Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Results

This past Saturday, Deborah went to the regional math competition. She did not advance on to the state level, but we were very proud of her. My father in law was able to get the results and we found that Deborah came in 11th place out of 36 kids. My FIL said that she did very well on her written test and pretty well on her physical estimation and mental math exercises. So now we know the areas that still need work.

I'm very proud of her. She studied hard and did her best. She came in the top third of the region for our state, and that's pretty darn good. She had much more confidence this year, and when she didn't win, she reacted much better than last year. I'm thrilled to see this maturity in her as well!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Musical Monday

I was searching my music files for a song I was singing on Sunday for kidZONE and since I only typed in part of the title, it brought up several songs. One was a Steve Taylor song. And while I'm not going to use the song that I pulled up, it reminded me that I've never posted a Taylor song on my blog. And since I had one of his cassettes in my Walkman (those under 30 will have to google "cassette" and "Walkman" to see what kind of media I'm talking about here!) almost constantly during those years, I wanted to make sure that he got a mention.

There are any number of songs that I could post here. His stuff is all really just incredible and I highly recommend that you check it out. For a great overview, I would point you to the Sock Heaven website. It is by far the most comprehensive list of his songs, interviews, bootlegs, etc. Also has everything about Taylor's short-lived crossover band, Chagall Guevara. Great site.

Since we are in the Lenten season, I decided to go with one of his more serious songs, as opposed to one of his more sarcastic songs. From his final studio album, Squint, I'm using Jesus is For Losers.

For the most part, I have pretty good self-esteem. There are areas where I don't think I have the most accurate self-view, but overall, I don't feel like my upbringing was one that caused a lot of self-doubt or self-hatred. I tend to be fairly confident and in general, I like myself. I think Stuart Smalley would be proud.

But this song really kind of kicks that idea in the teeth. The Bible tells us that our righteousness is like filthy rags. Even in my best days, compared to God's goodness, I am nothing. Or as Taylor writes, I am a loser. The only way to be made clean is by the blood of Jesus and to submit myself humbly to Him at the foot of the cross.

We're nearing Holy week. As we enter these final days of Lent, I encourage you to look at areas in your life that are not yet surrendered to Christ and ask Him to take you to the waterfall of his love and mercy.

If I was driven
Driven ahead by some noble ideal
Who took the wheel?

If I was given
Given a glimpse of some glorious road
When was it sold?

So caught up in the chase
I keep forgetting my place

Just as I am
I am stiff-necked and proud
Jesus is for losers
Why do I still play to the crowd?

Just as I am
Pass the compass, please
Jesus is for losers
I'm off about a hundred degrees

If I was groping
Groping around for some ladder to fame
I am ashamed

If I was hoping
Hoping respect would make a sturdy footstool
I am a fool

Bone-weary every climb
Blindsided every time

Just as I am
I am needy and dry
Jesus is for losers
The self-made need not apply

Just as I am
In a desert crawl
Lord, I'm so thirsty
Take me to the waterfall

And if you're certain
Certain your life is some cosmic mistake
Why do you shake?

And if you're certain
Certain that faith is some know-nothing mask
Why do you still ask?

They don't grade here on the curve
We both know what we deserve

Just as you are
Just a wretch like me
Jesus is for losers
Grace from the blood of a tree

Just as we are
At a total loss
Jesus is for losers
Broken at the foot of the cross

Just as I am
Pass the compass, please
Jesus is for losers
I'm off about a hundred degrees

Just as I am
In a desert crawl
Lord, I'm so thirsty
Take me to the waterfall


Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Goal

In high school, all of my friends ran track. I was a devout non-runner. Granted, I was pretty heavily involved in the school musicals and once I was a sophomore, I participated in band and choir performances that took a lot of my time. But nevertheless, I definitely didn't run.

