Saturday, February 26, 2011

Preface (writing a book in bits and pieces could take a while...)

The message came out of nowhere and at first, Dugan was taken aback, for he knew interaction or business of any kind with the witch doctor would be dealt with harshly, perhaps even costing him his very life.  However, the witch doctor's initial call was alluring and seductive, and he entertained it for what he thought would be a harmless moment - just long enough to briefly contemplate the proposition.  The few unlucky individuals he knew to have had any relationship with the witch doctor had all turned completely mad for want of the goods offered, then withdrawn without notice or explanation at the doctor's discretion.  Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, there would be no cure in the elixir offered up by the doctor, yet Dugan found himself completely devoid of the willpower to fight or question the doctor's motives, for he felt he had tried literally everything else.  After the witch doctor made several requests to assist via a messenger, Dugan finally accepted the offer, in hopes of some or any relief.  Now, the doctor did not see it fit to come in person, rather sending the goods to Dugan by way of the messenger.  Dugan was immediately disappointed at how little relief was potentially offered, after all his weighty deliberation, when the messenger placed the tiny vial of elixir in his ever-weakening hand.  His hand, sweaty from anticipation and clammy with fever, nearly lost hold of the vial while trying to unstopper it, and his heart was nearly beating outside of his chest, for he had finally come to the point of which he knew there would be no return to the former self.  If he drank the contents of the tiny vial, he knew he would be hooked.  He knew it wouldn't, in the long run, do him any good.  He knew he could lose everything if the people discovered his dreadful transaction.  None of the small amount of logic remaining in him could will him to forsake his contract with the dreadful doctor once the enticing aroma from the vial was unleashed on his senses.  Never had he smelled anything so lovely, as he drank in the combined scents of lavender and jasmine, with a hint of cedar wood.  He would have to deal with the consequences later, because he now had all but lost total control of what had once been a sound mind and good conscience, stripped bare by his ravaging illness.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love the Mouse

Well, I have had some heavy posts of late, so I thought I'd lighten things up a bit today!  I've got Disneyland on the brain today.  We'll be going to Disneyland Saturday and Sunday (in the rain, no less), with some family.  It's going to be awesome, with a capital "F".  Disneyland Resort is something special in the rain.  One particular rainy DL experience comes to mind as I plan for some rain-soaked hilarity...  It's been several years back and I went with a group of people from my church.  It was RAINING hard!  We all promptly bought Mickey slickers because our umbrellas were not adequate protection from the torrential downpour.  The crowd was light and festive because you just have to take rain at DL with a grain of salt, or else you'll be frustrated!  We wandered around the park, riding everything we passed and stopping in many of the shops. Much to my surprise, the big coaster, California Screamin', was still open and taking "Screamers"!  Wow!  Couldn't pass up that opportunity and I'm, oh, so glad!  We screamed and laughed and were pelted so very hard by the rain as we sped around the track that our faces were numb!  We were so soaked, it wasn't until we were pulling back into the depot that I realized I had drooled on myself from all the laughter.  What a great Disney moment.  Right up there with my first ever ride on Dumbo coinciding with my daughter's first-ever ride on  the same.  Good times.  You should try it!  (I'll be posting a new story I'm working on in segments soon, so please follow my blog so you don't miss a thing!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Romans 14

"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters..."  Nobody says it quite like God does.  God, in His infinite wisdom, mercy, and perfection, would have His people love one another and all people, for that matter.  I've had the privilege of being friends from widely varied walks of life and I try to remain true to my friends, no matter the changes they experience in their own lives.  It's sad to me that so few Christians can say the same.  I'm amazed that there are people who consider themselves to be of God so MUCH so that they have to separate themselves from other factions of like-minded faithful due to politics, clout, and "disputable matters".  They don't want to take in all the scriptures on mercy and long suffering, rather honing in on one or two, when taken out of context and abused, can be made to say whatever the speaker wants it to.  These people so vehemently defend their ignorance that they've become absolutely unteachable.  They'll defend their self-righteous, arrogant point of view and those like them right to the gates of hellfire.  I was shunned last night.  Not only was I shunned, I was slammed by the Shunner, based on gossip and mistruths the Shunner had heard from other "respectable, saved" people.  It's okay to gossip.  Oh, yeah, it's not gossip if the gossiper is somebody you respect.  Also, you (the victim), should ignore the gossip, gossiper, and the pursuant damage to your psyche, reputation, and faith because you aren't living right by their standards, so you're wrong no matter what.  Ever heard of the old heads and tails game - "heads I win, tails you lose"?  That's the name of their game.  I wonder how many souls have been won by this self-proclaimed child of God?  Is the number proportionate to the number of years they've been "saved"?  Is it higher than the number of people they've run off with their tactless mouth?  Yeah, I'm being judgmental, but I don't profess to be a great Christian.  I'm nobody, but at least I know it.  They'll know it when their long sleeves and floor-skimming skirts are stripped away and all that's left is their heart.  It'll be too late then.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why Are You Running Late?

