Wednesday, April 30, 2008

check this out

See if this works. I don't know if it will the way I think it should. If it doesn't I'll delete it.

Climbing out

I've been down with the flu for the past few days. It's been a while since I've been sick like this. Stomach flu doesn't count does it? Anyway, God is good, and is causing me to mend quickly. Monday was terrible. I woke up not feeling well, but thought it was because I slept funny. Then as I was awake longer, I realized this was not just the typical morning stiffness I sometimes have. I felt like I had been run over! I wanted to complain and groan but instead of groaning, I remembered scripture and praised the Lord. I got a little cold and decided to go lay down in the bed. That's when it really hit. I slept from 5 pm until 10:30 am. 17 and 1/2 hours people! You know I was sick. I got up to go to the bathroom or drink a little bit of liquids every few hours but fell right back to sleep. 10yo says I was talking to her during that time. I don 't really remember much. Then I napped during the day too. Today I feel pretty good. Just a little weak. I don't want to repeat this anytime soon.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How hungry are you?

It's a question that I've just asked myself. I'm talking about spiritual hunger, not physical. How hungry for God am I? I know how I want to answer the question, but unfortunately that answer is not the truth. When I closely examine myself, I realize I'm not as hungry for God as I would like to be or even imagine myself being. Oh, I'm so ashamed. I want to be hungry for God. I imagine I am, but when His light shines on me, I'm undone. I can't hide the fact that I have become complacent with where I am in Christ. I'm saved and I know it. I received the Holy Spirit. I think I've just become too comfortable.

If I were to be hungry- desperately hungry for God, then I would not be content with the way I am. I would not be comfortable in my own skin. I would thirst and hunger and press in until I grabbed hold of the hem of His garment. I would fight my way through the crowd of my own life, cares and worry, and I would touch Him.

My answer to this question has to be, "Not hungry enough."
Lord, change me. Make me hunger and thirst once again for you. Stir my heart. Burn within me, and make me wholly yours.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Experiental Bliss

I am not here to see a phenomenon
I am not here for experiential bliss
I simply come to the feet of the God I love
The one that I adore

Some people have been critics of the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements and brush them off as just experiential, emotional fanaticism. But I grew up in these movements. I know what they are. There have been very few times in my life when I've not been in a church that many would classify as "holy roller." I'm very thankful that I've been fortunate enough to be in on these movements. I wouldn't trade my encounters with God for anything in this world. Having said that though, I'll be the first to admit that simply having outrageous experiences is not what makes me a Christian. I am a follower of Christ because of His great love, mercy, and grace. I am a follower of Christ because I believe that He is the Son of God. I have had quite a few years where I have had little to none of these type of experiences. Yes, we walk a walk of faith. I know, by faith in the Word, that God loves me.

Sometimes in these seasons of drought, just when I think that they must be the way true Christianity is walked out, the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder surprises me with His tangible presence. My experiences have indeed changed. I am no longer living from experience to experience to be certain that He loves me. I simply know He does. I don't have to be in a gully washer of a service to feel He's walking with me. I know He's with me by the strength He gives to meet each day. I know He's with me by the way He provides so effortlessly for me. I now experience Him in a different way. That does not make those times of experience less valid. No. Think about it. Isn't wonderful to feel that you are loved, rather than just hearing it or thinking it? Which is better, to read about a loving embrace or to actually experience one?

I stepped out of a level of His presence a few years ago. I was walking in a place with Him that I heard Him speak to me all throughout the day. I was walking in His tangible warm honey-like presence. I had dreams in the day and in the night. I felt His heartbeat. It was wonderful. I was so hungry for Him. When we walk this close to Him though, I think (and this is just my opinion) it rattles hell a little bit. It's almost like everything else around me went ruins. Now, what was important was how I handled it. I really think God allowed it to come, to show me what really still was in my heart. When adversity came, when a temptation came, when an opportunity to live and love as Christ came...I failed. I allowed myself to step right out of His glory and right in to a place of 'flesh.' I fumed, I steamed, I replied back in anger. Then, as if reacting so badly wasn't enough, I allowed myself to feel justified in doing so. Guess what happened? That level of 'anointing' God was allowing my to walk in disappeared. I have not yet been permitted to walk there again. But God knew me so well. He has used these past 3 years as time to teach me. To show me. He's still with me. He still walks with me. He has shown me the content of my heart. He has taught me so many valuable lessons. I do not need His heavy weight of glory to know He is with me. I know He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. What a valuable, valuable lesson I have learned. I am thankful that he allowed me to go on that little flesh binge. I want to be a pure stream, a clean vessel that He can pour through.

