be the harm, right?

Music gets to be a tricky issue. If you only listen to the Christian station, you are constantly inundated with too much keyboard. If you listen to just hip-hop or hard rock, you're constantly inundated with scenarios of relationships you really don't want to be thinking about all the time.

I've tried to come up with a compromise today. Perhaps I'm the new worship song writer of the future. Maybe I can get my friend, Matt, to record this. I think he'll like it.

It's a song about faith. Make sure you sing it as you read it. You'll know the tune.

Well I guess it would be nice
If I could touch your bible, yeah,
I know not everybody
Has got a bible like you

But I can’t just be nice
I gotta give my heart away
And I know it’s no game you play
Because I love you too

Oh but I
Need some time off from bad emotion
Can you pick my heart up off the floor?
And when your love comes down
With complete devotion
Well it takes a strong God baby
Please open up the door

'Cause I gotta have faith...I gotta have gotta have faaaa-ith...

God made the river
He made the ocean
He made fish and the whole ocean floor
Oh Jesus I reconsider
My foolish notion
Well I need someone to hold me
And I know you’re something more

'Cause I gotta have faith...I gotta have gotta have faaaa-ith...


Little Jeremy has still got it. Today, he found a purpose for those boxes sitting around the office. Can we put this in the alumni mag?

I love pictures. I love to take them because they can be instantly artistic. But I need my good old 35mm. It's on a breakdown right now because it had an accident in some airport luggage. I miss it.

Here are some great pics that are artistic. One is from my friend, Brad. He has some great shots. He thinks his friend Jon's shots are even better than his, but that's irrelevant because they are both amazing. It's really neat the stories a lens can tell. Be sure to click on the links above and check them out.

And also, keep checking Leslee's page. She's Nashville's photoqueen these days.

Being a hungry American is pretty much an oxymoron. Most of the time, we lounge in stuffed-ness. And we spend a ton of time and money trying to figure out ways to eat less while a huge percentage of the rest of the world tries to figure out how to get a meal that day.

Wouldn't it be kind of cool if there was a restaurant where you went and ate really small portions, but donated the remainder of a specific meal to a satelitte restaurant across the world? And maybe you could eat together via webcam with the person who really needed a meal. I bet we'd lose weight, and the person who was hungry would have a meal, and maybe you'd even become regular cyber dinner friends. We'd meet in the middle so-to-speak. (That might be a good name for the place--Meet in the Middle--reference the act and the stomach. I like that.)

There is so much food that is wasted in the US. So much food everywhere. We've taken a good thing and have sinned with our excess and even our food preparation. We've taken what God made good and made food into a fried type of drug that we crave.

I originally started writing this post because I was hungry. And then I thought that sounded just plain silly and very unaware of me.

I got this cool new book that is all about lists. It's the perfect book for me right now because there is no plot, and it fascinates me with its realness and creativity. It's also the perfect book for the little sister in me, because it's like spying on the world.

There is a website associated with the book. (note: posted 1/7 with the wrong link)

I am a list maker myself. I love to make list--grocery lists, Target lists, ways to succeed in life lists, cleaning lists, etc. I lose them all the time, but I make them nonetheless. I blame my gifted-and-talented teacher (gotta love the name of that class) who would encourage me to brainstorm ideas for something with a list. I'm still addicted to brainstorming with lists 24 years later.

I miss being able to make kids brainstorming as a teacher. It always frustrated me that they weren't quite as excited about it as I was.

My favorite list (note that this is personal, so therefore, that is why I am posting it on the internet) was my "Babe List" that I kept in high school. I kept it on a floppy diskette for my old Apple IIe. I would update it periodically with the boys that I thought were the cutest for that week. The most names on the list were about 15 with a weekly average of about ten.

So, list-makers, your assignment is to list--the kiss, the grocery, the hopes, the dreams, the tasks, whatever you feel like. Ah, I love the list.

I got to visit with Cody over the holidays. His family is so sweet. I wanted to sit right by him because it was almost like I was star-struck or something or witnessing a miracle. I was completely amazed that he could communicate with me and answer my questions and laugh and smile--and walk!

His family is so glad to be home. They live in a beautiful place. Things are mostly back to normal. His brother is doing his best not to pick on him too much. His dad is back at work. His mother has left her job, and is still going to physical therapy and taking him to radiation treatments at the time of my visit. She's tenacious about seeing him get better and helping him in any way she can. I love her spirit as a mother. He has a great family.

