Tuesday, November 30, 2010

feelings and thoughts

Last night I got my Christmas present (yeah, I know; it's not December yet!).  We went to the Mannheim Steamroller concert in Raleigh. I enjoyed watching the various instruments (especially trying to figure out the different parts of the clarinet family!), and I have always loved their music.  But what took me by surprise was the videos to the Christmas hymns HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WORDS AT ALL!!!

For example:  God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ your Savior was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan's power when we had gone astray. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.  There are so many ways that could be depicted in video.  Guess what they had?  A merry little feast (okay, they got the merry gentlemen not being dismayed by anything right) in a medieval setting. 

And the Little Drummer Boy - it's a war clip about a boy who got a drum for Christmas, grows up, falls in love, and goes off to war.  Not exactly fulfilling the song's meaning of a poor person using their talents (all they have) for God since they can't afford a gift.

So when it got to the Hallelujah chorus, I was a bit thankful they didn't have video. I closed my eyes to the blinding lights and pondered what the shepherds felt like that night as bright lights appeared around them with music.

I still like Mannheim Steamroller's music, just not with quite as much intensity as before.  Feelings and warm, fuzzy thoughts are great, but when the meaning of those thoughts lose their source of heat, you're just left with fuzzy feelings. Feelings and nostalgia aren't bad things, but I happen to like the "oomph" the words to the songs invoke. I'm a little weird that way.

Monday, November 29, 2010

my sinful evil nature

I could tell you that my sinful, evil nature means I am a glutton.  That would be true, but that's not what this post is about.

I could tell you that my sinful, evil nature means I can be slothful. (Don't you just love that old English word for lazy that makes you think of a porch slug?) But that's not what this post is about, either.

Today my sinful, evil nature has many words: meanness, orneriness, irritability, unkindness, or just plain old grumpiness.

I am an adult. I don't feel that old most days, but the reality is, I'm old enough that I'm considered old-school. Don't believe me?  You should have seen the looks on teenage faces over Thanksgiving when I told them they should turn their cell phones off before going to bed (as one teen had sent a garbled text to her boyfriend in her sleep and was showing it to everyone while others talked of being awakened to an incoming text or call during the night) and was met with shocked faces and stunned silences. Then one of the boys said, "And then how will the alarms go off in the morning to wake us up?"  Yeah, dumb me.  Cell phones have alarm clocks, or at least the cool ones do.  And kids today don't wear watches, either.  Who needs one when your phone gives you the time?

So I feel a little on the mature side. Until I come home. I have my nicely organized laundry, my "to do" list of activities, things I need to get done today and things I'd like to get done today, and then the phone call comes.  Someone who's trying to be helpful and loving, but in reality is checking up on us because we are unable to care for ourselves (see how mean-spirited I can be!) and I get more than a little testy/irritable/snippy with her on the phone. And I hang up and think 'ooh. I wasn't very nice."  But that can't be undone.

I don't like being told what to do.  I don't like have to explain my rationale for things and the way I do them to people.  Sometimes I know it has to be, but when it comes to running my own household...really?

It's not even 10:30am, and I've already blown it in the loving/kindness/graciousness department this morning.  His mercies are new every morning, and I"m SO thankful for that, because today I need an extra dose of them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a book excerpt

I bought a book to give my parents, and after reading it, decided it wasn't one they would enjoy.  Written by a hoity-toity Duke divinity student, he shares a few of the lessons he learned from a small church.  Toward the end he wrote several paragraphs that resonate with a few thoughts I've been having the last few months.
The church is easy to bash because the church is full of knuckleheads, that is, human beings. we're all hypocrites, the greatest saints among us chiefly so...She's (the church) made space for the strangest among us, allowed us to be that way, worshiped alongside us, cared for our children, wept when we buried parents, and been our friend and neighbor. It's a greater gift than any of us has a right to expect. It's like grace -God's own mercy. And the trick is- there's no batch of perfect people someplace else to replace this batch of sinners. Sinners are all Go d has to work with to get His way in the world...This doesn't happen automatically in megachurches. In megachurches anyone can walk in and be anything they like. Nobody has to tolerate you because nobody has to tolerate anybody any more than one has to get on with the guy in the movie theater next to you. I can see the appeal of this - I've had stages in my life when I wanted no one in my business as I worshiped Jesus. But those were stages. Everywhere, the church makes a place for crazy people because the church is full of them. That is, all of us. But in the small church you have to shake their hands. Weekly...The church wounds us, like every parent wounds, hopefully unwittingly, penitentially, but in ways no less real. She marks us forever. And without her, we'd not be us. (107, Byassee, Jason.)

