Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day Four: Mental Health Day

In that familiar, if somewhat annoying, song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, the singer’s true love gave on the fourth day “four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.” (I apologize to anyone who now has this song stuck in their head, it was necessary to tell my story).

Well on my fourth day of Christmas, I woke up with the migraine from hell on day eleven of it’s never-ending torture. I barely had the energy to get dressed so I skipped breakfast (bad choice). The fluorescent lights in our classroom seemed louder and brighter than usual, and it made me crabby. One of my students got upset with my insistence on saying “No” when she did something she shouldn’t have been doing, and hit and scratched my face several times on the way to the time out room.

So I decided to give myself a gift (since I haven’t met my true love yet), and I took the afternoon off. It was more of a “mental health” than sick day, although my head was threatening to explode, so I found something relaxing to do – create. I allowed myself a few hours to work on my newest mini album projects after the Excedrin Migraine kicked in (and my migraine was tamed to a mere headache). I also made a very delicious dinner for myself, watched a few episodes of Alias on Netflix, and went to bed early. Although I didn’t deviate far from my typical routine, it was just enough to help me step back from the pain and chaos for a few hours.

Getting back to the song, have you ever wondered about the gifts that were given? What exactly is a “calling bird” and why would someone want four of them? And do French hens lay special eggs that make “French toast” even yummier?? If so, I’ll take three myself!

Well as it turns out, the word “calling” is an American change to the English word “colly,” meaning “black.” So her true love gave her four blackbirds on the fourth day. The third day is referring to Faverolles hens, also known as French hens, obviously originating in France. A very multi-cultural song!

Now for the two turtle doves, I’ll pass, doves kind of freak me out a little. My friend Sonya had a pet dove, and I spent a few nights at her house back in the day (early high school if memory serves). In the middle of the night it would laugh (it was out in the living room but I could still hear it), and it was more of a disturbing cackle.

Finally, a partridge in a pear tree. I love pears, so I wouldn’t mind the tree, although I have no yard in which to plant one. I’d probably ask Jeff and Denise to take care of it for me; after all, they live in the Lewiston Orchards! The partridge is a member of the pheasant family, so I could cook it up with a nice pear sauce perhaps.

Stay tuned for my own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” coming soon to a blog near you. (Ok, to this blog)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day Three: Don’t Be A Grinch

Only three days into December and I already find myself feeling “bah humbug” as a general state of being. No worries, I’m fighting it with all I have, but this migraine is making it a feeble attempt at best. To help curb some of this unwanted attitude I decided to join a friend in watching a Christmas movie last night.

She chose the Grinch – the newest one, with Jim Carrey playing the big green guy. She was watching it on her television in Canada, I attempted to use a link online. Several links, as a matter of fact, and every one of them failed me. The first four or five stopped the movie at 12:22. Seriously. The very same spot on every one of them. By then I was determined to finish it. The last link I tried made it past that point, only to re-buffer every 15 seconds or so. I lost patience.

I have to admit, it made me smile that Mr. Grinch was a source of my frustration, an irony not lost on me. So I took a moment to step back and consider my certain situation. What is it exactly that’s getting me down? Of course the usual things came to mind:  being lonely, not having my space set up the way I’d like it, feeling as though I’m wasting my life, intelligence, and skills on laziness and poor choices. My self-reflection tends to get a bit intense.

Acceptance is the first step on the road to recovery. I accepted that I need an attitude adjustment. I quickly moved on to step two:  a willingness to change. Well I wouldn’t be analyzing my situation if I didn’t want to change it. Awesome. I was already at step three. Problem:  I don’t know what step three is.

So I jumped off that train of thought and landed on another:  while it’s true there are pieces of my life that haven’t yet fallen into place, it shouldn’t be true that I wait to live that life until they have. There are things I can do to learn and grow, to better myself, to find pleasure in life. I don’t want to stand still and let life happen to me – I want to be actively involved. That’s as far as I’ve gotten, though. I know what I want to do but have no idea how to do it. Still, I won’t let myself be a Grinch.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day Two: Making “Memories”

Yesterday was a long, slow day; I spent almost half of my waking hours in bed fighting a wave a nausea from a migraine that won’t go away. It was like an echo of the previous Sunday, although last week I wasn’t able to get out of bed until almost 4 in the afternoon, so yesterday was better for sure.

While I was up and about, instead of doing the much needed organizing on my mental to-do list, I decided to work on another album project, my own version of “Project Life” that I decided to start recently. I’m using a mini album pattern that contains 28 pockets, so I decided to add a few more and make one album for each month of the next year, beginning on my birthday. I have two in progress – the first will be for April 21-May 20 because of the elaborate floral patterns and colors (I posted a picture on Facebook but it's much cooler in person); the other is titled “Memories” and will be blue, silver, and white. It starts on December 21st and is turning out to be really cute and simple.

Working on albums is relaxing and almost meditative. “Memories” especially, since I know it will be used soon, and I’m using a lot of blues (my favorite color). As I design the layouts and choose which embellishments to include, I’ve been thinking about some things I would like to do in order to fill the pages. And while I was working on the April-May version, I couldn’t help wondering what great things God has in store for my life in the coming months.

Much like the December Daily project I mentioned yesterday, these books will record through photos and journaling my thoughts and experiences in daily life. Having them built ahead of time will help me stay motivated, and hopefully encourage me to get out and experience life more fully! If you would like to join me in this project, I can teach you how to make these albums, or make some and sell them to you. As they say, the more the merrier!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day One: It’s A Wonderful Life

I’m still undecided about when to write each day. I suppose it will depend on what specifically I’m writing about and which part of the day it happened, or the thought occurred to me; this is of course the essence of random rambles sprinkled with a little Christmas spirit.

Last night I watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” as my daily Christmas movie. I’ve only seen it once before, so I had forgotten most of what happened; the main thing I remembered is that I liked it. Good enough for me! This time as I was watching it I couldn’t help thinking about the title and what the words mean. I’m not talking about in the context of the movie, but more egocentric – in the context of my own life. I have many things to be thankful for, many ways my life is “wonderful”.

Being an admitted word-lover, I went to my old friend Webster to find the specific definition of “wonderful”. I discovered the phrase “unusually good”. So if we look again at the title, it would read “It’s An Unusually Good Life”. Now tell me that didn’t make you smile!

The basic plot of the story, in case you haven’t seen it or don’t remember, is that a man named George Bailey repeatedly sacrifices his own wishes and dreams to help those around him – his family, friends, and community members in the small town where he lives. Set in the late 1930’s and thru WWII, it’s obvious that times were simpler, and yet the complexities of life have remained unchanged. When someone steals money that will ultimately bankrupt his business, George realizes his life insurance policy makes his death of more value than his life and considers suicide. His Guardian Angel (second class, no wings yet) intervenes.

This part is reminiscent of “A Christmas Carol”, although in this case Clarence (the angel) shows George what life would have been like had he never existed. The town would be a slum, his brother would be killed as a boy, and his mother and wife would be lonely and bitter. When George returns to the present, to his home, he is greeted by the police as well as many friends from the community who give him more than enough money to make things right.

