Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holding out for a gyro.

So, as promised, here's Lisa's 2006 Christmas letter. We're going to forego the running commentary and just give you a brief introduction:

Basically, poor Clancy, Haven and Tucker. And, most of all, poor Donut. We don't necessarily theoretically disagree with Lisa's sentiment that Christmas is about searching for strength rather than about giving and receiving gifts. But we do feel that the kids and the dog deserve tons o' gifts after being humiliated in such a, yet again, self-serving manner.

Anyway, read on to see what we mean. And take comfort in the fact that though you may have gotten fatter this year, so did Lisa. How could she not?

Cauble Family 2006 Christmas Letter

Dear friends

Is it just me? Am I simply incredibly small and insecure, or do you sometimes want to throw up after reading certain family Christmas letters too? I mean, isn't this the time of year when we are supposed to be sending good tidings of great joy? After reading a litany of child prodigy feats and perfect family success stories, I often feel like pond scum. Oh, and by the way, "Merry Christmas."

Perhaps it is a knee-jerk reaction, but I decided to write this year's family Christmas letter from slightly below the surface of the pond. Although my whole family is onboard with this idea, it is probably only fair that I begin with me and my "accomplishments" in 2006.

For starters, I gained ten more pounds this year and went up two pant sizes. The bathroom scales hadn't seen those high digits since my third trimesters. The publishing company I'm currently signed with sold to a publisher that turned me down two years ago and they still don't want me. My last book way undersold projections and is probably available at your local bookstore on the clearance table.

This year, Steve finally decided we could no longer ignore the financial woes associated with the fact that we both stink at handling money. We got all of our back taxes cleared up, and we are ready to tackle the debt we got into when we couldn't get enough women to attend our MomTime Getaway events back in 2003. This living on a budget is for the birds.

Tucker fell in love for the first time and, subsequently, experienced his first broken heart. After six months, he is still recovering from the break-up. On a happier note, he finally completed his geometry curriculum. It took him a year-and-a-half, but I'm sure all those theorems will come in handy in the life of a musician.

Haven is no longer part of the student ministry worship team at church. She was replaced this year by a drummer with fancier fills. She received a "D" on her first English Lit essay, complete with notes from the teacher like, "Don't use such lame sources" and "Did you even read the book?"

We are thrilled to report that after three years, Clancy finally made a friend here in Texas. She played "Juliet" in her homeschool academy's school play last year, only to earn a bit part in this year's production. After playing the bass guitar for three years in the junior high worship band, she's a bit bummed about the fact that she's not yet good enough to play on the high school worship team.

Donut, our family dog, no longer has the run of the house. She has been relegated to a pen in the kitchen with a doggie door to the backyard. After failing two obedience schools, we resigned ourselves to the fact that she just wasn't going to get this whole house-training thing down. As soon as we get this whole budget-training thing down, we'll replace all the carpet in the house.

Now, don't you feel better? Merry Christmas! In my opinion, this letter more accurately reflects the spirit of Christmas. No, stay with me here a minute, I'm serious. Why did Jesus come to earth in the first place? Because we desperately need a Savior! We are fat, yet so empty. We owe a debt we cannot pay. We are not good enough in our own strength. He came to heal the brokenhearted. He calls us friend. He came to set free those of us who are bound because of the mess we've made of our lives.

We aren't the first ones to celebrate Christmas as primarily the birth of the King of kings, conveniently skipping the whole "Suffering Servant" role of the promised Messiah. Yes, Jesus will reign and rule forever, but the "good news of great joy" that the angel declared to the shepherds on the very first Christmas was that a Savior was born. I need that Messiah this year!

How about you? Have you, like me, been tempted to believe that we will be better witnesses for Jesus in our Christmas letters if we are living victoriously, reigning over our circumstances, and ruling with authority, as befits a child of the King? If that is where you have lived this year, then praise God, you have enjoyed an early taste of heaven.

If, on the other hand, you have lost or failed or died or cried or experienced any other symptom of humanity, then celebrate Christmas with me this year. The birth of the baby Jesus, God in human form. Our High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses. The King who wore a crown of thorns. We have eternity to reign with the King of kings. Today I need a Savior. That is the reason He was born. This is why we can celebrate no matter what kind of year we've had.

Christmas blessings,

Steve, Lisa, Tucker, Haven, Clancy and Donut Cauble

Well, we hope you enjoyed that as much as we did. Each of the 73 times we've read it.