BTW, in case you're wondering, I don't consider myself a Pentecostal, Charismatic, BIC, Baptist, or even Methodist. I am simply a follower of Christ and a believer in His Word.

I am not here for the sake of a miracle
I am not here just to see the dead raised
Yes I believe in power supernatural
But that's not why I am saved

I want to fly away to His chambers
I want to be in the presence of the Lord
I am in need of His mercy and favor
Forever more

I give my heart to this one they call Jesus
Seeking out first the very kingdom of God
You are the way and the truth I believe it
You are my Phenomenon
-Rita Springer

How 'Bout that Idol?

Did you catch the results show? I never would have thought that Carly would go home before Syesha or Brooke or Jason. At least not vocally. I was a little surprised, but then I was reminded that Idol is often a popularity contest, thank you Simon. Oh, well. Good luck Carly.

Just a reminder, new LOST is on tonight at the later timeslot of 10pm. You know I'll be watching...but maybe on a delayed dvr. I've been watching the revival services GODtv has been playing. I've admired Todd Bentley's ministery for over 5 years

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Idol Rant 4/22

My life is a musical. I burst into song at any given moment about anything that is going on around me. 4yo has begun to ask questions in the styling of Mozart and Bach. We sing, whistle, hum, or tap virtual all day. It should be no surprise to you then that we LOVE us some corny musicals to watch as our entertainment. When 4 yo was 2 and 3 one of her favorite movies was "Phantom e Op-a" along with some Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Did we like tonight's American Idol show? Do cows eat grass? Come on, we loved it!

At this point in the competition, everyone is clearly talented and it becomes harder to see someone go home. I'm pulling for this year's contestants. I like this top six, but someone has to go. But let's not think about that now, on with tonight's recap.

Syesha Mercado was on fire tonight wearing a slinky red dress, sporting her sassy attitude and singing the only song of the evening I wasn't familiar with "One Rock and Roll Too Many ." This really seems to be her thing. She is safe I think.

Jason Castro, "a boy with dreadlocks," to quote Lloyd Webber, sang "Memories" from the long running show CATS. This is not at all the person I would have suspected to sing this song. Overall, I liked it. It was very much him. I think he really took a bull by the horns doing a song usually associated with Barbara. Compared to her, he hardly squeaked it out, but if you compare him to him, it was good. Soft, and quiet, and a little introspective. He reminds me of Julio Iglesias, but he is probably in the bottom 3.

Brooke White chose well when she decided to do "You must Love Me" from Madonna's hit show EVITA. Okay, she stopped and started again, which truthfully people, made me embarassed for her. I had to fast forward a few seconds just so I could get past it. After she re-started though, I felt she really sang it with emotion. What's funny to me is that Paula scolded her for stopping and starting, but Randy and Simon backed Brooke up. "It's your moment," Simon said. She was one of the few tonight that got that these were musical theatre songs and acted the emotion of the song. I really liked it. I like her though. Unfortunatly, I'm not sure America likes her as much as I do. She definatly could make it in this business, but I'm not sure she'll be in this competition much longer. I think she be one of the others in the bottom 3.

David Archuletta, America's little darling, the sweetheart of a boy, threw a curve ball at us tonight by doing a female operatic type song from Phantom of the Opera ," Think of Me." Not only did he sing his little heart out, but he changed the arrangement around to suit his own musical style. I loved it. In fact, I would download it. Bravo Little D.

Carly Smithson chose the only rocky song (that I know of) that Webber has written, "Jesus Christ Superstar." It was nice to hear her do something different other than something so very Dion. If you've read very many of my AI posts you'll know she isn't my favorite. I don't know why. I'll say it again, for those of you that missed it. I think she has an amazing powerhouse voice, AMAZING, but ...I dunno. I think I feel like I've heard her before. She's so much like Celine Dion.