Now, getting back to reality, it's a fact that none of us will be granted a view of life any different from what we know. In some ways, that makes it more difficult for us to realize the impact we have on this world just by being in it. So we have to train ourselves to pay close attention to our words and actions, every day, in every situation. It’s the random acts of kindness, the words of encouragement, the smiles that we pass along that make every day an important piece of “an unusually good” life. Not just for ourselves, but for each person we come in contact with – family, friends, coworkers, even cashiers at Wal-mart or Safeway.

This time of year it’s more difficult for me to remember how good my life really is; there are very few things I need that I don’t have, and I am thankful for that. Yet those things that are missing play a significant role in my sense of happiness, accomplishment, and safety. So I have to believe that God will bring those into my life, and  patiently wait for them no matter how much longer it takes (patiently is the hard part!); if I stop believing, I will lose the ability to live this “unusually good” life I’ve been blessed with.

Returning again to my first day of Christmas, watching a movie and considering how unusually good my life is, can be, and will continue to be, I made a list of just a few of the hundreds of blessings I’m surrounded by every day, and designed a special project I plan to create to remind me of those blessings. I’ll be sure to post a photo of it when it’s finished, and I encourage you to do the same, even if you simply stick the list on the front of your refrigerator, or tape it to your mirror. I promise you that having it on display, somewhere you can return to each day, will increase your joy for life and faith in the indescribable Creator who designed it.

This is getting a bit long. However, before I go, I want to tell you about another project I’m starting; it’s somewhat well-known in the crafting world, a specific type of mini album called a “December Daily” that is designed to record the events of each of the 25 days of Christmas. I’ve never made one before, in fact last year at this time is the first I had heard of them, but this year I decided it would be a valuable aspect of my new life adventure and desire to become a better person. Again, photos when I’m finished putting it together, which will hopefully be later this evening (I finally have a good use for some of that Christmas paper in my stash!)

Also, as part of these daily Christmas countdown posts, I’m going to share what I intend to record in that album. For day one, Oliver and I spent most of our day at Paper Pals working on another album that I will be sharing about in a few weeks, and collaborating with a few friends who also enjoy the world of creating. We came home, ate dinner, watched a movie, and chatted with a friend online. I made some hot chocolate that turned out to be rather disgusting, and eventually found sleep. It was rainy, windy, and cold most of the day, so I decided not to join some friends at the local tree lighting. Over all, a lazy, relaxing start to the month of December!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

25 Days of Christmas

I love new beginnings! Today is not only the beginning of a new month it is also the beginning of the countdown to Christmas. It bothers me that there are 25 days (an odd number), but I’m just going to avoid thinking about that aspect of it and try to have some fun.

So far I haven’t done much to celebrate the season. Oliver and I put up my Christmas tree (he mostly watched, and played in the branches when it was up, before the lights and ornaments went on). Also I’ve been trying to watch at least one Christmas movie every day. Most I’ve seen before, a few are new to me. I started with "Elf" the day after Thanksgiving. So far only one has been really lame, out of nine. A few others I don’t want to see again but they were ok once.

I have to be honest in saying that I haven’t really felt the joy of Christmas for a long time. When I think about it from a distance, this is by far one of my most favorite times of the year, right up there with early spring when the world starts to come alive again. And yet every year when Thanksgiving ends I just feel….lonely.

This isn’t the rabbit trail I want to explore today. Then again, I’m not sure what I’m going to write about, so we’ll discover that together. Feel free to leave suggestions, I’ll at least read them, maybe even accept a few! For now let’s just enjoy a Christmas classic (“It’s a Wonderful Life”), and I’ll be back in a while.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Teddy Bear Thanksgiving

our thanksgiving feast 1

I had a very nice Thanksgiving feast with Oliver today. We made lots of very yummy food – enough to feed me for a week! We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, biscuits, pasta salad, fruit salad, and jell-o. And pumpkin pie for dessert! Even alone I am blessed!

in the cart at walmart 112112

Oliver helped me out this year. First we went to Wal-Mart to get a few things, including a roasting pan. I usually buy a disposable one but these were cheap and I wanted to try something new this year. It worked great, even without a rack on the bottom (I used tin foil rolled up and coiled).

in the cart at safeway 112112

Next we went to Safeway to get the rest of the food for dinner. Oliver was strapped into the cart to hold my purse, and so no one would take him. He did very well! He held my cell phone and kept track of how much we were spending. Not enough to get a discount on the turkey, but it worked out anyway.

making coffee 112212

This morning Oliver made us some coffee. It wasn’t the Dunkin Donuts, it was actually a mix of French Vanilla Kahlua and 100% Kona fresh from Hawaii (well fresh almost a year ago). It was yummy, and I added some Almond Joy creamer, but I was so busy cooking it got kind of cold. (I drank it anyway).

our turkey in the bath

Oliver wanted to know why the turkey was in the sink, so I told him it was getting a special spa treatment:  cold water bath, deep tissue herbal massage, and a nice tan! He’s such a curious little bear! He takes baths in a washing machine. He wanted to help make dinner this year, so of course I let him.

about to roast

Here he is right before we put the turkey into the oven. I added a random mixture of spices but it turned out great! I love my squishy little helper bear!!

Although I had two very special invitations to share Thanksgiving with friends, I decided to stay home and have a feast with Oliver. I am truly blessed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

“One Life” (2011) Hedley

Oh
Oh
Oh woah, one life [x3]
One chance, two lips, free falling
We’re about to lose our grip now
Five minutes too late
Can’t be messing with fate
It’s time to get loud

Cause we’ve been up
When we should’ve been sleeping
We’ve been down
When we could’ve been high
We’ll come alive, tonight
Woah!

It’s a great big world and you'll see
It could pass you by at light speed
You got one life, one life
Don’t stop live it up woah!

If it’s the last night in these streets
You’d be a fool to take a seat
You got one life, one life
Don’t stop live it up
Oh, woah, One Life [x3]
Don’t stop; don’t stop live it up [x2]

Last thing you wanna make
Is your first mistake
But it’s too late now
So get up,
Get ready
Not everybody’s betting against you anyhow

Cause we’ve been up
When we should’ve been sleeping
We’ve been down
When we could’ve been high
We’ll come alive, tonight
Woah!

It’s a great big world and you'll see
It could pass you by at light speed
You got one life, one life
Don’t stop live it up woah!

If it’s the last night in these streets
You’d be a fool to take a seat
You got one life, one life
Don’t stop; live it up
Oh, woah, One Life [x3]
Don’t stop; don’t stop live it up

If you stop and think
You might start to sink
You can’t get it
If you don’t keep giving
Can’t get it if you don’t
Keep giving

Oh!
It’s a great big world and you'll see
It could pass you by at light speed
You got one life, one life
Don’t stop live it up
Woah!

If it’s the last night in these streets
You’d be a fool to take a seat
You got one life, one life
Don’t stop live it up
Oh woah, One Life [x3]
Don’t stop; don’t stop live it up [x2]
Oh woah, one life [x3]
Don’t stop; don’t stop live it up [x2]

jman 3

This is a bonus post, kind of goes along with the first song for today and it’s the same letter, so I decided to share. Hedley is a Canadian band that was introduced to me by my Canadian friends, and this particular song also happens to have a great music video. I love all the children, jumping around and happy.

Not only is the music full of energy, the lyrics are all about living the one life we have; I love how he says “It’s a great big world and you’ll see/It could pass you by at light speed” – doesn’t that seem to be reality? The older we get the more responsibilities we take on, and it seems like time slips by faster and faster. This is one of those songs that I should play (and dance around my living room to) when I feel like I’m just wasting my time – and then get a drink of water and get to work!