Are you in a rush?  Are you hurrying to get somewhere right this second, but you thought you'd take a second to read a (favorite) blog?  Are you always rushing off to get somewhere?  Have you ever stopped to think sometimes why exactly you are in a rush?  Some people rush and they have no reason for it at all, except that they want to, in their finite mind's eye, be first.  Others rush because they set hopelessly high expectations on themselves that no human being could possibly attain and they're constantly frustrated when they fail.  Others, still, rush because they have absolutely no concept of how to properly manage their time to do the few tasks on their agenda. What could we accomplish in our lives if we managed our time a little better?  People all over the planet are accomplishing stupendous fetes on a daily basis, attaining new heights of greatness, all because instead of wasting time, they actually got up and used some (or all), of the time they were given wisely.  Some people just have little victories every day, due to the hardships of life, but they're getting a lot done compared to the Average Joe.  Still, they are diligent and do the best they can with what they have.  If we could learn to slow down enough to get a lot done, I think we'd be a step or two ahead of most.  Just being content with your place in line at the grocery store is a huge head-start on time managed properly, not to mention no tailgating that poor soul in front of you on the freeway - which is bred of impatience, bred of perpetual tardiness, bred of lack of skill to properly manage time.  Time will tell, and in the end, be all our undoing, but what to do in the meantime?  I desire greatness.  Heck, I'll even settle for mediocre.  Never mind, I'll get to it right after my nap.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blessings, Disguised as Inconvenience

I'm a bad parent.  Now, before you go all sympathetic on me, hear me out, because I'm not seeking any unwarranted back-pats or compliments, rather just stating a self-aware fact.  I've done things as a parent I'm not proud of.  I haven't always put my kids first.  Usually, it's unintentional, but aren't "unintentions" truly intended on some subconscious level?  I'm also a bad dieter.  Terrible, in fact, to the point that I had my stomach re-assembled so I could lose weight.  Does that mean that I now give up?  On either count?  No.  I sit here, typing my little heart out, all the while desperately trying to ignore the soft loaf of wheat bread crying out to me from the counter to be toasted and slathered in butter.  I will continue to attempt to ignore the siren call of its wheaty goodness, but sometimes I lose.  The same is true in my parenting.  I don't win every battle of setting myself aside for the good of my kids.  Oh, yes, I'll justify my actions with the "me time" conundrum or the "rebellion calls for punishment" verdict.  All the while, my humanity tells me I'm being inconvenienced, so I ignore common sense, ethics, and good morals because it isn't convenient.  I don't always do what's best for me, though, and I think that at least my son, who is able to speak for himself at this stage in his young manhood, would testify to that.  I often witness parents who are obviously inconvenienced, and find myself in their same predicament.  For example, Disneyland is a happy place, right?  Well, if you're able to ignore everyone else's humanity, it is.  Otherwise, you can witness inconvenienced parents and unhappy children by the thousands, join their miserable number, and leave unhappy and very unfulfilled.  Some of my happiest Disneyland moments were when I did what my son wanted to do, often to the detriment of my equilibrium, but they were happy times, resulting in the fondest of memories.  I'm cutting my thought short because I'm getting long-winded in my old age, but to summarize, what can we do today for our kids that may seem inconvenient now, but reap huge rewards later?  (They are forever keeping score, because they're KIDS!)  I've cut out my own work for me.  Have a great day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Art of Self-Preservation and How Little Talent it Requires

Friendships trounced.  Family ties undone.  Devastation wrought.  Merriam-Webster defines self-preservation as such: preservation of oneself from destruction or harm OR a natural or instinctive tendency to act so as to preserve one's own existence.  I was thinking about self-preservation and its implications in my life as well as the lives of every other person on this giant, blue orb today and had so many questions and thoughts.  It is true, we are all of us born straightaway with the instinct to "preserve...[our]...own existence", however, as Newton said, there will be an "equal and opposite reaction".  In most instances, somebody will most certainly get hurt, least of all the preservasionist him/herself.  Throughout history, there are numerous examples of self-preservationists that are infamous on the grandest scale.  What about all of us seemingly insignificant self-preservationists?  Are our actions, though not likely to be recalled in historicity, still proving to be selfish on the grandest scale to those reaping the consequences?  At an early age, we begin to learn the ways of self-preservation via lying, cheating, and stealing - just to name a couple of the top offenders.  These things will, as children, save us from getting punished by a parent, or perhaps manifest in ill-gotten gains.  The consequence upon discovery of our transgression would be, in most instances, equal to the crime and delivered solely to the incriminated.  As adults, the implications of committing any of those "crimes" against your friends or family, (whether inadvertently or not), in an effort to self-preserve, are substantially larger and infinitely more devastating.  How can any relationship survive in the face of said selfish and childish behavior?    And what would have been preserved?  Pride?  Dignity?  Good conscience?  Without prejudice, time and truth prevail, and all of those things are invariably stripped away, leaving you.  Alone.  If you are a proponent and lover of truth and seeker of wisdom, you will not distress.  I'm so overcome with conviction at these thoughts swimming in my small mind, so I put them out there to share.  If I've overwhelmed you, please check back another time for more light-hearted chatter on Disneyland or my babies.  Today, I weep.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Judge Not...