There are times I'd love to be swallowed in a crowd where no one knew my name or cared whether or not I made it to church. But the reality is, in such a place I'd not have a person to nudge me on, lovingly confront me, nor hold my hand through difficult times. I don't agree with everything Mr. Byassee had to say, but I appreciated the acknowledgement, however condescendingly made, that a small church has many gifts to offer.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the giving of thanks

This will probably be my last post until the Monday after Thanksgiving (unless my withdrawals become so severe that next Friday at my sister's while I'm supposed to be watching Alabama's most sacred television broadcast, the Iron Bowl, I dare to fight the slow speed internet connection in hopes of attempting to blog.).

I started out today early with Bobby having a 7am meeting.  I actually got a few things done before heading to church for a 9am instrument practice.  Have I ever told you how much I enjoy playing with Danielle? She jumped WAY out of her comfort zone for me with this new Christmas duet we're trying, and today was our first day to try it together with the accompaniment, and I was SOOOO pleased with how it sounded! Of course, Dave graciously hammered out my rhythms for me and brought the tempo down to help us get the notes.  And on top of that, Danielle switched from playing one instrument (the bass clarinet) from the Thanksgiving song to the Christmas piece (the Bflat clarinet) with VERY little difficulty! I don't think I could have done that!

Then we headed to Lumberton (the "halfway" point between here and my older sister's house) to meet up with my sis and nieces for lunch (delivering items to the Children's Home where my brother-in-law works, as well as a birthday package for my niece), and then to head home.  We actually had to make a detour at Mrs. Bryan's on the way home, for the stow-away kittens Bobby brought home from her house Thursday night decided to take another trip and ended up going to Lumberton with us.  They are now safely back at home.  Well, they are physically safe, though the blonde kitten is now very skittish, whereas she wasn't before. But I will happily sleep tonight without waking up to pouncing kittens going crazy in the garage.

Now we're home, trying to get things lined up for tomorrow and our trip on Monday. 
So in honor of the holidays next week, my list of thanks:
  • that I have a hope, thanks to Christ
  • that I have a Comforter who is with me in difficult situations
  • that I have an imagination
  • that I have a church family
  • that God blessed me with Godly parents
  • for my siblings & their crews
  • for my husband
  • for transportation that doesn't involve body scanners or butt checks
  • for fast food restaurants
  • for music
  • for good books, and semi-good movies
  • for material and the people who think up creative quilt patterns
  • for the patience God gave my husband
  • for my mother-in-law
  • that I live close to a nice shopping center
  • that I live in America
  • for doctors (even though I complain about them and our healthcare set-up, we've still got one of the better healthcare systems in the world)
  • for the gift of sleep and rejuvenation
  • for Dr. Pepper
  • for chocolate
  • for Facebook
  • for holidays
In everything give thanks!!! :) Happy Thanksgiving!
oh, and RooooooooLLLLLLLL TTiiiiiiiiiiDDDDDee  rrrrrrooooooooooOLLLLL!!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

what day is it?

Today is a whirlwind.
Life has a way of interrupting the best of plans.
Yesterday instead of dragging out costumes for church and finishing a logo for someone, I spent the afternoon at the hospital with a cousin and friend. I don't regret it in the least, but it makes today a little on the interesting side.
And we have a van appointment.  There is a possibility that tomorrow evening Bobby will come home with a different vehicle. Should the momentous event actually occur, what he'll drive next week is still undetermined.

And I think my nose is trying to get Bobby's cold.  Dear nose, don't you know that now is NOT the time for this? I have places to go, things to do, people to see!  The holidays are upon us!  This is not the time to demand attention!!!

I hope to have a much more interesting post tomorrow, but we shall see. Upward and onward!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

arrogance in the first degree

I think I've mentioned more than once my Mom's opinion that if you hear the same thing (whether it be via sermon, friend's conversation, personal devotions, what-have-ye), then God's clearly trying to tell you something.  And that my friends, is a little scary.

