Thursday, December 11, 2008

On writing and other matters

I've often wondered what makes a person begin to write. How does a person decide that they are a writer, and how do they get discovered by the rest of the world? Why do some authors who appear to write nonsensical trash become valued over others who's writing has the ability to pierce and change the soul? There is no reason at this moment for this rant, but rather my curiosity has led me to share this with you.

I have been pushed to my limits during this holiday season. It seems that schoolwork is a never ending list of "to dos" while work also crouches in, threatening to rob what time is left. The responsibilities of life do not seem to weigh me down as much as my attitude about how I want things to go. The little spoiled selfish child that we all have within us takes every opportunity to blackmail me in order to gain a prominent standing in my world. All I want to do is sleep for a day (or three), crochet, read some books, go snowshoeing and snowboarding and have a little bit of relaxing fun. I want my husband to do these things with me, yet our friends, work, family, home all require bits of ourselves that when we are done satisfying others, we have nothing left for ourselves. Ugh. It bites, and I have no shame in saying that.

I suppose my focus should change to the t-shirt I received yesterday while at a staff breakfast for work. We were given shirts that listed the attributes of our goals on them. I chose "Adventurous," since I feel that my being can be summed up in that word. So instead of griping, I should look at all of these mundane tasks and obligations as opportunities for adventure and discovery. Okay. I'll try.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yanni Voices

I cried when I heard was so beautiful!

Yanni Voices airing on PBS Nationwide - Nov. - Dec. 2008.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Old Friends

Today I heard from a long-lost friend. It was a mass email with her updated information, yet it felt so personal; she included me in on the briefest update of her life, and my heart longed to reach out and rekindle that friendship.

It is amazing to me that after all of these years, I still have the capacity to make new friends. It brings to mind that girl scout song I used to sing as a little girl:

Make new friends
And keep the old
One is silver and
The other's gold

A girlfriend and I were walking around in REI the other day (yes, the very one with the Starbucks), and we found ourselves discussing friendship, relationships, etc. We spoke about our differences in relationships. I can have 4-7 fairly close friends with 1-2 who are the closest. She has 1-2 friends who she spends most of her time with and anybody else tends to be put into the acquaintance category. The difference is not better or worse for one vs. the other. Sometimes I feel too stretched thin and wish to only have a few. Sometimes she wishes she has more friends but could not imagine extending herself any further.

Anyway, I digress. Old friendships seem to have a bittersweet tone to them as they become (often) fond memories of good times with much laughter, possibly some crying, and some challenge that has been overcome. Why do they end? I don't know. People move. The change jobs. I think those are usually the two catalysts for spurring people on to finding new relationships. The time and distance apart can be a difficult thing to overcome when two are used to being together often. When all is said and done, I am amazed at how those friendships are much like a disease in remission (a horrible comparison, but bear with me here): The disease still remains, but it is no longer affecting you in the same way when it was present and active within you. But at some point, unbeknown to you, it suddenly flares up just like old times and takes it's old spot within your life- front and center. This can happen because you see each other again (I'm talking about the relationship now, no longer the disease), you get a random email of new contact info, you find each other on Facebook...whatever. The difference is that it is a welcome flare up rather than a dreaded occurrence, and we may not fight against it as we would cancer or limes disease.

Any thoughts?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two Basements

My friend Emily and I were discussing her nephew's new innovative thought. He, a boy who is 3 or 4 years old, has creatively decided that his feet are the basement of his body. Because he has two of them, he has two basements! I just thought that was both funny and adorable. I have no more to say, but I hope you will ponder what you would do with two basements....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I woke up this morning at 3:30am actually. Waking up at odd times- anywhere from 1:30-4:30- has been a normal part of my evening for quite some time now. Usually, this is a symptom of my stress levels, and I believe this case is not an exception. It never ceases to amaze me when I have so many clear and rational thoughts at this ungodly hour or the morning.

This morning, I woke up processing through a dream that I had. I can't remember all of it, but I do remember that teenagers were involved, a set of parents, some clowns and a lock-box at an airport. I think one, two, or all three of the teenagers were dressed as clowns at one point...and possibly the parents. At least I was not dreaming of them eating me! I shudder whenever I see those T-shirts or posters that say, "Can't sleep...clowns will eat me." Oh, scary!

I have the song "Deliver Me" from the movie Brokedown Palace stuck in my mind right now. I was listening to my Gladiator station on Pandora and that was the last song that came on before I left for a meeting. It is by Sarah Brightman, and here are the lyrics:

Deliver me, out of my sadness.
Deliver me, from all of the madness.
Deliver me, courage to guide me.
Deliver me, strength from inside me.

All of my life I've been in hiding.
Wishing there was someone just like you.
Now that you're here, now that I've found you,
I know that you're the one to pull me through.

