April 25, 2008

Love your neighbor as yourself

I'm starting to learn that this formula really does work. A week or so ago I decide that I was going to bite the bullet and start shaving my legs every time I shower. For my not so active lifestyle that means every other day. I used to shave my legs once a week. Sometimes less. After I started shaving my legs I started wearing skirts everywhere (even at home) just because my brain says "you aren't going to encase those smooth legs in blue jeans?!?" Programming I guess. Since I never really shaved my legs unless I was going to wear skirts, my brain now thinks nearly everyday is a skirt day. Also, I'm taking the time to do my nails and in general keep myself more up. What I'm finding though is that I'm just that little bit more willing to do something for Allen (or whoever else is around). I look neater, and I'm also helping with a more willing heart. I wish I'd learned this years ago. The other thing I'm learning is that it's totally ok for my to bypass the stuff I "should" be doing and head for the stuff that bothers me. It's ok to clean out the car instead of clearing off the coffee table if that's just what I want to get done. I don't have to live with all the woulda shouldas. As Allen likes to say "they don't live here." As a result I'm beginning to feel a teeny bit more empowered to tackle the work around here in a way that appeals to me. Yeah I know, that doesn't mean I can use perpetually organizing my sock drawer as an excuse to not do the dishes, (although I wouldn't mind trying some days). Really though. It's starting to sink that those voices in my head are...well, in my head. They don't live here, and I don't have to listen to them anymore. Nothing drastic has happened to hammer this in. I'm not a completely changed person on anything. I'm just that little bit more aware. It's a good feeling.


I just got a call today. I'm going in for a school tour on Monday morning. I'm excited to see where God is going to take this.

April 24, 2008

stepping out

Well I just sent in my resume to apply for a job teaching kindergarten at a Waldorf style school in town. I think I may actually have a chance at it. Apparently they aren't ed degree state certification fanatics, and for being a secular school they seem to have a pretty cool approach to education. They're one of the non-standard types that don't pop children in small, dull compartments when they arrive at school, and I really like that. They seem to a little more imaginative than montessori although I really can't comment very well on the differences. The stuff that goes on a kindergarten classroom seems to resemble the sorts of things that would go on in my livingroom if I had a dozen kids around the same age -cooking, storytelling, puppets, crafts, play time, songs. Since I've thought several times that the sort of job I really want is pretty well summed up by "mom" this sort of job actually seems doable/likeable. I'm thinking that I'll probably get an interview, but after that we'll see.

I actually found this job after Allen encouraged me to think about getting one. Even though he's happy to have me at home, he was encouraging me to find other ways to share my gifts with people. He knows I like to spend time with people and do things that I find meaningful. It recharges me in a way that being at home spending time by myself really can't. Not that I'm anywhere near a true extrovert, but I do like spending regular time with people in a way that Allen doesn't. So right now I'm just sort of stepping out to see what God has for me to do. I'd appreciate prayers as this job really does sound good. No weekends and plenty of time to come home and get supper and in general take care of things like a good little housewife. I could never take a job that didn't let me be a wife first.

April 23, 2008

More Josh Turner

Elisa posting music on her blog has made me want to put up some of my own. I first heard Josh Turner on the radio about two years ago, and that bass voice of his is just about enough to make your knees weak. I love it. I also think guys with guns and trucks are cool too (hello new relatives). Yep, I'm just a country girl, and my kids are going to be even more country than I am 'cause I'm going to send them down to the farm real regular. They're going to learn to shoot and clear brush and mend fences....and do the sweetest little lindy circle you ever saw. But they won't learn that from their grandfather. Heck, I think I may just send them up to Trina and co for a month every year :D She's certainly the most self-sufficient, feminine, and altogether inordinately skilled woman I've "met." Anyway, enjoy the music.

Would You Go With Me

Long Black Train

The Longer the Waiting (this one is one of my new favorites)

Remember that dorky cell phone game?

Well watch this.

