Monday, April 23, 2012

Needing a Place to Vent

Yes, this is my blog.  No, I do not visit all that often.  I am sure the cyber world is uninterested.  But really I simply have a question for cyber world.  At what point do you stop putting more $ into a car than it is worth?  I know... car that runs with no car payment, priceless.  But this is an OLD car.  Not many miles, but all the seals are beginning to fail.  In the last month we have now put $2000 into it.  I'm thinking $2000.... good down payment.  My husband is thinking.... totally worth it to keep the old gal running.

Can we afford to his dream replacement car right now?  No.  Kelly blue book is currently $1000.  Am I way off base?  Am I missing the entire point?

Monday, August 09, 2010

My Heart is Full

I hardly know where to begin, but I know that my heart is full... I will probably not make much sense... that is just the way it is. This post is full of nostalgia and amazement on the path of how I am where/what I am. And it is all connected to music.

Yesterday in church the sermon was on Prayer, as a matter of fact we are in a series on prayer. (One of my favorite topics as side from Worship when it comes to spiritual things.) This weeks prayer; singing your prayer. More often than any other type of prayer, this is the one that I connect to. Music has always been a part of my life. A huge part of my life. So it is a natural expression to pray in music. I have used music to dance and sing, to celebrate joy, to aid in grieving. I have a soundtrack. Sometimes that soundtrack is much holier than at other times, but... I have a soundtrack, and its a best seller (at least I know that I would buy it).

I don't think that music is any more powerful to me than anyone else. But I will say, that I have been blessed to be taught a love music that goes way beyond standard radio listening. To have been exposed to a wide range of music and love most all types of music (rap tends to be my exception). Childhood memories of music include children's choir, piano lessons, and sitting by the fire singing John Denver songs as a family while my Dad played guitar. There were dance lessons. There was a singing group that had gigs at Opryland. Music and childhood went hand and hand. Teenagedome was taken with singing duets with Shelley in the car to Indigo Girls, imbracing my Grungeness with flannel shirts and listening to Nirvana, NIN and Smashing Pumpkin. I added Marching Band to my music rep - that would be percussion and flute. Youth choir was a big deal to me, not only in my church but also in the regional audition choir (Impact - we sang in churches all over the state). I played flute in the church "band" (consistent of drum set, 2 flutes, and guitar). I sang in school choir (of course I did - I couldn't fit it into my schedule, so I would show up for morning chorus at 7:15 every morning before school started at 8). In college I auditioned for handbells on a whim - heard them once, never played - instant attachment, have been playing ever since in some way or another. I sang in choir and loved choir tours. And I joined a church and immediately joined their choir - that just seemed like a given.

And then it seemed my emersion into music was complete. I married a music major. I knew more music majors than psychology majors (still do it seems). He became a music minister. Again - how can a lay person know more about music than to have a 12 year relationship (11 in marriage) with someone so musical (not just musical, but a truly talented musican in love with music). I was the music minister's wife. And I embraced with this meant for me. Children's choir - I led that. Youth choir - I helped with that. Adult choir - I sang in that. Handbell choir - I played that. Solo singing - I sang that. These were never chores to me... I still do these even though I no longer have the title music minister's wife. All this to say, church music is a big part of my life.

I was complimented a month or so ago by my presence at church after the divorce. My continued involvement in choir and helping with the youth choir to this person was a surprise and an encouragement. Honestly, I didn't know where else I was supposed to be. When joyful or grieving... singing is where I should be. I have come full circle in grieving to joy when I have sat in the choir loft this past 3 years. I have driven alone to choir practices only to be surrounded by family, loved and blessed. I have sat in the choir loft sometimes unable to stop smiling, surrounded by the joy of others... In rehearsal I have laughed until sushed, and at other times have had to excuse myself to cry. Sometimes I am involved in ministering to other through music and sometimes it the music alone that ministers to me. There are times when I am overwhelmed by the worship experience and I can't quite bring myself to leave with the rest of the choir. So I stay and listen to the organ until the very last note.

