Friday, April 28, 2006

Film About 9/11...

This morning I sat and watched trailers for the new film 'United 93' which chronicles the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The film is directed by Paul Greenbush- a kindred spirit of mine who hates injustice and cruelty.
Still very strongly moved by this tragedy! Could barely see due to the tears streaming down my face. A British film director made the movie using a no-name cast and it's based on flight records and phone calls that came from the plane to relatives during the short flight. It's purpose is to honor the memory of those on board. I think they've done a good job memorializing our brave men and women who died when the plane crashed in a field near Shanksburg, PA. Passengers stormed the cockpit, saving our capital city from yet another fiery crash and sparing the lives of countless others. May God reward each of those people who loved their lives no less than you and I, but gave the ultimate sacrifice. I do plan to see the film, though I'm not sure I'd be able to watch it in public as I believe I would weep too loudly and be embarrassed. So I may just curl up on the couch at home with a massive box of tissues and remember the day a part of me died along with the innocent men, women and children who had the misfortune of getting caught up in the horrible circumstances.

WARNING: This film is both a factual and a highly emotional account of what happened. It's natural to feel angry and want to hate someone whenever evil is done or suffering is experienced. I strongly encourage you to put all hatred out of your heart- it will only hurt YOU in the end. Remember the terrorist actions of 9/11 are NOT a reflection of all Muslim intent. I hope this film does not stir up a wave of anti-Islam sentiments. The blame for this great loss lies only in the heart of extremists and the vast majority of Muslims openly condemn the action of terrorists and wish to live in peace.

FLASHBACK: I was sitting at the breakfast table with my 4 small children. It was a beautiful day and we were planning a picnic at the park. Since we had no television, we had NO idea what was happening until our phone rang and a panicked neighbor said, "Our country is under attack!! I don't know what's going to happen, but two planes have hit the Trade Centers. They are burning and people are jumping out, it's awful!! Do you want to come watch the news with us?" I immediately thought of my brother-in-law because he's a pilot and hoped he was safe. We rushed over to the neighbor's house where at first we sat in stunned silence, then wept loudly as we watched the towers fall. My youngest was only 9 months old. I wondered what kind of world I had just brought another child into... what kind of future would we see?

Terrorism is brutal and barbaric. There is NOTHING "holy" or noble about killing innocent people! The bigger tragedy to me is that the chain reaction of violence 9/11 put in motion has caused even more death and destruction- not only here, but in other countries as well. Many have died in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bali, Great Britain, Pakistan, etc. Where does it end? Violence begets violence- hatred fuels the flames. For many, the fires of 9/11 still burn. Love and forgiveness are the only things that can quench such an inferno. If you see this film, grieve heavily as we remember our fallen, then let go... and be at peace.... God help us all.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Life is Like A Recital...

Tonight my friend Kate and I attended our children's bell choir recital. They are part of the music department at the Westmore Church of God. We heard a wide variety of music styles from classical to jazz. It was pretty long with lots of children getting up, playing simple songs with trembling hands and sweaty brows. There were lots of mistakes and bad notes- especially from the violin players, but you'd never know it because the audience of parents, relatives and friends applauded loudly anyway. There were NO perfect performances this evening, but the crowd loved it and gave their full support. It takes guts to get up and try to do something well. Each kid would grin with relief as they exited the platform- glad to have it over with! Each child's efforts were so warmly received, they will no doubt feel encouraged to try harder and learn more music. Eventually several of them will take their place in the world of musical performance as professionals and as a result many people will be blessed.

Life is like one big recital. We are constantly playing to an audience. Some of us play more complicated pieces and perform with more accuracy than others, but most everyone is doing the very best they can with what they've been given. We all make mistakes and many live in fear of condemnation. None of us are perfect, but what if we supported each other anyway? What if we purposed to find the good in every person- regardless? What if we stopped judging and demanding other people to bring us satisfaction and simply loved them because they are?? Bet things would be different... nobody performs their best under pressure or by threat of rejection. So there is no need for high-horses in this life. WWJD? I believe He observes every life choosing to see the best and not the worst in us. He chose to see the best in a rough band of 12 and they changed the world. Just a thought...

German Engineering Rocks!

Okay, so part of me is German and I really get a kick out of these:

Way to Go, Plato!

"The true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth, and is not content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied passion till he grasps the essential nature of things."

