Sunday, June 24, 2007

Barbie is away this week. She will return on Monday, July 2. Feel free to browse the blog archive on the right and read previous entries and comments from readers!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ready, Set, Go!

Yesterday, Gracie conquered her swimming lessons. This whole week, she had mastered putting her face in the water, jumping in, going deep, and popping back up, swimming to the side of the pool and getting over her fear of "swallowing water". Every day after each lesson, I would tell her how brave she had been, what a wonderful job she was doing and how she was looking like a duck in the water (an analogy she loves). The final trick of the day was going down the water slide. Because of our encouragement, her confidence grew over the week and she convinced herself she could do the slide...and she did.

In the Bible, David had to pump himself up, too. Think about it..he was the youngest of a brood of strong brothers and he was a shepherd, yet he was picked to fight Goliath. In I Samuel 17: 34, David reminds himself of what he had achieved so far. "When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. This Philistine (Goliath) will be like one of them." No one was encouraging David, so he had to do it himself. Sometimes, we have to remind ourself of how far we've come and what God has helped us conquer in the past. This gives us more faith for the next trial that comes our way. And the Bible has alot to say about confidence in the form of faith. Hebrews 10:35 says. "Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."

Gracie came down the slide faster than a speeding bullet. She went under water and popped up, smiling the whole time. And with the confidence she has now, she's ready to take on a taller and much bigger water slide, although her mother doesn't have the stomach to watch her!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Standing in the Gap

I have a family member whom I've been praying for for years. Lately, I've been a bit disheartened because there seems to be no change in this person. And just when I thought "I'm tired of praying for her. She can continue to screw up her life if she wants to but I have other things I need to concentrate on," the Lord has convicted me not to give up.

I've been studying about prayer, the make up of prayer, the various kinds of prayer, etc. I've heard the term "stand in the gap" before when it comes to intercessory prayer but never thought much of it.

A gap separates two things; it keeps them apart. To stand in the gap means to connect the two. When I go to work, I work on a forecast. The forecasts are statistically and computer model driven. To the untrained eye, it all looks like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. When I finish the translation of it and make the graphics, viewers at home will see an easy explanation of what it is to come. In using communication skills and broadcast technology, I stand in the gap and connect the viewers with the complexity of the atmosphere.

Ezekial 22:29-31 talks about standing in the gap and has such a sad statement. The people in Judah had used oppression and extortion and committed robbery. They wronged the needy and poor. "And I sought a man among them who should build up a wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should destroy it, but I found none. Therefore have I poured out My indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their own way have I repaid upon their own heads, says the Lord God." God was basically saying He needed someone to pray and He couldn't find anybody who would, so He had to destroy the land. Think about that...all He needed was one person to pray. Now I see how important intercession is.

We need to be willing to pray and we need to be sensitive to those times when the Holy Spirit is leading us to pray for someone (even when we get tired of it). We never know when our prayer might be the one needed to fill a gap and result in connecting God's power with a desperate situation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Adding Words

Have you ever said something and had someone else take what you said and twist it a bit? Maybe they added a few words you didn't say? Since I talk for a living, I'm often accused of saying things I didn't say. Read this email I received last Friday.
Dear Barbie,
My wife, myself, and EVERYBODY I know that watches you on the weather agree you do a good job forecasting the weather. We just hate hearing YOU tell us how good you are. When you say, "If you had been watching last night" or "It rained south of I-20 just like I TOLD you it would last night". That makes everyone think that YOU think your superior to all of us. Well your not. Please stop gloating about we SHOULD have been watching last night. If we want to watch, we will. Sometimes we have other things to do besides watching your weather forecast. Therefore we may miss the forecast and really don't want to hear YOU tell us we should have watched last night and for us NOT to complain about the weather if we didn't watch last night. ----Sincerely, Terry Smith

Yes, at times you will hear me refer to the forecast from the night before. But I've never gloated about how superior I am. When I've said, "If you were watching last night, you were prepared for today's rain" or "it rained in the areas today that were expected to see rain, but you knew about that because you watched last night", those comments aren't aimed at tooting my own horn. They are, however, to encourage viewers to stay on top of the forecast by tuning in to WLBT. I know people have other things to do and may miss the forecast, but I want to encourage them to watch WLBT when they can so they are prepared for the day's weather. I have never told viewers "NOT to complain about the weather" if they didn't watch. (I don't know where that one came from.)

