Friday, August 31, 2012

the weather

I titled my blog, "Once Upon a Sunny Day".  There's a reason for that, and honestly it doesn't have that much to do with weather.  It's another story.  For another day.  Maybe. 

But today, I want to write about the weather.  The weather can be a royal pain.  Like this crazy hurricane named Isaac.  Isaac has ruined our family's Labor Day weekend camping plans.  And not to be petty, Isaac has done much, much worse to others along the Gulf Shore, flooding homes and bringing destruction.  We'll most likely have a fine weekend.  Many people won't, due to the storm.

I came across this today:

which is kind of like the title of my blog.

The truth is you can't change the weather.  Sure, some of you reading this will think, "Oh, but you can pray, and God has the power to change it."  And I'd reply back, "Sure.  He can change the weather.  But while you're praying the rain stops, a farmer might be praying the rain continues.  Or vise versa."  There is nothing I can do in my own power to change the weather.  Absolutely nothing.  The remains of Hurricane Isaac are coming whether I like it or not.  I can literally see the clouds out the window.

There are times when I know a rainy day is coming.  I can see the clouds, feel the humidity.  It works in the figurative as well.  Sometimes I get down.  Sometimes I don't know why; sometimes I do know why. 

I'm guessing we all have loved ones and friends and co-workers and neighbors and people we come across at Kroger who struggle with feeling down and depressed and anxious and countless other things, not just because [they haven't handed it over, so to speak] but because they're ill.  They simply can't help it.  Just like I can't help the monthly migraine I seem to now get.  I can medicate.  I can up the caffeine intake.  But,, the migraine is still there, ever so present.  I can only hope to mask it; I can dull the pain, but not eliminate the source.

I'm coming to realize more and more some people can't just [suck it up and move on].  I used to be a [get over it, man!] kind of girl.  Now I realize many have burdens to bear that won't be lifted today.  It doesn't mean God can't.  It doesn't mean God won't.  But, like I can't control the weather, I can't control God.  He's not a pill to take when my head hurts.  And that's hard to grasp and hard to understand.  Yet, in a way it's really not.

I'm sad that our camping trip won't happen.  I'm sad that:
check out the link

Especially when the people are people I love and care for.  So, no camping this weekend.  I suppose I'll stay home and make some jewelry and hang up the curtains my mom sewed for me, and read the issue of House Beautiful magazine that I can't remember if I've read before.  Soon the weather will be sunny again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today our family will visit a church for the first time.  To protect the innocent, I will not name names.  We're without a church home and would like to quickly find a place that will be ours.

Our family has more than a fair share of ministry baggage, as in we've been on the inside of pastoral staff multiple times.  Not to mention, through the years we've attended churches of multiple denominations and non-denominations in multiple states.  So, if one could receive an honorary degree in Varied Church Attendance, we would now hold doctorates.

Since both my husband and I work in full time faith based ministries, we work full time with faith filled people.  We actually pray at work, discuss theology at work, do a lot of church type work.  Meaning, we don't want our church experience to be another day at the office.  At least I don't.  I suppose I shouldn't speak for him......

We're a family of varied interests.  It seems many modern churches want to appeal to what society deems as the modern young person.  Our oldest young person is a seventeen year old classical guitar player.  When gifted with a nice chunk of {back to school} money from his grandparents, he didn't ask to be taken to Abercrombie & Fitch.  His first desire was a Chopin book of piano music.  Although he likes The Black Keys and Jack White and John Mayer, he also enjoys Bach.  Oh, and at his Governor's School for the Arts Jazz Concert, he threw a Jay Z and Kanye tune into his solo.  And our girl, our modern girl, went shopping yesterday [Saturday] with me, all dressed up in dress pants, heels, and a lovely necklace.  She looked like she was headed to corporate office, not Target.

What I'm trying to say is......we're not necessarily the [norm] when it comes to what many modern churches are striving to please.  I have some workmates who frequently call me a [hippie].  And my husband doesn't like the Bengals or the Reds, which seems to be a prerequisite to church work in Lexington, Kentucky.

