Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Blog According to Typealyzer

According to a web tool called Typealyzer which is of the personality tests and theories genre, this blog belongs to a group called, "The Performers."

Typealyzer Quote:
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Note: writing style on a blog may have little or nothing to do with a person´s self-percieved personality.

While I do hope my blog is somewhat entertaining, I would say in this case, Typealyzer has fallen way short of the mark! What do you think?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Act Like Somebody!

When Sheriff Andy Taylor sent his young son Opie off to school, on at least one occasion his parting words (as in Ep. 34: "Barney's Replacement") were, "Do a good day's work and act like Somebody!" This may sound odd or even pretentious to the modern ear, but in the South in the 1960's, such an admonition simply meant: You are special. Act like it!

So many times we get such tunnel vision about the problems in our lives that we lose sight of the fact that each of us is special - we are all Somebody.

Read my full devotional at Act Like Somebody!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Wristband Proclaims "Thank You God, I Am Grateful"

Thanksgiving Bracelet Encourages Gratitude and Thankfulness

Thank You God, I am Grateful Message on New Bracelets
Just in time for Thanksgiving: While the news media is often blamed for spinning the news to promote fear in these tough economic times, one television journalist has been doing the opposite. Toni Garbo, a managing news editor in Cleveland, is spreading gratefulness and hope with her new wristband, "Thank You God, I am Grateful."
Thank You Wristbands - Focus on the Positive
Garbo says she was inspired to create the "Thank You" wristbands by watching televised celebrity awards shows, stating she is always touched when she hears a celebrity thank God in front of the world. She originally created the reminder wristband, which she compares to tying a string around your finger, for herself saying, "I needed a reminder to help me pause and reflect on the good and the positive found in the moment and throughout the day."
Reminder Bracelet - Message of Gratitude
The simple reminder bracelet on her wrist worked so well that Garbo wanted to share the wristband with friends, family and others. She ordered one thousand gray and black bracelets bearing the words "Thank You God, I am Grateful." Then she launched and the message of gratitude began to spread. Garbo has given the thanks-giving wristbands to journalists, television executives, business professionals, volunteers, politicians, celebrities, students, caretakers, soldiers, veterans, church groups and those in 12-step programs.
Gratefulness Promotes Peace & Thankfulness
"I believe gratefulness promotes peace in the hearts and in the world," said Garbo. "We have much to be thankful for in our lives and when we focus on what we have, instead of what we don't have, we are happier."
Ohio State Buckeyes Wearing Thank You Bracelets
Members of the Ohio State Buckeye Football Team heard about the "Thank You" wristbands and are now wearing them on and off the field. "I gave one to a coworker of mine and her son saw it and wanted to wear it. She recently asked me if I had any more because many of her son's teammates wanted to wear one this season. As fate would have it those teammates are The Ohio State Buckeyes." An A.P. photo recently featured an Ohio State player making a catch wearing the "Thank You God, I am Grateful" wristband on both arms.
Thank You Bracelets Two for $3.00
Garbo is encouraging Americans to give the gift of gratefulness to each other during these touch economic times. The "Thank You" bracelets are priced at two for $3.00 and available at Two bracelets are provided so others can spread the message of gratefulness as the second wristband can be given gift. A portion of the proceeds will go to charities that help children, including Providence House and Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Theresa.
Thank You Wristbands Great Gifts for Thanksgiving & Other Occasions
These "Thank You God, I am Grateful" wristbands are a great idea for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and other occasions all year long!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving in Mayberry

Mayberry was that small Southern town where everybody knew their neighbors and Sheriff Andy Taylor was everyone's father figure in a simpler time and place. Imagine what a Mayberry Thanksgiving might have been like!