*sigh* (a deep, contented, wonderful sigh) music.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say (sing),
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Work of Vacation

I'm not really sure its vacation... it is mission trip, to Chicago, with the church's Youth Choir. But it is time away from the job and time to serve others. I really do get more out of helping others than you might think is really possible. Oddly enough in Sunday School this past week we talked about "disinterested benevolence." The idea that you give something for nothing in return. My mind immediately flashed to a Friends episode. (This will be a bit disjointed, but I think I have a point, so stay with me). Pheobe and Joey had a bet... Joey said no one does something for nothing... So Pheobe goes on a quest. She is determined to do something that helps another living creature, that she doesn't even feel good about. So she gets stung by a bee - she's unhappy and the bee gets to look tough in front of his friends... Joey points out the incorrect logic - the bee died after stinging her, so it wasn't helped at all. The episode is a series of actions meant to help others, but that Pheobe felt good about, so they didn't count. Then Pheobe gave away a lot of money to a telethon that Joey was working... she was actually very bummed because she hated Public Television and really wanted to spend the money on boots (or something like that)... and then her pledge got Joey on TV... which, of course, made Pheobe happy for her friend. And took away the good that she had done.

So... same thing in Sunday School (well, not really the same thing but sort of). Lisa (fabulous SS teacher) brought up disinterested benevolence in conjuction with the topic of agape (or Godly) love. Is is possible to do something for others out of completely disinterested intent without any self gain (such as Christ dying on the cross for us)? Can we really do something for nothing? Great Sunday School discussion topic. The answer really truly, if we examine our motives, is No. We are not good at doing something that doesn't include some payback or reward. Her example is mission trips. We hear the report back and just as often it is about what the missionary got out of the trip as well as what was done for the "ministered to". (And this is especially the case when younger missionaries come back - i.e., teenagers on a trip to Chicago???)

Here is the crux of the matter though... Here is my question in this... Yes, motives are important. I do not disagree with that. But... BUT... Does good feelings after the fact negate the ministry done? Does it only count if your ministry is not fruitful, if the person doing the action does not enjoy what they do or at least look back with satisfaction? It is interesting that these good feelings come from helping others? Isn't that something unselfish and "disinterested benevolence" anyway? Why, when we have the by-product of the missionary being changed we question their motives from the beginning? I worry that we can't have "pure" motives if there is a good outcome and rejoicing in the success of that outcome. We are human. We have goals and desired outcomes when we "do" something. Should that stop us from doing it in the first place? NO. Should we judge harshly those who are making efforts to minister and help others because we question the purity of their motives... no, not that either. That is to say as long as their goals/motives are not exploitative or harmful.

I do so hope that Christ looks back on his sacrifice with satisfaction. That he takes joy in the fact that what he did matters to a great many people. We wouldn't dare accuse Christ of un-disinterested benevolence because there are many that have found peace and joy because of him and he likes that.

(And hopefully I'm not being blasphemous... That would totally suck.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I will so botch this spelling, but... Petechia Hemorrhage. (Okay, I cheated and looked it up on Wikipedia)

3 years ago about this time of year, I got this for the first time. Tiny red spots all over my torso, esp. around panty, bra, and waist line. Itchy and irritating. I had just started a new allergy medication 2-3 weeks before (Zyrtec) and so it was linked to that. It simply dried me out too much... So I stopped it and went back to Claritin (which is all well and good, but not very effective at all) and suffered through another allergy season. [it was shortly after this that I started allergy shots].

Then 2 years ago about this time of year, I got a nasty sinus/upper respiratory infection and the allergist wanted to try a new allergy medication on me. Nope... 3 weeks later... itchy tiny red spots. ***side note: just in case you didn't look at the link, petechia hemorrhaging is when the capillaries burst, creating the red spots that can take days or even a couple of weeks to descipate.*** So, I am having an allergic reaction to my allergy medication.

Then... 1 year ago, about this time. I got it again. I can't even remember what medication it was that I started taking, but apparently that was a no no too. 2-3 weeks after taking it... red spots. This time what I remember most is that it was in my hairline and even on my ear lobes.

