Musical Musings: I Wanna Be There, Blessid Union of Souls

Won't you let me catch your fall
Won't you let me lend a hand
Those lonely eyes have seen it all
But love's too blind to understand
Cause you don't know what you have
Til your everything is gone
You need someone to show you how to live again

I wanna be there when you're feeling high
I wanna be there when you wanna die
I'm gonna light your fire
Gonna feel your flame
I wanna be there when you go insane
I wanna be there when you're feelin' down
And I'll be there when your head is spinnin' round
Gonna be your lover
Gonna be your friend
I wanna be there til the end

You wouldn't know that I was there
Cause I have been there all the time
And if I had my way I'd hold you in my arms
And leave this madness all behind

Cause you got so much to give
But you throw it all away
And all you got to show for who you are is pain

And I've got so much to give
If you'd only let me in
I'm gonna take the time to show you I'm a friend
You'll believe in love again

I wanna be there in the pouring rain
I wanna be there when you call my name
I'm gonna light your fire
Gonna feel your flame
I wanna be there when you go insane
I wanna be there when I'm outta town
And when your whole damn world is crashing down
I'm gonna be your lover
Gonna be your friend
I wanna be there til the end

Cause you don't know what you have
Til your everything is gone
You need someone to show you how to live again

And I got so much to give
If you'd only let me in
I'm gonna take the time to show you I'm a friend
You'll believe again

I wanna be there when your baby cries
I wanna be there when they tell you lies
I'm gonna light your fire
Gonna feel your flame
I wanna be there when you go insane
I wanna be there when your nights are long
And when you're feeling like you don't belong
Gonna be your lover
Gonna be your friend
Gonna be there til the end

I'm gonna be there in the morning
I'm gonna be there in the night
Gonna be your lover
Gonna be your friend
Gonna be there til the end

John gave me this CD while we were dating. This song is the first track on the CD, Blessid Union of Souls' self titled offering, and had heavy airplay on pop stations for a while there. It was sort of his promise to me. I had already told him most, if not everything, hidden in my closet. I figured that when he learned the truth about me, he'd want to leave...so I might as well get it out sooner rather than later, when it would hurt more for us to part ways. I've spent much of our relationship in fear of that, really, and for no good reason. He's never given me any reason to doubt him or his love for me, but for a very very long time, I couldn't accept that his love was unconditional. That when he told me that he loves me, there was nothing I could do to make him stop loving me, and that I deserved that from anyone. But he told me, time after time after time and again. John loved me when I didn't know how to be loved, when I didn't know how to love myself. (Yes, I'm crying as I write this today.)

Thank you, John. Thank you for keeping the promise in this song, for keeping the promise in our vows. Thank you for loving me despite me. I don't know that I can ever repay your faithfulness to me, your devotion, but let me assure you that I know well beyond the shadow of doubt that you love me. I love you more than I could have imagined on the day I married you, and I am eagerly looking forward to loving you all the days of our lives. Here's hoping that, no matter what our tomorrows bring us, we will hold to this promise and remember how our love has grown and deepened. When I forget why I love you, may I ever return to this moment, this memory, of the man who loved me back to love.


Christmas 2004

Humbly born to humbly serve
Merciful Savior of the sons of the earth
Righteous One of immeasurable worth
This moment belongs to You

Denying Your glory as Lord Most High
Born as an infant, You came down to die
Wonderful Counselor, The one True Light
This hour belongs to You

Born in a stable, hay for Your bed
Your blood our wine, Your body our bread
To pay for my failures, You died instead
This day belongs to You

Your miraculous birth announced by a star
With hope in the promise, men traveled far
Unblemished Lamb now bearing my scar
This season belongs to You

Alpha, Omega, the First and the Last
Hope of our glory, You delivered our past
Hold us faithful to You ‘till we breathe our last
Eternity belongs to You