“One Life to Love” (2008) 33 Miles

He never thought he cared so much about the minute hand
Until he started praying for a second chance
If he could only do it all again
And trade the long nights that he spent behind his desk
For all he missed
He tells his wife I wish that this moment in this room
Was not me dying
But just spending a little time with you

You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at this
One chance to find out the one thing that you don't wanna miss
One day when it's all said and done I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love

She never thought she cared so much about those little hands
That held on tight the day she left till she was scared to death
Sitting all alone on a hotel bed, the end of the road
The sun has set on her big plans to feel young again
She picks up the phone, dials a number, hears that little voice
That's haunted every single mile since she made that choice

You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at this
One chance to find out the one thing that you don't wanna miss
One day when it's all said and done I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love

kind people 1

Every time I hear the song One Life to Love I think about the movie “Pay It Forward,” and how we often fail to recognize that even the smallest act of kindness or mercy can spread around the world. Every day is a special gift, and we will only ever have one of each.

If I spent half as much time in prayer as I do complaining, I know my life would be filled with blessings a hundred times over what I have now. Instead of spending hours every week playing Castleville on Zynga, I could praying for my future family, or working on using the gifts God has blessed me with to create and write. If I spent as much time exercising as I do complaining about not feeling well or staring off into nowhere I’d be much healthier and more able to enjoy this one life I have.

We all only have one life….to live, to love, to learn and grow; to leave a legacy. What will be yours?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

“Not Meant to Be” (2008) Theory of a Deadman

It's never enough to say I'm sorry
It's never enough to say I care
But I'm caught between
What you wanted from me,
And knowing if I give that to ya
I might just disappear.

Nobody wins when everyone's losing
Oh it's like one step forward and two steps back
No matter what I do you're always mad
And I can't change your mind,
Oh, it's like trying to turn around on a one way street
I can't give you what you want
And it's killing me and I, I'm starting to see
Maybe we're not meant to be

It's never enough to say I love you
No, it's never enough to say I try
It's hard to believe
That there's no way out for you and me
And it seems to be,
The story of our life

Nobody wins when everyone's losing
It's like one step forward and two steps back
No matter what I do you're always mad
And I can't change your mind
Oh it's like trying to turn around on a one way street
I can't give you what you want and it's killing me
And I, I'm starting to see
That maybe we're not meant to be

There's still time to turn this around
Should we be building this up
Instead of tearing it down?
But I keep thinking
Maybe….
It's too late

It's like one step forward and two steps back,
No matter what I do you're always mad
And I, I can't change your mind
Oh, it's like tryin to turn around on a one way street
I can't give you what you want and it's killing me
And I, I finally see baby
That we're not meant to be
It's like one step forward and two steps back,
No matter what I do you're always mad,
And I, baby I'm sorry to see,
Maybe….
We're not meant to be

not meant to be
I love the imagery and honesty in the song Not Meant to Be. It not only describes a very unhealthy relationship (“If I give that to you, I might just disappear”), I found I can draw parallels to other areas of my life – which is a necessity for me since I don’t even have a man I’m not meant to be with!

First of all, going back to that line I just quoted, “I’m caught between/What you wanted from me/And knowing that if I give that to you/I might just disappear”. I don’t know about you, but I think sometimes I feel that way when God asks me to do something that I don’t understand or don’t want to do. Even as my faith has grown stronger in the past couple of years, and I know, I know that He is my Provider, I still sometimes think He’s asking too much of me.

The next image that really stands out is “It's like one step forward and two steps back”. Now, I know we’ve all been there at some point in our life’s journey; sometimes we take several steps back before we can start moving forward again. Sometimes we just stop and wait. But one thing I’ve learned about God is that no matter how many miles we move back, away from Him, all we have to do is turn around and He’s right there. If only everything in life were so dependable and constant!

And finally, “It’s like trying to turn around on a one way street”. Again, who’s with me on this? How many times have you found yourself going in one direction in life only to realize it’s the wrong way down a one way street (figuratively, of course, as I’m sure none of you would ever actually do that in your car)? Or you’re rolling with the flow of traffic and suddenly need to turn around? Have faith my friends, God will always provide the exit, you just need to be watchful and don’t ignore the signs.

Ok, real quick before I go, this totally reminds me of the movie “Elizabethtown” when Drew (played by Orlando Bloom, who is totally hot), misses his exit, the now infamous “60B”. He keeps asking himself, “Did I miss 60B??” until he pulls over and frantically screams it to the universe. I laugh out loud every time!!

*Photo used was copied from this Google images page.

NaNoWriMo

For those of you not yet fluent in abbreviation, November is also known as “National Novel Writer’s Month”. There are groups that meet in cities and towns all over the country, encouraging each other to meet word counts and deadlines designed to finish a novel in one month.

Now, I realize how crazy this must sound to anyone who isn’t a serious writer. It sounds crazy to a lot of people who are! But it’s a great way to find support and accountability, and it’s just the rough draft we’re going for (I think). I’ve heard rumors that there are “winners” of “NaNo” who get their novels published….

Obviously I haven’t looked into it very well. The social aspect of it was enough to keep me at bay, and the prospect of maybe getting published if I can get my novel finished wasn’t enough to motivate me to write (go ahead, cry, I won’t judge; it’s a painful truth for me as well).

However, I am now finished with the whole first section of Coming Home (although I’m undecided on whether the finished product will be divided into sections), which contains the first nine chapters. I’ve also written chapters ten and eleven, and four others later in the story, so my focus now is sort of on twelve.

I say sort of because I could just as easily write the last chapter next, and work my way backwards; or start on chapter 21 and jump around. I have them all outlined or summarized or some combination of the two; let’s just say I know what I want to happen in each one, I just have to write them.

There it is my friends, the bald truth: I just have to write. It sounds like such a simple, matter of fact notion. And yet….I’ve got nothing. I wrote chapter eleven on October 13th. I looked at the calendar and realized there were 11 full weeks (plus a few extra days) left in 2012, and I had 21 chapters left to write. That meant if I could average two chapters a week, Coming Home would be finished before 2013. A reasonable goal, to be honest; so how many chapters have I written in the last month? None. Zero. Although last night I wrote most of chapter twelve (it helped that half of it was already written and intended for something else that I scrapped). Still. Something is wrong with this picture people!!

Is it still possible for me to finish it by the end of the year? Absolutely. I just need to write. And I will. Keep checking back friends, watch the miracle unfold.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ten x Ten = 100

When this is published to my blog, it will be the 100th post of Random Rambles. That seems to be quite a milestone in most areas of life, so I wanted to write about something special in honor of it. I wish it could be the announcement that my novel is finally finished….but only 15 of the 36 chapters have been written to date.

A few suggestions were offered, including making a list of 100 things. I love lists! However, it’s more difficult to ramble when writing a list, and there are so many wonderful things to list I couldn’t narrow it down to just one topic. (I will admit the idea of making a list of 100 things to make a list about was seriously considered.)

Another idea was to ramble on about the number 100 itself, which was also seriously considered, as there are many fun and interesting things about the number 100 that I could talk about. But it just didn’t seem “special” enough, you know? A few more ideas were writing it in 100 words (but you wouldn’t know unless I told you, and I’d still need a topic), or 100 lines (which would be so long no one would finish reading it; we’re only on line 14 here).