Finishing up the night's performances was David Cook singing Phantom's "Music of the Night." I love this song. I was surprised to learn that DC could sing those higher notes. I wish he would have acted the song a little more consistently by sexing it up a bit. (You will likely never hear me utter those words under other circumstances though.) There were a few lines where he did it justice, but I wish he could have stayed in character, so to speak, the whole way through. That aside, he did an awesome, awesome job. I liked hearing him do something a little more ballady and soft and vulnerable and not quite so rocky. This is another one that I would download.

As I said, at this point it's hard to say who will go home, but I'm pretty sure which 2 of the six may. Sorry Jason and Brooke, I thoroughly enjoy both of you, but someone has got to go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Something to Blog about

More than I can shake a stick at. It seems sometimes I am at a loss for words and other times I have more words than can come out at once.

I have officially changed the blog layout. It's bright and green and springy just like the grass that has turned into a lush green carpet outside my window. Have I mentioned before how much I love spring?! Maybe only a hundred and two times, so consider this the hundred and third. I LOVE SPRING! I love flowers. I love green. I love sunshine and I love the promise that summer is right around the corner. 90 degrees, hot, and sticky anyone? Yes please! If only it were legal for people who look like me to run around nude...that way I could feel that warm sunshine on more of my skin.

Tonight will be Idol's top 6. I've started bloggin' about it, so I've got to see it through to the end. One of my other shows, LOST, should soon be coming back on again with new episodes. How did we ever wait all those long long months to find out about the survivors of Oceanic 815?

Also, I have some other thoughts brewing...ever met someone who knew it all? Nothing is more irritating to me than this kind of person. Okay, maybe the person that only talks about them self ranks right up there along with the person that pretends to be compassionate when really all they are is very selfish.

And then there's the whole crunchy momma type vibe I have. I have been playing with all kinds of new (to me) ways to become even more crunchy. I wanna share all of my discoveries.

Oh! and then there's this whole 3 week revival thing going on down in Florida. What's funny is that it began the same weekend my brother was moving down there. Purely coincidental, I'm sure. He hasn't even been there yet, even though it's practically in his own back yard. But we'll talk more about it later.

I think if I write all that bloggy business down I'll be less apt to forget what I wanted to write about later this week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Idol Rant 4/15

Top 7. It's at a point in the show where most of the less talented people should have been weeded out. America got it wrong last week with voting Michael Johns off but not that wrong. I have said every week that KLC should go. Why is she even in the competition? I think it's for the entertainment factor like last year's Sanjayah. He was cute, had some talent, but in no way deserved to stick around as long as he did.

This week Mariah Carey was the top seven's mentor. Let me tell y'all, I was a Mariah fan way back when she was single, curly haired and oh so young. I have all her albums up until the last one or two. When she turned to show the world how lovely your skin is Mariah, I lost my interest. Tonight's show boasted a few song that the judges declared "unknown." "Unknown?" thought I, "who wouldn't know those songs?" That's when I remember just how much I used to like MC and listened to her albums. The memory was so far buried in the back of my mind, that I had a hard time finding it. Of course I knew her stuff, but maybe America didn't.

The oh so cute and adorable David Archuletta was up first singing "When You Believe." I, like Simon, was not at all surprised that he chose this song. Not only is it great, but inspirational type stuff seems to be his thing. I like it, all but the part where he did the falsetto that MC suggested. Stick to the boy notes, Young Man.

Carly Smithson took on "Without You." Her performances are always consistently great. I just don't connect with her like I did in the beginning. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I always feel like I've heard it all before. I think she took Simon's advice on fashion though. She looked great tonight and as I listen to the performance the second time through, I gotta say she did it very well.

The underappreciated Syesha Mercado was up next with one of the songs the judge declared as obscure, "Vanishing." I always like this song. I think it's the opening line, "If I could recapture all of the memories and bring them to life surely I would..." Would someone give this girl some props? She can really sing. I love that she's always got a beautiful smile to show even when the judges slam her.

Brooke White attempted "Hero" tonight. I say attempted because I think she could have done much much better. I am a Brooke fan- I love her name ;) and the fact that she's totally happy with her non-mainstream self. I love that whole folk singer type vibe that she has. My major critic is that she rushes her songs. Last night toward the end, I could see her falling apart. Come on, Brooke, pull it together. You can do it.