So now that I'm much older and much heavier, what is my goal? To run a 5K by the end of the summer! I'm trying to make some short-term goals, and a physical goal that I think I can reach by the end of the next six months is to be able to run a 3.1 mile race. I have no goals for speed or placement, only to complete a 5K.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be following this plan (more or less) to prepare for a race. I asked my sister to help me find an easy race in the area that I can participate in. She runs a good bit, so I'm hoping she'll be able to find something that doesn't kill me. Obviously living in WV, there are always going to be hills. I'm hoping that running in my hilly neighborhood will help me train for this, in addition to just the running in place that I do with the WiiFit (I ran for 30 minutes last night -- pretty intense!).

I'll let you know how training goes!

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Domain

This being my third post in the day, I know you're thinking that I've been totally unproductive. But my kitchen would say otherwise! I just didn't work much today.

Anyway, just wanted to share that I've finally shelled out the buckage and bought my domain name. So you can just come here by way of www.bigmama247.com. Squeee!

Heroes



Okay, maybe not so much.

Been thinking a lot lately about courage. Courage often makes me think, well, first of the Cowardly Lion and one of my favorite songs from The Wizard of Oz. But after that, it makes me think of those who I consider to be heroic in my own life. So I just want to pay a little tribute to a few of them here.

I know I've written about her before, but my mom is one of the bravest people I know. Her commitment to her marriage, to her children, to her faith is one that is a major inspiration to me. I have seen her board planes to travel to the other side of the planet to minister to those who are sharing the gospel, knowing that she hates to fly. She is honest with me, even when I'm sure it's difficult for her to do that. She and my dad have allowed me, even when I was young, to question things that I'd been taught, and even when we have disagreed, I have seldom felt belittled because we don't share a specific belief. Honestly, even if we've come to different conclusions about some things, I believe that the passion that I've seen in her throughout my life has heavily influenced my own passions. She is an incredible person and I am lucky to be her daughter and her friend. (But I'm still gonna' pull the plug Mom! ;-D)

Another woman who is heroic is my dear friend Tina. She'll have to verify, but I think our friendship was cemented during our freshman year lunches. Her bravery is astounding to me. For as long as I've known her, she has followed her bliss. She is true to herself in a way that few people have the courage to be. She has endured pain that is unthinkable to me, but still maintains a positive outlook on life and people. When I want to get ranty about injustice or discrimination, she uses those opportunities to learn more about the other side. She has never forgotten the importance of imagination and of play. And even though I live a life that is completely different from hers, I've never felt that "growing apart" that often happens with friends who you know from your younger years. Her bravery inspires me to be more honest.

And if your spouse can be a hero to you, Jason is definitely one to me. He is another completely honest person. He has sacrificed much for his family and has done so without complaining. He has been honest about being bi-polar, even when it has placed him at a disadvantage to do so. In a world that makes it very easy to break his marriage vows, he has made the choice to be faithful to me and to love me as unconditionally as one human can another. We can still talk for hours and he makes me laugh all the time. He is a generous lover and a dear friend. Before we were romantically involved, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to marry someone "just like him" and I am so incredibly blessed that I am able to enjoy the genuine article every day!

I don't think any of these folks get a call from the Commisioner very often and I've only seen Jason in a cape once. But they are all heroes in their own way. My life is much richer from knowing these people.

Who is your hero? Why not let them know?

Great Video

The eight minutes to watch this video is very, very worth it, IMO. The Holocaust denier statement is a pretty big one. And quite honestly, the last line is unfortunately true for me too often.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Musical Monday

I've been wanting to do a Switchfoot song for a while, as I really enjoy their music. I think Jon Foreman is a pretty amazing musician and I find his lyrics to be thought provoking much of the time. They have a number of songs that I'd considered for my blog, but eventually I settled on "This is Your Life."

yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
yesterday is a promise that you've broken
don't close your eyes, don't close your eyes
this is your life and today is all you've got now
yeah, and today is all you'll ever have
don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

yesterday is a kid in the corner
yesterday is dead and over

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes

this is your life are you who you want to be
this is your life are you who you want to be

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

and you had everything to lose

I think this is an important question to ask ourselves at times. It can be frightening, because rarely does life turn out quite the way we expected. For myself, knowing that life isn't what I had planned, I sometimes avoid doing much deep introspection for fear that it will leave me feeling inadequate.

