Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Little Mid-Week Fun

I've been having fun playing my husband's new PS2 game: Guitar Hero Rocks the 80's. And while I'm not a superstar yet, I've managed to move up from Easy to Medium in the last month. Beast Mom & the Battered Ham posted something that has me thinking I should start planning my career in a rock band. I've dreamed up a band name and a cover for our first album. What do you think?


(cover photo by M├┤nica Fadul)

Wanna try it for yourself? Here's how it works:
1. The first title on this page is the name of your band.
2. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album. Click the "New Random Quotations" button for more.
3. The third picture on this page will be your album cover. You then take the photo and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your picture. Please don't forget to give credit.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Not What It Seems


I took the Uber-Princess out to play in our back yard the other day. We were out there a half hour or so. The snow was too fluffy to build a snowman or snow fort, but we did get some good angels. Since then the temperatures have dropped horribly. Our days have started off sub-zero and gotten barely warmer. But the sun has been shining, making it look deceptively beautiful out there.

A good metaphor that makes. We go around all the time in our culture looking happy, satisfied. The common question of "how are you doing" is really just a waste of breath most of the time. We all answer "fine" all the time. But truth is, nobody is fine all the time. We're just too hesitant to be vulnerable enough to say "not so good".

I find myself wishing I could do more for others, to help in a constructive way. But I'm not creative enough to be able to think of what would be good. I don't pick up on the subtle clues the way some people can (Llama Momma, I'm thinking of you here). And the whole facade of being fine doesn't help me. I like the times when people open up and share what's really going on. Then I feel like there is some way I can be there for them, whether it is by simply praying or by coming alongside them in their troubles and actively helping carry the burden by making a meal, taking a kid to play, picking up groceries.

But as unwillingly flawed human beings we're reluctant to let on how we really are. We're afraid the reaction will be like what mine is on those deceptively sunny days. I might open the door and step outside, but when I find how frigid it is, I quickly shut the door and stay inside. If that is our reaction when people open up - to quickly shut out their pain or trouble, then no wonder the sunny facade stays up. I just hope I don't react that way. And I hope to continue to learn how to encourage others to be real.

I'm not sure if I've made any real points here. Just pondering...musing if you will. I don't do that often enough these days and I apologize for the frequent lapse in posts. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Maybe your comments can help me crystalize my analogy a little better.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Books, Books, Books

Jenn with 2n's tagged me to do this meme and since I love books I'm happy to play along.

1. One book that changed your life.
The Bible. 'nuf said.

2. One book that you have read more than once.
Chronicles of Narnia-the whole series. As a family we've been through the series at least once (we pretty much read it continually, although not daily) and I read it several times as a kid.

3. One book you would want on a desert island.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I just finished book five and while it would be nice to have both books six and seven with me, I'll settle for just number seven. It would take a long while to read and I'm itching to know how it all ends.

4. Two books that made you laugh.
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

5. One book that made you cry.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It is an excellent, excellent book. If you haven't read it - do!

6. One book you wish you'd written.
If You Give A Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff. Great concept that is well executed. Kids love to read it and parents too!

7. One book you wish had never been written.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy - it haunts me and plays on my apocolyptic fears. I've had nightmares off and on since I read it, most recently for the past two nights. It was an incredible book, so maybe it's not that I wish it had never been written, but that I had never read it.

8. Two books you are currently reading.
Pop!: Stand Out in Any Crowd by Sam Horn. Good for speakers, writers and marketing. Gives simple processes for coming up with clever titles.

The Suburban Christian
by Albert Hsu. I've had this on my nightstand for a while and recently begun reading it in earnest. I'm particularly enjoying his references to local places because those are places local to me, I know these places. Which, if you've read his book, might be a bit ironic.

9. One book you've been meaning to read.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

10. Five people that I tag (okay, I've only got four):
Wilyhacker
The Battered Ham
Llama Momma
Michelle Gregory

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Humbling: When Your Ego Takes a Tumbling

"Oh, Lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way". I used to sing that song at the top of my lungs as a child, a crooked lilt to the words. And I remember my parents laughing at me when I did. But truth is, I often lived my life as if I believed it.