Have you ever heard something about someone that changed your perception of that person?  Have you ever spoken something you knew was a conflagration of the truth?  How about repeating something that would be a blend of all things harmful, hurtful, and ugly, just because you're privy to a version of the truth?  Perhaps inserting yourself into an affair that reached a "DRAMA"tic apex?  I try to refrain from this sort of fray, because I believe my time is better spent focusing on my family, doing good, and working on my [many] shortcomings.  That's not to say I haven't been party, whether inadvertently or not, to some such situations.  I often find that gossip or hurtful things have been spoken to me before I'm even able to stop the words coming out of the destructive mouth.  Sometimes I have been curious to know the pain or "drama" (I HATE that word...), others have been enduring.  My curiosity was ill-advised at the time and regrettable still by me.  I'd rather not know.  Not knowing that you're who you are makes me like you (just a little bit) more.  I look at most people with fear, knowing very few have enough honor to try to remain above the sloth of humanity or the willpower to fight their fleshly, selfish desires.  In reading the 22nd chapter of Proverbs this morning, in addition to Isaiah 54 (thankfully recommended by my sister, a wise and good disciple), I realized this -  We are all dirt.  None better than the next, just less talked about because nobody cares about tearing some down because there's nothing to envy or be jealous about.  We all have our pettiness and trivialities that cause us moments of foolishness, HOWEVER that doesn't have to be our entire character.  You choose what comes out of your mouth, and by so doing, choosing how you are perceived, how well you are liked, and how many honest-to-goodness friends you really have.  I feel sheepish even posting this, because I'm nobody.  I'll be the first to tell you, I'm nothing.  No good.  Completely and utterly devoid and incapable of righteousness on my own.  Still, let me give you one more, all-important passage of scripture.  In Matthew, chapter 7, the Bible says, "2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?"  I am just getting some things off my chest.  If I've offended you, maybe some introspection is in fine order.  I know that's what I'm doing.  I'm going to change the world, but I'll start with me and let God handle the rest.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Music, How I Love Thee!

Watching the Grammys as I type to all 7 of my avid, voracious readers, and soaking it in as if it's all for me. Music is such an amazing thing.  Take the piano, which I happen to know a little about, and let's examine its many applications tonight.  Stage for a be-cat-suited Gwyneth Paltrow, accompaniment to Rihanna (played by none other than my man, Adam Levine), re-imagined as a pipe organ head garden by Gaga, and skillfully performed upon by THE Bruno Mars - the piano can be summed up in one word - versatile.  No, that's not it.  Ummm...  Thesaurus.... thesaurus.... ridonkulous.  Oh, that's not a word?  Well, anyway, it's so awesome how a piano or any number of interesting instruments (I once saw a missionary preaching for my dad play a SAW), can form a cohesive sound that becomes a composition, that becomes art.  I love it all.  Especially impressed with Eminem tonight and Katy Perry's sorta on-key performance, which hasn't been a norm for her from what I've seen.  I'm never disappointed in Gaga's extensive costuming/staging/gimmickry.  Mick Jagger just did a set and I'm sure we'll be going out with a bang, but no matter what it is, I'll love it...and envy people who can make a decent, if not lucrative living creating "it".  Music.  Love it.

BTW - if Barbra Streisand could just kick it up a notch, I'd be grateful.  Potty break!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nobody is Voting, so...

I'm thinking a trip to Disneyland is in order very soon.  I received a really wonderful present from my son, Logan, for Christmas about Disneyland.  If you love Disneyland or just like to learn random things, this book is a must have!  For those of you who perhaps don't frequent Disneyland as often as those of us who are blessed to live in its vicinity, you may not know that small world is now featuring a show nightly that is akin to the awesome lighting show usually featured just during the holidays.  I'll be viewing it for the first time this weekend, so I'll be posting my thoughts and hopefully some pictures!  I would like to be challenged to accomplish something exciting and new on each visit, so if you have any suggestions for my Disney excursions, please post in my comments!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's Up With That?

Having become fully ensconced in the world of social networking, I completely and utterly neglected my blog for the past year and a half.  For those of my wonderful friends and family who don't "do" FB, this is for you!  Reagan is getting GINORMOUS and has such a funny personality.  Mom moved back close by, so I will be soon submitting a picture and resume for both kids to some talent agencies I was referred to by my cousin.  I'm really excited, as I think both of my kids are particularly good looking and have lots of potential.  Where does Mom (Grandma Mary), come into the picture?  Well, we need her land yacht to take us to auditions, should the need arise, not to mention she's been a huge help already with the kids so I can have a few moments of solitude.  Also, I'm going to be teaching piano again here shortly.  I'm planning on renting a practice room at Oak Valley Piano in Redlands, across from Citrus Plaza, and I will be specializing in beginner pianists and gospel music expansion.  Please send me a message if you or someone you know is interested so I can reserve your spot!  I'll soon begin to expound on topics from here to there and everywhere in-between, so please subscribe so you don't miss a thing!  Looking forward to writing to my heart's content...