Many years ago while finishing up my associate's degree at Wake Tech, I had to take a portfolio class. For pieces in our portfolio, we were supposed to actually design and print items for a company, whether it be as a real job or on a volunteer basis.  During this time frame, someone from a non-profit organization spoke in the church I was attending. They were on a very tight budget, and had this hand-out that was extremely boring and not cheap to produce. I took it home, modified it, updated its look, and at the next meeting where I knew the leader of that organization would be, I took him a printed sample, along with the file on CD in case he wanted to use it. I explained to him what my job was and the project. He seemed offended, and a pastor friend of ours who was standing next to him kind of snorted, rolled his eyes, and said, "Don't you just hate people like that?"
I never meant to offend, I was trying to help, hoping to use my talents to assist in advancing "kingdom work", but in their eyes I was arrogantly stating the work they had done was not good enough.

This past week someone shared with me a similar story, only this person was on the opposite side of the fence. I couldn't help but think back to my earlier situation. The reality is, I was so focused on doing a good job and being helpful that I lost sight of the people in the position. And sadly, I've done that on many occasions. It all boils down to pride.  But on the other side of the coin, there has to be an equal amount of arrogance on the receiving end for a person to think they have it so together that they cannot benefit from suggestions or assistance. I think of David when he desired to defend the name of the Lord from Goliath's attacks.  He listened to Saul, accepted his offer of his personal armor, even tried it on, BEFORE he decided it wouldn't work.

I have to confess that I prefer to try things my way before I'll give something else a try.  Don't believe me? Just ask my husband what it's like when I'm trying to work on his wheelchair and we have different viewpoints (both literally and figuratively, haha) and ideas on how it should be repaired.

I will probably struggle with the sins of pride and selfishness until the day I am freed from this sin-cursed body. I like to think that the day I die there will be significantly less of both of those sins in my thoughts and actions. But in the meantime, it's the war of the flesh, as the Apostle Paul aptly phrased it.

So if you hear another sermon, ladies' devotional, Wednesday night Bible study or personal conversation on the topic of pride in the church, I might be to blame.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day # 6

HOW can it be Tuesday already?  I am SO not ready for it to be Tuesday. But Tuesday it is, this day that is a gift.  I feel like an ungrateful child at Christmas who stares at the present and says "But it's not big enough!"  I should be thankful for this gift of today and not bemoaning that it doesn't have more hours.

I share several weird quirks with my hubby.  We both love to read (no, that's not a quirk), and so naturally we love to share/gift other book lovers with books.  (Okay, quick clarification: according to non-book loving nieces and nephews, Uncle Bobby shares/gifts books with anyone. It's now a Bryan family joke.) Our weird quirk is that we prefer to read any book we give someone, and so more often than not we'll be frantically reading/skimming a book prior to a holiday or birthday.

My Mom's birthday is Thanksgiving day, and for her birthday she's getting (drumrolllllllllllll): BOOKS!  I'm half-way through two of them, and am seriously debating whether or not to use a gift bag so I don't have to "wrap" them and can finish reading on the drive home.  In the event that the world's rotation slows on its axis and my Mom can remember how to find my blog, much less, read it, I'm going to refrain from giving titles or reviews.  That'll be a post for next week.

Meanwhile I'm getting ready to hit the interstate for the great city of Raleigh, and my day will have officially begun.  Bring it on (but gently, please!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day #7