Boycott Target

I have decided that Target, apparently, doesn't need my money. Perhaps they've decided they don't need yours, either, and you just don't realise this yet. Maybe you think they still do, but in the effort of having an informed public, I thought I would pass along the reasons why I've decided to boycott Target stores.It seems that Target, or at least the powers that be that run the chain, has decided that middle-class American values are unimportant. There are two main indicators of this, either of which alone would be enough for me to boycott the chain. However, combined, it seems overwhelming reason for me to eschew shopping there (besides the fact that there are no convenient locations for me, and the one I was in last was laid out terribly). It seems Target will no longer allow the Salvation Army bell ringers to operate outside of their stores, and a recent commercial featured porn king and mogul Hugh Hefner.As regards the Salvation Army Ban: I am aware that the corporate offices of Target support many charitable causes. I am also aware that Target, like Wal-Mart and many other stores, has a no-solicitation policy. That means that the stores do not allow other organizations to use the store premises to solicit, or ask for, money or donations from shoppers. It is meant, I presume, to prevent the shoppers from being harrassed everytime they arrive at the store. I appreciate this policy and the presumed intent behind it. However, stores regularly bend this policy for certain groups and oganizations. Scouting groups often wait outside to sell cookies or candy, as do other school groups, to raise funds. Until this year, the Salvation Army bell ringers had been among the groups excepted from this policy, and indeed, if you will visit just about any mall or Wal-Mart store, you will find the familiar bucket and bells. These men and women come out to raise funds so that children from underpriviliged families are able to enjoy their Christmas. The donations from those buckets enable the Salvation Army to minister to the poor and homeless of our society. This year, Target stores have decided that they will no longer make an exception for the Salvation Army. The bell ringers and their buckets are excluded from their stores and property. This is especially unfortunate when you remember that Target stores carry merchandise priced inbetween the prices at a Wal-Mart and a Sears. In other words, if you can afford to shop at Target, you are far more likely to be able to give generously to those in need. Target has taken the convenient reminder many people use to give, and removed it. Granted, if motivated, people will still give, regardless. But by prohibiting the bell ringers, they put an obstacle in the way of charity. Shame on you, Target.Hugh Hefner: One of the recent commercials for Target featured a "family" gathered for Christmas morning, all in their pajamas, opening their gifts. Hugh Hefner, in his signature pajamas, is among them. It seems to me to be a mockery of the happy family dynamic portrayed to include the man who founded and leads an empire of exploitative pornography. This is a man who leads a life of leisure built on the graphic and explicit naked bodies of young women. Many may debate the amount of damage pornography causes to the American family, but I think many people realise that pornography is not exactly conducive to the type of happy family portrayed in this commercial. The inclusion, then, of Hugh Hefner in the scene of the happy family scene, when he has been instrumental in destroying that very family dynamic, is insulting and a mockery at best.Since it would seem that Target is out of touch with moral values, then I choose allow them to be out of touch with my monetary values. Perhaps boycotting the store, refusing them my money, will show them the importance of not ignoring morals and values. If there is anyone from Target reading this post, please pass these concerns along to your decision makers.


In Memory of Dr. Gary Chancellor

A very dear friend of mine died Saturday evening. He'd been very sick for about 2 months before he died, but I don't know that any of us, when this started, saw his death as the end of his ordeal.
I met Gary Chancellor in August 1996, when I enrolled in one of his French classes at Oklahoma Baptist University. Gary was an excellent professor, an excellent teacher, an excellent educator. But he was more than that. Gary was, as his wife still is, a remarkable friend. I trusted his advice and coveted his prayers. In a time when we are told that we, as christians, may be the only "Jesus" some ever see, Gary was consistantly an illustration of our great Rabbi and master. I'm not saying he was perfect; no one is. But he was beyond good. He was consistant and faithful in his witness and concern. He could have just presented the material and expected us to learn it or not on our own, but he went beyond that. He found new and different ways to involve us in the learning process, and when I taught last year, I wanted to be for my students at least a little of what he'd been to me. One semester, after surgery that summer, he held class in his home, welcoming us in graciously. I could call Gary and ask for help on minor, unrelated stuff...such as whether or not cheese could be frozen.
I was able to open myself up to Gary and Mary, his wife, to trust them with my deepest heart and hurts. They never failed to encourage and love me, giving me guidance without judgement or impatience. I truly thank my God that He let me meet and get to know this faithful servant of His.
Gary, you are already deeply missed. Still, I know that even now, you walk the streets of heaven with our savior, and I rejoice for you and your release. May the God of grace you lived to those around you now fill us all with much needed comfort and blessings of mercy.
The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you
The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26
Gary's obituary in the Shawnee News-Star


