find out what is going on inside my head. i know it is a little scary, but you will be safe. i promise.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Join the Movement: The Announcement

Over the next few weeks, I (along with my crack producer Todd Wright) will be putting together an all new web show. I expect it to be an unbelievable amount of fun, both for me and all of you who watch and participate with me. One of the thrusts of the show will be food competition. For the first webisode, I will be comparing and reviewing...


The rules for this episode are simple:
1. Decide on a restaurant appetizer for me to try. It can be from any restaurant in the Tyler area. It can be your favorite or it can be one that you think looks interesting but are afraid to try. It cannot be a sampler platter; it must be a single appetizer item.
2. You must email your nomination directly to me. If you leave it as a comment, I will ask you to resubmit it in email form. You must send it to wjcollier3 (at) (replace (at) with @.)

I will compile the nominations and try the top three. When the video is released, it will be available here and in a variety of other places.

Here is a video from my crack producer telling you more about the project:

"Great Values" Don't Have to Come from Wal-mart!

As you know by now I am writing about a variety of great things about Tyler, TX. As you will soon learn from my husband's new project a subject very near and dear to our family is groceries! I have learned in my conversations with other women that my family tends to be big eaters. Trying to live on a budget means that the food part is where shopping frugally can have the biggest impact. Plus I just love a good bargain!

Now you're probably thinking to yourself - we already know about Wal-mart! Yes, Wal-mart can have a positive impact on the bottom line - however, lately they have disappointed me. Yes, the ever faithful weekly shopper has discovered that many items can be had for cheaper elsewhere or at least at the same price. Did you know that Wal-mart will no longer accept computer/printer generated coupons!?! So if you like Coupon Bug or any of the other sites offering coupons you will have to do your shopping elsewhere. They also advertise that they will honor competitors' sale prices - just not on store brands - it has to be the exact same item! So I have turned my attention to scouring the weekly ads in an effort to change our family's bottom line.

As I began to shop these competitors to pick up their "loss leaders" - I am not too embarrassed to go into a store and buy just the items that they have advertised on sale and then shamelessly give them some coupons as well - I noticed that one store in particular could just about match Wal-mart penny for penny! This store was Super One - I shop the one on Troup highway. The store was clean, the employees were friendly and I have never had to get a rain check! There is plenty of parking and guess what? They're open 24 hours as well! Another bonus is that they often have produce on clearance - a bag of tomatoes or avocados or bananas or "variety" bag for just $2! It just makes you want to take up canning and freezing! Their store brand "Food Club" is every bit as good as "Great Value". During the fall they ran a special that involved buying 10 gallons of gas at the pump - show your receipt in the store and save 5% on your entire order! They often have coupons in the paper to save $5 off an order of $50 - that's 10%!

As an experiment I did all my grocery shopping here one week and spent the same amount as I would have at Wal-mart - probably saved a little more because they had Golden Brook Ice Cream on sale. In my opinion it is just as good as Blue Bell and I'd have had to buy that at Wal-mart to match taste!

Milk is on sale this week 4/15 - 4/21 for $1.98 a gallon! That's a great price! The milk is all the way at the back so take some time and look around - look at the prices of some of the other things that you regularly buy. Let me know what you think!

Super One - it's a great thing about Tyler!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pastor's Wife

Several years ago, I did the smartest thing I could possibly have done. I married She Who Must Be Obeyed. When we married, I was involved in a very different career than I am currently pursuing. Since that time, I have sensed a drawing or calling from God to serve Him and His people in the ministry. The big question is: Did she experience a similar call?

I believe the Bible teaches that marriage is to last a lifetime. Additionally, I want MY marriage to last a lifetime. I believe that a calling by God into the ministry is a calling into a vocation, but it is more than that. It requires a level of submission and obedience that may include major lifestyle changes for the entire family. If our marriage is to remain healthy, we must be in agreement about this calling and these changes. God has richly blessed me with a wife who is in agreement about these things.

I am trying to remain conscious of the fact that she did not marry a pastor, she married a man who would go on (hopefully) to become a pastor. There is a difference. I want to be sensitive to her feelings. I pray God will help me continue to be sensitive to that.

On a more humorous note: I hope to avoid this trap as well. Enjoy the video.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Big Announcement Coming

You will not want to miss this Friday, April 17. Be sure to stop by the blog for a big announcement. I will be revealing a new project that I am proud to be part of.

The most important part of the project is that I will need YOUR help.

Stop by on Friday for more details. This is going to be FUN!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jesus as a Vending Machine

I was thinking about prayer this morning. I don't know what brought these thoughts to mind. I will admit that I do feel a little guilty. Don't get me wrong. I pray. I am a full-time student, so it is like the old joke goes: as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools. I am a husband and father. I pray for my wife and sons. Maybe we all go through a slump now and then. Right now, my prayer life feels more duty driven than out of love and joy and a desire to commune with my Creator and Savior. Does this mean I should not pray, since it seems to be mostly out of duty? I think not! Maybe that is the time I need most to pray. Perhaps that is the time need to pray, forcing myself away from my selfish focus on how I feel and what I want and to move my focus onto what God wants for me. Maybe so.

