Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mission Accomplished.

Do you all remember George W.'s speech back in 2003 when he flew in (on?) to the USS Abraham Lincoln in his jazzy flight suit and declared in front of God and hopeful, happy Americans everywhere that the mission was accomplished? [By mission he was referring to the end of major combat operations in Iraq for those of you who were busy watching Sponge Bob Squarepants with your roommate after a hard day at the office as a professional working girl. Not that I would know anything about that.] And then do you all remember how we hopeful, happy Americans woke up the next day and the day after that and the day after that and to our not-privvy-to-classified-information-eyes it didn't really seem that all that much had actually changed? Well, that's kind of how I feel about finishing up grad school. As of last Friday at 2:30 in the afternoon, my purpose and reason for moving my home, job, and life to Athens a mere 3.5 years ago was accomplished. Don't get me wrong...I'm ELATED to be done for once and for all. In fact, I don't really think it has actually dawned on me yet that I'm done. Perhaps in January when a new semester begins and I don't have that constant nagging guilt of "I really should be doing school work instead of watching a Law & Order: SVU marathon on a Sunday afternoon." hanging over my head. I mean, seriously...Law & Order: SVU??? Never in my life did I watch that show until I resorted to scraping the bottom of the procrastination tactics barrel during my last semester.

On Friday night, I happened to run into my advisor and her husband at dinner. We were talking and he asked me what I was going to do now. My response: Well, I'm going to work next Monday. To the outside observer, it may appear that nothing really will change all that much. Unless of course you consider the absence of my whining about having school work to do. And admittedly during these first few post-graduate school graduation days as the realization of being done has begun to set it, I have been a little bit frustrated because I met this goal/reached this milestone/accomplished my mission only to be greeted with the same old apartment and the same old job and the same old salary when I get back into town after Christmas. Clarification: I am absolutely grateful for the security that accompanies those "same old things".

Tonight however, I began to think a little beyond the surface. While my routine that has been essentially the same for the last 3.5 years will continue to be that way for at least the foreseeable future, so much has changed in my life. In fact, I have experienced more "life-changing" events in the years that I was in grad school than all of my other years combined. Through these events, I have come to believe that maybe it's not even the actual event but my response to the event that determines how I grow (or wilt) as a person. As I reach the completion of another level of higher education, never in my life have I been more aware of my need for sheer and utter dependence upon a higher power. [And my higher power has a pretty big event coming up on the 25th of this month in case you're wondering if I'm referring to a specific or just any higher power here.] I am at the point in my life when I have never been more formally educated, yet the knowledge that there are certain things in life that are absolutely beyond my control is what is most forefront in my mind. The most important lessons that I have learned while in grad school did not take place in a classroom. Ironically though, were it not for the classroom lectures and material on adult learning that is a component of the program's curriculum, I don't know if my response to and reflection on the events in my life would have been the same. The timing of all of these things in my life lining up quite nicely [now that I can look back on them all and see it] is a great reminder that I am not responsible for the day-to-day operations of Planet Earth despite my best efforts in trying to shoulder that responsibility.

Does everyone here see the parallel that I'm making with my George W. reference and my graduation? If I need to I'm sure that I can have Dubya come in as a guest blogger to make the point crystal clear. Obviously I'm tired because I typically try not to reference politicians or their politics here on the ol' blog. Here's my point. [I think. There's a chance that I'll reread this tomorrow and none it will really be all that coherent.] We may reach what we think is the end of something only to realize that it's actually the beginning. I'm so pumped about my beginning that I'm giving my three readers out there a virtual fist bump.

If it weren't way past my bedtime, I would pretty this post up with some pictures of the glorious graduation day of which I write. Instead I'm including this hyperlink with photo documentation that it really did happen. I'm sure I'll write again when the actual diploma arrives. Maybe that's when I'll really believe that I'm done.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The time Alexander Graham Bell rolled over in his grave.

There is a sociological model known as the technology adoption lifecycle. For those of you who have already checked out for Christmas vacation, please don't check out from this post because I promise that the educational value parallels the nutritional value of circus peanuts. Anywho...the model is based on the premise that we all fall somewhere within the spectrum of the technology adoption lifecycle which ranges from innovators to early adopters to early majority to late majority and finally, the laggards. If asked, I would declare that I fit in quite comfortably between the early majority and late majority. Perhaps the fact that I just got DVR earlier this year would lead you to believe otherwise. Or if you have ever attempted to send me an image via text message and I never acknowledge it [Because! My! Phone! Won't! Let! Me!], I suspect that you roll your eyes and discuss amongst your cool tech savvy friends "this poor girl you know" who still has a flip phone that only has the functions of phone calls and standard text messaging. No more, my friends. No. More.

Before we get all oogly-eyed over [the picture on the box of] the shiny new phone, can we please just make a few observations about the old phone? Or more specifically the charger. I mean, seriously...aren't the exposed wires somehow some sort of fire hazard? And just last night the silver trim that borders the keypad on the inside that you see propped up there on the phone like it's being sold on QVC fell off while I was in the middle of a phone conversation. Which really means that it stuck to the side of my face because the 4 year old glue that finally came loose from the phone still adheres nicely to skin. It's been a good phone. It's even been with me through and longer than two boyfriends. We won't compare its reliability and consistency with theirs. Oh...I kid, I kid!

Now I realize that me with this new phone is akin to giving a 16 year-old boy the keys to a Corvette. Lack of experience + Lots of power = Danger Zone. That's why I plan to ease into using a phone that is smarter than me much like I enter a swimming pool: test the waters before diving right in. I'll say there's a pretty great chance that I may even take it out of the box before the end of the day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Soundtrack: My Favorite Christmas Song Edition

O Holy Night
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
'til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
First a little history about the song. According to my dear friends at Wikipedia... O Holy Night is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chr├ętiens" (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau. [Don't say I've never taught you anything, blogosphere.] In copying and pasting the words of the song, I left out the 2nd stanza. Not that the second stanza isn't important, I just would like to focus on the first and third today. I hope you spend some time during all of the craziness that accompanies the Christmas season as we know it in a quiet spot and reflect over these lyrics and what they truly mean.
I have multiple favorite versions of this song. Josh Groban? Check. Celine Dion? Check. Martina McBride? Check. Kelly Clarkson? Check. Celtic Woman? Check. [Even though I'm not sure why they are wearing their Easter best in this particular performance.] Eric Cartman? Just seeing if you people are paying attention. Andrea Bocelli & his friend, David Foster? You got it.
What's your favorite Christmas song of all time?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Soundtrack: The 12 Songs of Christmas Edition.

