Sunday, May 31, 2009

WE ARE ALL JOHN DENVER!

First of all I loved the movie, OH GOD! and for me it always possessed some pretty darn good ideas. I've included the John Denver interview of George Burns (as God) clip. But, I also love the part where an interdenominational group of church leaders present God with questions to answer to prove John Denver has spoken to The REAL GOD! I believe this clip really makes sense in some very profound ways. If you disagree let me know! You have to at least laugh!




I also copied and pasted the following review of this movie....

This is a great example of how the secular world would like to picture God, even with concessions to Believers such as, "Yes, God is still alive." Unfortunately, in the name of humor - and it IS funny - they make the fatal mistake most Biblically- ignorant people make: they put God on the same level as human beings. So, here we see God portrayed humorously by George Burns but really not a whole lot more than any good human being, anything but holy and perfect God. For just one example, in the film, "God" admits he makes mistakes. If that were true, he wouldn't be God. Puh-leeze.

Why not connect the secular to the sacred. Seems like we need both and they need to be connected! Maybe this movie was prophetic when you consider what is happening to organized religion! I suggest you go to the following blog for more on this topic and even more to come! http://rj-whenlovecomestotown.blogspot.com/ The author of this review is guilty of the same literal and limited biblically expert thinking that has plagued Christianity for a long time. This art form, film, does communicate relevant thinking, as does music, poetry, painting, and literature to name a few. If truth can only be expressed aesthetically--in story, picture, film, dance and music, then things that can be imagined are open to be re-imagined and that reality scares people because they want to possess the truth for themselves in ways that preserve the way things are and give themselves the illusion of being GOD!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Little Star and Tears of Sadness and JOY!


Pictures and video provide so many precious memories and you know that when you take them you are preserving a moment for the future. Of course, I never dreamed that future would come so soon when Vicki died in December! I watch some video and have begun to look at some pictures, and of course, I have cried many tears. But again, I want to say these tears are expressions of pain indeed, but that pain is a reminder that we loved so very deeply! God's love and JOY exist even in that pain. For those that don't think the JOY of Christ exists today in this life and time are wrong! If they open their hearts and minds they could see and feel it too, even in some very dark times. It isn't always evident. We may not always be ready to feel it but it is there.

Bailey, my son was extremely close to his mother. He was her star and I always so admired the strength and passion that Vicki nurtured Bailey with. Without her.........things would have been so very different! As I was saying, some pictures go right to the depths of my soul and pull out tears that cannot be contained. The picture I am posting here shows Bailey at about 2 years old being hugged by Vicki. I don't remember exactly, but he had either fallen and hurt himself or was just exhausted and burnt out from a day of fun. The picture just emanates love and nurturing as she wraps herself around him. The Following song by Madonna is one that I would imagine Vicki would sing to him. I have always loved this song written by Madonna for her daughter!


Bailey is beginning to let his feelings out about losing his mother! It breaks my heart when it happens but at the same time I am grateful that in his own way and at his own pace he is allowing himself to feel.


Just a quick funny story...Bailey was always keenly aware of where his mom was and one afternoon (he was about 5 years old) he was downstairs and Vicki was upstairs. He lost track of where she was and yelled, "MOMMY! WHERE ARE YOU?" Vicki yelled from upstairs, "I'm at Walmart!" Bailey hearing her voice, but believing her, began to cry thinking she had gone without him! We both started laughing hysterically. but Vicki was sure to rush downstairs to hug him and reassure him! From that point on for the rest of Vicki's life whenever Bailey asked where she was was, I'd say, "Walmart!" I sure do wish that is where she was right now!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TREASURE!

I love it when I am searching through my music and find a song that I really never listened to before! You know you buy a CD and listen to the hits and because of time issues you never really get to listen to the whole CD or maybe you just missed a song. I ripped all of my Cd's onto a portable hard drive at lossless quality and I love how quickly I can access any Cd or any song in seconds. I found this song and it just felt right! Like buried treasure it gave me chills and moved me in a way that feels so familiar and yet brand new too....

So no great observations :-) in this post just a song that meant something to me in a moment...and it felt good!



I have been in need of energy and the next song has lots of it..plus with lines like"I believe in love surviving death until eternity", and "I believe that God does not endorse T.V, evangelists!", it has some meaning! I was into Savage Garden and love some songs by Darren Hayes after Savage Garden ended!


Please give a listen......What??? Am I turning into a DJ? :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

For James and Dianne!


I thank the lord there's people out there like you!






Saturday, May 16, 2009

A RADICAL SHIFT IN VISION!

