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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Illustration of Faithfulness.

Last Thursday at the beach I woke up before sunrise. On purpose. By nature I'm a night owl who breaks free from the bondage of the alarm clock whenever I get the opportunity, but there is just something about being at the beach on the East coast. Witnessing the sun rise over the ocean can be like church for me. Creation at its best. One day I want to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic and then immediately take a plane to the West coast to watch the sun set over the Pacific. It would be like summer revival in the South...two services in one day.

Around 6:45 on Thursday my alarm sounded. I proceeded to find my glasses, stumble out of bed, grab my camera and headed out to the balcony to wait. For this:

Really?!? I wake up at o-dark-thirty on a vacation day for this? Clouds. Grey. Gloom. I was hoping for a little more. A little disappointed and frustrated I headed straight back to bed.

And now for the questions: How often do we prepare for something with a high level of anticipation that is created around an expectation that we have? How often are we disappointed when reality doesn't measure up to said expectation? I can't speak for you three, but I've been known to do this once or twice [a day]. It happens with jobs (that time I interviewed for a job at Vanderbilt and didn't get it), vacations (that time there was no real snow during the ski trip) , meals (that time you got food poisoning), relationships (that time I dated a rocket scientist), gifts (that time there wasn't any money in the birthday card from grandma), homes (that time somebody made a lower offer on the house you really wanted). Of course the level of frustration or disappointment varies according to the level of investment. How easy is it for our faith to get shaken once we experience disappointment? Who remains faithful even when we don't? [Answer: "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." 2 Timothy 2:13]

Saturday was our last day at the beach. Once again I set my alarm to wake up early, but I wasn't exactly psyching myself up to actually get out of bed once it sounded. Sure enough when I heard that dreadful noise on Saturday morning, I immediately hit snooze. But then I heard somebody else moving around which led me conclude that we were being robbed given the rest of my family sleeps like the dead. No worries, it was just mom. The curtains were open and I could see the beginnings of something beautiful. I made it out to the balcony in time to witness this:

Question: If God can use the same canvas to paint such a different picture in a matter of 48 hours, what can he do in our lives and through our circumstances? The contrast in these two pictures lead me to believe that it's something beyond our wildest imagination. Sure, it's hard to believe it until we actually see it for ourselves. I am so thankful that he provides us with reminders such as this along the way.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" -Ephesians 3:23

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soundtrack: Beach Edition.

Greetings from the shore of the Atlantic!

When we set out on our trip South on Tuesday morning, mom determined that the three licensed drivers would each spend approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes behind the wheel. I made the rule that the driver also controls the radio dial. This was a glorious idea for the first leg of the trip because I assigned myself the task of taking us safely through Atlanta and past Macon which meant I also played DJ Jazzy HP and taught the world to sing in perfect harmony in that same 2 hours and 45 minutes. Mom had the middle turn with me in the front passenger seat (which really meant that I controlled the radio most of that portion of the trip too). Then baby brother #1 took over for the final stretch. I was in the back seat for about 15 minutes when I sent mama a text that read "If he doesn't change this crap soon I'm going to turn into a testosterone enraged teenage boy." As it turns out I can tolerate Blink 182 for about 1.82 seconds. Praise Jesus that after about 30 minutes, E decided to bring out Confederate Railroad and a family sing along to "Queen of Memphis" restored road trip harmony for the last couple of hours. [If only Cash were along with us to play the role of Snots, we would be set.] E feels about Queen of Memphis like I feel about John Anderson's Swingin'. Listen to me rambling on...I'm not here to drag you all kicking and screaming down memory lane. Nor am I here to mention songs like Rupert Holmes' version of "If You Like Pina Coladas" and as a result you getting stuck the tune stuck in your head all. day. long. There are no signs of Jimmy, the Beach Boys, or even Kenny Chesney here either. Instead I'm listening to the ocean. And that's it. [Except in reality, I'm also listening to South Park because the real testosterone enraged teenage boy is driving the tv remote at the moment. I plan to kill Kenny soon and put an end to that.]

Happy First Day of Fall!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cheaters never win. Or do they?

Foreword: In my world, "hiatus" apparently means 72 hours. It's my blog, I'll write if I want to.

