Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Moody Chick Music

(Please use CAUTION when clicking the song links in this post...some of them are NOT polite, kind or necessarily socially redeeming.)

God is amazing in where He leads us. The paths and convolutions of our brains are a maddening artwork of insanity that some how, usually, come around right.  I am continually stunned by the process of becoming who I am.

See, when you spend as much time as I have sitting cross legged on my bed, you come to a place where you can see the places you shook your fist defiantly in the face of God, where you pretended to do the right things and still pretty much ignored Him and the places where He, calmly, rearranged the circumstances so that you could see it all in a new light, with new eyes.

I am an enthusiastic and prolific singer.  A good one.

This has ever been true of me.  More than being a good singer, I am a constant singer.  Over my lifetime, I've sung with hundreds of people, thousands of songs, multiple million lyrics, hundreds of harmonies. 

Also, I am a writer.  An enthusiastic, prolific writer.  A good one.

This has also ALWAYS been true.  I currently have 11 journals in my closet, the oldest dating back to December 18, 1983, my first real kiss.  These don't include journals that are packed or lost or that I have thrown away during the course of my life and they don't include one that I know I still have somewhere that chronicles my appendectomy surgery when I was early 1980.

I'm saying this out loud not to invite praise or to astound you with my arrogance.  I'm saying this because many times over the years I've lost sight of it.  I mean, there have been plenty of critics to my various forms of art, plenty of careful words offered me when I had a crazier idea.  Over the years, I let those voices into my head.  I heard, "You can sing, but you are not THAT good at it, you are not musical enough for music to matter."  I heard, "Sure you put words on a page but who would ever want to read it? It's not something that is valid to do for a living"  Not necessarily because those were the actual words said, but they were the impression I had of what was said and became the words I said to myself over...and over...and over again.

Follow me...I'll come back around to this...

My musical tastes throughout my life have been eclectic, but over the last ten to fifteen years had become pretty static.  I listened to Christian pop stuff most of the time...some Southern Gospel...some and then some edgier Christian Rock.  But pretty much all Christian all the time.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

In the last few months, I haven't really FELT like Christian music.  I enjoy it, but I've been in the mood for loud, pounding, windows down, moody chick screaming at the top of your lungs music, think Martina McBride - Independence Day, or Alannis Morrisette - Right Through You...Or there's the mellow, melancholy, hopeless stuff like Sarah McLaughlin - Hold On.

I'm not sure why it is necessary to give vent to anger and despair.  Why it's necessary to give voice to the baser part of me so that I can come back to center.  I just know that moody chicks cussing at a world in which they have zero hope often comes far closer to how I feel at times than any of the hope filled, wonderful Christian songs I've sung...and by that sheer, RAW emotion, these types of songs bring me back around to grateful faster than anything else.

I've been on a Pink kick for the last few weeks.  Seriously, I might need an intervention.  Now I don't know much of her story or much of her beliefs, but that girl can write a lyric that hits my soul, baby.  Songs like True Love  and So What? with lyrics that really have reflected my thoughts from time to time set to a tune and rhythm that allows me to scream out and then let go have been cathartic through these chaotic times.  The song Perfect is my new theme song...check out the second verse and maybe you can see why...
You're so mean when you talk
About yourself, you are wrong
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead

So complicated, look how big you'll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game
It's enough, I've done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, see you do the same

Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing, you are perfect to me

I really don't want my kids to grow up with the doubt filled voices in their heads about the things that God gave them and meant for a gift for them.  When they are older and far more responsible and the world says, "Put that away, dearie, the time for your art is over, let's grow up now."  I want them to fight it. 
Fight the downward slide toward maturity.  Fight the voices that declare that while creativity is nice, it is NOT necessary. The voices that tout specific skills in intelligence, organization and hard work as the only valid way to spend certain years of your life.  Those voices are wrong.  Those voices seem to always discount natural, joyful flights of fancy unless they directly pertain to the vocation at hand.

