Wednesday, May 30, 2012

it's the little things

Accomplishments for the day:

- got up (well, after Jon made me.  He's been so nice lately doing morning duty with the kids)

- got dressed

- made "hearty protein bread" (AND it's edible!)

-  swept and picked up the downstairs

- made lunch

- made dinner ahead of time

- made a certain ornery 1 year old take a nap.  He was not happy.  But will be when he wakes up!

- found a pair of "character shoes" that will hopefully be approved for tonight's rehearsal

- danced a silly jig for my 4 year old.

- watched 2 episodes of "Fresh Beat Band"

- painted 4 frames black for my upstairs gallery wall

- brushed my hair (this really was after everything else...ahem.)

- pushed two little boys in the swing for 1/2 hour.  (this counts as exercise, right? 'Cuz my arms hurt)

And by the end of the day, I will have:

- driven 80 minutes both ways to rehearsal

- sang/acted/danced in costume with orchestra for Carmen :)

- not fallen asleep in the car (usually means eating lots on the way home and calling my mother)

Not much.  But good things!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Resolution Update

I know, I've all been dying to know how I've been doing, right?

Thought so.  :)

1. learn to garden

(triumphant music playing...) I bought tomato plants today!  And some basil.  And I put them in my front garden.  And I weeded...or, began weeding one of our formerly-beautiful-yet-now-atrocious beds, and I think it's going to take me all week (as if I had all week) to get it looking somewhat decent...and then there's another atrocious bed on the other side of the house.  I mean, like, super-embarrassingly weedy.  Like, I don't know what's a weed and what's a real plant because the weeds have made themselves comfortably huge.  Mortifying.  Anyway, so I have learned to weed, learned to transplant, learned to dig out unwanted plants, and am officially trying to grow tomatoes.  I got the kind called "Best Boy"?  They seemed fine, hopefully now there are no tomato-growing vets out there laughing at me.  And if you are, I DON'T CARE!  :)  I'm growing tomatoes!

2. begin exercising again

Hmm...well...I had been exercising...about 2-3 times a week in Feb, and it was great!  And then March happened and a certain baby got sick and we were in the hospital and then I threw out my back, I think because of the hospital stay and then I never really recovered my mindset enough to go back.  And then I got real busy with this opera thing.  So...hmph.  My membership ends in 6 days, so there ya go.  Oops.  But, hey, it's nice out now, so now I can run outside! I like that better, it's less commitment.  Just up and go.

3. bake bread at least 2 times a month

Ok, so I have baked bread officially....once.  And it was good!  But, here's the other thing...I started making our own pizza from scratch...the crust is getting better each week, as I figure out the whole yeast thing.  So, I think that sorta counts. If it does, I've been making bread about 4 times a month!

4. Create a sitting area in my room where I can sit and read.

I created one!  Do I sit and read in it?  No! conclusion is I don't like my sitting area.  And, when I'm honest, I don't.  I want a loveseat type area or a big one and a half chair...and my little rocker is not so much.  Trying to be content, but I'm usually not with that one.

5. Get up before family to do said Bible reading and prayer.

I'm not doing it as often as I would like, but I am now reading my Bible more regularly again.  It's so good.  Praying usually happens before bed or while I'm in the car coming home from rehearsals.  That, too, is good, as it is forced time alone with God, if I let it be.  So, I'm not getting up, no, no.  I'm not sure that will ever be me.  I'm just too dang tired before 8am.  But, I am reading and fellowship-ing again.

6. Not eat fast food.

This one has been the most groundbreaking resolution...not only am I not eating fast food, but Jon and I have decided to change the way we're eating pretty drastically.  It wasn't really a crazy lose-weight decision or health-concious just made sense to me - maybe mostly because of the kids.  I recently finished reading The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin.  In it, he outlines his brush with death after he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and his remarkably journey back to full health.  He developed the Maker's Diet, which is based on God's instructions to the Israelites in the Pentateuch on what they should and should not eat and how they should take care of themselves. He says that the Standard American Diet has too much processed stuff in it, and we're basically slowly poisoning our bodies, which is why we all tend to get so many diseases and illnesses.  Our bodies were not equipped to handle the things that are put into food today...anyway, I don't need to expound on all of it.  It just made a lot of sense to me, and he has a lot of research to back up his findings.  So...we've been slowly making the transition to eating this way, which honestly, was a way that I was finding myself inclining toward anyway.  It's been about 2 months now of eating more or less 80-90% Maker's Diet and both Jon and I feel more energy and in general better than we had...not that things were bad.  And the nice thing's not all that different from how Jon and I like to eat anyway.  We like meat, we like veggies and fruit - the biggest change has been going all organic and eating sprouted grains.  I would encourage you to look into it if you're is still something we are figuring out, but it's kinda cool.   

