Friday, March 13, 2009

Why I do what I do

Below is a post that I wrote in March and the perfectionist in me said to wait and work on it some more.  Then the procrastinator in me put off  working on it for 2 months.  Finally the pride inside of me drifted away and said "this needs to be posted- don't delay".    

"Why do I pray- do I pray to say I prayed an hour?
Why do I love- do I want you beholden to me?
Why do I help- do I want to hear my name called?
Why do sing?
Search me and know my heart, oh God.
See if there is any wrong thing in me.
All I have really wanted are clean hands and a pure heart."

~Sara Groves (Know my Heart)

Above are lyrics from an artist that is dear to me.  That song reached into my core, especially so because I've made many of my ministries very open for public view!  Why do I do what I do?  Is it to be noticed?  To edify others?  To have people tell me that I am good at something?  To find worth?  All of these questions and more I am constantly seeking to answer, honestly.

Last fall when I was considering starting my own jewelry line I struggled with so many thoughts.  Do I really think that I am any good?  Would anyone buy anything?  I'm just putting stuff together, not even making anything from scratch, I'm not a true artist.  It was about that time that we headed out to see Michelle Tumes in concert.  Small, small church.  We sat maybe 6 rows back.  Beautiful, soft spoken Australian lady.  She is such an amazing song writer. Able to compose for an entire orchestra.  Such a person with her talent and here she was in a small church taking time to minister to me.  She has had her own struggles with sharing her songs publicly, wondering how people would view her music that she had poured her heart into.  Then she realized that it didn't matter.  This was what God had given her to do.  She had songs that she needed to share and opportunities eventually opened up for her to do so.

This encouraged me as I thought about my business, my writing.  I have such a need to share.  I am fearful at times that people will misunderstand me, my motives.  I am fearful that at times my motives aren't what they should be or that I will fail in someway.  The truth is I am terrified of opening myself up for public scrutiny.  I know others will see right through to my imperfections and question what right I have to serve.  I serve the Creator of the universe.  I truly believe that.  The Creator of the stars, the flowers, the fish in the sea.  Have you been to a pet store lately to see some of His unique creations?  

I believe that the desires I have in me to create are from Him.  I can't say that I "enjoy" the process of creating, of actually writing, or performing a song.  I tremble at the thought of standing before others ready to share my vision through song, at standing behind a table with my designs spread out for people to see, of organizing my photographs for others to view and even now sitting at a computer typing my rampant thoughts knowing they will eventually be read by another set of eyes.  I think surely there are others that do these things so much better, why do I spend my hours toiling away on what will not last?  There are days when I have to will my mind and hands to work... because I know the toll it takes on my body.  It takes work- most of it in my mind, pushing aside my fears.  Yet, it's what I am compelled to do.      

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Here it is, the final word.  I will no longer be sending out group emails or notification links.  I finally figured out the easiest way for me to handle it in a non-stressful or added steps way.  I recently subscribed to be on Elanas Pantry email list.  I looked at my confirmation email and noticed it was run by FeedBurner.  To make this as short as possible I was able to put FeedBurner on my blog site so I no longer have to do anything.  FeedBurner takes care of it all for me...  I write and eventually you should receive!

*******You will need to type in your own email address where it says SIGN UP TO RECEIVE MY BLOGS... only if you would like to have them emailed to you.  It's all up to you now******* 

That's it.  I'm done bugging and "testing" you.  It was fun while it lasted.  Greener pastures up ahead! 

Monday, March 9, 2009

My soul is filled

I just finished up a full weekend of concerts.  Classical.  19 piece orchestra plus organ accompanied a chorus made up of almost 90 voices.  There's nothing like having your feet go numb for the sake of singing with strings playing only a few feet away from you.  Nothing can compare.  Except in my dream world I would be paid to sing with the strings instead of the other way around.  In comparison to the food world it would be like eating a Friendly's Reese's Pieces Sundae as a food critic and receiving reimbursement upon completion (along with only half of the calories counting).  Side note:  Upon looking up how to spell this particular sundae I found a list of healthier alternatives from Friendly's.  The healthiest alternative listed was Spanish Rice.  I'm not sure how eating that would take the edge off of desiring a sundae or even coming close to replicating any part of the Reese's Sundae.  Then again, perhaps I am underestimating the power of this particular rice.  I'm obviously not Spanish.

We performed the Faure Requiem which was just beautiful.  Our director, Katie, managed to get most of the soprano section to hold their wobble.  She worked hard to make us sound more angelic-like.  I was always so moved by the second movement.  It is written for the altos to begin and then the men come in and there is this playful banter.  It is very moody.  In parts of the Poulenc Gloria I was transported to movie land.  I recently rented the movie musical Sweeney Todd.  Yes, a bit graphic in spots.  I did quite a bit of shielding my eyes from the spurting blood.  The score was absolutely splendid, imaginative, playful.  If you could get over the fact that Johnny Depp was singing then all was well.  During the fifth movement of the Poulenc I was the star in my own movie, the sequel to Sweeney Todd.  Less blood in this one. 

The first night I looked out into the audience to see that the youngest ones attending had managed to stay awake for the whole concert.  That is a first.  Before leaving the house I suggested to my children that they take something along to color.  They all said they didn't need to, they would be listening to the music.  So thankful that they have supported me over the years through my chorale involvement by attending and finding ways to make me feel special.  They brought me purple tulips.  The same tulips that just days earlier I had longingly gazed upon in the grocery store- without my dear husband's knowledge!  

