Tuesday, January 25, 2011

James Taylor sends me text messages.

My cell phone may have died. I say may have because it got wet, and I dried it, and it worked for a little while, and then it started being sporadic. Now it's sitting in a bag of rice. We'll see.

Anyway, I'm using my husband's old one and I'm getting used to the new sounds it makes. (I can't text as well. Boo.) Joy [4] is that the sound it makes for a text message is two exact notes from James Taylor's "Caroline, I See You." Gooooorgeous. Then I sing it all day. (beam)

Monday, January 24, 2011

I, I, I...what begins with I?

I have read several blogs tonight, and now I must blog. I am in the mood to blog. Something medium-lengthy with meaning. Something with revelation. Something with heartstrings. Something that will make people feel good.


Like I was saying, I will make a list of my random thoughts, in survey form.

I am...just a little bit chilly. Any time the living room door is left open, the cold air from the hall comes right in. It usually warms right up again once it's closed, but ice cream doesn't help.
I would...I'm not sure. I'll have to actually think about this. Usually these things come to me quickly.
I like...chocolate. [2] (see earlier posts for the reason this number is here) I love it, actually. I'm quite addicted. Ice cream, in particular. (See item #1.) I'm admittedly an emotional eater; food (chocolate food, more specifically) has always been very kind and supportive. At times it becomes a desperate situation and, however hard it may be (and trust me, it isn't pretty), it becomes necessary to remove it from the house.
I can...right here, "jump up and down" popped into my head. I have no idea why. But more truthfully, today "I can" feel that God is making Himself known to me. [3] This is especially nice because this morning I told Him I couldn't feel Him much anymore. (My fault, not His.) And even nicer, because He did it quite obviously....even though the surrounding events were convoluted and frustrating. How powerful (and compassionate!) is our God that He can be obvious in murkiness.
I might...get to go grocery shopping tomorrow. Who knows. The snowy weather has been typically unpredictable yet consistent (New England living, anyone?). (This answer is lame. I'm sorry.)
I will...make it to bed before Hubby gets home! I WILL!!!
I should...blog more often. I have things to say more often, but they're not always long diatribes, so I cut myself off at the knees and don't even bother starting them. Little blogs are okay, too, Little Author Carrie.
I do...not always know how to be friends with someone of a different belief system than me. I make it too hard, I think.
I know...that I should probably ease up on my teenager. I thought today how Jesus said, "Go, and sin no more," even though He knew FULL WELL that that woman would indeed go and sin again....but He didn't harp on it any more than that. (sigh) Grace. It's a toughie.
I want...more of Jesus' heart, and less (way, WAY less) of my stupid bitterness and frustration.

Revisit: I would...really like to see how it would work if I got to bed on time so that I could get up on time. That's my ultimate plan, after all. All those early morning times with God, times of quiet, times of coffee, times to start my day refreshed and not crazed... It must be an amazing sight.

Good night. (See? I'm going to bed before Hubby gets home.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Say something!

And just incidentally... I can't imagine that anyone's really finding this blog besides me and my one follower, but my newly-added counter says it's been viewed 27 times, and when I changed something else and looked again, it was still 27 which means it doesn't seem to be counting times I've viewed it myself (which would probably be way more than 27).

SO. If you happen upon my blog, would you please let me know? I'm just curious.

With gratitude.


I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with this. Heck, I don't even know if I'll remember I started it. But my friend Heatherly read about chronicling 100 Joys. She's well into the 60's on her blog. I haven't felt like I notice enough joy to remember long enough to blog about it.

(That sounds so pathetically self-centered, martyr-ish, and depressing, but I don't mean it to be that way. I simply mean that I feel my head is So Unbelievably Full of things that if it weren't for writing things down, I'd be utterly useless.)

