24 April 2009

driving across Texas and random things

Texas is great. Where else can you just randomly drive past tons and tons of places that look like this? I saw all sorts of places like these in the last week.

Everywhere on the way back to Dallas on I45 looks like this these days:

Sometimes there are bluebonnets, a few or a whole lake, but always the greenness, the lovely trees, the fence, the sky, everywhere. Usually with other wildflowers, too.

A few hours ago, my husband finished taking an 8-hour engineering test! We are both so glad it's over, his studying took up almost as much time as a part-time job for the last 5 months. I made brownies for him tonight and ate a lot of the batter just now. We are going to Copeland's tomorrow to celebrate, and I am going to drink tons of Mardi Gras punch and eat lots of shrimp and pasta.

Yesterday, my brother's car broke down for good, (which he'd been expecting since Novemeber) in the middle of Texas, and he had to sell it to a junk yard in the middle of nowhere. It "threw a rod" or some such thing. My brother had to wait for 6 hours at McDonald's in a town called Gun Barrel City, until I could get there to pick him up. Even though he had a ton of books with him, and a sketch book, it was still a long day. My drive from Dallas to Gun Barrel City (never heard of it) was so beautiful, and I saw so many lush seas of bluebonnets, this is exactly what the road looked like:

Well, it was four lanes, but that was the only difference. And around dusk, I saw a field with no bluebonnets, but it had really, really big puddles in it, and lovely trees, so that looked like the Wood Between the Worlds!

Then I picked up my brother from McDonald's, with his two huge tupperware containers of books and other things that had been in his car. It was dark by then, and as we drove we just talked and listened to music, and it made me really happy to hang out with him. We went to spend the night with one of my best friends, whose birthday it was, and I got to give her some things that I had meant to mail to her. We saw her last weekend when we went down to meet Libby, but this was kind of a surprise visit. Surprising to all of us, and it means that I have driven some 25 hours or so since last Saturday! But driving is worth it, to see the people and the countryside.

This morning I took Stephen the rest of the way to College Station and came back to Dallas, just in time for work. We drove through the most wonderful fields, with magical-seeming trees and wildflowers and grasses. Those fields feed my soul somehow. It was so good to be out of Dallas. I don't really think Dallas deserves to be part of Texas for many reasons, but not least of them is that it does not even have the awesome normal grocery stores that the rest of the state enjoys. Well, neither does Ft. Worth, but it's at least better in all other ways.

I LOVE all the countryside in Texas, but north of Houston is one of the prettiest places in the spring and summer. It is a shady, glowy green, like I imagine Ireland must be, with flowers and wild-looking trees and old fences. I wish I could have taken pictures of my drive on TX30 from Huntsville to College Station this morning. I tried to find some kind of like it online, but nothing would really equal the trees. Here's what the glowy green was like, though. Even though I saw greener, this was the only picture that reminded me of it enough:

I think it's the trees and the green that gets me, more than the bluebonnets, even. And when there's an old house or barn or truck in the field, I love that too. This is what I miss when I am stuck in this town. I cannot wait to live out there someday and have a great big garden.

15 April 2009


For the last few months I have felt sort of helpless, sitting at home and watching our new president stomp all over the U.S. Constitution in ways I never could have imagined. The only thing more stunning than his obvious contempt for the document is the fact that it seems not to bother the people who voted for him. I cannot think they all wanted this. Probably many of them are just good people, who thought they voted for a good guy. I guess. Or maybe they are so far removed from remembering and respecting our history in the world, that they see the our Constitution in the same light he does.

I am passionately upset about him and all that he does, and how the mainstream media worships his every move, just as they twisted Bush's. I am angry about what he is doing to our national sovereignty when he goes overseas, and how he seems to think spending and spending money that isn't there is going to help us. I don't see why people seem to think it will help. Would anyone treat their own household or business finances the way he is treating our national finances? Why would something work on one level when it has already been proven not to work on many other levels? (And, I might add, on the national level in many other nations!)

