Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Praise the Lord and Pass The Duct Tape

My last couple of weeks have been pretty much the same thing I write about every week: worship team responsibilities, lots of company and cooking, as well as several music-related outings. I have enjoyed it all, and I wouldn't want to change any of it.

However, in spite of that, it still amounts to tiredness bordering on exhaustion, and irritability, and lack of motivation, and the occasional emotional meltdown.

All I'm managing to do is the bare minimum, which is keeping everyone fed and the laundry done. Usually.

There's just no energy or emotional fortitude for much else. Because some days it takes lot of strength and commitment just to keep my mouth shut. If you know what I mean.

I've even been too tired to pray some days, even though I know that's probably what I need the most.

So I'm going to bed early tonight, to try to rest up, and hopefully start recuperating from whatever it is that's stressing me out. I wish I were like BigMama, and could make this outlandishly funny, or like AntiqueMommy, and make it poignantly humorous, but I'm not, so I can't.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Making My Life Sweeter

My tag line on my blog says "my life in three flavors: sweet, semi-sweet, and dark."

Well, in a way that's not totally true, because I don't write much when I'm feeling dark. And that's why you haven't heard from me for a week.

However, today I want to pick up some loose ends-- some sweet loose ends. Three of my blog friends have graciously awarded me sweet bling in the last few weeks, and I want to say a huge THANK YOU to them.

Here they are:

from Carrie at Chocolate the Other White Meat

from Ornery's Wife at Thoughts From Miller Manor

from Sarah at Slouching Towards Past 40

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You made my day twice: the day you gave it to me, and again today as I remember.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh, THAT'S what that was

Here's the list of song snippets from yesterday, not that anybody else is interested, but it was fun for ME.

To make sure I remembered right, I looked all these up on the wonderful, all-knowing world wide web, and I revisited all these songs, remembering my life at the time I first heard them, and wondering why they stick in my head to this day.

I've added a little to each one, finishing out the phrase that usually is in my head, that I left out yesterday when I was afraid I'd give it away.

1. "ninety-nine dreams I have had, every one, a red balloon": 99 Red Balloons, Nena

This one is from the years our kids were young and we had just bought our stereo. It was one of our most expensive purchases, and quite a splurge for us. I can remember crying at the beautiful sounds coming out of it. The first tape we played on it was "Ocean Music," something we picked up at a department store. It sounded like real water coming out of the speakers!

Anyway, one of the first other tapes we had was Nena, 99 Luftballons. I loved the German version, and still do, even though I don't understand German.

2. "money, money, money, must be funny, in a rich man's world": Money, Money, Money, ABBA

Another tape from those early years of our stereo. I used to do aerobics to ABBA music. And then I read some background on the group, about their broken marriages, and then the music became too painful to listen to. Which is sad, because I still like it.

3. "please, mister, please, don't play B-seventeen": Please, Mister, Please, Olivia Newton-John

This one comes from further back. When I was in high school I received an Olivia Newton-John album as a gift. This was one of the songs on it, not to mention that it got a lot of airtime. I think there were only two songs on the album I could stand to listen to.

4. "aye, calypso, the places you've been to": Calypso, John Denver

From the same era as the Olivia album, because I got a John Denver album about the same time. I liked this song. Musically, it really did take me away on the high seas.

I even went to a John Denver concert once. It was, like, the only concert I ever went to, except for Mike Warnke, and that doesn't count.

5. "Billy, don't be a hero, don't be a fool with your life": Billy, Don't Be a Hero, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods

This was on the radio when I was a sentimental junior-high girl. I remember my mom's girlfriend despised this song because it made Billy out to be stupid for being a hero and fighting for his country. That gave me something to think about.

6. "too young for love they told her, waiting for the love of a travelin' soldier": Travelin' Soldier, Dixie Chicks

I don't know how old this song is, but I think it's relatively new. Hmm. Now that I think about it, it has a similar theme to "Billy." Oh well, I like it anyway.

7. "How long do you wanna be loved? Is forever enough, is forever enough?": Lullaby, Dixie Chicks

This is a Dixie Chicks song that I discovered last year on YouTube. It's very hushed and beautiful.

