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Silent No More (I Hope)

broken pencilI haven’t written in a while.  Not REALLY written.  I’ve posted a couple of things that really resonated with me, that were (are) pertinent to where my head has been these past few months, but nothing really from me.  My husband has said on a number of occasions that I need to get back to writing, and he’s right.  It sustains me, revives me, and most of all, it’s an outlet for my thoughts that are otherwise being shared with him in the middle of the night when he would rather sleep.

tumblr_mbwn4qH6uI1qdfyefo1_1280I have felt the weight of writer’s block for a while, and I’ve wondered…a lot…why it has suffocated my desire to write for so long.  Especially since I know that the longer I go, the harder it is to start back again, and the more of an unspoken (and unwritten) victory there is for silence.  I do not want the silence to win.

The annual Blogging A-Z Challenge took place this month, and sadly I was unable to participate…for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was starting out the month of April quite sick.  But beyond that, and beyond feeling wholly uninspired to write for the past several months, I have been practicing the piano like a fiend.  It’s a good thing, and unlike the practice sessions of my childhood, where I would count the minutes until the required time had elapsed, I have to keep a close eye on the time now or I will blow by appointments, school pick up, and the like because my head is so immersed in the music.  Never in my life did I anticipate this…not just an enjoyment of the work, but a craving to get at it and stay at it until the music is mastered.  (And if you are a musician, you know the music is rarely ever “mastered,” just prepared enough for public consumption.  There is always room for improvement.)

music_image001All this is a preamble to say that never in my life did I think I would play for church…and by play, I mean lead the music from the piano.  Not only did I not anticipate that eventuality, but (more importantly) I did not anticipate enjoying it.  Seriously, I have a fairly well developed case of stage fright, and the thought of actually speaking in front of a group gives me jitters and cold sweats, far beyond the normal performance nerves that I have always had.  I was a bit terrified to take this on, even on this temporary basis, because of fears that I would screw up enormously (I have), make lots of obvious mistakes (I have), constantly battle nerves (I do), and ultimately be a distraction to the worship service.  Never did I think I would love it, but I do…as long as I never have to speak up front. I’m serious!

5142-music-ppt-background-violin-key-sheet-music-ppt-backgrounds-violinWhat makes it great goes miles beyond being able to play beautiful music.  Though in and of itself, that would be enough, it’s getting to work with fellow musicians, willing of heart to share their musical gifts to the glory of God, that makes this an experience I am treasuring.  There is no way to adequately thank them for their willingness, not only to share their gifts, but to put in extra practice time and deal with my (more often than not) last minute changes.  I love conversing in the language of music with fellow speakers, I love tweaking the performance of hymns so we work together better, and I love accompanying other musicians who are glorifying God with their voices and instruments.

I will miss it when it is over, but not in a sad way.  It’s a lot of work…great work, if you can get it, but work nonetheless.  It takes a great deal of time, and though I enjoy every moment of the time I am putting in, I know I can’t devote adequate time and pursue expanding our family.  We have been seeking to adopt a child for so very long, to have a sibling for our son (who desires it so very much).  This gig has been a glorious respite to the waiting, waiting, waiting for our second child  And we’re still waiting…somewhat impatiently…to see where God will lead us in our search.

brother_james_air-preview

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want…

So I will revel for the next couple of months in the glorious music I am blessed and honored to play each Sunday.  I will soak in the beauty of the melodies and the love of God that pours forth in the words.  When I am finished, my family and I will worship God from our pew, and hopefully sooner than later, we will worship as a family of four.

Do You Think…?

…I’d (finally) start enjoying Christmas again if I turned off the TV entirely for the next month, and instead listened to beautiful Christmas music, watched Christmas movies, practiced Christmas carols on the piano, and read a few books?

Won’t happen, of course, but it’s a thought.

I’ll at least listen to Christmas music.  Here’s one of my faves!

“Beautiful” Tunes for a Tuesday

Though I’ve been writing / posting recently, I’ve been experiencing some writer’s block on a post I’ve been working on for several weeks…a sentence here & there, but not coalescing quickly.  I ran across today’s post from You Must Be From Away, and I was inspired to do my own Tunes for a Tuesday post.  So here are some selections I love from my other passion…music.

Stuart Townend – Beautiful Savior

MercyMe –Beautiful

Rage Against the Machine – Beautiful World

Queen – It’s a Beautiful Day

U2 – Beautiful Day

Darryl Worley – Awful Beautiful Life

10 Years – Beautiful

Prince – The Beautiful Ones

Purple Knights – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
(because Spotify didn’t have the original Prince song)

Jimmy Buffett – The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful

Bellamy Brothers – If I Said You Have a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me)

Darren Hanlon – I Wish that I was Beautiful for You

Duran Duran – Too Bad You’re So Beautiful

One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

R.E.M. – At My Most Beautiful

Joe Cocker – You Are So Beautiful

Darius Rucker – She’s Beautiful

INXS – Beautiful Girl

Ben Harper – Beautiful Boy
(of course John Lennon’s original is the best, but sadly not available on Spotify)

Van Halen – Beautiful Girls

Bon Jovi – When We Were Beautiful

The Cure – How Beautiful You Are

Christina Aguilera – Beautiful

Beck – Beautiful Way

Big Head Todd & the Monsters – Beautiful

Smashing Pumpkins – Beautiful

Creed – Beautiful

Rascal Flatts – Long Slow Beautiful Dance

Sister Hazel – Beautiful Thing

Annie Lennox – A Thousand Beautiful Things

Josh Woodward – I Want to Destroy Something Beautiful

Shawn Mullins – Beautiful Wreck

Kelly Clarkson – Beautiful Disaster

Tina Turner – Something Beautiful Remains

Maroon 5 – Beautiful Goodbye

The Perfect Man (the story that won’t go away!)