I noticed adding words to things people say happened in the first book of the Bible. You know the story of Adam and Eve. God puts the two in the Garden of Eden and tells them in Genesis 2:16, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Then Eve is tempted by the serpent (Satan) and Eve said in Genesis 3:2, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden but God did say, 'You must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" Notice, God did NOT say that. God told them not to eat from the tree; He did not tell them "you must not touch it". Eve added that. So I guess you could say, God was the first to be accused of saying something He didn't say.

Satan loves to put words in our mouth. The mouth is his biggest tool used to bring shame and rejection to other people--and he uses us to speak it for him. So before we speak today, think about it. Are these words true or have I inferred something or added to them? Worst yet, is Satan using me today to bring someone else down?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rainfall and Snakes

Yesterday's rain was so refreshing. The second the first raindrops started to fall, people began calling the television station to report, "it's raining in fill-in-the-blank". And you could certainly detect a bit of excitement in their voice. Thought I'd share yesterday's official rainfall amounts, although you may have received more or less where you are.


One lady called yesterday and said her neighbor had killed a snake and posted the slithering creature to her back fence, belly side up. I had never heard of this before until a few years ago. Apparently, there is an old wives tale that says if you kill a snake and post it to your fence, it will bring rain. Trust me on this one, if that worked, there wouldn't be a snake to be found because everyone would be killing and posting snakes. On the other hand, if I'm close enough to kill a snake, I'm too close!

The chances for more rain today is at 90%, so there is no need to go huntin' snakes...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rain On the Way

I hope I'll be everyone's favorite person over the next couple of days because significant chances for rain are in the forecast! We had a 5 minute shower at my house Sunday afternoon--the first in quite some time. Gracie and I were outside taking food to a neighbor and the bottom fell out of the sky. She and I proceeded to "do a little dance" in the rain. We didn't care we didn't have an umbrella.

Today's rain chances in central Mississippi will shoot up to 60% and will jump to 70% for this evening. A cold front approaches the state by Tuesday which will boost chances to 80%! Rain chances begin to diminish by Wednesday. For those of you who live outside the state of Mississippi, these chances for rain excite us. As of January 1, central Mississippi is shy 15.31" of rain. This spring will go down as one of the driest in this state's climatological history.

So if it rains where you are today, don't be embarrassed if you feel the need to do alittle dance in the rain yourself!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Giving Value to Our Father

This Sunday is Fathers Day. Whether your father is still alive or is no longer here on earth, it is a time to honor the man who brought you here. Exodus 20:12 says to "Honor your father and your mother, so you may live long." Honoring our parents obviously meant a great deal to God because it is one of the Ten Commandments. In the Bible, to honor means 'to value'. I didn't fully grasp what this meant until I became an adult and parent myself.

Goodness knows my dad had his hang ups when I was living at home. To start with, he could argue with a tree. He was BIG on discipline (much to my rear end's dislike); when he got going on a diatribe, I just sat in the backseat of the car and rolled my eyes; his lectures were long and cumbersome; and he kept the boys away. But daddy did many things right. He worked 2 jobs to put me and my siblings through school, he was at every extracurricular activity I was a part of, he ate dinner with us every night, he went to church with us every Sunday and Wednesday night; and he supported my dreams.

Although I may not have always agreed with him, the Bible gave me no choice in the manner. The Bible says I must "honor" my father. It didn't say I had to like him or agree with him, but it did say I needed to value him. So on this Fathers Day, value your father. He was and is a gift from God to you---and we shouldn't throw away God's gifts.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Viewer Emails About the Rain

Almost everyone needs rain now. Our joke at the tv station is that the grass is getting "crunchy". The hot afternoons haven't helped either. I received this email from a viewer this week who was a little angry at me.
"You need to tell Barbie to include the almost 8 inches of deficit we ended 2006 with in the total lack of rainfall. We farmers are very worried about the drought---no crops, no hay, dried up ponds, scorched pastures, etc. There ARE a few farmers left in Mississippi that would appreciate a little coverage every now and then." Signed, Mary Landin
Mary is right. We did end 2006 with an 8 inches deficit in the rainfall department. However, when I give updates on the drought at night, the numbers that count are the official numbers from the National Weather Service. We don't look back at previous years and add those numbers to the current year. We start all over again beginning with January 1 (the calendar year). I am well aware there are farmers left in Mississippi--my dad, brother and extended family are all Delta farmers. And as far as giving weather coverage, that's what I do every night. From updates to the drought, predicted rainfall, and speaking of what is yet to come (a cold front, please?), that's my job.