Does this video illustrate your prayer life? If it does, I pray you will join me in moving your focus from yourself to the only One who deserves our focus.

Monday, April 6, 2009

All That and a Loaf of Bread

I know of a great place in Tyler where you can buy! It's the Mrs. Baird's Bakery Outlet on Hwy 155 South. It's a little past Noonday or the new loop but worth the drive. We have a deep freezer and so I only have to go about once a month. They have Mrs. Baird's bread for as cheap as $0.79 a loaf. The price varies depending on its date. Today I purchased 3 full size loaves of split-top wheat bread, 1 full size loaf of white whole grain bread, 2 pkgs of hot dog buns and 2 packages of hamburger buns. I had a full customer appreciate card which earned me a free loaf of my choice (I chose Cinnabon bread - so good as french toast) and a cherry pie (the handheld kind). On top of that when you spend over $6 they give you your choice off a shelf (mine was day old bread - no mold!) and then they threw in a small sleeve of chocolate covered donuts - all this for just $6.50!! I have not had any of their products go moldy on me - sometimes they get a little dry so I just make french bread or toast it. Try to beat that at Wal-mart!

Mrs. Baird's Bakery Outlet on Hwy 155 S. - it's a great thing about Tyler!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

If Only Star Wars...

I don't like Star Wars. There, I said it. I don't like Star Wars. I have only seen the first one and that ridiculous cartoon that came out last year. I did not enjoy either of them. I never saw any of the others because I don't like Star Wars. I have some friends who make the occasional Star Wars reference. Obviously, I have no idea what they are talking about. But those movies have become such a part of our larger culture. I have wondered what it would take for me to have enjoyed Star Wars more. Here is a new opening sequence. I like it. I did not particularly like the other show either, but the song is good and this show's opening is awesome. Enjoy.

She Who Must Be Obeyed

If you have visited my little space on the World Wide Interweb, you may have heard me refer to "She Who Must Be Obeyed". Obviously, this is a mildly humorous attempt to refer to my lovely wife without using her given name. The first few times I mentioned her here, I did not know if she wanted to be so openly identified. Since then, she has decided she is alright with it. I still like to use "She Who Must Be Obeyed".

She has also decided she wants to write something here periodically. I think that is a wonderful idea and welcome her voice to this space. You may have read yesterday's little blurb about the great bathrooms at Kohl's in Tyler. I agree wholeheartedly about the quality of the restrooms, but would never have thought to write about them.

If you will look at the bottom of a given post, it will tell you who posted it. Catherine, welcome to this space. I know all five of our readers look forward to hearing what you have to say.

BTW: After hearing Catherine referred to as "She Who Must Be Obeyed", some good friends gave her the coffee mug above. Thanks K & J!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kohl's - Especially the Bathrooms.

I love Kohl's - I would go there every day if I could! I have been known to shop their clearance racks on a regular basis finding wonderful bargains. Just last week I was able to purchase a lovely zippered knit cardigan that started at over $50 for less than $5! They often have clearance racks with up to 90% off.
However, the thing that I like best about Kohl's is their bathrooms. They are consistently beyond clean and pleasant. I will stop at Kohl's just to use their bathrooms. I will stop at Kohl's to let my children use the restroom. They are aesthetically pleasing with their choice of colors (browns and tans). They have self flush toilets which is handy (no pun intended), faucets that turn themselves off and a diaper change area with a padded bench. I have never seen so much as a paper towel on the floor. They even have real facial tissue and nice large mirrors!
Kohl's is one of the best additions to Tyler in a long time and it is a great thing!

Book Review: Porn-Again Christian

Mark Driscoll is unquestionably one of the most controversial pastors in America today. He pastors Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. It is one of America's fastest growing churches in one of the nation's least churched cities. He is not part of any particular denomination or Christian tradition, but he is thoroughly reformed, or Calvinistic, in his doctrine. My appreciation for Driscoll stems not from his theology, but rather from his willingness to teach openly and forcefully on difficult topics. His teaching is extremely practical. And that brings us to this particular book.

The first thing I want to point out is that the book is available online for free in .pdf format. They encourage you to download, print, and distribute it. It is a short (56 page) document. It is released through Driscoll's organization, the Resurgence, under their publishing label, Re:Lit.

The title of the book is Porn-Again Christian: A Frank Discussion on Pornography and Masturbation. I will not go into detail on the contents of the book, except to say that the title is accurate. Enough said on that.

I do want to make a few general comments. The first thing I want to make note of is the amount of scripture that is cited to make his points. You can read the book in just a little while, but if you take the time to read the Bible passages cited, it will take you much longer. I think that is a good thing. Another point I would make is that it truly is a "frank discussion". Pastor Mark does not mince words. Given his target audience, I think that is also a good thing. While he acknowledges that women also struggle with these issues, Driscoll apologetically writes to Christian men.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely, with discretion.