Thursday, December 15, 2011

This is a late-night post, most definitely. Or early-morning, whatever you prefer. But for me, this is about bedtime or an hour outside of it. What is a late-nite post, anyhow? One that borders on lack o' judgment, usually. I've sent a few late-nite emails lately and it hasn't turned out all bad. The one I sent to Lois Duncan ended up with a surprisingly quick and personal reply from her--and if you haven't read any of her young adult fiction, you really ought to. And M Ryan Taylor has been pretty nice, too, considering haha.
I'm in my office--down the hall, in the living room, Something's Gotta Give is playing. Sometimes I put movies on for the white noise-ness, for the illusion of another person's presence. Then again, it could be just because I'm addicted. Movies are a legal escape, you know.
I've had a pretty crazy December--Messiah sing-a-long, Christmas recital for my students, and now finishing planning the choir's Christmas program---I kind of wonder how it's going to turn out, but I'm not too worried--it is just for church, after all, and if all else fails, we could always sing a bunch of Christmas carols from the hymnbook and who doesn't like that? :) Our ward recently split, though, and I was told that there is some kind of background worry that the program will be good enough or something like that because "our" ward is in charge of the combined service---versus the other ward? I don't know. All I know is that my music chairperson was adamant that we try to use equal amount of ward members from each ward, and more from the other ward wouldn't hurt. Personally, I don't give a damn about that kind of bullshit. If that's what is really going on, then it boils down to two wards competing to see who can honor Christ better. haha Oh, we humans can be so petty sometimes, right?
I suppose I have a serious topic in mind that I feel like putting out in the "open" right now. I'm thinking about quitting the LDS church. It's something I've thought about for years. Years spent in a constant emotional inconstancy---I have long termed the status quo of my faith in the Mormon religion as a rollercoaster, up and down, up and down. My family and my close friends know it and just roll their eyes. I'm getting tired of the ups and downs, though. I'm ready to try to find a more stable place, a healthier view of my own spirituality, and try to not be angry at God.
I've been reading a lot of ex-Mormon blogs, posts, etc. I don't always agree with all of the viewpoints, but it's interesting to read. If I do leave, I may or may not need a support group. I may or may not need therapy. Knowing myself, I won't get the therapy and I won't join a support group. I just don't function that way.
I've been trying to mentally prepare myself by thinking about my spirituality outside the confines of a set religion, a prepared set of beliefs, an organisational system. All I can come up with so far is my connection with flora and fauna. Would I still pray? Would I still give thanks? I'm trying to prepare myself for those kinds of things. If I don't believe in codependent prayer the way the Mormons do, I can still send good thoughts toward others. I can still state aloud that I'm grateful for my life, and the trees and the wind and the moon and the sun may acknowledge it. And what about the idea of a supreme creator? A god or a goddess? I must say that this world seems suspiciously like it was created by a man or men for a man or men, but does anyone really know for sure? And if the proof that there is a supreme creator is that this world couldn't have just sprung out of nothing, then what is the rationale for the supreme creator's beginnings? Should I even care? Does it really matter? Shouldn't I just be concerned with living my life the best that I can? Am I prepared to say wholeheartedly that I don't believe in God, the Bible, or the Book of Mormon?
Now: why? The patriarchal order of it all is one big, huge impetus. Training the women to rely on men for spiritual advice (bishops, stake presidents, etc.), for protection and leadership (the father of our home leads the family...), for relationship-building (God and yet not his supposed wife and our supposed mother), for side-taking (either the evil male son Lucifer or the good son Jesus), the cruel, morally wrong, and perverted practise of polygamy (and the church deems homosexuality to be an abomination?!). The LDS idea of heaven is another reason. In order to reach the utmost level of happiness, as a woman, you must agree to continually bear offspring and then stand aside while the men just create world after world and rule them like crazy. It just doesn't seem appealing--not any of it. I wouldn't mind an eternal, cozy nothingness after I die.
So, I am considering it very seriously. What do I believe if I don't have anybody telling me what my feelings mean anymore? I believe that I would be less angry and conflicted.
I have found that you can remove your names from the church records via email now, and that seems like a nice, efficient way to go--not to mention that you'll have a nice, electronic copy as proof that you did send it.
As time has gone by, I am realising more and more that I just don't believe in most of what the church puts out. I am not really a Mormon, but I've sure tried hard to make myself believe that I could be (if only I were better, different, more faithful, etc).
End of late-nite spouting and bad writing haha.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So I just came home from my friend's wedding in Utah, which was beautiful and fun. The older I get, the more weddings I go to, it seems. One thing that I really enjoy about weddings is the palpable love that is ever-present. So many times, I feel blessed to be allowed to share in that love and experience it through the words, faces, and the unnoticed glances of the wedding parties and guests. It's a touching, beautiful thing when it's right. (On a side note, I notice that many ladies are ├╝ber-reluctant to catch the bouquet these days haha, myself included.)