Before I dive any deeper into today's musical feature, let me just go ahead and put it out there that The Twelve Days of Christmas will not be one of today's songs. This may come as a disappointment for you Christmas carol traditionalists who are reading along at home. My apologies. Might I recommend that you create your own list and then share it with the group. And by group, I mean my three regular readers. Let's get this party started, right?

Little Drummer Boy by MercyMe. Alright so I know that this song has a good meaning. I know that the dear Lord baby Jesus wants us to use the gifts and talents that he has given us in order to turn them back in praise and glory for him. But. Each and every time I hear this song, I get so cracked up at the thought of the ox and lamb keeping time. I mean, really? Barn animals keeping time? Let's be a little realistic please. In my mind, the ox and lamb are both standing together in the corner, wearing sunglasses, smoking cigars (um, hello...a baby was just born, let's celebrate!), and snapping their fingers and stomping their hooves.

Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby. This is the song I have been singing in the mornings when I'm out walking my dog in the arctic temps. Mind over matter, people.

Mary Did You Know? by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. Love can build a bridge and because it can, I'm convinced you all will still be my friend even though this particular version of the song is my favorite one. The song in general though is easily one of my favorites ever. While we're on the subject of song titles in the form of a question...

What Child is This? by Sarah McLachlan. Do yourself a favor and please obtain your own personal copy of Sarah's Wintersong cd. It's a rare one that I will listen to all the way through without skipping ahead. In fact, it's so good that songs from it made my list twice this week.

River by Sarah McLachlan. Joni Mitchell actually sang this song first but ol' Sarah does a great cover. Notice how I seem to be on a first name basis with Sarah? I'm acting as if there is a Christmas card from her waiting for me at home in my mailbox. Yes, as a matter of fact this may be the one of the most depressing songs ever. There's something about melancholy that just feels so good though, isn't there?

Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon. Did you know that it was 30 years ago today when John Lennon was murdered? Did you know that I invited Debbie Downer to be a guest blogger today?

Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Jackson 5. I hope Santa Claus has room in his sleigh for a house with a fenced-in backyard this year because I am already tired of walking my dog in the cold and it's only been cold for 3 days. I suspect that there's more room for a nice gloves, scarf, and hat combo. I also suspect that some of you out there prefer Bruce's version of this song.

In honor of the 8th crazy night of Hanukkah (Chanukah?), The Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler. Why haven't I heard this song at all this season? Could it be because I've had my head stuck in the sand trying to finish school? Surely not.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I couldn't really find a version of this song that I like all that well online. This one by Sufjan Stevens is alright...even though I much prefer a big booming baritone voice versus a ukulele being the musical accompaniment to his not so big and booming bariton voice. It's really the lyrics that get me though and those are the same in all versions.

Christmas Song by Dave Matthews Band. Confession: I do listen to this song before Thanksgiving. It's just that good.

Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen. How come all commercials and Norman Rockwell paintings depict perfect families enjoying perfect dinners on a perfect winter day? I think that REK speaks a little more realistically of most families at Christmas gatherings. Except for mine, of course. I come from a long line of sophistication and class and we served as inspiration for most of Rockwell's work.

Here With Us by Joy Williams. I heard this song for the first time ever on my way to work Monday morning. More than anything in this world I am so thankful to know that the little baby sent by God long, long ago is here with us even today. And tomorrow. And forever.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Whatever happened to bobbleheads on dashboards?

I'm glad to see that the Hallway of Heads scene in Return to Oz seemingly left a more positive impression with this person than it did with me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Soundtrack: It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas Edition.

Anybody out there love dessert? Think about your most favorite dessert in the whole wide world. Mine happens to be red velvet cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. Love. It. The last time I had it though was in February. If it was something that I ate frequently it would kind of lose its appeal. Kind of like spaghetti. It's good, but I get sick and tired of it after having it for the 4th meal in a row. In fact, after a couple of days with leftover spaghetti, I wish that spaghetti would buy a one-way ticket to Italy and never bother to renew its passport. What does my ramble about food have to do with music? Everything. My feelings about Christmas music are very similar to my feelings about spaghetti. There is such thing as too much of a good thing. In fact, I have one strict commandment when it comes to Christmas music: Thou shalt not play Christmas music in my presence before Thanksgiving. Have I ever mentioned my uncle, Ebenezer Scrooge? I kid, I kid. In the spirit of Christmas though, I would like to dedicate my soundtrack segments between now and December 25th to some of my favorite music that I spin at my house for about 30 days each year. 'Tis the season!

Christmas in Hollis by Run D.M.C. What? You didn't really think I was going to start with Jingle Bells did you? Not when Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens!

Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson. Did anyone happen to see Willie [back] in the headlines this week? Talk about same song, 99th verse. Kind of makes me wonder if he's singing about wrapping paper or rolling papers in this song though.

Last Christmas by Wham! It really wouldn't be Christmas without a little George Michael now would it? Don't answer that question.

Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO is playing in Atlanta in mid-December. Dear Santa, I've been a good girl this year. If you are out there reading, I would really like to see their show. Love, HP

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by Barenaked Ladies featuring Sarah McLachlan. I know, I know. The whole thing sounds a little unnatural but it's a good combo so go with it. After a couple of listens there's a pretty great chance that if you had a million dollars, you would pay these guys to come play your Christmas party.

Go Tell It on the Mountain by Little Big Town. Hmmm. It seems that Little Big Town performed this on that television special earlier this week. The aforementioned special was not my inspiration for featuring it today though. It just so happens that this song is on HP's Holiday Hits: Volume II that I was listening to this morning on the way into work.

Children Go Where I Send Thee by Natalie Merchant. When I was a little girl, I had the Cabbage Patch Kids Christmas record. It was my favorite Christmas record even above Gene Autry's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and Elvis's "Blue Christmas" records. This song was on that record, and I might have worn that part of the record out listening to it so much. I happen to love the grown up Natalie Merchant version now that I'm a big girl. Recognize the guest voices in her version?

Do You Hear What I Hear by Whitney Houston. She sings this one with a voice as big as the sea.

Mistletoe by Colbie Caillat. According to Colbie it's not Christmas if the snow doesn't fall. Well, that certainly saves me a lot of shopping.

Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton. Dolly is clearly in an emotional state when she sings this song. Fortunately she realizes the perils of maybe getting drunk on apple wine and decides to maybe learn to sew instead. I hope she lets the apple wine hangover wear off first though or else she's likely to prick her finger with a sewing needle. My wish is that you all have a hard candy Christmas. Minus the toothaches and apple wine hangovers.

And now for my little Christmas gift to myself [and you all]: a non-Christmas bonus track. This week I would like to share Little Miss by Sugarland. I just love it when songs are written especially for me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Within this very familiar passage of scripture, there is one prepositional phrase (er...sorry technical writing pals if I'm not using the correct technical term) that really sticks out to me this year: in everything give thanks. Everything? Even the stuff we would like to fast-forward through or better yet, go back in time and erase completely? Yep. I think so. Even the curve balls we are thrown? Yep. I think so. Sounds like a pretty tall order, doesn't it? Yep. I think so. There were some curve balls thrown my way this year, and it just so happens that I don't own a catcher's mitt. It goes without saying that those curve balls hurt. So I'm going to take Paul's advice. I'm not declaring success. I certainly cannot do it alone, but with God's grace I might just come close to giving thanks in everything. Speaking of God's grace, this is absolutely what I am most thankful for this year. Because of this grace, I have not nor will I ever lose my joy. Therefore, I rejoice. I am thankful that I live in a country where I can rejoice and pray without fear of persecution. I am thankful that I know my God hears those prayers. I am thankful that the same God who hears them answers them in the way that is best for his kiddos.

I am thankful for hurt. I am thankful for healing. I am thankful for hope.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Soundtrack: Under Pressure Edition.

To say that the past couple of weeks have been a little stressful is like saying there's a little bit of salt in the ocean. To say that I sometimes sound a little dramatic here on my blog is like saying that Heidi has had a little work done. Nonetheless, I have had a lot going on. Don't believe me? Well, today was my defense for school and being the pro procrastinator that I am, preparing for it has made me aware of how much more sleep a gal in her 30's needs than a gal in her 20's does. So today's soundtrack theme is dedicated to the songs I've been spinning that are just fun to sing along with or are a little bit encouraging and motivational. Sorry, Rocky theme music not included.

Brand New Day by Josh Radin. I tried to pick out my favorite line in this song, but I couldn't. But for the first time in such a long, long time, I know I'll be ok. Fact.

Never Been to Spain by Three Dog Night. How can you not like Three Dog Night? Or this song? Even if you don't, what does it matter?

Float On by Modest Mouse. Isn't it great to know that good news is on the way and we'll all float on anyway?

Narrow Escape by Ray LaMontagne. Ok, maybe not so much motivational or uplifting, but it's Ray LaMontagne and his mellowness sometimes trumps those two. Now is one of those times.

1999 by Prince. Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1999. Why? Because I passed my defense, that's why. And sometimes back in 1999, I partied by throwing on my flannel pj's and heading on over to Lewis Hall with a sleeve of cookie dough to hang out with my pals Suz and Kat while one of them had RA duty. Maybe I'll party like it's 2009 instead. I've gotten waaaaaaay cooler. Speaking of...

Raise Your Glass by Pink. Too school for cool? Too cool for school? Too lame for my own well-being? I'm going with door #3.

Wave on Wave by Pat Green. I realize that transitioning from Pink to Pat Green is much like pouring boiling water into a frosted mug. Not the best of ideas. But Pat Green kind of makes me think we should all just pack up and move to Texas and sit out in big field and listen to him play music all day. Imagine what a stress-free environment that would be.

Hello World by Lady Antebellum. Did anyone see the CMAs last Wednesday? I had actually heard this song earlier that day when I was driving to campus to distribute my portfolio to my committee. And I might have gotten a little misty-eyed. If I were prone to getting misty-eyed when listening to music, that is. Added bonus when I heard it a second time that day during the CMAs.

Free Fallin' by Tom Petty. I'm a good girl and it just so happens that I love my mama, Jesus, and America too.

Nights on Broadway by the Bee Gees. [There are so many reasons why you should click on the hyperlink to the song...primarily the girl's top.] Oh, the Bee Gees. I feel like I missed out on so much since I wasn't a child of the 70's. Confession: This was my theme music today as I was driving over to my defense. Another Confession: it's not so much this actual song that I love but since I heard it on the radio the other day I haven't been able to get this out of my mind...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

4 Questions & A Few Thoughts.

A little over a year ago, I attended a church service at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta. On that particular Sunday, Andy Stanley began a new series called "Your Move" about decision making. He says that essentially there are 4 questions we can ask ourselves when trying to make a decision. [Clarification: He's not talking about decisions such as "Would my Uggs or cowboy boots look better with this outfit?" even though fashion decisions are some of the toughest ones we ladies (and gents) have to make.] The first question to consider was "Why am I doing this, really?" Stanley explained that we are masterminds at talking ourselves into or out of doing things. Ol' Andy had a point.

Fast forward from that Sunday in September 2009 to about 3 weeks ago. I was all settled into my usual row at Athens Church, drinking my coffee because it's cool to drink coffee in church, and getting ready for some good music. Now I have always [jokingly] referred to Athens Church as being like the dollar movies because we get all of Andy's messages long after he does them in real-time at North Point. I had missed the Sunday before so I was coming in at message #2 of the current series. It took me about minute to realize that the reason why the theme sounded so familiar was because I had already heard the first message. That particular week, question 2 was: "What story do I want to tell?" and a week later, question 3: "Is there tension that needs my attention?"

Pause. It's been awhile since I've really shared anything personal with you three out there in the blogosphere. Partly because I have been super busy and partly because I think that we are far too free with the information we share about our lives on the web these days. I want my story to be used in a way that others will benefit from it but first I've got to make sure that I'm getting the point myself in order for it to do more good than harm. In light of the events that took place back in the summer, I have been harboring some anger over the past month or so. Who am I kidding? It is what it is: rage. You know that whole "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" saying? I think there's something to it. I'm not proud of my anger, but I'm also not trying to ignore it because anger is a perfectly natural emotion that I believe is necessary for me to feel in order to truly get past the hurt that preceded it. And nope, I didn't pay a therapist for that sentence even though I see nothing wrong with paying a therapist for such insight. Anger becomes a problem when we hang onto it like we did our blankets or teddy bears during childhood, but more on that later. Admittedly as I listened to the second and third messages, I couldn't help but to think about how the person that accompanied me to North Point last year would benefit so much more from this series than me. ...and then I invited all of my friends over after church to check out my new glass house that I have recently moved into. Ahem.