Thanksgiving in Mayberry
T hanksgiving in Mayberry --
H elen and Ope home from school,
A ndy closes the Courthouse;
N ow Aunt Bee sets the rules,
K eeping everything just so,
S ets the table, cooks the food,
G iving each guest big helpings
I n the day's festive mood.
V ery soon all are seated
I n the Taylor's residence
N ow it's time for grace, says Andy,
G ives thanks for God's providence.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight at Midnight

On one of the first cold nights of November, at midnight on November 20th to be precise, I went to Bellevue Cinema 8 in Nashville for the midnight screening of the highly anticipated movie, Twilight. Did I say midnight screening? That's what we had been told, but the movie didn't actually start until 12:20 AM on November 21. There were 10 of us there when I arrived at midnight. Where were the screaming hoards of teen-age girls? I suppose wise parents had kept their young ones at home on a school night, a decision I applaud.

By 12:20 there were 18 of us there (only 3 of them males), including two groups of giggling female teens - the target demographic of this movie about an eternally 17-year-old vampire and the girl who loves him. After 20 minutes of fidgitting in a very un-vampirelike fashion, the audience was more than ready for the movie to start.

To read my review of Twilight, go to Twilight at Midnight

Also see A Christian Take on Twilight

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Acrostic

'T is the season -
H olidays are upon us
A s we gather together
N ow with our loved ones
K eeping family traditions
S avoring, turkey, dressing, ham...
G ive thanks to the One
I n whose name we gather
V ine from which all blessings grow
I t is good to be thankful
N ever forgetting
G od is great, God is good...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Tender Nashville Tennessee Christmas

Free Holiday Music Performances and Plays in and Around Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville/Davidson County is a large Metropolitan area full of free things to do for the holidays (in fact, I once wrote a poem about it). One of my favorite free things to do is to walk around downtown Nashville, sauntering down Broadway, past all the decorated honky-tonks, making my way down to Riverfront Park which almost always has a large tree lit for the holidays. Then I turn left on 2nd Avenue, and stroll past the small stores in the historic district, admiring the decorations and wares. I usually end up eating at Old Spaghetti Factory, San Antonio Taco Company, or Demos' which is the only cost (except parking) to my free holiday night out. There are several parking garages downtown, and one is right between Demos' and San Antonio Taco Company.

