July 31, 2012

A Legacy of Prayer

Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep and saying my prayers (which, admittedly, I sometimes do because I notoriously fall asleep while praying, and was hoping it would help me relax and go to sleep...sorry Lord), I noticed something...

I use some of the exact same words/phrases/verbiage in my nightly prayers as I have since I was a little girl.  I don't necessarily go on autopilot with my prayers or anything, but I just noticed that, when I pray for certain things, I use the same words every time.  Things like my prayers for protection over my house...prayers that I will sleep restfully and peacefully...prayers for friends struggling with illness, etc.  Names and circumstances vary, but the basic format is the same.  And this is because it's how I was taught to pray by my mom and dad.

When I was afraid, as children often are when they're left alone at bedtime, my mom told me to pray that God would place a holy hedge of protection around our house and our yard (for the dogs, you know) while we slept.  When I wasn't sure how to move past "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food" at the dinner table, my dad told me to pray that God would bless our food and make it a nourishment to our bodies. When I was afraid of having nightmares, they imparted upon me to ask the Lord to cleanse my mind before I fell asleep so I would not have bad dreams. I still use many of those exact phrases today.

Then I realized that, when my little brother prays, he does and says some of the same things he's said since he was a little boy when we'd take turns praying as kids.  (Note that my little bro used to pray all. the. time. Like, before soccer games and such. I used to get annoyed with him about it.  I know...what a horrible Big Sister!)

Suddenly, I felt tears in my eyes...tears of gratitude for my parents for instilling prayer habits in my brother and me that we continue at 27 and 30 years old.  (Side note: this is not to say that prayer should be habitual or rote...just that praying isn't a bad habit to have, ya know?) My parents taught me to trust that God would watch over me while I slept.  That God would heal us if we were sick.  That God would give me restful sleep if I talked to Him beforehand and cleared out my mind.  Then I thought of my baby niece, and the child that I some day hope to have with my husband, and how I know that my brother and I, along with his wife and my husband, will (and have an obligation to) teach our children in the same way.  

The legacy of prayer will continue in our families, and it's my (new) prayer that those children will keep it going.  

July 30, 2012

Friend-Makin' Mondays -- Goals

As a blogger/blog-fan, I'm much more of a reader/lurker than I am consistently a commenter/participant.  But sometimes I'll see or feel a prompt that makes me want to express my own thoughts.  Kenlie is always good at that, with her thoughtful Friend-Makin' Mondays posts.  Today's was one that gave me a push to play along...

Goals and More

1. Brag about some of your daily, healthy habits. I drink a lot of water, and I do not drink soda of any kind. -- I'm stealing Kenlie's answer here, because this is a new habit of mine that I'm really proud of.  I don't even miss soda.  Occasionally, I'll feel like I want something sweet to drink, but usually a green tea will do the trick.  I think I just get bored of coffee and water and need to introduce something new to my palate on a given day.

2. Do you track your daily food intake? If so, how? When I first started my journey after the Day of Reckoning back in late 2009, I counted calories.  It worked REALLY well. Now, I find that I resent it after a couple of days, and I don't necessarily eat well just because I'm tracking calories. So I don't track anymore.  I try to eat mostly natural things that come from the earth and aren't processed (very much), and I have become very aware of my portion sizes.  So far it's working and I feel great.

3. What do you want to change most about your daily routine? I want to get up earlier!! Whether it's to get my workout in early, or to be at work early so I can LEAVE early and ALWAYS have time to get a workout in. I am the worst about filling up my schedule and then making excuses about why I don't have time to exercise.

4. How often do you exercise? Several times a week...in a good week I'll work out 4-5 times, for at least 30 minutes.

5. How do you stay on track when you’re on the go? I'm....not very good at this.  But I'm trying.  Cutting out sodas and (most) sugar and all the stuff I mentioned above has led to me actually feeling SICK if I make a poor choice -- my stomach can't handle it -- but I'm trying to keep myself armed with good snacks and NOT put myself into a position where I'm starving, unarmed, and not thinking clearly.

6. What’s one excuse you use that prevents you from reaching your goals? "I've already lost _____ and my husband thinks I'm hot and I can wear super cute clothes, so why try any harder to meet my goal weight?"

7. What scares your most about your journey? This...this one almost deserves its own blog post.  I'm scared of doing all of it for the wrong reason -- which is vanity and selfishness and desire for attention. It got me into a REALLY BAD mental state last time, so I've been afraid to lose weight again.  I know, that's vague.

8. What do you think will change most when you reach your goal? (If you have reached it, what’s different?) If I'm doing it for the right reasons, I'm hoping that I will have made a lasting change in my life regarding what I put into my body and how I view my body.

9. What motivates you to reach your goals? My most recent motivation has been that my husband and I are probably going to start trying to start a family this fall.  I want to be in the best shape I can be before I'm a host to a fetus for nine months.  Also, I'd like to be able to get through L&D more easily, for which I can prepare by getting into great shape and trimming down. I also want to ultimately set a good example for my child(ren).

10. Share a few of your goals.
  • Reach my goal weight (which is also my OB/GYN's suggestion for me) before I get pregnant.
  • Be able to stop doing the modified versions of yoga poses and amp it up a bit.
  • Be able to do a "boy push-up."
  •  Make working out a habit, rather than something I sometimes have to force myself to do.

July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tunes -- Sofar So Good

Last weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to hear some local and not-so-local bands perform in an intimate setting: the living room of my favorite type of Denton houses, located just moments from my own home.