As this will probably be our last post until 2007, we'd like to thank you for taking this spiritual journey with us thus far. We look forward to the Whelchel antics of '07 as much as we look forward to attempting to make sense of them for you. For you, dear Whelchel enthusiasts, make this site as important as it should be.

Happy new year!

Donut Cauble's diaper

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Don We Now Our Gay Apparel."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

This week we were presented with a real problem. No, it has nothing to do with our commentary—at this point, this shit writes itself. Clearly. You see, in what we assume is yet another method of Lisa toying with us, Lisa's Christmas e-letter arrived in our mailbox moments before we read her holiday Coffee Talk post. Our conundrum, then, was deciding what should we cover. The seemingly obvious answer was, well, that we should cover both. But imagine our LOLness when we considered commenting on not 0, but 1 or 2 of Lisa's concoctions during our Christmas vacation. Seriously, folks, we may only be theoretically Jewish, but we do have better things to do with our Christ-related free time.

So, we decided, obviously, to keep with the weekly tradition and cover Lisa's most recent Coffee Talk entry. Of course that was the choice, you might be saying to yourself, as Lisa's e-letters are thankfully never mentioned on this site. And you'd be correct. But, people, you have no idea how good the Christmas e-letter is. Like, so good. So, if we have time this week to discuss the e-letter, we will. If not, we promise to post it without commentary on Thursday. And, honestly, it's so good that it might be best enjoyed without our pithy additions.

As it is, this week Lisa celebrates Christmas. At the mall. Duh.

Last week my MomTime group celebrated our annual MomTime/DadTime Christmas party. This is the one time of year that the dads join us. We always meet for dinner and some kind of fun party game that everybody can play. We keep hoping that the dads will clique and become friends too.

Already a lesson has been learned. Next year, when fat Bev from human resources asks you for the fourth time how much you like her Christmas sweater that her sister with 23 cats knitted for her, just remember you could be at the annual MomTime/DadTime Christmas party.

And Clancy, Haven and/or Tucker, if any of you are reading this, it's not too late to get mom a book on verbs for Christmas. Just tell her Santa was too busy "celebrating a party" with the good kids and that the idea didn't "clique" until after December 25.

This year I made up a silly game and called it “Eat Like a SCAVENGER Hunt!” We all met at Grapevine Mills, which is an indoor outlet mall on steroids. We began the party by eating an assortment of appetizers at Chili’s restaurant. (By the way, Tucker has a job as host at the Chili’s near our house.)

You know, current celebrities name-drop people. Former celebrities name-drop awards. And broke former celebrities name-drop rehab centers. Which leaves us with broke former born-again celebrities...

It would not be Christmas without a Whelchel chain restaurant mention, and we're happy to say she delivered. And we got the bonus of the mall name, too! Of COURSE it's an outlet mall. And it's a "Mills" outlet mall which means—you guessed it—it's a chain. And we got the bonus bonus of finding out that Tucker works at said chain restaurant which really must be a Christmas dream come true for Lisa.

After laying a relatively healthy foundation of food in our bellies we divided up into two teams: Moms vs. Dads. We had 90 minutes to hunt through the mall and find as many of the items on the list as possible. You earned maximum points for eating them and half the points for simply finding them and taking a picture with everyone in the shot with the item. Sadly, half of my MomTime group couldn’t make it this year so there would only be four people in the picture, so it was doable.

Gladly, the half of the MomTime that couldn't make it was breathing a huge sigh of relief at not having to be stuck in a fucking mall with the Caubles and playing a scavenger hunt game with rules that, much like the everyday ramblings of their creator, make 0 sense.

I was afraid the guys would be too macho to ask a stranger to take a picture of them so I told them I would give them 25 bonus points for every picture they came back with that included the four of them.

Let's take a look at the guys and see if Lisa's "macho" fears were justified...

And we'll leave it at that.

Since I couldn’t join in the hunt with the Moms (since I’m the one that came to the mall earlier in the day and spent hours finding all of the items) I was going to be our official photojournalist. I needed to guarantee that we would have pictures of the dads to put in my scrapbook layout that I was already planning in my mind.

And there it is, folks. This whole backward shindig is for the benefit of one person and one person only: Lisa Whelchel. Do you think Clancy, Haven and/or Tucker ever wish they could turn into a scrapbook just to see what a mother's real love feels like?

Take a minute and click here to see the list of food items we were looking for.