- Plato

Own your journey. Everyone seems to have an opinion, but YOU alone can be the expert concerning your own life, for you alone have lived it. One of the best strategies is to smile a lot and be friendly. By doing so, you encourage others and often people will smile back at you. Think things through. Study for yourself and fill your mind with GREAT music and literature. Be creative and try some of your ideas. Then you will have MUCH to offer the world when sharing your thoughts. Many people fear transparency. They will resent your honesty because it is far too comfortable for them to live behind a wall of illusion or get stuck in a rut than it is to break free and be authentic. God is never too concerned with our feelings of security that He will not push us OUT of our comfort zones, but therein lies MANY a grand adventure. You will experience all manner of growing pains as you try to relate to others. Do it anyway and don't ever apologize for trying. You've got what it takes to be excellent. Be bold, be brave, press on and have faith. The clouds may gather for a time, but the sun always breaks through eventually.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What Lights You Up?

My husband recently told me about a speaker who explained that each of us have 5 things about our life experience called "sweet spots". These are activities/experiences that light you up, make you feel more alive when you are involved with them. He then recommends that you build your career around one of these or a combination of several in order to find maximum fulfillness in this life. I've always said "You can't pay me enough to do something I don't enjoy", so this man's philosophy suits me just fine! Well, it got me to thinking about what I most enjoy in life and find rewarding, so here are my top 5 passions:

1) God/Family/Friendships
2) Art & Music
3) Writing Songs, Articles & Poetry
4) Fitness/Health
5) Nature/Animals

Alas, the perfect job for me has already passed me by I'm afraid! I spent 11 years working at Christian summer camps. Loved every minute of it!! The job combined everything I enjoy and can do reasonably well. I loved leading songs and doing skits at campfire, teaching leathercraft & ceramics, swimming, canoeing, running all over the place with the girls in my cabin and best of all leading trail rides & teaching riding lessons. It's the time of year where I get the urge to go apply for camp work, but my adult responsibilities keep me from doing so now. How I enjoyed that time in my life and who knows, maybe after my children are gone, I can return to camp work someday??

What 5 things in life light YOU up??

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Being Touched...

Something good happens once in a while and I LOVE IT when it does! That's when someone shows delight in seeing you come into the room! This happens each day at the YMCA when I'm finished with my classes and go get the girls out of the nursery. Little Emma looks up from whatever she's doing- her whole face lights up, she squeals with delight and comes running over to me to be picked up and held. It really makes my day!!
Over time & tears we lose our ability to experience life as it was meant to be enjoyed. Because so often we associate touch with abuse we have suffered, we shut down to it's healing power. Others, because of intense self-loathing deprive themselves of this sensory element. This is sad. I'm going to try harder to show my enthusiasm next time I'm glad to see somebody and reach out more. We ALL need to be touched, appreciated, noticed and affirmed. It's really sad how we humans take each other for granted. Some people go through days, weeks, even months without touching anyone or being touched. How lonely! I remember back in private school handshakes were very popular because it was the only kind of touch that was permissable between guys & girls. Amazing the encouragement that is transferred via a simple pat on the back or warm hand on a shoulder. Many people with dirty minds have lumped all touch into one category- as being sexual. This is wrong!! Erotic touch demands a response. There is a nurturing touch that is simply a gift. When I appreciate someone, I naturally want to touch them. Not flirting or wanting to have an affair of any kind, just need some kind of connection with the other person- male or female. I often restrain myself for fear of giving the wrong impression. Sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas is an abstract interaction we experience everyday, but to lay a hand on one's head or shoulder, to embrace is concrete. It is needed warmth. Whenever I visit a massage therapist I cry on the table- not outloud really, but the tears flow. I don't know why, but that soothing kind of touch somehow releases my emotions. I felt foolish and apologized to the masseuse. She said, "Don't worry, I get that all the time!"...

Babies are more likely to die in ICU if they aren't touched. God designed us for touch with millions of sensory receptors on our skin. We are one with our mother's body for nearly 10 months, then we are born. Thereafter, if we have a nurturing mother or father we are held & touched a lot. The older we get, the less touch we receive, then we hit puberty and suddenly ALL touch is bad? This is wrong! Parents should still hug & hold their children. Perhaps our children would be less likely to get in trouble with the opposite sex if the need for touch was met by the parents. There is nothing shameful about a father hugging a daughter or a mother a son!

I know some married couples are rarely seen even holding hands. I've heard many laments by spouses who don't understand why there's very little physical touch involved in their marriage. We start out caught up in the fires of passion, but that fades very quickly, then what? The worst kind of loneliness is to be married without intimacy. Since you are married, you're no longer entitled to seek touch from anyone else. Because you are all grown up, nobody is going to hold you in their arms. Couples should regularly connect both through erotic and nurturing touches.