April 22, 2008

Vacation woes

Grrr, looks like we might have to postpone our road trip. Winds of change may be wafting at Allen's job, and now might not be a good time for us to leave. Not sure where this is going to go...

April 19, 2008

Virtuous me...:P

I have maybe 2-3 really good blogs churning up inside me, but since my dearest husband is telling me it's bedtime I suppose I'll have to work on them tomorrow. I wish bedtime and contemplation didn't go together so handily. Since my head feels like a stuffed bear though, and dear Allen is trying to make me take care of myself I'm going to be a dutiful wife and toddle off the bed as hubby bids.

Saturday musings...mostly on weddings

What with my low thryroid and often staying up late and such I confess I'm rarely out of bed by 7-8 in the morning, but what with my stuffy head getting me up at unusual hours I get to see a very golden morning light streaming across the river and through the trees. You can't actually see the river from my patio in the springtime, but there's a lovely mist coming up the banks which, having caught the rising sun, looks like a veritable blanket of sunbeams. It's all yellows and greens and misty greys out there, and it's very lovely. Makes me wish I'd gotten out of bed when I first woke up. You know how it is though when you have a cold that wakes you up. First you toss and turn a bit, then you lie there and debate getting up, then you drift off for about 5mins, then you toss and turn some more, stare at your adorable sleeping husband, and finally decide that if you're going to be awake you might as well go into the living room. So here I am. I rather wish I was getting ready to help with Katy's wedding reception. Her mom helped us out quite a bit with our wedding, and when I heard Katy was getting married I was so eager to help her out in return. Unfortunately I got sick Monday night, and instead of helping out I'm blowing my nose and blogging. Sick people aren't exactly encouraged to sneeze all over the wedding feast. I'm feeling somewhat better at least today. Maybe I can get through the wedding without looking like a flu case. I still wanted to help out though...I couldn't even go yesterday and help set up like I wanted to.

It's funny to think about another young woman getting up and getting to the church early and trying to get her hair done and her dress just right before they're supposed to shoot pictures. Then waiting in the bride's room for what seems like years until you finally get to go the foyer and wait another age before you get to walk down the aisle to the one man in the whole world. I will add that at that point amnesia pretty much sets in. I didn't hear hardly a single note of the music I'd picked and which the organist had specifically learned/arranged for me. One of the elders of my church gave me away, and now he has a tiny daughter of his own. Sort of a dress rehearsal for the real thing only 20 odd years early. We must have looked and odd couple. Waiting at the church for long made me tend towards the hyper while Allen was just the opposite and tended towards solemn. Still, it's interesting to think that so many memories just like mine and yet not all like mine being made today by a young woman going through many of the same motions I did over a year and a half ago. I guess the thing that started me thinking about it was waking up and looking over at Allen and thinking about Katy waking up alone today but not waking up alone tomorrow. It's one of those weird mysteries of marriage. And you know. It just feels different. Riding in the car to Atlanta after the wedding. It was just Allen and I riding in the car like we had so many times before, but it was like nothing I had ever done before. I knew the Allen I'd dated. I wasn't really sure I knew this oddly silent man I'd just married. In a weird way it would have been a relief to forget we were married and just talk or be silent together easily as we had so often before. It was ok by the next morning though. Marriage seemed a bit more normal after we woke up, and it was fun to count the hours. Of course it felt like it stuck out all over us that we were newly-weds. The jam-packed, bedaubed car may have had something to do with that though. There wasn't hardly a spare inch anywhere in that car. What with packing for the honeymoon and all the last minute stuff that car was a sight to send valets running for the parking garage. It's funny. A wedding is one of those things where you just have to jump in wherever you are. If you're parents are driving you nuts (or breaking your heart). If you're stressed. If you're scared of sex. You just have to jump in there where you are and start paddling. It's easy for me to have regrets about things. I could have been a little more hands on in some parts. I wish things with my parents had gone differently. I wish I'd had a better foundation for approaching sex. But...I didn't. And what matters now? We're married, and I have grown more than I ever thought possible. I'm starting to learn that you really do have to start with what you're given and go from there. We all have our own starting places that really have very little do with how good we are or what we earned or what we did or didn't do and everything to do with the places in which God has put us. It's super easy to have regrets, but it's not actually all that much fun. It's more fun to like the life you live than to want to be living someone else's.