So I continued to roll the idea around in my head, as well as asking friends for input, and I finally decided that I definitely want to talk about my novel, since I really, really, really, really want to finish it before the end of 2012 (or the end of the world, whichever comes first! hahahaha). I considered posting the first 100 words, but the second paragraph ends on word #97, and the next three lead you to believe something that isn’t true (how’s that for intrigue?) Since I haven’t finished the last chapter yet, I can’t include the last 100 words either....(plus that would just be cruel for all of us purists who like to wait until we get to the end to know what happens).

FINALLY I got the idea to use the first ten words from the first ten chapters, so there are 100 words total:
The first thing I learned at Faded Elegance was that
“Surprise!” I opened the front door and took a deep
The next morning I woke up early, and decided to
The second thing I learned at Faded Elegance is that
I pulled into the Zip’s parking lot and checked my
“How was your date with Blaize?” Connor and I were
The third thing I learned at Faded Elegance is that
I stepped into the September Valley Starbucks and smiled. Connor
The next morning I slept in and my family
“Are you nervous?” “Never,” I smiled. Connor opened the car

So there you have it. A fun and interesting way to celebrate 100 posts. Here’s to 100 more (and the long awaited completion of Coming Home)….

Monday, November 12, 2012

10 Things I’m Thankful For (vol. 1)

It’s been encouraging and amusing to read about the many thanks of my friends and family on Facebook this year. Here are my first ten, in no particular order:

1. I am thankful to be a Princess, a Daughter of the King of Kings. I know and love a living God who ardently seeks a daily, personal love relationship with His Children. He is the only One who is always there when I need advice, or want to share a special story (or random ramble), and always forgives my mess.

2. I am thankful to be blessed with the gift of writing. Weaving stories and creating worlds parallel to my own brings me peace and joy. Having writers’ block has also been an interesting blessing, prompting me to find new and more creative ways of exploring those worlds. I hope one day to share them with all of you.

3. I am thankful for this apartment where I’ve been living for almost two years. It has a large living room and two great bedrooms. The price is very affordable, and I feel safe and warm sitting here writing while our first real snow of the season is piling up outside the window behind me.

4. I am thankful for Dusty (my car), and the freedom she affords me to get up and go whenever and wherever I feel the urge or have the need. Although this is a small town, and walking isn’t unreasonable or unsafe, it’s much more convenient (and less stressful!) to just get in my car and drive.

5. I am thankful for the great new job I have this school year at Franklin Elementary School. The Staff have been welcoming and encouraging, and the kids are such a fun blessing to work with every day! And if I’m totally honest with myself, I can say that I am thankful even for the hard days, as I know we are making a difference.

6. I am thankful to be able to buy groceries and prepare meals for myself. I don’t often feel up to the task, especially since I live alone and don’t have to make anything for anyone else, but when I do cook something it fills me up in more ways than just a happy stomach – my heart is filled as well, knowing I can provide.

7. I am thankful for Oliver, my special teddy bear, my constant companion; I sleep with him every night, holding him tight, knowing that I’m safe. He goes with me to new places and situations that are unfamiliar and unnerving. He helps me stay grounded – and he’s so perfectly huggable!

8. I am thankful for my family and all of the encouragement they send my way. Watching them grow and start families of their own is a great picture of the loving design God has for our lives. I can’t wait to see the amazing stories of their lives unfold as we pass the years together.

9. I am thankful for my closest friends. To be honest, I am blessed to have two kinds of family in my life:  those that are connected by marriages and births, and those that are connected by choice. This special kind of family has helped me stay afloat and eventually make it out of the cave; now we can enjoy the sun together!

10. I am thankful for the gift of creativity. Being able to make art that will delight and touch others is also healing for me. I find it relaxing to make something out of a random mix of materials, to smear paint, glue, and pretty paper onto a canvas and create something beautiful. This is one more way I feel closer to the heart of God.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Songs of September

It’s already the end of the first week of October. Time got away from me once again; I spent most of September being sick and trying to rest. I didn't do much housework, writing, or creating. Now that I’m coming out of it I’m realizing many areas of my life need some serious home improvement!

It was my goal to write about a different song for each letter of the alphabet thru the month of September. Well I made it halfway, which isn’t bad considering how awful I felt most of the month. I have a list of songs for the second half, and I enjoy being able to share the lyrics, videos, and my thoughts about them, so I’m going to keep writing about them over the next couple of months, whenever I have a few extra minutes. So be watching and ready to listen!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

“Moments” (2006) Emerson Drive

I was coming to the end of a long long walk
When a man crawled out of a cardboard box
Under the E. Street Bridge
Followed me on to it

I went out halfway across
With that homeless shadow tagging along
So I dug for some change
Wouldn't need it anyway
He took it lookin' just a bit ashamed
He said, You know, I haven't always been this way

I've had my moments, days in the sun
Moments I was second to none
Moments when I knew I did
What I thought I couldn't do
Like that plane ride coming home from the war
That summer my son was born
And memories like a coat so warm
A cold wind can't get through
Lookin' at me now you might not know it
But I've had my moments

I stood there tryin' to find my nerve
Wondering if a single soul on Earth
Would care at all
Miss me when I'm gone

That old man just kept hanging around
Lookin' at me, lookin' down
I think he recognized
That look in my eyes
Standing with him there I felt ashamed
I said, You know, I haven't always felt this way

I've had my moments, days in the sun
Moments I was second to none
Moments when I knew I did
What I thought I couldn't do
Like the day I walked away from the wine
For a woman who became my wife
And a love that, when it was right,
Could always see me through
Lookin' at me now you might not know it
But I've had my moments

I know somewhere 'round a trashcan fire tonight
That old man tells his story one more time

He says
I've had my moments, days in the sun
Moments I was second to none
Moments when I knew I did
What I thought I couldn't do
Like that cool night on the E. Street Bridge
When a young man almost ended it
I was right there, wasn't scared a bit
And I helped to pull him through
Lookin' at me now you might not know it
Oh, lookin' at me now you might not know it
But I've had my moments

thinking boy

I mentioned this in the first Songs of September post that covered the song A Long December by Counting Crows (that link will take you to the post), but I think it’s worth mentioning again, now that the month is half over and, let’s be honest, it was a great point that I made:  one of the best things about music is when you find that song that somehow says everything you’ve ever wanted to say, better than you could ever say it. Now, the song Moments by Emerson Drive is one of those songs, which is why I’m sharing it with you, but it’s not the entire song. To be honest, those songs are really rare – when all the lyrics speak to me on multiple levels. However, all of the songs I’m sharing this month, and literally hundreds more (and counting as I continue to expand my musical horizons) have a line or two that paint a picture I can’t pass over.

First, I want to share with you the origin of this song. According to the great Wikipedia, it was composed by songwriter Annie Tate and her husband Sam, and came about with help from their friend and songwriting partner Dave Berg. The idea was to somehow capture people having their moments. After it was written, Sam said, "I've always wanted to write a song about redemption and how everyone has the ability to redeem themselves somehow".[1]

A feeling of redemption is definitely something you walk away with when this song ends. I also took away from it two lines that I want to share with you:  “And memories like a coat so warm/A cold wind can’t get through/Lookin’ at me now you might know it/But I’ve had my moments.”

