Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tragic Talent

This week, one of Mama Kat's writing prompts asked for my reaction to the death of Amy Winehouse. I wasn't going to go there...until I saw an overwhelming amount of rather unsympathetic posts. Now here we are.

Death is sad, plain and simple. It doesn't matter who or where. Last week, I saw several posts on Facebook and other social media announcing the death of Amy Winehouse. Then I saw more posts of a more judgmental nature. (Those of you who know me will know that those never go over well with me.) 

Let's just be honest, shall we? We all know that Ms. Winehouse was a talented but troubled woman at best and a weak, indulgent child at worst.

Whether you like it or not, the woman had talent. 

Yes, I know that people die every day. There are tragedies all over the world. 

But for some people, the death of a celebrity is a big deal. I completely understand that Amy essentially dug her own grave, but that doesn't mean we should be unsympathetic. That doesn't mean no one should mourn. That doesn't make her death any less heartbreaking. 

I'll admit I've been a fan for a long time; I first heard Amy Winehouse in my first year of college. Her voice immediately struck a chord with me. The raw emotion of her music was amazing. She was the kind of musician who could make the audience feel. And quite frankly, there aren't many artists like that in our world of cookie-cutter "musicians."

She was eccentric; she was destructive. She was HUMAN. 

Instead of placing blame and criticizing, let's show a little more compassion.

Here's to Amy. Let's remember her as she used to be. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Soul's Restoration

Slowly, but surely, I'm on the mend.

Within the past few years, I have truly struggled with anxiety and panic. I always thought anxiety disorders were serious, but it would NEVER happen to me. I had everything together...there was no reason to fear.

Looking back, I realize that anxiety is something that has affected me since childhood. When I was very young, I was scared of death. As I got a bit older, I was scared that something would happen to one of my parents. Every now and then, the panic would hit, usually at night. My stomach would drop, my heart would race, and I was scared.

When my dad would work nights, I was a nervous wreck. There were some nights, I would just cry because I wanted him to come home. As for my mom, I could easily walk across the hall and see that she was tucked safely in bed. I worried about her in a different way. She is a diabetic, and I always worried that she would become ill when she was away from me. There were also times I was away from both parents. As a child, I was terrified of tornadoes (still am!). During a tornado warning in elementary school, I was reduced to tears. I knew that I was safe in the hallway at school, but what about Mom? What about Dad?

Over the years, these feelings continued. And then, I added the hubs to my list of people to worry about. But I am slowly learning to conquer fear. I strongly believe that we all have our weaknesses, and the devil knows them. He knows them well. He feeds off of them.

In my recent reading*, I have a new appreciation for Psalm 23. I think it's very easy to take the words at face value without understanding them. I've been studying this scripture, and the words are truly beautiful. The Psalm comes from David, but I've added my own reflections.

Psalm 23

    A psalm of David.
 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 
God is my caretaker and guide...I don't need anything else. 

 He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
 he restores my soul. 
He tells me when to rest, when to relax, when to refresh. He calms me when the proverbial wolf is at the door.

He guides me in paths of righteousness 
   for his name’s sake. 
He shows me where He wants me, and I go where he wants in order to achieve his purpose.

 Even though I walk 
   through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, 
   for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, 
   they comfort me.

I am surrounded by death, fear, and heartbreak, but you, God, are always there. I will not be alone. As a shepherd, he will not leave his sheep. He is personally responsible for getting me home.

Though I have sometimes been struck by fear, God has used those times to draw me closer to Him. What was intended for destruction, God is using for growth. No more holding on and trying to fix everything on my own. My Shepherd is protecting me. 

*I've been reading Traveling Light by Max Lucado. Much of my understanding of and information on this scripture comes from that book. I've also done research on how shepherds cared for their herds in David's time...amazing parallels!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Simple Life, A Simple Wife

Hard-working. Strong. Dignified. 

