Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

As you know, today is Memorial Day. And if you have read my blog since last year (poor soul ;) ), you will remember how much I love soldiers. NOT LIKE THAT...(okay, like "that", too), but in a deeply appreciative way. I hold them in such high regard, and with such deep respect. If there are any soldiers out there reading my blog, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU, so much, for our freedom, for your bravery. If you are the family member of a soldier, thank you for your bravery, too, and your sacrifice. My friend, Blake, wrote a wonderful blog post today, and I would recommend you hop over here and read it, too. It was really thoughtful and touching.

My Grandpa Everett was a soldier and I used to love hearing his war stories. He taught me to respect and admire soldiers, and everyone who serves our country. I miss him today. His heart. His bravery. His respect for America. His smile.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Something rather life shaking happened a few weeks ago. It was one of those moments when what you realize suddenly isn't at all what you had always suspected. Or maybe, rather, isn't at all what you wanted to believe.

I went to the library and was looking for a book. I usually judge a book by its cover, to be honest. Once I see a book's cover, I HAVE to find out what it is about. It is something strange about me. I do the same with greeting cards, but I digress.

I saw a book whose cover was a nice color of purple (I do love purple) and the girl on the front was framed in lovely flowers, so I picked up the book and read what it was about.

The back cover said it was about a young girl who sings mezzo soprano (my heart stopped part 1), and she was going to Europe to sing opera (my heart stopped part 2). Something turned my body to stone, and I stiffly put the book back on the shelf. I am a mezzo soprano. I was going to go to Europe to sing opera. A moment later, I take up the book again. I put it in my pile of books, hand the stack to the librarian and check them out, the purple one, too, and leave the library.

When I arrived home, most of the books came in the house with me. The purple book with the opera singer framed in flowers stayed on the car seat. Not on purpose...at least, not consciously. But we all know, looking at the story now, that it was certainly done on purpose SUBconsciously.

I read all my books. When they were due back, I returned them all...except the one about the mezzo soprano. That one I renewed. It came in the house after a few days of life in the backseat of the car. I placed the book in the empty bottom dresser drawer. It looked fine in there. The lovely purple looked fancy against the dark brown velvet lining of the drawer, and the cedar smell made it seem appropriately placed.

But as the days wore on, I began to realize something. The something I hadn't wanted to see before, at the library. I was mad at the book. I was mad at the girl in the book. I was mad at the author of the book for writing about something that was so raw to me. I wanted to read the book, as a lover wants to see her sweetheart's affair. To show strength. To prove it doesn't hurt. But it does. And besides, no one else really cares either way. When the book was due back again at the library, I dropped it carelessly into the metal outdoor drop box and walked away, but in the back of my mind I tried to remember the book's name, or where it was kept on the shelf in the library, just in case I was ever braver, stronger than I was then, and could stomach to open the cover of the book.

A few weeks later, I found myself sitting in the back seat of a car owned by my two best friends, Megan and Vinny. I had known them in college when their relationship was nothing more than a bud on a shy rose bush. During those college days, I lived in the dorm in a six person room with no room mates. The round walls and high celelings reverberated and the occustics were just fine. I was the only one living in that end of the dorm hall, and I found myself singing at the top of my lungs almost every day. The southern Virginia sun would shine through the floor-to-celing windows, and the sound of my singing melted away the homesickness of freshman semester in a town far from home. The dorm mom confided in me that she often walked that hallway to my end, just to listen to me singing. Now, as I rode along while Vinny drove, Megan said something. She said she wanted to hear me sing opera. The broken arm of the basketball player may be healed, but he still cannot play. The runner's foot may have healed, but still she does not run. Maybe I COULD sing...but something is saying I can't now. I tell her I am too shy, and she leaves it at that. And that moment was worse than anything else. It was dropped. My voice. My talent. My deepest desire. I let it drift away, out the car window and away on the warm breeze.

I thought of a marathon runner. They train and run. But let's pretend this runner sits and does not run for two years. If a friend one day asks her to run a marathon in the morning, what would she do? What could she do? She would feel that striking of pavement beneath her feet. She would feel the burn in her arm and leg muscles. She would hear her breath coming steadily. And then she would shake those memories and reply to her friend with a "no", and a brief explanation that she can't.