But what really gets me (aside from his lack of respect for the lives of unborn children)is the striking disregard he shows for everything our nation has been built on. I am so mad I cannot even spell. I am literally retyping every other word! That could also be because I drank far too much coffee this morning, but still. If you cannot see what he is doing, I seriously question your logical-thinking abilities and your education about American history and government, two of the admittedly few subjects in high school (and since then) that I actually studied (and study) with a passion. But if you feel you need proof of the current administration's disregard for these things, I feel that I would enjoy providing it. And it would probably be good for me to articulate the things I am seeing. That will be another post then.

Anyhow, a particular friend, to whom I vent a lot, frequently informs me that she is not a congressman, and that I should be venting to them. I should get involved. Channel my passion. Write to my congressman. I know. And I do sign petitions by the wonderful ACLJ organization as often as possible. But I admit that I have not really done normal political activist things like writing to my representative and so forth. I should, especially since I love to complain about these things.

But those things seem so futile. I feel like one lost, lonely voice that will never be noticed. However, tonight, I am going to a tea party. In Dallas at the City Hall. I am so excited to be together with other people who do not want their children and children's children to be born dependent on the government because of the very debt that the same government has caused them! (Really, folks, who thinks that is going to be helpful? It utterly baffles me.)

I'm happy. I'm passionately happy. Just to be involved in some tiny way. Being involved makes me happy. But being stood up for by my governor makes me happier. And gives me hope. Especially in light of the completely demoralizing fact that it's my president who has to be stood up against.

I know that this gathering will not change anything immediately, and that business as usual will continue in the Obama administration, but it feels good to finally be involved. Tea party, here I come! I'll let you know how it goes.

11 April 2009

thoughts on an imperfect Easter

Easter weekend. Thinking about reading my Bible, which I left in the car and some point this week and have not brought into the house yet. Avoiding getting too close to Steve's face because he has had a fever since Wednesday night. He might be getting better today though. (I was trying to type "getting better" and I typed "gettering" instead. Getting + better = gettering!) Anyway, I miss getting close to his face. I am sure that if he did not feel so bad, he would enjoy the break, because I touch his face a little too often for him, but he has learned to bear it well. He comes from a family where they have this strange thing called "personal space." I'm not sure I entirely understand it.

We were going to have our own little Good Friday service last night, but for some reason we never got around to it. I feel that Easter weekend is a time to reflect. On the cross, on His mercy, on how to tell people about it. Not that I don't reflect on that every single day, at least a little bit. Gratefully, incredulously, happily. At some point, every day, I am over-awed by the mercy of God sending Jesus. But I have a notion that on Good Friday, Easter, and the Saturday in between, my reflecting should be specific. On purpose. And I feel that to sit and reflect purposefully, I have to have the whole house all clean, and nothing distracting me, except maybe a cup of tea, and I can't be in my pajamas. I can't be sitting on the couch, on a bed of sheets and blankets with my Eeyore and my pillow, eating muffins while the coffee table is covered with glasses and cups of tea and sprite from yesterday.

The Lord doesn't mind all that, I think, but since I do, I'd like to get up and do something about it. Instead, I rest, lazily on the couch, since I have a headache, and I fear (from much past experience) that, because I am tired and there is sickness around, any extra exertion, be it working out or just cleaning the kitchen, will land me in bed with a fever and antibiotics for the better part of two weeks. Not cleaning up, just wishing to. Not making my yummy menus, just thinking about them. Not reflecting on the cross, just thinking about reflecting.

I've slowly come to a realization–one not just for today, but any day when I let perfection (or the absence of it) dictate what I do–that the Lord puts us in our physical circumstances, on purpose, so we can learn, but I don't learn, I just use circumstance as an excuse sometimes. Now I think of Corrie ten Boom, in a gross, disgusting, really sad concentration camp, infinitely worse than my cozy, messy house, and how she could have thought, "Worship? Read the Bible? Not here, this isn't the place, this isn't the time." That sounds really silly, but when I think about it, that's what I do all the time.

Now, not to advocate leaving one's house or self an awful mess and only considering spiritual matters, because God gave us the physical world as well, and bodies and houses are important, and always will be. But He is more important, and those things only matter because of Him.

07 April 2009

I have to get this off my chest!

