Saturday, February 21, 2009

Moving Along

I want to say Thank You to everyone who has been reading my Blogger posts. Your encouragement is worth more than you will ever know. It has been a catalyst that helps me to realize that I have something of value to offer the world.

In my ongoing efforts to reinvent myself, I have made a decision to change the format of my posts a bit and move them to a new service. I invite you to check out and see the new blogs I am posting, and check out my newly designed site. Yep....did it all by myself.

Again, thank you for stopping by occasionally, and I look forward to seeing you at my new "home".

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Interview

The first time I saw a list of questions, it was almost annoying to me. Answering those things requires way too much thinking. However, this week it seems all I have done is answer questions about me, what I think, how I feel, my hangups, my dreams, etc. At this point, I figure I'm on a roll, so why stop now? Here goes: Another edition of The Interview.

If you had only one day to spend $20,000 (or else it would disappear!), what would you do with it? I think I would purchase 20 of those monster-sized oak trees from Holland Gardens and pay to have them planted on the farm. If there was anything left over, I would be tempted to plant a bumblebee and butterfly garden over there. Who says money can't buy happiness? An instant park could go a long ways toward making me smile.

What would you like to be written on your tombstone? I first wrote my epitaph last spring when I was taking a really neat class called 48 Days to the Work You Love. It's certainly been a lot longer than 48 Days, and I'm still not at the Work I Love, but I have a really cool epitaph. It says: Angie helped people to feel great about themselves and develop their talents and abilities. She gave others courage & confidence when they had none to give themselves. She gave them health and hope and the knowledge to change their own lives, and in doing so created a legacy of health, wealth, and love in her own family.

What advice would you give to yourself in 20 years? "Keep Your Mouth Shut and Opinions To YOURSELF!!! Doing otherwise has seldom landed you anywhere other than twelve inches deep in a nasty mess." Naaahhh....she needs to learn that one on her own. If I know her like I think I do, she isn't going to listen to me anyway.

How did you know that your husband was your soul mate? For starters, he represented everything I wasn't supposed to have, do, be, or experience, and as my parents will readily admit, that was an irresistable wide-open invitation to me. Actually, I didn't know for sure even as I walked down the aisle. I just knew that if I had to leave that place without him, I would die. I had left him behind for four and a half years, and I knew I could not do it even one more time. Of course, there was the Saturday afternoon not long after we were married when we went to Mom and Dad's to help replace a dishwasher. Here is this old pile of junk finally sitting out in the yard after years of doing it's daily duty. My dad immediately started trying to see if the pump could be salvaged. Then to my utter dismay, my husband began discussing possible uses for the top basket. I looked at my mom and said, "I got one just like my daddy!"

It has only been in the last year that I have begun to realize how we truly were meant for one another. Things he knew and understood 20 years ago are only now coming onto my radar. Kind of blows the mind, but it is really cool--the thoughts and ideas we are now able to share.

What’s your favorite “me time” activity? Why? That one entirely depends on the temperature and windspeed. Assuming an insanely gorgeous day, I want to be on the farm messing with the chickens, digging in the dirt, imagining my dream cabin, walking through the buffalo grass, and saying blessings over my little trees. Why? Because I love the freedom it represents to me. Cold and snowy lends itself to curling up for a nap in front of the wood burning stove. I love being snuggly warm on a cold and cloudy day.

Where has been your most favorite place to live, and why? I don't exactly have lots of experience living in different communities, but I have had the opportunity to live in some different houses within the community where I grew up. I guess my favorite is the fairytail farm. It was simply amazing. I was pretty little, living there from ages2-6 years. There were these two old houses. We lived in one and the landlord/lady lived in the the other one. The pasture went for what seemed like miles right out the front door. To the east were these huge cedar trees with asparagus growing like crazy under them. Then there was the pond. That was just the coolest thing on the planet, and I was heart-broken when the pond had to be allowed to dry up. We used to actually fish in that thing, I think. There were all kinds of fruit trees around the pond. Trees were everywhere. One of them is almost 100 years old and it would take three people to stretch arms around it. And the went up in the sky forever.