I have a confession: I'm cheating on my baristas. Both of them. I didn't really mean for it to happen. In fact I never saw it coming until it was too late. I love Jittery Joe's coffee. It's local. The people are nice. The coffee isn't as strong as Starbucks. It's not as watery as gas station coffee. It's just right. As my good fortune would have it, there's a Jittery Joe's about 4 minutes from my office so I'm a frequent flyer there. Then the fall semester began and the coffee stand here on campus opened back up. So one day I walked over to get coffee from there. It's better than gas station coffee but not as good as Joe's. But the new barista (Am I even using the right term here? Is that even a word? I was going to say "coffee stand girl" but that sounds so demeaning) is really nice. And she knows my order without me actually having to order it. It's like I'm Norm minus the running tab and assigned bar stool and rotund midsection. There's a sense of rapport, if you will. But. The Joe's coffee is just better even though now I find myself torn because the coffee stand girl is nice and friendly. Do you see the mess I've gotten myself into? I've chosen convenience (walking 50 yards as opposed to driving 2 miles) over quality. The other day I went to Jittery Joe's before a meeting but then I realized that I gotten myself into a bit of a debacle. Why, you ask? Because in order to get to said meeting, I had to walk RIGHT past the coffee stand on campus. My orange cup was a dead giveaway to my disloyalty. I was embarrassed. I kid you not, I tried to hide my cup with my notebook as I walked by. I felt guilty. I know what you're thinking...she felt guilty over buying a cup of coffee from another business even though we live in the land of capitalism and that's one of the reasons why God blesses America? [or something like that] Yes, I felt guilty. Because there was a chance that coffee stand girl would see my orange Jittery Joe's cup. I had given Joe my 1.50 instead of her. See, I never have to worry about Joe knowing that I'm cheating on him because he's 2 miles away. Out of sight, out of mind. But coffee stand girl is right there. Even though I prefer Joe, it seems that I've sold out a bit for what is easiest. In doing so, I've developed a sense of loyalty to her too. I had guilt.

Now. If you have arrived to this point and find yourself thinking "is she really talking about coffee or am I missing something?" The answer is yes. I am talking about coffee, but I do love a good illustration. In fact, I think that Jesus might have used this as a parable had there been a Jittery Joe's franchise in Nazareth. Once I got settled into my meeting, I couldn't help but to think about how silly it was that I felt guilty over something as lame as buying coffee from another place. Coffee stand girl could care less, I'm sure. But then I started thinking about something else. If I felt guilty over something so trivial, how do the Bernie Madoffs or Tigers of the world feel? Can you imagine the guilt they walk around with at night? I certainly can't. It must be so heavy.

I'm not here to bash cheaters. Really, I'm not because we're all human. As soon as we think we're above something, that makes us the perfect candidate to commit the very act we frown so highly upon. I'm not here to condone those who screw around in bedrooms, boardrooms, or ball fields either though. Those who do will eventually have to bear the burden of guilt. In Philip Yancey's book "What's So Amazing About Grace?" he brings out the point that in order for the guilty person to open themselves up to receive the grace that God has for him or her [yes, God's grace is even for them], the person who has been wronged has to forgive. Why, you ask? It's my understanding that if the person who has committed the wrong becomes so guilt-laden over the pain or suffering that they have caused another person, they can become essentially trapped in that guilt. And according to Philip, they will and do become quite guilt-laden. Sure, there's a part of me that thinks "as they should!" But that mentality becomes a trap too. The cheaters definitely win if the cheated allow themselves to become trapped in the past.

The cheaters have another way to win too and it can be summed up in a one syllable word: Grace. Simple word. Huge implications. I don't know where you're at in life or if this little post is for anyone other than myself. However, if by chance you are reading this whether you are the cheater or the cheated, I hope that you can allow God's grace to cover the guilt or the hurt. It will. If it were not true, he would not have said so.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Hiatus for HP.

Currently my to-do list has about 651 or so tasks on it. As much as I love drawing a line through tasks on lists upon completion, day after day I stare at my current list [during commercial breaks], and I've yet to draw a line through a single one. Instead I keep filling my days with other things in an effort to delay the inevitable. Why do you people think I've been spending so much time on this little blog o' mine lately? Not that I don't love entertaining the masses [and by masses, I mean the 3 readers that come here] because I do, and I'm thankful that you stop in on occassion. It's much easier to type out a post about nothing of significance sans APA formatting than it is to discuss matters related to adult learning, program planning, research, and organizational change in a clear and concise manner. But it's crunch time now and I've got to get busy because flunking out of grad school during my last semester would be uber uncool. Especially since I'm in the business of promoting higher education and all. Even though the "do as I say, not as I do" tactic sure seemed to work well for my daddy whenever he threatened to tan my hide if he ever caught me smoking a he was smoking a cigarette, I plan on avoiding that tactic until I can use it on my own children.

