Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2 For Tuesday...

Yes, it was another "2 For Tuesday" for me today... as in two pilates classes at Teague - a morning intro reformer class and then a private session in the afternoon, both with Romina, just like last Tuesday! After a month at the studio, I'm really noticing A LOT of positive effects! My balance is a lot better and I'm feeling more flexible than ever. I really noticed both of these things last night in my mat pilates class at 24 Hour Fitness. Our instructor, Linda, had us doing a lot of stuff requiring good balance. A month ago, I REALLY would have struggled with the moves we did, but last night they were almost effortless! I also noticed I can now stretch quite a ways beyond my toes with my hands - about two inches more than before. My abdominals are also feeling stronger than ever! Consequently, my weight workouts at the gym are also becoming increasingly effortless - I'm letting my breathing factor more and more into the exercises. Speaking of my breathing, it's also improved dramatically. My once overly dominant shoulders are no longer as controlling as they were before.

I guess my only regret now is that I didn't join a pilates studio sooner. The day I joined, my friend said I would "like it a lot." I think she was understating it! I'm absolutely loving it there!

Oh, and yes, I got that Accounting final all done and turned it tonight! Then went to the Olive Garden in Camarillo and had dinner with a good friend. Quite a fun day, I must say!


Monday, May 17, 2010

A Manic Monday...

So today turned out to be a little busier than planned, but it's all good! A pilates reformer class at the studio in the morning and a mat class at the gym 10 1/2 hours later. Sandwiched in between was a heck of a lot of working on my Advanced Accounting final. Thankfully, I got it just about all done! I also made time to watch the first half of the Lakers 128-107 romp over the Phoenix Suns in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center. I didn't see the second half because I was in said pilates class, but given how they played in the first half I was pretty confident they would prevail... and then after I got home, a couple of my friends needed some help with some stuff, so I took care of them too. I'm always glad to give my time to good friends when they're in need. I never expect anything in return, but it seems like whenever I do something nice for someone, it gets paid back twice over!

So tomorrow, things return a little more to "normal" - yes, I said that yesterday, but that didn't happen... I think it will tomorrow though! Hope you all had a GREAT Manic Monday! :)


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Busy, busy, busy...

I've had a VERY busy past few days in case you didn't know. It was a VERY fun three days though, I must admit. I'm not quite sure what the biggest highlight was yet, though I will say that I saw the movie "Letters To Juliet" today with a good friend and we absolutely LOVED it! This same friend and I also saw the extremely disappointing "Date Night" together a few weeks ago.

A new week starts tomorrow and things should be a little slower... which will make for longer blog entries! I hope you had a weekend as fun and fulfilling as mine was!


Friday, May 14, 2010

A Happy Friday!!!

No, I didn't get a new job today... rather, I just did a lot of things which I truly enjoy. I went to an intro reformer pilates class this morning at Teague, did an hour on the elliptical at 24 Hour Fitness in the early afternoon with a good friend, and then another great private at Teague this afternoon with Romina. The best thing though was that I got to talk to one of the owners (Cathie) of the studio after my private today - it turns out she and her husband are Christians! I had a great time talking to her for about 20 minutes mostly about God and the church! It just seems like lately God just keeps putting more and more fellow believers in my path - and that's a great thing!

Tonight I hung out with some fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from the Hub. A few of us hung out at Baja Fresh in Agoura Hills in the early evening, and then we had an Angel Thread Sorting night at Calvary Community in Westlake from 7-8pm. We played a little frisbee in the parking lot after that before heading to BJ's. Unfortunately, they had a long 40 minute wait for a table there, so a nice guy named Ken Hansen (and his wife) opened up their home to us. We had pizza, ice cream and cookies! It was a great time of fellowship with friends, both old and new!

Today was truly a blessing. When your focus is on Him, the days always seem special. Have a great weekend all!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Temporary Home...

... It's not where I belong.
Windows and rooms that I'm passing through.
This is just a stop, on the way to where I'm going.
I'm not afraid because I know
This is my Temporary Home.

Yes, I'm quoting a Carrie Underwood lyric, but not just any lyric. It's one with VERY deep meaning... it tells a story, or rather three little ones. Carrie first encounters a 6-year-old boy who's "a little too used to being alone." Later, she enounters a young mom with a young daughter who has "got nowhere to go." Both are going through some struggles, yet they see the bigger picture, sharing the notion that this indeed is just their "temporary home."