On the other hand, parts of south Mississippi received rain yesterday.
Praise God, we are getting much needed rain in Pike County. I give thanks to the Lord every time it rains. Signed, R. Wallace
I'm not giving up hope yet. A cold front is expected to arrive early next week, which has bumped our rain chances to 50% for Tuesday. I'll take 50% over 20% any day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

God Answers Prayers

I noticed I was a bit emotional yesterday and couldn't figure out why. When I passed by the calendar on the refrigerator, I noticed the date: June 12. This date may not mean anything to you, but it does to me. It was the date our second child was to be born. She would've been two years old yesterday. When I found out I was pregnant, I found the perfect scripture verse to claim for the baby I was carrying. Ephesians 3:17 says "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Every day of my pregnancy, I prayed that scripture. When we lost her, I was devastated.

After slipping into a deep depression over the miscarriage, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart. "The scripture you prayed for came true. Your baby now realizes 'how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ' because she is with Him." I was comforted that the prayer I prayed was answered, just not in the way I would have ever imagined.

Lamentations 3:25 says "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him." And, boy is He! Baby Will came to be shortly after we lost our second child. One thing is for sure, God answers prayers. Sometimes it isn't the answer we hoped for, but His answer is all we ever need. Baby Will may never "replace" the one we lost, but the scripture I prayed while I was carrying him is fulfilled every day. Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Cheering Parent

Swimming lessons started yesterday for Gracie. She took lessons for 4 weeks last year and didn't quite master the art of swimming at 2 1/2. So I'm trying them again on her at 3 1/2. The swim school I take her to is wonderful. The instructors are patient with the little ones and so encouraging. The best part, though, is the wall of glass the parents get to watch them through. While the kids swim, the parents observe---or in my case, cheer.

Gracie hates getting water in her nose and can't seem to always remember to hold her breath. When she comes up sputtering and spitting, I'm giving her the thumbs up sign. When the teacher had her jump off the side of the pool and go under water (which she hates doing as well), I'm behind the glass clapping away. When the teacher rolled her on her back teaching her how to float and she went under water (did I mention Gracie hates going under water?), I stood up and raised my hands. You would think I was crazy if you were sitting beside me behind the glass, but I've learned one thing about my child: she strives on encouragement.

I believe God cheers for us, too. In Psalm 10:17, it says God "encourages us and listens to our cry." In the New Testament, encourage means 'to urge forward'. God is constantly encouraging us to push ahead, keep going, and to move onward and upward. So as you go throughout your day today and you encounter issues you have to deal with, just imagine God cheering you on. No, He's not sitting behind a large piece of looking glass, but He is watching every move you make and cheering you on, in the hopes that you will persevere.

Monday, June 11, 2007

"Give Me Back My Problem!"

Have you ever been given something from a friend or loved one only to have them take back whatever they gave you? Gracie is like that sometimes. When she and baby Will are playing, she will use her imagination and "give" Will a gift. "Here Will. Here is your present," she will say. Will usually jabbers something that sounds like 'thank you'. Within a matter of minutes, Gracie will take it back. "I need it back for alittle bit. I'll give it back to you later."

Have you ever given God a problem, only to take it back? I know I have. I have several problems I've given Him before and for some reason, I end up taking them back upon myself. How frustrating! Maybe I thought God isn't acting quickly enough, I'm afraid He won't do anything about it, or maybe I don't like the way He is handling things. How do we keep from taking back things we have already given to God? By learning to rest our cares in Him. Psalm 37:5 says "Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass." When we have rested our cares in Him, it means it (the problem) should not be disturbed.

When our problems are resting in God's hands, we are not to go check on them! We are to leave them alone. At the same time, we need to keep our minds at rest, being fully confident that God will do a masterful job handling whatever we have entrusted to Him. So whatever problem you are facing, trust it to Him. And remember, don't ask for it back!

Friday, June 8, 2007

A Day Off

I'm doing something today I haven't done in a few months--I'm taking the day off. I have been a single parent this week as my husband has been in Dallas for the last 5 days. So today, I've promised the children we will play all day and welcome daddy home tonight. Wait, I thought I said this was a day "off"? If I'm playing all day, that's not resting....