An experiment was done years ago by grade-school teachers. For one school year they took part in the study. One group never had any kind of physical contact in any way with their students and discouraged them from any physical contact with each other- desks were spaced wide apart, etc. The teachers of the second group would shake hands, high five, pat the head or shoulder of their pupils daily and encouraged students in play that involved physical contact, (Duck, Duck Goose, etc.) while a third group touched or didn't touch their students at random. Guess which teachers had the most well behaved, high-scoring and close-knit classrooms? Yep, you guessed it, the ones who consistently touched. Truly- today because touch has been so perverted- you really have to be careful how, who and where you touch someone.
Touch is so important that small dogs and cats are now used as therapy animals for the elderly and infirmed with great success! Studies show that petting any animal for 15 minutes can lower the heart rate and bring blood pressure readings down.
So, shake someone's hand like you mean it. Hug your wife and kids. If you don't have anyone in your life, pet your dog or cat, but experience the gift of touch today.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Progressive Science!

Funny Pictures

What's Goin' On?

We had a busy but nice weekend. The 'Mercy Kids' sang for an event at Cohutta Springs Retreat Center in GA. It's beautiful there. The morning we drove down it was pouring rain, but by noon the sun was out and it turned out to be a gorgeous day! We rode canoes, the pontoon, paddle boats, rode bikes and enjoyed the petting zoo and pony rides. It was a nice little get-away! The offering taken for the 'Mercy Kids/Message of Mercy' CD project ended up being just over $400. That's encouraging!
- It's beautiful here in TN. Love the long Spring/Fall seasons we have. Summer is too HOT and Winter is boring- rarely any snow to play in. We lived up north long enough to enjoy those frosty white winters... I miss skiing!!!
- One of our hens is setting a clutch of eggs. She's hatched out 7 fluffy baby chicks so far. Two raccoons were hit on the road near our house recently and we've not had any casualties since. Wonder if it was the pair who were feasting on my birds? Wouldn't that be something if the problem took care of itself like that?!
- I'm 11 lbs down since Jan. and holding. Size 6 shorts & capri's are still tighter than I'd like but I'm getting there- just a matter of sticking to it! Subbed my first Toning class at the YMCA last Friday. It went well- can't wait to start my own classes in June. Got my staff ID badge today. (Funny how such a small thing can make you feel important- eh?!)
- My man and I are singing for a retreat again this weekend. Have childcare lined up and can't wait to go to South Carolina. Here's hoping this performance and some peace & quiet will help lift my husband's spirits. It's difficult for me to see him in a bad place, but I seem helpless to reach him- anything I say or do only seems to make things worse! Sometimes it's best just to pray and give someone their space. He's always been pretty quiet, pleasant and low-key, but when he's depressed he goes into what I call "robot mode". I know God is doing something here- not sure what? I think with some time & patience I'll have my man back to his old self. Biggest factor: he's totally overwhelmed/burned out right now and he's not got a clue where to go from here... Poor guy went and married ME- a busy dreamer-spitfire-adrenaline junkie! I've kept him on his toes and the stressful life we've had together literally makes his head spin!! I've rocked his world, but apparently not in the good way.
- The children are excited about going to summer camp this year- one fun-packed week of adventures. They are growing up SO fast!!! Our youngest won't go this year- she'll still be home with me. I plan to do some special activities with her.
- 9 years ago today I was blessed with a son- hard to believe! He feels pretty grown up now, but he'll always be my 'Lil' Chubby-bubby' scootin' around the house. We had a birthday party for him yesterday and I think he enjoyed it. :o)

Well, that's what's goin' on for us- what about you??

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dreams are Delicate...

