Archive for the ‘Getting to Know Me … or T.M.I.’ Category

I wrote this post in the middle of December and posted it in the midst of preparing for cancer surgery. It kind of got lost in the middle of the cancer stuff. Since it’s so important to me I’ve reposted it again. I think it’s probably one of the truest and most important posts I’ve ever written. Ken and I have challenges we face that makes it impossible for us to have a traditional marriage. I get grief about that sometimes from friends and people who don’t understand. Hopefully this will help a little…

Thursday, December 15, 2011 (1:52am)

Important Things I Learned From My Husband…

My husband and I have been married since the early 80′s. There has been a lot of living along the way. The last few weeks I’ve been looking back at my life and remembering. In the process it made me remember again just why I love my husband Ken so much, and how much I’ve learned from him over the years. Here are just a few of the highlights in no particular order…

There’s only one s in “sauce.”

Spelling has never been my strong suit. Scrabble was not the game for me. My mother’s reaction to my horrible spelling was to tell me to spell it like it sounds. She was from West Virginia though so with the thick accent it didn’t work well. Dog still sounded like dawgg to me. My Ken has always patiently helped me work through stuff like that.

When tying your shoes, the left shoestring needs to go over the right one.

I was an only child growing up in a home with a mentally ill mother. Her teaching style was to show me how to do something, scream at me or beat the crap out of me if I did it wrong. I missed the normal developmental things like effectively tying my shoes, or learning how to play games etc. I was an adult when my husband actually showed me how to tie my shoes so they stayed tied and faced the right direction. :) I was also clueless when it came to being a part of a family and making that work too. He has modeled for me what family looks like and has been my family all these years. That’s an even more important life lesson than how to tie my shoes.

If it’s sloppy, eat it over the sink.

Food and life gets messy sometimes. It’s always good to control the mess as much as possible. Drippy fruit is easier to contain leaning over the sink. Sometimes people’s lives are every bit as messy. For all these years our lives have been populated by a huge number of people. Many of them ended up at our house during times of stress or crisis. Ken is not a real “people person.” Both of us by nature would make great hermits. But in all these years with the diverse parade of humanity coming through our doors and sometimes sleeping on our couch, Ken has always been so supportive and willing to have them there. I’ve seen him be incredibly tender to some who’ve been so wounded. I’ve seen him be incredibly patient with people who could have driven almost anyone crazy. And every day he puts up with a steady parade of people coming in and out of the house for music lessons… all this from a man who doesn’t particularly care for music.

Real love is worth waiting for.

Ken and I met when I was probably 18 or 19. He’s 8 years older than me. He was a grown man who had been on his own for quite some time. I was still trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted. I was also still trying to work through the lingering effects of the abuse I experienced in child hood, that left me afraid to trust anyone with my heart. He fell in love with me when I still had a lot of baggage. In true photo-geek fashion he started buying compatible camera equipment before I was ready to even date him. He loved me while I was too afraid to love… until the love I felt for him grew larger than that fear. He loved me purely in a way that made me feel safe. Some of the other guys I dated before him loved me in spite myself. They were threatened by some of the very things that he found appealing. I am a strong woman, and a “handful” for sure. After all these years, even though I know I drive him nuts some times, I’ve never questioned his love or his acceptance of me. What an incredible gift for a husband to give his wife.

Sometimes real love is tough and requires sacrifice.

In my 20s I had a crazy work schedule that took a toll on my body and my social life. My sleep schedule was turned around for a long time. I was tired and exhausted a lot of the time when I wasn’t working. Ken was always so good to help pick up the slack and go out of his way to help and take care of me. There were a few years where I just physically didn’t have it in me to work full time, and he kept at it when I couldn’t. A few years ago his body said NO MORE to his crazy work schedule and the incredible stress he was under at work. He was able to do it a lot longer than I would have been able to under the same circumstances. These days he faces a lot of physical challenges. He keeps track of all the different medicines and all the things that keep his body regulated much better than I could ever do it. Even with the physical things he faces every day he manages to keep things going around the house and helps support me with my teaching business. In the process I get up everyday and put one foot in front of the other and keep working even when I’m exhausted because that’s what I need to do to make sure we have the medical care we need. It’s a tough gig with the current economy but we’re making it. It’s certainly not the life we dreamed of… but it is sooooo worth it. We have each other. We have an amazing group of people who are a part of our lives. I have amazing students. Would I love a life where we could rest and have less stress? You bet. Am I incredibly thankful that we’ve had each other in the midst of the crazy life we’ve led? YES. Sometimes life is just hard. But it’s all worth it. I feel like I’m just beginning to understand what real love really is.