April 16, 2008

According to Allen...

...this is me. I suppose I'm currently recharging from this weekend.

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

April 15, 2008


Tonight I'm taking a page from Trina and enjoying lots of Pau D'arco tea with ginger and honey. And echinacea. Somehow I've come down with something. My energy levels have been pretty high the past week or so. I think all the things I've been doing to help my thyroid are working, but today I've just been dragging. Twelve hours of sleep last night, and I still spent most of today on the couch reading. Supper got made, but that's about it. Also, it's rather dangerous for me to be seasoning soup when I've got something of a cold. The curry soup ended up with quite a lot of ginger in it. Good stuff if you like ginger though maybe a bit strong for Allen's tastes. At least the place got cleaned up for Monday. So long as I get around to folding the laundry I think we'll be fine.

Flylady strikes again

So I'm sitting in church looking for something in my purse while our assistant pastor is going through the announcements. By the time he's finished I've stashed all my various hair bands and bobby pins in their little pouch, tucked the lipgloss back into its pocket, stashed some trash paper in my pocket for disposal later and in general reorganized and tidied up my purse all in about 90 seconds. I also found my pen. Regardless of the state of my bedroom I'm claiming this bit of impromptu organization as a good sign.

April 13, 2008

blog stuff

So I said on the sidebar that I have a GAIM account as Natalieblogs. I did/do. Problem is that I can't be on my main GAIM account and that one at the same time. For that reason I now have an AIM account as Natalieblogs. If you wonder why I put that on there and you never see me around, now you know. You can still e-mail me at the gmail address. It forwards to my main account. Hope to hear from you soon!

The Strength of Humans and the Terrible Grace of God

I am constantly amazed at what humans can withstand. I'm not even talking about people in Africa who've had their entire families destroyed. That's too big for me to even think about. I'm talking about people we go to church with and pass on the street. The amount of pain that some of these people have gone through is enough to make you ill just thinking about it. Going through it...some of these people I can't even imagine how they are walking around right now. I thought I'd been through some pain. Well, I have been through some painful stuff. But...pain on that level. I don't know what I want to say about this really. People hurting though. It's really scary. Think about. As a Christian I have to say that God loves this hurting person just as much as He loves me, and there is nothing standing between me and pain like that than God's mysterious will. I'm not here because I'm better. She's not there because God loves her less. If God wanted it, I could be in her shoes next week or next year. I haven't earned any exemptions from pain any more than anyone else has earned their pain. That is the terrible grace of God, and honestly, but for the grace of God I don't see how any of us could withstand His grace. God is good, but He is not always gentle. It's hard learning about both of these. When we're mad at God we want Him to be a monster so we can feel justified in hating Him. We don't want to say "I hate you" and hear in return "I love more than my own life. I will never leave you. I am constantly seeking you own best." What do you do when the one you want to hate most refused to play your games with you? If Allen is any indication...eventually you fall in love. Allen has taught me more about God's love than any person alive today. When I was screaming mad, hating myself and him too, he just held me and loved me until I pretty much gave up. It's really hard to hate in a perpetual onslaught of love. Of course sometimes the love makes it harder. Once we really come to terms with God's love we break our hearts again that a loving father has hurt us so badly. We want to run and hide until our father makes the pain go away, but our only refuge is in the loving arms through which all our deepest sorrows come. I really don't know how we do it. I certainly don't have enough faith to bless God in my darkest hours. That's something He'll have to do in me if He wants to hear it. I'm not being rebellious or flippant here. It's really something I don't think I have the strength to do apart from His grace. I suppose it's times like these when heaven seems only too far away. I suppose life is sort of like skinning your knee at the end of the driveway and waiting for your dad to come pick you up and carry you into where everything will be made better with Snoopy bandaids and fresh lemonaid. Life isn't just that, but I don't think it's less than that. All of us wounded and waiting for the place where all our tears will be washed away forever by Christ's love. It's like that hymn we sing at church:

1. Ten thousand times ten thousand,
In sparkling raiment bright,
The armies of the ransomed saints
Throng up the steeps of light.
'Tis finished, all is finished,
Their fight with death and sin;
Fling open wide the golden gates
And let the victors in.