The thing is, without those gifts, without my knowledge that I am a singer regardless of my job...that I am a writer despite how I make my money, I am incomplete...less...far more prone to anger and self-loathing...and far less able to be confident in all the millions of other things that God wants ME to be.
I'm coming to a place through these moody chicks and a thousand other interactions that I don't really CARE if anyone likes what I'm doing.  I've cared for far too long that my stuff wasn't good enough.  You know what?  It's not.  If you view art through the eyes of an audience, it is NEVER good enough.  NEVER.  There will always be critics, haters, practical people who think these things are pointless.
But if you view your art through the eyes of God, the one that gifted each of us in our own spectacular ways, there is no "not good enough"...there is only you.  You as HE built you to be.  And He wants us to live unashamed of the gifts, and using them, everyday, in every way that He leads, no matter what those other voices say.
Because we are PERFECT to Him.
See ya around...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Petulant Education

I'll bet you didn't know that I used to know a few things about computers.  I totally did.  Owned a company and everything.  People actually thought I was pretty smart on that stuff.

Well, I'm here to tell ya, children change EVERYTHING.   There was a time I could network everything from DOS to Windows 2000 and I could do it without a mouse...I was kind of a big deal.

Somewhere along the line, I decided to have kids...and the grey matter has never been quite the same.  Oh, I still remember odd things like counting in binary...determining a subnet to configure a VPN on Windows to set an IRQ in Windows 3.11 when the stinking network card conflicted with the sound card EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.  I remember so many key strokes that I can still figure out odd things in every software (ehem Microsoft product) I've ever owned.  So when I say, "I don't know NOTHING anymore" I hope that you'll understand that it really means, "I don't know NOTHING useful in my erstwhile chosen industry" and haven't for a very long time.

Hence the primary reason I HATE when operating systems change.  REALLY REALLY.  I owned and used at least two computers running Windows 95 well after the new century had come and gone and only grudgingly changed over to Windows 98 and Windows ME respectively when I simply couldn't BUY anything else anymore.  I Hated ME...but I dealt with Windows 98 for a very long time and it became my favoritest operating system because it ran on everything I used and was just so wonderfully compatible...sigh...those were the good old days.

Well, I have a really good friend who works FOR the great mother ship in the Seattle area.  (It's really very cool, I got to make TEA right in a Microsoft break room a few months ago.)

When my laptop started giving me fits, my friend offered to help me with Windows 7 (the OS I'd finally come to grips with) but he also advised me that Windows 8 was THE thing and I'd probably better deal with my issues and move on.


Today, I did it.  I got my new fancy schmancy laptop with Windows 8 and a touch screen to make it all better.

I will tell you...I don't like it.  Oh sure, it's fun to swish and swipe on the screen...but I can't find ANYTHING.  My poor friend...let's call him Seattle Irish, shall we?  I think the ding of my texts is starting to give him a twitch.  "Um, SI, WHERE'S the tool bar"..."How do I find search...OH OH, there it is"..."SI, SI, SI?  What about does it work now".

It the process of all the setup...I decided that I must try to set up the camera which didn't seem to be working.  It really wasn't a big deal, because well, nothing really is anymore. (Kids these days, don't know how good they have it!!) But the girls were in the room watching T.V. and peppering me with questions and being grossed out by kissing and making the normal distracting ruckus that is that cacophony of my life.  It took me a while to realize what to touch to get the camera to record and STOP recording and figure out where the files were etcetera.  It also took me a couple of recordings to realize that I was indeed recording.  These children found this VERY funny.

Here is the reason that I can no longer care about computers.  Here is what they do if there is anything that resembles concentration going on.  These three ragamuffins are the sole reason for the IQ slide of Stackey.  Oh well.  At least I still know how to unplug a's not nearly so glamorous as the TCP/IP stack, but it keeps us out of trouble...and they never EVER bug me while I do it.

In a true test of my patience, I can NOT get this video to load properly.  GGGGRRRRRAAARRRRGGHH!!  So is the link...enjoy  (The girls "help" with the camera...YIKES.)
And in even better news... I can't get the link to work within the preview.  sigh.  (Until I figure it out ... if that doesn't work, copy that sucker...or not...y''s not that big a deal) 

Whatever!  I'm working on my devil-may-care do you like it?