No, today is not the day of rest.  Today is the day for kicking things into high gear. Today begins the countdown for The Great Trip. Today I'm adding all kinds of interesting things to my "to do" list in anticipation of this trip that we're taking. I hope.
One of the things that I LOVE to tease my husband about is his allergies to my home state. It seldom fails. We head to the promised land of my past, and his van breaks down, one of us gets sick, something happens here that makes us wonder whether or not we should have stayed home, and so on.  But I think this trip is going to win the award for the most obstacles thrown in its path.
Obstacle number one: vehicular.  I think most of you know we placed an order for a new van several months ago. It was to be ready the end of October, at the absolute latest. We are now a few weeks past that date, and no potential arrival time in sight.  We do know that the "fix" is in the works by the manufacturer, that the windshield wipers and two other things are not working properly until this fix happens, but have no word as to when the "fix" is anticipated.  So we are now contemplating options.  Do we travel in a well-worn van that has about 200,000 miles on it and likes to flash notices such as "SERVICE ENGINE" in glaring red letters that the mechanics can't figure out WHY the light is on (but the van is liable to stop and refuse to start)?  Do I unplug the chair and throw my husband in the front of my car and drive, hence punishing myself to pushing a manual chair up my parents' steep driveway (to get upstairs where the kitchen and everyone else is), and later face the wrath of my better half? Or do we pray the van is ready on Friday and Bobby miraculously adjusts to all the new gears and such within two days and instantly feels at ease (which has NEVER happened) so that we hit the interstate at our regular ungodly travel time on Monday?
Obstacle number 2: health concerns.  Long distance travel is never body friendly. It does strange things to muscles and organs. It prompts infections of various sorts, or at least seems too.  So this year, instead of having just ONE health ailment to consider, we are facing TWO.  Huh?  Yeah, I know.  A bit of overkill.  But either way, that's what it is.  So I'm calling one doctor this morning and will visit another in hopes of answers and potential solutions.  I mean, there is the possibility that all this can be cured BEFORE travel time, right?  Hey, a girl can dream!
Obstacle number 3: scheduling.  This time of year is always notorious for scheduling conflicts.  It almost rivals summertime. We normally go to bed (or at least the driver does) very early the night before leaving. Otherwise leaving at aforementioned ungodly hour has the potential to be disastrous. Somehow we've allowed our schedule to be a little tight the evening prior to departure. And I'm having serious debates with myself about "just saying no" and putting my foot down. In the meantime, my goal is to do as much as I can beforehand (though not knowing which vehicle we're taking throws a kink in knowing how to pack).

None of these obstacles are overly daunting or difficult.  But I long for the day when I can simply pull out my checklist, throw things in the suitcase, and we ride off into the ribbonned road and sunny skies. Maybe that will happen next spring when we vacation there. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

101 years plus 9 months

This afternoon Bobby and I attended a liturgical funeral for a lady who was 3 months shy of 102.  Yep, you read that right.  She was 101 years, 9 months and 19 days young when she died.  And up until the ripe old age of 98, she walked 1/2 a mile to her church every Sunday morning and swam one mile every day.  Two of her granddaughters wrote poems for the program, and one of them read "How do you live to be 101?...You eat your veggies every day..." That made me laugh.

Liturgical services. Up until I married my husband, I had never been to one. I guess you could say he's broadened my horizons.  One thing I do like about them is garments that the preachers (for the Lutherans) and priests (for the Catholics) wear. Many of their rituals and movements, along with their garb, remind me of the readings from Leviticus and Deuteronomy about what the Levitical priests were supposed to wear and do. Sometimes I think we lose some of the formality and reverence we owe God because we Baptists have such informal services and dress.

And I was very tempted to take communion today (it was open to anyone who has been baptized) because I wanted to see what their communion wafers tasted like.  And they didn't drink from the cup, but dipped their wafer into the cup and then popped it in their mouth. But seeing as curiosity isn't a valid reason for "partaking" of the Lord's supper (and my dear understanding hubby was certain it wasn't Welch's in the cup), I refrained.

Normally I LOVE organ music, especially in a big church. Not quite so much today.  Perhaps it was the lack of a song director motioning when to sing, perhaps it was the slow droning pace (HOW can you sing such powerful songs as "A Might Fortress is Our God" and "The Church's One Foundation" at such a slow tempo?), but it was starting to get a little old.  Maybe I've had too much Contemporary Christian music in my diet, maybe it was Dave's harping on the choir ladies that when you focus too much on the notes it stops being a song and becomes a chant, but either way I was ready for the music to become more of a celebration for the hope we have in our Savior.

Stained glass windows- love, love, LOVE them!!!  I'm of the warped mind that says the tabernacle furniture was overlaid in gold, the tent itself was embroidered with all kinds of beautiful designs, so the building in which we worship should be decked out as well!  Today's windows were pretty, albeit different.  Modern art (as in abstract) would be the closest description I could give them. The stained glass window over the front of the church did make you think somewhat of the cross, or a crucifix, but it was only a resemblance and not a depiction. 