2. What rush of alleluias
Fills all the earth and sky!
What ringing of a thousand harps
Proclaims the triumph nigh!
O day, for which creation
And all its tribes were made;
O joy, for all its former woes
A thousandfold repaid!

3. Oh, then what raptured greetings
On Canaan's happy shore;
What knitting severed friendships up
Where partings are no more!
Then eyes with joy shall sparkle
That brimmed with tears of late;
Orphans no longer fatherless
Nor widows desolate.

Someday we will arrive inside the terrible grace of God and find nothing to fear -only grace and love.

Btw, Dad, if you're out there somewhere. I miss you.

April 11, 2008

Beatles v Allman Brothers

Sorry, Elisa, the Allman Brothers are winning.

Blackbird was pretty cool though.

Why won't clean things stay clean????

Ok, so we clean up the back bedroom. Then we fold laundry in there. Therefore the back bedroom is no longer clean. But our bedroom is so not clean that we didn't want to do laundry back there. Then there's the living room. It too was clean, but yesterday contained a lot of blogging, scriptwriting, and dancing which meant that nothing got too cleaned up. Ok, so the kitchen got cleaned. That kitchen is always getting cleaned. It's ridiculous how much cleaning that kitchen can take and when I'm not even cooking no less. So it's blog, clean, scriptwriting, cook, think about sewing, look up swing shoes on the internet, get distracting learning about random kings of England, dance, think about sewing some more, run errands, blog about all the aforementioned...It's a crazy cycle. I've actually been doing pretty well. My energy levels have been good, but Allen has also pretty much been letting me sleep at late as I want due to a combination of me running around and us staying up too late a few times this week. It's awesome, but it also means that my window of opportunity (so to speak) is rather smaller than average. I suppose I need to just stop blogging about all this and just get a shower and get some of it done. I do confess though that it's just a wee tad frustrating.

Ok! Things I want to tackle today.

Kitchen cabinet.
Living room
Play Script
Cushion covers
Sending Carla that stuff I said I'd send her days ago.
Fix supper
Meet Elisa for more scripting

If I get brave....the bedroom.

April 10, 2008

Lindy +Youtube=why I'm still sitting on my couch

The stuff is seriously addicting. I watch it and watch it until I'm exhausted just from watching and hearing the music. It's wonderful. However, I have a clean sewing area, and I fully intend to take advantage of it. First though, a few script notes.

April 9, 2008

Flylady and Chaos or why I'm so proud of us

In the Flylady system chaos stands for "can't have anyone over syndrome." It's so true. There were times my mother-in-law would say she's dropping by, and I would completely panick even though she's the last person in the world to judge a person by their surroundings. But I did. I panicked, and then I panicked some more because things just weren't within 15 (or even 30) minutes of presentable. But praise be to God things are so much better than they were. For instance, we had a couple over last night. The husband is considering a career change, and Allen was sort of giving him an intro to programming just so he doesn't start on a college course and decide he's not interested. This is the sort of the thing that as a wife I'm really interested in helping Allen do -minister to other people using his strong points. Problem. The computer is in the back bedroom which also doubles as a sewing room and general stashing place. He and I both had been doing some work on it to get papers filed and things put away in the closet. Unfortunately the place was still an absolute wreck. I almost didn't know where to start. But...they were coming over. It really needed to be at least some better. WE GOT THE WHOLE ROOM CLEAN in about 30min. I was so proud of us. I honestly didn't think we could do, but apparently all our other bits of work had gotten us to the point where shuttling things away in the closet (mostly neatly) and throwing away the trash was all that remained. It was so incredibly freeing to see that huge expanse of vacuumed, decluttered floor. It makes me want to go clean out my freezer now.