I wish we'd all been ready

I called my aunt eariler this week. Tuesday, I think. Uncle Don would make his final trip to the hospital that day, but when I called, he was still at home and she was about to go run errands...things like buying him more of those Boost drinks, since that was all he could stand anymore. But I had to do something I had never done for my father, something that had bothered me for almost 10 years. So I called.
See, I really began to come into my faith in September 1994. I had been raised in churches all my life, but it wasn't until September 7th, 1994 that I think I was really and truly saved. It was after that date that I see the change in my life. Not that suddenly everything was OK, because it wasn't, and in some ways, life actually got harder. My great-grandmother, a woman who had always been dear to me and my greatest defender, had died the month before, and the last time I would see my father's face in his life was just a month away...not that I knew that at the time. But I know I changed that day. School started a day later than usual that year; our schools didn't open until the Tuesday after Labor Day, but that year, we were another day later than that for Rosh Hashana. We weren't Jewish, and I can barely remember any of my friends that I remember as being Jewish...the school board decided we all got a pass, so it happened that the first day of my Junior year in high school was a Wednesday that year. Anyway, since I'd been in the school for two years, I already had my designated place where I hung out at lunch everyday, and the first day I picked up just as if I'd been there the day before, and headed off that way. That would be when I noticed a scared-looking freshman. High school can be an overwhelming place in general, and the layout of our school certainly didn't help things...so I detoured to go see if I could be of any help. Later I ran into a guy I'd "dated" in 8th grade and the beginning of 9th...until he'd actually used the "If you loved me, you would..." line on me. He gave me a note...well, a letter really, that caught me up on his life from that day...and thanked me for refusing him. He said I'd been a real witness to him. I hadn't said no to him so I could show him the love of Jesus...to be honest, I think I was afraid of sex by that point...afraid of getting hurt. But it had been a witness to him, probably in those long nights of deep depression he talked about before his son was born. I'd meet his son later that week or the week after. Anyway, that night, at my church youth group, I remember my youth pastor talking to us...and I realised, possibly for the first time, that God had a plan and a purpose for my life. I realised that God was going to use me to reach those around me...and he could do it with or without me. I chose to go along with him for the ride. I prayed to give God complete control of my life (not that I didn't stumble on that point, not that I don't still stumble to this day), and I honestly believe that was the day I was truly saved.
Anyway, as I said, this was September 1994. February 23, 1995, my father died. It was a car accident, and I've been told that his neck was broken and that his aorta may have ruptured. He was declared dead on the scene...and they told me that meant he probably never knew what happened. He didn't suffer. He was just...gone. My sister declared God awful for taking her daddy away, but I just clung to the promise of Lazarus in John 11. Not that my Daddy would walk out of the grave and suddenly be alive (though I certainly would have loved for that to happen), but that the God I choose to serve has the power over death, and when I got to heaven, I'd see my Daddy there. Alas, this is where the heartache and guilt set in; for all the wonders of my new-found faith, I realised I had never really shared it with him. Those summers we stayed with him, he always took us to Vacation Bible School, we went to the Methodist church where he'd worked, but I'd never made it a point to tell him about the new hope I'd found. It didn't matter that my father was this terrifically wonderful man. It didn't matter that he was one of very few people who'd ever gotten it through to me that I was loved. I sincerely believe (and still do) that mine is an exclusive faith; You must recognise you have a problem, namely, that there is a high standard for "earning" heaven, and every single human on earth falls way short of it (since no one is perfect, and that's the stamp they check for at the door, so to speak), then you must admit that you, by yourself, can never overcome this problem (you can't make yourself perfect), then you must recognise that not only does God exist, but that He lovingly provided THE only way back to Him, to heaven, in the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. You have to recognise that only the death and resurrection (yes, He rose again!) of Jesus Christ are capable of getting you to heaven, of covering all your imperfections so that, when you get to heaven, all they see is Christ's perfection. You have to repent, or turn, from the futility of trying to find your own way to heaven and follow God. You can't be good enough, no amount of good will ever outweigh the bad you did in your life. Only a confession of your inadequacy and God's sufficience can save your soul.
See, for all the ways my Daddy was a good man, I didn't know if he'd ever figured that point out. I didn't know if he'd ever been told the truth, and if he'd ever really taken the opportunity to be saved. And here, I had figured this part of the truth out, and I didn't share it with him. And, unlike his parents, who are mormons who believe you get a second chance after death, I don't believe that. See, the way I understand the Bible is that you get one life, and if you don't get it in this life, you don't get another chance to figure it out when you die. There is no Purgatory to work off your sin, no re-incarnation, no afterlife baptism. This life, this trip around the sun, is all you get. So I lived for almost 10 years wondering if I could have done better...if my father is waiting for me in heaven, or not, and if I had actually told him, would that have changed. I recently asked my mother, who knew him in those first years of my life (they got married 9 months exactly before I was born), in those days when he left mormonism and converted. She said that he had made such a profession of faith in those years...and that was what I needed to set my heart at rest. I don't know if he meant it when he said it, I don't know if he ever really sold out to the God who gave all for him, but I know now that he had been told truth...he knew what it took to get to heaven.
Anyway, I told you all of that to explain why it has been so important to me to have called my aunt before my uncle died. See, my aunt is still very close to my grandmother, who is still a devout mormon. My aunt comforts herself with the idea that if we futz things up in this life, we can fix it all in eternity, after we die. I don't know what my uncle believed. I never really knew him that well. I mean, I remember him as my uncle all my life, but even when we lived closer, we didn't go visit very often. And my aunt adores me, so she tells people about me all the time (as evidenced when I went up in July for a brief overnight visit and people I had never met and others I barely remembered shared with me how often she sings my praises), but Don and I never talked much in those times. But no matter how well I knew him or not, I still wanted to offer him, offer Kathy, what I had never given my Dad. I still needed, for his memory, for the sake of their own eternal souls, to tell them this truth. I called them Tuesday, and I still don't know what he did or didn't know before he died. But when I called Tuesday, I shared my witness with her. I told her that I truly believe that, without confessing a faith in Jesus Christ before death, you don't get to heaven. Did Uncle Don know that before Thursday night? I don't know. But I had to try to tell them.
My Aunt Kathy loved my Uncle Don. He loved her. She had a very hard time when her baby brother, my Daddy, died. I can't even begin to imagine how hard this will be for her. I just hope that she places her faith in the one who is longing to carry her through it all. I just hope she finds God sufficient.