 

c.2012 Linda B.

Friday, March 23, 2012 (11:57pm)

Thankful… an update. Part 1

It’s been almost 3 months since my surgery. I’ve sat so many times to write this post and have not been ready. It’s been such an amazing time in so many ways. So many things have happened. I’m still processing the things I experienced, and the things I’ve learned. So this will just be the first installment. I apologize up front for the length.

First a little back story:

On Wednesday, Dec 28th I was admitted into the hospital for surgery.

It had been quite the ride in the month or so leading up to it. There was the Thanksgiving weekend trip to the ER while I was losing a lot of blood with a myriad of tests and doctors with concerned looks on their faces. There was the follow up visit to the gynecologist who did a bunch of other tests and looked concerned. There were the test results and the call from the Dr. In between my music students … “You’ve got Cancer” and then having to go back to teaching right after the phone call. Then there was the realization that I had to tell my husband, who suffers from an anxiety disorder, that I had cancer. It was all such a blur. There were the sleepless nights dealing with the symptoms of the cancer and the side effects of the drugs I was on until I could have surgery and consultations with the surgeon etc. In the mean time I was still working a 60 hour work week and attempting to keep things pretty normalized for my students, and the financial burden of how I was going to pay the huge insurance co-pay for it all.

In the middle of getting ready for the surgery, the Christmas season was going on. It was eerie going to the hospital for the pre-op appointments with hardly anyone there right before Christmas and old tattered Christmas decorations everywhere. It was all so surreal. One day I went out with some of my friends. I was overwhelmed with the financial implications I was facing. Both of them reminded me that God is always faithful to take care of me, but I was just beside myself. I was exhausted and emotionally spent. After lunch I went home and got the mail. There was a Christmas card there for me with a peaceful snow scene with the word peace on the front of card, and an amazing gift, the first of many to come. I am so thankful to all of you who prayed for me and who gave me the greatest Christmas gift ever… life… and peace of mind, knowing that I wouldn’t have to carry the burden alone and that you guys had my back. You loved me in so many ways… providing for me financially, bringing food by, coming and keeping me company, phoning other friends to keep them informed, getting me out of the house while I was healing. The day after I came home there was a knock at the door, and the owners of my favorite Thai place were there with soup that they made just for me. They showed up several other times too. That kind of love and support was so wonderfully overwhelming. I’ll write more about that soon.

Physically the surgery went amazingly well. I’m so thankful for my doctor and her willingness to make sure she was able to do it robotically. I was concerned about waking up after surgery, since that has been a problem with other family members, but that was fine. After a complete hysterectomy, I was able to go home the next day. The surgery was minimally invasive, and I was healed enough to start working again in two weeks, because I couldn’t miss the income. The doctor told me that would be hard, I wouldn’t have all my energy back, but it would be ok… and she was right. I was a pooped puppy. But it worked. My students were great and took it easy on me. Everyone’s helped me muddle through. The follow up visits have been great and the doctor was very happy with everything.

They got the pathology reports back and they can back negative for anything spreading outside of the uterus. There was no cancer in anything else they removed.