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 Clearly, this survey hit a nerve…and a funny bone!  It is still making news, even if only to make huge fun.  And frankly, the survey (and the women who responded) do deserve a fair razzing for this.  I mean, really, smart jeans?  Watches soaps?  Admits looking at other women?  I don’t know about you, but I have more respect for myself than to settle for a man who “looks” at other women and sees fit to “admit” it to me, and any man who loves and respects his other half will go out of his way to make sure she knows that he has eyes only for her.  That is a real man.

This is not to say that I am against knowing what you want, and making choices that reflect that.  There is no such thing as “the” perfect man, but there are many, many men who are perfect for someone.  Facebook comments alone reflect that one person’s “perfect” is another person’s “not so much.”  Take a look at the following lists…

Woman   #1 Woman   #2
5’8 to   6 feet tall
Toned and athletic
“Blue” eyes
Short dark hair
Smart dress sense
Non-smoker
Gets ready quickly
Stylish
Wants a family
Earns £48,000 ($77,000) a year
Loves shopping
Eats meat
Clean shaven
Smooth chest
Enjoys watching football
Educated to degree level
Earns more than his other half
Jokes around and has a laugh
Sensitive when his wife/girlfriend is upset
Says ‘I love you’ only when he means it
Has a driver’s license
Can swim
Can ride a bike
Can change a tire
Calls mom regularly
“Can sing”
Physically:
-Under 35
-average to not more than 50 lbs overweight
-5’7″+
-no major health problems
Spiritually:
-Reformed
-church membership history of at least five years
Family:
-willing to start a family within a year after   marriage
-wants 4-6 kids
Sexual Purity:
-previously married/engaged acceptable with   legitimate grounds for termination
-has not had sex outside of marriage
Personality:
-outgoing/extrovert
Financially:
-has job
-steady job history of at least five years
-3-6 months reserve
-place to live (i.e. not with parents)
-wants me to be a homemaker
-can support a family without requiring me to work   outside the home
Relationship:
-he will continue to book the next event & escalate   the intensity of communication with each exposure.

I love that these women put some thought into what would work for them, and therein lies the benefit (I believe) of the otherwise ridiculous survey.  Far from identifying what society’s “perfect man” is, an idea that is even now being laughed at and razzed mercilessly, it is instead causing women – and men – to talk about it, to think about it, and to otherwise give voice and form to what in many cases is a more nebulous idea in our heads.  I know that’s true for me.

Before I married my husband, I had ideas about what would or would not work for me, but I never actually put pen to paper and specifically evaluated each criterion.  So,  after 10 years together and 8 years of marriage, I’m giving it a shot…

My 2002 “Perfect Man for Me”

  • Physically: like the look of him, manageable health issues
  • Spiritually:  be the spiritual leader of our home, but not overbearing and legalistic; understand that my spiritual history has been challenging and difficult
  • Education:  prefer someone with a college education, but not a deal breaker
  • Family:  wants children sooner than later; open to adoption (flexible on number, ethnicity, gender, health issues, family background); no children out of wedlock
  • Sexual Purity / History:  only two requirements other than truthful answers (if questions were asked); preference that if divorced, there were no children involved, but not a deal breaker; had never shacked up with a woman
  • Personality: makes me laugh; likes good (deep) conversation about substantive things; less introverted than I am
  • Interests:  common and complimentary interests (firearms, scuba diving, music, travel); hobbies (woodworking, home improvement, cooking, golf)
  • Financially:  can support a family with my having to work outside the home; supportive of my desire to be a stay-at-home mom; has a steady job and a home
  • Dating Relationship:  since we dated long distance, he had to make efforts to see me; make efforts to continue our phone and email communication between visits; treat me respectfully

My husband was and is all of the above, and though there were (and are) some rough edges still to be smoothed, he is without question the perfect man for me.  I told him several times over the course of our courtship that I could not pursue a relationship ever again where I felt myself getting lost.  I had that happen more than once, and I had come to the point where I would rather be single than wishing I was.  I’d rather be miserable and alone than miserable in a relationship.  Strange thing, once I got to that point, was that I became content with my single life, and that is when I met my husband.

Perhaps all this is to say that the key to finding that perfect man is to stop looking.  Know yourself, live your life in a way that reflects that, and be content.  Most importantly, live in a way that glorifies God.  That is the most alluring trait of all.

April 18 (P)…The Politics of Dancing

I participated in a market research interview this morning on politics…something I’ve never done before.  For 90 minutes, I sat at my computer, cell phone set to speaker, and answered questions about my political opinions.  It was a really interesting experience, and I’m glad to have done it…not just for the compensation (yep, it was a paying gig), but because I learned that I can, indeed, articulately clarify my political convictions in a way that is understandable and appreciated.  No dancing around the issues…not that I could have, as the interviewer was excellent at encapsulating what I had to say in statements that properly reflected my beliefs.  For someone who can sniff out bias from miles away, I can confidently say that he did not display any particular bias during this interview, and that quality gave me assurance that what I had to say will actually be presented accurately.

Why on earth it causes me to recollect the following song is a complete mystery to me, but there you have the peculiar ponderings of my coffee-fueled brain on 5 1/2 hours of sleep.  Presenting…