Another annual Christmas tradition of mine is Gaylord Opryland's "A Country Christmas," which started on November 14 and continues through January 4th. The entire resort hotel, which is the size of a small town, is all lit up for Christmas with sensational decorations, entertainment and some of the most delectable food anywhere. Attractions feature the Radio City Christmas Spectacular®, ICE!™, the Louise Mandrell Christmas Dinner Party™, and more. Walking through the hotels botanical gardens and viewing the decorations is free. Some of the entertainment has a ticket price, so call if you want to do more than stroll around the vast, decorated complex. You will want to dress so you can enjoy the lights both inside and outside the complex. There is plenty of parking on site, but the free parking is at Opry Mills Mall, and easy walk to Opryland Hotel. Phone: 888-OPRY-872
Nashville has several mansions like Cheekwood and Belle Meade Plantation which are beautifully decorated for the holidays. Although there is a charge to tour the mansions, it is free to drive up, admire, snap a picture and leave!
Something I try not to miss is the annual Nashville Christmas Parade. The 55th Annual Nashville Gas Christmas Parade will showcase Nashville's rich history of musical entertainment on Friday night, December 5th at 7:00 P.M. Colorful floats will roll down Broadway, holiday lights will illuminate the night sky, bands will march down our streets and all the magical sounds of the holiday season will be heard. The Nashville Gas Christmas Parade will kick off at 7th and Broadway, march east to 2nd Avenue and then across the Woodland Street Bridge to the LP Field. Vistors can park at any of the downtown parking garages and walk a block or two down to Broadway. If you love a parade, check the parades listed at the end of this article!
Some other free holiday events in and around Nashville include:
11/30/2008 - Hanging of the Greens Service at Bellevue Baptist Church, 7400 Highway 70 South, Nashville (Bellevue). This special evening worship service where the Christmas decorations and greenery is freshly hung is in preparation for Christmas and is free. Church parking is free.
12/6/2008 - Mansker's Station Yulefest at Moss-Wright Park, Goodlettesville. Saturday evening from 6-9 there will be historical song and period costumes on display at historic Mansker's Station. The event is free to the public. There will also be a winter encampment throughout the weekend. For information on these and other events, visit
12/7/2008 - Lessons & Carols at St. George's Episcopal Church, Nashville. St. George's will present its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 7, at 6:00 p.m. Based on the traditional nine lessons from Scripture, this service will feature St. George's Choir, St. Gregory's Choir and St. Dunstan's Choir led by Mr. Gerry Senechal. Musical selections will include works by Rutter, Mathias, Sandstrom and Bibel, to name a few. The Festival is free and open to the public. St. George's Church is located at 4715 Harding Road. Childcare is provided for children under 5 years old; space is limited, so please call 385-2150, extension 262, for childcare reservations. Deadline for childcare reservations is 12 pm Monday, December 1, 2008. For further information contact: Debra Waters 615-385.2150 x 253 or
12/7/2008 - The Music of Christmas at Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville. The Music of Christmas Sunday, at 6:00 PM at Christ Presbyterian Church, 2323 Old Hickory Blvd Nashville, TN 37215. FREE ADMISSION - Doors open at 5:30 PM - Open seating At twilight on Sunday, December 7th, at 6:00 PM, you are invited to gather and hear the music of Christmas flooding out for as many to hear as possible. Christ Presbyterian Church Adult Choir and Orchestra will host: the CPA High School "Vision" Ensemble, Middle School Concert Choir, CPC Children's Choirs and special guests Michael O'Brien and Shelley Jennings. Come early or stay late and enjoy Christmas cookies, coffee, cocoa and fellowship pre-program from 5:00-5:45 PM or following from 7:45-8:30 PM. Located near the Warner Parks on Old Hickory Blvd, between Hwy 100 and Hillsboro Road, at the Chickering Road traffic light. Call 615-646-7063 or contact Church parking is free.
12/14/2008 - Children's Music Program at Bellevue Baptist Church, 7400 Highway 70 South, Nashville (Bellevue). Special Christmas music will be presented by the Children's choir. Church parking is free.
12/14/2008 - Sing Joy... A Christmas Celebration at Siegle High School Auditorium, off of Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This holiday production features music by The Kingdom Living Worship Team and Choir, EMI Gospel Recording Artists Antonio Neal and Merche' Moore. Comedy drama "Away With The Manger" performed by nationally known comedian and actor, Steve Wilent. Admission is FREE. Doors open at 5:30. Christmas reception with cookies and snacks immediately following.
12/21/2008 - Christmas Musical at Bellevue Baptist Church, 7400 Highway 70 South, Nashville (Bellevue). This is the church's annual Christmas musical program presented by the Adult choir. Church parking is free.
12/24/2008 - Christmas Eve Lord's Supper Worship Service at Bellevue Baptist Church, 7400 Highway 70 South, Nashville (Bellevue). The church present its annual Christmas Eve Service and Candlelight Lord's Supper. Church parking is free.
I LOVE A PARADE! Local Christmas parades:
11/29 - Manchester Christmas Parade.
12/5 - Nashville Gas' 55nd Annual Christmas Parade presented by Southeast Financial Credit Union. Friday, December 5th at 7p.m. marching down Broadway under the beautiful lights of the City. The parade will begin at 8th and Broadway and head east to popular 2nd Avenue and then follow the Woodland Street Bridge to the Coliseum.
12/6 - Fairview Christmas Parade. Enjoy the festivities of this annual holiday parade along Fairview Boulevard. City of Fairview, Highway 100 at 1pm
12/6 - Franklin Christmas Parade, 2pm West Main and Main Street Franklin TN. Local bands and a colorful display of floats designed by schools, scouts, businesses and more.
12/6 - Hendersonville. Lighted Boat Parade - Christmas on the Creek: Mallard Point at Drake's Creek, Hendersonville. Featuring crafts, food, and entertainment from 2:00pm - 6:00pm. The boat parade begins at 6:00pm. For more information call the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce (615) 824-2818.
12/6 - Mt Juliet Christmas Parade. Mt. Juliet and the Department of Parks and Recreation will be having their Christmas Parade and their 3rd annual Christmas in the Park Saturday, December 8th. The parade will start at 12:00 coming from the little league park into Charlie Daniels Park. The Christmas in the Park will start after the parade enters the park and last until dark. There will be arts and crafts vendors, games, and much more. For booth rental call Jan or Rose at 758-6522.
12/6 - Christmas Parade - Gallatin. . The theme is "Storybook Christmas". For more information call the Chamber of Commerce (615) 452-4000.
12/7 - Lebanon Christmas Parade, starts at 2pm