I didn't realize the impact of that moment of my saying no to sing. It passed quickly, but not a millionth of a second later did the force of it catch me and take my breath away. But I will tell you this. I have never wanted anything so badly in my life. Music pulses through my veins just like blood. I cannot take it out of me. It may be trapped inside of me, but it is there. Sometimes, the yearning to sing is so strong that I cry. I miss it like I would miss feeling fresh air on my skin, or water on my tongue. It is something that makes me LIVE. And it cannot be taken from me. The desire to sing, the pain of not singing...it is painful. I was mad at the girl in the book because she could sing when I cannot. It isn't that I am unable to sing. I would never say "I don't have the talent to sing" because it is a lie so deep and so obvious that I might as well try and say there is no blood in my body. It is such a basic truth that denying it would be just silly. I like to believe I am humble, that I would not brag about something I am good at. But saying I can sing, to me, is not bragging...it is a cold, hard fact. And even if I were the worst vocalist in the world, I could not deny that that music is pulsing, coursing through me. I was mad at the girl in the book because she was walking the road I cannot. She is feeling those feelings that come only through singing, that I am deprived of.

Sometimes, I try and sing my opera songs. Those tunes that grew in me like another organ. But it hurts, it sounds wrong, and it pains me to know they are there, but loosing their strength. They are there, but they are atrophying, like an unused muscle. And the pain of that is physical, and the pain of knowing that wreaks havoc in my soul.

What would I sacrifice to sing again? I often answer that question to myself, alone, behind eyes pinched tight to hold back the tears that come anyway.

Monday, May 16, 2011


And now, the moment you have ALL been waiting for..... (drum roll)


Okay, I KNOW my sister took more pictures of them...but she hasn't sent them yet. :( However, as soon as she does, I will share! :) Here are these two to get ya started though. ENJOY! And let me know what you think. Do they make him look too "girly"? Do they make him look too...I don't know..."gangster"? (There are few things I want T to avoid more than that look! YUCK! No baggy shirts or baggy pants for him! So there.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back From California

I am back from California! So many wonderful things happened that it is a bit overwhelming at the moment.

For three days I had meetings with some very amazing, incredible, talented people. It was so inspiring and uplifting to be around such great minds.

After all the meetings were over and most people had gone to the airport, five of us were "left over" and we all went to this amazing beach. I actually got to touch a sea anemone! It was incredible! I was so excited I screamed, and one of the men in our group thought something was wrong and rushed to my rescue...only to find I was screaming for joy and amazement! He doesn't know how overly dramatic I am. :D

After the last of the group caught their airplanes for home, I stayed another two days to visit my dear friends, M and V, who were hosting the meeting of minds. I am VERY allergic to cats, so since they own cats I could not stay at their house. I was pretty bummed about that, but THRILLED that I got to stay with V's mom who lives just down the street from them. Her home is so inviting! She has this personality that everyone adores. I was able to spend a lot of time visiting with her, learning about her amazing life, looking at her beautiful garden, and gazing with awe at the quilts she makes.

One night we went to M's parents' house and celebrated her Dad's birthday. Her parents are also amazing, and I really see where M and V got their good hearts and happy dispositions. M's mom also quilts and she showed me some of the quilts she is currently working on. SUCH TALENT! She even let me use on of her most beautiful quilts to wrap up in when I was cold. It was an honor...her quilts are beautiful!

M and V have THE CUTEST little boy, and it was so fun to snuggle him and see his contagious smile. In all, the week was priceless and I am so thankful I was able to go.

California, I fell in love with you all over again. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

California, Here I Come...

GUESS WHAT?! GUESS WHAT?! We leave in the morning for CALIFORNIA!!!!! I am in the mood to sing all the California songs I know (as you got a taste of in the title to this post). I can NOT wait to see some of my best friends in the WHOLE WORLD, and their sweet little boy.
Aside from spending some great time with friends and soaking up some California sun (well, as much as you CAN soak up with sunscreen on!), some majorly exciting things will be happening there as well that may or may not involve Sixteen Small Stones. Please PRAY everything goes well!!!!!!

See you sooooon! :D