This is lovely! I must admit, I had forgotten that Condoleezza Rice played the piano, and I hadn’t heard her play before today. She is extremely talented! In this beautifully choreographed and produced video, she’s joined by violinist Jenny Oaks Baker. All proceeds for the song benefit The Wounded Warrior Project. Enjoy! Continue reading “Lovely: “Amazing Grace” by Condoleezza Rice & Jenny Oaks Baker to Benefit Wounded Warrior”
This March, four women from Spring Cypress Presbyterian Church – Jana Muntsinger, Barbara Honts, Beth Moore, and Jill Johnson – will be traveling on a short term missions trip to serve orphans and special needs children in Romania. Mrs. Muntsinger, wife of Pastor Dave Muntsinger, will be coordinating with the Romanian government to establish more Gospel-driven special needs and adoption centers throughout the country. The Government wants RCE (Romanian Christian Enterprise) replicated in every aspect – including its Christian ministry – because they view RCE’s work as extraordinary.
Please share this link on your Facebook, and consider donating toward this wonderful cause:
I’ve heard a lot of people talking about what they’re giving up for Lent. Many have said that they’re giving up drinking sodas or eating fast food – but that’s not Lent – that’s a diet plan.
Don’t get me wrong, I applaud anyone on a mission to eat healthier, but giving up bad habits for six weeks and then resuming them once Easter passes is going to have little to no effect on the world around you, let alone the long-term state of your waste-line.
Other people mention giving up Facebook, watching TV, or playing video games. Again, I admire you for striving to waste less time on mindless entertainment, but what are you doing instead? How does it help other people? How does it glorify God?
Here’s my suggestion:
Instead of just giving up your daily Starbucks Caramel Macchiato, put aside the money you would have spent, and on Easter, donate it to a homeless shelter or food bank. You should have around $40 by then. According to the Houston Food Bank, “Every $1 provides a full day of meals to our neighbors in need …” So, you’d be feeding one person for over a month, or 40 people for a whole day!
Instead of just giving up TV for six weeks, cancel your cable, and use the $60 a month you would have spent to sponsor starving children in a poverty stricken nation. According to World Vision, for “$1 a day, you’ll provide children in need with access to life-saving basics like clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, education, and more.” With $60 a month, you could even donate $2 a day!
Instead of just giving up Facebook, use the roughly 35 hours you are saving to volunteer at an animal shelter or other charity. Or – here’s a cool idea – spend quality time with the love-deprived child of a dead-beat dad. Who can say what kind of profound difference you’d make in that kid’s life, and the lives of everyone they someday were able to impact? Use your time to set off a domino effect of love and positive action!
Furthermore, when Lent is over, don’t fall back into your old, stale routine. Don’t go back to your regular way of doing things! Instead, make Lent your constant lifestyle. After all, Jesus didn’t sacrifice the enjoyment of living in Heaven for a mere six weeks. He was on earth for over three decades before he made the ultimate sacrifice and died so that others could live.
Would you die for someone else? It’s a hard question to answer. Most of us will probably never even be faced with the choice. But we can devote our lives to serving others. We can make little sacrifices that make a world of difference to people who we may not even know.
Think about it: What can you give up that would empower you to benefit someone else?
The Pham family immigrated from Vietnam during The Fall of Saigon in 1975. This September, to celebrate 10 years of business for Visage Salon, they offer veterans free haircuts and spa treatment.
HOUSTON – In celebration of 10 years in business, The Visage Salon & Day Spa will be offering veterans, active military, EMT’s, police officers, firefighters, and other men and women in uniform free haircuts (valued $40-$70 each) every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this September.
Owner, Lee Ngoc Pham, is one of nine children whose parents braved a bleak and dangerous ocean journey on a cargo ship, with no food, to escape the invading North Vietnam communist regime. When they embarked for America during The Fall of Saigon their youngest child was only nine days old.
“If it was not for the bravery and sacrifice of American servicemen and women,” says Thu Arnold, sister of Pham and hairstylist, “my family would not be living in the greatest nation in the world. We’d be suffering under a communist regime. Life as we know it would not exist.”
Today, Mr. and Mrs. Pham and all their children are proud American citizens. Many of the children have earned their Bachelors and Masters Degrees, gone on to become successful business owners and professionals, and are raising families of their own. Bao Pham, the nine day old baby who survived the cargo ship journey nearly 40 years ago, works alongside his siblings at Visage Salon.
Visage Salon is enlisting the aid of their regular patrons to offer refreshments and drinks to service men and women as they wait. Complimentary haircuts will be available on a walk-in basis, and service members will be asked to present their ID. In addition, the spa’s massage therapists will be offering complimentary shoulder and back massages, while cosmetologists give the ladies free makeovers.