At the end of the song, Carrie encounters an:

Old man, hospital bed,
The room is filled with people he loves.
And he whispers don't cry for me,
I'll see you all someday.
He looks up and says, "I can see God's face."

When I hear this song, it really helps me to put this world and my life in perspective. When I leave this temporary home I'm currently residing in, I want to leave it without any regrets. I try to always do the right thing and treat people the way HE would want me to. I very much want to live life the way God wants me to. The promise held by this song and its lyrics really drives the point home. That last lyric in particular is VERY moving. When I see God's face I want to then hear the words "well done, good and faithful servant." That's ALL I want to hear! I hope and pray that I can live a life here on this earth which will ready me for my someday journey into the next world so that I can hear those words. I hope and pray you feel the same way.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Name is "Anonymous"

I love it when people read my blog and leave me comments. Many of you agree with my posts, while others disagree with them. And that's all good. If we all agreed with each other about everything, this world would be a pretty boring place - though much more peaceful! Being a fairly social person though, I like to know who it is that is posting comments. Many of you post from your own blog or profiles, and often times I actually end up reading your blogs or posts and start following!

From time to time though, I receive "anonymous" comments from people. While I welcome these comments, one thing I don't like about them is that they don't give me any opportunity to interact with that person. Also, I honestly think people who provide comments in this way are doing everyone a disservice. I mean if you have something to say, at least have the backbone to back it up! God wants us to be honest, truthful and as pure as we can be as people. By posting anonymously, the poster is giving everyone the impression that they are hiding something or they don't totally believe in what they are saying. This goes against everything that we are taught in the Bible.

So, going forward, I will be moderating all "anonymous" comments here. If you include a way for me to get in touch with you (i.e: e-mail address, a link to your own blog, etc.) I will publish your comments posted in this way. If not though, I will simply have to delete these posts.

Thank you for your understanding!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lakers Feeding Me Crow?

Two weeks ago, I wrote this little thing called a blog about Why my Lakers won't repeat as NBA Champions. The team looked in complete disarray as they lost Game 4 of their Western Conference first round series to the #8 seeded Oklahoma City Thunder by 21 points. The fire and hunger that were there last season seemed to be missing, and the "new ingredient," one Mr. Ron Artest, seemed to be doing more harm than good.

In the two and a half weeks since that blowout loss though, something has changed. The Lakers have played six straight games without a loss, including three on the road. Last night, they jumped out to a 22 point lead in the second quarter over the Utah Jazz in their Game four second round matchup and never looked back, coasting to a 111-96 win. The four game sweep was especially impressive when you consider that Andrew Bynum was all but absent for the second straight game - six points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. But Bynum's poor effort was more than made up for by the Lakers tag team of Kobe and Paul. #24 had his fourth straight 30+ point effort, scoring 32, while #16 tallied 33 points and 14 boards. Lamar Odom only scored 10 points, but he made some other contributions as the Lakers were a +30 points in his 25 1/2 minutes of action.

With their impressive win, and their swagger back, the Lakers now get a week to rest. That should give Bynum some time to heal as they prepare to take on the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference final. Game one of the best of seven series is at 6pm next Monday night at Staples Center. In the meantime, I may spend this week off buying myself some crow. Thankfully, this Lakers team seems to have found the "on" switch. I'd be VERY happy to chew on some of that crow in another month or so!



Monday, May 10, 2010

A Great Mother's Day!

Since I decided to spend pretty much the entire day yesterday at church and visiting with my family in Mira Loma, I didn't get much work done at all for my Finance class. I must say though that I am SO glad I went down there to celebrate Mother's Day after another outstanding service at Cornerstone. Sadly, Francis is only going be speaking two more Sundays there.

I truly had a GREAT time celebrating Mother's Day with my Mom and Grandma, along with my Aunt Lupe and Uncle Steve. My cousin Steve Jr., his wife Natalie and their beautiful daughter Skyler were there when I arrived a little after noon. I had a lot of fun with Skyler. She is so sweet and cute - truly a blessing! Later on, my other cousins Mandy and Scott arrived. Many made this absolutely AMAZING Italian dinner. I just had go back for seconds. I'm not much of a cook, but I think I just might need some of her recipes... all of it was just so good! Facebook pics to come! :)

Thankfully, I was able to finish up my two assignments for my Finance class this morning after pilates and now am getting ready to study for tonight's final. Hopefully it will go as well as the three take-home exams!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

To each and every Mom I know, I want to wish you a VERY Happy Mother's Day! Personally, I'll be heading out to Mira Loma after the 9am service at Cornerstone to spend the day with my Mom, my now 92 year old Grandma, Aunt and some cousins to celebrate their special day. I hope you and yours are able to spend this Mother's Day with your Moms.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jesus IS Reality!