And responsive readings...that is one of the things I miss from my old, country, childhood church.  Although our hymnal had the readings interspersed in the hymnal, numbered correctly.  So when the bulletin said to turn to page 273, that was where you turned.  Today, I turned to page 273 and found "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and was quite surprised.  Turns out the front of the hymnal was the responsive reading pages and it has its OWN section of numbering.  Not quite sure how they expected me to figure that one out without instruction.

And as always (and has happened quite a bit lately), people come to me to ask what someone else needs. I appreciate the concern and willingness to help. That certainly is commendable.  But honestly, when a person is there who may need help, ASK THE PERSON!!!  And when I tell you "No" to your question, that's exactly what I mean!  There's really no need to ask me two more times, and then a third time in a different way.  They must have either taken persistence lessons from my mother or manners lessons from the Chinese.

So tomorrow I will gladly join my "family" at our own place of worship. Same Savior, different format.  And for me, it's what is both familiar and comforting.  There's something to be said for that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

I kiss my hubby good-bye every morning.
I can call him at work if I need to.
I know approximately what time he'll be home every evening.
And sadly I have to admit that I often take that for granted.

I go to the grocery store when I'm out of something.
The shelves almost always have what I'm looking for, or something similar to substitute.
It's a guarantee that my hot water, heat, and electricity will work every day.
And if it doesn't,  there's a phone number I can call.
I often take this for granted.

I can turn on my computer and check e-mail or Facebook for family status and updates.
I can call them on the phone and talk with worrying about excessive costs.
There's no line of people behind me waiting to use the phone.
I often take this for granted.

I plan the meals in our household.
I choose what to serve, and how to cook it.
If we go out, I have a plethora of items to choose from.
I almost always take this for granted.

So today, on Veteran's Day, I'm thankful to all my family and friends, past and present, who have spent years of their lives waiting in line to make that weekly or monthly phone call home; who have waited for the monthly mail call to see if they had a letter from a loved one; whose choice of food was a dried pre-packaged meal, or one small market that had limited supply of items, or had to stare at empty shelves on the ship because the Navy vessel was low on supplies; who miss their loved ones and for months at a time have to let a phone call or e-mail suffice, who miss birthdays and holidays and births and deaths and who could use a hug after having rounds of mortars shot at them, but will instead go back to a dusty tent and a rough cot.

"Thank you" sounds so simple, but it's the only words I know to say.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What?

What?!?  The second week of November already?  No, no, it can't be.  If it is, then that means I only have a week and a half to get things ready for Alabama, and then one week after I get back to finalize things for the kids' Christmas play.  So that simply just can't be.

So in lieu of the crazy date that my calendar is showing, my brain is contemplating which task to tackle first.  Thankfully I actually made out a list last night of things I need to do today. Unfortunately, "make a pan of brownies" is not on it.  Computer work and phone calls are.

And somewhere this month, I have to figure out when Christmas decorations go up.  When do they traditionally appear at your house?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

pumped and ready

I knew I wouldn't be home last night, busy tonight, and church Wednesday night, and since nighttime seems to be the best time to get things done, I disciplined myself yesterday and got a fair amount of things done on my list. So then it was off to choir practice. 

We were tired.  Dave & Sara fed us.  Sara made dessert!  Haystacks and then this chocolate water/caramel thing that was absolutely AWESOME!  I intentionally didn't have any caffeine, but I think between the food, the exhaustion from the day, and then just the fact we were all together at an unusual time made the choir, at least the altos, a little wound up.

I must admit, choir would be fun with just adults, but our teens take choir fun to a whole new level. When Dave, who is pleased with the new stage monitor, asks how well we can hear the sound, the teen standing next to it looks at him with a serious expression and says, "I can't hear anything."  Dave was horrified (I mean, it is a brand spankin new monitor!), and then realized she was joking.  (And if you ever wonder where their youngest gets some of her facial expressions?  Come watch Dave in choir practice.) And thus the night began.

I love music, and I love laughter.  We had both...two hours of it.  And the perfect ending to the night?  The song I've not cared for the most, which we crashed on the first time we sang, I've actually learned to like.  I guess between the rounds and the fast pace I've never totally gotten the tune until Dave began breaking it down on the piano at a slower pace.  And I LOVE it!  The harmony is awesome.  The words have always been fine, but now I like it even better. And I think less of a Jewish dance when I hear it.

