Charlie – Auto-Tuned!

Our family has always loved this video; “CHARLIE BIT ME!” is a phrase you’ll hear around our house, with the required English accent.

But this takes the cake.

Somebody auto-tuned Charlie.

And I am going to bed, because nothing’s going to top this today.

Good night all. Enjoy these 30 seconds of bliss before you go…

Stunning Revelations

Some things I learned today:

  • When I don’t have to cook for a family, I can use one plate.  And one fork.  And just wash them over and over.  Wow.
  • After two days alone, I’ve begun to talk to myself.  Quite a bit.  I also spoke harshly today to a large pot.  Left alone, to my own devices, I will undoubtedly turn into a crazy lady.
  • Twitter – especially Tweetdeck – is bad for me.  Having it off for two days has led to some blessed relief.
  • My natural rhythm is bed at midnight, up at 8:30.  This has not changed for most of my life.  I sort of thought I’d grow out of it.  Hasn’t happened.  That’s my normal.  
  • I like garlic.
  • I’m sure of three things in my life:  the work I do, the people I love and my devotion to my kids.  It’s been a journey to get here – on study break a few years ago, I was questioning two of the three.  Now, there’s no doubt.
  • I’d rather watch ‘Biggest Loser’ than ‘American Idol’.  Study break or not, I’m not missing Tuesday night with Jillian.
  • I like yoga.  I did yoga with FitTv today.  It was really cool.
More spiritual/work stuff later.  Lots of great stuff going on.
I am so grateful for this time.  It is a gift beyond measure.

Life On God’s Terms

Some random stuff…just because…

Shannon was inducted into the National Honor Society today, carrying on a fine family tradition.  It was extra special, because I always play a little “mood music” for the tapping ceremonies.  For a few years now, I find myself sitting at the grand on the stage and playing appropriately-semi-formal chord progressions, with a dash of Pachelbel and Bach and the occasional old hymn.  I enjoy it, and I usually tear up as I watch my kids’ peers join a rather elite group.  Shannon finally gathered the credentials to get in, and today was her day.  She was announced and subsequently tapped by her sweetheart, hugged by her dad and stepmom, and then I got up from the piano and skipped across the stage to give her a hug myself.  It was very cool.  I am very proud.
On that note, the entire household has A/B honor roll grades, save for one pesky little C in a statistics class.  I’m extremely pleased with my kids’ efforts.  Unfortunately, the two carrots that dangled in front of the boys for straight A’s are still dangling – maybe next nine weeks. 
I’m getting ready for a one-week study break next week.  The kids are going with their dad for spring break, and I’m going to hunker down, disconnect and get some reading and forward planning done.  I am really, really looking forward to this with great anticipation – and not because I’m tired.  I am eagerly awaiting the chance to work, uninterrupted.  I know God’s messing with me, and I’m ready to do some wrestling.  I have a ton of books to read.  I have a date with God.
Still reeling from the impact of last Sunday’s service and the implications for our community.  Life is messy.  Community is messy.  Churches sometimes make it messier.  It’s a challenge.
The girls are full-swing into raising funds and planning for their summer mission trip to Macedonia.  I am incredibly proud of them.  They are focused and excited.
Sarah has finalized plans to spend the summer in Germany with our cousins.  She’ll care for their kids and live as a big sister to their family for about 8 weeks.  I’m thrilled – and petrified.  Learning how to let go in a major way.  I find myself wondering what, exactly, I was thinking when I said, “Yes!  What a GREAT idea!!!”  But it is, indeed, a great idea.  My head knows that.  I’ve got a few weeks before my heart believes it.
Every time I turn around, something else musical is going on.  Friday night, Sarah’s playing with the band she has half-way committed to – The Half Jeffersons – at a club in the city.  A guy from our small group is playing a swing band show that same night.  Our PCC band is playing cover tunes at The County Seat Restaurant here in town on Saturday night.  Another PCC group is playing a prayer breakfast on Friday morning in Midlothian.  Of course, there’s Easter coming up – lots of music and a choir to boot.  The girls just got a call to play and sing at the upcoming Relay For Life event.
We’re busy.
We’re broke.
But I’m not anxious about it.  Considering this: 

If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.  – Luke 17.33

Yes.  In spite of my tendency to grasp and cling, that’s what I want.  I’m learning to let go.  I do believe that in the end, life on God’s terms is better than the melted mess left in my hands.

All I Have To Do…

I just woke up.  Stayed up later than usual with friends, after a great church leadership meeting.