Deliver me, loving and caring.
Deliver me, giving and sharing.
Deliver me, the cross that I'm bearing

All of my life I was in hiding.
Wishing there was someone just like you.
Now that you're here, now that I've found you,
I know that you're the one to pull me through.

Deliver me,
Deliver me,
Oh deliver me.

All of my life I was in hiding.
Wishing there was someone just like you.
Now that you're here, now that I've found you,
I know that you're the one to pull me through.

Deliver me,
Oh deliver me.
Won't you deliver me

It has such a beautiful and haunting melody as it speaks to even the most assured person of being less than who they are at times. We sing this at TNL once in awhile, and a remarkable phenomenon happens- the chemistry of the room changes as a community of 500 or so people join together in song about the realities of our human's soul-need for rescue.

The most common misperception of Christianity is that one's life is supposed to be perfect after a person accepts Jesus as Lord of their life. Such a comfortable lie is so far from the truth. It's true, those who do not know God can go through some of the most horrific things which would cause them to wonder if there really is a God or if He can be good. But then again, Christians experience atrocities as well, possibly more so as they understand what is eternally at stake when the game is over.

Regardless of whether you are a believer or not, I think the character Brand Hauser (played by John Cusack) from War, Inc. said it best, "Did you know that the word "person" comes from the Latin word "persona", which means mask? So maybe being human means we invite spectators to ponder what lies behind. Each of us will be composed of a variety of masks, and if we can see behind the mask, we would get a burst of clarity. And if that flame was bright enough, that's when we fall in love. What's your opinion on these divine matters?" If that's true, are we all hiding, by nature, behind a mask? Do we all need to be freed from that mask so that we can truly be?

Those are my thoughts at 4:48am... Sleep well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The silence around me

This morning I woke up on the cranky side of my bed. I was tempted to go back to bed and get up on the other side, but that just seemed a bit silly to me. Have you ever had those days where you just revel in being ornery? While putting on my make-up, I actually had fun frowning and knitting my eyebrows together. My husband looked like he was convinced I had lost my mind. On days like these, I wonder if his fears are justified!

After Chad left for work, I was suddenly very sad. Ah the emotional swings of being a woman sometimes astound me. At one point, I wanted to go have a snack. The next moment, I felt the need to go work out. Then I thought it would be good to get some actual real work done. But then I realized I had not had my Jesus time for the day yet. So I busted out the laptop.

Here I sit on my old couch with my red corduroy-covered down comforter tucked all around me. I stare blankly at the screen and scroogle "I need to hear from Jesus." It's all I can think of right now. I need to hear from God but I feel like my grouchiness is getting in the way, and what does God want to do with a cranky woman? A short article by Joe Vigliano pops up. Since I think he wrote something that is somewhat helpful, I'm including a link to the page for your reading pleasure.

What is your solution for disagreeable days? Whenever I have them (like today), they somehow take me by surprise and I seem to forget what I can do to combat it. We'll see though. Maybe the sun will shine brighter by the end of today.

Article: Do You Need To Hear From God?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

REI, Starbucks and other things

REI is one of my favorite stores- possibly in the world. Not only does it contain virtually everything I will ever need for the outdoors (including some amazing cookware that we recently discovered), but the downtown flagship store sports a rustic city combination that always seems to fill me with inexplicable joy down to my very core. I swear sometimes I hear angels singing.

I'm currently sitting in the Starbucks housed in said REI location while listening to a combination of funky 70's music and 20's jazz. My soul is happy :) The saxophone is pumping out a tune that makes me want to bob my head whilst alone in public, and since I don't care about the anxious and odd glances of the people around me, I can't help but groove along like the bobble head on your dashboard, while I sip my teeny sample of a peppermint mocha. Yum!

I came here to this Starbucks this morning to meet up with some new friends that I met at a retreat about 6 weeks ago. It was so great to have chilled out girl time. One of my friends shared with me her woes of another friendship that has gone slightly sour. You know the story: Two long time friends come across a subject of conversation where opinions vary greatly. Friend #1 thinks she is right and feels the need to convince Friend #2 of her mistaken ways. Friend #2 is perfectly comfortable with disagreeing as she has already worked out her perspective prior to this conversation. Friend #1 says slightly nasty and degrading comments toward Friend #2, and Friend #2 wonders what happened because up until this point she felt that their relationship could withstand anything, including disagreements such as these. You guessed it: I met with Friend #2. Among our many rabbit trails, we talked about the remarkable phenomenon of having relationships that are not what they appear to be at first sight.

In this instance, I think that both persons are at fault. Friend #1 has a history of being the parent friend, and Friend #2 has a history of being the child friend. Both have enabled the other's behavior, finding that it is something they are comfortable with. Oddly enough, when Friend #2 decides to grow up, suddenly the relationship becomes strained. The verse “honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12) usually applies for parent-child relationships, but oh wait both women are neither!