Just so you know, we took the bait and had to download a PDF. We were not amused.

1.) We're pretty sure Lisa's the only person in the country who peppered her Christmas game rules with a humorous use of "nazi."

2.) We are cringing at the fits of laughter we're assuming Lisa caused for herself with the inclusion of "Gummy Boobs."

3.) We are cringing at the fits of laughter Lisa caused for us with the inclusion of "Gummy Boobs."

Us girls jumped into the game and started working through our list.

"We girls," Lisa. Not "Us girls."

Guys, we're adamant about correcting Lisa's grammar only because it's fun, but, as a homeschool teacher, she really should have a grasp on basic English. And, like Martha Stewart with a mason jar and a roll of cheesecloth, we love to share easy tips for perfect results. So, for your betterment, Lisa, all you need to do in this case is remove the subject, "girls," from the sentence and read what's left. "Us jumped into the game" does not make sense. "We jumped into the game" does. Therefore, the correct adjective is "we" and not "us." Trust we.

I was very good about not even hinting whether they were looking in the right place or not. Extra points were given for items that were really hard to find, like a Christmas Sweater Cookie in Marshall’s or Roasted and Salted Edamane in Bed, Bath & Beyond.

We also like to occasionally help with Japanese, too. As in "edamame." Not "edamane." And what the fork is edamame doing at Bed, Bath & Beyoncé??? We just threw up in our $25 ankle-high plastic Umbro garbage bin a little.

I gotta tell you, these girls were impressive. They knew their mall and where to find things.

We knew we were dominating! Especially after we ran into the guys and they were coming out of Bath & Body Works. What kind of food did they think they were going to find in there?

In a normal world, that would be a humorously rhetorical question, but in this case, we'll explain. Lisa, the guys weren't doing anything game-related in Bath & Body Works. Just so you know.

Come to find out later, they weren’t playing by the rules at all. They decided early on that there was no way they were going to beat us girls by playing nicely. They decided to jump on a little something I said and win by seizing the loophole. They figured they could earn more points by simply having people take pictures of the four of them all over the mall in a variety of situations, costumes, and positions.

"Jump on a little something I said"? "Seizing the loophole"?? "Positions"??? Lisa, it's Christmas!

I was so impressed by the boys’ ingenuity and the fact that they obviously had so much fun and even experienced some male bonding that I gave them the prizes even though the moms really did annihilate them if playing by the rules counted for anything. We ended the evening with dessert at The Corner Bakery. Although, us girls were stuffed from eating everything to earn maximum points.

"Us girls" again. Not only do we have the incorrect "us," we also get "girls." Lisa, the correct phrase is "We fatties," not "Us girls."

And you may be wondering just what we're thinking by not really comprehensively addressing the four "boys" involved in these holiday hijinks. But do we really need to say much more? One has highlights, for Christ's sake.

One of the things God is doing in my life lately is expanding my heart when it comes to my capacity to risk needing my friends and love them without caution. I am very excited about 2007 and investing my heart and time into these wonderful friends God has given me. I will pray the same blessing for you. We need each other. And that’s a good thing.

We're gonna go ahead and give another tip here. 'Tis the season for generosity, after all. Lisa, God may have given you these friends, but it's your job to keep them. Do you think half the MomTime group really had other plans on the night of your mall hunt? No, they did not. Half of your MomTime group wanted to do other, Christmas activities. Well, all of them did, but here's what happened:

(Phone rings.)

Chrissy: Hello?

DeeDee: Chrissy, it's DeeDee, listen...

Chrissy: Oh, hi Dee...

DeeDee: Be quiet and listen, Chrissy. We are on high alert. Candice just found out what Lisa's planning for her annual MomTime Christmas party, and we have got to come up with a plan NOW. Apparently Lisa's about to call everyone.

Chrissy: Oh, no. Um, dare I ask what the plan is?

DeeDee: WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT. All I can say is that this year teams are involved, so we have to send an envoy.

Chrissy: Teams. Christ. Sorry. I don't want to go.

DeeDee: No one wants to go, Chrissy. That's not the point. We have to love thy neighbor, especially at Christmas, so some of us have to pretend.

Chrissy: My other line's ringing.

DeeDee: Don't clique over.

Chrissy: But it could be Beck...

DeeDee: I don't care if Becky is on fire, Chrissy, do not answer it! We need a plan. Jesus died because he didn't have a plan.