Let’s break these up. “Memories like a coat so warm a cold wind can’t get through” – what a unique and powerful way to look at something so common. Especially from the perspective of a homeless man! Instead of talking about the familiar “walk down memory lane” or “life flashed before my eyes,” the writers chose to share a few specific moments in each man’s life, and the homeless man described his as being so warm, the cold wind couldn’t get through them. Do you see it? In other words, even on the cold streets, he had warm memories from some of his life’s changing moments to keep him moving forward. All of us have those little blessings, if we just allow ourselves to see them.

The other is the line that follows that one, and that is echoed by the young man, “lookin’ at me now you might know it, but I’ve had my moments” – how true is this statement for all of us at one point or another? We all have days (sometimes stretching into weeks, months, years….) when we look beat up and rundown. Looking at us then, from the outside or from within, you wouldn’t know we’ve had our moments. But we have! And they will continue to happen, every day!

Life is made up of a series of moments. Among those are moments of brilliance. Some of us have more than others, and some don’t realize they've even happened. Then there are moments of kindness and moments of revelization. And of course, there are those moments that change your life.

I will be 32 in a few months, not terribly old or wise, sort of at the beginning of the middle of my life so to speak. While I’ve had millions of moments of different kinds, most have long since been forgotten. The ones I remember are those that had some form of significant impact on the path I was following at the time, even to the extent of changing my direction. Looking back I can see little roadside markers indicating what happened at that point, and when.

While it’s true that I don’t remember every significant life event, and I still have many more to look forward to as I learn to live each day, in the moment, there is one truth that always stands out, no matter the direction I’m heading:  You’re never prepared for the moments that change your life.

1 Horner, Alan. (July 16). "Story Behind the Song". Country Weekly 14: 64

“The Last Good-bye” (2011) David Cook

If you hear this on the radio
Then we've already said our last goodbye
I won't be there when you get home
By now there's someone else that hears you cry

I wonder if he holds you like I did
I hope that he can love you better
Cause we were everything that's right
At the wrong time

I didn't want to lose you
Leave you with a broken heart
But wherever we are, we're miles apart
I know that we tried, but this is the last goodbye
Oh, I didn't want to let you go
But wherever we are, we're miles apart
I know that we tried….
But this is the last goodbye

We were almost beautiful
A broken piece of art put on display
But we were never possible
Another perfect moment thrown away

I know somebody out there will love you
They'll be the forever we never were
Cause we were everything that's right
At the wrong time

I didn't want to lose you
Leave you with a broken heart
But wherever we are, we're miles apart
I know that we tried, but this is the last goodbye
Oh, I didn't want to let you go
But wherever we are, we're miles apart
I know that we tried….
But this is the last goodbye

If you hear this on the radio
Then we've already said our last goodbye
Our last goodbye
I didn't want to lose you
Leave you with a broken heart
But wherever we are, we're miles apart
I know that we tried, but this is the last goodbye
The last goodbye
I know that we tried….
But this is the last goodbye

tigger

The Last Goodbye music video makes me laugh. And if you pay attention, you'll notice that David Cook laughs in it a few times, too. It’s not really what you’d expect from a song about the end of a relationship that was right, just at the wrong time. I love it when artists take a chance and subvert expectations.

For me, this song can be about more than a failed relationship. It speaks to knowing when to let go, when to just turn and walk away – from a person, from a job, from a bad habit. (I know, easier said than done!) If you know you’ve tried everything you can and something still isn’t right, maybe you just need to say a last good-bye.

“Keep Holding On” (2006) Avril Lavigne

You're not alone, together we stand
I'll be by your side, you know I'll take your hand
When it gets cold and it feels like the end
There's no place to go
You know I won't give in
No, I won't give in

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say, nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

So far away, I wish you were here
Before it's too late this could all disappear
Before the door's closed and it comes to an end
With you by my side I will fight and defend
I'll fight and defend, yeah, yeah
chorus

Hear me when I say when I say, I believe
Nothing's gonna change, nothing's gonna change destiny
Whatever's meant to be will work out perfectly
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say, nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth

So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Keep holding on
Keep holding on
There's nothing you could say, nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

anne on light pole

This is one of those songs that will always remind me of a particular person, and depending on where I am in life when I hear it, will probably make me cry at least 50% of the time. (It was originally released as part of the movie Eragon,and the music video for it has clips from the movie.)

When I hear the lyrics I think of friendship, the kind that is stronger than just hanging out at Starbucks or going shopping; this kind of bond is like choosing the people you want to have in your family. Some people call it “heart adopted.” For me, this song is about my little sister, and wanting her to remember that I’ll always be here for her no matter what life brings. There’s nothing she could say or do that would change that truth; she just has to keep holding on.

“Jesus Take the Wheel” (2005) Carrie Underwood

She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati
On a snow white Christmas Eve
Going home to see her Mama and her Daddy
With the baby in the backseat

Fifty miles to go and she was running low
On faith and gasoline
It'd been a long hard year
She had a lot on her mind and she didn't pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew it she was spinning
On a thin black sheet of glass
She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn't even have time to cry
She was sooo scared

She threw her hands up in the air
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel

It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder
And the car came to a stop
She cried when she saw the baby in the backseat sleeping like a rock
And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I'm sorry for the way
I've been living my life
I know I've got to change

So from now on tonight
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
Ooh, Jesus take the wheel
Ooh, I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
From this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel
Ooh, take it, take it from me

49 - down the rainy road

When Jesus Take the Wheel was released on the radio, it was played A LOT. It’s a great song, I really like the message, but after a while it just became too much. I don’t know about you, but when I hear a song played every three songs or so on the radio, it’s like having it stuck in your head. So I stopped listening to it for a while; now, I go back to it as part of a playlist, or shuffle on my iTunes, and every time I stop for minute and let the words become a sort of personal prayer for my life.

It seems to be a constant battle for me to give up control of my life. And yet I can't seem to get where I need to be on my own! Looking back, I don’t see footprints in the sand, I see road signs and a giant map of the path my life has taken. There are two lines – the one that shows the path I take when I’m at the wheel, that goes all over the place (including off the edge of some cliffs and into a few oceans, rivers, lakes), and the one that shows the path when God is leading the way.

I love maps, I love road trips (more the actual getting there part; once I’m there I’m only content for about two days, then I’m overwhelmed and need to be home again), and I’ve used driving and cars and such as an analogy for my relationship with God for a long time. It makes sense to me. I would encourage you to take a few minutes when you get a chance to figure out a way of seeing your own walk with God, and use that to guide your prayers and actions this week.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

“I Can Only Imagine” (2001) MercyMe

I can only imagine what it will be like, when I walk by Your side...
I can only imagine, what my eyes will see, when Your Face is before me!
I can only imagine.
I can only imagine.

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus?
Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine!
I can only imagine!

I can only imagine, when that day comes
When I find myself standing in the Son!
I can only imagine, when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You!
I can only imagine!
I can only imagine!

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus?
Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine!
Yeah! I can only imagine!

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus?
Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine!
Yeah! I can only imagine!

I can only imagine!
Yeah! I can only imagine!!
Only imagine!!!
I can only imagine.
I can only imagine, when all I do is forever, forever worship You!
I can only imagine….

old photographs

I remember when this song was released on the radio; I was still at Seattle Pacific, and it was quickly learned by the worship teams at the various churches and school Chapel functions I attended. I have a friend who would sing it as loudly as she could in the car – she has a beautiful voice, and it was haunting to hear.