Anyway, I'm not a model flybaby by any means, but she's right. Baby steps. You can do anything for 15min. Just start where you are, and you'll be surprised how far you can go.

April 8, 2008

Green eyed and hating it

Ergh! I hate, hate, hate jealousy. It's stupid and destructive and abso-freaking-lutely drives me up the wall. I stil get jealous. The craziest part is that I get jealous of people when I would never in a million years actually want to switch places with them. I'm jealous of who people who are close to their sisters, who's fathers are giving them away instead of watching from a back row, who have backyards. I want their funny houses and vacations and rosemary bushes and best friends, but I don't want to give up any of my neat stuff. I want my Allen and my green sofa and my cast iron pots. I want my books and my interests. I still want your stuff too. Is that pathetic or what? If I'm jealous of other people's lives maybe I should just get up off my sorry rear and make something of my own? Maybe I should think about that one a little harder? Gosh. It's pathetic. I'm most jealous of community though. For years growing up I heard comments: "you're so sweet," "you're so smart," "you inspire me," "I enjoy watching you." All of which were accompanied by various hugs and head nodding gestures meant to convey warmth and sincerity. I can literally count on one hand the number of times that actually turned in a friendship of any kind. Actually take away half my fingers on one hand, and I still think I could do it. Yeah, major pity party. Whatever. I'm tired of being treated as wall art!!! I'm not around to passively decorate your personal world. Jeesh. Put up or shut up here.* I want to have a decently large network of friends who look after each other and care for each other. I just don't know how to make it work.

Ok, I confess. I'm self-centered. Also, I grew up talking more to adults than to peers. With adults you just talked about yourself, and they were happy. With peers (who now happen to be adults) it's a little different. They don't just want to hear about me. I know this. And how many times do I completely miss the cue to ask about their life? Tons. It's embarrasing. I know I do it so much, and I don't know how to stop. I'm just not one of those people who can get inside your life story in ten minutes. I don't know how to do. I want to care about people and laugh and suffer with them, but I'm such a self-centered, messed up bundle of insecurities that I tend to bungle it a lot. Try not to hold it against me. If possible be my friend.

Ok, angsted out. I really do have a wonderful life in many ways. I have some good friends whom I look forward to getting to know better. I just needed to get some of that out. If anyone is reading this who I know personally...I promise not be whiny and pathetic just because you were invited to Freddy Foobar's birthday party and I wasn't. I may however blog about it :D

*This does not apply to anyone to whom I haven't made previous overtures. If I owe you an e-mail, send me a mirror, and I'll lecture myself for a while. If you knew me in highschool or even possibly college this probably completely applies. Not that I'm carrying specific grudges. It just got old quickly.

Culture shock of a peculiar kind

Last week was a little bit nuts for me. I had something (occasionally multiple things) going everyday, and I forget that my energy levels can still be pretty unpredictable. When I'm up I'm soaring, want to get everything done, trucking out to Home Depot for some plants I absolutely had to go buy that day, but then when I get home, beautiful portulacas in tow, I look around and say, "oh, dishes, bedroom, why did I spend all that energy running around?" Duh, it's more fun to pick out spring annuals than to hang up yesterday's laundry. The week concluded with a lovely lingerie shower for a very dear girl who's getting married in under two weeks. I don't know her very well, but her whole family are good friends with Allen's family. The mom actually did a lot to help with our wedding back in August 2006 and is one of the sweetest ladies I know. However, therein lies my culture shock. If you don't want to read plain musings on feminine sexuality then I suggest you stop right here 'cause that's what the rest of this post is going to be about...