Chrissy: OK. How many do we need to send?

DeeDee: Four. Like the gospels.

Chrissy: OK. There are nine of us, so four go this year and four go next year.

DeeDee: (silence)

Chrissy: Dee?

DeeDee: I'm here. Fine. Fine. It's the only way. Four this year and four next. When do you want to bite the bullet?

Chrissy: Next year. Maybe her mom will whisk her away to some extreme river rafting vacation, and we'll be exempted.

DeeDee: Or maybe we'll be forced to go.

Chrissy: Are you crying, Dee?

DeeDee: (sniffling) No. I'm fine, Chrissy. OK. This year it's Patty, Diane, Linda and Leslie. Next year it's you, me, Sandy and Candy.

Chrissy: Have you talked to any of them?

DeeDee: No! Candy put me in charge. I wanted to run it by you. My other line's ringing!

Chrissy: Oh, no!

DeeDee: Oh, no!

Chrissy: (screaming)

DeeDee: (screaming)

Chrissy: Just answer it and get it over with!

DeeDee: (breathing deeply) She's not going to be happy.

Chrissy: She's never happy. Especially since Donut started pooping in her shoes.

DeeDee: Donut. That's the boy, right?

Chrissy: It's the dog. I think. Or is that Clancy.

DeeDee: Clancy's the pony.

Chrissy: No, that's the dog. Clancy's the dog. Donut's the other girl. And Haven is the pony.

DeeDee: I have to go, Chrissy. Wish me luck.

Chrissy: Godspeed. Merry Christmas to all!

And to all a good week.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Christmas Break."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

Lisa has, in fact, posted a new Coffee Talk entry. However, it's part two of whatever the Christ part one was last week. So, in true Christmas spirit, we're going to give you the gift of no Coffee Talk Companion this week. Trust us—it's the best gift you'll receive.

If you're desperate (and by "desperate." we mean "desperate") for some holiday-themed entertainment, head on over to our sister site, Nervous Breakdown, where we'll be posting marginally entertaining holiday-themed posts all week.

Merry denim Christmas, folks! We'll be back as soon as Lisa gets her head out of her Bible.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Lost in Transliteration."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

So, Lisa leaves us for an unprecedented two weeks and then reappears on the scene with a turd of a post about how to be a good Bible mom. Or something. Folks, we're gonna give it a go with this one, but we're not promising any miracles. You'll have to wait for Chanukah for that. (Which begins this Saturday, incidentally. If you need our address for gifts, send us an email. Thanx!)

Oh, and to make it easier. We'll pepper our post with the Cauble holiday photos Lisa so sinisterly banishes to the bottom of her page.

Bible Study Book Sneak Peek

It’s (almost) finished! I just returned from a week holed away in a bunkhouse finally finishing “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Bible Study.” I don’t know what made me think this would be an easier book to write than it turned out to be. Maybe that means it will bless a lot of moms. I sure hope so. For this week’s journal entry, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek with three of the Bible study methods. There is a lot more interaction in the book but I’ll tell you more about it as the release date approaches.

What's a bunkhouse and why was it writing Lisa's book? Oh, fuck it. We're not even gonna start with grammar patrol today. We're too hungover—we were at a boozehouse last night.

Tools for Digging

Write it Down and Walk it Out

Kinesthetic learners are a lot of fun! My son, Tucker, like many people with ADHD, is a kinesthetic or tactile learner. This means he learns best by physically doing things. As his homeschool teacher, I’ve had to discover a variety of touchy/feely ways for creating hands-on learning experiences for this fun-loving boy of mine.

You know what's good for a child with ADHD? AN ACTUAL FUCKING SCHOOL WITH ACTUAL FUCKING STUDENTS AND TEACHERS. Where Tucker's ADHD can be nurtured by people trained to deal with such a getting-more-common-by-the-millisecond issue. Oh, and medication. That's good, too.

And speaking of tactile...

Often, kinesthetic learners are good at sports and process information best while moving rather than sitting around and thinking about it. (That would drive them absolutely bonkers and everyone else around them because they would probably be fidgeting the whole time they are attempting to sit still.)

This is getting scarier by the sentence. Should a woman who uses the word "bonkers" really be allowed to not only raise but educate three children, at least one of whom has ADHD? And should said woman really be allowed to be passing this information on to others? Is Judith Regan publishing this book?