I wouldn’t have been able to verbalize this at the time, but if I’m honest with myself, I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I stand before God. If I stop to think about it, and consider what I’ve learned about Him in my years of study and personal relationship, I guess it may be some of the things in this song.

Let’s see….I don’t know if I’d dance for Him, it depends on the music, but in awe of Him be still is a pretty safe bet. I also don’t think I’d be singing “hallelujah” as it’s not really my style, but I hope I won’t be quiet for long. I’d love to take a long walk with Him and just talk about things; ask questions, share stories.

I can only imagine so much, and it’s largely based on reality; one of the not-so-fun outcomes of my autistic superpowers I’m afraid. I have a feeling those will be gone when I get there. And I guess that’s ok, not being able to imagine; in a way that makes the day when it actually happens just that much more exciting!

“Home” (2007) Daughtry

I'm staring out into the night, trying to hide the pain
I'm going to the place where love
And feeling good don't ever cost a thing
And the pain you feel's a different kind of pain

Well, I'm going home, back to the place where I belong
And where your love has always been enough for me
I'm not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong
I don't regret this life I chose for me
But these places and these faces are getting old
So I'm going home, well I'm going home

The miles are getting longer, it seems, the closer I get to you
I've not always been the best man or friend for you
But your love it makes true and I don't know why
You always seem to give me another try

So I'm going home, back to the place where I belong
And where your love has always been enough for me
I'm not running from, no
I think you got me all wrong
I don't regret this life I chose for me
But these places and these faces are getting old

Be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it all
You just might get it all and then some you don't want
Be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it all
You just might get it all, yeah

Oh, well I'm going home, back to the place where I belong
And where your love has always been enough for me
I'm not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong
I don't regret this life I chose for me
But these places and these faces are getting old
I said these places and these faces are getting old
So I'm going home
I'm going home

changes

This is one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands, although I must admit both of those lists are quite long. The idea of going home “to the place where I belong” is not an easy one to write about. In this instance, he’s singing about being on the road and loving the life he chose as a singer/songwriter, but missing home and his love. Isn’t it interesting how he mentions the pain there being different, and the miles getting longer as he gets closer?

Home is not only a great song, it’s also an interesting concept; what is “home”? Well, that depends on who you ask. We all have a different definition, shaped by our past experiences and future desires. For someone who has a supportive, loving family, home is where the heart is (it’s a cliché for a reason); for others, who have moved around a lot or been hurt by those who were supposed to care for them, home might be a four-letter-word, or something only found in dreams.

Personally, I’m not sure how I define home. And I’ve given it a great deal of thought in the past few years. It’s definitely more than a place on a map or a living space filled with my things. (I've lived places that could never have been "home" to me. So is it a feeling then?) Family is part of it, but not the same way it was when I was younger; now I think of the family I want to have, a husband and children, rather than the one I was born into. So in that respect, I’m not home quite yet. But I’m on the way.

I’m still working on my first novel, Coming Home, and as part of the planning process I considered what “home” means to the protagonist. She was away from her family and hometown for University, and now that she’s returned – to a family grown and grown up, and a town that has expanded and changed – the “home” she left no longer exists. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I assure you she finds a new way to see “home” that holds the promise of a future.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

“Gotta Be Somebody” (2008) Nickelback

This time I wonder what it feels like
To find the one in this life
The one we all dream of
But dreams just aren't enough

So I'll be waiting for the real thing
I'll know it by the feeling
The moment when we're meeting
Will play out like a scene straight off the silver screen

So I'll be holdin' my own breath
Right up to the end
Until that moment when
I find the one that I'll spend forever with

'Cause nobody wants to be the last one there
And everyone wants to feel like someone cares
Someone to love with my life in their hands
There's gotta be somebody for me like that
'Cause nobody wants to go it on their own
And everyone wants to know they're not alone
There's somebody else that feels the same somewhere
There's gotta be somebody for me out there

Tonight, out on the street out in the moonlight
And dammit this feels too right
It's just like déjà vu
Me standin' here with you
So I'll be holdin' my own breath
Could this be the end?
Is it that moment when
I find the one that I'll spend forever with?

shadow 2

Do I really need to say it again? We all know what this song says to me, it’s right there in the title:  Gotta Be Somebody.

“Fall Into Me” (2008) Sugarland

When the weight of the world
Bares down so strong
It leaves footprints on the street
And there’s too many miles to face
Without a few more hours sleep
The storm clouds overhead won't shed
Any rain to quench your thirst
I wanna be the one you reach for first

When your faith is stretched so thin that
You can see straight through your soul
And you can’t find a nickel to buy a smile
Cause your pockets all got holes
You wanna shut the door
And hide before
The day can get much worse
I wanna be the one you reach for first

Chorus
Fall into me
My arms are opened wide
And you don’t have to say a word
Cause I already see
That it’s hard and you’re scared
And you’re tired and it hurts
And I wanna be the one you reach for first

I wanna be the bottle
You’ve been drinkin’ with your eyes
Or the road you run away on
You’ve been runnin’ all your life
The third row pew that you last knew
As a child in church
I wanna be the one you reach for first
(chorus)

Before your turn the key
Before you fall asleep
Before you drift away
To fight those demons
Waiting for you in your dreams
Before your arms are stretched wide open
Before you reach into the sky
Before your searching for direction
And all the answers to your life
Fall into me….(chorus)

fall into me 090912 1

Fall Into Me is a song that was probably intended to be sung to someone you love, but can easily be made into a promise from God. And that's how I hear it every time I listen to it. He does want to be the One we reach for first; He’s waiting with His arms wide open to catch us, if we would only fall into Him.

I know this truth, I’ve known it most of my life, and yet who have I been turning to these past months when the world has opened up for me in new and interesting ways? I’ve been out of the cave and walking on the beach, I’ve been exploring and learning and growing….and I’ve been trying to do it alone. And you know what? I feel even lonelier when I go thru life without Him, more even than waking up every day with only my teddy bear at my side.

I haven’t been feeling well, and I know part of it was physical, but those things are mostly gone now. The other stuff – call it stress, or worry, or chaos – it’s been piling up and I’ve been pushing it away. I’ve been trying to deal with things a little at a time but I’ve been doing it on my own. And for what? To find myself alone on the beach, soaking wet and shivering cold? I know where I find my comfort and rest, and I want to fall into His arms. I want Him to be the one I reach for first.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

“Everything You Want” (1999) Vertical Horizon

Somewhere there's speaking
It's already coming in
Oh and it's rising at the back of your mind
You never could get it
Unless you were fed it
Now you're here and you don't know why

But under skinned knees
And the skid marks
Past the places where you used to learn
You howl and listen
Listen and wait for the
Echoes of angels who won't return

He's everything you want
He's everything you need
He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time
But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why

You're waiting for someone
To put you together
You're waiting for someone
To push you away
There's always another wound to discover
There's always something more you wish he'd say

But you'll just sit tight
And watch it unwind
It's only what you're asking for
And you'll be just fine
With all of your time
It's only what you're waiting for
Out of the island
Into the highway
Past the places where you might have turned
You never did notice
But you still hide away
The anger of angels who won't return

I am everything you want
I am everything you need
I am everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
I say all the right things
At exactly the right time
But I mean nothing to you and I don't know why
And I don't know why
Why….
I don't know

jeremiah

Everything You Want has long been one of my favorite songs. I don’t know what it means but I especially like the last time thru the chorus. “I am everything you want/I am everything you need/I am everything inside of you/That you wish you could be/I say all the right things/At exactly the right time/But I mean nothing to you and I don’t know why.”