Goodbye, Farewell, Amen

My uncle Don died last night. My aunt says that he died peacefully in little or no pain. I knew it was coming; they found cancer in August and said he'd have a year at best. It now been about 3 months since they found it. I was there in July and he was complaing of chest pain. He went in to get his heart checked...and they found cancer in his lungs, his adrenal gland, his bones. It had spread to his liver by the time he died last night.
I hope that my aunt Kathy will be OK...as OK as a widow could be. I'm just stunned.



OK, so I had never had risotto, nor had I tried to make it. I'm not sure what I made tonight really counts, but it's the closest I've ever come. 1 cup of rice made about 4 cups of risotto. I was adapting Rachel Ray's recipe for Cheesy Risi et Bisi, using what I had and what I knew my husband would eat. For instance, he hates peas, so I left them out...as well as the parsley, out of laziness. I used the last splashes of a tiny bottle of merlot I had, since I don't have white wine on hand and didn't want to spend $7 to buy a bottle of white when I have red. I used a home-made chicken stock I made a few months ago, filled out with some Swanson Italian Herb Chicken broth. Over all, I was rather pleased with the outcome, and look forward to trying it again, perhaps with brown rice, and likely when I'm not trying to also fry chicken cutlets. Those, by the way, were OK...I'm a big chicken when it comes to spicy food, and I got bites of the tiny amount of crushed red pepper flake I'd used in the breading.

I LOVE to cook. I hate to clean up afterwards, and I'm only beginning to tolerate touching raw chicken. Still, I enjoy playing with foods, looking for flavors that my husband would like, something different from the same old ordinary stuff. I look for ways to make food flavorful without so much heat from spice...jalapenos and such are really harsh on my constitution. I like to start with a recipe, something that is known to be good, and adapt from there for our tastes and budget. I was excited about making risotto, since rice is relatively cheap, and I already have the frozen chicken stock to cook with. Still, there is a certain amount of satisfaction in preparing food and having someone else appreciate and enjoy it.

Of course, then there are the times when I find a recipe, adapt it to our tastes (eliminating seafood, etc.), find that I LOVE it, and John doesn't. Of course, that makes me even happier when I do find one that he likes...and I think I can play with the flavor notes in this risotto and make it even better. That's exciting for me. We'll see what happens over the next few months. Does brown rice make risotto? Can I leave the wine out, or try other wines? What about other spice combinations? If you have any suggestions, please share them!



By the way....I don't think I ever expressed how glad I am that President Bush was re-elected. YAY!!!!!

I LOVE my President.


OK, so I went to the Women of Faith conference here in Oklahoma City this past weekend. The whole time, I felt like God was speaking to my issues of infertility, but then I wondered if it seemed that way because I've been obsessing about it. I'm still not certain. Anyway, we've been thinking about adopting. We always knew that we would adopt, whether we conceive or not, so that's not a new idea. But now we're actually looking at what all is involved in doing this. We've pretty much decided on an international adoption, and are leaning towards China or Columbia at the moment. It's a lot to consider. We're talking about bringing a brand-new baby home, so we're thinking about having a home we think is ready for a baby, having the actual baby, and lets be honest...none of this is cheap. I may go back to work for a couple of years before we adopt to try to save what we need to finance the whole thing. Still, I'm excited.


Political (Yes, me too)

OK, I'm gonna offend someone. Sorry you're offended. Deal with it.

I love my president. Seriously. I think Bush is a gift from God. He;s not perfect...but as I've already established...who is? He is unashamed of his faith and convictions. Sure, he's a politician, and in most people's mind, politician, lawyer, and demons are all equal fodder. I mean, we've all heard about the kid who asked his mother if 2 bodies were ever buried in the same grave after he saw a tombstone reading "Here lies a lawyer and an honest man". But I really admire him. If there are places we differ, so be it. In most places, we don't, and I can't say that for many politicians.