However, when I avoid that inward looking, I sometimes miss those issues that I can change about myself. Areas where I can be more generous. More compassionate. More courageous. Sure, there are some aspects of my life that I can't change, but even in those areas, there is change that can happen. I can be more patient with my kids. More loving toward my husband. More committed to my Savior. Socrates posited that "the unexamined life is not worth living." Obviously he was a better thinker than I, so I'm going to go with that. When we choose to look at our lives without fear, we can make choices that allow us to move in a positive direction.

Take a look. Don't be afraid.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Manager


My husband is awesome.

Our computer chair has been in bad shape for a long time. The kids aren't always easy on chairs and quite honestly, it was a pretty cheap thing. The back fell off ages ago, so it's basically just been a slightly cushy stool. Which has been okay with me. I've been thinking about buying a new chair for a while, but honestly, it wasn't a huge deal. The chair then started deteriorating even more over the past few weeks and I took to bringing one of our kitchen chairs or the piano bench to the computer for work. Still said that I needed a new chair, but didn't pick one up.

On Wednesday, I took Deborah to stomp practice up in Morgantown. Good rehearsal and all that. When I got home, in front of my desk was a GORGEOUS leather chair ("the manager") and a vase filled with flowers (daisies and carnations). It was just the nicest surprise! He took his evening alone (the younger kids were at AWANA), went out and bought and assembled a new chair for me, one much nicer than anything he has either at home or at work.

I love surprises anyway, and this was just so thoughtful. It was so much more comfortable sitting and working yesterday in my new chair than it was sitting on a hard piano bench. I'm just really blessed to have a husband who remembers these things and who treats me with so much love and honor. It's a joy to share my life with this guy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Musical Monday

Late again -- I know, I know! I'll get back on the ball by next week.

Anyway, it's another rushed morning, so I'm going to celebrate our communal Irish-ness today and share Perry Como singing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." (I won't make anyone listen to any more versions of "Oh Danny Boy" than absolutely necessary today, even though it IS a beautiful, sad song!)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Musical Monday (a day late)

I have limited time to do this today, so I'm going to wuss out and post one of my favorite spoof songs.

I was a teeny-bopper during the 80's, and one of my favorite one hit wonders was Ah-Ha with "Take On Me." There is little that screams eighties to me more than this song. And if you grew up at that time, you probably saw the video. Which has pretty much nothing to do with the song at all. It's interesting (I suppose), but certainly not relevant to the song.

Someone did a great literal version of the song based on the video. The vocals are spot on and this absolutely cracks me up. There's a literal version of Billy Idol's White Wedding that is quite good as well, but the Ah-Ha song is still my favorite.

Enjoy the literal Take on Me!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Update on the resolutions

The Wii Fit seems to have been a fantastic investment. We all work out most days, and I've worked out every day -- somewhere between 30-60 minutes each day. Squeee!

I've also been using SparkPeople to track my eating habits. I've definitely found that writing down what I eat helps me make better choices. I know that it's going to take time to see the fruit of my efforts, but already I'm feeling much better in general, which is a great thing. I know the kids are proud to see their parents start to make their health a priority, and that is a huge motivator for both me and Jason.

In the house, things are also pretty good. They got away from me a little this week, as I had a weird schedule with lots of meetings at school and work, but in general, I'm finding that I'm able to keep up with housework pretty well. I'm sure there are many who would come to my house and disagree, but I know where it was and trust me -- it's improved a lot!