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Christian Take on Twilight

I have been wanting to post about Twilight, the book by Stephenie Meyer and the upcoming movie, but I have not have time to put my thoughts down until challenged by a Twitter follower to respond to her blog. So, after typing a few thoughts there, I thought I would post those thoughts here and expand on them a little.

Twilight, the book by Mormon mom Meyer, is that rare phenomena - a sexy book about virtue, conscience, and good, old-fashioned morals and manners. If you enjoy old Bronte sisters and Jane Austin novels about brooding, noble, self-sacrificing heroes, this book is for you.

Edward is an unexpected delight, a superhero who COULD easily be a demonic villain but makes a conscious decision to put aside his powerful drives and urges to be a better being. Edward has been around for over 100 years, but he is forever 17 (and played in the upcoming movie by 22-year-old Rob Pattinson). He falls in love with Bella while battling his overwhelming urge to kill her and drink her scintillating blood which calls to him in a powerful way.

Bella (played by Kristen Stewart) is "Everywoman" - an average girl coming into her own, discovering her strengths and inner beauty through the eyes of the man, er, I mean VAMPIRE who loves her.

In Twilight one could easily substitute the words "drink her blood" and "change her into a vampire" with "have sex with her" and the end result would be the same -- Edward overcomes ALL his baser desires to protect Bella's life, her virtue, and her soul. Edward has learned a lesson few humans "get" anymore -- there are some things more precious than gratification. This book is truly about temptation and abstinence in all its forms.

It is also an action-packed thriller which should appeal to anyone who loves a good superhero as well as a ruthless villain.

Interesting note: According to actor Pattinson lists his religion as Christian, and indicates Pattinson once told an interviewer his favorite character in a book was Job.

I would love to get your comments on a Christian perspective to Twilight!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas in Mayberry A Christmas Poem

It's Christmas in Mayberry, the mountains are white

Opie and his friends are all filled with delight.
The town is lit up, wreaths are on every door
Andy whistles the carols he's whistled before.
Opie skips along Main Street to hear the Mayberry band,
Leon lopes close behind him; what's that in his hand?
No, it isn't a sandwich's sticky remains,
It's Christmas and he clutches a new candy cane!
They arrive at the band shell where they join Aunt Bee -
She has a basket of goodies for the picnic, you see.
An old man greets Bee; he's delighted to see her;
The former town grump - our good friend Ben Weaver.
Soon Floyd shows up, joined by Howard, Mike, Sam.
Goober stops to say "Hey;" Gomer joins the band.
The band strikes up some carols, then Barn starts to sing,
But they unplugged his microphone so the harmonies ring.
Aunt Bee spreads a blanket on the rather cold lawn,
Folks are bundled up snug with their winter coats on.
Otis keeps warm in his own special way;
But it's not from the bottle his cheer comes this day!
Soon Andy appears with his barbershop quartet
And they sing some fine carols, it's the best they've done yet!
Then the church choir joins in to sing "O Holy Night"
When the good folk of Mayberry see a beautiful sight.
Through the lights on the houses a new glow appears
As the first snowflakes fall on the town they hold dear.
Aunt Bee packs up the picnic, Goober grabs one last wing,
And the choir and quartet all continue to sing.
Opie and Leon and Mike and their friends
Are still laughing and singing as the band concert ends.
Then they hook up with Andy and he hooks up with Barn;
They find Thelma Lou and Helen and walk off arm in arm
To the Taylor home where they will share Christmas fun;
For it's Christmas in Mayberry -- Merry Christmas, everyone!