One of the hardest things in my life has been to have a dream! A seed was planted long ago as I sat before the piano at an early age. I felt a call on my life and I wanted to do music. Meanwhile far away a little boy was listening to inspirational music through headphones and desiring to do the same. Here we are fast approaching middle-age and we've done a lot of music, but just can't seem to take it to the next level and get our stuff to the studio. Sooner or later if you're a musician you MUST record in order for anyone to take you seriously. You get better bookings and get busier. We've done our part. We write songs we feel will reach people and perform regularly. The rest is up to God. Our momentum has been painfully slow.
The hard part is not knowing whether to sit back, relax and wait for God to make things happen or to work as hard as we can toward the goal and He will bless the effort. Perhaps it's a combination of both? My husband nor I are very aggressive or self-promoting people. We're not comfortable asking for money as we know what it's like to live on a budget and don't want to place a hardship on somebody. We're not looking to be rich-n-famous as so many musicians do- just want to be able to do what we love most. After years of empty promises and dead-end roads, life has worn us down. My husband is depressed, detached and ready to give up on a lot of things- including music. I can't carry the dream for both of us and yet I'm NOT ready to give up... yet... Last weekend I watched a lady in her 50's sing her heart out. She writes her own songs- mediocre at best- her voice has a warble in it. She looks great and her confident/comfortable stage presence is a tell-tale sign of being a seasoned performer. She has made 2 CD's. It's obvious she has invested a lot of time & resources into propping up her music career. After the show, I think she sold maybe 3 CD's? I felt this intense sadness for her, because she had a dream too and it didn't get very far. What makes me any different? I've seen some pretty AWFUL performances in my lifetime by people who think they were born to be a star. Turn on any 'American Idol' audition and you'll see what I mean! I'd like to think that just because we're born we have an inalienable right to have our dream come true, but I look around and see so many people whose dreams bottomed-out. Some are able to accept this and go on with their lives, while others are left devastated & bitter. Sometimes people give up on thier dream too soon, then live out the end of their lives with regrets. A dream is beautiful but delicate. So easily crushed and resurrected. Nobody ever gets anywhere without blood, sweat and tears. To me, living a dream is like giving birth- painful but rewarding. Martin Luther King had a dream and it cost him his life. But unless you are willing to sacrifice, the dream is not as precious.

My highest dream is to live in peace with all people. My second dream is to share my heart through music... God, if You're still listening to me, we could sure use a shot of hope right now... otherwise, take this desire from our hearts so we can re-focus our goals.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wounds that Never Heal?

For those of you who still haven't seen this movie, it's a GREAT allegory! The symbolisms are not as easy to grasp as those of 'Pilgrim's Progress' or 'Chronicles of Narnia', but I have been so blessed by this story. Not only is it a good tale- there is powerful symbolism in the trilogy. The Ring of power represents the machine of sin and death. The Elves are the unfallen angels, while the Orcs are the fallen angels and the workers of devastation upon middle earth. Most of the good male characters in the story represent different aspects of Jesus Christ. Gandolph the Grey becomes Gandolph the White after dying to save his friends and being resurrected. Aragorn represents Christ as King. Gollum is the Judas character while Samwise is John the beloved. The whole premise is that Frodo the Hobbit accepts the task of carrying the Ring (sin & death) up the side of Mt. Doom (Calvary) and breaking it's power by casting it in the lake of fire. In pursuing this mission, Frodo is constantly being tempted to use the Ring's power for himself and is harrassed by the forces of evil. In the scene pictured here, he is pierced by the sharp blade of a Ring Raeth. So terrible is the wound he receives, it will never completely heal as long as he lives...

If you have read my writings for any length of time, you know I try to view the world with a positive spin. I believe in healing. However, I have some wounds that will probably never go away until the day I die or the end of the age- whichever comes first. There are some griefs that are felt for a lifetime. I mourn the two babies who were lost to me before they were ever born. I also mourn the loss of my family early on. My heart was completely broken and the complications from that devastation still haunt me. Last night an interaction occured that brought the pain back in living color. Amazing how a converstion can be so hurtful! Once again, I was a lost little girl, shaking inside. This took me by surprise as I like to think I've made great progress in leaving the past behind. Memories can never be erased. The past is never completely forgotten. It can be ignored, but it's still there- waiting in the shadows of the mind to jump out when you least expect it and throw you on your face. That was the case for me last night. I've not cried so hard in many years. Today, I feel cleansed somewhat and ready to keep moving forward. One thing is certain, there are people in this world who will only ever have a toxic influence in your life. Some work their poison in your spirit, abuse your person, shred your heart. Unfortunately, some are capable of attacking you on all fronts at the same time. I find many are clueless as to the negative force they are. In this case, it's healthy to draw boundaries and cleanse your life of such influences. This is difficult for a heart that loves to do, but very neccessary. When you've done everything humanly possible to make things better and fail utterly, shake the dust from your feet and walk away. YES, Trailady is movin' on...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Masterful Physics!!

This is an amazing car commercial! I pulled this link off Fallen Angels blog. It took over 600 takes to make it happen. Check it out:

The Greatest Victory...

"The greatest victory a man can win is victory over himself."
- Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Who is your worst enemy and why? Were they unkind to you? Forgive! Do they think or believe differently than you? Understand! Personality conflicts? Humble yourself!

I was my own worst enemy for many years. From the time I was a child, I was filled with an innate sense of guilt and condemnation. Because my heart felt so weak I was ashamed. I internalized any criticism that was thrown at me (there was plenty of it) and I pretty-much believed whatever negative opinions were said about me. NOT ANYMORE!!!! There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ. Do I still have faults? Yes! Are there still areas where I need to grow? Absolutely!!