The rain yesterday was a sight for sore eyes. I noticed the radar lighting up with scattered thunderstorms around 3pm. Unfortunately, not a drop fell at my house. I did receive an email from a very thankful viewer.
Sorry I did not get to see your report last night due to the stupid hockey game. But just wanted to let you know that the LORD has sent us some wonderful rain here East of Osyka. We give give thanks to God for this gift. Signed, Robert Wallace
Glad I could be the bearer of good news, Robert!

Enjoy your weekend and let's pray for more rain. The farmers are suffering and they could really use some help during this growing season.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Book of Remembrance

Maggie Wade is a dear friend of mine. Not only are we co-workers, but we are prayer partners, too. When I asked her the other day how she was doing, she said "I'm stressed but blessed." That was her way of saying "I'm hanging in there but God is good."

How many times a day do you praise God? For my mother, there is no telling. When I was growing up, I'd often hear her blurt "praise God" when she heard good news from a friend, finally got a recipe to work or had one of her students ultimately get what square roots were all about. Mom was never at a loss for praising God.

Did you know that God makes note of our praise? In Malachi 3:16 it says, "Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name." If we are doing nothing more than sitting at lunch with a friend and speaking about some wonderful things God has done, we are praising Him. The Bible says God likes those conversations and when He hears them, He gets out His book of remembrance and records them. Notice He does not record our murmuring, grumbling, or complaining but He records the words we speak when praise is on our lips. That's powerful stuff.

As you go through your day, take a moment to whisper sentences of praise--praise for your safety, your health, your stable job, anything that literally comes to your mind. And just imagine your Heavenly Father picking up His pen and writing down your praise to Him.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

To Speak or Not To Speak?

Hard to believe, but viewers are still talking about the hair cutting event we did on May 21. The older ladies at the gym comment about "how sweet" it was that my husband surprised me and cut my hair; some share their own story of getting their hair cut; and others want to know if I like my new short hair.

When I was at the gym yesterday, a woman came up to me and said "I am so glad you got your hair cut. You look much better with short hair." What was I supposed to say? I thanked her and made a comment about how much cooler my neck felt, then smiled and said "It will grow back. We are going to grow our hair again for cancer patients next year!" She winced and said "Oh really? Not again." Then walked away. I admit, my feelings were alittle hurt. After getting over the initial shock of the comment "I'm so glad you got your hair cut. You look much better with short hair," I thought to myself, "I hope you never need the hair we donated, lady."

Proverbs 18:2 says, "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions." Everyone has an opinion and we are all certainly entitled to our own opinion. Just because we have an opinion doesn't necessarily mean we ought to share it. I believe wisdom knows when to speak and when to keep quiet. God gave us all a certain amount of common sense to use.

Before you "share it", ask yourself if it will bring glory to God. If it doesn't, don't "air it".

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Holding on Tight

Last night as I left the tv station, the wide metal gate opened and I noticed something green clinging to the door. It was small tree frog holding on for dear life. He was hunkered down on the gate door. As it swung open for me to drive through, the frog was hanging tough. No telling how long he had been there and how many times the gate had swung open that night with reporters and photographers coming driving in and out of the parking lot. Granted, I don't care for frogs. But when I noticed him hanging on, I found myself pulling for him thinking "hold on tight".

With circumstances swirling around us, it is sometimes hard to keep the faith. The Bible says we are to "hold fast" our faith. What does hold fast mean? It means to hang on for dear life and don't let anyone take it away from you. Ever seen a quarterback hold fast the football? While he's running, he tucks and runs all the while dodging his opponents who are trying to pull him down and take the ball away from him. Our faith is the same way. We need to hold on to it, tuck and run through our circumstances, all the while dodging the adversaries who will try to pull us down and take our hope away.

So as you go through your day, hold on to your faith. Don't let anyone steal it, even when the gate of life seems to swing open and shut, trying to knock you off.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Spiritual Obituaries

Every single day people die all around us. It is a sad fact of life that we must say goodbye to those we care about. And every single day there are obituaries posted in the newspapers informing the world about death. And they ought to be a stark reminder to us all that the names listed in those obituaries represent real people who either went to heaven or hell upon their death. If we could read of someone's spiritual obituary in the newspaper, what would we read?