This entry is inspired by a sermon that I just read on my minister's blog. You should read the sermon...this is the link....http://rj-whenlovecomestotown.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-dont-sin-and-salvation-any-more-do.html.....then you should also read my recent post titled, The Tale of the Wedding at Cana. That post was directly inspired by the chapter entitled..Water to Wine...The Epicurean Jesus. Both the sermon at James Lumsden's blog and this chapter connect quite directly. Christianity's obsession with sin and salvation can become like a revolving wheel of failure and promise and failure. Like a ball and chain, church, suddenly becomes a guilt inducing, failure driven cycle.....sort of like a hamster on one of those wheels where you think you are going somewhere but your just spinning in one place.

In his sermon James quotes many to make the point that in this century we need a shift in vision...he says, "So in the spirit of Jesus – and his call to love and mature in authentic joy – I want to suggest this morning that I think the time has come to let go of some of our sin talk. And then goes on to say, "You see, I believe that the time has come for us to speak about the human condition with depth and breadth – with nuance and subtlety – with tenderness, honesty, affection and grace. And Christianity’s historic obsession with sin is just… incomplete at best. It is often unjust and even harmful to those who have been wounded by life."

Thomas Moore validates this point by talking about how the Epicurean Jesus models human life. "He distinguishes between legalistic spiritual practice--following rules, honoring authority, observing traditions--and living with compassion. The old way is one of authoritarianism, guilt and constraint. The new law is to honor people not for their position but for their humanity, to serve all people, and to be a healing presence wherever you are." Sounds similar to James and his idea about the obsession with sin and salvation. I say OK...we have been saved...reunited with God....but that is an entrance ticket to live a full life...move on..... live and endure the light and the dark, the sin and the joy, success and failure, all life has to offer with dignity, grace and love.

Lastly, Thomas Moore talk about how society and culture imparts to you what is important...how things are. He says religion has it's own way (Obsession with sin and salvation to name one.) of providing not what we need, but in fact, an escape from what we need, which is a connection with the world and your own "precious identity". I don't know about you but my mind is swirling with ideas! Moore says true Jesus living offers life rather than escape from life! James connects to this by saying, "Let’s find ways every week – in worship and reflection, in acts of justice and compassion – to consciously make a shift away from an obsession with sin. He then goes on to say, "Salvation is about our life together. Salvation is about justice, peace and compassion within community and beyond it, too. It is about shalom – a word that means right relations between all people and creation – about the healing and hope… and joy. Indeed, salvation comes from God although it also involves our response." Hmmm sounds like water to wine and the wedding at Cana. We do need a new vision..people seem to long for spirit not dogma. They need love and compassion...community!

One last thing and I wholeheartedly believe this....to live this Jesus way.....it involves risk since it is pretty radical. Jesus was radical enough to lose his life for what he believed and how he lived. We too can live the way Jesus did and there is risk in a cruel world when you offer this "life affirming" philosophy!

Thomas Moore says, and I have to quote because it is so profound!
"To live this intriguing way of the Dionysian Jesus is to say yes to life every step of the way, in spite of the possibility that you will be torn apart, judged, and crucified. You live and die in each moment. You love so much that you risk separation and loss. You are so creative and original that you shock your friends and neighbors and are lacerated with criticism. You are so loving and so powerful that no one can stuff you into any notion of conventional gender, and , like Jesus, you may be full of contradictory qualities: soft and bold, powerful and tender, radical and simple." Whew! I love that quote! You can't get to this place preoccupied with your entrance ticket to live life...you have to take the ticket and act with intelligence and your own unique, creative self. Again, remember James earlier quote , "You see, I believe that the time has come for us to speak about the human condition with depth and breadth – with nuance and subtlety – with tenderness, honesty, affection and grace." There is such a connection there!

Lastly, I want to include a quote that I used to begin a memorial video that I made in honer of my Father back in 1993! He died at the age of 60 from lung cancer! This quote is so perfect with all that is going on with me!


One must be natural
and easy.
Take the happy with the sad.
Feel as one who
looks.
Think as one who
walks.
And, when it is time
to die,
remember the day
dies too.
And, the sunset
is beautiful.
And, beautiful too,
the enduring night.....
That's how it is,
and so be it......... Fernando Pessoa



Friday, May 15, 2009

IN LOVING MEMORY OF VICKI..Part 2

In my first post concerning Vicki and the ceremony her school held to dedicate the Morningside School lobby in her name I had hoped to include the short speech that her building's principal had given that day. A short time ago he e-mailed it to me and I want to include it here....

Good afternoon everyone. Some seven months ago, classes gathered in this lobby to take their annual class pictures to celebrate and capture the beginning of a new school year. Students, staff, and faculty gathered and posed with big smiles for that snapshot of a moment in time that they will remember and look back at for years to come. In this lobby, Vicki proudly stood with her class with a huge smile along side of her students full of hope for a new year.