I am so proud of my friend who has decided that it is time to take a step back and re-evaluate what this relationship is saying about her and the other person. She has decided to seize the opportunity to press on to the inward journey that God is clearly calling her toward. Courage begins with that first step of opening the door into the basement of one's life as the creepy crawly, dusty and discarded remnants of one's soul attempt to hide, sabotage and deceive. This basement will contain many undesirables while at the same time producing irreplaceable treasures that will contribute to a lifetime filled with wholeness, simplicity, equality in relationships and an unmatched contentment. She is beginning the adventure of what it means to be God's Woman, as she listens to the song of her soul that God composed for her, long ago. What an exciting time to be a part of her life! (Yes it's a cheesy ending, but it seems so perfect!)

Questions for you: Do you find yourself in a relationship(s) that you are either the parent or the child? Why do you think this relationship works for you? If the other person changed (or if you changed) do you think you could handle the reversal or flattening of roles? If so/not, why?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Your Song

Hello folks!

I had the opportunity to listen to Mark Hoog speak this past weekend at the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) conference on his leadership development series written just for children. The first book, "Your Song" is about a young boy who embarks on a journey to find his song. This, according to Mark's leadership plan is the first step: To "look within to find your gifts, talents, and self-esteem." I would change that last part say that it's important to look within to find your self worth rather than self-esteem.

Anyway, I thought I'd give a shout out to Mark for being one of the first writers in our generation to target a thriving audience in the area of leadership development. The children in our country and our world are growing up in a chaotic and less than ideal environment when it comes to cultivating a safe and healthy personal mindset. I believe that with these books and some good coaching from adults leaders, our children will be able to grasp the reality and importance of leadership with a level-headed approach that will cause many to follow amidst uncertain outcomes.

On another note, what about you? I believe these basic concepts within this book are not only applicable to children but to adults as well. Have you taken that time to look within yourself to see who you are? Do you know who you are? Do you like who you are? I'm not a huge advocate of coddling a person because they have "low self-esteem." I think it is much more productive to challenge a person within a safe environment to address that lowly-attitude. More often than not, I have found that one's low-self esteem is a form of perfectionism and unmet expectations. I say this from personal experience. I found that once this issue was confronted in myself in a safe environment, I was able to let those go and move on to a life of reality while embracing all of me.

Just before I finish, I would like to mention that I keep bringing up safe environments for a reason. When anybody has not gone through the inward journey of finding out and accepting who they are, there are usually walls, blockades, memories, etc, that have prevented them from getting there thus far. I have seen people break down irrationally in some very public places because they came to the realization of what they a bad time. A safe environment/place allows the person to intentionally tackle and weed through their junk before it takes over them, if it hasn't already.

Well, that's all for today! Enjoy the rest of your day :)

Back to writing!

Yippee! I apologize for those of you who have been checking my blog to see what I've posted. I took a bit of a writing hiatus without actually telling anybody! With that said, I'm back online and pumped to write about anything and everything. If there are any topics that you would like me to cover, please feel free to send me an email and I'll do my best to write about said topic.

I look forward to this journey with you!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

No friendly faces

I've been taking classes over at Overland Park, KS, and I was struck this morning with how much of a difference there is in the atmosphere here vs. with my Colorado Cohort. I found myself sitting at the back of the room this morning, which I don't believe I have intentionally done since I was in middle school. Why did I do this? Because there was nobody to sit with!

It's amazing that a person such as myself, who is typically very friendly and "makes new friends while keeping the old," cannot find a person to sit next to. It's a different atmosphere even from classes that I've taken at Emporia. For some reason, the people here in Overland Park are a bit more uptight, so serious, and so...well, not very much fun. It makes me very sad to see this happening.

Let me give you an example so that you can maybe understand this issue a bit more concretely. I have been participating in a group project where, frankly, our outcome is much more boring than I would ever have wished to attach my name to. I suggested adding more pictures, clips, or whatnot and was met with blank stares. "Fun? Pictures? Making people laugh? This is graduate school! We don't make people laugh. We get a grade by following our assignment." How supremely frustrating to encounter a group of people who spend their time jumping through hoops rather than using the experience as a journey from which they can learn from.

Within my Cohort, one of my cohort members said it best- "I started grasping the program and doing well as soon as I stopped taking myself and the program so seriously." No kidding! I found that I had arrived once I had written a paper using "Where do babies come from?" as one of my sub-titles in reference to rural library funding and staffing issues. A sense of humor is so vitally important to bringing life to an otherwise mundane and rote subject.

Hopefully, one day, I may run into these people and see them crack a smile. At least then I'll know that at some point from now until then, they were able to loosen up and get past the grade and start learning. Until that happens though, I guess I will just continue to sit in the back.