It is sobering to remember, as my doctor so aptly said that I am now a cancer “survivor.” and as such I have to be tested every few months to make sure there is no re-occurrence. That will go on for many years. While I was waiting for the surgery I found two things that stuck with me… one was a bracelet with a quote, I think originally from Joseph Kennedy that said “Life is tough, but I am tougher.” The other was a neckless that had this inscription:

What Cancer Cannot Do…

It cannot

invade the soul

suppress memories

kill friendship

destroy peace

conquer the spirit

shatter hope

cripple love

corrode faith

steal eternal life

silence courage

Since I was young and my mother died in her 40’s, I have been aware of how tentative and fragile life is. I’ve always tried to live my life to the fullest. I’m thankful for the extra time I have, however long that is. I’m thankful for such amazing friends that love me and care for me. I’m thankful for my amazing students. I’m thankful for the reminder that life is a beautiful, wonderful, unexpected crazy thing. I’m thankful for each of you who’ve stopped by to read this today.

Hi everyone. My surgery is scheduled for the 28th in the afternoon. The great surgeon I wrote about in a previous post has agreed to do the surgery robotically, which should make it minimally invasive, with a quick healing time. I would certainly appreciate your prayers.

As some of you know, the co-pay after the medical insurance will probably be between 6,000 and 7500. I can’t get a straight story from anyone at this point since everything is “just an estimate.” Friends and family have been amazing… helping with gifts to help with the surgery since they know that I’m self-employed and the sole provider for my family, and my husband has a slew of medical bills all the time too. So far quite a bit has come in which I’m so thankful for. What an incredible Christmas gift for me this year.

Several people have been asking how they could help. If you would like to find out more about how to help you can write me at lindabmusic@cox.net or if you would like to give you can click on the donate button below.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 (12:27am)

Some Info About Me You Won’t Find On Medical Intake Forms…

 I just moved this post over from my other less intense blog…

Who knew cancer could be such a time consuming job????  The other day I had to fill out 12 pages of questions for the oncologist that will be doing my surgery. By the time I was done she knew a lot about my medical history and the medical history of my family. But I stopped and wrote her a note about the parts of me she wouldn’t find on the questionnaire. I wanted her to know me and not just my diseased body parts. This is part of what I wrote her. I thought it would be appropriate to share it here with you too. Thank you so much to all who stop by here and are concerned about me. Thank you so much for your prayers as well. Here’s a little bit of my story …

12/8/11

Some information about me you won’t find on the forms:

I’m currently self employed teaching guitar / bass / drums / mandolin / uke / keyboards / hand percussion and photography and visual arts. I work on average 12 hours a day 6 days a week to pay the medical bills for my husband who has a large number of medical issues including being an insulin dependant diabetic. Since the early 2000s my husband has been unable to work. I have been keeping up my current pace as sole provider for my family. Being self employed our insurance and other meds are over 1500 a month. It was all working pretty well until the economy went south. Now it’s a struggle to make ends meet, but somehow it always works out. I am incredibly thankful to be able to do something I love for a living and have any work given the economic state of the country.

Before teaching I worked as a photographer / media producer and then also at several churches. I realized that my heart and passion was to reach the kids who were at risk or struggling, and that I could do a lot more good really investing in a smaller number of lives. I do that now in the midst of teaching. I also mentor struggling kids. As my student’s parent’s have lost their jobs, I’ve tried to continue teaching as many as I can. I also started an instructional youtube channel so that the ones who couldn’t afford lessons could learn. To date it’s been viewed by over a quarter of a million people.

I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in my life including growing up in a home with an extremely mentally ill mother who died when I just turned 14. I experienced extreme abuse as a child.

While I wouldn’t wish many of the experiences I have had on anyone, I know for a fact that they have helped shape the good part of who I am. I’m a stronger, more hopeful, more compassionate person because of it all. Had my husband not become sick, there are so many students and other people I would have never met that I treasure having so much in my life. I have former students all over the world now leading worship in their churches, mentoring other kids, working in foreign countries helping others, producing video that has helped make a difference. One of them, who has lived in Afghanistan for many years told me a while ago… “You might never make it to this country, but everything we talked about and everything I learned from you, I’ve carried here with me.” I believe that the lives of the kids I’m with every day are precious. I want the legacy that I leave to be that they know that they are loved and that they were created uniquely for a purpose. I might not be able to get out of my teaching room very often but they will.