I'm curious what today's service will yield.  I hope we love it and feel at home and continue there until the end of time.  But, I'm not getting my hopes up because is so difficult, and it leaves me wishing we'd raised our family as good Episcopalians, never considering another church life, always happy with the pipe organ, real wine with the Eucharist and the Passing of the Peace, instead of the seemingly endless, always uncomfortable for introverts, greeting time.

Last night at Orange Leaf [a frozen yogurt place, if you don't live in LEX], we noticed a young man with the name of the church we're visiting today on his t-shirt.  [Could this be a sign????]  My husband called him over and asked about the church.  The guy only gave a raving report about how great it is.  He also mentioned he's a college student and doesn't often get up early enough on Sundays for church........

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

camping w/dogs

If you pay attention, you can overhear a lot.  For instance, I’m listening right now while a woman tells another woman how her cat recently had to be put down.  I’m sitting in my van, in the Lexington Music Academy parking lot.  The woman who didn’t just lose her cat invited the pet mourner to eat dinner (her treat) out with her and her kids.  The mourner turned her down.  Despite my desire to shout out my window, “I’m free for a little over an hour.  I could join you,” I did not.  Instead I stayed put and began this blog entry.  

Our family went camping this weekend.  Speaking of animals, we camped at the Kentucky Horse Park.  Despite the availability of all things horse at the park, we chose the campground due to the proximity to our home, the pool, and the overall niceness of the facilities.
We, along with most all of our fellow Horse Park campers, took along our dog.  For whatever reason, it seems, 
camping people = dog people  
Our dog, who is a full blooded female beagle named CJ, is now 11 years old.  She has entered full blown senior citizen mode, complete with arthritis and a personality that reads, “I’m old and I can now do as I please.  Even if that means growling.”  CJ also suffers from allergies and a severe case of the, shall we say, “snots”.  

We found on this camping trip CJ is not above the snarling bite.  She’s never been a biter, and has always been fairly sweet when meeting humans outside our family.  Well, those days seem to be over.  Twice she acted as an aggressor.  

Fortunately we have a pop-up trailer, and CJ can relax inside when she becomes haggard of being outdoors.  Or when we’re ready to catch a break from her allergy caused itching fits and snots.  I believe she was in the trailer when Killer the Seeing Eye Dog and his visually impaired master approached our campsite.

We were enjoying our campfire, having just finished our smores.  We’d noticed the man earlier in the day.  His dog, who I’ll from now on refer to as KSED (short for Killer the Seeing……) didn’t seem like your normal service animal.  He acted a little scattered and un-business like.  Although he did look like your typical Seeing Eye Dog, beings he’s a golden retriever.

Well, as you can imagine, since we were enjoying our campfire on an August night, it was dark.  KSED and his master slowly meandered towards our site, seemingly from the restroom, which was somewhat close by.  KSED’s master kept saying “trailer”, over and over to KSED.  KSED must have thought our trailer was the one he was referring to.  

When I realized he was getting pretty close to us, I said, “hello”.  The man replied, then quickly informed us he was looking for his trailer, not ours.  My husband Chip quickly stated we could help him.  I jumped up, ready to lend a hand.  Or shall I say, guidance.  I asked what his dog’s name is.  “Killer” was his reply, as he laughed in an odd fashion.   Much like you probably do, I found Killer an unusual name for a guide dog.  How about Rex or Buddy or maybe even George?  But Killer?  That’s almost creepy, or I suppose cute, in a different sort of way.  

Because we’d seen KSED and his master earlier in the day, while the sun was still shining, I knew where to lead them back to.  As we got closer, another camper in their party saw us, and began speaking loudly at KSED’s master.  When they got close enough to reunite, I headed back to our spot, happy to be helpful.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the female camper in KSED and his master’s party had long, blue hair.  Mind you, these folks were all way past 50 years old.  Her hair naturally would have been gray.  Yet it was a nice shade of Kentucky blue.  Very interesting people.  