If you are worried about how you're going to spend the extra 2 minutes you normally spend here each day, I'm one step ahead my friends. I've created lists with boundless opportunities. Let me know how successful you are at crossing things off of these lists. Hopefully one of us will succeed.

Read other blogs-
  • Stuff Christians Like: Oh my goodness. I laugh. I nod my head up and down in agreement as I read. I wince and curl my toes because it hits a little too close to home. It's good stuff. #113, #269, #106, #357, and Remix - #34 are some of my favorites. Feeling overwhelmed? I recommend that you start at the archives and work your way through.
  • Big Mama: I swear she and I would be friends if we lived in the same town, understood and appreciated the same high school fashion trends, or if she wasn't creeped out by the fact that there's some random girl proclaiming an assured friendship based solely on the fact that I read her blog daily. I can't say for certain that she's creeped out by this proclamation, but it's probably a safe assumption.

  • People of Wal-Mart: It speaks for itself. I'm not really sure what it says but it definitely speaks.

Read real books - [Do you remember those things from days of yore?]

  • The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. I'm currently in the middle of reading it for the third time, and it never gets old. Always relevant. Always good.

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. After much coercion by co-worker Em, I finally read this book. I wasn't on board at first because I was all "a book about a circus? I was scared of the circus as a child so why would I want to bring those fears out of retirement?" However, I loved it much like I loved The Time Traveler's Wife. I fear it will be dulled when the movie comes out next year...much like the movie version of The Time Traveler's Wife did for it. Darn the cinema!

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Look, I understand that if you grew up in a really small Baptist church like I did then you might be inclined to bristle up at first. Just read through it. Seriously. Loved this book. Added bonus: the hometown of the family in the book is Bethlehem, GA which is a stones throw from me. That's not really a bonus at all, actually.

  • What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey. There are tons of books on the subject of grace. Personally I think experiencing it for oneself is the best teacher but this is a good read. So good I've read it twice now.
Watch TV -

Y'all, premiere week could NOT have come at a worse time. I imagine that I feel much like Laura Ingalls did when she had to miss premiere week to work the fields or whatever it was she had to do when she lived in that little house on the prairie with Ma and Pa and Mary and Carrie...and Albert. I'll forge through like her and just set the DVR and catch up when the chores are done. Who am I kidding? We all know the only reason why I'm going to have to play catch up is because I'll be at the beach next week. Graduation, schmaduation...there's nothing coming between me and my friends who live inside the TV.
  • Old friends that I'm looking forward to catching up with: Modern Family, Glee, Parenthood, and How I Met Your Mother.

  • New friends that I'm excited about meeting: Chase, Undercovers (don't disappoint me, JJ Abrams!), The Event, Outsourced, and Outlaw. [Nope, I'm not paid by NBC to promote essentially their entire fall line-up of new shows. I've fallen victim to their marketing strategy, apparently.]

Listen to some music - [This is where I include a watered-down version of my weekly soundtrack. No hyperlinks, no changing of the font color for the song titles, less commentary. Maybe.]