Last week was the final message and question: "What would be most honoring to God?" Seriously...Andy had to bring God into the questions? He should just stay in the Bible where we can put him away on a bookshelf. Suddenly my toes were just as black and blue as my little bruised heart.

Now for the few thoughts...
Who here has siblings? Who here has ever been hurt by a sibling? Who here as ever been royally ticked off when mom and dad did not respond or handle the situation in a manner that you felt was suitable and fair? The anger that I have been struggling with revolves around the fact that for five months, the love, trust, honesty and respect that I gave to someone was exchanged for lies and cover-ups. With seemingly zero consequences for the aforementioned someone.

Back to the questions...
Who here thinks that good parents love all of their children equally? Even though a parent may be so disappointed in the actions of a child especially when that child hurts one of the other children, the disappointment doesn't diminish their love for the problem child. Who on this earth knows a child better than his or her parents? No one. Who here thinks that good parenting involves a family vote when determining how to handle a child's actions? Can you imagine the anarchy that would erupt around the family dinner table? Do you see where I'm going with this? The parallels I'm trying to make? Just as a parent loves all of their children equally, God loves all of his children. Even when we are little brats. He knows our hearts better than we do. He knows what's best for us better than we do. He knows how to "parent" us and we all need parenting a little differently. Ever wonder how three kids so different could ever come from the same two parents? Exactly. That's the beauty of a personal relationship.

A few more thoughts...
I do not want to tell a story of how I became an embittered old lady with a bunch of cats and a thirst for justice that would make even the Cullens seem like vegetarians. There are far too many stories of bitterness and anger on the shelves these days, and no one is interested in reading them. Why? Because they don't end well, what's why. I don't know a lot, but I do know that God's will for my life is not for me to get so hung up on and infuriated over the "whys" of a particular situation that was completely out of my control in the first place. I mean seriously, don't we eventually begin to feel sorry for the rat that spends its days running in a wheel? Nobody wants to be the rat running in a wheel. I certainly don't anyway. In short, the decision to spend my days in a fit of rage is not most honoring to God.

This morning at church in an entirely different message, the scripture was this:
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." -Luke 6:27-31. all comes down to the Golden Rule.

As if my toes had not already been stomped on enough, they got a few more bruises this morning. If I listen though and truly take these words to heart, instead of having a crippling effect, they will give me the strength that I need to walk. But it's not the words that give me the strength. It's the one who said them.

One more thing before I go. [I know, I's like mile 12 of a just want to get it over with and be done already.] I am reading Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning and in it he quotes Henri Nouwen. I find it fitting for this blog post as well as the season that we are entering.

"To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives - the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections - that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...

an armistice went into effect which essentially ended the fighting during "The Great War" or what we know as World War I. This was in the year 1918 and many moons later in the year 1954, we began celebrating Veterans Day. Both of my grandfathers are veterans. So is one of my uncles. As are two of my cousins. Until the global war on terrorism that is currently being waged began 5 or so years ago, I honestly never really thought that much about Veterans Day. Sure, I knew that both of my grandfathers were in WWII and my uncle was in Vietnam but didn't everyone have grandfathers who faught in WWII and uncles who faught in Vietnam? In my mind, veterans were old men who fought in wars during a time long before I was even a figment of anyone's imagination and in places far, far away. I was far removed from the reality of war. Apparently I watched too many Miss America pageants as a child and somewhere along the way thought that the contestants' messages of World Peace had made an impression on the powers that be because I never imagined that my generation would be a generation of war veterans. Until 2003 happened and suddenly I knew people on the road to Baghdad. My former classmates. My friends. Fiances and boyfriends of some of my closest friends in the world. It put a whole new perspective on such matters for me when my peers became the ones who were responsible for leading Soldiers into battle and protecting the American people from harm. Sure, the fighting was taking place in a land far away but lives were impacted all around me. The word Veteran was no longer reserved for old men full of memories that took place years ago on foreign soil. Now, I cannot say for sure, but I imagine that serving in the military is much like being a parent in the sense that it has potential to be a pretty thankless job. When I was growing up, my parents always provided for my every need (and most wants) without expecting anything from me in return. Did I ever think to tell them "Thanks" for things like food or school shoes or ballet lessons? Of course not. Yet they continued to do their job of parenting. I didn't really know what it was like to not have something. But when something went missing, who did I look to first to fix the problem? Dear old mom and dad. Well, the same goes for us living here in the United States. We don't know what it's like to not have the rights and privileges that we do. But if we woke up one morning and suddenly they were gone, who would we look to first and wonder what happened? Not mama and daddy, but Uncle Sam's nephews and nieces. Of course the people responsible for fighting for these freedoms we have lived a long time ago. However it's the generations that have followed who were and are responsible for maintaining them. I mean, one can't lose a bunch of weight and then immediately revert back to eating cookies and cheeseburgers and expect to keep the weight off right? It has to be maintained. The same goes for the protection of a nation. If we had no military, I imagine that we would all be saying things like oot and aboot or however it is that those crazy Canadians to our north say things. Or we'd all be taking an afternoon siesta between lunch and the end of the work day...ok, that might not be so bad. The point that I'm trying to make is that I think that we all have roles to play as Americans. If we aren't cut out for camo and combat boots, then we need to do our part to show our appreciation to those who are. So all that to say...Thanks. Thanks Pop and Papa and Uncle Hugh and Kyle and Kasey. Thanks friends. Thanks prospective student who I'm working with as he is making plans to get back into school next fall after he serves his last few months in Iraq. Thanks. And Happy Veterans Day.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13
[Note: Originally published on November 11, 2008.]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Y'know, Nietzsche says: 'Out of chaos comes order'."

Really?!? This is the desk of one who is within weeks of graduating with a Master's degree in OD? I'm sure housekeepers have dirty homes, right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Soundtrack: OPP Edition.