Other interesting people we came across, who may or may not have had their dogs along:
  • The men who chose to cut limbs off a campsite pine tree for firewood (I desperately wanted  to report them to the park ranger).
  •  The men exchanging pleasantries at the [dump station].  Mind you, our [gray water] is solely from washing our dishes, no human waste, thanks.  Nothing seems to bond Kentucky men more than dumping waste through a large hose into the sewer.
  • All the people who own [or rent at the park] golf carts.  Why don't they walk?  
  • Lifeguards whose idea of [rough horseplay] must be quite extreme.  A band of boys frolicking in the park pool wouldn't have gotten away with such behavior at our local YMCA pool.
Perhaps I'm becoming old and cranky, like our beagle......... or more judgmental.  Really, can't everyone be like me [and my dog]?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


The past few weeks have left me fairly exhausted, if not in a physical way, at least in a sensorial.  Can a person be sensorially exhausted?  If so, I am.

I have felt:

worn out

In the past few weeks:

I have seen and met people from all over the country and some from other countries. 
I've eaten falafel for the first time.   
I've arrived home from business travel after 2 a.m. 
I've been concerned about my son's bout 
with bronchitis and pneumonia.  
I've ran a 5K.  
I've anticipated my daughter's first day of high school 
and my son's last first day of school.  
I've helped my husband navigate a job change decision. 
I've come to some professional realities.
I received the news I did not win a writing contest I entered.

Perhaps you'd like to keep reading, and get the full play-by-play, so to speak.  Perhaps not........

Saturday and Sunday
A few Saturdays ago, three of our family headed north to watch the fourth member perform in a classical guitar concert at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.   While in Cincinnati, my husband, daughter and I were able to tour a neighborhood I'd researched - Over the Rhine.  We walked through a park on Saturday afternoon [eliciting that lovely Chicago song] and wandered a few of the neighborhood's streets.  As I mentioned in a previous entry, Cincinnati is a much.much.much larger city than our hometown of Lexington.  It's a different type of city than Lexington [river city, mid-western city, lots and lots of bricks].

Back to the point of our visit........The participants in the concert consisted of music professors, professional classical guitarists, advanced students, as well as novices.  Our son performed a solo on Saturday, and he was, as to be expected, nervous to play in front of such acclaimed people in the classical guitar world.  The week long workshop ended Sunday afternoon.

The next day, both our children began high school marching band camp.  The fourth and last year for the boy.  The first year for the girl.  Band camp marks the beginning of the busiest season of the year in our home.  High school marching band [in case you didn't know] is an almost all consuming activity that affects all members of the household.

One of my work supervisors asked me if I could arrange my schedule in order to accomodate our organization's need for me to attend a conference in Washington D.C. [next week].  Mind you, I've not done any business travel in over two years.  And I knew very little about what the conference was focusing on.

I agreed to attend the conference, and began making arrangements accordingly. 

Thursday, Friday, Saturday
I honestly can't remember that well, at this point.

I celebrated my 44th birthday with my family, enjoying homemade grilled pizza and a chocolate ice cream pie.    

I worked a full day, then headed to Washington D.C.  Unfortunately, the scheduled flight to Charlotte was late, and I and my co-traveling co-workers missed our connection.  We ended up spending the night in Charlotte, thankfully in a rather nice hotel.  Kindly, my co-workers rang in my birthday at midnight Tuesday morning, before we called it a night.  Unfortunately, our checked bags went on to Washington ahead of us, leaving me with less than the usual hygiene products I generally utilize.  I should also mention I didn't have a change of clothes with me.  Or make up. 

The day started before the sun rose, with an early flight to Washington.  Actually, due to the late night before, Tuesday had already started.  This was my "official" birthday, and I spent it with hundreds of fellow federal grantees, joining some fellow Kentuckian federal grantees for dinner.  The dinner company included an unfortunate man who had an abscessed tooth, making me unsure as to whether "What the hell?" is something he says frequently or if it was the pain talking.........