  • Just a Dream by Nelly. It kind of reminds me of that time he sang a song with Tim McGraw. Wasn't that Nelly and Tim McGraw? Or was it 50 and George Strait? Oh that would be a funny Crossroads episode.
  • Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. I blame the movie Inception for my mentioning two songs in the same week with the word "dream" in their titles. Let's not discuss my potential lameness for digging Katy Perry and Nelly, please.
  • Cath... by Death Cab for Cutie. Who here has been to a wedding and the whole time it was happening, you knew it was never going to last? Sad isn't it? Unless the reception food is good which makes for a little less buyer's remorse when you think about how that place setting of China you sprung for is probably going to end up on the dining room floor one day shattered into a thousand pieces...Like the happy couple's lives. [Debbie Downer was just a guest blogger it seems]
  • Delta Dawn by Tanya Tucker. She recorded this when she was 13 which means she was the Taylor Swift of the 1970s. Except Barry White probably didn't interrupt her acceptance speech at the VMAs.
  • Dog Days are Over by Florence + the Machine. Speaking of VMAs, did anyone else see this group's performance of this song? I don't think I'm speaking out of turn when I say that Flo is a horse of a different color, but she can carry a tune much further than I'll ever be able to carry one.
  • Young Americans by David Bowie. It was the last song I heard as I was getting back to work after my mid-morning coffee break to Jittery Joe's.
  • Y'all Come Back Saloon by The Oak Ridge Boys. I know the words to at least a million tunes so maybe I should start playing the tambourine with a silver jingle too. No? Alright, that's probably best.
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash. This song often comes to mind when I'm making a left hand turn in a busy intersection.
  • Shelter from the Storm by Bob Dylan. There's something about this song that makes me miss The Wonder Years. Speaking of The Wonder Years...
  • I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends the Joe Cocker version. Boo-yah... 4 weeks in a row. It's the little things, people.
I don't know when I'll be back here in the blogosphere, but I do know that when I return, I've got some riveting topics to discuss. For example: Hair - Straight or Curly; Prayer; and well...I don't know. I usually just make this stuff up as I go.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Re-Run from 9/11/09: It's Personal.

You know, I hadn't really thought much about writing a blog post this year on 9/11 until a couple of days ago. Last year, I shared these thoughts about defining moments and how the events of September 11 will always be one of those days when we can think back and remember exactly what we were doing at the time.

This morning I've thought a great deal about all of those babies that were born in the days, weeks, and months that followed the attack who had fathers working in those buildings, flying on those planes, or were just working their 12 hour shift and hadn't really planned on getting any big calls that day. These babies are now 2nd graders. For many of their classmates, this day might simply be a date to remember for a US history test one day when they are in high school. Sure, their classmates will see pictures and hear stories but it's something that happened before their time. Kind of like JFK's assassination for me. But for these kids who lost their Daddies before they even got a chance to meet them, it's a different kind of day. It's personal.

This afternoon a college friend will arrive at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. Earlier this week he was seriously injured while proudly serving our country in Afghanistan. He was still in college when the terrorists attacked. No one could have ever predicted just how personal that event would become for him nearly 8 years to the day later. How could his sweet wife who was still years from even meeting him at that point in time have any clue that this defining moment would impact her life so greatly in her future? Today as she waits in Maryland for her husband to arrive back into the United States, it's personal.

It seems that for so long the war in Afghanistan did not have the media coverage that the war in Iraq has had. I'm not here to discuss the war on terrorism (of whatever it's called now) specifically because let's be honest...I'm no Stormin' Norman so I'm not really educated enough to do so. But lately I have noticed more and more headlines. I'm sure much of it has to do with the recent spike in violence and increase in the number of US troop causalities in Afghanistan. The media loves using black and gray to paint grim pictures for us each night on TV. I imagine that another reason why I'm more attuned to the headlines is because I've got a vested interest in matters related to those wearing uniforms for Team USA. It's personal.

The events of September 11 are personal to all of us living in this great land. For the New Yorkers who lived it, witnessed it, and are still haunted by the images associated with that day. For those in D.C. and Pennsylvania, too. For the family members of each and every one of the victims. For the ones who worked in those towers but happened to be running late that day so they survived when many of their co-workers did not. For the college girl who was working her cushy job as a waitress in a little mountain town when she watched one of the towers fall. For Americans who love this country and the principles on which it was founded. It's personal.

I'm certainly not a proponent of dwelling in the past, but I don't believe that remembering that day should be considered as such. The ripples resulting from a senseless act that happened nearly a decade ago are still reaching far and wide across America and will continue to do so into the future. I hope that when we see those pictures that are all too familiar now that we will be reminded to be empathetic to the hurting, thankful for the brave, proud and prayerful for our nation. And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Guacamole. Even the haters will love it.

I am 72% sure that I love this guacamole. That's saying a lot for the girl who was a hater of the green creamy stuff for years. Today I bring you a quick & easy recipe that is a great addition to your College GameDay menu.

The players:
  • Avocados - 3
  • Roma Tomatoes - 2
  • Lime - 1
  • Onion - 1/4 cup
  • Cilantro - 3 tbsp.
  • Salt - 1 tsp.
  • Minced Garlic - 1 tsp.