Kristy Lee Cook is not my favorite, not secret there. Tonight's other obscure song "Forever" however, was the best I've ever heard her sing. It reminded me of old school rock and roll or Patsy Cline type country. She didn't irritate me like usual, even though she so darn cute. I actually kinda enjoyed her performance. Of course, the judges didn't all agree with me. Come on Randy, don't you know I am a musical genius?

David Cook did a creepy version of the poppy hit "Always be my Baby." It was good and original. My only thought during the performance was; can we say "restraining order," boys and girls? His performance totally changes the way I think about the song. "You'll always be a part of me...girl don't you know you can't escape me?"

Finishing the night was the adorable Jason Castro singing "I don't Wanna Cry." Ahhh... I don't either. I really liked this version. He makes me smile.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Slowwwly moving along

Some things have been moving so slowly lately. Take for instance, the great undertaking of reading Robinson Crusoe. I know I blogged about it 2 weeks ago. You'd think we'd be rippin' right through it considering we're reading and listening to an audio version at the same time. That makes the work of the novel so much less. Nah. We officially started chapter 2 today. Yeah, I know! slowwwww.

Other things seem to be flying by. The warmer sunny days, for instance, seem to just fly by without our ever really getting outside to enjoy them. What have we been doing?

Last week was crazy. Monday was spent with Daddy. Tuesday seemed to fly by so quickly that we didn't' get school done, didn't clean the house, or do much of anything that I can remember. I think we were in some kind of time warp. Wednesday and Thursday were standardized testing days. We had a one hour drive to get there. Wednesday was scouts, too, so we were gone from 7:30 am until 8:15 pm. Thursday wasn't much better. Friday was co-op and we mom's could have bailed and been justified but wanted to assure that something that resembled learning was accomplished for the week. The week before last, and now this week haven't been any better.

While life is moving so incredibly fast, some things seem to drag out in front of me forever. Will we ever get to the part of the book where Crusoe is shipwrecked for a million years? Will those long promised tax incentive checks ever arrive? Will I ever paint my kitchen and finally put my house on the ever weakening market? Will I ever get an email telling me how you've been (you know who you are)? I think because somethings move at the speed of light, like how quickly my 'baby' is growing up, other things automatically slow down, like the speed at which I worked on my taxes-even though I was expecting a refund. It's God's way of equalizing everything and reminding us to live one day at a time.

I love you Lord, and I am reminded in good times and bad that I need Thee.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Farmhouse Chicken

Tonight after we came home from co-op, I got really hungry for stuffing. We only get it once or twice a year around the holidays. I just love the aroma of the onions and celery cooking away in the butter. It's heavenly. yummm....

I didn't really want a Thanksgiving type dinner though, but then I remembered a recipe I had seen over at Tammy's a few weeks back. It seemed like I remembered her writing that they had been making Farmhouse Chicken quite a lot after the recent birth of her third child. If she's cooking so soon after giving birth I thought it must be easy so I cruised on over to find the recipe.

The recipe calls for instant stuffing mix, which I didn't' have and didn't want to go to the store for. I found a recipe for one on the web and set out to make it. We had some stale hamburger buns laying around so I cubed them, along with a little of my rye bread, and popped them into the oven to toast. As I was having 10yo read the recipe to me (for the instant stuffing mix) I suddenly remembered that I actually know how to make stuffing-I don't need no stinkin' mix. (remember, I said I was a culinary genius!) In just a few short minutes the smell of Thanksgiving was wafting out of my kitchen. There's nothing like butter, onions, and celery-Nothin'. I have no idea how the rest of the recipe will taste. It's got another 15 minutes in the oven, but the stuffing was a success. I just wanted to grab a spoon and dig right in. This is where self control comes into play. I think this is going to be one of those oh so delicious comfort foods for me. mmmmm....

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Idol Rant 4/08

Tonight's show boasted inspirational songs in the spirit of the big Idol Gives Back show to air Wednesday April 9th.
I don't have much to say about the show. Hightlights of the night for me were Jason Castro, David Archuletta and Brooke White. Most of the songs were rather boring for me. A few of the fans' favorites kinda bombed in my humble opinion. Not even worth mentioning. Instead I will focus on Wednesday night.