If you're a Christian and a music fiend like me, then you're probably familiar with the group the Newsboys and their hit song called "Reality" from the mid 90's. The chorus goes:

in reality
that comes from above
God is calling
there's no bigger love
It's his reality that welcomes us back
Trust and obey
there is no other way

Simple, and yet to the point. Effectively, it's saying that Jesus IS Reality! Although "Reality" has always been one of my favorite Christian songs, it very recently took on an even deeper meaning for me personally.

I've always believed everything happens for a reason and there's no such thing as a coincidence. God's weaving his intricate framework more than we will EVER understand! As many of you know, my Pastor, Francis Chan announced on April 18th that he will soon be leaving my church of nearly 12 years, Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley. Three days before that, I heard through a good friend about a church in L.A. called Reality. I checked out the website that same night and listened to their Pastor, Tim Chaddick on some podcasts. And I was simply blown away by the depth of Tim's messages and how well I was able to relate to him. His passion for the Lord actually reminded me a lot of how Francis spoke of him! I was so impressed by Tim's messages that I talked to Francis' wife, Lisa about him and Reality that same night Francis made his announcement. I asked her if she had heard of the church and Tim. She thought she had, but she said I should really ask Francis. Not coincidentally, the day after Francis' announcement, I noticed another good friend of mine was friends with Tim on facebook. My friend remarked "I've been wanting to check out Reality for a long time." Like me, he had heard Tim's podcasts and was blown away by the reality and depth of his messages.

The next Sunday after 9 a.m. service at Cornerstone, I had an opportunity to chat with Francis. Of course, I asked him about Reality and Pastor Tim. It turned out that not only did he know of Tim, but he was meeting with him, Britt Merrick of Reality Carpinteria, and several other pastors in San Francisco two days later! Another two days later, Britt and Francis shared lunch. In the days that followed, it became very clear to me just how much of a mutual admiration the two pastors had for one another. Two great men of God who truly walk by faith! Britt said in his BIG GOD page on facebook:

"Just had a wonderful lunch with Francis Chan who wrote the cover (and first) endorsement for BIG GOD. He is such a wonderful brother and man of God. His cover endorsement for BIG GOD was far too generous... I love this man."

The following Sunday, Francis spoke of Britt's 5-year old daughter Daisy and the story of her grapefruit-sized cancerous tumor. More importantly, he spoke of how genuine and authentic Britt's faith had been in the seven months since the cancerous tumor in his daughter was discovered. Francis quoted some of Britt's words to him about his faith in the Lord during the service, stating "I will love YOU! Regardless of what happens. I'll STILL love YOU!" Talk about an AMAZING faith!

Yesterday, Daisy went in for 3 1/2 hours of tests to see how the treatments had been working. A few hours later, Britt twittered this message:

"Got the news: There are no signs of cancer in Daisy's body!!! Thank you Jesus. Psalm 94:17." Talk about a blessing! PRAISE THE LORD!

JESUS IS REALITY. WE EXIST FOR THE GLORY OF HIS NAME. This is how the bottom of the Reality church website reads. I've already made mention of Tim's Reality L.A., and Britt's Reality Carpinteria campuses, but there are actually three other Reality churches in California - Ventura, Stockton and San Francisco. There's also one in London. One of the great things about Reality is that you can listen to all of the sermons online. Simply go to iTunes and download them for free! This church has a vision, one which all of Christians can learn from and hopefully model to others. I've been truly been blessed these past few weeks in learning about this amazing church and look forward to learning more about the Reality family of churches in the weeks to come!



Friday, May 7, 2010

Why I'm a Carrie Underwood Fan

As I watched CMT this afternoon, I got to see the World Premiere of Carrie Underwood's video for her new single, "Undo It." I then reflected back on this "Carnival Ride" I've been on these past five plus years with her. After a rough 2004, I was looking for someone or something I could believe in as year changed to 2005. Yes, I still had my faith in God, but something in me longed for someone to root for here on Earth.

So during the auditions for season four of American Idol, I see this cute little blonde girl From Checotah, Oklahoma, with faded jeans and a pink top wearing the number "14887." Then I start hearing her rendition of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Her vocal range simply AMAZED me! That song is one of the hardest ones for anyone to sing and she was FLAWLESS! But that wasn't all. I found out she was a fellow Christian and had very good morals and values. But she also was a little shy. I knew that if she was going to go anywhere, she was going to become more confident and break out of that shell. I hoped and prayed that she would make it past the auditions and that she would gain self-confidence... Thankfully, both of those things happened, and she made it into the top 24!

