Thursday, April 30, 2009

What defines us?

I don't have time to write much now, as I have to log in to work in like 5 minutes, but I wanted to throw this question out there for comment.

In one of the new Jars of Clay songs, the songwriter is writing to his son and the line states, "Not to undermine the consequence, but you are not what you do." But is that the whole story? Certainly some of what we does defines us.

What do you think? What defines you? How do you define other people? How far apart or close together are those things?

I'll write my answers later, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Horror

Tonight, AWANA had their wrap-up party, and it was a skate party. This was one of those tests of my parenting ethos. I don't want to be someone who is constantly scared about everything that her children do, and I want them to be able to experience different things, even if they get a little bit messy or scraped up.

But this was a tough one. In June of 1984, I broke my arm roller skating in my basement. I just happened to fall and catch myself and it snapped. Nothing gross, but it completely disabled me for the summer. No swimming, no bike riding, nothing fun. Just a stinky, itchy plaster cast. And a terrifying story that my grandfather told me about having his leg all cut up by the blade they used to cut off his cast when he broke his leg (that was a trauma I wouldn't wish on anyone!).

And of course in more recent history, there was the awful ankle incident. Granted, it had nothing to do with skating, but I know that roller skates/blades are pretty brutal on the ankles, so that also makes these little accidents waiting to happen.

We arrived at the rink and I could already feel myself getting nervous. I know that Deborah is fine skating, so I wasn't too nervous about her, and I've watched James skate as well, so I figured he'd be fine, but it was the first time for Faith and Christopher. Faith was able to get into "beginner" skates, but Christopher's feet were too big, so we had to put him in "real" skates. I asked for the slowest skates they had, but even so, it was still pretty frightening.

I did hover a little bit, but after about 15 minutes (and many, many falls!), I was able to let go and let him do it himself.

And he, as well as the other kids, had a blast.

Just another reminder that my kids can do more than I give them credit for sometimes!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Musical Monday

Though the new Jars of Clay is not the subject of this week's Musical Monday (it will be for next week!), I cannot give it a more strenuous recommendation. Seriously. Go.Buy.It.Now. The main reason I'm not doing it this week is because there are about six tracks I want to do. Be prepared to be inundated with Jars of Clay in the coming month!

To totally switch gears, I was saddened by the death of Bea Arthur last week. While I never watched Maude, I was a pretty big fan of the Golden Girls. I was watching a rerun of the show a month ago or so, and I was surprised at how well it's held up over time. I guess shows that are primarily about friendship don't age!

That said, one of my favorite memories of Ms. Arthur was listening to my parents' record (and that's pronounced 'WRECK-erd' not 'ree-CORD' for anyone under 30 who may be reading!) of Mame, starring Angela Landsbury and Bea Arthur. The two of them do an absolutely delightful song called "Bosom Buddies." A friend reminded me that I had put that on a mixed tape (again for any youngsters, that's like a playlist, but it's recorded on a cassette...oh, you probably don't know what THOSE are either!) for her and sent me a wonderful video of it.

Strengthening friendship has been one of my "themes" for this year, and while I hope that I'm never quite as cutting as either Vera or Mame are, I do appreciate those relationships that are founded on honesty and an ability to be vulnerable. This song is silly, no doubt, but really, who else BUT a bosom buddy can sit down and tell you the truth?

Vera and Mame:
[singing]
We'll always be bosom buddies,
Friends, sisters and pals;
We'll always be bosom buddies,
If life should reject you,
There's me to protect you.
Vera:
If I say that your tongue is vicious,
Mame:
If I call you uncouth;
Vera and Mame:
It's simply that who else but a bosom buddy
Will sit down and tell you the truth.
Vera:
[speaking]
Tho' now and again I'm aware that my candid opinion may sting,
Mame:
Tho' often my frank observation might scald;
I've been meanin' to tell you for years
You should keep your hair natural like mine.
Vera:
If I kept my hair natural like yours, I'd be bald.
[singing]
But darling,
Vera and Mame:
We'll always be dear companions,
Vera:
My crony,
Mame:
My mate;
Vera and Mame:
We'll always be harmonizing,
Vera:
Orphan Annie and Sandy,
Vera and Mame:
Like Amos and Andy.
Vera:
If I say that your sense of style's as far as off as your youth;
It's simply that who else but a bosom buddy
Will tell you the whole stinkin' truth.
Mame:
[speaking]
Each time that a critic has written, "Your voice is the voice of a frog!"
Straight to your side to defend you I rush;
You know that I'm there ev'ry time that the world makes and unkind
remark.
When they say "Vera Charles is the world's greatest lush!"
[singing]
It hurts me!
Vera:
And if I say your fangs are showing,
Mame, pull in your claws,
It's simply that who else but a bosom buddy
Will notice the obvious flaws!
Mame:
[speaking]
I feel it's my duty to tell you it's time to adjust to your age;
You try to be "Peg O' My Heart", when you're "Lady Macbeth."
Exactly how old are you, Vera? The truth!
Vera:
Well, how old do you think?
Mame:
I'd say somewhere in between forty and the death!
Vera and Mame:
[singing]
But sweetie,
Vera:
I'll always be Alice Toklas,
If you'll be Gertrude Stein.
And tho' I'll admit I've dished you,
I've gossiped and gloated,
But I'm so devoted.
Mame:
And if I say that sex and guts made you into a star,
It's simply that who else but a bosom buddy
Will tell you how rotten you are.
Vera and Mame:
Just turn your bosom buddy
For aid and affection,
For help and direction,
For loyalty, love and for sooth!
Remember that who else but a bosom buddy
Will sit down and level
And give you the devil,
Will sit down and tell you the truth!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Namesake