Last year's Idol Gives Back show was really good. I am such a sucker for kids in need and was teary eyed the whole show. The highlight of the night for me was Josh Groban and the children's African choir doing "You Raise me Up." After the performance they showed Ellen in a full on boo-hoo. Even if you are a not of fan of AI, you gotta love that they are finally doing something with all the popularity the show has gained over the years. Go on, watch, cry, laugh. ( Jack Black did "Kiss from a Rose" last year.) Most importantly share some of your pennies for a good cause. Every little bit can make a difference.

Click Here to Donate

I am...

...a culinary genius. You heard it here first y'all. Tonight's menu was a stroke of pure craving. Mexican anyone? I started out to make enchiladas. Oh, Craving, you are powerful, but alas, hunger was ever so much more powerful. I decided tacos would take half the time. So while my own creation of Spanish rice was cooking away, I went to work on some homemade taco seasoning. Have you ever flipped the package of seasoning mix over and taken a look at what's actually in it?! Makes me gasp just thinking of all those chemicals! So,... yes, I did it. I made my own. And the kids verdict? Better than the package. Who knew I was this good?

Yes, I am indeed a culinary genius. Go Momma!

Soy un genio culinario, and bilingual too.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Project Playlist

In case you're accessing this post via a reader, click on over to my blog and check out some of my favorite tunes brought to you by Project Playlist. I am working on changing the layout, but so far, my efforts at html haven't been successful. Can anyone say "free templates?" They were made for idiots like me.

Like Nina Simone

well,...almost. Everyday gets a little easier, thoughts become a little softer, and life is moving on. I can almost identify with Nina Simone, but I'm not quite like those birds up in the sky. Maybe some day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Idol Rant 4/01

Ryan Seacrest says, "April Fool's" ha. ha. very funny. (can't you just hear the enthusiasm coming out of my laugh?)

Tonight's show I knew was going to be a good one. Why? Two words. DOLLY PARTON! Yes! The only thing I don't like about Dolly is the size of her bra. She is so incredibly talented. I've heard her do so many genres of music and do them all well. And she's so charming and friendly too.

Brooke White was firt up doing one of my all time favorite Dolly songs-Jolene. The brief clip I heard her do with Dolly I thought was great. Performance time came and I felt like she could have done oceans better. It wasn't horrible, but I expected more out of one of my favorite contestants this year. My rating. It was okay.

David Cook was on second doing "Little Sparrow". Again, this is a Dolly Song that I really love. I totally see why he picked this one. It could be one of those creepy dark rocky type songs. He did a good job with it.

Ramiele Malubay did "Do I ever Cross Your Mind." So far the first 3 contestants are picking some of my fav's. Ramiele started out pretty strongly, and I like the song and arragement for her, but I always feel like she is holding back and needs to loosen up and just cut loose. It was okay.

Jason Castro. "Travelin' Thru." Finally a song I wasn't so familiar with. I think he did a great job with it. It suited him perfectly.

Carly Smithson made "Here you Come Again" her own. This is such a great song. Carly has one of the strongest voices in this competition. I recognize her talent, I think she's great, but to me she sounds so much like Celine Dion which should be a complement to her. The girl can sang but I wouldn't likely buy her album. I can always predict just what kind of performance she'll give.

David Archuletta has one of those voices that was made to be listened to. Finally this week he did better with his song choice. I think this kid has an old soul-either than or someone much older than he is making all his selections. Either way, this kid feels what he's singing and I so enjoy him. Tonight's "Smokey Mountain Memories" didnt' disappoint.

Kristy Lee Cook is as cute as a bug's ear. Um... yup. Just so cute. Having said that, why is she still in this competition? "Coat of Many Colors" was the one song I hoped not to hear tonight. Just let Dolly have that one yall. I have to admit though that country does suit KLC's voice and she gets better every week. I just don't get why people would actually want to pay to hear her.