What other words describe the woman revered in Proverbs 31? Intelligent...Responsible...Sensible. At first, I was completely overwhelmed when reading this exaltation of a simple woman who seemed to have it all together. Finally, I began to understand...this is an idealized woman. She is our GOAL. We may not ever attain ALL of these amazing features, but we should keep trying.

If we could adopt a few more of these qualities, the world would be a better place.

Instead of getting so caught up in the things around me, I've set a new goal for myself. It's time to forget the trappings of the world. I want to live a simple life; that means I have to be a simple wife.

The Proverbs woman makes a habit of rising before the sun comes up.
 31:15- She's up before dawn preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.
31:17- First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
For those of you who know me, this will not be an easy task! I love my sleep, and I love my bed! This does NOT mean I'll be setting my alarm for 4:30 every day. However, it does mean that I will stop wasting my mornings in idleness. That sacrificed time could easily be spent in prayer or even throwing a load of laundry in the wash.

The Proverbs woman also watches over her household.
31:19- She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
31:27- She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.
Wow. That in itself is a lot to live up to! To me, this means that I need to focus on making my home warm and inviting, for my family and friends. My home and family should be organized and efficient. While teachers do not exactly have summers "off," I am blessed with a nice break. This is a great opportunity for me to put this task into practice!

Above all, the Proverbs woman has an alluring attitude. 
31:25-26- Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
Her attitude is what makes her beautiful! She is able to face the future with serenity because she knows who is in control. She speaks carefully, and her words are full of love. I, for one, need worry less and love more. 

I'm on a mission...I'm going to live simply and meaningfully! I'll be back soon with a list of how to accomplish my Proverbs 31 goals!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Photo Friday- Red, White, and Blue

The 4th of July is my FAVORITE holiday. I just love fireworks!

Each year, the hubs and I wear our red, white, and blue and watch a show. This year, I really wanted to practice sparkler messages, so I enlisted the hubs to help.

Yeah...the heart's a little wonky...

Check out Trina and friends for more 4th of July fun!

Terrific TV

Let's face it...most television shows today suck. Plain and simple.
I hate Caillou. I hate Ni Hao Kai-lan. And I hate WonderPets.

 Not that I'm biased...I even hate most TV shows designed for grown-ups. I hate True Blood. I hate the Secret Life of an American Teenager. And I hate the Bachelor/Bachelorette, Big Brother, Survivor, and almost all "reality TV."

There are some shows that I dearly miss. If I had things my way, these shows would make a comeback. STAT.

10. The Cosby Show- Cliff was funny, Claire was brilliant, and the kids were entertaining. 

9. Legends of the Hidden Temple- Great obstacle course...I dreamt of going on this show.

8. The Facts of Life- I desperately wanted to be rich so my parents would send me to boarding school. 

7. Friends- There was no closure for me; what happened after everyone moved?!

6. Boy Meets World- Everyone needs a Mr. Feeny.

5. Dawson's Creek- Okay, okay, so Dawson was whiny, and Joey and Jen got annoying. But Pacey always kept me entertained! This show was the Grey's Anatomy of my junior high school...we talked about it every Thursday morning. 

4. Saved by the Bell- In the real world, none of these kids would have been friends. But for 30 minutes every afternoon, I was wrapped up in a dream high school.

3. Growing Pains- I just loved the Seaver's. Mischievous Mike was my favorite!

2. The Wonder Years- I don't think I ever found anyone else who like to watch this show; maybe it's part of my history-nerd personality. I loved to see what was going on in the 60's and 70's.

1. Gilmore Girls- Please, please, please bring back this show! I grew up with Rory, and I wasn't ready to let the Gilmore's go. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Photo Friday-Lighting Experiment

So this week's theme was difficult for me! I'm so excited to take 4th of July pictures with sparklers, but I don't have them yet.

I went back to where I got married, and took photos during the middle of the day. The colors are beautiful, but the light is a little harsh.

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