© Kathryn Darden. All rights reserved. Previously published in "The Mayberry Poem -- A Tribute to Mayberry"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Finding God in the Lord of the Rings'--My Story & Book Review

A Review of the Book "Finding God in the Lord of the Rings" by Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware

I was first introduced to Bilbo Baggins when I was in the 6th grade. While I enjoyed the The Hobbit, I was not overwhelmed by it although I was interested in continuing the saga when she gave me The Fellowship of the Ring the summer before my seventh-grade year. The Fellowship of the Ring and the subsequent two books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy affected me profoundly and perhaps had more impact on me than any other books besides the Bible. If you have read some of my poems, you may have an idea how much these books have influenced me!

For many years I was hard pressed to explain why the books captivated me and why I returned to read them year after year. Certainly the plot was gripping and the characters were substantial. The world, people and languages of Middle Earth seemed real, with layer upon layer of history and myth. The story of good versus evil was certainly inspiring, but what drew me back was something more intangible, more spiritual. I found some of the great truths of the Bible revealed and lived out in the pages of The Lord of the Rings - the corrupting influence of power, the love of one friend for another, the pure love between a man and a woman (or an elf-princess), self sacrifice, courage, and the willingness to lay down one's life for the greater good. This idea of deep Biblical truths in what seemed to be merely a fairy tale become a personal conundrum since I had no idea at the time what J.R.R. Tolkien 's influences were.
In my college years the mystery began to unravel when I learned J.R.R. Tolkien was a contemporary and friend of C. S. Lewis, another writer whose works have impacted me greatly. I learned the two writers influenced one another greatly. However, it was not until the movie version came out that I was compelled to research Tolkien and discovered that he not only was a Christian, but he was influential in winning C. S. Lewis to Christ. Furthermore, in a letter to Father Robert Murray, a Jesuit Priest, Tolkien states: "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion,' to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism."
In my ongoing research I came across a reference to an intriguing title, Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. I quickly tracked down a copy at my local Christian bookstore and found a delightful series of reflections based upon quotes and concepts found in The Lord of the Rings. Written by Kurt Bruner, a vice president with Focus on the Family and Jim Ware, author of several other books, Finding God in The Lord of the Rings invites the reader to "Discover Timeless Truth Among The Hobbits." The authors state "transcendent truths of Christianity bubble up throughout this story, baptizing our imaginations with realities better experienced than studied." The authors are quick to point out that Finding God in The Lord of the Rings is not "a covert allegory of the gospel" and they do not try to make it so. Rather, their stated goal is to "explore the inference" of Tolkein's imagination.
Chapters are short, begin with a snippet of the original story line and a specific quote, and then the reader is invited to consider both the quote and the story line on a deeper spiritual level. Each chapter explores one particular theme, each of which which will sound familiar to both readers of "The Lord of the Rings" and Biblical scholars: Evil Intentions, Hidden Courage, Unwholesome Power, Singing in the Dark, and Redemption. To any skeptics who would find fault with trying to find God in a fairy tale, the authors offer two quotes from Tolkien one at the beginning and one end of the book.
In the introduction we read:
"The Gospels contain a fairy story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy stories. They contain many marvels... But this story has entered History... This story is supreme, and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men -- and of elves."
In the epilogue, near the book's conclusion the authors quote Tolkien one final time:
"The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact... It happens -- at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable consequences... By becoming fact it does not cease to by myth; that is the miracle."
Whether you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings or not, these brief reflections are worth a read. However, they will mean much more to one who is familiar with the unforgettable characters created by a literary craftsman who loved the Gospel, loved myth, and twined the two into the telling of a truly inspiring tale.
Finding God in The Lord of the Rings
Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware
120 pages (hardcover)
Previously published in In Fellowship - The Journal of the Tolkien Gathering and on Yahoo Voices.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas in Iraq - published poem

A poem of encouragement for our military troops in Iraq and all over the world during the Christmas holidays, this poem was published on the old Associated Content/YCN site on 11-13-2008 where it garnered 4,529 page views before the site shut down in July 2014.

"Christmas in Iraq"

'Twas the night before Christmas in an Iraqi town;
And our brave U.S. forces had all just hunkered down.
Not a Humvee was moving, not a Jeep stirred the sand
As troops dreamed of their homes, each and every man...