I thought victory over myself and "dying daily" meant depriving myself of any happiness or pleasure to be found in this life. Yet how does that reconcile with "I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly"? I'm weary of interacting with killjoys. You know the type... anything you say is wrong, they always know more than you, your dreams and ideals are considered below them, you are never worthy of their praise. All I know is God made the eye to enjoy beautiful things, the tongue to enjoy many tastes. He made the ear to appreciate a variety of music and the body to carry our spirit so we could perform acts of kindness and dance in celebration of His goodness. These things are not meant to become idols or obsessions, but to enhance the quality of our lives. Embrace your existence!!!!!!!
I've put forth a lot of effort to ensure those around me felt my love. Now I'm learning to love myself. You see, I've come to know that unless I love myself, I cannot be truly selfless in giving to others. So I am speaking kind words and thinking happy thoughts. I choose to nurture my spirit and reward myself for a job well done- hey nobody else is going to do it!
For years I made the Devil's work of discouragement quite easy by driving myself so hard. With the love of God growing in my heart- I will silence the enemy inside.

Friday, April 14, 2006

As Links in a Great Chain...

"We are not free, separate and independent entities, we are like links in a chain and could not by any means be what we are without those who went before us and showed us the way." - Thomas Mann
This is so true! Who I am today is based on many factors. My parents influence and that of teachers, friends and historical lessons. I have been shaped by heroes, prophets and gifted men: Ghandi, Martin Luther, Mother Theresa, Mohammad, Joan of Arc, etc. Most of all, my heart has been influenced by Jesus the Christ. As we remember His great sacrifice, may we be thankful that He was willing to die in order to give us a better destiny than sin and death. I am grateful that He took the punishment I deserve, so that someday in Paradise I will share in the reward He deserved. We were first created, then redeemed. Someday we will be restored. What an AWESOME God!!
The Almighty doesn't view men by the color of their skin, by gender or social status, but by the merits of the heart. In His great mercy He chooses to forgive us and forget our sins. We are all connected and influence each other. Choices made on one side of the world, like ripples on the water, affect those on the other side of the globe. We need wisdom, hope and healing SO desperately!
God, live in me for I hope to be a strong link in the chain of human history. I want to live honorably. I desire for my legacy to be one of love, respect and goodwill toward all people...
Have A Blessed Easter as We Reflect on the Love and Mercy of God

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Totally Awkward Moment!

Today was shopping day! I sat for lunch with my two little girls eating a yummy 7-layer burrito from Taco Bell. Then in came a young mother with a baby boy who sat down beside us. The baby was a cute little thing- only weeks old. The mother looked nervous- no more than 17 years old. She sat down, but didn't order anything. The baby slept. Then, in comes an older man tattoed from the neck down & wearing biker leathers. He looked menacing and glared as he walked in- obviously NOT happy to be there. To my surprise, he came and sat with his back to us, joining the young mother & baby. The girls face lit up when he first came in, but after several minutes of intense talk and some sad glances from the mother toward the sleeping baby, the biker got up suddenly to go order. The look in the mother's eyes was hollow and hopeless as she slumped in her seat. Based on the body language & snippets of the conversation, this guy is the father of the baby and isn't too thrilled about it either. Now, I'm a peaceful person- I want to promote understanding on this blog, but when the biker came back and sat down, he removed his leather jacket to reveal a leather vest full of ugly NAZI insignia and slogans. I was amazed at the anger that suddenly welled up in me! Yes, I believe in freedom of speech, but several of my relatives fought & died in order to defeat the NAZI invaders. Pictures of holocaust victims still haunt my nightmares. I couldn't help but wonder if this man had considered where the hate rhetoric he embraced would ultimately lead? I wondered how the black people working in the restaurant felt when they saw him walk by. The man only ordered food for himself and sat there eating while the young girl made several pleas, but they seemed to fall on deaf ears. I felt embarassed sitting right beside them while they were having this intense emotional interlude. I kept trying to get my girls to hurry up so we could go. I didn't want to see anymore, I wanted to get away from there because I did not like the way I felt inside. The NAZI spider & lightening bolts drew an immediate reaction from me- very disturbing! I don't hate anyone. (not even neo-nazi's) But I detest racism!! White supremacy- HA! If we whites were soooo supreme, we'd have less problems and a lot more answers. Truth is, we ALL need each other in this life. The Japanese have something wonderful to contribute to my worldview as do Mexicans, Arabs, Africans, etc. Well, the "Mommy" side of me wanted to walk over, thump the biker guy upside the head and say, "Get a life, Junior and take some responsibility!" Poor girl! Poor baby. Poor angry man. What kind of childhood or incident drove him to his philosophy? I bet he's a lonely guy. If he did stick around, what would his little boy grow up like? Most likely he would be taught to hate from the time he could sit up? I'm not even sure WHY I'm writing about this... Still feel upset when I think about it. So, yes I'm human too and I still have challenges to overcome. Every now and then the little spitfire inside gets the best of me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Nobody Should!