The play:
[For an added effect, imagine me saying this in a Julia Childs voice with a Southern drawl.]
  • Dice the tomatoes. Set aside.
  • Next dice the onion. Set aside.
  • Then finely chop the cilantro. Set aside.
  • Peel the avocados, or whatever it is you do with them [this is where you may begin to suspect that my kitchen prowess is not up to Julia's] and put them in a bowl. RINSE & SAVE 2 of the PITS!
  • Add 1 tsp. of salt to the avocado.
  • Juice the lime [Really? I need a canine assistance dog to make my way around the kitchen because I just had to ask for help on how to word this step and it still sounds odd.] into the bowl as well.
  • Mix and mash together the avocado, salt, and lime juice.
  • Add in the tomato, onion, cilantro, and garlic. Stir.
  • Finally, stir in the pits. [It keeps the guac from turning a dismal brown, yo.]
    Serve immediately or chill for an hour as you chill for an hour yourself.
  • Enjoy.

A few notes, not necessarily of relevance:

  • I could easily eat this entire bowl of this stuff.
  • Given that garlic, onion, and cilantro is involved, I don't recommend this when tailgating with your crush.
  • I never use the full 1/4 cup of onions.
  • Nor do I use all 3 tablespoons of cilantro. I just chop some cilantro until I get annoyed with chopping up smelly green leaves. Which is usually after about 12 seconds.
  • Sometimes for kicks I'll add an extra tomato. Just because I can.
  • Confession: I don't use fresh garlic. Save yourself the time and trouble and embrace the garlic in a jar like I have. Unless Martha Stewart will be at your event. If she is, then I'm not sure why you're coming to me for recipes.
  • Props to pal Holly about the pit trick. [How many of you immediately converted to a 9 year old boy and thought of that terrible armpit noise trick we did in elementary school?] I had no idea they helped the finish product remain a lovely green shade for hours and weeks on end.
  • I really like blue corn chips with my guacamole. Specifically the Archer Farms blue corn chips that you can get at Target, but I've never really met a blue corn chip I didn't like so I don't discriminate. Might I also recommend eating it by the spoonfuls.
  • Please ignore my ugly white counter tops. When I moved to Athens I almost didn't move to this place specifically because of how ugly the kitchen is. And then I remembered the difference between renting and buying. And temporary and permanent. Pretend like they are granite. I certainly do.
  • My local grocer, Sam Walton is currently selling avocados for 50 cents each. Even though I much prefer the place where shopping is a pleasure, they think a little more highly of their avocados (1.69 each). It's the falling prices and my endless optimism that I'll capture the perfect photo to make the People of Wal-Mart blog that keeps drawing me back that place.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

They are my estate.

"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a lot of great stuff. I've seen and done a lot of great things. It all pales in comparison to one of my greatest treasures: girlfriends. We are all created in God's image, but I think that when he was doling out the desire for relationship, we gals got the greater portion. Thank heavens because as much fun as it is to sit in front of the TV and watch the game in complete silence less the occasional grunt and swear word, it's even more enjoyable when chatting with a pal on the phone and even taking a trip to Wal-Mart during half-time all the while remaining on the phone together. [True story, by the way...Georgia-Tennessee]
The bond of friendship between women is quite unique. Men will never understand it, nor should they. There are books, movies, and television shows that try to capture the essence of it. As with most things though, until we actually experience it for ourselves, we can't explain it. And if you're one of the lucky ones to have such relationships with a fav set of gal pals, all the words in the dictionary aren't enough to describe their worth. Especially given that we female types love to talk so much about how we feel. True, genuine, lasting friendships are organic. They cannot be forced or matter how much your sorority dues might have been.