Now... I started some new medication (2 months ago), so I am unsure if it is connected, but itchy tiny red spots on torso, upper thighs, shoulders, and even some on my arms. It hasn't come up on my neck, but it is a little bit on my scalp. Even though I haven't had any new medication since 2 months ago, it is occuring to me that they had switched my generic on medication I take as needed for cold sores. And yes, I started that on Sunday. The only thing that doesn't hold is usually it takes 2 weeks on a medication to make this effect, not 1-2 days. *sigh* this is frustrating. Maybe it is just my bodies reaction to spring. I am allergic to spring.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Self-Centered People, and I Can't Cuss at Them

Yet another member of my family has died. My great Aunt Ruthie. I was less connected to her than to my uncle, but I have fond memories of her. You know the person in your family that is kind to all. Happy to see you, and her face lights up when you walk over to say "hi." She was always ready to give or receive a hug. She is like this with all the cousins so I am not special, but she was the type of person that would make you feel special. This is not a shocking passing. She was old and had lived a full life, getting to hold her great-grandbabies.

So I was telling this to "someone." She was trying to get the right person in her head, but it came across as really self centered. She asked... "Is this the one that owns the lake property where they have the weinnie roast every year? Shoot. Not that I ever met her, but I saw her when there for the weinnie roast." (Shoot??? meaning, my gradkids look forward to that weinnie roast, I hope they don't cancel it). When I expressed my plan to go to the funeral, her reaction was of shock. "For a great aunt?" Yes, for a Great Aunt. Yes, for my father's aunt. Yes, for a woman who would sit with me and talk with me. Yes, for someone who has known me all my life and celebrated all of my victories with me.

So, here is a hint for anyone that needs one. When someone says they are going to a funeral, it means that the person who died has meaning to them. (I am not a funeral junkie - even if this is my 4th in the past year, I don't really like going to them. I go because that person is special to me and deserves to be honored by me). To express shock or even surprise that the person wants to go to this funeral is rude. Plain and simple - all that is needed from you is a I'm so sorry to hear of your loss... or even this loss (if you can't bring yourself to imagine that I might be hurting). Your commentary is not needed, not appreciated, and frankly makes you look selfish and completely lacking in sympathy. This may be a true statement of you, you may be completely lacking in the skills to see life outside of yourself, but just in case you don't want to look this way... at least say the words that match cultural decorum or shut the "flip" up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I don't know why. But I am craving toast. Something buttery with crisped crust and peach perserves.

It could be that I missed breakfast this morning. It could be that I just took a swig of cold coffee (cold from sitting out, not iced coffee) and now my stomach is yelling at me.

It could be that... I don't know. I just think toast sounds like a good idea. It is something that I will get a hankering for and can eat an entire loaf of bread toast style (not all at once but over a several day to one week time period)... I think I am entering into a toast time.

This could be that my body knows I am planning something mean for it... (26.2 mile marathon on April 24th!!!) It could be that bread (of all sorts) represents comfort food to me and I am wanting comfort.

Oh... it could be that bread is my butter and jam delivery system and I am actually craving butter?

Another possibility is the psycho-somatic manifestation of.... nah! Even I couldn't come up with something. Toast just means toast.

The world may never know why I want toast today.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I just heard from my dad. My uncle Forrest passed away. He has had a fight with lung cancer for many years. During the first occurance, they removed 1/2 of his right lung (I think that is right) followed by radiation and chemo. This time around, he just got so tired, so quickly. That was when they discovered, almost by accident the cancer in his abdomen. He went back for his regular scan of his lungs and because of a little bit of pain/discomfort in his stomage, he asked them to scan a little lower.

His children were able to be with him in the end. Please remember his wife Brenda, and his kids... Micheal, Denise, Lana, and Melanie.

I have great memories of going over to their house for holidays. His house and yard and very much connected in my memory to my grandparents. Four generations lived side by side (and that still continued with Forrest grandchildren with three generations). Grandpa (my great-grandfather) lived in a small cabin next door to Grandma and Granddad and on the other side was Aunt Brenda and Uncle Forrest and their 4 kiddos. We would go over for Summer fun (4th of July is my biggest memories)... the cousins would thromp around in the creek behind the houses... raid Grandma's cookie jar... then run up to visit Grandpa (who would also give us cookies)... then we would take the Crawdads we caught from the creek to Uncle Forrest's carport and see if we could get them to fight together. There would always be some sort of country fun, whether it was shooting guns at paper targets or bottle rockets up in the air... The uncles would always be in lawn chair between Granddaddy and Grandma and Uncle Forrest's house, supervising or instructing or correcting the kids.

He was a wonderful and deep spiritual man. A deacon in his church. Someone that truly loved God, fellow men and country.