I was singing all the way home, and was still wound up when I got home.  I felt a little sorry for Ellen having to get Danielle home and up on the bus by 6:15am this morning.  I imagine Danielle wasn't ready to go to bed when she got home, either!

And I'm still energized this morning.

Can you hear the sound of celestial laughter? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

a backhanded sweetness

A few years ago a friend of mine received a gift from her small children for her birthday: a sponge-bob decorated cake and a bottle of smell-good lotion.  Her husband over-ruled the kids' present ideas of a doll and some other toy as "the gift that Momma really, truly wants".  Did I mention how much her little girl LOVES smelly lotions and powders?  We laughed. It was sweet.  We like this, we want this, so it would make a GREAT birthday present for Mom.

I thought about that yesterday during church. We had popcorn testimonies finishing out the statement "I love Jesus because..."  and it was very special. Every answer that went through my mind as people were talking made me realize just how spoiled and selfish I truly am.  I love Jesus because he loves me even when I fail him. I love Jesus because he is faithful. I love Jesus because he puts up with my whining and questions. I love Jesus because he doesn't zap me dead when I (SPOILER ALERT: Bobby don't read) drink two Dr. Peppers in one day and have some chocolate even though I've promised to come off caffeine and treat my "temple" in a more dignified manner. I love Jesus because he gives peace in the midst of trials. I love Jesus because he's never left me hungry or naked. I love Jesus because his letters to me are full of all kinds of writings. I love Jesus because even when I resist his leading he gently prods me back instead of "breaking the lamb's leg" (as my dear sweethearts in Jr church told me about yesterday).  I love Jesus because he gave me a beautiful world to live in. I love Jesus because he hasn't punished me (not yet anyway) for complaining about my hair, figure, faults, etc.
I mean, how can I be so irritable when talking to someone who has done nothing but good for me?  How can I moan and groan and act so defeated when my Creator not only gave me everything I truly need, but has also promised to hold my hand through every scary thing I may face? 
I love Jesus because I will never totally comprehend the depths of his love.  His love for ME. 
And that's a neat way to start out a Monday, knowing that the one who knows me better than anyone else loves me beyond measure.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

whatever & all you got

Last night I was researching a topic on-line, and kept finding a mantra running through every article I read.

Healthy heating + exercise = good mental health.

Granted, it didn't break it down in such a simplistic equation.  But exercise can trick the brain into creating more serotonin, the chemical that depressed people are often low or missing, and that sleep-deprived Moms deplete (specifically those who are suffering post-partem).  Maintaining a healthy diet can also prohibit it from disappearing all together.

So then this morning on the news they're blabbering on about lack of daylight and its repercussions on people (don't you just love the optimism?) and get this: exercising 20 minutes a day and eating certain foods (ESPECIALLY for women) like fish, bananas, fiber, etc. will help eliminate the winter blahs.

I used to tease my parents about the Bible verses that said "Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not unto men" included my junk food eating and "Bodily exercise profits a little..." meant that it really wasn't worth my time.

But I'm slowly being reminded (rebuked might be a better word) that WHATEVER I do, including eating and moving around in non-comfortable positions, has a purpose, and should be done for HIM.  I would not be pleased if a restaurant chef only half-way prepared and cooked my food.  Yet how I cook and what I stick in my body is a reflection of what I'm doing for God.  It's all or nothing.  That's a scary thought.

The sad thing is my headaches may not go away in the next day or two if I stop the caffeine flow again. It'll take a few more weeks of cleansing my body again.  My face will probably not stop breaking out since I've had so many of my favorite soft drinks in the last month.   And my energy and emotional level?  It'll even out again once I get the rest of me in line. Whatever I eat; all the time.  An easy mantra, just a harder practice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

a day of rest

Yesterday Bobby took a vacation day, and for the first time in what seems like forever we actually had a day of rest. I didn't worry about laundry, dirty floors or dishes; we couldn't do outside house or yard work because of the rain, so we rested. And it was absolutely wonderful.
It also made going back to the routine this morning a bit of a challenge! :
It's also made me think about doing a better job of guarding our schedule. Seeing as how our schedule is quite full between now and mid-December, I'm thinking that might be a wonderful new year's goal: to be realistic and practical with our time.
And having said that, housework is calling.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

similarities

Halloween night, we watched a "scary" (as in a LOT of tension in the plot) movie.  Lord of the Rings: Two Towers. I've read the books almost ten years ago, but had forgotten the majority of the plot. As far as movies go, it wasn't the best rendition.  If you haven't read the books, it meant absolutely nothing to the viewer.