Girlfriends are the keepers of each others secrets. They are the eyes when one loses sight of her own dreams. They are the masterminds behind our most elaborate plans leaving no stone unturned and not one detail overlooked. Girlfriends are voices of reason when one in the group is stricken with a severe case of laryngitis. They are the first ones we call when our moms, men, or mini-me's have gotten on our very last nerve or hurt us in a way that we never thought possible. They are also the first ones we call when those very same people have caused us sheer joy. Girlfriends are brutally honest with us when we aren't honest with ourselves. They are the ones who fall apart helplessly into a fit of giggles when no one else gets the joke.We begin as little girls sneaking our mamas' make-up and playing with our baby dolls. Somewhere along the way we learn the art of freezing bras and cattiness. Fortunately that stage doesn't last very long, but we still make each other mad when we refuse to leave one of our girls at the home of some boy that we can see straight through even when her vision is clouded. That anger usually subsides as the hangover does. And then suddenly one day, we're all grown up. We buy dresses that we're only going to wear once with that new pair of shoes that we're going to wear once. But it will be a Saturday that we'll never forget so it's worth every dime. Girlfriends visit each other in the hospital to celebrate births and mourn deaths. It's a for better or for worse relationship of its own kind. Paul teaches us in Romans that we are to "rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." I think this verse sums up quite simply the primary responsibilities of friendship. In the last year and a half, I've done my fair share of both. What comfort in knowing that I wasn't alone. Regardless of their own circumstances, my girls have been right there with me through mine. I want to be more like them. They each have their own unique qualities. Each one loves differently. One is quiet and shows up at the most unexpected yet most appropriate time. Another sees a situation and immediately sets out to repair or improve it. One listens to me talk and then speaks when she knows I'm ready to listen. Another I can call at 11:45 at night because I know that she's still awake too. I could continue, but the point I'm making in those examples is to illustrate that God's design is evident even in the dynamics of my girls. When He put them into my life whether it be when I was 5 or 19 or 25, I had no idea what was beyond Hickory Flat Elementary, Phi Mu formals, or my twenties. But God did. And he knew that I would need them all along the way. Inevitably the dynamics of such friendships will change as a result of time, distance, and circumstance. Some strengthen while others weaken, but they all have their place. There is comfort in knowing that not only are there a select few who know your history, they are a part of it. They are my estate, indeed.

[August was a friend-filled month. To see more of my shenanigans with some of my favorite people, hop on over here.]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Have I ever mentioned that when I'm in my car I constantly scan the stations for a sweet beat? Well, I do. It's either that or send text messages, and we all know how that got ixnayed during the last legislative session. I'm completely bored with creating this week's list already which is a bad sign since I haven't even begun yet. Here goes nothing...

Heartless by Kanye West. Ok, before you go all Taylor Swift supporter on me, is the recent radio version a little bit different than the original? A remix of some sort? Or have I just never really listened closely enough because I was too busy changing the station? It seems to me that there is a little bit of a bass line [look at me trying to use musical terms that are probably out of context] that reminds me of a Phil Collins' song? Speaking of which...

In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins. How in the sam hill did I leave Phil out of my tribute to the English last week? Please forgive me. I'm a fan indeed. This song makes me want to date a drummer. A cool, rock and roll drummer with an edgy wardrobe and tattoos. Not a drum major drummer.

In Color by Jamey Johnson. I don't know why I love this song, but I do. You should too. If it doesn't make you want to go and listen to your grandpa ramble on about his youth then nothing will.

I'm Not Afraid by Eminem. Shady's back, folks. Maybe he never left for some of you, but in the event that he did please just roll with his return. I've certainly chosen to do so.

Take It Off by Ke$ha. Yes, she's ridiculous. Nonetheless this song just makes me want to go to the nearest discotechque and dance the night away. Likely though, I'll just continue to move my shoulders back in the forth as I'm driving down the road. It's hip to be square.

All These Things That I've Done by The Killers. I had kind of forgotten about this song, but it was on the radio yesterday on my way home so I called for a temporary cease scan. I got soul but I'm not a soldieeeeeeeeeeerrr. Isn't that part of the song exceptionally fun to sing along with? And while we're taking it back to 2006...

Heart in a Cage by The Strokes. It's only fitting that I feature this one since I've been jonesing for an edgy drummer for at least 30 minutes now.

Seven Spanish Angels by Willie & Ray. If you don't know who Willie and Ray are by first name alone please know that you have my deepest sympathies. Can anyone out there give me a good reason why Willie cut his braids? Granted, I can only imagine the things growing in those braids. I'm sure there's a hair dresser in the world somewhere though who needs the work and will gladly maintain those things. Especially if ol' Willie offers said hair dresser a little something else that happens to be his aquarium....on his tour bus.

Seven Bridges Road -The Eagles version. I've never known a toe not to tap anytime this song is playing. If you think this selection of songs is completely random, you obviously haven't heard my CD that has a little Third Day mixed in between Nine Inch Nails and Dr. Dre.