I flew, which I haaaate. Usually, I deprive myself of food and sleep on the day that I fly so that I will be more apt to sleep through the flight and also so that I won't have to use the bathroom on the airplane much or possibly get sick or something. It took a total of 6 flights to get me to and from my friend's wedding. Gulp. Well, the first one was the worst, of course. Then the second and third started to come a liiiittle bit easier. The day I flew home, my first flight was out of Salt Lake City and I sat next to a man who was going home to Phoenix. He must have noticed my constantly-darting eyes to the window for verification that we were still right side up and not upside down and the constant twisting of my excess seat belt. Whatever the case, he started a conversation with me and we talked the whole flight. He didn't mind my sometimes-nervous responses or maybe my sometimes-mindless chatter. He mentioned his family right off (good for him!) and he said he felt very lucky because his family all had good jobs and his wife and daughter had the flexibility of at-home jobs. I am grateful to that man who took the time to help a very scared fellow passenger.
On the last flight home, I took a small plane from Charlotte, NC to Knoxville, TN. It was a short flight, but veeeerry bumpy. I usually don't get that upset about turbulence, more about the takeoff and the possibility of going down in the middle of the flight, but for some reason, that doesn't include turbulence. However, this unexpected up, down, side-to-side stuff had me involuntarily grabbing the side of the seat in front of me and emitting small groans. I even closed my eyes and started whispering, "It'll be ok,'ll be ok." I heard a young mother behind me reading a book to her small child and if you had just listened to her, you wouldn't have known that anything was happening at all. She sounded so calm and intent on the story. The child seemed nonplussed as well. Across the aisle, another mother and her children were just gabbing away. And so I found myself whispering, "Brave parents." I don't know if I would be able to do that for a future child/future children of my own, but wow.
On the takeoff and the touchdown of that flight, the children across the aisle were saying, "Whooooooaaaa!" in awe and enjoyment of the experience and scenery. I thought about how children are so without fear and how I used to have less fear myself. Children get on a plane and they think nothing of the possible dangers and they think nothing of the turbulence. They just think, 'I'm getting on a plane. The pilot let me look in the cockpit and that was cool--he's gonna fly us home.' No doubts. Faith. Childlike faith. Don't know what that's like anymore.
I guess I've been thinking about marriage a lot more as I've gotten older, too. Yeah, I'm finally the 3-0, and it's fine (on the upside, people are still confusing me for a 19-20 year-old and in some cases, 12-14 year-old sheesh), but I'm feeling like my settling-in days are coming on. My 20s were for wandering, my 30s will be for focusing, and my 40s will be for...marriage? Childbearing? Dunno. So where was I? Oh yeah, marriage haha. I used to think that getting married young was a bad thing, but now I see it as a possible benefit in that you don't know too much about the world or the opposite sex or the dangers ahead. You just jump in with childlike faith and go for it. I'm definitely waaaaay past that point in my knowledge haha.
Today I rummaged through all the dresser tops and zippered pockets in various bags and my BYU plastic cup and found enough change to fill my car up with just enough gas to get me to Knoxville for a piano lesson (I know you were thinking Taco Bell haha). Being low on the cash flow is a side effect of teaching lessons, especially during the summer when half of your lessons leave (I'm up to about 16 students regularly now!) and especially when you roadtrip every few weeks haha. Anyhoo, I walked into the gas station and dumped my change onto the counter, apologising to the clerk. He was so kind, though. He told me that it was fine and that he needed the change, so I was helping him. I'm grateful for that little kindness.
Well, I read my last blog on here and I've partially updated what's been going on. As I said, I pretty much doubled my students since the last time I posted, but I'm considering applying to be a substitute for the school district (if their application date is still open) because it's still flexible and it would be a little more cash. I also want to start gigging around town. I've talked to some peeps, now I just need to buy a cheap PA system, record a demo CD (copyright some musik), and get a small website up. I'd do weddings too, if I had the equipment. I did end up taking guitar lessons, but stopped them about 2 months ago...possibly temporarily. They were a great help and a lot of fun and I was able to teach some advanced things to some of the advanced players at Girls Rock Vegas this year, so woo hoo! I got Rosetta Stone Spanish from my brother, so I've slowly been working on getting that done. I am just finishing my first semester at Western Governors University (an online school that my friend teaches at and it's just great). I decided to get a Bachelor's in Accounting because it's practical (who needs a degree for artsy fartsy stuffs anyhoo?! :) and it's usually a job that's always in demand in maaaany different fields and it's flexible--I hope to be able to work from home. I want to become a CPA, though, so I'll need to get a Master's degree, too. No prob, yo. No prob.
So those are the gratitude goods for now (as well as some extras...maybe too many exTRAYS--as Tori would say hee hee). Ciao! Buona vita!