If you're an Idol fan, you know making the top 24 is a great accomplishment. This season, another cute blonde with a great voice, Janell Wheeler made the top 24. I was so impressed by her version of Estelle's "American Boy" in the auditions, that I felt compelled to do something I hadn't done since season four - vote! I really thought Janell was going to be the next Carrie! Janell sang Heart's "What About Love?" and despite me voting all two hours, she was the first one eliminated this season.

Thankfully, Carrie didn't have the same fate as Janell... her week one song was a cover of Tiffany's "Could've Been." Perhaps not the song one would have picked for her, but she absolutely nailed it... to the point where I actually felt compelled to vote!!! And so after the show I voted five times for her.

Each week, I'd vote five more times than the previous week. So, I voted 15 times for Carrie the week they cut the field down from 16 to the final 12. Two weeks later, on March 22, 2005, Carrie would have her defining moment on Idol. She sang a rendition of Heart's "Alone" which simply blew the judges away. Simon Cowell stated "Not only you will win this show but you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner." A pretty bold statement, especially considering how well season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" album was doing at the time - that album would spawn five straight top five singles, including three which reached #1 on the U.S. pop chart. "Breakaway" went on to sell over six million copies in the U.S.

Getting back to season four of Idol, Carrie continued to impress and kept breezing through. As the field was pared to five, I was now up to 50 votes for Carrie. Over time it became more and more who was #1 in Carrie's life. Yes, she loved her family and friends very much, but she made it very clear that God was the #1 person in her life. When I voted for Carrie, I felt like I was doing what God wanted me to do. She was not only a great singer, but a sister in Christ.

As the season drew to a close, my mindset became not one of just supporting Carrie, but giving her 100% of my efforts! I was going to do whatever I could to help her win! The next three weeks, I spent all two hours of the time the phones were open voting for Carrie. During those three weeks, I voted a total of over 2,100 times! Yes, that's 700 times a week. Ironically, my second favorite contestant that season was a guy named Bo Bice. And wouldn't you know it, not only would Bo make it to the final show along with Carrie, but he also became very good friends with her.

I still remember that final week as if it were yesterday. The phone lines opened up at 9 pm, and I voted until 1 am the next morning. In four hours, I managed to get through 1,418 times! Yes, I wanted Carrie to win BAD! My fingers were sore for the next two days afterward! On May 25, 2005, Carrie was crowned the American Idol season four champion. I jumped in the air and yelled at the top of my lungs "YES!" and then I cried many tears of joy. I'm a huge sports fan as many of you know, but this was better than any championship by my Lakers, Angels or Dodgers where I just watched passively and cheered. With Carrie, it was different because I had given my time and participated in helping her win. The 10 hours I spent voting those four weeks were not at all wasted, rather they were an investment in a sister in Christ who I knew could make a positive difference in the world.

Like everyone else, I wondered what would happen to Carrie after Idol. Deep inside, I knew she would be successful and I wasn't afraid to tell anyone that. I even got ridiculed on the ESPN fantasy baseball boards about my support for her by one person in particular. Like Rolling Stone magazine and their infamous "0 star" review of the video for Carrie's first single and their complete omission of reviewing her first album, he eventually proved to be an EPIC FAIL about Carrie. I only hoped that she would stay true to herself and keep her focus on God.

The afternoon of October 18, 2005 is one that I'll never forget. I was listening to a Tim McGraw song called "My Old Friend" on the now defunct Country station KZLA 93.9 here in the City of Angels. The next song was going to be the new Carrie Underwood single, and it was entitled "Jesus, Take The Wheel." The title of the song alone made me ecstatic. A genuine woman of faith, willing to put it all on the line for Him. Many thought she was taking a huge risk, others such as myself knew better. Sure enough, this song of hope and faith was a HUGE hit, making an unheard of debut at #39 on the Country chart in its first week of release and climbing to #1 for six weeks. It even rose to the top five of the Christian Pop and AC charts. The song would go on to earn the Gospel Music Association’s award for best country single of the year. Not only did Carrie have a huge hit song, but she had a hit song about Jesus which raised the spiritual awareness of our nation! What a blessing!