In the disasterous aftermath of the Florida debacle in 2000, when, for possibly the first time in our nations history, a candidate threw a hissy fit and tried to steal what was not his and interrupted the peaceful passing of power that has marked our nation's history, I watched George W. Bush sit back and wait quietly for things to be settled. Lest people forget, it was GORE who took the issue to court, it was GORE who tried to get the votes recounted again and again and again...it was GORE who tried and failed to steal that election. If you don't like it, tough. It's the truth. Florida had been called for Bush, and it was Gore who pitched the fit. And in the end, it was Bush who won. And if you want to scream and cry about whether or not every vote got counted...they didn't. In many states, once there were enough votes counted to guarantee the outcome, they stopped counting. The idea is that they count until there are enough votes for one or the other that even if all the remaining votes were counted for the other guy, he'd still lose. So I'm certain there were ballots that went uncounted. If they had been counted, I'd about guarnatee that Bush would STILL win. Period. If you don't like the way the constitution functions to elect our president...come up with a better idea, try it out somewhere else before you ruin this country, and when it works there, propose the amendment. That's how this government works. And if you can't figure out how to read the ballot, get off your pride and ask for help. You look worse if you don't.

So yes, I am proudly voting for George Bush tomorrow. In fact, I'm voting straight party Republican, because, having read the two platforms and comparing them...I disagree with most of what the Democrats say, and agree with most of what the Republicans say. Like it or not, party matters. If I know nothing else about the candidate, I know which set of values they align themselves with...and that's at least a start. Nor do I buy this "I didn't vote with my party on this issue and that one and this one." If you disagree with the party stand that much, have the conviction to stand by your values and leave the party. There is nothing wrong with leaving a party you no longer believe in. Shoot, if nothing else, be an independant.

Kerry does not stand for the values I do. Edwards does not stand for the values I do. Nor does Carson. And while I know nothing about Pat Bateman except party affiliation (is Pat male or female??), I know Kris Steele personally. I'd vote the man into any office. I KNOW he stands for the same things I do because we've discussed it. He is an honorable man, and unlike some, he actually stands by the decisions he makes. None of this wishy-washy waffling on the issues. Make up your mind, Mr. Kerry. Are you proud to be a veteran of the Vietnam war, or was it a dishonorable conflict filled with butchers? Pick a side and stick to it. Even moss can stick to a side. Do you support the war on terrorism and the actions in Iraq or not? You've gone back and forth on this one way too much.

And speaking of Iraq...I think people forget that EVERYONE KNEW Saddam had WMD. All he had to do was open the stinkin' doors and LET the UN inspectors do their job. He refused to do so. He WANTED us to think he had them. I'm still not convinced he didn't. What are we supposed to do in a war on terror? Wait until a man who has used illegal (against the Geneva Convention and outlawed by the UN) weapons in the past against his own people figures out how to kill a few more thousand Americans? You think he wasn't? What earth did you inhabit in those months when President Bush told him, with the backing of the UN, to prove he didn't have them that you think this war was groundless and unjust. Which kids do you want to go to and explain that they lost parents in ANOTHER terrorist attack because you thought Saddam was safe? Which Iraqi women who were brutalised, raped, and slaughtered by his regime and his own sons are you going to tell that Saddam wasn't an immediate threat?

I don't trust Kerry. I trust Bush. I admire Bush. I believe that God raised him up to guide our nation through the aftermath of Clinton's debacle as he shamed and smeared the office of the presidency. Don't let liberals lie to you. If you are old enough to vote, you are old enough to remember the way things REALLY happened. Re-Elect George W. Bush. He's exactly what this country, this world, needs.

And no, no republicans or politicians paid for this ad. These are my honest opinions. If you don't like them, tough cookies. It's a free country. Don't read the blog.

Obsession Update

OK, so God is consistently faithful and good to me, and I'm just consistently stubborn.

First things first. My doctor had a perfectly reasonable explanation for the medicine I was on and went out of his way to do whatever he can think of to help rebuild my trust in him. This is why I trust him. Dude, he's a great doctor.

Second...I realised that my fear is that I could do something that God can't deal with. Who on earth do I think I am? If God wants me to have a healthy baby, no unintentional harm on my part can screw up his plan. Not to say that I couldn't royally futz things up if I went out and aimed for that goal. But God is big enough to protect my child from my ignorance and health needs. I believe He knows my heart and my intentions enough that if He wants the baby to be healthy, I can't kill it by cleaning out the catbox before I realise that's not a safe thing to be doing just now, or some other similar thing. And if God plans for us to raise a child with health problems...no amount of what I try to do right can protect the baby. I mean really, there are somethings that no amount of intervention can stop or rescue. That's part of that whole not living in fear thing from earlier this morning.