60 people were killed in Pakistan when a bomb exploded in a park where Sunni worshippers were gathered to honor the birthday of Prophet Mohammad. I hope that none of my Pakistani friends were involved in this tragedy. My heart goes out to these people. I feel their pain intensely. Is this the way to bring change? How long will this go on?? These actions MUST stop!!

Nobody should ever die unarmed and without initiating violence
Nobody should have to live in constant terror and uncertainty
Nobody should ever have to collect body parts after a bomb blast
Nobody should be killed in their place of worship- this is an offense to Islam!
Nobody should send their children to school, wondering if they will come home alive
Nobody should be oppressed or forced to embrace a religion they don't believe in
Nobody should dispresect the faith or race of another
Nobody should grow up surrounded by death and despair
Nobody should profit from or take delight in the devastation of another
Nobody should ever have to bury their beloved children due to violence
Nobody should lose their entire family in a single day in a senseless attack
Nobody should be murdered in their own home by bandits
Nobody should ever die while purchasing food for their children in a marketplace
Nobody should lose their life simply because of the race or religion they were born to
Nobody should be so cold as to kill humanitarians, children, women or elderly persons

Those who commit these atrocities- by what writings and by what prophet do you justify these acts of indescriminatory hatred?? Let go of anger and find better ways to be heard.
The good in this world is worth celebrating, but sometimes the grief overwhelms me...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Interesting Quote...

"The cruelty of most people is lack of imagination, their brutality is ignorance." - Kurt Tucholsky

So Adorable!

Okay, I've always had big dogs and I love them- especially when my husband is away on a trip. I just feel safer having a sizeable dog with a big bark around. Recently, our Yellow Lab mix (who never liked to stick around) left one night and never came back. So we're down to one dog again. Zephyr is sad & lonely without any canine playmate, so the kids and I want to get a puppy. I've done a lot of rescue/rehab work with dogs over the years. They always come to me at least a year old and with plenty of bad habits for me to train out of them. I want a fresh start with a little pup that I can train and socialize as I see fit. FINALLY made contact with two breeders in TN. One breeds Toy Poodles, while the other breeds Miniature Poodles. I want a poodle because they come in a wide variety of colors, they don't shed, have virtually no odor and are highly intelligent. Also, after so many years of having big dogs, it would be nice to have a lap dog. Isn't the cream-colored puppy in the picture cute? I think so! I'd like to get a little female that is either black, blue, brown- or even red to match my hair. A lot of people scoff at small dogs, but there are many advantages to owning one. They travel easily, their messes are smaller, they eat less, require less space, are easier to handle & pick up. I like Poodles over other small breeds because they're easy to train and aren't a shivery bundle of nerves. Many people view the Poodle as a "fru-fru", wimpy dog for high society or retirees only and are quite surprised to find the hearty Poodle was originally bred in Germany (not France) as a Gun Dog to retrieve game from the water. The funny looking pom-pom cut that many Poodles wear actually had a purpose. It kept the dog warm & bouyant in the water. Though they are rarely used for retrieving today, several canine encyclopedias still list them in the 'Gun Dog' category, though most now place them in the 'Non-sporting' category. The Poodle breed is happy, outgoing, versatile and courageous. So here's hoping sometime this summer I'll be able to adopt one. :o) My birthday is in June- we'll see what happens.....

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Words of Wisdom...

I have NO idea who wrote this- undoubtedly someone with experience. It's good stuff! Enjoy!! :o)

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

"I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life." "I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as "making a life."

"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."

"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."

"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."

"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one."

"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love warm smiles, hugs, or friendly pats on the back. Be generous in giving them."

"I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Storms Passed...

Thanks for thinking of us last night, my friends!! After much anxiety, the cold front from the North passed over us with thunder, lightening and heavy rains. Some flash flooding... beyond that, we had NO damaging hail or winds. This morning we put everything on our property back the way it was and will keep listening to the weather reports. Apparently the 3 stormfronts converged in North Georgia- just south of us. I'm thankful the storm didn't cause havoc here, but if it misses us- it hits someone else- not happy for that. At least 10 people died a little further southwest from us. Cars flipped, roofs were torn off many houses and several tornadoes touched down.
Today it's sunny & warm with bright, puffy clouds in the sky- no indication of the fear & devastation many felt last night. Businesses closed early, etc. all across town in anticipation of the storm. I'm glad it was a false alarm for us this time, but I hope next time we will take it just as seriously- in case we do get hit.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pray for Us!!!