In the years following the amazing success of "Jesus, Take The Wheel," Carrie has won tons of other major awards. 66 major ones to be exact including 10 Academy of Country Music awards, five American Music awards, five Country Music Association awards, four CMT awards, and five Grammy awards. With each every one of the awards Carrie's accepted she's always thanked GOD first - before her family, friends, fans and anyone else. This has never changed!

Over these five years, God has continued to bless her musical career. Carrie's first album, "Some Hearts" sold seven million copies here in the U.S., breaking Kelly Clarkson's record for an Idol, and making Mr. Cowell a prophet of sorts. Her follow-up "Carnival Ride" has sold nearly four million copies, and her current "Play On" release is nearing double platinum. Her first 11 singles released to Country radio have hit #1 (Wikipedia is wrong) on one of the major Country airplay charts (Mediabase or Billboard), including her latest, "Temporary Home." Like "Jesus, Take The Wheel," it's another song about faith and how our lives here on earth are just temporary. Our greater life is in the heavens above with our Lord.

As many of you also know, Carrie is engaged to hockey player, Mike Fisher. In a recent article in the Christian Post, Carrie talks about how her fiancé has actually helped improve her walk with God. At her last awards show, the ACM's, Carrie once again proclaimed her faith in Jesus Christ as her savior stating "I thank God for country music. I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for my family." It's so awesome that Carrie can be so bold and up front about her faith in God. All of us Christians can learn from Carrie's example and try to emulate her boldness. In this society of so few role models, it's nice to know that there are few still out there.

Thank you, God for Carrie Underwood!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our National Day of Prayer

As many of you know, today is our National Day of Prayer. Pray for our nation, our leaders, the world, your family, friends, acquaintances and even those you don't know. Be in a mindset of prayer all day long! Praise our Lord that we are able to freely pray in this country. Many places in the world persecute Christians and those who believe in God. NEVER take this precious gift for granted!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Although today is supposed to be a celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the day has much more personal meaning. May 5th happens to be my Grandma's 92nd birthday... and also my friends Pam & Rick are celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary!!! So to Grandma, a VERY happy birthday... and to Pam & Rick, I pray that God continues to bless your marriage and family on this special day and ALWAYS!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Praying for Nashville

As most of you know, Nashville and the surrounding areas in Tennessee have been hit by severe flooding. Nearly 14 inches of rain fell in just two short days! To date, 29 people have lost their lives in Nashville and the surrounding cities due to the flooding.

As someone who has friends in the city and who has been there each of the past three Junes for CMA Fest activities, this tragedy REALLY hits home. Seeing places that I've visited multiple times such as the Grand Ole Opryhouse, the Country Music Hall of Fame and LP Field (where the Tennessee Titans also play football) has made my heart ache!

Needless to say, this tragedy has made me want to step up and help. If you go to this website Twibbon.com you can put a sticker on your facebook profile as I've done and also donate.

Please keep the people in Nashville and the surrounding areas in your thoughts and prayers.


Monday, May 3, 2010

McIlroy Finally Gets His Phil!

When you're one stroke off the lead going into the final round of a golf tournament and shoot a 4-under-par 68 in very windy conditions to close things out as the great Phil Mickelson did yesterday at Quail Hollow, you wouldn't expect to end up FOUR strokes behind the winner as he did. "Lefty" sank a 40-footer for a birdie on 13, then birdied 14 to get within a stroke of 20 year-old Rory McIlroy. His hopes quickly sank when he walked down the 15th fairway when the kid eagled the 15th hole to push the margin back to three. McIlroy would go on to birdie 16 and 18 en route to a scorching 30 on the back nine and total of only 62 strokes.

Mickelson's performance was good enough to beat everyone but the youngster. The three-time Masters champion is on such a roll now that he could take over the #1 spot in the world rankings for the first time ever with a strong performance at the Players Championship this week.

The win for McIlroy was a VERY popular and much anticipated one. Indeed, many have proclaimed him the player who is going to be the tour's next big star. McIlroy barely made the 1-over par cut on Friday, and then absolutely torched the course on the weekend as he shot a 6-under par 66 on Saturday to get into contention. Yes, he was 16 UNDER PAR on the weekend! Does that remind you of someone? Look out Tiger and Phil... here comes Rory! And the timing on this win is perfect as Tuesday is the youngster's 21st birthday. Congratulations Rory on the first of what we all expect to be a career full of wins and majors!


Sunday, May 2, 2010


As the days of Francis Chan pastoring at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi come closer to their end, I find myself cherishing my Sundays more and more each week. I know something truly wonderful is coming to a close. The Lord has worked through Francis and his wife Lisa Chan to minister to me and so many others over the past almost 12 years I've attended. Today was no exception. Actually, it turned out to be one of my most memorable Sunday mornings EVER!