To read the entire poem, please go to "Christmas in Iraq"

Feel free to forward this link to any military men and women during the holidays

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Ugly Truth About Reverse-Intolerance

I was glancing through an older newspaper a few days ago and I came across an advice column where the question involved a woman who had her body surgically altered and took hormones in an attempt to become a man. The question concerned a family scrapbook, and whether it was OK to keep photos of the woman as a little girl. The advice completely revolved around the woman who had the surgery. What did "he" want? How would "he" feel? The rest of the family's concerns, what they wanted, and what they should tell their children were simply not important considerations.

At the same time, provocative promotional materials have been flooding my TV and magazines at the checkout counter about Thomas Beattie, the former model who chose to mar the beauty with which God graced her, having her body surgically altered, taking hormones, so that she now looks like a man, well at least sort of. She became pregnant - she IS a woman on the inside, after all, but now Barbara Walters is touting her next interview with the "pregnant man" as Oprah did before her. One tabloid loudly mourned the cruel family who did not support Thomas in "his" new life as a "pregnant man." After all, the concerns of the family are not important.

So, when did it become appropriate for the desires of one family member to become more important than the rest of the family? The family that spent 18, 20, 24, or 30 years with a young person is now expected to change EVERYTHING to accommodate the desires of that one person to become something he or she was not intended to be. The rest of the family is now expected by our brain-washed PC culture to embrace the change, and consequently change their photo albums, their scrapbooks, their personal pronouns, and their parenting to accommodate the perverse desires of one person. If the family does not jump through the obligatory PC hoops, why, they are "intolerant," of course!

We live in a selfish society, where the ***I*** wants, **I*** needs, and **I*** feels have taken ridiculous turns, and it seems like the more ridiculous the situation, the more the family and society are DEMANDED to be supportive, tolerant, and accepting. Right and wrong, spiritual and religious values, family and cultural traditions are no longer recognized as having any merit. In our brave new world, the special interest groups and personal desires trump what's best for the family... and our society.

It's no longer a question of "if" we accept this. Be absolutely clear on this -- we have ALREADY accepted it. I work part-time for a well-known, national, retail company that sends out brochures like clockwork on tolerance in the workplace in which we are mandated to allow men dressed like women to enter the women's restrooms and vice versa. We are not to question or look askance at co-workers who exhibit disturbing gender issues. Male co-workers have demonstrated inappropriate physical affection for each other in front of co-workers and customers and not been called on it. Male co-workers have shown nude photos of their boyfriends to unsuspecting female co-workers IN FRONT OF MANAGEMENT and not been called on it. Flirty female co-workers have brought tapes of "Sex and the City" into work so they can watch the lesbian episodes in a stock room as they laugh about their lesbian sex-capades and not been called on it. Heaven forbid you speak out about any of it or YOU will be the one written up or even fired -- for intolerance. Oh, and by the way -- this same company would not let employees say "Merry Christmas" a couple of years back.

We cater to the few in the "special interest" groups to such a degree that we have become blindly intolerant to traditional views. Why is it that special interest groups can picket and protest religious organizations and they are exercising "free speech," but if we picket or protest any one of the special interest groups, we are promoting "hate speak?"The rest of us are expected to change our values to embrace what was recognized to be abnormal, wrong, and perverted only a few decades ago, and we are branded "intolerant" if we don't go along with it. Talk about reverse-intolerance! Christians and conservatives have no right to disagree or speak out...or even say "Merry Christmas!"

Yes, the desires and demands of those who can't control their urges now supersede the rights of those of us who try to live by Christian or traditional family values. The definition for normal has been redefined, and traditional family values have been vilified. We have accepted this. We have let ourselves be bullied, brainwashed and silenced. And now that we have rolled over and accepted this, what is NEXT? Rest assured -- it won't be good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Perfect November!

I don't know what the rest of the month has in store, and rain is predicted this week, but so far, this has been a perfect November. Never have I seen such beautiful colors in Nashville -- and they have lasted so long!