The landlady used to take me out to the horse barns where we had Peggy (the good horse, but a mare), Peanut (an obnoxious biting shetland pony), and a gelding named Booger. That last one should be self explanatory. The landlady was an amazing person. She has always held a bit of royal mystery to me. I truly wish now that I had found a way to spend time with her as I grew older. I always loved to see her. I'm thinking that's another blog post. Anyway, this place was like a princess castle grounds to the little girl I was.

I'll end this post with one last question.
What’s your favorite quote and why? You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To Change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Buckminister Fuller I supposed this quote is my C4 for making things happen. So much of the time we try to modify the current standard to try and improve on it when it simply has nothing left to offer us. The only way to captivate the attention of the masses who resist even the smallest of change is to WOW them with some new amazing eye candy that can't be ignored. The other is left behind and forgotten and the new gains its foothold. Fighting the existing reality is quite exhausting and results in bloodshed. Creating something new is simply easier.

That's it for this edition of The Interview.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Living Contradictions

I have found a new blog site to follow. Actually I have discovered several in the last week, but I am really liking this one. It's kind of scary because it is almost as if this woman has climbed inside my head and is reading from the crevices of my brain.

So I'm reading these posts looking for nuggets that I can add to my treasure trove of self discovery, and I come across one entitled You're a Mess of Contradictions. How Very Beautiful. Okay. I'll take the bait. I admit it. I am a Mess of Contradictions. Let me see just how far down this rabbit hole I can go by answering some of the questions she poses in the blog.

First one: When has someone said, “That really surprises me about you,” “I can’t believe you did that”? Okay, slight variation coming, but not really. I am so easily intimidated and extremely shy. There are people who can just enter my presence and I will almost crumble into a pile of mush on the floor. As for parties, no thanks. If I have to go, I want to be with someone around whose arm I can wrap my hands and cling for security. When I have shared this with others, they laugh as if I have lost my mind. Comments like, "You? Intimidated by anything or anyone? Shy? Gimme a break! You are the intimidator! There's not a shy bone in your body!" Ironic that someone who is apparently a bit intimidating is in fact extremely intimidated by others who are outspoken or in a position of authority. And as for the original blog's author, give me a stage and I'll perform, but send me into a group of people to be social, and dental work is more appealing.

Number two: Where do you feel the pull to compromise vs. rebel? I would have to say where my paycheck is concerned, apparently I will compromise. This became very evident about a year ago when I defended someone in a very public way only to experience the disapproval of my superiors who strongly disliked what I had done. I had done nothing illegal. I had done nothing unethical or immoral. I had taken a stand on a matter about which I felt strongly, but which could have potentially interfered with the quiet exit they had sought for the person I was defending. When it was suggested that my actions had jeopardized my job (which to this day I am not sure was even legal on their part), I quickly cowed to authority amidst a mild panic attack and a couple of weeks of significant stress. I'm still not sure I've forgiven myself for being such a spineless baby. Fear won that battle. Not something I am proud of.

Number three: Guilt can be a primo indicator for inner truth tugs. What are your guilty pleasures or indulgences? Kind of a toughy here. I can make myself feel guilty for lots of stuff and still indulge. I guess the most significant is spending money. I LOVE to spend money. I love to spend it for products and services that reveal to me more about who I am. I like self-help books, self-improvement websites, spiritual discovery information, etc. I feel a teensy bit guilty when I indulge in them, and you can bet that if anyone else in the family spent money on that type of stuff, I would be very annoyed with them. I also love sweets. As a kid, I could find a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips in the deep freeze and devour them in a very short time period. I tend to hoard when it comes to sweets. I know I shouldn't, but that's how it is. Then my hips bear the guilt.

Number four: What do you save for special occasions {from your dancin’ shoes to your verbal affection}? Hmm...gonna have to think about this one. I guess I'd have to say the lace tablecloth that was my grandmother's. It doesn't come out very often. My wedding ring is another one. I am madly in love with my husband of 20 years, but I do not like to wear my ring. He doesn't wear his either. It's just too...confining. Jewelry of any kind for that matter. There had better be royalty showing up to shake my hand for me to wear jewelry. "I love you's" are saved for very special occasions. I wish I would let those little words slip out more often, but they just don't roll off my tongue with any ease. This is probably because they are frequently tied to tears (see a couple of entries further down the post), and I don't do tears. Actually I DO do tears, but not by choice. It's a genetic defect. They come at the most inconvenient and inappropriate times. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!