But when taking a second to really think about "searching for Joy," I've decided I want to. I currently have an abundance of things that could bring (and, at times, have brought) me depression (and that I have sometimes let depress me), and I've realized it's time to start swimming the other way. See paragraph number one, but [1] is that now I get dear Heatherly's blogs sent to my email, which will mean I'll get them on my phone. Little doses of Joy in my pocket.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Poems and prayers and promises.

Earlier I was trying to think of things that I'm passionate about. Thinking, if I can trim down my life to the things I'm passionate about, and just apply everything I come up against to those things, and let everything else go, wouldn't things be more simple?

So far, I've come up with...
...not smoking. Oh, how angry I've gotten at people who smoke. I know, there are two sides to every story, I know, it's an addiction, but for the most part I still think my righteous indignation is pretty righteous. It was your choice to stick that horrible thing in your mouth and start you on the path to suicide. You and several other people around you who have to breathe it. Flame me if you will, but I stick by this.
...my hubby and kids. I'm not sure much explanation has to go with these, but I know they are about 80% of my purpose here on earth and I am 100% committed.
...prayer. I'm not always in the mood, and my prayer life leaves a lot to be desired, but when I pay attention and am surrounded by the idea and concept and people talking about prayer, I know now that I am called to be a prayer warrior. God grant me the faithfulness to answer and carry out this calling.
...various people named Jon/John. My husband, John Cusack, John Corbett, John Mayer, John Denver, John O'Hurley, John Ritter, etc. Some of these were phases or for specific reasons, but at one time or another I have loved them, and some I love still.
...raising my kids with the knowledge that God is as personal to them as He is to me, teaching them that God loves them and is interested in all parts of their life and has a purpose for them, specifically.
...wanting to eat healthily (is that a word?) and hoping to be more responsible about what goes into my body as fuel and where it comes from. (This is a passion that I am still working on.)
...good grammar. Seriously. It's that important.
This is just a partial, on-the-fly list of my passions.

Tonight I finished something I started 10 years ago. (Can you believe that?!) I ordered "Take Me Home: The John Denver Story" from Netflix and watched it tonight. Ten years ago in 2000, they made this movie, and they aired it on tv in two parts. I was in college, and I got to see the first half, but had a conflict the next night and never got to see how it ended. I was also in college -- I can remember exactly where I was -- when I heard that he had died in a plane crash in October of 1997. I was walking through the dorm lounge and the news was on, and I heard his name and I sat down to listen. I think I cried.

Tonight I finally got to see the movie in its entirety.

Earlier tonight, I was reading another blog, one of those blogs that makes it all seem so very clear, so simple. But life is never that simple. You know that this woman who wrote this blog has bad hair days and messy children...although, from looking at her photography pictures, you'd never know it. I loved what she had to say, but then I became weary of looking at her pictures, they were too perfect. All straw fields and blonde children and sunshine and off-white clothing. Too much perfection. Most of us have one or two moments that feel like that in life, and it's downright near a miracle if we happen to have a camera nearby and the moment doesn't fade or pass, let alone be able to pose it! (Lots and LOTS of times!)

But there are times when I feel life CAN be simple. I've decided I hate the phrase "well, that's life." NO! It's not! Or at least change what "life" is to you! "Life" seems to have become defined as a bunch of interruptions and deviations from The Plan that you didn't know about, couldn't see coming, and somehow seem to mess up what you wanted...completely forgetting that we're not in charge of the whole thing to begin with! It's not our show. Life should be what GOD meant life to be. He said "life more abundant," but I believe that isn't supposed to mean more bills, more taxes, more cellulite, more peanut butter smeared on the table, more cracker crumbs in the recliner, more sleepless nights and too little pay. It's supposed to mean more joy, more hope, more patience, more peace, more longsuffering, more love, more calm, more laughter! "But I digress..." (Thank you, Dr. Ruthi.)

I have come to learn that if there's someone you really like, an entertainer for instance, sometimes it's better not to watch a movie or read a book about their life. Because they had "life," too. It was a good movie, but probably only because I love John Denver. I was glad they used John's real voice/music dubbed in, but I'm not sure Chad Lowe has that great of a sense of rhythm (somewhat crucial when playing guitar), or had the real heart of John Denver when doing this movie. But of course nothing ever compares to the original.

