Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm awake ahead of everyone else this morning, so I thought I'd take a quick minute to post a Thanksgiving blog. Just a quick list of things for which I'm thankful!

  1. My husband -- I feel remarkably blessed to be in a relationship with someone who cares so deeply for me and who is so devoted to his family. When he went through his season of unemployment, he never stopped looking for a job, and he worked everything he was able to continue to support us financially. He gives amazing foot rubs and makes a delicious chicken casserole. I never have to doubt his love for me, as he shows it to me every day. Thank you for being my best friend and lover.
  2. My kids -- I never really thought I was interested in having any children, let alone four, but my brood really is incredible! I am thankful for their good-naturedness, their creativity, their devotion to God and to one another. I'm thankful that they all still want to cuddle up on the couch with mom and dad. Thank you for your honesty and your exuberance!
  3. My extended family -- I'm thankful for the kindness and generosity of my extended family. It's a great feeling knowing I don't have to feel dread at the thought of being with them. There's a deep caring for one another and I appreciate that.
  4. PaperBackSwap -- I know it's pretty silly to be thankful for a website, but really, this is a pretty incredible site! ;-D Seriously, the people I've met there have been really something else. I've met a lot of really nice people and have hit the place where I'm excited about receiving mail again, and I don't think that's been the case since I was in college and Jason and I had to write real letters to communicate! I've received all kinds of interesting books and I have read more this year than at least the last five combined. A special shout-out to my swap buddies & folks in the CA&P forums. You're awesome!
  5. Music -- It's been good in the last year to get back into church music again. After some of the pain that it has caused in the past, it's very nice to get back to playing & singing again. I love singing for the kids at CRC, both in KidSTUFF & KidZONE, and it's a real joy to play keyboard for the main service. Being able to serve again has been very, very good.
  6. My friends -- I have some really great friends. It's been wonderful to reconnect with a few this last year, and to continue relationships with others. I am not one who does well without friends, and it's a blessing to have so many who care about me and who show it in so many simple ways, even just with a comment here or a text or a phone call or an invitation to the movies -- it all makes me smile. Thank you for your friendship!
  7. My Savior -- Without Jesus, the above would be meaningless. No doubt, there would be pleasure from these things, but I think the temporary nature of them would dull my enjoyment. I am so thankful that He found me and dragged me to Him. That He gives my life meaning and purpose. May He be praised and lifted high in my life.
I need to get going and get us all packed up for our trip. Have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Musical Monday

I got a text a few weeks ago from a good friend saying that she had used "dubious" in a recent conversation. This was a huge inside joke, because in our sophomore English class, she and I worked on our vocab words together and we redefined nearly all of the words on our lists when we were working on them. The "definition" for dubious was determining which of the Doobie Brothers was "the dubious."

So for today's selection, I'm going to share probably my favorite Doobie Bros. song. Granted, I'm not a huge fan, so I only know three or four of their songs, but this is still my favorite! It's got a fun little groove and is just a happy song. Enjoy "Listen to the Music" by the Doobie Brothers. And you can decide for yourself which of these mustachioed musicians is the "dubious!"

Don't you feel it growin',
Day by day
People
Gettin' ready for the news
Some are happy,
Some are sad
Wo, we got to let the music play
Wo, oh yeah
What the people need
Is a way to make 'em smile
It ain't so hard to do if you know how
Gotta get a message
Get it on through
Oh now mama's goin' to after awhile
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time

Well I know,
You know better
Everything I say
Meet me in the country for a day
We'll be happy
And we'll dance
Wo, we're gonna dance the blues away
Wo, oh yeah
And if I'm feelin' good to you
And you're feelin' good to me
There ain't nothin' we can't do or say
Feelin' good,
Feeling fine
Wo, baby, let the music play

Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time

Like a lazy flowing river
Surrounding castles in the sky
And the crowd is growing bigger
List'nin' for the happy sounds
And I got to let ‘em fly

Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time
God, we gotta let the music play!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Blahs

I've been feeling totally out of sorts lately. Nothing in particular wrong, just feeling...off. And that "off" feeling is so contagious! The kids have been acting up a lot more lately, and I think they're getting that from me (no mustaches here yet!). Which, of course, gets me in a foul mood, and on and on it goes. Of course, being the grown up, I know that it's my responsibility to snap out of it and set the good example. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

I'm continuing to think about the expectation thing. My friend T had some good thoughts on that. I agree with the thought that expectations are an expression of goals (that is what you were saying, right?). And I agree that there can be expectations that can be had that are legitimate, but that the other person can have a different way of achieving that goal, or can have an altogether different goal in mind. So the next question seems to be, what happens when the other person's goal is incompatible with your relationship? Or if the other person's method is one that is ultimately going to be more harmful to them? Certainly we can't police other people, especially adults, but in the context of a relationship, is it appropriate to share your expectations with them? And how do you do that without being pushy and demanding, but also without forfeiting your own world view? (I think I'm still working through some stuff that was stirred up when I read "Passionate Marriage.")