God can make deserts into Eden, and dust into people. God alon can make something from nothingness (which, is, by its sheer existance as nothingness is something...but then we wander into difficult philosophical quanderies...and I had to really work at my philosophy courses). God gave me dreams of my children. When he decides to, this barren desert that my body is now will blossom into a garden of the Lord. God does beautiful work...and judging from baby pictures of my husband and I when we were little...that garden is gonna be breathtaking.

So will I still stumble and doubt? Sure. I'm human. That's what we do as humans. But maybe seeing this here will remind me again when I do that the garden God will plant in this wilderness is far greater than anything I could try to grow on my own. He's got the biggest, greenest thumb ever, and it trumps my brown one!

Heather's Waldorf Chicken Salad

Heather's Waldorf Chicken Salad
(adapted from Alton Brown's "It's a Wonderful Waldorf", and aiming at Arby's Chicken Salad Market Fresh Sandwich)

2 Fuji apples
1 Red Delicious apple
3 tablespoons apple cider vinager
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pinch kosher salt
cracked black pepper
3/4 cup crushed walnuts
1 bunch red seedless grapes (about 12-15 grapes)
1/2 diced red onion
2 stalks celery, cut on the bias
1 teaspoon curry powder
2-2.5 thirteen ounce cans chicken breast, drained
additional mayonnaise as needed to mix into the chicken salad
Green leaf, red leaf, or romaine lettuce

Dice the apples in to medium sized chunks, toss with the vinegar to keep it from browning. Remove from vinegar and combine with remaining ingredients, except the lettuce. Grapes may need to be halved to make the chunks manegable. Mayonnaise is added at the end as desired to moisten and blend the salad. Serve the salad on lettuce as a salad, or with lettuce and tomato on a hearty bread (whole wheat, for instance). If the chicken and additional mayo is omitted, this may be served as a delightful waldorf salad.

This was a huge hit at the sanwich potluck last night at church. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Musical Musings: This Is Your Time, MWSmith

This is Your Time
from "This is Your Time"

It was a test that we could all hope to pass
But none of us would want to take
Faced with the choice to deny God and live
For her there was one choice to make

This was her time
This was her dance
She lived every moment
Left nothing to chance
She swam in the sea
Drank of the deep
Embraced the mystery of all she could be
This was her time

Though you are mourning and grieving your loss
Death died a long time ago
Swallowed in life so that life carries on
Still it's so hard to let go

repeat chorus

What if tomorrow
And what if today
Faced with the question
Oh what would you say

This is your time
This is your dance
Make every moment
Leave nothing to chance
Swim in the sea
Drink of the deep
Call on the mercy
Hear yourself praying
Won't You save me
Won't You save me