John Denver's music has always spoken to my heart. He captured that feeling of living in/on/with the land, hearing the earth sing, and living from your heart to another heart. My favorites are "Lady," "Grandma's Feather Bed," and "Rocky Mountain High," because the first stanza I attribute specifically to my husband (my most favorite Jon) and his journey here to me, this state, and our life.
He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
I am almost always in the mood for a John Denver song, and I want to make sure my kids learn them.

His music, like few others I can name, was poetic. It was beautiful, and it took me some place inside myself that was unique. It brought about that quintessential feeling a piece of music gives you where you sigh, close your eyes, smile, and go "hmmm." My mom loves him, too; that's where I got to know him. She said growing up in the concrete jungle of New Jersey, she would listen to John Denver and she wouldn't be in the city anymore. He was an escape for her. I wonder if she would've gone to live in Aspen if she could have.

But now I've seen his story. And one never knows how true to life these things are, whether they took quotes directly from his life to put in the movie, but I hope some of these were. One of his lines was, "Annie, you know what it's like to have all these songs in you, and no way to get them out? No one wants to listen to you? I feel like I'm drowning. I'm suffocating." Seems to me I've used language like that previously about wanting to write.

John Denver did a lot of environmental work when it wasn't cool yet to do environmental work. He traveled to Africa for his "Hunger Project," and apparently one of his songs even kept a girl from killing herself. But to watch this story, where he goes through pride, fertility challenges, infidelity, two divorces, and a DUI charge...he wasn't some hero or peace-filled Ghandi. He was a real person, with issues, who just had important things to say and the medium to do it. He paid attention to his gift, and the message got across.

This isn't meant to be a John Denver Awareness post, or an environmentally-charged oratory. Only God knows what specific bad choices he made, or what might've happened if he'd been more committed to his wife and kids (my personal preference and part of the reason you end up wishing you didn't know what you know now). But isn't it the same with all of us? God has a purpose for each of us, and -- if we pay attention to it -- He'll use our gift to get the message across, even from real people with issues. In fact, I'm pretty sure people with issues are His specialty. Because He's given us something important to say.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Conversations with a 4 Year Old.

After repeated questions of "can I have lunch now, pleeeeease???" it's finally close enough to noon to start lunch.

E: Can I have lunch, please?
M: Yes. What do you want?
E: Can I play on the Wii while you're making my lunch?
M: No.
E: Why?
M: Because we don't play on the Wii till AFTER lunch.
E: Can I have my lunch now?
M: Still waiting for you to tell me what you want.
E: Can I have a cheese stick?
M: Nope, don't have any.
E: Can I have yogurt?
M: Yes.
E: And a peanut butter sandwich?
M: Eat the yogurt first, then we'll talk.
Yogurt is eaten (read: inhaled), half of a peanut butter sandwich is being made.
E: Can I have a peanut butter sandwich now?
M: Yes, and while I make it, please go potty.
E: Why?
M: Because I asked you to.
E: But I went just before lunch.
M: Then you'll have to go before you take your nap.
(Don't believe that I actually think he will nap. But I have to try; he's been weeks without one, and it shows.)
E: Why?
M: Because you ALWAYS need to go potty before you go to sleep.
He heads up the stairs.
M: Lij! You don't have to go now!
E: Why?
M: (sigh) Come down here.
E: But you told me to go potty.
M: Come down here! Please don't make me yell.....I told you to go potty, and you said you went before, so I said you'd have to go later. You don't have to go now.
E: Oh.
M: Eat your sandwich.
E: ...I have to go potty! (running from the room)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Music & lyrics.