My inspiration for this week's soundtrack post was founded in last week's Hollywood buzz that my boy Justin has gone and cheated on Jessica. [Yes, as a matter of fact, I did enter a period of brief mourning because I do love Justin T.] We all know that human nature loves a good story about liars and cheaters with no regard to the actual truth of the matter. I will tip-toe out on a limb here and say that usually though where there is smoke, unfortunately there is fire. What we all think really doesn't matter though because the two people that really matter know the truth. And even if he looks directly into her eyes and assures her that he loves her and she's his one and only, when Mary Camden gets really honest with herself, she'll know if he's telling the truth or not. He can't hide those lyin' eyes. Even if she doesn't want to believe what her gut is telling her. I mean, it really is like a 7th Heaven episode, isn't it? And if the rumors are true then I hope Jessica Biel rocks on with her smoking hot [butalittletoomasculineinmyopinion] body and says bye bye bye to the boy that will soon be cryin' a river of his own when he realizes that what goes around comes around. She can put on her boots and start walking to the beat of this little playlist I've created.

Your Cheating Heart by Hank Williams, Sr. I mean, seriously. Country music was made for cheating songs. I might as well pull an oldie but goody out of the archives to get this party started. After all, Jessica is wearing boots.

You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette. In my opinion, Alanis is kind of like caffeine. Small doses taken in moderation is fine but if you push your limits and have too much of it, it sends you straight. over. the. edge. I wonder if Alanis was having a bad day when she wrote this song. More importantly, I wonder if Alanis has ever had a good day.

White Blank Page by Mumford & Sons. Did you think I wouldn't feature a Mumford & Sons song? What are you? Crazy? Why do you think I've been listening to that CD nonstop for weeks now? This song, is why. I also think that Damien Rice and that girl (why can I never remember her name?) could have done this song really well in their own style. Speaking of...

9 Crimes by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan. I know I've mentioned this song before and I try to avoid sounding like a broken record (ha!) but it's just too good not to use again. And now I'm bloggin' cause it's relevant, not just for the helluva' it. [Seriously, I am on a roll.]

Beautiful Liar by Beyonce and Shakira. I. Love. This. Song. I had totally forgotten about it until I started thinking about that country song about cheating that was performed by two women. Any guesses where I'm going with this one? If you are a girl born between the years of 1975 and 1982 who was exposed to country music for at least 5 minutes during 1993 and haven't performed your own rendition of this song with your greatest gal pal then you really haven't lived. I'm just saying. Give up? Alright, here's your answer...

Does He Love You by Reba McIntyre and Linda Davis. The lesson to be learned here? The redhead will always prevail.

Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss. Y'all. How could Brad and Alison just stand there and sing while poor little Ricky Schroder gets his heart broken after returning home from the great war to only drink himself to death? What? It's just a story? Well, then I take back every tear I've ever shed while watching this video.

All These Years by Sawyer Brown. Because once I bring you down with a song, I like to keep you there for awhile by mentioning another ridiculously sad song about men who love women that treat them oh so wrong. See, men aren't the only womanizers out there. I know what I mean.

Hit 'Em Up Style by Blu Cantrell. Thanks to Anna for reminding me of this little tune. I'm pretty sure this is featured on my MTV Party to Go Vol. 4926 CD right between Ginuwine's Pony and that terrible Fantasy song by Ludacris. Ol' Blu is classy like that.

Not Gon' Cry by Mary J. Blige. If there was ever a great uniter between the country and R&B genres it is the lack of faithfulness in relationships. At least something of worth was brought together over cheating. If Mary J. isn't going to cry, then I don't think Jessica should either.

Bonus Track: November Rain by Guns N' Roses. It's November. It's raining. It's the best song GNR has ever done. And one day my wedding dress will look just like the bride's in the video. I sure do hope my groom looks like the groom in the video. And once again my sarcasm ruins a perfectly good musical moment.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Soundtrack: Pursuing the Dream Edition.

Think back with me for a few moments to your childhood. If it's been so long since you were there that you can't remember much of it, at least think back to the period in your life when your dreams weren't completely eclipsed by your reality. Are you there? Good. How many of you wanted to be famous when you grew up? Somebody big who was known for something good. Personally, I'm still waiting for Lorne Michaels to call and invite me to join the cast of SNL. Hmmm...did you notice how I worded that? I'm still waiting. Waiting doesn't really equate to doing, now does it? Perhaps somewhere along the way some of us let go of our dreams because we realize how much blood, sweat, and tears they will cost us and we aren't willing to pay the price. Or we are confronted with the reality that there is a reason why there aren't multiple athletes who have won 8 gold medals in a single Olympic games, and perhaps that reason isn't lack of heart or desire but natural ability. As with anything the harder we have to work for something, the more we appreciate it. [Or am I the only one whose mama told her that when my friends were being given things left and right and I was throwing on my Kroger polo shirt for my Saturday night shift?]

Maybe you are in pursuit of your own dream. Maybe you are standing on the sidelines watching someone else in his or her own personal pursuit. Maybe you've become so bogged down with the realities of today that you abandoned dreams long ago. If that's the case, might I recommend that you have a conversation with a child. [Preferably one you know or else the child's poor mother will likely report you to the local authorities.] Ask them what they want to be. Ask them who their heroes are. Maybe they want to be a firefighter and their hero is their daddy. It's the spirit behind their eyes when they talk that is most important.

In today's post I'm one of those people standing on the sidelines watching and cheering and waiting for a dream to unfold for a pair who is working really hard. You see, I know these people. Don't believe me? Exhibit A taken by yours truly in my grandma's garage as they were passing through town. It's true. Their futures are so bright that they have to wear shades. One of them I've known since that morning in late March when I was confronted with the reality that the baby girl cousin I was hoping so badly for was well...a baby boy cousin. Ahh, the tribulations of an 8 year old. Individually they are Justin and Sarah. Together they are Common Thread. They've got some pretty exciting things going on in addition to midterms and final exams in Music City USA. [Does anyone even call Nashville that anymore? Will I ever have a shot as their publicist if I'm not down with the proper lingo?] What's more exciting than cramming for an exam and enjoying the freedom that accompanies the life of a college student? How about sets at The Bluebird Cafe (and other places!)? Or time spent writing and recording and filming? Filming? Yes, filming. Take a look.

You saw them here first folks. Now get out there and start living your own dream. You don't have to be a household name to be somebody big who has accomplished something good. Just ask Keith McVey.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I guess I'll just blog instead.

I've spent so much time looking at an Excel spreadsheet this weekend that I think my eyes are permanently crossed. Earlier this afternoon I paused for a much needed Sunday afternoon nap, took Cash for a much needed walk since he barked incessantly throughout the aforementioned nap, and then ran out to grab dinner. Wendy's chili. Because that detail is important. Not really.