Monday, May 31, 2010

So I realise (British spelling :) that it's been quite a while since I've updated my blog...thanks to my stepbrother who checked in 2009 and also in 2010 haha. I think I originally started this blog with the intention of listing things I was grateful for and we'll see if I'm in the right state o' mind to continue :).

I'm in the last year of my 20's and I want it to be momentous. I've always said that I couldn't wait until I turned 30 and now that it's around the corner, I'm honestly a little worried. I mean, it doesn't seem that long ago that I was 20 years old which means it won't be that long before I'm 40 and my life is halfway over. What am I going to do this year?! Weeeelllllll:

I quit the call center scene for good, for one. I've never really had a problem working at call centers and being on phones all day because, A, they're usually pretty easy jobs to get (which is helpful when you're addicted to not settling down and moving a lot), B, they pay okay for entry level, C, they're pretty flexible, and D, you can usually wear whatever you like. I don't know, I finally burned myself out. I told myself I wouldn't work at them anymore and then went and got hired at one in Oak Ridge. But at least it was only a bicycle's commute away and paid way better than the center I was commuting daily to (45 minutes each way) in Knoxville. It was a bit of a letdown to be let go on my first day of the new call center because of traffic violations from 5 years ago. But it was also a little liberating. I took some time to have a little breakdown and then I said that I wasn't going to 'work for the man' for a while. And I'm not.

I'm teaching piano and guitar lessons, for two. I've always talked about it and fretted and wondered if I could and now that it comes down to it, I have 9 lessons a week to teach and it's not as complicated or as scary as I'd always thought it would be. I've had these skills all these years and never utilised them to try and support myself. Wow. I had the best response from my craigslist ad and I've also had a lesson or two that's come from my mom's homeschool email group. I'm really enjoying teaching music, especially to people who want to learn. I am starting to understand why my teachers were always so frustrated with my slacking--it's so much more enjoyable when your students want to learn and do their homework so that you can really help them improve their abilities that much more. Anyhow, right now I'm able to pay rent, utilities, and my phone bill with the lessons alone. I'd like to take on a few more lessons.