I can only hope that as the older generations pass away that my children will be first in line to take their place as patrons of excellent music.  There is something about notes placed in just the right spot and performed with such sensitivity that has great power to stir the soul.  My soul is filled. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

May I never stop noticing the walls

As I was doing some fixing up here on my blog site I got to thinking.  How long will it be before I stop noticing my blog "wallpaper"?  When I started this blog I clicked a few buttons and there it was, all set up for me.  I had quite a few backgrounds to pick from and then I could customize even more after picking one.  I have been back and forth on what to use.  Light polka dots, dark ones.  Plain background, colorful.  Start from scratch and make my own... ouch, that would be work.  

When we first moved into our tiny home almost 7 years ago I had visions.  I didn't want white walls.  Green.  I searched for months for the perfect shade of green.  Took even longer to finally give the ok to Andy to start painting.  We finally covered over the green snowman that had become our painted friend on the wall.  It was only recently that I started noticing the walls again.  Dirty from years of touching, the paint has chipped off in places.  Character and memories yes, but...  How often do I do that, not notice what has been there all the time?  How often is it that I desire to take the time to think about change?  Or do I think about it for a fleeting moment and think it will be too hard to improve upon, and proceed to neglect it?  I think it's time for me to start noticing the walls again and to think about what I can do to improve upon them.  The same could be said about me.  

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror: for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
James 1:23-24 

Yes, I may end up keeping the light polka dots because that's what I have decided upon.  May it never be because I have forgotten about them or the desire I had in the first place to create something of beauty.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is there greener grass to be found?

I'm sitting here staring at an open bag of Twizzlers, contemplating a minor victory.  I never thought I had it in me to say no.  I did- I opted instead for tea, cashews and cantaloupe.  After being basically sugar and gluten free for the past 5 weeks that when I read down through the ingredient list (for Twizzlers) their appeal was lost on me.  For those of you that know me well this minor victory is actually quite a major breakthrough.  One day at a time.  That's what I keep telling myself.

There's no mistaking it- life is hard, for everyone.  I'm reminded of that truth every time I go for another test and see that I am not the only one there.  Just a couple of days ago while getting 14 tubes of blood taken I ran into 2 people that I knew.  They were giving their blood up to be tested as well.  I chatted a bit with my one friend from the chorale inquiring as to why she was there.  Truth be told, it's not often that I let myself become lost in the hardships of others.  I tend to think that my brain will explode if I take in too much sorrow, if I feel compelled to care, then get overwhelmed when I don't know how to reach out past my own sorrows.  Most days my energy is consumed overcoming my own struggles.  

When Caleb was born and I wanted to throw him out of a window to make him stop crying, I knew something was wrong.  Each pregnancy brought new challenges and symptoms.  After Moriah was born I finally decided to seek out some answers as to what was going on with my body.  Little more than 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease.  I was told that there was an easy fix.  All you have to do is take a teeny tiny little pill for the rest of your life. Then the stomach pain and bloating started and the numbness and dizzy spells got worse.  A couple of years ago anemia was thrown into the mix.  As for the stomach problems those were put into the giant sphere of irritable bowel syndrome.  Did I mention I have food addictions as well???  The past few years have been spent scheduling tests and more tests to get at the root of the problem- what has caused so much to go wrong?  There is always a part of me that is optimistic that something will be found that will give insight into why my body betrays me at times like it does.  I recently started down a more natural path in hopes of healing my body.  Because of doing this I thought I was ready to ditch my medical field approved pill.  Yet I just got the call that I was dreading, my thyroid isn't working.  Now what.  I've been told to start taking the pill again.  In my gut I believe that it was doing more harm than good...  So desiring to come to a place where I can accept that this is as good as it gets for me in my earthly body and then learn to live fully in this place.  There are days when I am so close to being there, then there are days like today when frustration sets in and the tears flow.  So confused as to where to go from here.   

I am so blessed to have such a supportive family.  At such a young age Caleb was put in charge of caring for his sisters when I was having a "bad" day.  He is still so watchful of them, wanting no harm to befall them.  They have endured countless dr. visits with me.  Just the other day they sat with me while I chatted with my nutritionist.  I looked over at Lily to see that she was flossing her teeth with a fluorescent kid flosser.  She had taken 2 along, one for the top teeth, another for the bottom.  The kids can tell you which offices they like the best.  The place yesterday would have to be rated right up at the top.  I had an electronic dizzy test while Andy took the kids exploring.  There was a waterfall and elevators in the building.  The highest kid-ranked items when it comes to any location, water and elevators.  Found out afterwards that they played hide and seek using the elevators- by themselves!  I have watched everyone adopt my new way of eating by coming on board with me.  Some days the kids awake with more excitement than others about the foods we will be eating. At the store they now squeal with delight as they press their faces up against the glass to peer at the sugar- laden cakes, cookies and doughnuts which they know better than to ask if we can buy...

Times of laughter through the tears.  Moriah saying "mommy doesn't want to eat because she doesn't want to get a fat tummy".  There is truth in her statement.  There is always a fear that what I am doing is harming myself further.  The foods that I eat, the pills that I swallow.  Being careful how I dress myself to "hide" what is so obvious to me.  Through it all I have learned much about myself, about the God that I desire to serve, about the people that He has created in His image.  I have had friends reach out to me at just the right times.  I have been moved by hearing similar stories of others suffering in ways that they to find hard to express.     

When there isn't a name to what you have it's easier at times to not share, thinking that others can't possibly understand what you going through, the pain and frustrations it causes when you just want to feel normal, whatever normal feels like.  The games your mind chooses to play.  Never sure which advice to heed or where to go next.  The dr. who says there is no shame in taking drugs to treat depression, another telling you to learn to live with it if it's not killing you, the expert expressing concern over prescription drugs causing long-term problems.  I'm taking one step at a time, one day at a time, seeking to find greener grass.  Not certain that even if I did find greener grass if it would be at all like I envisioned... yet I still need to believe that it's out there for me to find.  I have a hope beyond tomorrow but it's that hope for living tomorrow that I need to get me through.