Where We Belong by Hillsong. Not to be confused with Up Where We Belong as performed by Joe Cocker [Snaps to Joe for somehow managing to make it into my list for the 3rd week in a row] and Jennifer Warnes. For a little Ragamuffin like me this song serves as a mighty tall reminder that I'm covered in grace and love. Every single minute of every single day. Until the seven Spanish angels carry me home. Where I belong.

You stay classy, blogosphere.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things That Me Go "Hmmm".

We all have them. Here is a sampling of my current ones.

The song "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry. Have y'all heard it? It's bizarre. The video? Bizarre. The fact that I made a point of discussing it? Bizarre.

Jeggings. I sent a text to my pal Val this weekend that said something to the effect of "I believe that I will be the owner of jeggings before it's all said and done." Sigh. Even though I am of the whole honey-just-because-they-make-it-in-your-size-doesn't-mean-you-should-wear-it belief, I think it's just going to be easier this season if I embrace the trend and get some jeggings to wear with my UGGs and cowboy boots as opposed to my skinny jeans. Primarily because the skinny jeans in my closet are no longer skinny enough. I suppose I could opt for chocolate chip cookies instead.

How my personal email account is sending random spam emails to folks in my address book. If you have fallen victim, yeah...well...sorry. Whatever you do, don't click on the link because you and I both will probably explode or even worse, cause a breach of security that will make bank systems fail worldwide. [Looks like someone watched a few too many cop dramas over the long weekend.]

My ability to waste time. I don't know how I do it, but I'm a champ.

Cash, the Wonder Lab's bottom front teeth. They are tiny. Honestly, I thought he must have broken them chewing on a bone or something. As it turns out, they are his puppy teeth. He was born without permanent bottom teeth. It looks great with his graying face. I should mention that he's 2. What a pedigree.


Inception. Seriously, my brain hurt after I watched it this weekend.

The latest fall fashion trend of blinged out camo. I wish I were kidding. I'm no Jaclyn Smith, but it seems to me that one could simply create this style at home and save mega-bucks if you just get a large camo t-shirt (the one in your husband's closet will suffice), get the bedazzler down from the attic, go a little crazy with the fake jewels from Hobby Lobby, and cinch the finished project with a belt.

And last but not least...
My personal thoughts on how stick figure families on the back glass of cars provide a perfect way for the kidnappers to inventory children aside, do these people really have 13 dogs? Hmmm.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Type.

If you came here today expecting my take on all things tall, dark, and handsome, I am sorry to report that you are in for a huge disappointment. It's not that I don't like the tall, dark, and handsome fellas, it's just that my love life is something I prefer to keep off the internet. Oh, I'm hilarious.

Now, there is my blood type. That makes for an interesting conversation. Well, interesting for those enrolled at the local technical college in the phlebotomy program. I'm AB-. The rarest blood type in all the land, ladies and gents. Hmmm, I wonder if I could have a side show act with a traveling circus? And if so, could my booth be next to the bearded lady's? For real though, that is my blood type and it is the most rare. 1 out of 100 donors are AB-. And it's not just that we're greedy with our blood. Listen to me rambling on. I didn't come here today to discuss my blood type either because that's just plain weird.

I'm here to talk about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). For psychology geeks like me, taking these types of personality inventories are as entertaining as a Friday night at the movies. Speaking of Friday night at the movies, might I recommend that you save your money and not go see Going the Distance when it opens this weekend. I can tell you how it ends if you really care to know. I digress. Back when I was in college, we did these crazy personality type tests all the time in the name of higher education. Some may argue that an undergraduate degree is psychology is about as useful as a high school varsity letter in chorus, and personally I couldn't agree more. It's just that I know all the "official" terms for what everyone else refers to as common sense.

For those of you who aren't privvy to all things MBTI, I'll provide a brief explanation. Relax, it's not 5:00 yet, how else are you going to pass the time? The inventory is divided into 4 components.

1. Where you focus your attention: Extraversion or Introversion
2. The way you take in information: Sensing or Intuition
3. The way you make decisions: Thinking or Feeling
4. How you deal with the outer world: Judging or Perceiving

Since I'm boring myself to tears, I'll go ahead and get to the moment we've all been waiting for which is the big reveal of my type in case you forgot the point of this whole post in the first place.