One thing that did take me by surprise, was how many things portrayed in the movies (and also in the books) also occur in sundry forms in the writings of JKRowling. 

I shouldn't be surprised. People have always commented on how well-read she is, how her writings reflect various cultures and their important literatures, as well as historical references and facts. But it made me a tad uneasy.  As a teenager I used to feel as if, like a certain teacher I had angrily proclaimed to our class, I truly did live in a pocket of ignorance.  I sometimes feared there was a whole world at the end of our street, which I would never see nor experience. And the reality is, there is.  But recognizing that a well-known author replicated characters or monsters or events from a previously well-known work made me wonder if I've totally missed the boat on a whole genre of literature or if I'm still woefully hidden in my pocket of ignorance.

This won't be the year that I re-read Tolkien's works.  But I will, if for nothing else than to satisfy my curiosity of similarities and to reaffirm that there is truly nothing new under the sun.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

today

Today I am an elf, in the wee hours of December 24th, exhausted and with deadlines looming.
Today I am a superhero who has lost her lasso and ability to jump and is mortally aware of her shortcomings without props.
Today I am a dreamer, reminiscing of a night when I served burnt chicken and too salty potatoes for supper, then had to grade 10th grade essays while my boyfriend watched the election results on tv, and shocked me with a ring during the commercials.
Today I am a child, dragging my feet to go clean my "rooms", when I'd much, much rather be playing.
Today I ponder the concept of change, and wonder whether a mule horse can ever truly be changed into a stallion.
Today I look into the mirror and wonder what words of truth it will tell me. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1st ---oh my!

Today at noon begins my first time ever of being a Coordinator for 8 precincts on election day.  (I normally work the "help table" in our precinct and serve as an Assistant Judge (a fancy name for having to reconcile the ballots voted and unused and sign my name to every sealed envelope and document the precinct submits). Above is all the "stuff" I had to pick up Saturday.  Not pictured are four yard signs I have to put up today as well as another duffle bag of supplies I'll need tomorrow and things I need to review today.  I'm a little nervous, but also a little excited!  There are election days when I think it's time to quit and not do this anymore, but I firmly believe in our election process.  I'm thankful for all the safeguards the Wake County Board of Elections and all the checks and balances they have in place to ensure a just election, but I also understand that without trustworthy or dependable people to work for them their hands are tied.  I've been privileged to meet and work beside people who truly believe in our founding principles, whether I agree with their policies or not, and I understand how it would only take five unscrupulous people to mess an election up for a precinct.
And on a more personal level, the first time I went to vote I was turned away. I don't know if the vice-principal at the high school lost our registration forms or what, but all six of us who registered to vote at the school were told we were not registered on election day.  The lady was quite rude.  I was almost in tears. So Dad took me to the county courthouse to register.  I received my voter registration card in the mail, but when I went to vote in the next election, they again claimed I was not registered. I produced my card and id, told them I had registered at the courthouse, that this was the second time I had been turned away, and this time I got action. One of the ladies got a little upset, though thankfully not at me. She wrote my name in the book and allowed me to vote.  That fall, excited to vote in my first presidential election, I filled out the form for an absentee ballot, they sent more paperwork to me at college, and it arrived TWO days AFTER the submission deadline.  The next three years I was overseas, and the only way it was possible to vote was to take a 24 hour train-ride to the Beijing embassy, and then back.  My fellow teachers and I decided it wasn't worth the funds and hassle of arranging our class schedules.
I guess this job is my personal vendetta of making sure no one else (if I can help it) is denied their right to vote. I think that's part of why I enjoy working the help table so much. I like working through the puzzles to find the answer of voting status, and helping to fix it where I can.
We have a right many people died and suffered for, especially us females. We do ourselves, as well as our descendants, a disservice if we don't take advantage of the opportunity offered and do our part.  So if you haven't voted already, tomorrow's your chance!