I’ve felt like that a time or two. Once in a while I meet a guy who really gets me, superpowers and all, and yet….I mean nothing to them and I don’t know why.

Of course, it’s a guy singing it, and he’s probably talking about a girl who keeps going after the wrong guys when he’s right there in front of her. I haven’t been one of those girls, either, for two reasons:  I haven’t gone after any guys, right or wrong haha, and I don’t know any single guys right now so he’s not right in front of me.

I’ve waited a long time for God to show me who I get to spend my life with; I don’t expect to get everything I want, but most of them would be nice…. [smile]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

“Does Anybody Hear Her?” (2006) Casting Crowns

She is running a hundred miles an hour
In the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away

If judgment looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her

He is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction

swing with me

This song always makes me think of someone who is very important to me. My little sister. I wonder sometimes if she feels like no one hears her. And yet no matter what I do I can’t help her understand I’m listening. I don’t want to fix her problems or take over her life. I just want her to be healthy….safe, happy.

I must say that she’s not a failure. In fact, she’s done some great things, and I am very proud of her in so many ways. She just doesn’t have any family to stand behind her and show her the way. And she’s not quite sure how God fits into everything all the time. But she wants to get better, and make a better life for her little one that will be joining us before too long. And that’s a great many steps in the right direction. Does anybody hear her? I do. And I love her a lot a lot.

“Colder Weather” (2010) Zac Brown Band

She'd trade Colorado if he'd take her with him,
Closes the door before the winter lets the cold in,
And wonders if her love is strong enough to make him stay,
She's answered by the taillights shining through the window pane

He said I wanna see you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then
She said you're a ramblin' man
And you ain't ever gonna change
You gotta gypsy soul to blame
And you were born for leavin'

At a truck stop diner just outside of Lincoln,
The night is black as the coffee he was drinkin',
And in the waitress' eyes he sees the same 'ol light a shinin',
He thinks of Colorado and the girl he left behind him

He said I wanna see you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then
She said you're a ramblin' man
And you ain't ever gonna change
You got a gypsy soul to blame
And you were born for leavin' (born for leavin')

Well it's a winding road
When your in the lost and found
You're a lover I'm a runner
And we go 'round 'n 'round
And I love you but I leave you
I don't want you but I need you
You know it's you
That calls me back here baby

Oh I wanna see you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then
Cause I'm a ramblin' man
I ain't ever gonna change (I ain't ever gonna change)
Gotta gypsy soul to blame
And I was born for leavin' (born for leavin')

And when I close my eyes I see you
No matter where I am
I can smell your perfume through these whispering pines
I'm with your ghost again
It's a shame about the weather
But I know soon we'll be together
And I can't wait till then
I can't wait till then

pensive

Colder Weather is a song full of layers in its music and meaning. It starts out with a simple piano as he sets the stage for a familiar story:  a man has to leave his love behind to pursue his dreams. Then the cymbals add a little depth, along with a few more voices, as he shares his feelings with the girl he’s about to leave.

A violin enters as the chorus fades and we meet up with our trucker at a diner in Nebraska, and a guitar comes in with the second time thru the chorus. Finally, the drums bring us into the bridge and the heart of the story – he pours out his soul to his love and admits he can’t be without her – but he’s stuck in colder weather. A crescendo and the music swells; as the song draws to a close we’re brought to the finale, a promise that it won’t be much longer….

I love songs that tell a story, not just with the lyrics, but with the music. There are literally thousands of songs about lost loves and tragedies of life; what makes them stand out is how well the artist can draw in the audience by evoking an emotional response with a few instruments and some harmonic voices.

Zac Brown Band is a country group, and I know some people don’t really enjoy that genre of music; the twang of the guitar, that little something in their voice that says “country singer.” But this band has some great songs that tell stories to make me think, and make me laugh, and this is one of my favorites.

Monday, September 3, 2012

“Crush” (2008) David Archuleta

I hung up the phone tonight
Something happened for the first time
Deep inside it was a rush, what a rush
‘Cause the possibility
That you would ever feel the same way
About me, just too much, just too much

Why do I keep running from the truth?
All I ever think about is you
You got me hypnotized, so mesmerized
And I just got to know

Do you ever think when you're all alone
All that we can be, where this thing can go?
Am I crazy or falling in love?
Is it really just another crush?
Do you catch a breath when I look at you?
Are you holding back like the way I do?
‘Cause I've tried and tried to walk away
But I know this crush ain’t going away-ay-ay

Has it ever crossed your mind
When we're hanging, spending time girl?
Are we just friends? Is there more? Is there more?
See it's a chance we've gotta take
‘Cause I believe that we can make this into
Something that will last, last forever, forever!

Why do I keep running from the truth?
All I ever think about is you
You got me hypnotized, so mesmerized
And I just got to know

college crush

Having a “crush” on someone means “a burning desire to be with someone who you find very attractive and extremely special.” I’ve felt that plenty of times; no one has ever felt that for me. But as I was just telling a friend of mine, it really only takes one person, if they're the right one.

I’m alone, and lots of days I’m lonely; I have a hamster now, his name is Oblio and he’s adorable, and it helps having him around. But I’m still lonely. I know one day I will find someone to spend my life with, and I know that I haven’t found him yet because I had a lot of work to do first. I still have work to do, but I’m getting better every day. And I believe God will introduce us. For now, I don’t even have someone to have a crush on. But I’ll let you know when that changes….

Sunday, September 2, 2012

“Beautiful Disaster” (2007) Jon McLaughlin

She loves her mama's lemonade,
Hates the sounds that goodbyes make.
She prays one day she'll find someone to need her.
She swears that there's no difference,
Between the lies and complements.
It's all the same if everybody leaves her.
And every magazine tells her she's not good enough,
The pictures that she sees make her cry.

And she would change everything,
Everything just ask her.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,
And she needs someone to take her home.

She's giving boys what they want, tries to act so nonchalant,
Afraid they'll see that she's lost her direction.
She never stays the same for long,
Assuming that she'll get it wrong.
Perfect only in her imperfection.
She's not a drama queen,
She doesn't want to feel this way….
Only seventeen but tired.

She would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,
But she just needs someone to take her home.
Cuz she's just the way she is, but no ones told her that's ok.

And she would change everything, everything just ask her.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,
And she would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,
But she just needs someone to take her home
And just needs someone to take her home.

paige

Beautiful Disaster is one of my favorite songs. The story it tells is kind of sad yet hopeful, but in a different way than “A Long December.” It reminds me of so many girls I’ve known along the way to where I am. The first verse especially, but really throughout the song he did a great job of capturing familiar images in new and intriguing ways. It’s not easy to write about the pain of not feeling at home in your own skin. Somehow this song really captures that for me….