8. "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave": Hotel California, Eagles

I think EVERYONE knows this song. I remember it from my young days of listening to my radio under the covers at night. I was fascinated by it, even though it was a little creepy. Especially since at the time I had no idea what it meant. The only kind of grid I had for understanding was that at church they talked all the time about the End Times and about the Beast who would rise up to rule, so when the song said, "they stabbed it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast," I had a vague notion it must be about Satan, or something.

Now I have a better idea what they're talking about, but I'm not going to say, in case I'm wrong.

9. "I took two shots, got no ducks, and cold, cold hands": Two Shots, John Denver

This is another song off of that John Denver album. I DON'T like this one, but IT WON'T GO AWAY!

(It's stupid. Have you ever read the lyrics? What in the world is he talking about?)

10. "I write the songs that make the young girls cry": I Write The Songs, Barry Manilow,

Ahhh, I used to cry over this one when I was a young girl of thirteen.

11. "you don't ever laugh like you used to, and I don't wanna see you blue": Bop With Ya Baby, Dan Seal

I used to cry over this one when I was a young mother. I think I identified with the woman in the song who was tired and blue, and I hoped my husband would notice and sweep me off my feet to go have some fun.

12. "Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go": Kokomo, Beach Boys

Same general theme, only from a few years ago when I was a tired mom of teens. And then we got to go on our super 25th anniversary car trip, and I don't cry over the song anymore. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming.....

13. "Well,you kissed me and stopped me from shakin' and I need you today, oh Mandy": Mandy, Barry Manilow

Another song I cried over when I was thirteen. And why is it that now poor, dear Barry kind of embarrasses me?

Well, there you go. A glimpse into the tape player in the archives of my mind. Yes, tapes. The memories are still on tape, even if the new stuff is on CD.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

TT#28: Song Snippets-- Can you guess?

Thirteen Things frommomhuebert

Today's list is thirteen snippets from (mostly) old songs that sometimes run through my head at odd moments. Can you guess what songs they're from, and who sang them?

It might help you to know that I graduated from high school in 1980.

Then again, it might not. Tomorrow I'll post as much as I know of the answers.

1. "ninety-nine dreams I have had"

2. "money, money, money"

3. "please, mister, please"

4. "aye, calypso"

5. "don't be a hero"

6. "too young for love they told her"

7. "how long do you wanna be loved?"

8. "you can check out any time you like"

9. "took two shots, got no ducks"

10. "songs that make the young girls cry"

11. "you don't ever laugh like you used to"

12. "baby why don't we go"

13. "you kissed me and stopped me from shakin'"

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The REAL meaning of "Mondo"

Okay, so I'm wrong.

"Mondo" has nothing to do with hugeness, largeness, or enormity. Instead, it means this:

"...used in reference to something very striking or remarkable of its kind; often in conjunction with a pseudo-Italian noun or adjective...mondo weirdo."

It's from the title of a 1961 Italian movie, Mondo Kane, which depicted bizarre behavior.

On second thought, maybe that word still works...


So a funny/crazy/weird thing happened to me yesterday. I felt an enormous sneeze coming on-- only one of many, mind you-- so I walked over to the table to be near Fred, my frie(n)d the Kleenex box, who was sitting on the table.

I sneezed a huge KA-CHOO! which bent me over double, and on the way down, with all the force of that sneeze, I hit my head on a chair!

It was a wooden dining room chair. With a nice, upright piece like a one-inch dowel rod. I think I hit it good and square.

And it HURT! It raised a goose egg--well, maybe more of a banty egg-- decorated with a beautiful red spot, surrounded with pale blue. And it hurts.

Today it looks a little smaller, but it hurts worse. Any expression on my face that requires moving facial muscles causes it to hurt. How weird is that?

However, I do have some good news.

You may remember that I was on a quest to discover drinkable wine not long ago. When this mondo cold hit (I think "mondo" is one of my new favorite words, and I don't even know where it came from. mondo, adj. large, gi-normous, unbelievably big. See also humongous)-- anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah. When this cold hit, it hit everyone in the family. Yesterday we all sat around looking like zombies, and when meal time came around we had an interesting dilemma, trying to figure out who felt the least bad and had enough energy to put a little food on the table for everyone else.

That's still not where I was going.