"A 17 year old male died in a one vehicle crash as he lost control on an icy highway. He went to hell because neither his parents or his friends ever took him to church to hear about salvation through Jesus Christ."
"A 16 year old female drowned yesterday while canoeing, when she was thrown from her canoe. She woke up in heaven because her mom shared the Gospel with her and she accepted Jesus at an early age."
"A 96 year old former charity worker died peacefully in her sleep at the nursing home early this morning. Seconds later, she arrive in hell because no one ever told her that good deeds don't buy salvation, the blood of Jesus does.
"A 36 year old convicted murdered was put to death by lethal injection this afternoon. Seconds later, he saw Jesus face to face because a prison chaplain told him that all sins can be forgiven when we repent and accept Christ. And he did."
"A 52 year old homeless man was found dead in an alley behind a large grocery store. He went to hell because no one wanted to take the time to share the Gospel with a dirty, smelly vagrant.
"Another 52 year old homeless man was found dead several blocks away in an unrelated incident. He will spend eternity in heaven, because someone had recently bought him a meal and gave him a gospel tract...and he had accepted God's forgiveness after reading the tract.

Every single day people die all around us. There are teenagers and senior citizens, nice folks and mean folks, good-looking people and dirty people, homeowners and homeless, law abiding citizens and law breakers, those that anticipated death and those that never saw it coming. And they all fall into two important categories--those who know Jesus, and those who don't.

Here is the point. You and I are responsible for telling others about Christ. Jesus commands it. It's not an option. It's not negotiable. He says "go and tell." The Bible says in Romans 10:14 says, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?

Every single day, people all around us die and go to either heaven or hell. And that just might be determined by whether or not you and I open our mouths and tell them about Jesus. We might be the only opportunity that they ever have to hear about salvation. What a horrible thing to read in a spiritual obituary, "So and So went to hell because YOUR NAME HERE didn't tell them about Jesus when they had an opportunity." But, what a wonderful thing to read in a spiritual obituary, "So and So went to heaven because YOUR NAME HERE took the time to tell them about forgiveness through Jesus."

Who dies next is unknown. So, let's not waste time or opportunities.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Oh, What to Wear?

I received this email last night.
I have a request and complaint. Could you please get rid of those awful pantsuits and jackets in the summer? Those pantsuits are for women 60+ years old. I remember my grandmother wearing those in the 70'sand 80's, you are FAR too young and good looking to be wearing them. Just wear more trendy and less bulky outfits, whether they are pants or skirts, especially for summer. Wear outfits that are befiting a beauty pageant winner as you certainly are, something like the national CNN andFOX meteorologist/newswomen wear. Not to be harsh, just my humble opinion to make the weathercast more top notch as your forecasts already are. Signed, Dave Venable
Many of you ask me if I respond to my emails. I do, whether they are complimentary or critical. Here is the email I sent to Dave.

Thanks so much for your kind email. I am always glad to hear from our viewers. Dave, I'd LOVE to wear Italian suits that the ladies on CNN and FOX wear, but I don't get free clothes. I have a family to provide for and bills to pay. I do the best that I can, just like everyone else. I take great pride in what I wear, whether it be from Maison Weiss or Cato. My daddy once told me that it doesn't matter what you wear, but it's the attitude you have while you wear it.
To be honest, I wear pantsuits to cover up the microphone pack and IFB earpiece pack I have to wear. Those are 2 very bulky boxes that have to clip to my waistband. Anything too fitted will accentuate them. So in essence, the jackets are used to cover up the bulk and cords therein.
Really, I appreciate your comments and thank you for sharing a part of your day with me and WLBT.
This morning, Dave wrote me back.

I didn't mean to suggest that you wear super expensive designer outfits or Italian outfits, just that the outfits should fit better (not as loose fitting) and reflect the season (no jacket in summer heat) and your age, which is young. As for the electronic gear, get those tech guys to find a way to go "wireless" with the packs or have them just off camera? As for the men, I think they should wear more casual clothes such as a polo shirt/T shirt with maybe khaki pants/jeans instead of the three piece suits every day, but thats probably a dress code issue with management at the station. I think more casual wear especially for Fridays would be super, for both men and women there. Sorry if I sound too "nitpicking". I just want to see the news and weathercasts more enjoyable & professional for the viewers. Signed, Dave Venable
I know I'm not Mr. Blackwell, the fashion connoisseur, but I thought suits were "professional"?