Saturday, September 1, 2012

“A Long December” (1996) Counting Crows

One of the best things about music is when you find that song that somehow says everything you’ve ever wanted to say, better than you could ever say it. For the month of September, I want to share some songs with you, some of my favorites; each one has spoken to me in a different way, and I know that if you really listen to the lyrics, they will speak to you as well. I’ll try to post a link to a Youtube video for each one, and I’ll share some thoughts about what I hear.

long december

First up is “A Long December” by Counting Crows, which can be seen here A Long December. The video doesn’t really capture the song the way I see it, but it’s a great version if you haven’t heard it before. I love how eerie the music sounds, how it pulls you along as he sings about a friend in rehab. His words are sad, regretful as he thinks about the past and how he may have let her down, and yet he has hope for a brighter future:  “It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe/Maybe this year will be better than the last/I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself/To hold on to these moments as they pass.”

My favorite line out of the whole song is “And all at once you look across a crowded room/To see the way that light attaches to a girl.” It’s funny how this one image is what always sticks out to me; it doesn’t capture the main point of the song, or apply to my life in any way. And yet it stops me every time I hear it. I can't help it. I’m intrigued by the idea of light attaching to a single person out of a crowd of many. Is that the moment he fell in love?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Walk With Me

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

snow 4

Some of life’s greatest adventures happen when you set out on an unmarked trail. Be the first to leave footprints on a snowy slope and end up at the top of the world; step into the edge of a forest and end up in a beautiful, flower-filled meadow; or maybe stumble out on the shore of a lake hidden in the belly of a mountain.

converse on beach

Once, just once, take off your socks and shoes and leave them in the sand. Go for a walk nice and slow, letting the sand swallow your toes and the water wash away your worries. Just walk for a while, then stop, sit down, and close your eyes. Listen to the soothing back and forth of the waves….they’re whispering your secrets to the wind, who will take them and blow them away. Now open your eyes and look back on your footprints. They’ve disappeared with your worries and secrets.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Art Imitating Life

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
~ Scott Adams

DSCN2152

One of the best things about creating is that nothing is a mistake. No matter what you spill or drip or tear, it's a masterpiece. Someone somewhere will look at whatever it is you’ve created and say, “That is the most amazing work of art I have ever seen. How much?” Or at least say, “Wow, I love what you did there!”

Art is one of those magical things that has an indefinite number of disguises. Even more than Inspector Gadget! And here's why:  every person who looks at a single project will see something different, and walk away with a unique impression of it. We each view it thru our own personal lenses, colored by our experiences, thoughts, ideals, principles, goals, and fears. Each of us hears a different story. How great would it be if we could all get together and share them?

Well, in a way, that’s what I got to do today, for fourteen hours, in a conference room at the local Quality Inn. Paper Pals hosted a crop and I decided to bring some projects and create mistakes – also known as art – with a small group of like-minded women who shared their stories with me.

You know something? Life is a lot like art….with one notable difference:  there’s no eraser. So does that mean it’s ok to get upset when you make a mistake? To throw a fit and give up? Absolutely not. It means that you take a step back and decide how to turn them into art.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Company We Keep

“WILSON!!”
~ Chuck Noland

wilson

I have to admit I find this a bit creepy. That hand print was made (in the context of the movie) with blood. And it looks like a person….

However, I am in no position to judge who anyone chooses to have a conversation with. I find myself talking to, well, my self quite often. It’s not just when I’m alone in my apartment. I’ll be wandering around the grocery store talking about what I need to buy, the outrageous prices, how much one thing costs compared to another, etc. After several minutes I’ll realize I was talking out loud. So lately I’ve taken to holding my phone up to my ear so it looks like I’m talking to someone else.

On the other hand, I also talk to Oliver. All the time. He has a special, non-verbal language that only a few people understand. Well, two people to be exact. (Just for the record, I don’t expect him to respond, nor do I believe that he does in any tangible, audible manner.)

In the movie Castaway, which is one my favorites by the way, Tom Hanks talking to Wilson was more than just talking to himself. He was attached to that volleyball in a very real, emotional way. I have a similar connection to Oliver. When Hanks thought the ball had been lost at sea he cried out “WILLLLSSOOOONNNN!!” How many of you teared up? It’s ok to admit it, I do every time! And I get chills. Because I can imagine what he’s feeling.

DSCN2140

I can’t explain how I feel about Oliver. It sounds childish to be so attached to a teddy bear, but he’s the only family I have here. He represents something so important and deeply rooted in my heart and mind that I can’t sleep without holding onto him. Does that make him my Wilson?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rain Dance


“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
~ Vivian Greene


birds dancing in the rain

Two days into my new job and I’m exhausted! Not because I’m running around like a headless chicken or feel super stressed; honestly, it has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t have much to do yet! Ironic, I know. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; I’m still excited to be at a new school. I’m just so tired….

Because I’ve been dancing so much lately! Instead of sitting around waiting for the storm to pass, I learned to dance in the rain – and then I got out of there before I got so wet I melted! I’m really looking forward to next week and being able to work with more kids; maybe I’ll teach them a rain dance or two….

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Content With What I Have

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of what you already have.” ~ Anonymous

turtle

Sometimes when life becomes overwhelming, I have to remind myself to stop and take a look at what I have. When I feel restless and out of place, I make myself look around and be proud of the apartment I’ve settled in, the fact that I have a place to call home that’s all my own. When thinking about work stresses me out, I remind myself that some people don’t have a job, and I’m doing what I love, which is really just a bonus to being able to make a difference in a child’s life.

If I’m honest with myself, I can say that I am content with my life as it is right now. Yes, I’m lonely, and I want a family more than anything, but I also realize I have so much already. God has blessed me with so many wonderful gifts – friends, a place to live, a car, a job I enjoy even on the worst days (although I have a really hard time remembering that on the worst days!) – and best of all, I get to have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe!

This is one of those moments when I can look back on my day and see the miracles that are happening. This new job is going to be one of them, over and over again, in big ways and small ways. I am very impressed with my new boss, his team approach and the way he acknowledges and listens to those working for him. I’m encouraged by how friendly and welcoming the whole climate of this new school is – to new staff, and I’m sure to the students.

I also see how this new position is fitting into the plan God has for my life. My student teaching is about to be set for January, meaning I’ll be official by June. I’m in a place where I can learn and grow professionally and personally, while at the same time help others to learn and grow. As the pieces come together I am finding encouragement and contentment, and a renewed sense of peace and safety in God’s arms. And you know what? He gives great hugs….

Monday, August 20, 2012

Play for Me

“Music is what feelings sound like.”
~ Author Unknown

yellow guitar

How many of you sing at the top of your voice in your car when you hear a song you like on the radio? Do you find yourself nodding your head and tapping your pen as you sit in a Starbucks listening to your iPod? Or dancing around the living room in your underwear when you think no one is watching?

Self-expression comes in many forms. Music is a big part of many of them. It’s a universal language that never grows old, and even what’s old will become new again. Although I must say – 80’s music? Seriously? Can anyone name five good songs that came out in that decade?? I dare you.

Anyway, I could listen to a few of my friends play piano for hours. Or guitar. There’s something soothing about the sound of an acoustic guitar in the background. Especially in the mountains, camping. I don’t know how to play the guitar very well, mostly because my fingers are too short to reach around the neck and hold down the strings. I got a child’s guitar to help that problem but then I just look silly! Besides, I’d rather marry a guy who plays guitar….totally hot.