Top Five Fabulous Things of the Month

1. Going to Fort Worth to watch Jamie, Joe and Kristen run the Cowtown Marathon and Half-Marathon. Barry and I saw them off, wandered about the city to cheer them on, and met them at the finish.

2. Adventures with the puppy! I gave Jasper a bath! I’d never bathed an animal before. It was fun! He also ran errands with me the other day, and he did very well in the car.

3. Sarah, her boyfriend, Barry, and I made Chinese dumplings, and if I do say so myself, they were awesome. We made a big plate piled high, and we ate every single one! It was a lovely first double date with the New Boys.

4. Home improvement…I got a chair for my reading nook! I tried SO HARD to get a used/secondhand chair, but I couldn’t find any for under $150. So I gave in and bought one at World Market that was probably made in a third-world country by child labor, using up precious natural resources. Being poor sucks. But my awesome chair does not. I also got a gift from my mother – a pretty wall decoration that I put above my bed.

5. Sarah and I took a trip to Austin. We visited Jessica and her family, and we wandered down South Congress, where several SXSW shows were in progress. We had some life-changing caramel popcorn, the real kind made with sugar and butter in a popcorn maker. We found a venue that used to be a train station, where we listened to some great music. It was a lovely weekend!

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Wichita

I’ve had a pretty good 2010 so far! Sarah and I drove to Wichita this weekend. We stayed with her aunts, who fed us verrrrry well. Apparently Cathy used to live in Greece and learned to cook there. This is her amazing moussaka and spanikopita. There was a coconut cake that was more like tres leches than anything coconut I’d had before, and it was transcendent.

Their house backs up to the Arkansas River. It snowed overnight, and it was a beautiful sight to wake up to. The still-unnamed CR-V did great on the drive with the snow and ice.

We also visited with Sarah’s grandmother both days. She was a jazz singer in her father’s band when she was young. We sat and listened to her stories about being asked out on a date by Charlie Parker and a few other greats that were friends of the family. She told us about singing at the Roseland Ballroom in NY back in the day. She’s a neat lady with some great stories to tell.

The drive back was long…we may or may not have broken up the monotony by stopping by a casino for a few minutes. I’m determined to make 2010 a better year, and this was a great start! Happy New Year to all of you!

Defying Gravity

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap

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It’s time to try
Defying gravity

I think I’ll try
Defying gravity

Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
And you won’t bring me down

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I’m through accepting limits
Cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost

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I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity

Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity

I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you won’t bring me down

I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity

Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity

I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you won’t bring me down

Top Five Fabulous Things of the Month

I’m in dire need of some happiness right now, as October just crapped all over me,  so let’s have a rundown of the good parts of the last few weeks.

1. I threw myself a birthday-slash-student-loan-payoff-slash-moving-out party, and so many people came to celebrate with me. It was so wonderful to have so many of my favorite people around me during a very difficult time of change. It reminded me how much love I have around me at just an arms-length, and that, I am grateful for.

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2. Beth and I harvested sweet potatoes in her community garden two weekends ago, and the bounty was donated to local food banks. We had a great time, although we were both sore for days! We had to remove the cover part before we could dig for the potatoes. Those sweet potatoes were STUBBORN.

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3. It’s been a whirlwind month of concerts. Jamie, Sarah, and I went to U2 at Cowboys Stadium, and it was really, really awesome. We were on the second level, and everyone above us got sucky sound, but it was fine where we were. They were very inspiring, and Bono is such a rock star. Oh, and the Cowboys new stadium was WOW huge.

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Jamie and I also saw Third Day on my birthday at Nokia with some other girls with free VIP tickets from her friend Lauren. It was a total blast from the past, but I remembered how much I loved them back in the day. They were actually one of my first concerts, back when they were performing for crowds of like, 50, in back church rooms 15 years ago. It was fun to see them again all these years later.

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Jamie and I also went to see Derek Webb at a new venue in Deep Ellum, Mokah. He’s gone electronic since leaving Caedmon’s Call, and I like the new sound. I just didn’t like him solo until this new sound came along.

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Last but not least was El Gato, my old roommate Rebecca’s brother’s band (he’s the one facing the screen on the left). They played downtown at City Tavern on Halloween, and aside from the disturbing lead singer of the band who went on before them (Jamie and I couldn’t look at him – he gave us the shivers!), it was a fun night.

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4. More on the new house in a forthcoming post, but it and my new roommates have been a total blessing. The change of scenery has been restorative, and although things are still in boxes and I can’t find anything, I’m really enjoying it. And as a bonus, it comes with a French-speaking child and possibly the cutest puppy EVER.

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5. Last night was the friends-and-family soft opening of Aimee and Jonathan’s new restaurant, Panzzini’s. I met my family there, and we ate good food, talked about my brother and sister-in-law’s new HOUSE (!), and enjoyed the new place. It’s going to be great – I just wish it was closer to me!

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I’m a firm believer that there is always something redeemable that can come from hard times, and that theory has definitely been put to the test in my life as of late. October was a relentless slope of drama, and it came at me from every possible direction. There was the break-up, my grandmother falling and bashing her face in on concrete and spending the weekend in the hospital, a horrible rumor being spread about me in a professional circle, and another rather large home disturbance that I won’t write about here. Luckily, during all the madness, I found I have a wonderful, supportive community surrounding me, and I’m so thankful for them and their many kindnesses. So here’s to recognizing fabulosity when it seems hard to find.

 

Hands

An oldie but a goodie. Jewel performing “Hands” in Austin.

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

Top 5 Fabulous Things of the Week 2.27.09

1. I went to see Branford Marsalis perform with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra last week, and I took Sarah along. I asked for symphony tickets for Christmas from my parents, and this was my first ticket redemption. It was great! He played the first two pieces with them, and the third piece was just the orchestra. He’s got nimble fingers! I was a music minor in college, so it was nice to take a couple of hours out and just listen, which I don’t do often enough.

2. I didn’t get to watch the Oscars due to a satellite mishap, but I read some quotes from that night that I thought were great. I don’t normally watch the Oscars, but I love movies, and I love quotes, and some really great ones tend to happen at this ceremony.

“All my life I’ve had a choice between hate and love, and I chose love, and now I’m here.” – A.R. Rahman, scorer for Slumdog Millionaire

“I think [Milk] would want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours.” – Dustin Lance Black, accepting his award for Best Screenplay for Milk

3. I just love Facebook. I’ve gotten to reconnect with so many people from different seasons of my life recently, and I’m getting to know a new group of people I met recently. It’s such a wonderful tool. My mother thinks it’s a waste of time, but in my opinion, it’s all about building and maintaining relationships. Who needs a Christmas letter when you’ve got Facebook??

4. I went out to Beth and Deanna’s community garden to see what theirs is like, and it was fun. I saw several different kinds of plots, different ways of laying things out, and vegetables I didn’t know existed. Have you ever heard of a black radish?

5. “He turns my tickle box over.” – Paula Deen, about how her husband makes her laugh

Hope you’re having a good week!

O Holy Night

Every once in a while, I hear song lyrics out of their rote context and understand them for what they really are. This verse of “O Holy Night” struck me several times this Christmas season – on the radio when they started playing Christmas music WAY too early, at church last Sunday, and again at my family’s church tonight. Hope wherever you are you’re having a lovely holiday, and you’re as blessed by these words as I am.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!