Oh yeah. This weekend we took a browse through the liquor aisle at Walmart, to see if anything looked medicinal. And this is what we found:

It tastes just like the cold and flu drops we usually buy:

Boericke & Tafel Alpha CF Cold & Flu

Except one ounce (29.57 ml) of Alpha CF cost $5.99 plus shipping, and 750 ml of vodka cost $8-something plus tax.

So, I've been taking the vodka like we're supposed to take the drops: under the tongue.

(I've been doing one teaspoon of vodka, as opposed to 15 drops of cold and flu stuff, which I think is a much bigger dose, actually, but I figure most people are drinking vodka by the shot, or something, and this is still less than that, and 15 drops equals just under a ml and one teaspoon equals 5 ml, and none of this makes sense, so what the heck.)

And it feels the same too. We can always tell when someone has just taken a dose of cold&flu drops, because they're usually jumping up and down with their mouth clamped shut making odd grunting noises. The vodka does the same thing, but it burns a little worse, so I swallow it faster. It sorta takes your breath away otherwise.

Vodka makes great medicine. It seems to help. It worked great for my sore throat, and seemed to help me sleep.

But I can't figure out-- even after trying it in orange juice-- why anyone would drink it just for fun.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Our Three-Ring Circus; and Time with Fred

Wednesday we were expecting guests for supper. Swede knows a family that was headed from Colorado to Iowa, and of course, Nebraska is right between, so he invited them to stop over on their way. The plan was that he would bring them to our place for supper, and then take them back to his place to spend the night.

Meanwhile, our new friend J, whom I haven't said much about, but who loaned me his electric violin to play recently, asked to come hang out with us since Wednesday was his day off. Sure. The more the merrier.

I cleaned house, Hubby and two of the kids went to do tree work. J showed up for dinner (noon), and we planned to have a very late supper, since the folks from Colorado figured they'd be here around eight-thirty.

At nine-thirty we checked in with Swede, resulting in us going ahead with supper, as we were all starved.

J asked to spend the night, since it was late, so we opened up our new futon and loaned him some jammies.

The next day we learned our defunct company had finally rolled in around midnight, so we made plans to try again for supper. They came over around five, and this time Swede brought deli chicken, so I just made a huge vegetable dish to go with it, as well as a mondo pot of tapioca pudding. Very plain, simple food.

Our company stayed till midnight, and we rushed off to bed, since Hubby and GuitarGeek and I were headed to a conference Friday and Saturday. We were in charge of the sound, meaning, we took the sound system and computer visuals for the meetings.

The conference was in a city about three hours from home, and it was VERY windy, and I spend the entire trip working on the 100 songs in my computer, putting in backgrounds and checking the formatting. Can you say "carsick"?

I'm not going to go into detail about the conference. A lot of good things, and some frustrating things, happened.

I had planned to write a long rant about my experiences with a) a worship leader who sends 100 songs for the computer tech to prepare, and then uses songs that aren't in the list, b) software that crashes five minutes before the morning service, and c) a projector that randomly shuts itself off, but God spoke to me about forgiveness and not taking offense, and I'm (truly) glad to say that none of that has any sting to it anymore, and it wouldn't make a very interesting post.

We of course got to bed late Saturday night, only to get up early Sunday for worship team sound check, and to play. However, I had an ace up my sleeve, because our new friend J practically begged to be allowed to make supper for us Sunday, so he came over, groceries in hand, and fixed us an absolutely wonderful meal; which meant I got a Sunday afternoon nap! (By the way, this was the first time in my life that I've had tortellini, and it is an experience worth repeating.)

After supper, we watched a movie (Hoodwinked, if you're interested) while waiting for our food to settle so we could have dessert (LovelyDaughter made this.)

About the time the movie was over, Swede stopped in on his way home from somewhere else, and we ended up having a worship/prayer meeting till three o'clock!

And that, my friend, was the final straw: the cold that had been chasing me for several days at last caught up with me, and today I am miserable, just miserable. My sinuses are trying to powerwash themselves, and I ache all over. Even my skin hurts.

I'm spending a lot of time with Fred. You know, when your nose is swollen and you try to say "friend"? My friend the Kleenex box. It's my fred.

Moan. Groan. Poor me.