When I was a child of 5, my father was stationed for a year at Fort Dix, New Jersey. I remember some things about it vividly. We had recently returned stateside from India. The first months passed without leaving much impression; then suddenly, it was FALL! Never had I seen such beautiful colors as on the hillside behind our house. I remember collecting maple leaves and being entranced by their bright colors, and by the smell of the autumn leaves. Those days were full of delight for me, enjoying the vivid colors, and spending as much time outside in the woods as possible.

That's what this fall has been like for me. It was like Autumn took a wrong turn and brought a New England fall to Nashville by mistake. The colors were so vibrant they practically glowed, and the weather was so pleasantly inviting, it has been almost impossible to remain indoors. I have been to Edwin Warner Park many times the past couple of weeks, gawking at the colorful trees in their splendid foliage, and I used up two rolls of film trying to capture it all (yes, some of us still prefer photographs). The photos don't lie - they are the most colorful fall photos I have ever shot.

Driving anywhere has been an almost intoxicating experience as I have struggled to keep my eyes on the road and not on each shrub, tree, and hedge, not to mention the brilliant blue sky.

I don't know what made this November so spectacular. We have had less rain than usual, but apparently, we had it at all the right times. And although it has already rained a couple of times this November, most of the leaves remained on the trees and if anything, became more beautiful!

I know next fall I will be hopeful that we will once again have such a colorful autumn, but realistically speaking, I doubt it happens. Such a profusion of bright colors is not the norm here in Nashville.

Whatever future falls may bring, this one has pierced my heart with its beauty, and there it will remain, full of bright memories, a reminder of God's unsurpassed artistry.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. " Ps 19:1

Read my poem "November Nostalgia."

Look for the accompanying Fall Slideshow!

Monday, November 10, 2008

November Nostalgia -- a Fall Poem

Yahoo Contributor Network

The last golden leaves
Fell from the trees
And blew in the breeze.

The colors so bright,
Multi-hued delight.
Autumn took a wrong turn;

Colors we rarely see
In Tennessee -
How the hillsides burn!

New England's bright edge
Seen in each tree and hedge,
And bronze pumpkin sedge.

Still the colors remain -
A glorious stain
Until the next rain.

As each autumn returns
I know I will yearn
For sights such as these:

Crimson, scarlet reds,
Seen in each tree and hedge -
How it pierces my heart!

'Til the last golden leaves
Fall from the trees,
And their beauty departs.

© Kathryn Darden. All rights reserved.

Mayberry USA - a Great Place to Vist on the Web!

If you are a fan of "The Andy Griffith Show, you will definitely enjoy the Mayberry USA board at . It is a great place to find out more about the cast, crew and show, as well as meet other fans of "The Andy Griffith Show." Sponsored by the Mayberry Page ,, the Mayberry USA forums are family friendly and suitable for all ages.
At Mayberry USA you'll find games like original Mayberry Hangman, played steadily since May 2005, as well as Mayberry Trivia and other words games over at the Mayberry Carnival. There are general discussions about Mayberry and life in general at Floyd's Barbershop. And at Mrs. Wiley's Social Club for Mayberry Singles, there is a thread called Raising Opie where single Mayberry parents can talk about the joys, tribulations and advice of raising a child without a Sheriff Taylor did.
If you need some prayer or inspirational thought, there is All Soul's Church where you can find some TLC. And there are plenty of forums devoted to cast members, so whether you are a fan of Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Goober, Gomer, Floyd or all of the above, you will find plenty to talk about atMayberry USA, as well as photos, videos, newws and more!
The old Ezboard system was acquired about a year ago by Yuku, and the new Yuku boards are bigger and better than ever. Yuku pulled out all the stops and added a lot of bells and whistles to the old EZboards, so there are many new ways to interact: private messages, chat, friends, kudos and more. Members can create a profile, pick a Mayberry personality for their ID and for their avatar, and visit with other members on Main Street .
The folks at Mayberry USA are friendly and happy to have new folks join them. There is a Welcome Center where visitors and new members can introduce themselves and find out more about the board.
Several members from the Mayberry USA board had the opportunity to each other in the real world at this year's Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, North Carolina.
For more information about the discussion board, visit Mayberry USA at .