I haven't written a whole lot about my new job. There have been a few entertaining stories. One gentleman asked to get a new photo for his card, because his picture was quite old and according to him, he looked like "an Asian Michael Jackson" in it. And there's a never-ending litany of entertaining passwords, my two favorite being "pissedoff1" (the customer was actually quite nice) and "sexy" (the customer was an older woman who said that even though she hadn't "had any" for a while, she still liked being reminded of it).

But today was the best. I now have a namesake. Not a friend or relative who wanted to name their child after me (though T, if I do have to raise your kids, one will be Alise Jr., you can count on it!), but rather the child of a stranger I met on the phone today. We finished her business pretty quickly, and when I was wrapping up, she asked me how I spelled my name. I told her, assuming that she just wanted to note who she spoke with regarding her account, and then she told me that she was expecting her first child, and they had been tossing around Alyse with a "y" as a possibility, but she thought she liked this spelling better!

So in the next few months, there will be a new Alise in town and she'll be named after me! ;-D

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sensuous Wife Store

Some of you may notice a new little widget on my sidebar. My friend over at the Sensuous Wife blog recently opened a store. I've heard lots and lots of good things about the various Liberator shapes, but hubby and I have been very reluctant to purchase directly from that site, as it is pretty laden with pornographic material. So I was thrilled when Shula told me that she was going to be a reseller and dumping the nasty stuff.

The site is now up and operational. There's a lot of great stuff at her store, and you can be assured that you'll be able to browse without any objectionable content.

If you've been looking for a way to spice up the bedroom without turning to a smutty website, I'd recommend checking out the link on the left! We intend to make a purchase there in the near future, and I'll be sure to post a review as soon as we do. (You can also check out my other favorite marriage website, Book22. Joy offers some of the best customer service I've ever encountered. I'd recommend her any day of the week!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Musical Monday

I'm still in a bit of an Easter mood right now. And while I've already done a Charlie Hall song not that far in the past, I'm doing another one.

This is from Hall's most recent CD "The Bright Sadness." I think the title of the album alone is one of the best I've heard in a long time, but the whole cd is pretty great and this is my personal favorite from it.

The mystery of the cross is one that is so hard to understand. But one for which I am profoundly thankful.

The video included here is really cool. By all means, take a minute to listen to the real recording here if you're not familiar with the song. But I really, really liked this live video of the band.

Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity
Bread of heaven, broken for me
Cup of salvation held up to drink
Jesus, Mystery

Christ has died and
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again

Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity
Bread of heaven broken for me
Cup of salvation held up to drink
Jesus, Mystery

Christ has died and
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again

Celebrate his death and rising
Lift your eyes, proclaim his coming
Celebrate his death and rising
Lift your eyes, lift your eyes

Celebrate his death and rising
Lift your eyes, proclaim his coming
Celebrate his death and rising
Lift your eyes, lift your eyes

Christ has died and
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again

Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity

Thursday, April 16, 2009

HP:6

New trailer tonight. Can't wait for July to get here!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Books and Covers

This video is becoming a bit viral, and rightly so.

It's nice to be surprised.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sleepy

Last night I went out with one of my best friends. We went to see a bad movie (12 Rounds with John Cena -- lots of unintentionally funny lines), then for a bite and a drink, then grocery shopping at midnight. (Far more of our nights out have a trip to WalMart than I'd like to admit!)

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. J & I have been through a lot together. We met when we moved here to WV, but became close around the time I was expecting Faith. Our lives are remarkably similar, and that similarity has forged a very strong friendship. We've gone through a couple of trying times in that relationship, but overall, there's a lot that has happened over the last few years in particular that I couldn't have made through without her friendship. When I went through some really horrible depressions, she was one of the few people I could turn to for support. We have a similar sense of humor and I never feel like I need to censor myself around her. She has prayed me through some tragedies, has beamed with me at my kids' accomplishments and has laughed with me at some awful movies. I hope I've offered her even a portion of what she's given me.

Recently her husband was offered a promotion out of state, so she'll be moving in just over a month. We were talking last night about how her kids were handling it, and she said that she wasn't sure it had really sunk in for the younger kids. Honestly, I'm not sure that it's sunk in for me either. I've had good friends move away and have been the one who has moved away, but this is the best friend I've had as an adult, and I admit, I'm a bit nervous about her leaving. I generally get along with people (I'm less confrontational in real life than I might seem here!), but best friends are still hard to find.