Let me start of with an observation that struck me deeply. When Katy started opening her boxes and bags I made the joking remark "let's see if there's anything in there that will make her blush." By the end of the shower I felt I had been pretty ignorant to say anything of the kind. Lacy, tiny, sheer, black, white, short. As her grandmother put it, "some of those aren't for sleeping." Katy opened everything with undiguised pleasure and amusement -occasionally commenting how her fiancee had been quite excited to hear about this shower and how he must want to be a fly on the wall. Blenders and tupperware are all well in good in their place, but guys don't get married for a matching set of china. The real hitting point for me was when she opened up a gift from her grandmother. Apparently the two of them had gone shopping previously, and the gift Katy was opening represented her grandmother's final selection from among the various trifles they had perused together. I will add that this wise young wife-to-be admitted feeling a tad weird at first shopping thusly with her grandmother, but I don't think it lasted long because she pulled out a sheer, dainty confection that told me something about how Katy got be that radiant, joyful waiting bride exulting over her feminine finery. I looked around. Katy, her mom, her grandmother. I began to see that my remark earlier had only shown how far I still had to go because I began to see (as I should have known) that there was absolutely nothing there that should/would have made her blush. It was like my mother-in-law told me once when we went to pick lingerie for me "I'm a wife, and you're about to become one. It's ok." There's nothing to be ashamed of here. Sex is one of the blessings (and duties) of marriage, and children (daughters) should be made to understand not only the probibitions against it's misuse but also the vast pleasures that await its lawful use. Unfortunately there are some many moms who don't think that way. Katy's mother and grandmother were obviously eager too see she had everything she needed for her marriage, and part of that meant nice lingerie. To me it spoke volumes of the wisdom of that family in preparing each sucessive generation for the vast mystery of sex. There. Bluntly said. All of us women there, married and single alike, had come to celebrate the marriage bed and the joyous lovemaking that should occur there. In preparing herself for her husband she had everything to exult over and no reason to blush. Neither did she have any reason for bravado. The marriage bed isn't a dare. It's honorable, and there's no more reason to swagger over having been there (or expecting to be there) than there is to swagger over driving within your own lane. Unfortunately for me I never got that sort gut level understanding of marriage, and some of my shrinking before marriage turned into a sense of bravado afterwards which, like the shrinking, is centered around the idea that there is something either to shrink from or to dare. And the shivering center of that idea is shame. I've felt this sentiment myself and heard it echoed in others -lawful embraces make me feel something of a slut. Good girls aren't interested in such things. The fast one's are. If I really enjoy the physical pleasure of my husband's embraces it must mean that I really have something of the slut about me. But of course it's the opposite. It's the fast women who are aping the true pleasures of marriage and not the other way around. Unfortunately too many dear women have gotten it all wrong, and are teaching their children (especially their daughters) all wrong, which then starts another marriage off wrong...Praise God I had the sense to seek counsel and had some good friends who were able to point me in the direction of true peace and happiness. Praise God as well that He's brought me so far from where I was. Still...a group of women, some in mom's generation or older, naturally and joyously heralding another woman's journey into wifehood...I found it startling and beautiful. I began to grasp things about genteel, feminine womanhood I'd never realized before. Mostly, though, it challenged my ideas about mothers.

April 1, 2008

coffee v tequila and the joys of Script Frenzy

You know there are some times when I'm not sure which one is more potent. Tonight I went and script frenzied at Starbucks with Elisa and Carla (and O.Z.) and (thanks Cal) enjoyed a free peppermint mocha. Whew! I was ok driving home, but now my head is nigh unto spinning. I feel like I've been sipping rum or tequila instead of creamy, sugared, sorta kinda coffee. I'm starting to remember why I don't drink coffee on a regular basis. It can seriously makes me tipsy. There was one time in Knoxville during a writing center staff meeting that I really did start acting drunk. I started laughing more and talking louder. Embarrassing. Afterwards I stayed away from coffee at meetings and stuck with hot chocolate or tea. Anyway, I just thought this was curious.

On another note, I am officially an amateur playwright! I'm currently working on the second act of my opus debutus in which we meet Esme (fairy-godmother in training), Amaris (protagonist), Lord Henric (Amaris's father), and Lady Ileana (her mother). We also receive hints that this whole "invite the fairy-godmother to the christening thing" isn't as straightforward as it appears. To be continued.