“We want them to feel special and welcomed,” explains Arnold. “For once, we will serve them and they will not serve us. It’s the least we can do! We hope this September will mark Visage Salon’s first annual event like this. We want to continue this tradition of honoring our nation’s heroes for decades to come.”
ABOUT THE VISAGE SALON
Visage Salon & Day Spa is located at 11910 Louetta Road in Houston, and provides services including haircuts and styling, facials, manicures, pedicures, aromatherapy, tanning, waxing, and massage. Owner, Lee Ngoc Pham, immigrated to America as a child during the fall of Saigon. His mission is to encourage beauty through integrity, creativity, and personal growth. More info: www.Visage-Salon-Spa.com.
Jennifer Grassman, Pham Family Friend
Have you ever tried to drive into the sun and found it difficult to read street signs or tell whether the lights are red or green? Have you ever gotten lost in The Woodlands because there are no landmarks because everything – all the shopping centers, gas stations, neighborhoods, etc. – are shrouded behind lush green trees? Well …
This afternoon I’m headed southwestish on Gosling Road in The Woodlands just as the sun is setting, and my 6 month old (who missed her afternoon nap and just had her 6th month vaccines not 30 minutes earlier) is SCREAMING in the back seat. My head is killing me, it’s about 5:15, and I haven’t eaten since breakfast.
I stop at a red light – first car in line in the far left lane – at the intersection of Woodlands Drive and Gosling, when I realize that the left lane is a turning-only lane. Sadly, I needed to go straight. I hadn’t been able to see the intersection properly because the dang sun was in my eyes (and I’m slightly distracted by the high pitched wails emanating from the baby) so I am in the wrong lane.
I think, “Oh well! It’s a mistake anyone could make. Someone will surely let me over.”
I motion to the guy parallel with me at the red light. He’s driving a big white truck, and to my amusement, he looks a little bit like young Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride.
I point to the right as I mouth to him, “Can I get over?”
He looks straight at me, smirks in an irritatingly Cary Elwes sort of way, and mouths back, “No,” as he shakes his head in a pompously smarmy fashion.
I shrug my shoulders at him and mouth the words, “Why not?”
He sets his gaze stubbornly on the red lights in front of us, and begins to ignore me. However, it is clear by the look on his face that he is very smug and possibly inwardly full of rage.
At this point I’m rather taken aback. Cary Elwes is a nice person, but this man is not Cary Elwes. In fact, I’m beginning to regret insulting Elwes by thinking that this young twerp resembled him in any way, shape, or form.
I am left with two options; either this dude is a flagrant jerk, or he’s joking and secretly planning to let me in after all.
I decide, hopefully, that it must be the latter. This is, after all, Texas, where men still hold doors for women and occasionally even say, “Ma’am,” and “G’day.”
(Meanwhile, the idiot woman behind me is waving her arms around like a lunatic. I assume it’s because she’s concerned that the light is going to turn green, and that I’m going to sit there like an absentminded cow keeping her from turning left).
(Also meanwhile, the baby is still screaming).
Finally, the light turns green, and guess who hits the gas like a drag racer? Mr.-Elwes-Impersonator, that’s who! Thankfully, the kind, wonderful, generous, gracious, and merciful person behind him let me in, and the idiot woman behind me didn’t have to wait an extra second before turning left (though I’m sure the strain of worrying about it nearly gave her a brain aneurysm)
And get this! Not only did the jerk hit the gas so that I couldn’t get in front of him; he also drove so close to me that – if I hadn’t slowed way down – I would have driven into one of those pretty islands which The Woodlands planning committee likes to put in the middle of every street and cover with large trees.
I refrained from saying anything out loud because the baby was in the car, but in my head I was screaming, “Where the HELL is your TEXAS CHARM you MISERABLE WARTHOG FACED BUFFOON?!?!?!”
And THAT’s when utter disgust and embarrassment set in. As I pulled into the lane behind Mr. White Truck, I saw that he had a sticker on his back window with a Christian cross on it, and under the cross it said, “Emergency Chaplain.”
So, like any good blogger worth her salt, I took a picture while I was stopped behind him at another red light.
(See how far ahead of me his rudeness got him?)
All the way home I was thinking of super-villain names for Mr. White Truck … Reverend Road Rage was a good one … or … The Hapless Chaplain was another … but the latter sounds more like a bumbling character out of a P.G. Wodehouse book than one of Batman’s arch enemies …
Moral Of The Story #1:
If you’re going to put a Jesus related bumper sticker on your car – or any other sticker connecting you with a Christian charity or philanthropic organization – please, Please, PLEASE drive with a charitable attitude!
If you’re going to be bold enough to put a sticker on your car, know that you are REPRESENTING. Don’t drive like an angry, demonstrative, rude, reckless, idiot of the first water. When you act that way, you’re an insult and an embarrassment to the cause and philosophy you claim to support.