I’ve overcome a lot in my life. And I’m a fighter. It’s my hope and my prayer that with your help I’ll be able to overcome the cancer that’s in my body. I appreciate so much your willingness to take on the challenge of the surgery.

I am glad my prognosis is so good. But either way, whether I win or loose this battle, I know that I’ve already had three lifetimes worth of amazing experiences filled with amazing people. I am ready to fight the cancer because I have so much to live for, but I will not let it define who I am any more than the other obstacles that I’ve faced.

When my mother died in her 40′s she had hemolytic anemia as well as some kind of aggressive blood disorder. I had a conversation with her doctor who was also a family friend and loved me. At the time they weren’t sure if there would be a hereditary component to it or not. He gave me the best advice anyone could have ever given me. He said “We just don’t know, if you do get it, you will most likely die. You want to really live your life… each day.” That’s what I’ve done all these years and that’s what I’ll keep doing.

Thank you again so much for taking the time to see me. I just thought you might want to know a little about the person connected with the cancer. I’ve heard that you are amazing at what you do, and I’m thankful to have you in my corner.

10:22 am, Friday 7/22/11

I wrote this several years ago, as you can see, but I wanted to move it here next to it’s update.
 
Hey gang it’s a looooong one, but it has some great news for me.
 
Sunday, June 8, 2008 (5:01pm)
The Space Between…

The older I get the more time seems to fly by. Part of that is due to my somewhat crazy work schedule. I get up every day and work at making it through. The next day I do the same. I try to really live in the moment while I’m there with each person I encounter. But still the months race by… the years race by. More and more I’m becoming convinced that time is the most precious commodity of anything we possess. To be continued.
 
Sunday, June 29, 2008 (1:05am)
Ah… see what I mean. 21 days went by… in a heartbeat. For me, the lack of writing normally doesn’t mean “no news.” A lot of times it’s because there are so many things going on that are so meaningful, that I can’t figure out how to condense them into a few phrases. My private journal is considerably more full. Even there sometimes it’s hard to put into words the inner working of my warped brain, or my spirit. I looked back and realized that for the most part, since February, there’s been only silliness in my blog with the exception of a heartfelt prayer for peace and a remembrance of a dear friend.I think we all have those things that occupy the space between. They make their presence known late at night when we can’t sleep, or we are weary… sometimes they are fleeting memories that show up in the midst of great joy. Sometimes for me they happen in one on one encounters here in my teaching room, late night at Barnes and Noble or out to eat with someone. Sometimes it’s triggered by reading someone else’s blog.

So many times lately I’ve had those kinds of people encounters where I wished that I had a video camera running to record the moment. Some of those moments I wish I could share with all of you. There are times when the things that come out of my students mouths (especially the young ones) take my breath away at how they see life… how they get what’s important about living and God and loving people.

There is one little boy whose father has to travel a lot for business. Most of the kids I teach like that are almost always angry at their fathers for their not being around. This little boy loves his dad though… and more than that, he knows how much his dad loves him. Every week he tells me about the stuff they do together and the trips they make together. I hear stories of his dad moving heaven and earth to get back early from business trips to make it to his talent shows and activities. I wish his dad could hear him talk, and I made a mental note to call his dad and thank him for being a great father and let him know I see it all over in the life of his son.

This time in the space between, something amazing has happened in my life. That’s what originally caused me to start this blog back on the eighth. Anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows my sketchy church history. I’m like the Typhoid Mary of Churchdom. I’ve been in more churches that have had horrible things going on… both dealt with and swept under the rug… with sin and corruption and pain and pastoral flameouts… you name it… I’ve been there right in the middle of it. At the end of the day, much more than being angry or bitter, it has left me on one hand with a lot of grief for all the brokenness and loss, and a sense of thankfulness on the other hand for the mercy of God and His ability to bring new life out of the pain.