ISFJ. That's me. In college I was an ESFJ. Apparently in my old age, I've become more introverted. Now before you go start thinking that I'm going to become the kooky old lady with cats, introverts are not the same as recluses. I like to think it was all those years as an only child that made me that way. It didn't take me long to figure out that no matter how much I talked to my stuffed animals, they weren't going to talk back.

Here's the skinny. ISFJ is the most common "type" of females in the United States. So much for being one of a kind. ISFJ's are loyal, quiet, cooperative and supportive. We like to think about something and process it internally and consider all sides before making a decision. But once we make up our mind about something, we stick with it. It's alright though because we make our decisions, we also take the time consider whether or not anyone will be hurt as a result of them. We want the facts and just the facts, man. We love a good plan. We hate conflict and try to avoid it. Hmmm. Clearly this inventory has me all wrong. I wonder that if there was an inventory for sarcasm, how would I measure?

Each of the 4 components is measured on a scale ranging from zero to 30. I'm pretty moderate in the first three. Judging is where I really show my true colors. I am a 27. Now before you get all worked up and think that I'm judgmental, hold your horses. This is the component that says that folks who sway to the judging side tend to like a planned and organized approach to life and wish to have things settled. They also like to have some control and set limits. [Pffft. What weirdos.] The other side of the spectrum, perceiving, is where the folks that love to fly by the seat of their pants like to live. Don't get me wrong, I'm always up for a surprise. As long as it's a good one. And fits nicely into my overall grand plan. Speaking of grand plan, have I mentioned lately that I no longer have one? Which I happen to believe is all a part of another J's plan. If you know who I mean.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Soundtrack: English Invasion Edition

[Yes, I know in real-life it's referred to as the British invasion, but I'm only focusing on England. So there.]

Remember how last week I wanted to change my original post idea all because of that one Joe Cocker song that I heard on America's Got Talent? How was I so influenced by the likes of Howie Mandel and Sharon Osborne, I wonder? I had no idea that Joe Cocker is from the land that doesn't take tea ice cold and full of sugar [apparently I thought he was from The Bible Belt] In my mind all English musicians have the same hair cuts or long tongues or wear funky sunglasses. If not for the Beatles, the Stones, or Sir Elton, I might not even know that there was such a place as England. Oh, I kid. You'll notice that there's nary a mention of the three aforementioned performers on my actual list this week. It's because I just couldn't decide on one song for each of them. How could I with the Elton John box set in my closet? Oh, I kid, again. I've never owned an Elton John box set. Or any box set for that matter. Box set? Who has those anymore? Do you want to come over later and watch home movies on the Betamax?

I like to think of this week's selection as being fit for a queen.

You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker. I've talked about Joe Cocker enough during the last week. I'm not saying anything else about him. Ever. But on another note, did you know Randy Newman wrote this song? As in the guy who does all the Toy Story songs. Weird.

Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield. Apparently that son of a preacher man didn't teach her well enough given her preference for the ladies.

Simply Irresistible by Robert Palmer. In the days before I wanted to be a dancer for Justin Timberlake's tour, I wanted to be one of those girls in this video. Me thinks those 2 years of ballet/tap combo class won't carry me as far as I had hoped.

Brass in Pocket by The Pretenders. You know how sometimes you can look at people and their name doesn't really suit them? Well, that's how I feel about this song and its name.

Going to California by Led Zeppelin. It's only fitting that I include a little Led Zeppelin given the family connection and all. Not to mention that I. Love. This. Song.

Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons. Despite the fact that the Fred Sanford theme song pops into my head every single time I see this group's name, I love their music. Co-worker Erin introduced me to them a couple of weeks ago and I've been hooked since. I suspect you will be too. But you don't have to take my word for it.

Pictures of You by The Cure. Another college favorite. Period. Dot.

Right to Be Wrong by Joss Stone. I guess we all have the right to be wrong. I exercise mine quite frequently.

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. I do love these lyrics. But what I love even more is Justin Timberlake standing on stage in his white t-shirt and jeans after his concert waving goodbye to everyone as this song is playing in the background. Yep. It all goes back to JT. Always. It's a sickness really but it's ok because not only can the boy sing and dance, he is just plain funny.

'Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay. Fact: This song was written for Johnny Cash. He and Apple's dad were going to do a little collaboration. Unfortunately before it happened, Kingdom came for Johnny.