In December, we came together as a Morningside family to honor Vicki’s life as a mother, wife, friend, and teacher. Today, we gather in our school, a place that Vicki truly loved, to once again recognize the impact Vicki had as an educator for over 20 years here. There is truly no way to memorialize Vicki in a way that would demonstrate how profound her impact was on the staff, faculty and students who worked with her over the 20 plus years she was at Morningside, but today we take time to remember and honor Vicki.

Many of us have been told that time heals all wounds. As I have grown older and have been put through many of life’s tests, I realize that time does not necessarily heal our pain, but does help to dull the razor sharp edge of our grief and hopefully turns tears into more of a smile when remembering someone we care about.

When the time came to honor Vicki, we asked ourselves how could we memorialize a teacher that loved Morningside Community School so much, a person that thought of teaching as her passion rather than a profession, that always put the needs of her students before herself? What symbolic gesture could we put forth that would represent and honor a person that had such a strong but graceful presence here, and represent her memory with honor?

Vicki had a true love for her students. Every single morning she greeted her students by name as they walked into their classroom. It was important to her that they feel welcome at Morningside and that they knew they were part of another family, our Morningside family. In a way, this new lobby welcome area will continue her tradition of greeting our students and families at the door of our building . We all know that the Morningside lobby of the past certainly was not all that welcoming. This new area will help to greet our families and make them feel comfortable and welcome in our building, something that was very important to Vicki. Vicki was a very private person, one that was not impressed with flash or glitz and certainly did not want to be the center of attention. With that in mind, we thought it was important to honor her in a subtle way. Now, as we enter our building, we can simply look to the left at this new welcome area and remember Vicki with a smile, keeping her prescence and those great memories close to us. Others can read the message imprinted on these benches and know that the members of the Morningside family will remember her forever.

I would like to thank the members of the Morningside staff as well as the Morningiside and Williams Elementary School PTO’s for contributing to this memorial

I would like to introduce Steve Forfa Vicki’s husband.

I have mentioned other times in my blog that it isn't always obvious why a certain song can appeal to you. Sometimes it is the music or lyrics. other times it could be the memories that are attached to it, like what you were doing the first time you heard it. Sometimes I think the notes just reach deep inside of you carrying a message that is translated by your experiences, memory...soul! The song "How to Save a Life' by The Fray was, and is one of the songs that really brought out my tears after Vicki's death and I could truly feel it reaching deep inside me. I went to YouTube to try to upload the video to this blog and could see that the song is truly spiritual and meaningful. Unfortunately it is not a video that can be embedded in this blog, so I am pasting the link to to it here. PLEASE! CLICK ON IT AND WATCH THE VIDEO!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmFi2snLr7o

A second song that is very new and off their new CD called, I Found You is a great song and again shows the spritual angle that The Fray brings to their songs. The lyrics include a particularly meaningful section for me...

Losing her
The only one who's ever known
Who I am
Who I'm not, who I wanna be
No way to know
How long she will be next to me
Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me




Actually, the music video is so good I'll paste the link since it cannot be embedded!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obhdTlImFBo

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Tale of the Wedding at Cana


I am reading a new book by Thomas Moore, Writing in the Sand..Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels. So far, it is amazing! He introduces the wedding at Cana, which is usually referred to as the first of Jesus' miracles, as the "resonant" event in the gospels and the key to the message Jesus was trying to convey to humankind! Kingdom (of heaven) living requires a shift in vision and this story of changing special water reserved for rites of purification into wine is a metaphor for this change. He changes the idea of spirituality from a life of purifying water to a life of intoxicating vitality. I'll include the following excerpt because I could never say it as well although I added the words in parenthesis...

"Our tendency toward being virtuous and pure, especially those of us being raised in religious families, is changed radically in the life and teachings of Jesus. Instead of striving for purity and innocence (water), we aim for vitality and pleasure (wine), a life of joyous intimacy with friends, family, and neighbors (wedding). Instead of living under obligation and defining ourselves by hard work, we could appreciate the importance of pleasure. We could see that the flat ordinary life is like plain water, while the spiritually alive life in real community is more like wine"

Jesus was torn apart, crucified and rose again just as grapes are crushed and rise as wine. This is the essence of Jesus teaching...to live a transformed life by looking at the world with a new vision and find heaven on Earth! A hundred sermons could be preached from this story at Cana. In fact, Moore goes on to say that one must consider Cana when considering the last supper because "the full mystery of Jesus' teaching would be incomplete without it."

He also uses Noncanonical gospel passages which really intrigues me. The idea that men left out stories to fit their notion of what was important is proof positive for the need for individual thought and imagination when considering the Bible! I can't wait to read more!