by Michael W. Smith

This song is about one of the victims of columbine...perhaps one of the most victorious of them, because in her death, she is remembered for the kind of faith all believers hope to posess.
If I remember what I learned about English Literature rightly, Ben Jonson (1572-1637) is the person responsible for the popularisation of the "Carpe Diem" ideal. The idea is that life is short, the good die young, so live it up while you can. "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die" I think, is the quote he left us with. There are some who feel that this carpe diem, or "seize the day" attitude is rather cavalier, but I don't think it has to be. I think at it's best, it embraces everything the song at the beginning is saying.
Biblically, we are told not to worry. Consider the following passage from Matthew 6:25-34. 25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
I think this tells us that we are to live each day on it's own merit. This does not mean, by any stretch of any imagination, to ignore our long-standing responsibilities...such as holding down jobs, planning for our retirement, our children's needs, our parent's needs...indeed, in 1 Timothy 5:8, we are told that if we do not provide for our families, than we deny the faith and are worse than "unbelievers". So this isn't about doing the things we have to do to provide for our family. And in the society we inhabit, providing for our family is about looking further than today. That's not my problem. I think, though, that we forget to embrace the days we are given. I think that, in the rush of everyday, we tend to go through the motions of living...and fail actually embrace each day.
This is your day. In your rush to work, stop to smell your favorite smell. Maybe that's a flower, maybe it's a fine cup of coffee, maybe it's the baby powder you dust your baby's bottom with. It takes just 30 seconds of your precious time, and if you can't afford those 30 seconds, you might ought to examine what has you so busy that you can't stop and delight in a simple scent. This is your dance. Delight in the people around you. Your spouse, your child, your best friend, your parent. Find one person who challenges you to be a better person. Someone that, when you are with them, you find that not only do you like them, you like who you are when you are with them. Someone who lets you delight in the sheer joy of a moment. And if you can't find a partner to dance with you through life, then stop and pause for a dance by yourself. Remember the joy of feeling like you were almost flying when you got on the swings as a kid? Take 10 minutes and go find a park and swing again. Or maybe it wasn't swings. Maybe it was running, and feeling like you were going faster than the sun. Who cares how you look...run again, for the sheer fun of it. Or whatever it was that you LOVED to do as a child. Dance in life.
Live every moment, and leave nothing to chance. When I was just 16, my father died in a car accident. A week before, I called him. I talked to him. He was there. And then, one afternoon, after school, I came home and found that he was gone. He was dead. I couldn't call him anymore. All the letters he wanted me to write to him could be written, but would go forever unread. He would not see my graduation, would not give me away at my wedding, would not hold his grandchildren. Everything I wanted to say to him would go unheard, unanswered. You are not promised tomorrow. It may never come for you, or for your loved one. You could step off a curb and get hit by a bus. I'm not a fatalist...but I am being realistic. I don't want you to live in fear of death; it comes, in time, to us all. Nor do would I have you fear what comes after. There is an answer for the life that comes after this one, and I promise to go on about that later...but for the moment, try this if you want to know more about the hope that I have. Anyway...since all you can be certain of is this moment, live this moment. Thrill in THIS moment. And you won't do it all the time. Just, when you remember, stop and live a minute. Leave reminders around if you need to. But every chance you get, stop and live the minute. You can live the minute while you make supper, while you travel to work, while you are working, whenever. Just leave nothing to chance and live every moment.
Swim in the sea, drink of the deep, embrace the mystery of all you can be. There's a difference between swimming in a pool and swimming in the ocean. In the pool, the bottom is about 12 feet away...at most. The edge is close, and escape is easily enough found. But swimming in the sea is different. The bottom is further away, the edges are much further out, and there are currents that move you as much as you move yourself. Now, I'm not suggesting that you look for near death experiences; I am far from a thrill seeker. But maybe your life is too safe. Maybe you've gotten yourself into a safe little rut. How bad would it be, for just a moment, to "go off the deep end"? Not sociopathic or psychotic...but just crazy enough to enjoy a few minutes on the swing or a stupid cartoon. And how can you embrace the mystery of all you can be without stopping to explore it? No one knows everything about themselves. We are all seeking to find our own voice, our own style, our own look. Enjoy the search. Don't abandon reason and responsibility...but neither abandon random.
This is your time. This is all you are promised. Stop, take a look around you...and make a difference. Make the world a better place because you are in it. Smile at someone. Open the door for someone. Buy a cup of coffee for someone less fortunate than you. Hug someone. Love everyone, especially when they are unlovable. Yes, I am asking the impossible with the last one...so try meeting the one who made it all possible. Don't put it off. Call on the mercy and then LIVE.
This is your time.


Musings: He's My Son, by Mark Schultz

He's My Son - Mark Schultz (Mark Schultz)
I'm down on my knees again tonight
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right
See there is a boy that needs Your help
I've done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired
I'm sure You can understand
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand
And she tries not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes
Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place somehow
See, he's not just anyone
He's my son
Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep
I dream of the boy he'd like to be
I try to be strong and see him through
But God who he needs right now is You
Let him grow old
Live life without this fear
What would I be
Living without him here
He's so tired and he's scared
Let him know that You're there
Can You hear me?
Can You see him?
Please don't leave him
He's my son
(c) Myrrh

The first time I heard this, and actually, most of the times I hear it still, I think of a mother's heart. Not just any mother's, but Mary's. I think perhaps it's written from a father's perspective, but when I hear this, I think of Mary, and the way her mother's heart must have broken as she contemplated the apparent last hours of her son's life. We know that she thought about the future that God had laid out for him; when the shepherds came to greet his birth, telling tales of angels that filled the sky to proclaim his birth, we are told that "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19, NIV). And while I am not catholic and do not hold to many of the opinions of Mary that are attributed to them, I nonetheless am aware that she found herself in posession of a special blessing and a unique burden as the mother of Christ.
We know that Christ agonised in the garden. We don't know where Mary was in those moments, but if she had seen him there, would these words from Mark Schultz have come close to expressing her own despair? We remember at Easter that God gave His only son...and while I would not for a single moment detract from all of the amazing glory of what that means...I do not want to forget either that Mary, with imperfect understanding, needing the salvation He alone could bring, watched her gift from God die. Mothers who have lost their children understand the heartache that Mary might have felt.
I can see her watching her son sleep, maybe after she brought Him home from the temple in Jerusalem, asking these very questions. "Can You hear me? Can You see Him? Let me take His place somehow; He's my son." She would not have understood what she asked for, no more than Peter did when he swore he would go to prison and death with Jesus. But I can hear her mother's heart breaking as she looks at him in his sleep. "Please don't leave Him"...and yet for Him to accomplish what He came for, God the Father would have to leave Him. He had to leave Him when he "who had no sin" was made "to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2Corinthians 5:21,NIV).
As this holiday season approaches, and you do your Christmas shopping, please remember why we call it "Christ"mas. That infant born helpless in a stable and yet announced by a choir of angels and greeted by wise men who travelled far to see him was not born for Santa's sake. That child was born, and His mother's heart broke even as she received her salvation from Him. Christmas would mean nothing without Easter's cross and triumphal ressurrection. I enjoy Christmas...but thank God for Easter and the heartbreak He allowed Mary to experience to save all of our souls, if only we would receive Him.