If you are a tactile leaner then I bet you enjoy “getting your hands dirty” by jumping in and tackling a problem before reading the instructions or listening to advice. You might say you learn best by experience. You may have a shorter attention span and do better studying in short blocks of time. Sounds like you’re holding the perfect book in your hand for this learning style.

Some might also say you're "getting your hands dirty" by holding this book in your hand. Ho ho.

If, as an experiential learner, you want to “taste and see” that the Lord is good then have I got a great Bible study method for you. Like babies who have to put everything in their mouths to fully experience something, we are going to bite off a small chunk of scripture at a time and roll it around for awhile to give God’s Word plenty of time to be fully ingested.

Great. Now we're babies eating god McNuggets. This woman is fucking bonkers.

The first thing I want you to do is grab some flashcards. Just having something to hold in your hands is usually comforting to the tactile learner. Now, choose a passage or verse and write it out in longhand on your flashcard. Typically, kinesthetic learners have messy handwriting but penmanship will not be graded so don’t sweat it. Typing is probably a better choice for you in everyday situations but you won’t receive the full benefit of this Bible study method unless you actually write the whole verse out. Either, cursive or printing will do.

It's as if she thinks she's invented the wheel, isn't it? Truly astonishing. Ah, well. Here's what we put on our Bible flashcard. (It's Proverbs 3:35, in case you care, which you shouldn't.)

"The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools."

Studies show that handwriting is not just a motor process; it is also a memory process. The same is true for walking. As an actress, I would often take my script and simply walk around the rehearsal hall reading my lines out loud. The combination of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic techniques shortened the time it took for me to memorize a new script each week. So…not only are you learning a new Bible study skill today but you may just end up hiding the Word in your heart as a bonus.

And that's where that helpful tip ends. It goes from the very clear "The first thing I want you to do is grab some flashcards" to maybe writing a Bible verse on the flashcard and then walking around with it or perhaps just practicing writing Bible verses on flashcards. We really can't tell. And we probably shouldn't be surprised, but here's a tip: if you're gonna give someone advice, it should probably make fucking sense.

Parallel Translations

OK. Just to note: usually we comment on Lisa's posts as we read them. We've found that if we read the whole thing first before commenting, it actually makes less sense than if we just take it bit by bit. (This is a specifically Whelchian phenomenon, and, if we were her agent, it's the one topic we'd allow her to write a book about.)

Sorry. The point here is that we read the entire next section just because we were searching for something, ANYTHING, to inspire us. It so didn't happen. All we can offer is that if you want to play a drinking game (and why wouldn't you?), take a sip anytime you see the word "Bible." Just make sure you have A LOT to drink. And about 37 Aleve handy.

Do you have a favorite Bible translation? As a young believer, I grew up reading from The King James Version, with all of its “thees” and “thous.” I was happy to discover the easier to read and understand paraphrase, The Living Bible, as a teenager. Today, I enjoy reading from a handful of translations, but my current favorite is the English Standard Version.

You may believe that all Bibles are the same, but that isn’t exactly the case. Some translations, like the ESV, NKJV, and NASB, are referred to as “essentially literal” translations. The easiest definition would be a “word-for-word” translation from the original languages. Similarly, are the “thought-for-thought” translations, these include the NIV, TNLT, and the Amplified Bible. These are a few examples of “dynamic equivalent” translations. Then there are the versions that aren’t really translations at all. They would be much better referred to as “paraphrases.” You may be familiar with some of these wonderful titles, The Message, The Living Bible, The Good News Bible.

Personally, I believe there is merit in keeping on hand, and using, a variety of different kinds of Bibles. I once spent a whole year reading the same chunk of Scripture out of a different Bible every day for a week at a time. I enjoyed beginning with a paraphrase to grasp the big picture and making my way to the King James Version with my Strong’s Lexicon handy.

Today, we are going to discover the benefits of reading the same verse from a variety of translations. This being the first month of our walking this journey of Bible study discovery together, I will provide the different translations. I would encourage you to gather a handful of Bibles before next month, when you will use this technique on your own. That may be as simple as grabbing your child’s Bible, borrowing your friend’s extra study Bible, or visiting, or a similar Bible resource website.

This approach is as simple as reading the same verse or passage from a handful of translations and noticing how different words and concepts become richer from different perspectives.

See, we really couldn't bear to break this one down section by section. And we finally know why. Besides that we're completely drunk again. It terrifies us when someone, especially a "teacher," talks at such length about having different translations of a book and that book not having been written by, say, Dante or Flaubert or Borges. Know what we mean?