There aren’t many things in my life that I deeply regret… but there was one that left a huge pool of grief for years. In the early 90’s, due to some circumstances out of either of our control, I felt like the best and most loving thing I could do was to step away from a relationship with one of my best friends, music partner, and also a partner in ministry, who happened to also be a pastor’s wife. For me, and other women in our close knit group, it was hard because we so wanted to be there for her and her son. Through all these years I’ve continued to pray for her and her family and I’ve missed her. I’ve missed having the chance to see her son grow up. Every time I’ve gone out to play, I’ve thought that she would have totally loved what we were doing. And for all these years I’ve hoped that one day there would be a way to make it right.

Recently, I heard that there were some major changes getting ready to happen in her life… and I knew that I knew that I knew that it was time to contact her again, although I had no idea how she would respond. When I called her, she called me right back… and on June 8th, at nine in the evening at Barnes and Noble, we saw each other for the first time since around 1993.

In all these years we never ran into each other. To me when I was contemplating calling her I was blown away by how long it had been when I stopped to do the math. For me the space between 98 when my husband became ill and now has been one huge blur of work and medical bills. It seemed like yesterday when I saw her last. It was like the years just melted away and we had a great time catching up on a lot of missing years. We are both older and more tired, and yet, even with everything I think we are both at a point of looking forward to this new season in our lives. Last night we went to dinner at a place I eat at all the time… and it turns out her son, who’s now in his twenties works there and I have talked to him before. I remember looking at him and almost asking him if he was her son.  Perhaps I’ll have a chance to spend some time eventually with the young man I loved so much as a young boy. There’s so much more to the story, but it’s still in process… to be continued.

The recent events have made me really stop and think about a lot of things, including why we who are a part of the “Christian subculture” will allow things from pastors we would never allow from people who were just showing up on Sunday mornings. Pastors these days only get canned if they get caught in some heinous act. The last few weeks have made me think that maybe we should start with really looking at how they love and care for their families. If they can’t do that, then maybe it doesn’t matter what a “gifted speaker” they are. Perhaps instead of bowing out, I should have stayed at my friend’s side and become an even bigger pain in her husband’s back side. There’s no way of knowing for sure. But I did apologize to her for not being there. I would like to apologize for not finding a way to let him know what was going on and for disappearing out of his life… and to apologize  for all the crap he had to go through at the hands of the church.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with such a dear friend. God is all about forgiveness, restoration, and second chances.  In the end, real church is about being family… and continuing to love.

So, I’ve rambled on long enough for now. There’s so much more I could say… and probably will somewhere down the line. Let me just say that I am one thankful girl. And such a weight has been lifted.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite portions of the Bible, that has been so true for me in Psalm 126…
1 When the LORD brought back the captives to
Zion, we were like men who dreamed.

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

15 Albums That Influenced My Life… The Cheaters Version…

TO MY BLOGSPOT FRIENDS…

This is one of those surveys that has been making it’s rounds on facebook. I decided to post it here too because music is an important part of my life. Most of this list contains material that helped shape who I am as a musician now during my “formulative years.” Music was a great outlet for me when I was young, and one of the few safe places to express what was really going on inside of me. It helped me to deal with the the trauma I experienced as a child and as a teenager. Here’s my entry as it appeared on facebook:

Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs (if you’re over 40) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 15 others. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you’re it…

FROM LINDA:
Ok, so I’m never good at playing by the rules, and you can’t expect a music teacher with a bizillion albums to be able to hang with 15 albums. I decided to divide stuff up by musical grouping part of the time with the stuff that shaped and formed my life and the way I play. There could have been a lot more.
Motown – (Early 60’s) Some of my earliest memories in California were hanging out with my next door neighbor listening to early Motown, especially Diana Ross & The Supremes.

The Beatles – Life as we previously had known it would never be the same after they showed up. For me it was not one of their albums it was the total package and the way they kept changing and morphing and creating such an amazing variety of really good music. I wanted to play the guitar after that. I learned about the power of a great melody from them. So many of their songs had these out arrangements on the recordings, but most of them still work with one acoustic guitar. It was because of the Beatles and The Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds that I became interested in multi-track recording.

Led Zeppelin – (1969 – 1980) I was blown away by their creativity and the sheer variety in their music. I think all of them were amazing musicians individually and together I don’t think there’s ever been a rock band that’s quite that strong as a unit.