Then yesterday I learned a lesson in humility, thankfully in the privacy of my own head. I'd been getting bummed about my abilities as a writer and a speaker. Reading through writer's group threads and blogs by professionals in the field of publishing and speaking, I'd come to the realization that I was one of those relative "newbies" that they were all describing. After all, I have only one book to my credit and a handful of magazine articles. Sure I've attended a half dozen writing conferences and I've been "writing" since I was six. But a "professional" writer that does not make. As much as I hope it might, it doesn't. I was reading these posts to learn more about the industry and what I learned most is that I have a lot to learn. It made me depressed.

But in the moments of quiet, before I went to sleep I began to contemplate reality: I really do have a lot to learn. I am a "newbie" in many senses. And that was humbling. Yet in the midst of that humbling, my depression disappeared. I was glad to know that I don't have it all together yet. It was good to realize how much I have to learn without making a fool of myself in the process. It was freeing to start my day today knowing that my efforts now will hopefully be outdone by what I do next year as I learn more.

Being at (or near) the bottom of the heap isn't a bad thing. It's just a starting point.

Proverbs 15:33 "The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Domestic Diva I am NOT

Yesterday things were humming along the Musing household. I'd been up early, had a quiet time, exercised and ran a several errands before picking Uber-Princess up from preschool. Ah yes, the items on my list were being checked off at a feverish pace and I was feelin' mighty good.

Then it came to my attention that the comforter in my guest room needed to be laundered. So I stripped it off and took it to my laundry room, smug as could be about this task that I'd soon be checking off my list as well. Loading the comforter into my Super Large Capacity washing machine, I found myself pushing and shoving at the piles of fluffiness. I'd always washed the queen-sized comforter off my own bed in the machine, but it hadn't ever been such a chore to get it in. Still, the lid closed and I went off to do the next chore on the list, making a mental note to check on the washing machine part-way through the load.

I forgot. Or nearly so. I jumped up during the spin cycle, wondering if the large load might throw it off kilter. And as I burst into the laundry room, a splash went up from the floor where two rivulets of water were streaming toward the wall. I stopped the machine and dashed to the basement. More water. Not lots mind you, but a puddle of some size.

And so commenced the mopping and drying. When I called my husband to check on the proper process for drying out a partially flooded laundry room I gave him the good news first: the floor had never been cleaner under the washing machine since we moved into our house. Thankfully the water was contained to a small area of the basement and things were dry relatively fast.

Well, the weather man called it pretty well yesterday morning: high potential for possible flooding. I just never considered it might occur inside!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Tuscany...someday

I've been searching the past few days for the "perfect" wall calendar. I actually know what the perfect one is and I've used it the past few years. It's the More Time Moms calendar. I love that it is really wide and has big squares with lots of lines for writing appointments. And it has stickers for things like doctor and dentists appointments and "mom's time". Best of all? It's got a pocket in the back for putting all those schedules and school calendars.

Now I saw my perfect calendar in the store before Christmas. But it was full price. I took the gamble and waited until New Year's. Bad move. They were all sold out. So I convinced myself that it was time to branch out and try a different calendar. There are tons of them out there and even a handful made just for "moms". Some of them have stickers. Some of them have pockets. A few even have lines. But none of them are as big or as nice as the More Time Mom's calendar. Unless it's the calendar that same company makes for teens which is identical except for the small pictures and sayings (and maybe the stickers). After taking home a different "mom" calendar and hating it I went back today to try for the teen calendar. It was sold out too.

I finally opted for a regular old wall calendar with photos of Tuscany. I made my own wall pocket to hang underneath. And I have a bunch of stickers still left that I can use. I'll just need to write smaller in the squares. So until the 2009 More Time Mom's calendar comes out in August (which I will get, full price), I'm going to dream of Tuscany. I've always wanted to go there and I'm sure gazing at beautiful landscapes every day will continue to inspire that dream. It won't guarantee a travel date written on any of those pages, but maybe someday...