As I'm typing this post, lightening lights up the night sky. There's an eerie calm outside. According to the storm chaser we stopped and talked to on the way home tonight over 40 people have already died in our state this week due to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. It was cool to see his big truck parked up on the corner. He's got all the satellite gear & storm equipment rigged up just like those guys in the movie 'Twister'. He was very serious when he told us to "Go home, batten down the hatches and prepare for a Hell of a night". Tonight we face 3 different major storm fronts. A cold front from the north, a warm front from the west and a warm front from the south. When the 3 converge around midnight tonight it's expected to unleash hail storms, 100+ mph winds and tornadoes that may cause severe damage to our region.
We've done everything to prepare for this- our closet is fortified with pillows, etc since we have no cellar to go to. The children are frightened and we are trying to re-assure them that we are in God's hands and everything will be alright. It's going to be a wild night! I'm both thrilled and terrified by storms. The power & energy behind them are amazing!! So pray for us. Hope our barn, cottage and shed will hold up in the wind. Pray for our friends and neighbors in the area as well as for the families of those who have already died.

PS. According to the stormwatcher, based on current data- last years hurricane season is nothing compared to what's in store this year....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lord of The Dance...

Enjoy what you love, live like you're redeemed, and dance for an audience of One!

The body was created for expressive movement & the heart for praise. When the two combine in the presence of the Lord, it's a powerful worship experience. Praise dancing allows people to glorify God through movement. For generations, dancing was considered an acceptable form of worship to The Lord. Miriam danced, King David danced, the Prodigal Son danced after returning home. Dance in worship is recorded in early scriptures. Historically speaking, after some research, I found that many Jewish priests were dancers and acrobats who performed during certain religious feasts. Liturgical, celebratory or sacred dancing can be seen in various churches across the nation and in many cultures around the world. In fact, each culture has it's own dance.
Liturgical dance is different from theatrical dance. Liturgical dancers simply express themselves and may not have formal training. Liturgical dancing is simply dedicated to praising God- while theatrical dance is dedicated to entertaining an audience. Therefore, the costuming for these two forms of dance is usually quite different.
Liturgical dance wear is modest and elegant to express beauty, passion, and dedication to God. The outfits are simple and flowing, rather than form fitting. Liturgical dance is not about showing off your body, but expressing your spirit before God. The colors of costume for liturgical dance are symbolic. Gold symbolizes divinity, silver symbolizes redemption, white symbolizes purity or holiness. Red is often worn to symbolize the blood of the savior and blue is worn to symbolize loyalty & truth. Green represents forgiveness/harmony between the soul and God, while purple honors God as Royal Sovereign. Dancers often use combinations of meaningful colors for liturgical dance wear.
For example, wearing a white dress with a red sash means the dancer is expressing gratitude to Christ the Pure One. I'm currently learning how to express myself in this way and I've had very meaningful moments honoring my Creator. When it comes to this form of worship, Almighty God is Lord of the Dance.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hearts of Stone...

We are born soft and sweet, but after life beats us up and we experience rejection, we become hard. I've seen this happen many times. For instance, most dogs are born affectionate and playful by nature. If a puppy is abused, teased, abandoned or neglected, eventually he will be mean. A horse is willing to cooperate with it's trainer- unless he/she is cruel, unreasonable & inconsistent with rewards. Likewise, a sweet-natured child can end up angry, bitter and rebellious after mistreatment. Kids are clumsy, but they love to delight & be delighted! A simple hug or kind word goes a long way. Never ceases to amaze me how a small gesture will thrill a child! They live to please. If they're constantly frowned upon and rarely encouraged, their little hearts harden and they give up trying. Adults are very similar and though physically we are more graceful, we remain clumsy in matters of the soul.

We're afraid to dance for our Father because shackles are all we've ever known. We fear invoking His wrath so much that we deny His Love. Few know what freedom or forgiveness really mean. Painfully aware of failures without realizing our worth, we find the only way to feel better is to point the finger of blame at others, picking out their flaws. We are a dysfunctional family here on earth. Is it any wonder so few are interested in our religion??

Enjoyment can be found in simple, innocent things, but only when a heart has changed. The heart of stone is numb and must be heavily-stimulated in order to feel any pleasure at all. It takes loud music, fast times and strong drink- I know what it's like to be numb- I was there. God promises to give us a heart of flesh. It's a full heart transplant and it takes awhile. We should never judge- we don't know where in that process someone is. I still have rough edges, but for the first time in my life, I feel God smiling down on me. Not because I'm perfect, simply because I am His child.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, I will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh..." Ezekiel 36:26

Stranger-than-Fiction Facts About Me!