See ya around...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Wedding

Back in March, my mother decided to get out of here for awhile.  It was a vacation, a needed break.  A MUCH needed break for all of us.  See, the amount of change required of a family, even a close-knit family like we are, increases the stress level and potential for depression.  You know this.  This is not a new thing... that changes have dogged our heels for a long time now and stress and sadness had become a daily grind.

So, mom took the opportunity to just get away for a bit.  Or so she thought.

As she reconnected with all of her friends in Arizona, there was a surprise that the Lord had in store for her.

Let me introduce Grandpa B...and well, you already know Mom/Grandma.

Mom was already pretty good friends with Grandpa B.  See, he and his wife had parked their motorhome across the street from Mom and Daddy's 5th wheel and they had all been friends.  When Daddy died (over 3 years ago, which is still a surprise to me), Grandpa B and his wife had helped a lot.  A little over a year ago, Grandpa B lost his wife suddenly.  Both Mom and Grandpa B retreated to the safety of their homes (Mom in Texas, Grandpa B to the great northwest) as they mourned and tried to move forward in their lives.

Truth be told, they were both still mourning when they met in Arizona a few months ago.  But God had a plan.  Mom has said for a long time that if the Lord wanted her married He'd have to drop a man in her lap.  Ha Ha, silly Mom, challenging the Creator of the heavens and the earth that way....aren't you cute?

Neither of them SHOULD have been in Arizona.  Mom just needed a break and decided to visit my aunt and uncle who have been staying in her 5th wheel.  Grandpa Bob decided to visit his brother and sister-in-law in the park at the same time.  Really?

And then, they met again after all this time.  To hear it told, it was a little like a bolt from the blue.  SHAZZAAM! (I hope you heard that in my southern belle has at least 3 syllables...SHA ZZA IM).  They went out on a a convertible Thunder-bird.  Well played, Grandpa Bob.  Chicks dig Thunder-birds and convertibles.

Anyway, in just over seven WEEKS they were married.  Yes, I said married.  They wanted to get started living their lives, traveling together, and enjoying all the perks of married life.  And they had little grand girl eyes on them.  Call it old fashioned, but honestly, I am so blessed to witness them sticking to their convictions in this crazy world. 

The wedding was tiny...just us and a few friends and the pastor.  Then we all went to Scottie P's (cuz we were HUNGRY, duh) and then on to the beautiful party that was thrown by our community group at church.  It was perfect.  Short, sweet, loving.  Just the thing to kick off a life.

People keep asking, "But how are you?"  It's funny sometimes.  How am I?  I miss my best friend who I got to live with again for awhile, it's definitely lonelier here.  AND the dishes aren't completely done nearly as quickly.  But I would not, for even a second, have her anywhere but exactly where she is.  Loving a man who loves her and understands her hurts, because he has his own.  He understands her faith, because he has his own.  He really is a wonderful gift to our whole family because he is such a gift to her.

But even more, I am humbled by my Lord who would make a way for both of them at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way to be so incredibly blessed.

Shortly after the wedding they took off to travel the country and now I wait for the daily afternoon texts that sparkle with the joy of her new life, sharing their location and always some funny little thing that has delighted her.  So incredibly blessed.

In the spirit of constant learning and growing I have started a list of "Things I couldn't possibly have unless God dropped them in my LAP!"  I figure, it couldn't hurt.

See ya around...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Journey

Ain't that the truth?  The first step is a doozy.  The one where you decide, maybe not exactly where you are going, but who you will choose to be as you get there.  I've been quiet here because I've had a lot trouble knowing who I am anymore and it's been difficult to cobble together words that make sense to people who are not looking straight into my eyes...straight into my heart.

After much deliberation, we have decided to homeschool again this year.