The conference continued.  I thoroughly enjoyed some alone time Wednesday evening, sitting by the hotel pool, then walking down Connecticut Avenue.  I ate dinner on the patio at Zorba's.  [If you click on the link, I sat in the same place as the lady on the right with the dark hair/blue shirt.]  

The conference concluded and the return trip home began.  My co-workers and I had some free time that afternoon, and were able to see the MLK Jr. Memorial.

Then we began the trek home. Which, like the trip to Washington D.C., did not go as planned.  But we did have a nice airport convo with a beer drinking Mormon whose husband is an MMA fighter.  And I met a business traveling woman from Austin who takes her 6 month old along for a day of meetings in Washington.  Apparently she hires a baby sitter for the day.  Definitely a different life than the one I'm living.  But interesting, nonetheless.  [Incidentally, I think the word nonetheless is cool, because it's 3 words in 1!]

I slept walked through most of the day, enjoying a band parent picnic in the evening.  And somewhere during the course of the daylight hours I made potato salad.  I awoke sometime in the wee hours of the morning stressed out.  Is that normal? 

Our family caught the new Bourne movie [don't judge me, but I prefer the new guy to Matt Damon].  Then.... Saturday night [along with 6000 other people] we ran the race.  The 5K we prepped all summer for. AKA A Midsummer Night's Run.

I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.  But we had a nice family day together.  And we went to Trader Joe's.  And the farmer's market.  Which are generally highlights for me.  And they didn't disappoint.  And most importantly, I came to the realization that I should not let my own selfish pride get in the way of my own daughter's good.  I'll probably report more on that at a later date.  Oh, one more thing....a young lady that my daughter believes 'hung the moon' released a youtube video featuring her shopping trip to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  Now Allie believes it might just be okay to join the rest of the fam in thrift store shopping [a major break through]. 

Another week began.......the school year will soon start, we'll grow older, and life will continue.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Much in the life of my family has been cyclical.  Or rather, we end up coming full circle.  It happened again this week, when my husband accepted a position at an organization in which he previously worked.  And with that acceptance, I believe we've ended a chapter.

I realized recently this season of life began two years ago, when my then workplace was in the process of determining what would happen next.  We had lost a federal grant and there was no funding on the horizon.  While we hoped for a miracle or a "funder" or a check in the mail, nothing happened except the bank account drained.  I found another job, launching me into the full time work force for the first time in ump-teen years.

Soon after, my husband started a job that I thought would be great and redeeming and an answer to years of questions, but it ended up being anything but any of those.

Stress and health issues and wondering if I would lose my sanity filled 2011.  Despite difficulties in the past, I realized that family issues are compounded when adolescent and teenage children are involved.  Bits and pieces were shared, I hope appropriately with others, but I've never discussed completely with anyone except my husband everything that has happened over the previous two years.  Oh, there have been lovely days and weeks.  There have been joyful family events and much to be thankful for.  And I have no doubts our family will be a complete family until the proverbial "death us do part."

Please don't take this as a
Help me, I've been going through something terrible and you haven't been there to help me.  
That's not at all what this entry is about.  I've learned that much darkness has to be combated alone.  Not for prideful or selfish or fearful reasons, but so a person can grow.  And sometimes I think we see the answers so much more clearly when we're alone and unprompted by others to see something that maybe isn't really there.

So two years, give or take later, I feel free to say this chapter is ending.  And, with much thankfulness, I report it has a happy ending.  Though I'm wise enough to know everything won't always come up roses, I firmly believe I'm past some difficult days.  And I even feel someday I might be able to help someone else through something similar, if they choose to reach out.

I look forward to the next chapter, which will most likely bring a bunch of change.  And with any change, there's some awkwardness and stress.  But I look ahead with a joyful expectancy.

But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Romans 8:25 (The Message)