I want to blog so much it HURTS. Literally, it hurts so much when I (rarely get the chance to) read someone else's blog, and feel that water of creativity start to run, and it's like there's a dam somewhere down river where all the water collects and puuuuushes so hard against that dam. It wants to break...I WANT it to break, and flood my fingers and keyboard and monitor and blog with amazing thoughts!!!!!

(And eventually, I'd love for those amazing thoughts to catch the eye of some cool, understanding publisher who wants to turn them into a published book.)

Sigh. But I do not have words. I never know what to write about. It's like I have the voice...but nothing to say. And I want to cry because I search my heart for beautiful words and thoughts and so far I feel like I'm only hearing the music play, but there are no lyrics.

But I thank, praise, and exalt God for the music! And I will renew my commitment to pray for the lyrics. If God gives us the music, won't he give us the verses, too? I have to believe so.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Epiphany!

Today is my birthday. I started this morning making a mental list of things that I would love to do today.

So far I have...
...eaten a yummy egg & cheese breakfast with a large glass of milk.
...had my coffee.
...decluttered the kitchen, living room, and hallway so I can enjoy my surroundings. :)
...unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, and washed the dishes too big for the dishwasher.
...gotten about 1 hour into my Netflix movie, "84 Charing Cross Road." Good flick for readers/authors. :)
...not lost my temper once with any of the kids.
...listened to vintage Amy Grant.
...got my and Morgan's laundry down and started.

I (1) did not get both boys to take a nap, as hoped, but Elijah was upstairs for a while. Unfortunately, Matthew woke up as I was putting Elijah down, so I (2) didn't get the Completely Alone time (and maybe nap) I was hoping for. And this morning (3) my favorite headband broke. :( Still, though, the pro/con numbers are in my favor.

Before bed, I plan still to...

...read some of Flylady's Body Clutter book, and maybe download her Control Journal.
...finish my movie.
...eat a yummy chicken-and-stuffing dinner made by my mother-in-law.
...enjoy some chocolate cake (that I made myself, which is totally fine because then I know I'll love it).
...have my lovely and comforting kahlua and cream.
...spend some birthday time out with Hubby doing who-knows-what.

So far, it's been nice. I've rolled with the punches. I think this year I created expectations for me, rather than creating expectations for someone else, hoping they'll MAKE a good birthday for me. It's MY birthday, and I'll plant my own rose garden. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My blessed fountain.

I'm having a frustrating morning. Extremely frustrating. The kind that seems to take over your body and turn you into the Growling Psycho. Praying hasn't seemed to help...mostly because I'm not sure I can pray for everyone's mouth to be zipped shut and leave me alone. And my praise & worship cd hasn't helped either. Finally I sat down with my coffee and read my Proverb for the day. (Being horribly bad at sticking to any kind of devotional book, I'm LOVING reading a chapter of Proverbs each day...or each day that I think of it. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so it's very handy. And they're extremely life-applicable.)

The title on this chapter (chapter 5) was about adultery. I admit, I had a fleeting thought something like "great, this isn't going to help either. I don't need a message on cheating today, I need a message about longsuffering." And yet, in the middle of it, I found a beautiful piece of poetry, one that's still applicable, even if I'm not in the middle of a bad marital situation.

"Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth."   (Prov. 5:15-18)

It's a good reminder. My marriage is RUNNING WATER to my life. It keeps it alive, sustains it, refreshes it, and makes it clean and beautiful. It is to be mine alone, and my fountain will be blessed for it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I said yes.

I'm thinking about how I can say "I love you" every day to my kids in ways they'll understand, that are important to them, and that at the end of the day they'll know that I value them.

Today I said "I love you" to Lij by saying yes when he wanted me to push him on the swings. I didn't say yes right away. I actually said no, that I was prepared right now to go outside. I had just brought down the boys' laundry. But then I thought...I don't HAVE to go put the laundry in right this minute (and truth be told, I probably wouldn't have anyway). So I put my coat and shoes back on and went outside.

My thank you was being told about a thousand times "this is so much fun!" :)