Number five: What would going “wild” look like for you? Gee whiz....that's kind of scary. Okay...warning. This part will not be G rated or even PG. Beware. You have been warned. Mom, Dad, children of mine, look away. I'll start with a gentle one. Going wild for me might mean getting drunk or high. I've been tipsy once, but never drunk and certainly never high. I'm too much of a control freak to let that happen. Going wild would be me buying two plane tickets to Paris (France, not Texas) for a weekend rendezvous with my amazing incredible hot husband. Wild for me would be me, him, trampoline, stars, no blanket, and me actually relaxing with four kids living at home. Use your imagination. See, I can't even come out and say it when I think certain people might read this. Going wild for me would be leaving the security of a monthly paycheck to live out my passions and dreams.

Number six: What do you deny yourself? Very little. Actually that's not true. I deny myself the right to cry when I want to. I hate crying in anyone else's presence. I just hate it. It's that control freak stuff rearing its head. I also deny myself the right to say what is really on my mind because I don't like hurting people or having them angry with me. I know. Hard to believe this one. Trust me. If I said what was really on my mind, I probably wouldn't have a friend left in the world and you would be picking up the tattered remnants of your shredded self-image.

Various other contradictions in my life: I am a pro-choice pro-lifer. I am a sarcastic, caring antagonist. I am probably a Christian Buddhist, and truth be known, I think Jesus was, too. I am a positive thinking worrier. I can be a very encouraging witch (....some of you will want to put the "b" in place of the "w", and I totally understand). I am a copy-machine-and-phone-system-challenged technology guru. I am a city-dwelling farm girl. Okay, that one is a stretch. I live inside the city limits of a town of 5000 people, but I am working my way to the outskirts of town where there is dirt and livestock and manure. I am a liberal republican and a conservative democrat, although Libertarian may be more accurate. I want to be in control, but I don't want to be in charge. And finally, I am a health, wellness, and fitness fanatic in an overweight middle-aged, need-to-exercise-more body. Kind of sad since that is my passion.

What about you? Any contradictions in your life?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Voice From Beyond

Desperation sometimes lands me in unexpected places. Yesterday is a prime example of that. I was asked to sing for a funeral, not because I am a great singer, but because I CAN sing decently, and the church was desperate for another soprano. It was a little weird. I won't go into details as to why, but it was knee-quivering weird just being there.

Nevertheless, I was glad to be able to help out. The granddaughter of the deceased is a former classmate of mine, and I am grateful that I was given the privilege of honoring her grandmother with beautiful A Cappella hymns. I am also grateful to have been present to experience something that may forever be emblazened in my brain as a realization that I have evolved and continue to evolve to higher spiritual planes. That experience is the subject of this post.

We sang a few hymns as requested by the family. My uncle, who was also singing with us, then went to the front to read the obituary. That was followed by a recorded hymn which included four different solos. If you have never really listened to A Cappella music, it can be hauntingly beautiful. In this case, haunting and beautiful are both understatements.

The first solo was sung by Melody, a daughter of the deceased, who was most certainly prophetically named. She has such a rich, beautiful contralto voice. Goodness knows it would be almost impossible for a son or daughter to sing at their parent's funeral, but thanks to technology, everyone will remember her resonant, unquivering voice delivering its message of triumph for her mother.

The second and third solos were sung by two ladies, both dear friends of the first soloist and members of the same singing group. Again, their voices are simply beautiful, and their recorded solos resonated through the church auditorium with an almost indescribable richness.