I sat in a room filled with music lovers and watched and listened (and yes, tweeted and photographed -- may as well admit it now, since I'm caught on tape doing just that in one of the videos!) and couldn't help but feel blessed and fortunate that this exists.

"This," in case you're wondering, is Sofar. AKA Songs From a Room. From their Facebook page:

Songs From A Room offers artists and music fans the unique opportunity to perform and experience intimate gigs in packed living rooms regularly. The movement is now going global with shows happening in New York, Paris and many other cities worldwide.

Company Overview

Songs From a Room began in March 2009 in the living room of singer songwriter and co-founder Passion Ate Dave. It is an innovative concept, dedicated to bringing the best of new music to an unplugged, intimate, unusual space or venue. Mix in a crowd of dedicated music lovers, other artists, and industry professionals, and you have an evening which promises electric performances and new networks.
One of the best parts about this is that, once you're invited, you just get an address.  That's it.  You don't find out who is playing until you arrive at the venue:

I was allowed to bring a guest with me, so I called up a fellow music junkie, Brittany.  I had to choose someone who would truly love the experience of not knowing the artists until we arrived and, since I knew Britt would roll with the punches AND had been to a Sofar show before, she was the perfect date!

We found great seats over on the fireplace hearth and anxiously awaited the music. Now, I'm not a Music Blogger. I just blog sometimes about music that I love.  You won't find (m)any quotable quotes here, or flowery superlatives, but you can find those over at GoodBammSho (plus much better photos).

First up was Tom Bertram, wearing fabulous purple socks, from all the way across the pond.  Fresh off some US tour dates, he drove to our Little D from Birmingham to play the show.  Have to admit, I wanted to hear more from him, musically!  Really enjoyed his two songs, and he was a wonderful MC for the rest of the afternoon.  I may or may not have leaned over to Britt at one point and said "Good Lord, how cute is he? If only I were single and about 7 years younger..." Ah, well...

Next up was a trio from Austin called Haun's Mill.  I knew just by looking at their clothing and their musical set-up (a toy piano? an accordion? TWO accordions?? A BANJO?!) that I was going to enjoy them, and I was correct.  Also? Their children were adorable in their teeny tiny band shirts. I really loved their quirky sound, and I hope to catch them again soon.

Now, apparently, Ryan Thomas Becker is kind of a big deal here in Denton.  Brittany flipped her lid when she saw them on the white board.  She was right to.  This group was incredible.  RTB's voice just ripped my guts apart (in a good way, I promise), and this band, to me, epitomizes what I think Denton music really is.  I could have easily listened to them for another hour. 

The crowd at this show was awesome.  A myriad different ages and types, everyone was respectful and supportive of every act in attendance. There was even a sweet pup who was definitely not lacking for love and affection as she wandered the room, obviously enjoying the music.  The audience was encouraged to tweet, take photos, etc. and, minus a few obnoxious shutter sounds (the electronic kind -- you know you can turn that off, right?) it wasn't distracting at all.

Backwater Opera finished out the afternoon.  Brittany and I moved to a spot on the floor to watch them, since the upright bass was starting to block our view from the hearth.  This group is another that, in my opinion, is another perfect example of the Denton music scene.  Blending chamber music and bluegrass (they call it "chambergrass," which I think is amazing), and drawing influences from Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies and stinky, 6-month old tuna melts (ew), they were incredibly compelling.  I haven't done my research on this group, but I'm willing to bet a cup of Jupiter House's finest coffee that one or more of these members are products of UNT's world-renowned College of Music. I couldn't get enough of that violin!

In conclusion, spending an afternoon with the Sofar DFW crew was a perfect Saturday in my own little home town.  I hope they come back to Denton very soon but, in the meantime, you can be sure that I'll be trying to get on more invite lists for their Dallas and Fort Worth shows!  Visit their web site. Get on the mailing list...but before you do any of that, do yourself a favor and visit these artists' web sites and check out their music.  You'll be glad you did.

July 11, 2012

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 16

Can you believe it's been almost a full year since I wrote a Life Well-Lived post?!  Well, readers, my life is definitely still very well-lived.  I daresay it's even better, hence the lack of actual blogging. I just have so much awesome going on that it's hard for me to sit down and write a blog post these days.  But, today I feel compelled.  And!  It's Wednesday!  So it works out perfectly!

Life Well-Lived, in case you've forgotten, was conceived and implemented by the amazing Kelsey, and there's a Twitter account and everything.  So, blog about your own awesome life, tweet about it with the #LifeWellLived hashtag, and let us all rejoice with you in your awesome life!

1. I've had some truly special theatrical experiences since the last LWL post:

I was a part of an original creation with Sundown Collaborative Theatre about artists and the artistic process. 

I was in the ensemble for Kismet in concert with Lyric Stage.

I was the assistant director for Dog Sees God at the DCT Black Box, and I also played Van's Sister. 

I directed a staged reading of a brand new play, Clipped by Lance Griffin, for DCT's Method & Madness Playwriting Festival. 

I was cast in my first fully-staged production at Lyric Stage: an ensemble role in Oklahoma!...
...where I met two of my very favorite new friends in the entire world!
2.  I donated 8 inches of hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program:

3. I got a brand new baby niece, with whom I am 100% completely in love:

I think that's a pretty good start for getting back into the groove of things, don't you? So, what's new with you?