- I carry a gene which causes me to have no adult replacement for a back baby tooth. When baby tooth fell out it left a gap- should get a bridge, but since nobody can see the space I haven't yet... had 8 teeth pulled as a child.
- I'm TERRIBLE about making dental appointments. Rather give birth than go to the dentist- nearly hyper-ventilate in the waiting room- yep, it's true. They give me happy gas in the chair to help me relax.
- I've had 5 concussions- one of which knocked me blind for 2 days, whiplash 4 times, broken tailbone 3 times, fractured humorous. All this due to sports, biking, horse & car accidents. (I wasn't driving) Kneeling makes my left knee ache.
- I've had 6 major surgeries
- I dress for comfort WAY more than style! Jeans & T's, or track pants with tank tops. Love being barefoot!
- I did quite well in every subject but Math. Passed my only college math course with a D -
- I don't wear fruity or candy scents- makes me hungry. HATE the smell of Emeraude perfume!
- I'm terrified of heights due to Geronimo Syndrome- makes me want to jump!
- I've moved nearly every year of my life. Lived in all 4 regions of the US. Been to all but 2 states- Alaska & Hawaii.
- After workouts, my feet smell exactly like Fritos corn chips. NO kidding! (My kids think it's hilarious)
- I have perfect pitch. (Tested by a music professor in 4th grade) When writing music, I hear entire productions in my head.
- Being fair skinned, I can't do sun worship or tanning beds- I sometimes use sunless tanner
- I've had 6 pre-cancerous moles removed
- My teeth were so crooked before braces, my Dad called me 'Snaggle-tooth'
- On a good day, I can still do the splits!
- I figit with Silly Putty and chew gum most of the day so I won't bite my nails
- I can only eat white cheeses- yellow ones make my stomach hurt- no idea why?
- My nicknames as a kid were 'Red' and 'Runt'. In highschool it was 'Poopie'
- I like spinach & brussel sprouts. Only crave chocolate one week a month. Don't like pork, beef or catfish.
- Most tempting indulgence is Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream
- I'm allergic to- mold, mildew, hay, grass, pollen, dust, pany-hose, hairspray & mean people. :o)
- I'm a good dancer, although I was raised to believe it's a sin to dance
- I love being around people with accents- after a few hours I talk like them without even trying.

See you're not the only one who thinks yourself strange! Anything you'd like to share about YOU?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Welcome Home & Other News

Glad to see Jill Carroll is no longer a hostage. That's great news!! Hope life gets back to normal for her soon. :o)

Note to readers of this blog: If you disagree with something on my blog that's A-okay. I love diversity of opinion! However, I'm a sensitive person- it's not necessary to be ugly to make your point. I removed the cute little bunny picture on my 'Art of Living' post after 'Anonymous' protested. (Just so you know, there was NO contact, copyright or purchase information on the site I gleaned the drawing from- otherwise I would've been happy to ask 'Madison' if I could use her picture and let her know the little bunny brightened my day.) Simply thought it was an adorable example of children's artwork and wanted others to see it too...

Things are mysteriously disappearing from our house! I'm missing a book, a silver cross and an application folder. Sometimes I think these things sprout wings and fly. Of course, none of my children will admit to having touched or moved these items, so I'm turning the house upside down. Also, I think the washing machine eats socks! Oh well...

I've lost 2 more pounds- for a total of 10! Doing 2 hrs of cardio work Mon, Wed. Fri/1 hr of Interval Tues. & Thurs. I'm feeling great & my endurance is much better. Iron was low- gotta keep taking the supplements.

My son made the honor roll this term and got a couple of rewards from the school! I couldn't be more pleased!!

Why Do We Wait??

The little guy in the red shirt's name is Marquise, he is 6 years old. His wish was to have a really nice playground where he and his siblings could play. He is pictured here with the 'Make A Wish' team that helped make his dream come true.
I think the 'Make A Wish' foundation is doing a wonderful thing! Children who are terminally ill have a chance to see their wishes come true because of this organization:

I wonder why we tend to wait until someone is dying to make their dream come true? What if we all believed in each other and worked with as much enthusiasm every day to help other people realize their full potential or reach their greatest goal?
Also, why do so many of us wait until our dying day to do the right thing and make amends with family, friends, God and neighbors? Why not make peace NOW while there's still time left to enjoy the good results?

I don't mean to be depressing, but if you were dying what would you wish for? What changes would you make? Is this something you can work toward today?? If so, I say GO FOR IT! :o)