Then came the fourth solo. I don't know that I would have reacted the same way had I heard the song in a different setting, yet because we were at a funeral, my reaction was one that will be remembered for a very long time. The fourth soloist was a tenor. His voice was sweet and familiar. The wife he had left behind was sitting on the pew beside me as the other "desperation soprano". You see, Deryl left us a few years back to go hang out with his Jesus. Cancer took him from this dimension at a very young age. Yet there he was, right in our midst. His voice was as alive and full of beauty as it had ever been. I struggled to hold it together. I was not ABOUT to cry. No sir. Not me. I sat as still as a rock, not even daring to breathe. I swallowed hard a couple of times. I cut my eyes sideways enough to notice his widow reach for a tissue and wipe her eyes.

Let's be clear...he was the auditorium...with us. It was like he was heaven's usher reaching his hand out to the spirit of the lady whose body lay in the casket, his pure sweet voice singing its song to guide her confidently to her eternal home and the arms of her Father. Shivers literally rocked my entire body. My throat gets tight and my eyes well up even now as I think about it. Yes, he was there. I could not see him, but I certainly felt him.

There are those who say the deceased cross over and never come back to us. They base this belief on the story of the rich man and the beggar named Lazarus found in the New Testament. In that story, both the rich man and Lazarus die. Lazarus goes to paradise and the rich man finds himself in torment begging for a drink of water to cool his burning unquenchable thirst. When Abraham insists that Lazarus cannot and will not cross over to bring the rich man water, the rich man asks Abraham to let Lazarus go back to warn the rich man's brothers about the impending doom that awaits them. Again Abraham refuses to honor the request citing that it would do no good as they would not listen to a dead man's ghost anymore than they would listen to the prophets.

Many people for any number of reasons have their spiritual radar turned off. For them, as it was for the rich man's brothers, it would be a total waste of time for a spiritual being to attempt to communicate. They would reject the communication attempt as a figment of their imagination or attribute it to something they could easily explain away such as too much alcohol, fatigue, or being overly emotional and distraught.

Yet for those who are open and receptive, visits from the spiritual realm are a peaceful reminder that we are interconnected throughout eternity. Those of us who still possess a mortal body find comfort in knowing that even in passing, our loved ones are merely changed, not gone. They have been set free of the physical restrictions that the rest of us must still endure for awhile longer. Sometimes they find ways to let us know everything is okay. Other times, they provide us with a playful reminder of the things they loved.

Some Christians will see this description as contradictory to scripture. Others reading this will release a resounding AMEN and follow up with thanks for having the courage to put into words the things they have secretly felt for quite some time. Still others will simply say, "I never really thought about it like that. Maybe so, maybe not."

Jesus Christ came in part to enlighten us. A portion of his task was to lift our thinking and intentions to a higher plane--one on which we could fully communicate with him and with the Father. He told his disciples that's why he spoke in parables. The average person was incapable of understanding the spiritual message behind his stories. Yet his disciples, those whom he had chosen and those who had chosen him had been elevated to higher plane of enlightenment and understanding. They had the ability to "get it".

Saturday morning, when I realized what I was feeling as I heard the beautiful voice from beyond, I held a small celebration inside of my heart. I have come such a very long ways from where I once was. Slowly but surely, I am beginning to understand the many ways in which God communicates with his chosen ones. Some have the luxury of willingly choosing to communicate with God. Others like Saul of Tarsus and Angie of Texas had to be dropped square on their heads before they would or even could allow themselves to be lifted up to higher planes where communication with God is possible. I would suggest the need for aspirin, but the elevation and being in the presence of the Great Physician has done wonders for coping with the pain that I occasionally experience.

Hey Deryl, thanks for stopping by. It's been way too long. Let's do it again some time. Maybe next time a few more of your friends will get to experience your presence. 'Til then........

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My "One Thing"

I found a blog post this week that was entitled "What is the One Thing in Your Life?". The author was making reference to the movie "City Slickers" where Jack Palance tells Billy Crystal that the secret to life is One Thing, and he (Billy Crystal's character) has to figure it out for himself. Like the author of the post, I remember being struck by the profoundness of that statement, and to this day, City Slickers remains one of my all time favorite movies.

After reading Mary Jaksch's post, I again returned to that question. What is the one thing in my life that makes me me? Like her, there are several areas about which I am passionate. I am passionate about my amazingly wonderful husband. I am passionate about how much I love my kids yet want them to grow up and leave home. I am passionate about teaching others what I know about health and wellness. I am passionate about wanting to feel in control of my health and wellness. Maybe passion is my one thing? Or maybe not.