This song is a favorite and I am thrilled about including it here! The lyrics fit pretty darn well too!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Crying in the Rain!

I threw this video together late last after finishing my last entry. I really like the way it came out even though I did it very quickly. I also love the audio quality of my own video uploads from my pc.

It is so often true that children learn to keep the life they lead and pain they feel in an alcoholic home secret. Just listening to music was never enough for me. I used to sing each song like I was the lead singer and everyone was watching me. The fantasy felt so good and the escape was life saving! Of course when my father came home...the music had to be turned off!

Something cool happened when I made this video. I went online and found some art that I liked and quickly dragged the pictures onto the timeline above the music track. I paid no particular attention to their order and in no way knew how they would line up with the lyrics of the song. When I did a run through to see how it would look it lined up pretty well and the EACH RAINDROP IS A KISS FROM HEAVEN picture lines up perfectly with the line from the song, "raindrops falling from heaven could never wash away my misery". Interesting irony!
video

I am eternally grateful to mother who is the person that put music in my life. She was only 17 when I was born in 1956 and had a decent collection of albums and 45's that I listened to. She liked rock/pop and had a taste for country as well. She had Johnny Cash records as well as Beatles 45's. I remember discovering her Everly's albums and wow....what great music to sing to. The Everly brothers are an incredibly important group in the history of rock and roll. Even the Beatles list them as an influence! I copied this Bio to save my brain....

The Everly Brothers were not only among the most important and best early rock & roll stars, but also among the most influential rockers of any era. They set unmatched standards for close, two-part harmonies and infused early rock & roll with some of the best elements of country and pop music. Their legacy was and is felt enormously in all rock acts that employ harmonies as prime features, from the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and legions of country-rockers to modern-day roots rockers like Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe (who once recorded an EP of Everlys songs together).

Everything is Everything??

So, here I sit alone...Bailey is doing a sleepover in the neighborhood with a few friends and I am in the middle of two weeks of the most intense sadness I have felt since Vicki died. In part, I think it is because life has gone on, routines have formed and loneliness and sadness is all I feel. It is like I am feeling the pain for the first time! Denial is gone and all that is left is this container that has me imprisoned in this life changing journey! People expect me to be OK and I am not. The sky is still blue but different. The sun shines but it just isn't as bright. It takes a lot to get through a day. Sometimes I sit and think about what I need to be doing for an hour before finally moving. I come home from teaching and nap for an hour or so. A teacher colleague read my blog and felt like she should apologize because she worried that maybe she was insensitive because she realized she assumed everything was OK for me and that I moved on. I've thought a lot about Springsteen's album, The Rising, and the song You're Missing. In it he talks about Everything being Everything...but you're missing! So much is the same but your life is upside down. This is truly a strange journey. For me death is so mind boggling and confusing in some way!





This Cd was such an emotional healing sound for me after 9-11.......

I remember the emotion of songs really giving me outlets for my emotions as a kid. It was like I could feel the pain or sadness in a song even if the lyrics in no way connected to my circumstances even when I was very young....with no one to talk to about life in an alcohol ravaged home and probably no real understanding about what was happening to me music was my friend. This stuff wasn't something to talk to others about, but songs really provided a way to feel safely! I remember listening to and loving the Everly Brothers and one song in particular..CRYING IN THE RAIN. I remember tears and deep soulful connections to songs like The Poor Side of Town by Johnny Rivers...





I still feel the same today when I hear this song...music is so amazing...I know it saved my life! This so song is sooooo perfect.



Sunday, May 3, 2009

MY GUITAR HERO

It has really been a rough week. My energy has been low and motivation was out the window. I know there will be times like this and I know God's grace sustains me and my son. Church was awesome today and gave me a spark. When the service ended and I got into my car and Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys was on the radio....pretty cool! Anyhow, I have to take some time to talk about my 13 year old son, Bailey. He is talented musically and is just a really good son! He plays percussion in school (7th grade). That means he plays many things including the xylophone. But he also plays the piano, guitar and recorder. His teacher says that he has a gift. He can play music that he hears without reading notes! He has never had a piano lesson, yet in the school's fall jazz concert he played the piano in addition to percussion and xylophone. We are both struggling with the loss of Vicki. Bailey was incredibly close to his mother and I am proud of how strong he has been. Together we struggle! We need each other more than ever, but we are both hurting, mourning and figuring out this new world. IT ISN"T EASY! Bailey loves guitar hero, so we decided to make a video of him playing the game. In the video, he says he going to play a Metallica song but instead he plays Cliffs of Dover. I hope you enjoy it! Bailey loves the idea of being on the internet! Oh yes thank you to Don and Judy...members of our church, who had us over for dinner Friday night. They are so nice and the food was excellent!

video