I'm thinking maybe there needs to be a dating service for best friends -- a match.com that hooks you up with other folks who love Seinfeld and banana daiquiris, but just want a friendship. Someone who knows that even though you'll be sleepy the next day, sometimes it's worth it to pick up some toilet paper and eggs at midnight. Someone who is like a sister, but who you didn't have to fight with about how unfair it is that one person got to stay up late. Someone who really means it when they say, "Call me ANY TIME."

I'm very thankful for the friends I've had in my life, and especially thankful for the "best friends" that I've had in my life. They have made my life more rich and beautiful. And if I'm a little tired on occasion, it's totally worth it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How He Loves

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Beautiful!


I stumbled upon this site at Phil Plait's blog. Another tool in the toolbox of making science cool!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Symposium Thoughts

While I wasn't able to attend the Origins Symposium with my husband, I watched/listened to nearly all of it yesterday via the live web feed, staying up far too late. But hopefully I'm a teensy bit smarter today than I was yesterday.

One of my favorite portions of the day was a panel discussion about science and culture. The part that struck me the most was talking about how few of this country's children and young adults move on into science-related fields and the question asked by most on the panel was, "Why?" Children possess a natural curiosity about the world around them, but very few choose careers in science and seem to be bored by it by the time they're in middle school.

There were several ideas posed. One was that scientists are frequently not very good communicators, so they're unable to pass on their level of interest effectively. I think that's changing a small bit, in that I recognized a number of the speakers yesterday from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. While that doesn't help the very young, I do think this kind of exposure can help those who are a bit older understand that science can be fascinating and more accessible.

That said, as a parent, it did make me want to help make science more accessible for my own kids. I will certainly be renewing our membership for the museums, as we live fairly close to a pretty amazing set of museums and planetariums. It's also made me want to try to seek out child-friendly books about the various sciences so we can supplement that subject at home (Someone in an earlier lecture asked a presenter why science is absent from all standardized testing, which is pretty major, since that's where the bulk of the emphasis is in education these days.). Yesterday, Deborah sat with me and watched most of Don Johanson's lecture (man who discovered Lucy), and we looked up more information about some of his discoveries. For me as a woman, it means encouraging my daughters in their interests in math (Deborah) and science (Faith).

They discussed President Obama's statement about putting science in its rightful place and what that might mean. I'm sure there are practical, budgetary things that can be done to help with that, but on a more broad spectrum, I think just making science more accessible to children and simply allowing it to be something fun rather than frightening will have some positive long-term implications.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Musical Monday

I'm reaching back again this week. I'll try to do something a little more current soon, but honestly, during Holy Week, I pine for the "olden days" and some of the music of my youth.

This past Friday we went to our church's passion play. It was done absolutely beautifully, as usual. The cast and crew worked numerous hours and put on a spectacular and powerful performance. It deeply moved me yet again as I think about the sacrifice of the cross.

One of the songs in the performance each year is an a capella version of Twila Paris's Lamb of God. I love that song, but it's not the one I'm going to do. I'm actually pulling out another of her songs, "How Beautiful."

I love this lyric so much. She paints such a beautiful picture not only of what Christ has done for each of us, but of what we can do for one another. This week in particular, may we each think on ways that we can choose to reflect the beauty of Jesus.

How Beautiful the hands that served
The Wine and the Bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty road and the hill to the cross
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How Beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sins and bore it instead
How beautiful the tender eyes
That choose to forgive and never despise
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

And as He lay down His life
We offer this sacrifice
That we will live just as He died
Willing to pay the price
Willing to pay the price

How Beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes
How Beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How Beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Arizona Bound

Jason should be boarding his plane for AZ right now! He's heading out to the ASU Origins Symposium tomorrow. I'm super jealous, because he's going to have a chance to see Stephen Hawking tomorrow night -- quite possibly the most brilliant mind ever. Plus, he was on The Simpsons AND Futurama. Very cool. The three hour time difference (Phoenix doesn't observe DST) is going to make it a bit difficult for him, but overall, I expect that it's going to be a pretty amazing event. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it on Tuesday afternoon. I may try to hop into the live feed sometime tomorrow.

In other news, we recently discovered a very cool website. It's Galaxy Zoo. You can go and look at pictures from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and then classify the galaxies. They have a bit of a tutorial so you can see what they're looking for, but it's pretty easy and it's pretty addictive! The kids and I are having a good time helping out with the project. I definitely recommend checking it out. Even if you can't be a real astronomer, you can still help them out and get a chance to see some really neat pictures. We've been able to see a couple of really pretty spirals (nothing like the pic to the left) and that's pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Luxury Reading

Just wanted to let my readers know that there's a free book giveaway over at Luxury Reading. The author there will be giving away a few copies of A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy. The title is not yet released, so you'll have the chance to read before it's out.

According to the reviews on Amazon, it looks like this should be a pretty powerful memoir.

Luxury Reading does giveaways fairly often, so feel free to check out her site and drop her a note!
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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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