Check out the after and the before pics below.
Me & Cody

Clint, Gerry, Cody, and Pat

Me & Cody when he was in CCU. (Moustache by his mom)

At MDA with his parents, Gerry and Pat:

Thanks for your prayers. He's improving still everyday.

I've discovered that I like to cook. But I prefer not to follow a recipe. I study recipes to give me a basic guide, but I prefer to cook Ratatouille style. Last night, I made some tasty veggie quesadillas and some veggie tortilla soup at the same time. It was pretty strenuous work. If I put on ankle weights while cooking, I think I can skip a night at the gym.

And don't get any ideas about eating my tasty food, because for now, I am a private cooker.

My church is doing the devotional, Streams in the Desert , this year. If you want to read it with us, it can be found online at

I've been concerned today about issues going on in Kenya. To hear about the sweet people of that country being in such turmoil seems crazy. There is great poverty in Kenya, but also, great wealth. Please pray for these people. It hurts my heart because I can picture many, many faces that are there that I love, and I am worried for them. I know that the news can sometimes dramatize situations, but I feel a strong desire to pray before things escalate any further. There have been dramatic periods of violence in the past for African countries, and to be honest, this scares me to even hear that there is any lack of peace among the people.

Violence sometimes spreads faster than disease, and can escalate in a matter of minutes. It's a storm of anger and fear that must be tamed. Pray for still hearts and quiet voices and wisdom and discernment for Kenya and all the people groups there. Pray for protection of the people.

This event has made me realize how blessed the nation of the United States is. We take for granted our freedoms on a minute-by-minute basis. Currently, we're gearing up for an election. Can you imagine if the candidate we chose didn't win? We might have had issues with the Butterfly Ballot at one time, but can you imagine if such an argument turned into a machete fest?! We banter back and forth on the news over which candidate wants to spend tax dollars and which one wants to save the penguins. There might be t-shirts about it. But nobody usually burns a church. My heart is also quickened to remember not to ever judge someone else's sin by thinking that I am (or my country) above these actions.

Evil is evil and knows no single ethnicity or location. Sometimes I think when we hear about tribes in Africa fighting, we assume that the people are uncivilized and so far away. As long as no Americans are injured, we tune it out. Who has more value to God? An American or an African? That might seem like a strong question to ask, but I feel that as modern, post Y2K, Americans, we are sometimes spoiled brats with too many toys that have been brainwashed with pride that goes beyond honor for our country and turns into arrogance and entitlement--if we are not mindful and careful--and thankful to God.

The candidates that we have for our next election in the U.S. are possibly secretly corrupt in some way, but by the grace of God and the forefathers of our country, we have checks and balances to maintain order. Above all else, God must be the center of our country's values and beliefs.

Pray for Kenya. There are many Christians there. More handfuls of people claiming Christ in Kenya than in the U.S. at times. Missionaries have been focusing on discipleship to draw believers to a deeper head and heart knowledge of Christ. Pray that through this situation, God's goodness and plan will prevail.

God is good. All the time. Because that is His nature.

Dear God, relief, peace, and comfort for these people.

My friend Robyn e-mailed me this today. Please read.

Paraphrased note from my friend, Robyn:Comfort the Children International needs your help! Due to the political unrest in Kenya, we are currently supporting hundreds of refugees in Maai Mahiu, and we expect that number to quickly grow. Wehave been receiving text messages, phone calls & emails from our Kenyan friends giving us first hand accounts of the violent situation at hand.
Here is the latest:
-70,000 refugees and rising due to the mass displacement from riots,tribal warfare, burning of homes, business, etc..
-300 and rising is the current death toll-most shops are closed so people are unable to get necessary food andliving items-for those stores that are open prices are rising which locals cannotafford (ex. 100 shilling phone cards are now 150 shillings)
-masses are standing in lines for hours just to purchase milk
-still not safe for most people to travel out of their homes-current count is 300 refugees in Maai Mahiu and rising
-CTC fed rice and beans to 150 of those refugees today who are allliving and sleeping on the floor of the African Inland Church floor-these people have no food, no water, no shelter, no beds, etc...
-this is no longer solely about the election, but you now have tribes acting out brutally killing other tribes over the heated undercurrent of tribal conflict

CTC is in a unique position. We have 2 people on the ground in MaaiMahiu supporting relief efforts. It is a no overhead, hands on approach. We are able to directly help the people of Kenya. Your contributions will go straight to the people in need! Please, we need financial help. If you can donate anything, please visit our websiteat to make a contribution to feed these refugees.