I realize that facebook, texting, e-mailing and other forms of modern communication take their toll on grammar and spelling. I even find it understandable (though not excusable) when people get their "there"s, "their"s, and "they're"s mixed up. But there is one thing that has been driving me too crazy for too, too long now:

WHY am I the only one who seems to know how to spell the word "yay"? I mean, some people spell it that way one day, and like this "yeah" the next, or even this, "yea." And I am completely flummoxed by that. (I once got that word, 'flummoxed' in this word-of-the-day e-mail thing from dictionary.com. (I know. How dorky.) I had always used it, when the situation called for it, but had no idea that it was in the dictionary. And in the etymology section, which you know, usually contains a lot of old latin or french, the e-mail said simply,

"The origin of 'flummoxed' is unknown."

I am still laughing, just at that sentence, the sound of it alone, even if it didn't convey such odd information.)

Anyway, I feel that I have a complete understanding of the differences between "yay", "yeah" and "yea" (although not how to separate them with commas, apparently) but nobody else seems to get it. Not even my well-read little sister, who had read all great literature including The Iliad and The Odyssey by the time she was ten years old. I mean, sorry, I get beautifully spelled letters, cards, postcards and e-mails from a lot of you, I probably just see facebook too often. Here is what people do.

They say something that sounds exciting, like, "I made a chocolate cake today!" or "You're coming to town tomorrow!!! :) " and then, they say some sort of "yay" word, as in, yippee, yeehaw, or goody-goody-gumdrops. But they spell it in one of three ways. There is "yay" which is not the most common, but which for some reason I deem correct. The only correct one. Then, there's "yeah" which I am pretty sure is simply a casual slang for the word "yes" and nothing else, and pronounced very differently from "yay." Then, there's "yea" which I've only seen in the King James Bible and probably Shakespeare, (well, AND on everyone's careless and grammar-less facebook profiles.) "Yea" is pronounced the same as "yay" but means something different. Sort of "yes" but sometimes it's used differently. Like "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." And seeing it used to express happiness and excitement just makes me, well, annoyed, but there's also a sort of ironicness to it. ("yah" is another common variation, but I think it's way too dumb to address. How could anyone think that the vowel sound is long when there's an 'h' on the end instead of a 'y'? Yah! Doesn't that mean giddy-up?)

I am not using the international phonetic alphabet to correct any of this because I don't really know how to make some of it on my keyboard. But what person, who can't spell the word "yay" properly, could read IPA anyway? (So just in case they're reading, it wouldn't even help correct them anyhow.) "Yay" may or may not be in the dictionary as a real word. I don't know. Maybe it is. I have not looked any of this up anywhere, it is just what I think every single time I see the word "yay" misspelled. And for all I know, "yeah" and "yea" may be acceptable alterate spellings of the word, but I think they're totally different words and it annoys me to death that nobody seems to know that.

They probably do, they just don't care. I'm sure that's it. I hope. I so cannot believe that so many people would be so devoid of the knowledge of a few simple words in their own native vocabulary. I wonder why I care. I wonder why I think this through every single time I see one of those other words when I know someone means "yay." What is so hard about spelling "yay" anyway? It's spelled phonetically, for crying out loud!

So, to sum it all up:
Yeah = slang for yes
Yea = yes, if you're the Bible or Shakespeare
Yay = Yippeeeeee!!!

Got it?

I'm sure I make tons of grammatical mistakes; too many elipses, (elipsises?) not a strong grasp of hyphens and all that, (hyphens-and-all-that? just kidding) too many of these :) and difficulty being quite correct when quotations and puntuation have to be used after the same word, but, I don't know...

At least I actually know what I'm saying when I write or type "yeah" or "yea."

If you think this post is mean, go learn some grammar. But you can do it happily, like, while you're eating cookies or something! That's what I would do. :)

06 April 2009


I have a rather brilliant piano student in about 6th grade or so. I once played the piano at her grandfather's birthday party, and it seems that over the years, I have met her whole family, grandparents, mother, father, sister, aunt, etc., many times. More than one usually meets one's students' families.

This child has an Aunt, Emily, who has also taken lessons from me in the past. Off and on, since adults are usually so busy. Emily used to have brain cancer years ago. It recently came back. She has tried everything, many times, and there does not seem to be too much hope left for a cure. Her doctor says that when her current treatment ceases to be effective, she will have a year, more or less.