I am finding that my passions change as I grow older. When I was 18 years old, I was passionate about getting off the farm and having a real life. As I got a bit older and snagged one of my passions (the one that hasn't changed to whom I am very happily married), I wanted my kids to have neighbors they could easily visit. I wanted cable TV. I wanted newer vehicles. I wanted a big, nice house. I wanted to be free from mice and rattlesnakes, passionately.I wanted a job that paid decent and provided a long vacation. So I became a teacher.

Time rolled on, and I quickly discovered that I was NOT passionate about least not teaching children. I became passionate about computers, which is really ironic since only a few years earlier I professed my total disdain for the horrid beasts. Now I find that my passion for computers, or at least my desire to work with them and with people as they relate to computers, is gone. Not just sort of gone, but majorly gone. Outa here. See ya. Adios! I did learn from the experience that I need to be needed. I enjoy being appreciated. I get a kick out of helping people who truly desire my help and who strive to improve themselves as a result of my assistance. That's pretty amazing stuff. Probably better than any drug I could get off of one of the town dealers. I have also discovered that I am passionate about getting back to the farm...sort of. Maybe back to the land is more accurate. I want to be self-sustaining as much as possible. I want smaller, not bigger. I think I could really enjoy a little cabin in the woods or an RV on the ocean's edge at this stage of my life.

If my passions can change so easily, then PASSION must not be my One Thing. It can't be. The One Thing is a constant, right?

I'm sure there are plenty of well meaning Christians out there who would suggest that if Jesus were my one thing, I would have total peace and love life no matter what comes my way. Well....I hate to disappoint, but Jesus is NOT my one thing. I mean I like him and all that, but he simply is not what rocks my world. He is not the butter on my hot biscuit. He is definitely the jelly, but not the butter. Jelly is good. Jelly is good alot. Yet I can eat biscuits without jelly, but I just can't quite get them down without butter. Yep, Jesus is my jelly, but not my butter.

Then it hit me. There is one thing that keeps me going. There is one thing that I scratch and claw to recover when it seems lost. There is one thing that if you take it from me will instantly turn me against you for life. It is the one thing that I most resent losing.

For me, the One Thing is FREEDOM.

I need freedom. I want to be free to choose my life's destiny. I need to be free to choose what is best for my family and myself. I passionately desire freedom from government regulation. I desperately want freedom from the energy grid. I ache for freedom from status quo. I must feel the wind in my hair while being free from time. I long to experience the smell of an Hawaiian hibiscus flower without ever once thinking about how much the motel room is costing me. I want to walk hand in hand with my husband through the Alaskan wilderness as we gaze at some of the most pristene and awesome beauty on our planet without a moment's thought about restrictions. I want to be free from stuff. I want to be free from banks and creditors and regulators. I want to freely choose how to educate my kids. I want to choose who I help and when. I want to live and work on a piece of land without fear of the government taking it away because I didn't contribute to their ludicrously stupid corporate welfare programs. I want essentially what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry wanted.

The irony of freedom is it comes at high costs. The pendulum swings to the extreme because humans seem unable or unwilling to strike a balance. We desired absolute freedom from disease and death, and so we have become slaves to the pharmaceutical companies. We desired freedom from crime, and now we risk losing our right to own a gun with which to defend and protect ourselves. We chose freedom from terrorism, and now we are slaves of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. We wanted freedom from labor intensive small farms, and now we are slaves to a paycheck. We wanted freedom from processing and storing our own food, and now we are slaves to processed foods and the Food Industry giants. We wanted freedom from darkness, and now we suffer from sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue syndrome while our kids develop autism from mercury poisoning at an alarming rate. It's quite an ironic twist.

Nevertheless, my One Thing remains Freedom. People died for it. People have died to keep it. Unfortunately people will probably have to die to get it back.

For now, I will point my life in a direction that will provide as much traditional freedom as I can achieve. I am coming the my Mother health and wellness.

How about you? What is your One Thing?