Now I'm back home, Kyra Sedgwick is on the TV using her poor excuse for a Southern accent, and I'm all ready to settle in for a long night of school work. I locate my trusty flash drive and upon plugging it into my computer, I'm greeted with this message: "One of the USB devices attached to this computer has malfunctioned and Windows does not recognize it." I continued to try it in every single other available data port (or whatever those things are called) and the SAME. FLIPPING. MESSAGE. continued to greet me at each one. It's not a tragedy of epic proportion (yet) because fortunately I do have my data set backed up on my desktop. So I'm not crying (yet) even though every single thing I've ever done for graduate school is on this one flash drive. Papers, projects, presentations...all those things I'm going to need to reference in preparation for this little thing called my exit exam that is happening in ohhh...approximately 3 weeks.

Fantastic. My dog just dropped a tennis ball that he has been chewing on for 20 minutes on my keyboard. Pardon me while I go find a ShamWow. And I'm back.

Instead of lamenting over a corrupted flash drive, I've decided to take a little time out to regroup which means I'm enjoying a glass of chocolate milk while taking a few minutes to blog. Today's topic: nothing in particular. Typically I recount the trivial and mundane in my personal journal instead of on my blog, but it's been so long since I've journaled that I couldn't tell Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson its whereabouts if my life depended upon it. Since this post seems to be taking a turn toward television, perhaps now is the best time to share yesterday's discovery of The Wonder Years, Doogie Howser, M.D., and Family Ties on the hub network. What's the hub network, you wonder? I wonder the same thing.

Last night we went to Terrapin which certainly makes for a fun Athens activity. I highly recommend it if you are going to be in the Athens area. And if you are going to be in the Athens area, then you should invite me to join you. Unless you are a blog lurker and I don't know you because that would be weird. No offense, blog lurkers. While there I fell in love with a pit bull puppy and discovered a way in which the United States could employ a cheap and harmless interrogation technique that would crack even the most hardened of criminals. How, you wonder? Step 1: Take them to a college town. Step 2: Find a popular place that serves lots of alcohol. Step 3: At the end of the night lock them into a stall in the ladies room. I swear after 5 minutes they will start talking simply to escape the ridiculousness of the conversations taking place around them. I'm certain that when I was in college, I never talked about the tribulation of hiccups or the strife that results when one wears her suede boots too early in the season. Who am I kidding? I probably talked about those very things last week. But not with a super cool gal 10 years my senior that I had never met before while in a drunken fog. So that makes it completely different.

I could continue with this ramble but at this point it's like beating a horse that has been dead for an hour already. Instead I'll leave you snapshot of how Cash spent his weekend.

I really wish someone would give this dog some attention. It's beginning to impact his self-esteem.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Read this. You won't regret it. Trust me.

It's your lucky day, blogosphere. Two posts in one day from little ol' me...HP. While I'm not responsible for the content of this post, I certainly wish that I could be as funny and as serious and as relevant and as to the point as Jon Acuff is in his writing. You don't even have to thank me for introducing you to him and his blog. Wednesdays are "serious" as you'll see right here in today's post titled Packing., but I encourage you to look around on his site and try some of his other posts out for fun. Trust me when I say that fun awaits. Enjoy.

Soundtrack: I love Pandora Radio Edition.

Perhaps you've noticed that it has been a couple of weeks since my last Soundtrack post. My apologies. I have been a little busy plus I have been hopelessly devoted to my Mumford & Sons Sigh No More CD. Seriously, if you haven't checked it out, go directly to iTunes and download the entire thing. You will not regret it. If you do, well then gift it to a friend because I'm confident that your friend will portray you as a hero who delivered them from the pit of musical monotony. I'm that confident. I'm also confident that there are at least two folks who enjoy Soundtrack Wednesdays. How do I know this? One of them told me so this past weekend which is why Soundtrack Wednesday is back. [At least for this week.] Since I haven't really been listening to the radio all that much, I've spent some time listening to Pandora at work this week. I've decided to share with you my favorite selection that was played on each of my Pandora stations during the hour or so that I listened to each one. You all do know about Pandora, right? If you don't then stop reading this silly post and hop on over to You will not regret it. Have you noticed that this is a post that has guaranteed no regrets twice now? I've obviously fallen victim to the political propaganda that accompanies a midterm election. Back to the music...

Explanation: For this post, I'm listing my "radio station" on Pandora first and then the song and artist I've selected to share with you all. Hyperlinks? Sorry, not this week.

Phil Wickham Radio: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing the Chris Rice The Living Room Sessions version. I had totally forgotten about his cd titled The Living Room Sessions, but I'm glad this song reminded me of it. It's just him playing the piano. Judging by the title, I think he would like for us to believe that the recordings took place in a living room somewhere. Perhaps they did.

Natalie Merchant Radio: The Reason Why by Rachel Yamagata. This was the first time I've ever heard this song but I liked it. Very much a tune that would be featured on Grey's Anatomy/Alias/insert other prime time drama show here during a really critical moment of the weekly episode.

Girl Country Radio: Georgia Rain by Trisha Yearwood. Confession: It was all I could do to let this station play for more than about 15 minutes. I was totally not down with girl country earlier this week. In fact I'm not even sure why I even set this station up like I did in the first place. But it's not your job to figure out why I do the things I do so I'll quit typing my thoughts. As soon as I heard a Georgia girl singing a song about the Georgia rain I immediately interrupted my work flow to change stations.

The Killers Radio: Automatic Stop by The Strokes. What? I like The Strokes. Who doesn't like The Strokes?

David Gray Radio: Lonelily by Damien Rice. Damien Rice has a cool name and he used to sing with a cool chick so that means he's cool too, right? Yes, yes it does. Plus he's Irish. That earns him 5 more cool points. Even though I do prefer Delicate and 9 Crimes to Lonelily.

Jon Foreman Radio: And Then You by Greg Laswell. Pop quiz: Who is Jon Foreman? I heard this song for the very first time on Tuesday too and I'm pretty sure it was written especially for me. Remember how your grandma used to sew clothes for you and put those little tags in them that said something to the effect of "Made especially for HP by Mu" with a little white cat on the tag? What? Only my grandmother did things like that? Well, I apologize for your misfortune. Anywho, if a song could come attached with a little stitched tag, know where I'm going with this. In a nutshell, it's about how we try to do things all by ourselves and then You [uppercase Y can only mean one thing: God] come along and do things the right way, the best way. I'm like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day when it comes to that lesson.