And now I have used up all the extra energy I have, which should probably have been used to clean up the kitchen, so next meal time we have dishes to eat off of. Regardless, I'm going to go take a nap now to fortify myself against this virus assault. And I'm taking Fred with me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where I'm living today

This guy, Robert Benson, who wrote the book "Living Prayer" could be related to me. It's encouraging to read the notes from his journey into prayer. Here are some things he's said that caught my attention.

About confessing our sins and faults to God:

"Confession is not only about the stupid stuff we did yesterday, it is also about the magnificent stuff God did while we were yet sinners."

"It becomes a matter of not being able to hear God's voice because we are so full of our own. We cannot hear the Word because our own words are in the way."

About monks vs. "ordinary" people:

"The lives of the monks of Gethsemani are very different from mine. But the difference has less to do with celibacy and fashion and location, and everything to do with what happens when the bell rings.

When the bell rings, they pray. Everything is different because of that one thing."

"What struck me that morning in Kentucky, oddly enough, was not how different my life had to be from that of these men of prayer, but how much our lives could be alike.

They have a vocation and so do I. They have taken a vow of stability and so have I...They have chores to do and so do I. They have work to do and so do I. They have people they live with and people who come to visit and so do I. They dress funny, and some would say, so do I. They have taken seriously Paul's admonition to pray without ceasing and could I....if...

If what?"

About prayer:

"The daily prayer of the faithful
can create places
in our hearts and minds
that can be filled with something besides worry and fear
about the days that we can no longer live
or cannot yet reach."

Which makes me think of the words of the song "Psalm 91", which, of course, are taken from Psalm 91 in the bible:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide in the shadow...

I want to live in the "secret" place where my spirit communes with God and lives in faith, no matter what the see-able circumstances look like.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Math of Heaven

I am reading this book:

Living PrayerLiving Prayer, by Robert Benson.

In it, I am reading what he wrote about the Eucharist-- Communion, Lord's Supper, Mass-- and it's new things I haven't thought before. He writes:

To take the Eucharist, say the ancients, is the enter into the fourfold pattern--taken, blessed, broken, shared..."

And he goes on to explain,

It is the broken part that I do not care for very much. It is the broken part, however, that makes everything else about the Eucharist worth making over. The lesson is that Jesus of Nazareth--the most chosen and most blessed and most shared one of us all--was the most broken of us all.

The prayer of the Eucharist is the prayer that reminds us that if we are to be the Body of Christ, then we are to suffer the fate of Christ--we are to be broken that we might be shared.

Reading this, I suddenly saw Jesus feeding the five thousand. I saw his hands taking the loaves and fishes, blessing them, breaking them, and giving them to the disciples to share.

And then I saw him at the Passover table telling his disciples, "It is better for you if I go away, because then the Comforter will come."

When Jesus was on earth, he was one loaf of bread, so to speak, the manna from heaven in a human body. When he died--was broken--he ascended to heaven and sent the Spirit to each one of us. He was broken, so he could be shared-- multiplied from one body in one place, to living in multiple people in many places. Is that why believers are called, "The Body of Christ"?

The author of the book suggests that brokenness is rather distasteful to us. He says,

Why should all these things happen to those who have been so blessed and have so much to share? We should be multiplied, it seems to us, not broken.

His conclusion is,

We are not meant to be taken, blessed, and multiplied. We are meant to be taken, blessed, and broken.

However, when Jesus fed the multitude, the bread, in being broken, was also multiplied. When we are broken--when we humble ourselves, become contrite, and accept willingly the trials God allows in our lives--it is not just for the sake of being made small. We are broken to be multiplied.

It's like the old joke about a child complaining that he only has one cookie when the others have more. Then someone breaks his cookie and says, "There! Look-- now you have four cookies!" Of course, the child still only has the equivalent of one cookie.

But in the economy of the Kingdom of Heaven, each of those pieces is now a whole. In being broken, they are multiplied and enlarged.

When we follow Jesus' example, we are taken (he says, "I have chosen you") and blessed, and broken (in repentance, and through our trials and sufferings), and then we are shared. Others are blessed by us when we love them, pray with them and for them, listen to them.






Tuesday, April 8, 2008

To The Rescue!