So much of this journey is inside me.  Am I the right person to continue forward on this path?  Do I even want to move forward?  I thought I was one of the strong ones, the funny ones.  The girl who had moved all over the country, left and lost friends and loved ones over her life and still managed to chin up and find the adventure.  Where on earth did my "Pollyanna" go?

Apparently, I have a pretty dark side.  I didn't know.  Over the months since the divorce, I've done a lot of living and a lot of what I consider NON-living.  Others who have been through this know what I mean.  NON-living - that considerable amount of time spent NOT doing the normal things that you know how to do, know that you SHOULD do, while you sit and think, ponder and distract yourself, waiting to find out if, in fact, you want to go out and live THIS life again. 

I have an impressive ability to do absolutely nothing.  Truly, it's a gift.

Along the way I have been amazed by the wisdom surrounding me.  People have been exactly where I needed them to be, exactly when I needed them to be.  Strangely, the when hasn't always been when I WANTED them, but always when I needed them.  And the baffling part is that there has not been one person who has been shocked by the absolutely visceral things I've said.

I wish I could say that I have arrived...I have enough people out there who know the truth that I'll just stick with the facts.  Things are looking up.  They actually have been for awhile, but I wasn't ready to write yet.  All of a sudden, in the last few weeks really, I'm ready to write again.  It's kind of nice and not completely unlike coming out of a darkened cave during the you go from dark to dim to shade and on out into the sunshine.  I so wish that I could trust the path, but I'm really not there yet.  I still very much doubt my competence on this journey; my already honed capabilities and my readiness to learn often falter.  For the first time in my life, I often completely doubt my potential...and what I REALLY want to be when I grow up.

But, here I go anyway...No net...

It brings to mind a few lyrics from a song from Hello Dolly,

"Don't tell me not to fly, I've simply got to...If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you...
Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade?  

I'll march my band out...I'll beat my drum...and if I'm fanned out...your turn at bat, sir...
at least I didn't fake it...Hat, sir...I guess I didn't make it...

But whether I'm the rose of sheer perfection...or freckle on the nose of life's complexion...
the cinder or the shiny apple of his eye...
I've gotta fly once, I've gotta try once, only can die once, right sir? 
Ooo life is juicy, juicy and you see, I've gotta have my bite, sir..."

I've felt this before in my life, this iron-jawed decision making where there is no absolutely sure answer...but, as always, it's with a large amount of internal cowering.  If I am who I say I am, I have to step out in faith...Faith that the Lord will meet me, as He always has, every single place I need Him, every single time. I just need to take that first step.

See ya around...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Artifice of Permanence

This morning I came across an article full of pictures which spoke to my soul.  ( The 33 most beautiful abandoned places in the world )

I've been thinking about permanence lately.  What, in my life, will stand the test of time?  What will my children look at when I am gone to help them remember who I was?

I already know that my place will not stand.  I've moved way too much to put any stock in any structure, I've seen too many places in my rear view mirror.  At times in my life this has made me very sad, but I realized, as a child, that leaving a place meant there was a new place, a new group of people, a new adventure in store.  And then, I've been blessed to live in a time where technology has made it possible to carry the people you knew with you your whole life long, if you've a mind to.

These pictures are beautiful, and eerie.  They bring to mind someone else's life.  Other people, just like you and I, walked here, hummed while they went, worked at a life's passion, flirted or argued, touched the things of this place.  Then one day, that all stopped.

Picture #22 The Russian Military Rocket Factory was the inspiration this morning...can't you just feel the echoing emptiness of the sound of the last man's boots walking through and locking the door.  Feel his emotion, looking back over his shoulder at this place...this PERMANENT place...that could've once held the reverberation of thousands...and now forsaken. 

My life is like that sometimes.  Echoing, lonely.  And yet, unlike these fallen monuments, I don't even consider permanence.  Even in these tributes to human ingenuity, some of them spectacular feats of intelligence or creativity, we see that nothing physical on this earth lasts.  Time will change everything if we live long enough.  Those changes will become the new adventure and in time the other places we went, the other absolutes in our lives, will be nothing more than a memory, softened to beautiful by time.

See ya around...