Great guitarists, most who died too young. These guys totally influenced my life and my playing just a few of them were Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, BB King, Buddy Guy, and Bonnie Raitt. (On a side note I would love to have her voice.)

Singer/Songwriters: Cat Stevens – Tea For the Tillerman (1970) Helped me see the power of the song. Simon & Garfunkel -Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970) All these years later I’m still blown away at the power and beauty of these songs. Bruce Hornsby – The Way It Is (1986) That album, and especially that song, still powerfully resonates with me. That was the theme song for my life for a long time. The basic idea… people say this… “but don’t you believe it.”

Carole King – Tapestry (1971) The first album I ever saved up my own money to buy. I loved the lyrics and melody and the percussive piano playing. I wore it out from playing it so much. It was the album that helped me survive middle school, my mother’s death, and the sudden death of my childhood.

Neil Young (All the early stuff) I loved his rawness and crustyness.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – The guitars! The Harmonies! (Especially Deja Vu)
David Crosby – If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971) I was stunned by the harmonies and the music.

ZZ Top – Tres Hombres (1973) La Grange and Jesus Done Left Chicago Robin Trower – Bridge of Sighs ( 1974) Both of these bands made me want to play blues rock in a big way.

U2 – Their early albums were so passionate. They are still a great rock band. Every worship guitarist on the planet owes a debt to The Edge.

Progressive Rock – At the same time I was starting to play blues rock I was also drawn into progressive rock. Some of the first stuff I played in bands in high school was in weird timing etc. Some of the bands I loved to listen to and play on guitar were early Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, Emmerson Lake & Palmer and later Dream Theater and Rush.

Christian Artists: 2nd Chapter of Acts – With Footnotes (1974) Raw Christian music with good lyrics and amazing vocal harmonies that would go from “pretty” and almost too vibrottoy to edgy screamy rock. When Annie Herring sang “He took away my sin and shame,” I knew it was true for me too. Seeing them live a bunch of times was amazing. They did a tour that was them, Phil Keagy, Barry Mcguire, David Souther and some other great musicians that made me want to get better on my instruments. KEITH GREEN – His whole body of work (1975 -1982) Keith was an amazing songwriter and musician. I loved seeing him play live and at home in California during the early days of what would become Last Days Ministries. I think his death in a fiery plane crash in 1982 was the catalyst for a much needed reevaluation among many in the contemporary Christian music industry. A lot of people didn’t like him because he was so extreme… but I did notice that a lot of the artists that had been straying away from their original ministry goals did refocus after that. RICH MULLINS – Such a great songwriter and odd guy who didn’t give into the system and wasn’t perfect… a good role model. DANIEL AMOS/DA – These guys were way ahead of their time and were one of the most creative bands to ever get pigeonholed into the CCM category… Alarma and Doppelganger are amazing.

Stevie Wonder – Innervisions (1973) and Songs In the Key of Life (1976) – Completely amazing. The rhythms.

Heart – Dreamboat Annie (1976) and Little Queen (1977) I grew up in a world without many female rock roll models. Here were women who could sing like crazy and play too. It’s sad that I was a senior in high school before these guys showed up on the scene.

David Wilcox – Once again it’s not just one song or album. It’s the entirety of his career. David’s not that well known, but he’s an amazing songwriter and guitarist. He’s that rare breed of musician who’s not interested in being a rock star. He wants to practice his craft and be able to support his family. He tackles tough issues and sings about faith in a way that makes the gospel live without cramming it down peoples throats. He uses weird tunings, and makes the acoustic guitar sing.

Patty Griffin – Living With Ghosts (1996 ) I’m overwhelmed by the power of one focused voice and guitar with passion and great material. I never get tired of listening to this album… or any of her stuff for that matter. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Friday February 1, 2008 (12:22am)

One of my myspace buddies tagged me and this was origionally published there…
Tag… I’m it….

Rose has tagged me and now I’m “it.” from her blog:

Once you have been tagged, write a blog with 10 weird, random things, or goals about yourself. At the end choose 10 people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them. Don’t forget to leave them a comment (tag, you’re it) and to read your blog.

and you can’t tag the person who tagged you.