So, progress has been made!  And good thing it's almost June...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

let them go.

"We both loved her in a way we had not loved the boys before our experience with Drew. Each moment was encapsulated in our minds forever, each touch transformed into a memory. While we loved her so deeply, we also loved her outside of ourselves. What do I mean? With the boys, I loved them inside of me, holding on to them tightly. With Piper, I have loved her outside of myself, lifting her up to share her, loving her knowing she's not really mine but God's. I really cannot put words to it, but a Precious Moments figurine I found shortly after Drew died best describes the difference. She stands holding a beautiful star up, hands held high in front of her. When I saw it, I immediately thought of Drew, and how my love for him had been transformed from one that wanted to cling to him forever, holding tightly and desperately to him, to one that loved him even more deeply, willing to let him go, willing to share him, willing to give him to one greater than I. That picture has changed me as a mother."  (source, emphasis mine)

I came across this blog post the other day, and it completely blew me open.  This is just a small section of it, but the basic premise of this family's blog is that of loss, yet joy in God's providence and grace and love.  They have one healthy son, lost one son recently to disease, and discovered that their infant daughter has the same disease.

I have been thinking a lot about relationship lately...mostly things along the lines of:

- how is it that I am loved?
- how can I emanate love to others?
- how do I NOT raise my children with a spirit of fear?
- how can I let people in?
- how does anyone's focus change from themselves to Jesus?
- how do I daily give my children back to God?

It's not a subject to take lightly, and I often find myself either shutting down and refusing to deal with it anymore (for the moment) or dissolving in prayerful tears, asking for mercy and transformation for the inadequacy I feel I represent in every major relationship in my life.

I find it incredibly freeing, yet incredibly heart-wrenching that my children are not my own.  In one sense, there is great freedom in knowing that, though they are my given responsibility to love, nurture, and raise; ultimately, they are part of God's plan and He has ideas of His own for them that might not be mine.  On the other hand, how scary that I don't know God's plan!  What if one of my children...
...becomes a victim of a bully,
...falls prey to disease,
...has a developmental disorder,
...decides to pursue missionary work in a third world country,
...becomes a prodigal child,
...or any other number of scary, risk-taking endeavors?

How is it that I can't have control of my children?

All I know is this: they are God's, and really, they are/will be (I pray and hope) my brothers in Christ some day.  I have been specially chosen to be their mother for this life.  May I listen to my Abba and theirs about His plan for them, and do the work set before me, without holding too tightly.

It's the daily struggle to love, nurture, protect, and then - trust enough to let them go.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Since the beginning of rehearsals for Carmen, I have realized something.

Even though I am (we are) spending more money on gas (almost twice as much) per week than before...

even though I am spending approximately 6 hours in the car by myself per week...

even though I have to plan out our household stuff way in advance(meals, cleaning, family activities)...

even though I am really pretty tired most days from getting home at 11 3-4 nights a week...

...I am a much happier person.

I am realizing that being able to sing and act and be dramatic and do something I love while challenging myself beyond choral and teaching is so rewarding. Even though I am really stretched out...I really do think that I am a better person in general for having performing be a regular part of my life again.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

favorite love songs

There are just some songs that make me go all mushy whenever I hear them, even if it's totally not the time to be mushy.

You know what I mean, right?

Here they are, in random order, because I love them so much, I can't decide which one I like best.