Moving very quickly on...

Original Languages

Okay, let’s start with the basics. The Old Testament was originally written primarily in the Hebrew language because it is the history of the Children of Israel and that is the language they spoke. The New Testament was written primarily in the Koine Greek, or Greek-on-the-street, because it was the language of the day, very similar to what English is today. Getting His Word into the hands of everyday people would make the most sense for why God would choose common Greek as the Good News language. (There is also some Aramaic sprinkled throughout the Bible but that just confuses the issue so let’s agree to pretend we don’t know that.)

Have you ever gotten the feeling in your life that all of a sudden you're watching someone actually go crazy right before your eyes? No, we're not talking about her! We're talking about us, people! Sheesh. Like, what are we supposed to do when someone keeps mentioning "Good News" and isn't talking about the musical that made famous the Varsity Drag? SEE?

In the early 5th century the Bible was translated into Latin but it wasn’t until the 16th century, after the Protestant Reformation, that we began seeing the Bible translated into English. Okay, history lesson over. Let’s learn why this is important to us today.

OK, but first can we learn what the history lesson was?

As in any translation, whether from Hebrew to Greek, (The Septuagint or “LXX,”) or Greek to Latin, or Hebrew to English, something is always lost in the translation.

She's very sneaky here. She leaves out the one we're all wondering about: English to nonsense.

To complicate things even further, there are often multiple words in the original languages translated into only one English word. For instance, in the Psalms, David is always telling us to praise the Lord but there are a ton of different Hebrew words that are each and every one translated into our one English word “Praise.” It is actually quite sad because there is so much texture and color that becomes bland when we are limited to the confines of the English language, especially in this particular instance.

What's actually quite sad is that we're still here. Honestly. So let's take this time to say that we know this week's Companion isn't the best ever, but look at what we have to work with for goodness' sake! There are only so many times we can reiterate that the more Lisa tries to explain something, the less clear it becomes. The only bit of comfort we take is that she's not attempting to explain something we give a shit about. Like, if she were writing a book about why it's important to not only cut arts funding from actual schools where actual students are but replace it with Bible study curricula, then maybe we'd get antsy. But theoretically explaining flashcards and ADHD King James translations to moms dim enough to pick up her book with their dirty hands doesn't really move us enough to try to glean even a bit of sense from it all. It just makes us capital-everything BONKERS.

It is important that we know which Hebrew or Greek word the English word represents in order to determine its vibrant definition. Today we’re going to learn how to use Word study dictionaries, like Strong’s KJV, NAS Exhaustive, or NIV Concordances. These resources list the words used in the Bible with their Greek or Hebrew meaning and they are invaluable in helping us get back to the original heart of God when He first spoke the Word.

It is a lot easier than you would think to be able to do a little mini exegesis. Here are the simple pseudo-seminary steps. Read the passage and pick a key word to define, look that word up in one of the above mentioned concordances. Don’t forget these resources are also available online or in Bible software. Find the particular reference text you’re reading. There will be a Strong’s or GK number listed to the right of your verse. Go to the back of your concordance and you will find a dictionary. Go to that number and you will find the Hebrew or Greek word that was originally used and multiple definitions. Voila! (That’s French for “There you have it!”)

And...voila! It's over!

If you're still with us, give yourself a pat on the back for persevering. And then promise you'll never do it again. It's a beautiful day, and the holidays are just around the corner. You have no excuse for forcing yourself to read this. And, the worst part is, she threatens to give us more.

Lisa, if you're reading this, and we feel that it's safe to say there's a 78% chance you are, what we want for Chanukah from you is a detailed yet concise "Christmas with the Caubles" post. Oh, by the way, Leese, Chanukah is that holiday that's mentioned in that Hebraic Old Testament you keep kind of talking about. It's the very insignificant holiday that, just because it happens to fall on or around Christmas every year, has been bastardized into a major celebration of gift-giving, latkes and fire. It has something to do with Judah Maccabee and some temple. Or, at least that's what the Bible says. But, as we all know, the Bible's just another book of folktales. Like the Greek myths. Or Cooking with Paula Dean. The real reason for Chanukah is that after we killed Christ, we celebrated for eight days. When the booze ran out, we returned to our shtetls to think quietly about what we'd done. And then we had Purim and the real party started.

! (That's Hebrew for "See ya.")