Rose just tagged me. Those of you who don’t know her would really enjoy her. She’s another creative/techno person who writes great grousy blogs, and is really a very tenderhearted softy. All of that I find very endearing. So here are a few rambling thoughts in no particular order…

1. As a child I loved the cartoon Gigantor, and wanted a multi-ton Robot as my best buddy… thus began my love/hate relationship with technology.

2. From the age of 5 to about 10 my next door neighbor and I would put on shows for the other neighborhood kids, complete with functional curtain. We did a lot of Motown songs and Beatles stuff. As an adult, I’ve done a disproportionally large number of gigs playing in corners with poultry (either live or on the menu) involved.

3. My mother had short stubby toes. My father’s two toes next to his big toe were grown together. I have short stubby half way grown together toes that are funny to look at and probably resemble hobbit toes. As a child I saw a drawing of an Eohippus, a prehistoric horse and my toes resembled theirs.

4. I repel technology. I can kill off technology just by being near it, especially during a hormonal swing. My techno geek husband didn’t believe me at first and now agrees it’s downright creepy. I need to figure out how to hire myself out to do industrial espionage. Things I kill off on a regular basis includes, but is not limited to, a bizillion cash registers, multiple voting machines, airline ticket machines, video cameras, audio equipment and COMPUTERS. Needless to say this causes a lot of problems with my chosen profession where I’m using technology every day. On a related note, I have to wear a digital watch and not one with mechanical parts. I stop regular watches. (It must be my magnetic personality.)

5. I attract organic life forms. Animals and small children love me. Even wild and feral animals with normally hang out with me. “Vicious” dogs will normally also be perfectly tame with me. Even highly trained agility dogs will break from what they are doing and come over to hang out with me. It’s very odd. I actually ran a children’s ministry at a church for awhile and the kids would follow me around like I was the pied piper. I also was able to instantaneously get the screaming babies to stop and calm down.

6. I am the goose whisperer. Even though they are the thugs of the bird world I love to go feed them. They come up and stand around me calmly waiting to take the food out of my hand, which tends to freak out anyone else around who might be trying to feed the birds at the local pond. (Please see my photo album titled blog illustrations or journal illustrations for proof.)

7. When I was a small child I wanted to leave home as soon as I could to go live on a farm and raise animals. By the time I was starting middle school I had my whole life planned out… I was going to either become a psychologist or a sociologist. As a fluke I took a photo class in high school because I thought it might be a good tool in case I did field studies etc. As it turned out I had a very high aptitude for it and did my first album cover when I was 18 or 19. I still end up doing a lot of lay counseling / mentoring etc. .. even more now teaching music than I did working and counseling at a church… go figure. One of my friends calls it teaching guitar- har -har -har.

8. In teaching and in mentoring, I love working with middle school students. .. especially the really bright ones. I love the way they are still inquisitive and are engaged in figuring who they are and what they want to accomplish in their lives… and they aren’t completely cynical yet! One of my favorite things is having the privilege of being in my students lives long enough to watch them grow into adulthood. My goal is to encourage them to be their own people, to be as creative as possible, and to stand their ground for what is true and important and to make a difference in their worlds.

9. I believe it’s great to do a major career shift every decade or so. It keeps life interesting and makes for a lot better batch of weird stories. Who knows what I might do next… or again.

10. I dream in cinematically in mixed media. Sometimes I dream in a mixture of live action and cartoon. Sometimes my dreams have a narrator. Sometimes they are very movie like with different camera shots and angles… and sometimes I have dream sequels at the same location.

… AND ONE EXTRA FOR GOOD MEASURE!

11. I have a very weird mixture of friends… so weird in fact that some of you guys probably couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other. I love the diversity. I love the different ways you challenge my thinking. I love the things I learn from you about life, and relationships and God and what’s really important in life. By nature I’m actually pretty shy and pretty much of an introverted loner. I’m incredibly thankful that you guys help drag me outside of myself and remind me again and again that we are family.