"Comfortable" - John Mayer (guy angst gets me. Very girly girl of me. :)

"First Time Ever I Saw your Face" - Ewan MacColl, sung by Bryn Terfel (this is Roberta Flack, who made it famous in the 1970s, but I think a man singing it is much more romantic...sorry to be a girly girl on this one...the Bryn Terfel version is not on youtube)

"Nearness of You" - Carmichael/Washington, arr. by Norah Jones (this was my hubby and mine's last dance for our wedding, and I sing it to him all the time in a Macy Gray-ish voice...he loves it. Well, maybe he doesn't love it, but I think he does at least find it endearing...)

"Blame it on my Youth" - Levant/Heyman, sung by Jane Monheit (many people do this song really well, but the vulnerability in this girl's voice...I've loved listening to her for a long time, and this is one of her best, in my opinion. And I love the piano and muted trumpet, too.)

"Faithfully" - Journey (I always hear Jon in my head, saying, "yes!..." and turning up the radio, then we both hope that they don't play the version where the awesome guitar solo is cut.)

"I'll be Seeing You" - Fain/Kahal, arr. by New York Voices (this acapella rendition is just...epic. I have no idea how the soprano does what she does, but I'm so glad she can. The harmonies are tight and lush and gorgeous. And this video is live...and it's literally just as good as the cd version I play about once a month.)

"L'heure Exquise" - Reynaldo Hahn, sung by Susan Graham (Learned this is idea why my teacher assigned it to me, as it was SO hard. It still is. gorgeous. Just listen.)

"A Case of You" - Jane Monheit (again, this girl.  I think I own almost every album, and I don't buy albums anymore.  But...I need her music.  I know Joni Mitchell has the most popular rendition - and is the original artist, but I first heard Jane, and love it...again, the simplicity of the guitar and voice is...stunning. This song breaks my heart.  Maybe it should be in a heart-break category along with "Comfortable"...)

"My love's like a Red, Red Rose" James Mulholland (first sang this at a district festival, and as a sophomore, couldn't believe that classical choral music could convey such depth of emotion.  I had never experienced such emotion while singing chorally.  It was thrilling, and I still think it is a beautiful arrangement of this poem.)

"Longer Than" by Dan Fogelberg (this is my parents' wedding song...just beautiful. I always think of my dad putting his hand on my mom's knee in the car when it came on. For a long time, I didn't know it was their song when I was little, just that it made me feel so wonderful that they loved each other so much.)

I'm not closing this list off...there is always potential for more amazing mush out there.  What are some of your favorite love songs?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

tuesday thoughts

Yesterday, I took the day off for my son's semi-annual checkup at Children's Hospital. He is about to have his Kindergarten screening next week, which means that he will, indeed, be a Kindergartener soon. Oy vey. How did this happen? No one told me how fast they grow up.

What a roller coaster it has been with this one. J. has been the most profound lesson that God has ever taught me. He has been and continues to be the most honest conversation God has with me on a daily basis. His developmental disorders have been hard not to see as devastating. It has been years of trusting that he is not really my child, but God's. How is that possible, in our society, to learn that my child, that I birthed, is actually, (hopefully, one day, please God) my brother-in-Christ? How can I be trusted with such a task as raising one of His own? How is it that God would choose me, of all people, to raise such a lovely, pure, joyful human who is seen as "non-typical" by most, but who I tend to think might be "most true" to God...why me, with the selfish career agendas, high sense of drama, and pent-up emotions? I try to not to view these things in light of myself, but sometimes...that's all I know. All I know is to be selfish, even in my mind, until God begins to transform it. And He does. All I need do, is look to His Son.

"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." Isaiah 53:2 (NIV)

Jesus knows what it's like to be "non-typical." He was the ultimate of that, I think. In the best way, but people didn't know that then. May God open my eyes to what He wants my son to be. What He wants us to be for Him. How I can serve His kingdom by serving my son's needs. Amen.

71. joyful smiles when I arrive at home

72. a warm enough house in this drafty May Day.

73. organic veggies for a yummmmmmmy soup

74. dutch ovens. wonderful things

75. classes who are captivated by a simple voice shift (a russian accent today = quiet classes)

76. different translations of His Word (lately, I like "The Message")

77. challenging vocal repertoire (listen to this)

78. no more Monday rehearsals...for now.

79. a lovey little 4 year old who likes to be sung "Goodnight my Angel" for bedtime

80. a baby who sleeps through the night. (I know, I've said this before, but it bears repeating.)