Christopher Cross Radio: I Keep Forgettin' by Michael McDonald and Sail On by Lionel Richie. I'm sorry, but I couldn't choose just one song. One day last week coworker pal Em O-W discovered Christopher Cross Radio. I mocked her and then on Friday I secretly created my own CC station. It was an epic fail. So much so that I skipped the first two songs. On Monday I tried it again for the sake of you, my readers, and it was all I could do to tear myself away from the station and move on to the next one. Air Supply, Ambrosia,'s like the trip to the skating rink in the 70's that I'll never have.

Zac Brown Band Radio: Her Man by Gary Allan. Whaddya' say we pretend like the song I heard was Gary Allan's Smoke Rings in the Dark instead of this one?

Sugarland Radio: Enjoy the Ride by Sugarland. How about that. I finally include a song by the artist for which the station is named.

O.A.R. Radio: Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley. Hallelujah that this station played one of my favorite songs ever or else I would have to devote my time here justifying an O.A.R. station. If you are going to choose just one of these fabulous songs to listen to today then please pick this one. It's the best one on the list IMHO.

James Taylor Radio: My Stunning Mystery Companion by Jackson Browne. Jackson Browne...he's like that sweater in your closet that you always forget about but when you stumble across it you remember how much you really do like it.

Jason Mraz Radio: All We Are by Matt Nathanson. He opened for Sugarland last year and sang this song. And that's all I have to say about that. Good story, huh?

Sarah McLachlan Radio: I Never Told You by Colbie Caillat. Time for truth: I never told you [until now] that I'm not a Colbie Caillat fan. Even that first song of hers...Bubbly. Pleh. I do like this song though primarily because I don't really think she sounds like herself in this song. Maybe she's maturing. Maybe I'm grasping at straws.

Chris Tomlin Radio: Hosana by Hillsong United. Y'all. Keith Urban and Olivia Newton-John aren't the only Aussies who can carry a tune. I love Hillsong United. It makes me think that I should be on some sort of church retreat with everyone gathered around a campfire while someone plays the guitar. Even though I'm not really sure why because never in my life have I been on a church retreat with everyone gathered around a campfire while someone plays the guitar.

Monday, October 18, 2010

There's No Place Like Home.

This past weekend in the city that I currently call home, Homecoming festivities took place for a little school known as the University of Georgia. It was on Saturday that Uga VIII (aka, Big Bad Bruce) made his debut. He's no Chocolate Labrador Retriever, but he is pretty cute. You can see for yourself through the hyperlink I've included. While we're on the subject of the Bulldogs though, I am cautiously optimistic that the prodigals have returned home with their two game winning streak. I don't know how long their stay is going to be but just as any good father does we'll love them while they are here. As for me, I headed out of town before all of the excitement in Athens got underway because I know of a place where the fun is well, more fun...Gold Rush!
I haven't been to Gold Rush since I left Dahlonega over three years ago and my how I have missed it. For those of us who graduated from a little school known as North Georgia College & State University, this is the equivalent to our Homecoming. Hold up. I'm not talking so much about the craft festival component of Gold Rush that brings people into town by the boat loads even though I do love painted gourds and flower pots as home decor (No, not really!). But the festival absolutely adds to the whole experience. On Saturday when I got into town, I immediately made my way to the food section to get my Holy Spud from the BCM (formerly known as BSU) booth. It's a Gold Rush staple. Nothing like a buttered baked potato to provide one with the necessary carbs to remain energetic throughout the whole day. I met Mag and Carrie and their kiddos over on the Price Memorial lawn so that I could have ample running room for playing chase with Colt. Nothing like a 3-year old to make sure I didn't carb overload.

I spent the remainder of my afternoon stopping in at the Phi Mu sweet tea stand so that the poor girls could smile excitedly and say "oh, how cool" when I identified myself as a former Phi Mu. Believe me, I did plenty of time at that same sweet tea stand so I know how excited they really were to see some old lady grinning from ear to ear as she reflects upon her college glory days. After I paid my dues there, we proceeded to head down to the square in preparation for the Gold Rush parade. Think Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and then take out all of the floats and high school marching bands. Then, add in a bunch of cadets in uniform, the Golden Eagle Band (Talons of Steel!...shouldn't they really be brass? Just a thought.), and gentlemen dressed in Confederate gray with really loud guns, and a few convertibles carrying local beauty queens. It's the greatest small town parade you'll ever see. Finally after the parade it was time to head over to campus for the NGCSU Alumni Reception to catch up with old friends. The fun kept on coming for me folks because once that was over, I headed to the outskirts of town to see even more friends. My cup overflowed!
The thing about Gold Rush is that unless you were a student at North Georgia, it's really difficult to get all jazzed and enthralled when I write about the specifics. Really though I'm writing about the emotions and memories and feelings associated with going home...wherever that place is for you. For me that place is Dahlonega. I feel more at home there than anywhere else. It was my college town, but then for 6 years after graduation it was the town where I called home. I found my best friends there. Life lessons happened there. It was there that I began to understand that a relationship with God meant more than asking him to live in my heart and going to church on Sunday. I got my first real job there. I paid my first real bills there. It was the place where I discovered that I could live all by myself and not only survive it but love it.

On Saturday night as I was driving back to Mom's house, I began to think. There are some days when I just absolutely miss Dahlonega and everything about it. I would live there again in a heartbeat. And then I thought about the symbolism of what that longing really represents. Dahlonega is great but it's nothing compared to my forever and ever home that is waiting for me in Heaven. It's going to be like a non-stop North Georgia alumni reception less the cheap beer served in plastic cups and direct sunlight beating down on me to the point that I begin to sweat through my shirt. It's going to be a homecoming that my mind is far too simple to comprehend. And quite frankly I'm glad because otherwise I have a feeling that I would spend far too much time trying to pick out the perfect outfit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Same old, same old.