I’m discovering a pattern here; when I can sleep a decent amount of time – like more than six hours – I remember my dreams.
And they’re really…well, strange might be the operative word.
Here’s what I remembered this morning:  I dreamed of satan.  He was real, tangible, literal.  I was in a home with bunch of teenagers, and satan roamed around upstairs.  Occasionally somebody went up to that floor and stumbled around, got beaten up, was thrown back downstairs – but in my dream it was understood that is was on me to do battle. I was responsible for putting this guy in his place, for protecting those with me in the house.  I went upstairs a few times and managed to get out alive by shouting or screaming “Jesus”.
We gathered all the teenagers together, ostensibly for some sort of rehearsal, but I grabbed the leader/pastor (someone like Brian, but not Brian) who was fixated on putting together the stage platform.  I insisted that we address the reality of the enemy and the spiritual battle that was right in our midst, rather than go through some rehearsal.  At that point, satan – who looked like some sort of intense,  winged transformer – very red, dark, and angry – came into the room with all of us.
Nobody was really scared.  You’d think we’d experience abject terror in the presence of such evil.  But it was if everyone didn’t think enough of him to even react; like he was just another fictionalized object, a distraction.
And then someone went out of the room to fight with him, and they didn’t come back.  And he did.  I stood in front of him and began to say “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”, to state various scriptures (“Greater is he who is in me…”)

It seemed to do minimal damage, but he left me alone.
John Starkey was in my dream; he took a phone call and announced that Matt Turner was in the hospital and we needed to pray for him.  Someone called me into the hallway to try to help the girl who had gone upstairs…
Then I woke up. 
Very strange.  I can connect the dots to the reality of my life today….just a bit….
Anybody want to take a stab at dream analyzation?  Go for it.

After the thawing of the frozen water pipes today (what a GREAT way to start a Saturday…) I did what I’d been hoping to do for a while now:  made an IKEA run.

My first visit to IKEA was on a trip to Chicago to see my brother and his family.  I was stunned.  And happy.  And greedy.  I’ll never forget lugging oversized IKEA bags on the plane back to Cleveland, stuffing cd racks and cups and lights and picture frames and all sorts of incredible, awesome, gotta-have-it-now stuff.  We tried to stuff everything in the overhead bins and earned ourselves several glares and outright disapproval from fellow passengers.  
I was hooked.  Willing to be embarrassed, I didn’t care.  Absolutely loved the place.
Realizing later that we could get to the Pittsburgh IKEA in a few short hours, I made that trip more than once.  The most memorable was a venture with several friends, culminating with a picture frame that was broken before we arrived home and my (then) husband waiting at home, already aware of how much I’d spent (thank you, online banking and debit cards). 
After relocating to Richmond, the store in Northern Virginia became a great way-station for me.  Often, after taking the kids to spend time with their dad, I’d stop at IKEA on the way home for some retail therapy.  Sometimes I’d spend little more than $20 on a few frames and lunch for myself – and several hours wandering the aisles, working through some sort of subconscious loss and longing for home.  It’s a great place to imagine starting over again, with all sorts of fresh visions and positive expectations.  I have good memories.
Today’s trip was fun – I went primarily in search of curtain rods and curtains and the chair.  I bought a few of those chairs when I moved into this house – put them together myself – and they remain the most durable chairs in the house.  Every other stinkin’ chair we own is either broken completely, reduced to one of two arms, cracking or creaking.  But those simple wood chairs?  Indestructable!
Armed with a generous gift card I received at Christmas time, we headed north.
I spent my gift card.
And more.
But I got two chairs.  And curtain rods (for ONE DOLLAR AND FORTY-NINE CENTS, PEOPLE!!!!) And three plants.  And a little table.  And a bookshelf for the girls.  And a cool light.
And little teeny tiny things that you buy at IKEA because, gosh darn it, they’re just such GOOD DEALS!  Meaning they cost a dollar or something.
It was a good day – a restful day.  And the water’s still running.  And tomorrow’s church.
Yes.

Sleighbells Ring…Are You Listening?

Here’s my workspace today.  I’m finally feeling the Christmas spirit, and ironically I find that I’m at exactly the same spot geographically as I was last year.  Except it was snowing then.  Today, it’s just sunny – a rather optimistic day, I think.

In this picture you’ll see the Gingerbread House Kit that David and I will tackle this afternoon.  You see my trusty Dell, open to Twitter, where I find fascinating things like this free Christmas song by Sara Groves, thanks to my blog buddy Kim.  If you could hear this picture, you’d hear that cute little song of Christmas angst…
Make note of the PCC coffee cup, the external speakers, the Imagine Christmas production sheet, my bottle of chewable vitamin C (hoping to ward off the ‘yuck’ that seems to be lurking right behind my left eye).  And see the sunshine streaming in the windows?
Happy first of December, all!
Just to show how hard we’re working, here’s a few shots of last night’s edit project.   Pardon the quality – it’s my phone camera…

See how enthusiastic Sandy looks?  I think she was mad because I was 30 minutes late.  Can you blame her?  And how about Christine, looking all executive-like at Chauncey’s desk?  She was messing with her Crackberry all night.  Taught herself how to text!  Go, Christine!

Here’s Regina, who knows how to do things that most of us can only imagine.  She is the video edit QUEEN.

Imagine Christmas?  I am!

A-R-M-A-D-I-L-L-O

I’m beginning to wonder.  Are these some signs that I’m not getting enough sleep?

This morning in the shower, I squirted a dollop of face wash in my hand.  And promptly used it to wash my hair.  After I had already washed my hair.
Yesterday, I couldn’t remember the word for this:
Of course, it was the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning.
I need a day of rest.