Spiritually I also believe that I'm making strides. I've been doing pretty well with my prayer challenge for the month of March. I'm making time most days for reading the Scripture and for reading other spiritual books (right now I'm reading Beth Moore's Get Out of that Pit and enjoying it). I have still not found a small group and that must change soon -- I know that I need to be with other believers on a regular basis. I definitely miss that and it's been a couple of years since I've been regularly involved in a small group.

Overall, I feel like the first quarter of the year has been pretty good. Not everything has gone exactly how I expected, but I feel good about the outcomes thus far. Thank you for your continued prayers in this!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Fireproof

For Valentine's Day, my parents ordered each of their daughters and their husbands a copy of the movie Fireproof. I'll be honest -- I was not expecting to like it that much. I didn't care for the movie Facing the Giants that had been written and directed by the same folks. But on Sunday, after a long day of playing piano for church and then doing a major grocery run, Jason and I curled up in our room, told the kids to entertain themselves for a while, and we watched the movie on the laptop. I will warn that there are some spoilers following. If you haven't seen it yet and don't want to know what happens, stop here (or at least after the next sentence!).

I have to admit, I was impressed. It was obviously a low budget movie, as there wasn't much post-production grading or anything like that. Some of the dialogue was a little stilted and there were two or three places where I thought the script would have been better served by more "show" and less "tell." (The worst offender for me was the "Tomato Juice!" statement. Would have been hilarious if he'd just left it at that!) But overall, I was much more impressed than I expected.

I thought the fight between Caleb and Catherine was really amazing. Kirk Cameron doesn't really do much for me, especially since his stuff with Ray Comfort (we had a couple of obligatory banana jokes while watching), but his intensity in that scene (and several others) was very good. The scene with Caleb and his father at the cross was also very powerful and had me in tears. I wish it had ended a few minutes earlier, but it was still a very strong scene. I thought the stuff in the firehouse was good, and both the car on the tracks scene and the scene where Caleb rescues a young girl from a fire were very well done. I thought the extras in those scenes were fantastic.

I also loved the scene where Caleb left his wife roses on the computer desk. I am so thankful that we have never dealt with the issue of pornography here, but even so, the message was strong. I teared up during those moments as well! I thought that Caleb's pursuit of his wife was admirable, and I thought that the dialogue rang true for the most part.

My only disappointment with the ending was that it didn't seem to me that Catherine ever really owned her portion of the marital problems. I think that a woman could come away from it placing more of the blame on her husband and not taking her own sin into consideration. But I will admit, that could simply be my own take on it.

Overall, I would recommend this movie. I think it could be beneficial to marriages and I think that the Kendricks scripts are improving with each film. Be blessed!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Musical Monday

This weeks Musical Monday is more about the video and the dramatic dance than about the actual song (I can't call it a human video -- I just can't).

Each year our church does a huge production at Easter called The Passion. It's the story of Christ's ministry and of those He touches along the way. The attendance last year was around 8000 people. Each year they've added more and more original songs to the show and it's really quite beautiful.

Anyway, last year they added a new element -- an interpretive dance at the beginning of the performance. As amazing as the whole show is, this dance was really my favorite part. It captured so much of the beauty of our salvation in Christ. It was very, very powerful.

Last week I was talking to my mom and she told me that a group came to their church and did a performance that moved her to tears. She asked me to look up Lifehouse's Everything. I did, and was smacked in the face with the performance from last year's Passion show. I watched it again, and found myself deeply moved yet again by the power of this drama.

So while I normally just post the video to give you an opportunity to hear the song if you haven't heard it before, this week, I really encourage you to watch the attached video. The song is beautiful in its own right, but the dance is really what "makes" it, in my opinion. Particularly in this Lenten season, when we reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made to join us here on earth and to bring us salvation, I pray that this song is a blessing to you.

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength, that keeps me walking.
You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my purpose...you're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Cause you're all I want, You're all I need
You're everything,everything
You're all I want your all I need
You're everything, everything.
You're all I want you're all I need.
You're everything, everything
You're all I want you're all I need, you're everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

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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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