Sayesha Mercado's "I will Always Love you was closer to Dolly's version than Whitney's and I loved it. This girl has not been getting enough attention. Her voice has been consistantly on point. Again, this girl can sang. Why oh why has she been in the bottom 3 so many times. The judges didn't give her due props, but I think it's because they were thinking Whitney instead of Dolly. What planet are they from? Sayesha should not have tried to mix so much of the Whitney version at the end. K.I.S.S.-keep it simple, Stupid. But I really enjoy her every week.

Michael Johns bluesy version of "It's all Wrong, but It's All Right" suited him very well. My only complaint is that he sings very throaty. Too much tension there. Again, he gets better every week.

Who should go? Kristy Lee Cook, or Ramiele. As much as I'm pullin' for the Asians on tv, she just isn't keeping up with the pack.

Who will go home? Ramiele? Sayesha?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Robinson Crusoe

I have to admit. I had never even thought of reading this book. Never. Nothing about it ever caught my interest. It was completely off my radar. This year 10yo is supposed to read an abridged, retold version for literature. I dutifully sent her to her room to read the first few chapters and waited for her to emerge. After nearly an hour she had not yet come out of her room. It was really quiet. I thought she must have really been enjoying the book. When I called out to her, I realized she had fallen asleep. I let it go, and thought we'd go back to it another day. Round 2. Same thing happens. I can't figure out why she's falling asleep. How is it happening? So I decide that I will bite the bullet and read the book too. I never made it past page 2. Not only is it an abridged version, it is a complete snore fest. DON'T bother to have your child read k12's version of Robinson Crusoe. Several of my friends have commented it was so boring, it had to be read out loud to their kids.

After discovering that we were sent such a bland version of a classic book, we talked it over and decided to check the real version out at the library. When we arrived we found there were 3 to choose from- One illustrated kids version, and 2 "full length" versions. We chose one of the later and brought it home. Again, I have to mention, I didn't even crack it open. I wasn't even sure what the book was about, other than some sort of sea type adventure.

Last night I decided to open the book and get a preview of what 10yo and I would be reading. I thought perhaps we could sneak a chapter or two in before bedtime. Wrong. When I flipped to the first page and began to read, I discovered just how old Robinson Crusoe is. (I wasn't exactly sure though.) The opening sentence looked more like a paragraph. I had to stop every few words to explain what it meant. King James English, many commas, colons, and semi-colons. Wow. I knew there was no way 10yo was getting through this one all by herself. This is the kind of stuff I read to keep me sharp and make me pay attention. One of the reasons my study bible is KJV is because I can't just gloss over the words. I have to think about what I'm reading. Today I set to work looking for teachers guides. I found quite a few resources to use. Cliff notes had quite a bit of information. I also found an audio version.

This evening while the kids were watching one of their shows, I sat down at the computer, opened the book, and hit play on the audio book. Immediately I was sucked in. What a great story. Since endeavoring to try to help my child understand it, I've learned much as well. I love it when that happens. Accidental educational moments. Of course, not everything in the book is PC. It was written, afterall, in 1719. People weren't too PC then. It will provide ample opportunity for discussions of all sorts. What's even better, is that thanks to homeschooling, I actually understand the geographical places and historical times that the book takes place in. Yeah me!

Sweeter and Sweeter

Okay... I admit it. Reluctantly however. Adversity does make one stronger and makes the days that are good that much sweeter. I had yet another pleasant day yesterday. The yellow eyed monster didn't show his face. There were no shouting matches, no cutting words, and no situations so sticky that I wished it were tomorrow. Slow and steady is the key. Anything done rashly and over night is likely done in folly.

I looked at the lawn yesterday. Bits of green are creeping over the brown patches. Apparently even grass agrees with me. Slow and steady really does win the race. I know that unless I take the time to really see the gradual changes, one day I'll look out and think "Where did that hayfield come from?" Spring comes quietly creeping on it's little kitten feet. Silently stalking the butterflies hidden in the weeds. One day that kitten will pounce, the butterflies will emerge, and spring will be upon us in her full glory. Life is so much the same. I want to be aware of the new growth each day brings. Carefully and cautiously I will awaken to it lest a sudden blast of winter past take me by surprise and stun me to the bare roots.

Spring grass. Crocuses popping their heads up to say hello. Little birdies greeting each day with gusto. Teach me Lord.