I'm going back to school until I get my Bachelor's degree (at least), for three. This summer, I'm taking some courses that aren't really applicable to an English degree, but at least they'll raise my GPA since the University of Tennessee is somehow calculating my cumulative GPA a whole point lower than what my school is telling me I graduated with when I got my Associate's. I'd like to go to Tennessee Tech now anyhow--I've heard it's a muuuch better education, especially for the arts and humanities, and it's also muuuuch cheaper than UT. It is a bit of a drive, but if I plan it right, it won't be a problem.

I'm directing the ward choir at church, for four. I laughed when Brother Lowe first called me and asked me to do the calling because I haven't had aaaany experience. I still feel like such a klutz in front of my choir but they are so good and patient with me and I really am learning to enjoy it. I try to find songs that are a little different from the norm and so far, the choir seems to like them. As I'm also the primary pianist, I'm trying to find some children's songs for the choir to sing, too :).

I'm going to be able to see my sister give birth to her fourth child, for five. I've never been in Tennessee when she has her babies and I'm going to be able to share in that moment. I'm excited. :)

These are the 'for sure' events in the last year of my 20's. The 'pretty sure' events include: finally taking guitar lessons (yes, I just emailed someone on craigslist about it and yes, I'm serious), finally becoming fluent in Spanish, finishing and writing more songs, recording a CD, and gigging a lot.

Now, if I can just touch on something religious here. I've been feeling a large loss of faith since, well, my life didn't go quite the direction I hoped it would when I moved back to Tennessee in August last year. I held on for a while, but I finally fell. I do have the feeling that I could get back up and try again, that all my faith previous to this point hasn't been in vain (thank you, Laura), and that as long as I keep trying I'll be okay. My heart still hurts but I'm trying to move forward...anyhoo, back to the subject...Our choir sang Sweet is the Work today. They sounded beautiful and did a great job. I think music touches me so much--the combination of poetry and melodies just do me in. As we exited the stand and I went out the side door on my way back to my seat on the last row, I felt joy in the hallway. I turned back and smiled at the first choir member behind me, a young missionary. He smiled back. I think he felt the same way, too. I sat down next to my friend, feeling like reverently crying.

In primary, the director bore her testimony to the children before we sang a song and there was suddenly an influx of testimonies being borne by one child at a time. They spoke up and told stories that were heartfelt, and they were simple and they were about everyday life and they understood. They understood their faith and the teachings and they understood the impact it had in their life and that it could have on the life of others around them. I teared up behind the piano. These teachers that teach the children each Sunday, they love the children and the kids know it and are benefiting from it. Before the closing prayer, one child asked if they could all sing Sister Doe's favorite song for her because it was her last Sunday here--she and her family are moving to Wyoming. Church was officially over, but this room full of children waited patiently after the prayer was said, just waited for an adult to bring Sister Doe to the primary room so they could give her a final gift, the gift of a song, of music.

I'm grateful that I was raised in a home that was so full of music. I'm grateful that my mother taught me to sing and to play the piano and to appreciate music. I'm grateful that I was able to spend time with my grandparents today. I'm grateful that I'm being taken care of and that I'm able to have the luxury of not 'working for the man' right now. I'm grateful for the family and the friends that are so supportive and important to me and help me make it through when my head and my heart and my spirit is a mess.

And now I need to sleep :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

So, let's see how this color does. I finished my first block of classes with a 3.46 GPA (that means I don't want to tell you that I earned a C+, so I'll make it sound like I didn't by quoting my GPA ha). No, but I really am lucky and grateful to have gotten that C+ and finally passed a class that I've taken probably 3 times before. I've also earned more than 30 credits now, so I'm officially a sophomore!!! Woo hoo! ha ha My college has also become a University in the meantime, so I have a little bit o' school spirit, too.