Last time you heard from me I was manfully resisting the urge to break something after I lost several hours work on my computer. I'm sure you're biting your nails in suspense, wondering what has happened since.

Well, on Saturday LovelyDaughter and I were gone all day -- we went to a one day women's retreat-- and when we got back, GuitarGeek was just finishing up putting all 100 songs in my computer!

I still can hardly believe he did that for me. Of course, he had been itching to figure out a shortcut for me, and with me gone all day, that's exactly what he did, so it didn't take him nearly as long as it would have taken me.

There's a reason why his middle name is "Geek."

And now, today, we get to sit down -- finally (procrastination is an art that we have perfected)-- and do our TAXES. Pray for me!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

AArgh! AArgh! AArgh!

Why, you may ask, am I tearing out my hair and screeching in frustration? I'm glad you asked.

Next weekend I will be running a computer with worship visuals for a conference. I just got the music today, and I find I have to input around 100 songs-- yes, 100! There is no way anyone can sing that many songs in a two-day conference. I guess the worship leader likes to have ALL of her songs on hand, just in case.

"Input" in this case means to open her PowerPoint files, and since the files will not import directly into my software, I must copy and paste the song lyrics on to new slides, adjust the formatting, and choose a background. I'm skipping messing with different fonts, and font sizes and colors, and shadows, and all the other cool stuff, 'cause with 100(!) songs there's hours of work here, just doing the basics.

I'm using LiveWorship which is wonderful software, and is making my job reasonably easy. However.

However, however.

It does not automatically save everything you do. Of course. No program does. (Except maybe Blogger, if it's working right.) Earlier today I had remembered to save my work every so often. Not so this evening.

And of course, the inevitable happened. Something glitched; a window popped up telling me something was "out of bounds," or something like that, and the application "must quit"; and the application quit.

I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to save recently.

NO NO NO NO NO NO! I said, but to no avail.

Alas. Out of probably thirty songs I had done, I now have only nine.

I know I have only myself to blame.


Somebody please feel sorry for me. It'll make me feel a lot better...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

TT#26: Thirteen books on my Amazon wish list.

Thirteen Things about mom huebert

Today's list: Thirteen Books in my Amazon wish list. I have many more than this, but many of them are sort of repeats, that is, lots of books about the same subjects. I'm very thorough, and don't want to miss anything good!

1. The Abbey Psalter. The Psalms translated in cadence for chanting or putting to music, like this:
Happy indeed is the man
who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
Nor lingers in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of scorners,
But whose delight is the law of the Lord
and who ponders his law day and night.
(Try reading it aloud, and you'll see what I mean.)

2.The Celtic Way of Prayer: The Recovery of the Religious Imagination. "Peregrinatio (Celtic word for a pilgrimage of sorts) is not undertaken at the suggestion of some monastic abbot or superior but because of an inner prompting in those who set out, a passionate conviction that they must undertake what was essentially an inner journey."

3. Prophetic Lifestyle and the Celtic Way. A book about one family's experiences with listening to the Holy Spirit.

4.Windows into the Soul: Art as Spiritual Expression. Ways to use art projects as a form of prayer and contemplation. Sounds like fun.

5. Prayers of the HeArt. An exploration of the role of creativity in the life of prayer.

6. The Divine HoursTM, pocket edition. A book for ordinary folks to pray the liturgy of the hours.

7. Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayer and Readings from the Northumbria Community. Just what it says. Actually, this one is on order and due to be here this weekend!

8. Journey Against One Current: The Spiritual Autobiography of a Chinese Christian. A woman's memories of standing up for Christ in Marxist China.

9. A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel. From Publishers Weekly review: "I fear too often the church has become an organization of guilty people with a guilty preacher standing in the pulpit, telling guilty people that they should feel guiltier," {the author} writes. The oppressed and their oppressors miss the power of the authenticity, especially the freedom to fail, the joy of God's complete forgiveness and the boldness it brings. Sounds interesting!

10. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World. About learning to feel God's love for us, and how to blend service and spiritual worship in our everyday world.

11. Keys to the Deeper Life Six essays about Christianity.

12. Keys to Great Writing. More keys, this time to writing better.

13. The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now. Much needed. Plus, it's been on my list for probably a year, and I still haven't gotten around to ordering it....

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!