I arrived to church a little early today. I ended up sitting right behind my friend Jerry, his wife and lovely daughter, Faith. As I got into the worship, I raised my hands to exalt the Lord. Faith then started smiling at me. And then she did the AMAZING - she started raising HER HANDS to the Lord! It was truly a special moment! And it happened in ALL of the songs we sung both before and after the message!

Francis spoke from the book of Luke this morning, specifically the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8:1-18. The bottom line is that many people know of or hear the word of the Lord, but for one reason or another fall away. In Luke 8:15, it's stated "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain the word, and by persevering produce a crop. Those truly walking with Him don't let anything in the world deter them from their walk."

Francis brilliantly used the example of Reality Carpinteria pastor Britt Merrick to illustrate the above. Britt's five year-old daughter Daisy was diagnosed with a grapefruit-sized, cancerous tumor this past September after a fall. As one would expect, this tragedy caused Britt and his wife Kate to do a lot of soul searching. Yet through it all, they have remained steadfast in their faith. Britt stated to Him that "I will love YOU! Regardless of what happens. I'll STILL love YOU!" Britt is truly a man of God. From listening to Francis' words this morning and seeing Britt's Twitters this week, there's definitely a huge mutual appreciation between them. What great men of God they both are! I look forward to purchasing and reading his book, Big God. The foreward is written by none other than my pastor, Francis Chan.

After the message, we saw SEVEN people proclaim their faith for the Lord and get baptized! Awesome stuff! After service, I chatted a little more with Jerry and his wife. I then had some deep conversation with my good friend, Jay Pierson after service. I look at Jay and I see another man of God who is truly walking with Him. No, he's not perfect (none of us are), but I know he truly tries to walk the walk. Friends like Jay definitely help keep me focused on Him. And that's a true blessing! Like Britt, Jay walks with the Lord and doesn't let anything deter him from that walk. I am blessed not only to call Jay a friend, but more importantly, a true brother in Him!

Blessings to you this Sunday and ALWAYS!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lakers Play On, Tiger:EPIC Fail

And yes, that's a Carrie Underwood reference for those of you paying attention to the first part of today's title... If nothing else, the Oklahoma City Thunder got the attention of the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers. Not only did the Thunder split the first four games of the best-of-seven series, but they outscored the Lakers by an average of four points a game in doing so. The embarrassing 21 point Game four loss definitely got the Lakers attention. They came back to post an impressive 24 point win at Staples Center on Wednesday night.

Last night, the Lakers controlled the tempo and the game for all but a few minutes. They took a 53-47 lead into halftime and stretched it to 91-84 with 5:09 to play. The Thunder would not go quietly though. Their raucous, 112 decibel-loud crowd urged them to a 10-0 run over the next 2:39. With Two and a half minutes to play, it looked like the Thunder might very well force a game seven.

But it wasn't meant to be for the Thunder. Kobe hit a tough 20 foot jumper from the left side, bringing the Lakers to within a point with 2:11 to play. The teams would alternate several missed shots over the next two minutes. Kobe rebounded a Russell Westbrook miss with 17 seconds to play. You knew who was taking the final shot... or so we thought. Kobe took a tough, fall away 13 footer from the right side of the key with just under two seconds to play. The shot was a touch long. Fortunately for the Lakers, Pau Gasol was there to grab the rebound and lay it in with just 1/2 a second to play to give the Lakers a 95-94 lead! Westbrook's desperation trey from the right baseline as time expired was well short. The Lakers had escaped! Pau only scored 9 points, but he had the two most important ones to go with his 18 boards. Kobe - well all he did was pour in another 32 to go with seven boards. With their 4-2 round one series win, the Lakers now have a date with the Utah Jazz in round two. Game one is at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon at Staples. Go Lakers!

As for the other sports news of the day. Well, in case you didn't hear, Tiger Woods not only missed the cut in the golf tournament at Quail Hollow... he had what could only be termed an EPIC fail of an effort! The world's #1 player shot a 79 in his second tournament back from his self imposed leave from the tour to get his life in order. It was pretty sad to see. Very obviously, his focus is just not there at the moment. Contrast that with the play of 2010 Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who is at six under par after a second round 68 despite battling a nasty infection. Lefty's only two off the lead held by Billy Mayfair at the mid-point of the tourney. For Tiger, it's only his 6th missed cut in 241 career tournaments.