My Latest Obsession

OK, so I've really tried to set this aside. To not think about it, but I suppose it's the proverbial elephant in the room that I can't ignore no matter how much I want to. I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, and it just circles around and around in my head.
I desperately want to be a mother. I have dreamt of my children. I don't know if my dreams are just my wishful thinking or if they were a promise of children to come. How much of this desire for children is me being strong-willed and wanting my way in the matter, and how much of it is the frustration of a perceived promise delayed? I doubt myself, I doubt my promise, I doubt...everything. I sincerely believe that children are a gift from God, and I live in fear that at some point, I will be blessed with a pregnancy only to do something to mess things up. That the medicine I take to control my arthritis will hurt the baby, that I'll clean out the kitty boxes without realising that I'm pregnant and I'll lose the baby I've dreamt of for so long.
I was double checking the medicines I was taking after being prescribed a new one. I realised that I had not asked whether or not the medicine would be safe if I became pregnant, and I wanted to look over all the medicines I was taking to try to make an informed decision about whether or not it might be safe to take them. Every month, I desperately wonder if this is the month we conceived. I take pregnancy tests wondering if the heartburn that's lasted a week is because I'm pregnant. And then it's like a new heart break when the test comes out negative. I want to be certain that nothing I am doing is standing in the way of a successful conception and a healthy baby. Then I realise obsessing over it is of no use; obsession won't get me pregnant, and the stress is actually bad for my chances.
Anyway...I realised that one of the medicines I was on, a progesterone replacement, is listed as an FDA class D Drug. Meaning: we have done enough studies to know that if you take this medicine while you are pregnant, your baby has a higher risk of birth defects. Now, my husband has tried to reassure me that those types of effects are only for women who have an excess of progesterone in their system. That I don't have enough progesterone in my system anyway, so the drug won't be dangerous for me or my child, that it won't act as contraceptive (which all the information I've read seems to indicate is one of it's uses, and one of the brand names is Depo-Provera...which IS birth control). That this drug is not taking my progesterone levels to the levels that are dangerous...that it's just getting to the levels that should be normal. I went to my doctor's office Friday morning to get some answers, but he wasn't in. The longer I sat there, watching pregnant women come and go, seeing a young woman who didn't look pregnant walk out with a "mom-to-be" kit. I was jealous. I was frustrated. I want to be the one carrying the "mom-to-be" kit. I want to be the one for whom the doctor was delayed...delivering my baby, so I could bring him or her home and take care of him or her. I won't be a perfect mother. No one is. But I know I could be a good mother, a loving mother.
I want an answer. I want my doctor to explain to me that everything my husband proposes is right, and here's the blood test I ran to be certain I gave you the right dose. I trusted him. I want to find out that this fear is insane and irrational. I'd much rather have crazy fears that can be explained away. I'm going in Monday to talk to him, hoping that it won't be too awkward in the office after I behaved badly there Friday. I was very upset, but that doesn't excuse me behaving like a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum. I just don't know.
I'm tired. I'm sore. I refuse to take any pills until I've figured out how much I should be concerned by their side-effects. Everytime I lay down, the questions run around and around in my head.
I made myself a glass of cocoa with warm milk hoping I'd fall back to sleep this morning...and thought about how my kids would say when they got older "Mom used to make us rich warm cocoa at night before bed," and so it goes. So here's hoping that blogging the obsession helps to get me over it. In the meantime, I'm gonna go try to rest on the couch and maybe get some sleep. I hope.


Day One

OK, so I'm not sure what all I'm going to do with this blog, but I like the idea, so we'll see how this goes.
What will I do?
Anything I spend time thinking about, I could come here and muse aloud, so to speak. I think alot. Too much, maybe. In fact, my ever so vivid imagination is both my best asset and my greatest foe. I enter the willing suspension of disbelief easily...and then leave that state with much difficulty.
Movies. Music. TV Shows. Books. Bible Study. Websites. Sermons.
I am very happily a conservative, Republican, stay-at home housewife. I have no children yet, but I dream of them. I very well may offend people and step on toes. If you don't like it, it won't hurt my feelings. However, I think that if you will give me a chance, you'll find what many of my friends and family have found; I'm actually a really pleasant person to be around.
Join my head trip. It could be a weird little ride!