I went out a couple Saturdays ago determined to find a good used bike. I'm getting more and more frustrated by our dependence on gas and the oil companies and the governments being able to control the prices so blatantly. I've had it. So, I'm going back to good, old-fashioned, wind-in-your-hair-and-on-your-skin, me-powered bicycling. On my way to my first yard sale, I saw a sign across the street saying Bike Sale and four bikes parked out front. What the heck, I thought, and I pulled over and tried out the one that most appealed to me and happened to be the same brand as my last bike, which was very reliable, thank you very much. Well, I rode it around and it just felt nice and looked nice and I wanted it. I asked the price and 90 bucks was worth me driving around and looking at other yard sales, though all the while I was thinking of how this bike really clicked with me (and I'd promised myself I wouldn't buy a bike unless it really clicked). Finally, 2 hours later, I went back and talked them down 10 bucks. I'm sure my dad could have done better, but I'm grateful that I at least know a little about bartering, thanks to countless flea markets with my dad and yard sales with my mom and grandma. One of the benefits of growing up poor, I guess. :) I've been biking to work here and there, and I rode my bike to the movie theater the other night, but I'm determined to step it up a notch and ride it to my school. I took a test ride this afternoon and found that it only takes 20 minutes, and that includes a nice-sized hill (not too bad on the easiest gear ha) and only 5-10 minutes longer than it takes me via car, depending on the traffic. Provo actually has a lot of bike trails and lanes. Nice. I'm doing it tomorrow for real. I'd like to get to the point where I feel guilty about driving my beautiful little Corolla when I don't need to. I forgot how nice it feels to get your body in motion and I loooooove the immediate contact with the wind/breezes/trees hanging down low. Also, I forgot how awesome parking is on a bike: right up to the front door. So there's my biking rant and I encourage all to get out there and see what car trips they can't switch out for a bike trip.

I'm going to start recording a solo demo CD with David tomorrow night! I'm recording all my new songs and I was going to do it with a professional guy downtown, but I am broke and David has Garage Band, which is free. Plus, I get to make music with me old bandmate again! He is a musical, well I should say, artistic genius, by the way. I am grateful for this opportunity. Kudos to David for getting adjudicated this coming December!!!!! Woo hoo!!!

My little sister sidestepped a future heartache with an important and difficult decision. Kudos to my little sister and I am grateful for answered prayers and people who aren't afraid to speak up when people are needing to hear them. It's also important to not be the person who says too much (yeah, that's me).

Another little sister delivered a cute, loud :) little baby boy yesterday afternoon. Woo hoo!!! I am grateful that it all went safely and that she could have family there and that her husband could at least be there via speakerphone. She and the boys will get to visit him in 2 weeks and I can't imagine what it will be like when he sees his first child for the first time. Wow. My sister is resilient, dang.

I took a walk through Ikea with a friend this past week and looking at their model studios made me realize that I could live very efficiently and effectively in a small home built on a better-sized piece of land made more affordable by the smaller home. :) If I were really ambitious, I'd grow my own garden, too. Jest thinkin'...

I'm gonna end this post with a little Mormon mantra, and to those who don't believe, they're still good words to live by:
"Therefore, strengthen your brethren(and sistas) in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings.''
That's from the D&C 108:7, if anyone's interested.

Peace out :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

So I wrote a song for my British Literature class. From the first time I heard this poem, I thought it would make for a great song, mostly because it's sad:). Anyhoo, here is my version of William Wordsworth's "The World Is Too Much With Us" and I hope you'll go and read the whole poem now.

My first block of classes is pretty much finished and I can really, truly say that I've been really, truly blessed. I am sooo grateful for all the goodness I've been able to encounter and partake of and participate in.

I had enough birdseed and origami paper and friends to help another friend out at his wedding. For free, when I was so broke.

I got a job that is so flexible, at which I can do my homework in the downtime, and is so simple I don't need to stress over it at all.

I've been able to visit friends and family so much and share in so many memories with them.

I've been able to make some new friends and meet some cool people.

Money has come when I've needed it most and at the best times...I'm so taken care of: consider the lilies (I looove that verse).

I've been able to do well in my classes thus far (knock on wood and don't wanna talk too soon as grades haven't been posted yet, yikes!).

I'll try to keep up on my positive postings and music and that's what I'd like to be more of anyhow: music and positivity :)