Moral Of The Story #2:
Don’t cut off (or EVER endanger the baby of) a Momma who happens to be an avid blogger, who is already having a rough day, and who is holding a camera equipped iPhone.
Really. Nobody should be surprised that Lance Armstrong doped and lied about it. Why? Well, let’s look at the guy’s history …
Exhibit A: He left his wife of 5 years (who had born him 3 children) for singer-songwriter, Sheryl Crow. In fact, he began dating Crow very shortly after he filed for divorce with his wife.
Exhibit B: He left Sheryl Crow about 2 years after that.
Exhibit C: 2 years after breaking up with Crow, he announced his new girlfriend, Anna Hansen, was pregnant.
Now, if a guy is willing to treat his wives and girlfriends that way, why not a competitor? Why not a business associate? A sponsor? A friend?
I’m not saying all divorcees are dishonest or bad people. Obviously, that’s not the case. There are perfectly good and justifiable reasons for ending a marriage.
But when a person has a track record of cheating or abandoning those he professes to care about … those he’s sworn to love, honor, and care for until death do them part … that’s a glaring red flag.
This popular fiction that just because a person’s personal life is messy doesn’t mean their business life is tainted (or vice-versa) is quite frankly a fairy-tale.
A liar is a liar, is a liar, is a liar. It makes no difference whether they’re lying to family members, political constituents, fans, business partners, clients, or coworkers.
Don’t be surprised when a liar lies to you. Don’t be astounded when a cheater cheats.
That’s my two cents.
My hope and prayer is that this scandal doesn’t negatively impact LiveStrong too much. They’re a wonderful organization run by many good people. I’m so sorry for them having to cope with this. It’s got to be a nightmare.
“Earlier this year, when I was 5 months pregnant, we found out that my dear little friend, Miss Agatha Mittens, had cancer. It was a tumor in her jaw bone, and there was nothing to be done. On Good Friday, it was time, and we had to put Mittens to sleep. She was so brave, knowing, and peaceful, but I was devastated. We buried her in our back yard and planted an orange tree in her memory. The shock of losing her caused me to start having contractions …”
I don’t usually blog about politics or pop music ... However …
I find what passes in our culture these days as art (not to mention socially acceptable) to be truly depressing. How disturbing and ironic it is that the kids at Children’s National Medical Center will be benefiting from a performance by a man who once sang of Americans, “Kill them all slowly and painfully … daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers.” And here’s a photo of our president and his daughter greeting the guy after the concert. Tactless, tasteless, idiotic, and inappropriate on so many levels …
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read CNN’s blog here.
Jason doesn’t know I’m blogging this, and if he did he’d probably be mortified, but I’m writing it anyway!
I married Jason Greenberg in September, 2006, and it was definitely the best thing I ever did. He’s been a great husband and is going to be an amazing daddy. Actually, he already is an amazing daddy, because he’s been taking care of this pregnant mommy quite well for the past nine months.
As some of you know, Jason plays classical guitar. It’s a complex and beautiful instrument, and he’s a very dedicated student. What you most likely don’t know though, is that one of Jason’s favorite things to do on weekends is to donate his time to play for cancer patients at Texas Children’s Hospital. Sometimes the patients are in their teenage years. Others are mere infants.
He’s played at Texas Children’s quite a lot, although less frequently of late since I’m due any day now, and the hospital is a good hour drive from our house. So, more and more, he’s been playing at nearby retirement homes, nursing homes, and hospices.
Some of the hospice patients are more coherent than others, but Jason’s music is always appreciated by the patient’s families, even if the actual patient is unaware he is there.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a hospice, but they are very somber places. Some of the patients are alert and responsive, others cry quietly to themselves in bed, and still others stare blankly into the air or appear to be sleeping. They are all waiting for the end. And while they wait, Jason plays them music.
Last week, he was invited to play one last time for an elderly man who had left the hospice to spend his final nights in a private home. Sadly, the man died before Jason could get there.
Yesterday, he played again at a hospice in The Woodlands. He returned home very solemn, so I asked him what was wrong. There had been a woman at the hospice that morning whose husband had passed away while Jason was playing. She called Jason into their room, and was holding her husband’s hand and crying when she thanked Jason for his music.
THAT is my husband. I am so proud of him. I’m so grateful to God that He blessed my baby girl and I with such an amazing husband, father, and role model.
Jason doesn’t seem aware that not everyone visits dying people that they’ve never met in hospices, or seriously ill children and their grief-stricken families in hospitals. He never talks about the things he does for others, and he doesn’t seem to think that they are notable or unusual or really anything special. He just does them … because he’s Jason … and I am continually amazed by him …