In other news, I just finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Fascinating story-telling! The story itself is somewhat bland, but the actual story-telling is very interesting. Haddon wrote this as a first-person narrative of a 15 year old young man with Asperger Syndrome. I don't believe that Haddon himself is on the autistic spectrum, but having read Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet, who is autisitc, it felt very authentic to me. The author makes some really interesting leaps into what seem like completely unrelated subjects, but also manages to show how they work perfectly into the plot that his main character is participating in. It's a very quick read (I read it over the weekend and I'm not a ridiculously fast reader by any stretch), but I found it to be quite good. I would highly recommend this one if you're looking for something "about" autism, without specifically being about autism.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bust a Move

A friend from church posted this on her Facebook account. I think that Stuff Christians Like needs to do an entry on "Christian Breakdancing" and feature these guys. This is one of the most entertaining things I've seen in a while!

The Renewed Mind Is The Key from Sam Soffes on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Expectations

I've been thinking about expectations a bit lately. In one of my favorite movies, The Joy Luck Club (the book is also fantastic, but this is one where the movie actually outshines the book for me), there's a scene where a mother & daughter are arguing and the daughter says that she is frustrated trying to live up to the expectations that her mother has. Her mother goes on to say that she doesn't have expectations for her daughter, only hopes. It's a really beautiful moment, and it makes me tear up every time I watch it (and I've seen that movie numerous times over the years).

But are expectations a bad thing to have? Is there really a difference between hopes and expectations? Is it wrong to expect my children to excel in school, when I know that they are perfectly capable of doing so? Is it wrong for me to expect my husband to remain faithful to our marriage vows, when he made this promise to me? Is it wrong for me to expect those in government to genuinely look out for the best interests of the citizens? Is it wrong for me to expect my friends to be honest with me when we're sharing about our lives?

I think sometimes we're afraid to have expectations because we know that we can be hurt when those expectations aren't met. And sometimes I think we do genuinely have unrealistic expectations and we certainly need to be wary of that and take caution against setting people up for failure because of those expectations. But is it wrong to expect certain things from people or entities, especially if they are within that person/group's abilities?

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catching up

Sorry it's been so long since I've written. Things have been pretty busy around here lately.

Deborah is doing really well in middle school. A few weeks ago, she got to go to a special pizza party on her teachers' recommendations. She was really proud of that. She's doing really well academically and definitely has some teachers who are challenging her this year. I remember fifth grade being tough, so I'm glad that she's really working hard. The gifted class is going to Pittsburgh to see some plays on Monday and I get to chaperone. They've read The Ransom of Red Cheif, The Fall of the House of Usher and several others to prepare. I think it will be really fun. One of her best friends from PVE is in REACH as well, so she'll get to see her on the trip.

I had a meeting with the student assistant team for James on Wednesday. Things are great on that front. His teachers are really excited about the progress that he's made, and he's being recommended for the gifted program. I'm pretty jazzed about that. The liason said that she'd call before they did the testing, so I can make sure that he's well-rested and ready to go. We expect that will be in the next couple of weeks. I hope that he'll start the pull-outs by the time the kids are back from Christmas break. James said that he wants to do more science stuff at school, so the third-grade teacher said that if her class does any special things, she'll let his teacher know so he can visit her class. I think he'll be happy about that.

Faith is doing really well as well. She got straight A's on her first official report card (the Kindergarteners don't get grades) and she was really excited about that. She has really latched onto reading, and is enjoying the Junie B. Jones books. I've got to replenish our supply of those, since our copies are pretty beat up. Plus, those are just really funny books. I love reading them myself! Every night, Deborah reads a few chapters of Because of Winn Dixie to Faith before they read to themselves. I think that's really cool.

Christopher is also enjoying school. His handwriting is improving, and he's another one who loves to read. He's sailing through his school work, so we're trying to supplement here at home. He read me part of Bedtime for Frances the other day and he asked for some more books for Christmas. I'm so glad that we've got a whole brood of readers here. My PBS account is always active!

Right now my job is very busy. I do customer service for DHL, and the big announcement this week has had us absolutely swamped with callers. I'm definitely good with my job through January -- we'll just see what happens at that point. Please pray that if the contract with DHL falls through, West will have another job available at that time. Being able to work from home so I can still take care of the kids and do things like field trips and meetings is really great and I like having that flexibility. I also got to do a craft show last week and did pretty well. Nothing fantastic, but I sold most of my inventory, so that was good.

I think that's about it for now. I'll try to be a little more current over here!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Musical Monday

Things are heated among many folks these days with the election just hours away. So for my Musical Monday posting, I wanted to pick a song that talks about the things that we have in common, and how God wants us to be as Christians. I'm reaching waaaaaay back to find this song by David Ruis, but it's still one of my favorite unity songs. The version that I have below is a very long version (10+ minutes), but it's my favorite version of it as well.

Regardless of how you would like to see the election turn out, and regardless of how it DOES turn out, let those of us in the community of faith remember that our hope is found in Christ above all else and that we are indeed called to treat one another as brothers and sisters. Be blessed!

There is a place of commanded blessing
Where brethren in unity dwell
A place where anointing oil is flowing
Where we live as one

You have called us to be a body
You have called us as friends
Joined together in the bond of the Spirit
Unto the end

Father we join with the prayer of Jesus
As You are so let us be one
Joined together in unity and purpose
All for the love of Your Son

We will break dividing walls, we will break dividing walls
We will break dividing walls, in the name of Your Son
We will break dividing walls, we will break dividing walls
And we will be one

Break Dividing Walls - David Ruis
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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