Thursday, November 6, 2008

This Sword Swallower's Got Talent - Dan Meyer on 'America's Got Talent'

Sword Swallower Goes from Tennessee Renaissance Festival to "America's Got Talent"

Performing at Tennessee Renaissance Festival
The Tennessee Renaissance Festival has featured something a little different the past couple of years when sword swallower Dan Meyer (of "America's Got Talent" fame) performed portions of his incredible program for the amazed onlookers who have seen him do the seemingly impossible. Last year I watched a nurse I know pull the sword out of his mouth, and this year, Her Majesty, the Queen (of the Tennessee Ren Fest) pulled a steel sword from Dan Meyer's throat. Dan's career has burgeoned this past year with appearances at Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Guiness World Book of Records, and "America's Got Talent," and I was able to hear some of the details first hand!
Early Skepticism about Sword Swallowing
Growing up as a child in Indiana in the 1960s, Dan Meyer saw his first sword swallowers and fire-eaters at circus sideshows with his father. Dan recalls, "Like most others in the audience, I was very skeptical, and I remember thinking, 'There's NO way that guy really swallowed a sword for the measly 50 cents we paid to get in this sideshow!'
Convinced by Sword Swallowers in India
"Later, when I was living as a short-term missionary, I encountered Indian fakirs, snake charmers, fire-eaters and sword swallowers performing as "golewala" street performers on the streets of India where sword swallowing first originated 4000 years ago," Dan Meyer states. "These guys did not have any fancy props, and since I could stand just a few feet away from them, I could see first-hand that they really DID swallow their homemade swords. That convinced me that sword swallowing really was real."
Career in Music Industry
Dan did not immediately take up the sword, but chose instead the pen, computer, and telephone. He also became a Celtic musician. However, after working in the music industry for several years in Nashville, Tennessee, Stockholm Sweden, and London England, he shifted his focus from the field of musical entertainment to variety entertainment becoming a circus clown, juggler, stilt-walker, and fire-eater. Dan Meyer ultimately conquered the most dangerous of all sideshow acts - sword swallowing - in 1998 after hearing from a sword swallower that there were less than a dozen sword swallowers left around the world who performed the 4,000-year-old art.
Begins Sword Swallowing Career
"After three years of research, study, and daily practice 10-12 times/day, I finally swallowed my first sword successfully in February 2001," Dan Meyer states.
Awards and Honors
Dan Meyer has won several prestigious awards for his sword swallowing and has been on television numerous times swallowing swords. He is the co-author of an article published in the British Medical Journal, "Sword-Swallowing and Its Side Effects." Dan won the 2007 ig Noble award in medicine at Harvard and appears in both the 2008 editions of "Ripley's Believe It or Not" and "The Guiness World Book of Records" where he is a multiple record holder.
"America's Got Talent"
Dan's most recent claim to fame, however, was making it to the Quarter Finals of 2008's "America's Got Talent" where millions of viewers watched Dan Meyer thrust different bladed and flaming instruments down his throat and live to tell the tale, to the awe, delight and occasional dismay of the fans and celebrity judges.
"Fantastic! Wow! That it was incredibly... Scary! If you were to film everybody at home watching this, half of America would be going 'AAAAH!' " exclaimed David Hasselhoff of "America's Got Talent" after watching Dan Meyer swallow his sword.
Sometimes Dan's sword swallowing talent can be a hard act to swallow!

The Leaves of October - Poem & Slideshow

I have a poem and an accompanying slideshow published at the following links! I hope you enjoy them!

The Leaves of October - poem

The Leaves of October - slideshow

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Your Conscience

Why Christian Activities Magazine is endorsing John McCain

read more | digg story

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Acrostic

November AC challenge -- to write a Thanksgiving poem written in the acrostic form.

'T is the season -
H olidays are upon us
A s we gather together
N ow with our loved ones
K eeping family traditions
S avoring, turkey, dressing, ham...
G ive thanks to the One
I n whose name we gather
V ine from which all blessings grow
I t is good to be thankful
N ever forgetting
G od is great, God is good...