This lovely, kind, normal family seemingly has no idea of God. Maybe they believe he's around somewhere, I'm not sure, but in the e-mail updates from Emily's mother, there seems to be nothing but a grasping at whatever medical hope still remains, and an acknowledgment that they are all sad and depressed and dreading the end, but doing all they can to keep happy and enjoy life now.

These e-mails have put to rest the doubts that I had about assuming that they have no idea that God is there, in charge, and that He cares. If they had any hope in the Lord, it would have come through. So I am left to suddenly, shakily, whether I want to or not, realize that there is a reason that I know them. An inescapable reason. The same reason I know anybody who doesn't know Jesus. There really are no accidental meetings. I pray for all my students, that they will know the Lord someday. I tell them if I can who He is and what He has done for me. I pray for Emily, for her healing, of course, but what would a few more years on earth be if eternity were not addressed? Mostly I pray that the Lord would prepare her heart for whatever He might say to her, through me, or any other Christian who might be a part of her life.

I am a little nervous to know that I absolutely have to go and tell Emily the Truth, but I am so glad that I can. I am so glad that I know Him, that He died for us and covers us with His righteousness, and that He will be there when we die, just as He is here now. I cannot think of the words I'll say, or how one brings up the afterlife to a person who is most likely dying and trying not to think about it. But the Lord will give me words when the time comes, I know. It's a desperate situation. I am not especially close to Emily. I was her piano teacher for a couple of years. I have never had a life-threatening illness, so who am I to speak to her about it? I don't know about all the pieces to the puzzle of this girl's life. But I have the one that matters, and I know that sometime soon, I have to tell her.

I think about visiting her, and hate the thought of bringing up the topic of death, but it's really about LIFE. Eternal life, eternal beautiful trees, eternal worship, eternal music and singing. Perhaps not eternal sunsets, I suppose, since there will be neither sun nor moon there, (Revelation 21?) but I'm sure the sky will be lovely colors anyway. I want her to know what I know. Who I know. I have never lived a day in which I thought that death would be the end. I cannot imagine how sad I would be if I thought that, every time I enjoy or love something or someone, to think it will all be over one day! I have never seen a sunset or heard a symphony, or taken a breath with the sadness that must come with not knowing that you will spend eternity alive, and with the source of beauty, and music, and truth, and life. Life. This is not about death at all.

But if you think of it, pray. That Emily will have an open heart and be able to hear the Word of God. That I will be bold, and that the Lord will give me the words to say. I know He will, because He knows that I am absolutely counting on Him for that part, because every time I go through what I might say in my head, I cannot even bring it up properly or coherently. Pray against the enemy, who hates this. And pray that the Lord will open her eyes. I pray these things so desperately. I don't know why, since He knows what I will ask before I ask it, but I do.

04 April 2009

But if I didn't take these breaks...

...from posting, I would have tons of posts that look like this:

TIRED!! I have spent the last 3 weeks feeling very very sleepy all day and all night, and I have been very miserable, but had to pretend I wasn't, which was probably good for my character.

or this:

Why is everyone dumb?

or this:

I HATE this town!! I hate this wretched, wretched town!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why would anyone live here on purpose?

or this:

How does one stop hanging out with people with whom one has entirely nothing in common anymore, yet the people don't realize it. Only you do. You go, and hang out, and try to talk, but they don't understand anything in your life anymore, and you just try not to offend them with your tiredness or your difference from them, but they insist on being offended anyway. I guess that's how you stop hanging out. (for further and more articulate and comforting explanation, see here.)

or this:

Today I cleaned the house and went to work and came home and sat on the couch and felt lonely and sorry for myself, because Steve was studying, and I see him once a week, it seems like.

But I should explain that last one. He really has been studying a lot, but 1) I am grateful that he's going get this certification thingy, because it will be good for our future. 2) He is so diligent, I know he will pass. 3) He cares so much about me and our marriage that he does special things for me, like brings me flowers and things, to make up for not getting to see me very much, even though he's tired and busy. And that (his caring so much) is something that I can never be thankful enough for, and that I just don't deserve at all!

So it's alright. Everything will be okay, but I just don't post sometimes, because I am tired, and tired of the world, and I think everyone is dumb, and mean, and I hate everything, and almost everybody, and especially my students. And if I told you all that, you might be rather offended. Because I say it rather cuttingly when I am in those moods.