"We are creatures of habit. We all want to get around like we used to. It is our tendency to resist being stretched. We have gotten comfortable, and established in a routine.
Someone has said that Ruts are just open ended graves. But for most of us Ruts define the way we live.
We get up every morning and get out of that some old bed, put on those same old clothes, walk to that same old table, eat that same old breakfast, pack that same old lunch, put those same old kids on the bus, kiss that same old spouse, drive that same old car to that same old job, get off at the same old time, drive down that same old street, pull into that same old drive, have that same old dinner, watch that same old program, get in that same old bed. Then you get up the next morning to do the same old thing all over again."
-Eric Snyder
Above is a part of a sermon that I heard for the first time a little over a year ago. For whatever reason, I thought of it again this week. The words have set up camp in my mind and like the bedbugs in the NYC movie theaters, they will not leave so I decided to think about them a little more. Since the blogosphere is my oyster, I've decided to share said thoughts with you three. You're welcome.
I am absolutely a creature of habit. Remember my whole lament from a couple of months ago about the lack of Carnation Instant Breakfast in Athens and how I was either going to have to move or quit eating breakfast altogether? I'm telling you, the only thing worse than a creature of habit is one with a flair for the dramatic.
"Creature of habit" has such a negative connotation doesn't it? First of all the word "creature" conjures up all sorts of images of things that might lurk around on the bottom of the ocean floor or in the deep recesses of the hundred acre wood. Please accept my apology for the Winnie the Pooh reference. I loathe Winnie the Pooh (and Tigger too!). Then, the prepositional phrase "of habit" doesn't exactly scream fun and excitement now does it? Nope, it doesn't at all. I happen to believe it screams monotonous and boring with a little dash of stubbornness for added effect.
This week I began to think about how and why I evolved into the little creature of habit that I have become. The answer is pretty simple really: It's easy. It's safe. the end of the day, is that enough? I really don't think so. I think when we choose what is easy and safe and feels good at the time, we eventually begin to resent the very things that initially provided that security. Are you tracking? What happens when resentment builds? Nothing good, that's what. We begin to feel trapped and smothered in our creature comforts. Suddenly we find ourselves itching to break out of that same old routine and if the itch is bad enough we'll run once again to what is easy and accessible [but new! and improved!] to scratch it as quickly as possible. It's living, but is it really?
Recently I decided that I wanted to get involved at church through serving as a small group leader for middle school or high school girls. You want to talk about ripping me completely out of my comfort zone? Well, that's a big way to do it. Everything was going along swimmingly and one day I just dropped the ball. And never picked it back up. Sure, I can give a thousand [lame] excuses: last semester of school, I don't know how long I'll be in Athens, blah, blah, blah. But the reality is serving would require me to stretch and bend and potentially even break [again] and breaking is the very last thing that I want to do right now. It's uncomfortable. It's scary. Heaven forbid I allow myself to be used in a good way for the glory of God. I mean, doesn't he just want us to be comfortable and live a good life by being kind to others and then sit around and wait for the big prize in the sky? Um. Nope. If that were the case then Jesus would have lived out his golden years next door to John the Baptist and his family. Mary and Martha would have squabbled much less often. Paul would have never had to have his name changed on his social security card. [What's that? He never had 6.2% of his earnings put into a mysterious account to be held for him until he turned 62? Oh.] This Earth is not my forever home but while I'm here, I'm pretty sure that my function isn't to while away the hours until the Left Behind series comes to life.
Snyder speaks of ruts and how most of us make our homes in them. Ruts are different than valleys. What happens to ruts when it rains? They fill up and the water doesn't go away immediately. What happens when there's standing water? It becomes stagnant. What happens in stagnant waters? Mosquitos. What happens to mosquitos? We squash them. Um....I absolutely didn't intend to go down that trail when I started this paragraph but it works [kind of] so I'm keeping it. A couple of years ago I wrote a similar post about the lesson to be learned from garden eels.
I think it's human nature to take the easy route. And before I go all "there were two paths in the woods and I took the one less traveled and that has made all the difference" trite, I'm going to wrap this little post up. There is something to it though. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that by choosing to follow Christ, we've got a free pass and a life of ease ahead of us. Personally I believe it presents us with more challenges [adventures!]. We are required to take risks [adventures!]. We are required to walk in the dark [adventures!]. Before we know it, we've become bonafide thrill seekers waiting for our next adrenaline rush. Who's in?
*The scriptural reference from Snyder's talk is Isaiah 54:1-4 in case you're wondering.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Soundtrack: It's Fall Edition.

Fact: Fall is the best season. I love jeans. I love the changing leaves. I love the smell of leaves burning. [I love the environment.] I love hot chocolate. I love it all. And because I'm weird [ahem...unique] there are certain songs that I love to listen to during the fall. Today I will share some of them as well as whatever else comes to mind in the next 10 minutes or so it will take me to hammer out this little post. Enjoy.

New Favorite (the entire CD) by Alison Krauss & Union Station. She has the voice of an angel. Maybe my mansion will be close to hers in Heaven so we can sing duets all day long.

Live in Chicago at the United Center 12.19.98 by Dave Matthews Band. Once again, I listen to the whole thing, but I'm a super big fan of: The Last Stop, #41, The Maker, Christmas Song, and All Along the Watchtower.

A Hard Rain's A-gonna' Fall the Jason Mraz version. I don't want to take away from the original Bob Dylan version but there's something about this one that I like better. You say potato, I say potato, Dan Quayle spells potatoe.

Smoke & Ashes by Tracy Chapman. Dear Tracy Chapman, I'm really sorry that for the longest time I thought you were a man. This song warms my soul like a blanket warms my toes on a crisp fall day. Really? Remind me never to attempt poetry.

Portland, Oregon by Loretta Lynn & Jack White. Am I the only one who thinks this duo is dynamic? I hope not.

Dear Lover by Foo Fighters. Oh mellow Foo Fighters, how I love thee.

Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons. Seriously, this group is quickly moving up my personal chart of favorites. I love them even more because so many of their songs have been featured in the new shows this fall. I heard this song for the first time when I was watching Lone Star last week. I don't know why I'm intrigued with a show that features a man leading a double life.

Sober by Kelly Clarkson. Yes, Kelly Clarkson. I heard this song randomly today on my way to Chick-fil-A to get my free! chicken! sandwich! and it made me cry. Three months and I'm still breathing/standing here/getting better/still remember. Oh the irony of timing.

Belong by Cary Brothers. I hate that I've been sucked into the ridiculousness that is Cougar Town. I think it's because the show always gets me with the music at the end so it's like I have to watch the entire episode to see how the last song brings it all together. This was last week's "bring it all together and make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside" song. If you like that sort of thing.

Back in the Saddle Again by Gene Autry. 103 years ago today Gene Autry was born so it's only fitting to feature one of his songs, right? [Thanks to Em O-W for sharing this bit of musical trivia.] Too bad his birthday isn't in December because I would have featured his more famous song: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I adhere strictly to my "No Christmas music until Thanksgiving" policy. Besides after three months of still breathing I'm back in the saddle again.