Music Monday: Bela Fleck and The Fleckstones A Celtic Melody

I am frequently at a loss for words  that describe what it is I’m really aspiring to do with my banjo. Blue grass, folk, corny fun, Gospel, what? Bela Fleck is a magnificent composer. While I love all things banjo, the way this man brings out the depth and beauty of this instrument strikes me with pure awe. There is no style of music he cannot play be it bluegrass, new grass, jazz, Bach, or Celtic. If I achieve half his skill before I die, I shall die a fulfilled woman. I’ve never heard banjo played better than this.

A Subversive Revolution

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This is my last resolve quote. I’ve sat on it for quite a long time. I looked up subversive and it doesn’t sound like a nice person at all. It sound’s rebellious. I’m not rebellious. (okay so that’s a total lie.) And then I remembered, I said “tits” on a Facebook Post and I’m a Christian. That’s pretty subversive if you ask me. Granted it was totally in context of the point I was trying to make even if it is shocking.

I’ve sat here at my desk for well over a week trying to come up with my end of year blog. Every year I take inventory of my life. I write what went well, what didn’t and ponder where I want to go next year. Something ate at me though.

All I saw for days was what I didn’t do in 2013. 

I didn’t ride with the Tulsa Diva’s like I said I would.

I didn’t walk the Rt 66 Marathon or run in a 5K

and I still stink at banjo. I didn’t practice enough so I have no one to blame but myself.

Now the fact that I had a physical limitation that took most of that off the table did not matter to me, all I could see was I failed my physical goals for the year. I couldn’t see my successes at all.

You know what?

As I wrap up 2013, I’ve decided that the most subversive thing I can do, for today, is to tell my broken brain to shut the heck up and start agreeing with God that I am who He says I am. I’ll admit that I do sometimes struggle with that.

2013 rocked!

I began 2013 with one word on my mind, Resolve. Every week I’d look up quotes that spoke to me and focus on them. It’s interesting to me to see the theme now.

  • Dare to be powerful.
  • Be my own best friend.
  • Get outdoors.
  • Free myself from criticism, fear, negative self-talk, and discouragement.
  • Push myself to my limits
  • challenge myself
  • be fabulous
  • don’t give up
  • trust my courage.
  • Remember who you are.

Wow, what a list. I did all that. While it’s true I didn’t do it all perfectly every day, I did do it to the best of my abilities. That’s an accomplishment. I also allowed myself to go on a four day vacation with some friends – only the second time I’ve ever done that in my life. That’s pretty cool.

  1. I gave up my IPhone in order to reconnect with real people face to face instead of online.
  2. I got a ton of stage time performing locally. While it was exhausting, it was fun.
  3. I met some personal heroes like Anne Lammot, Mark Lowry and Jennifer Rothschild (we sat next to each other on a plane. It was awesome)
  4. My humor piece about never having met Mark before is the most shared story of the year. He’s read it, I’m embarrassed, but I am allowing myself to admit it is funny and besides now that I’ve met him I’m a little less embarrassed that he read it. oh and thank you thank you thank you for that! You guys are awesome.
  5. I drove 15 hours by myself to podunk Indiana to compete in a clean comedy challenge next to comics who’ve been doing this for years and in front of national celebrities — AND I allowed myself to be critiqued by them. HOLY CANOLLIES — that woman – the one brave enough to do that did not exist five years ago — I’m just saying – we’re talking full on miracle here.
  6. I graduated from Thelma Well’s Daughters of Zion mentoring program and was awarded 30 college credit hours from the seminary she teaches at in Indiana. How cool is that?

Why do I get the feeling that I’ve spent 2013 being subversive and revolutionary and I didn’t even realize it?

I’m presently in a boot, recovering from surgery on my tibia. One of my goals for 2014 will involve physical therapy and learning how to walk again. Beyond that though, I’m still stuck. I don’t have my word or a scripture verse. Somehow, I’m okay with that.

Maybe all I need to do in 2014 is show up and leave the rest up to God.

What do you think?

I Chose This

resolve june 5 2013 ” I miss my friends. I miss our house. I miss our store. I hate you for bringing me here.” she said. And he reminds her, “But we chose this, remember? The house, yard, and store were too much to take care of now, and we were too far away from town and the doctor’s offices. And we’re closer to our daughter now. You can walk to her house. You couldn’t do that before. So what if we have to drive farther to see our friends, we knew that when we chose to move.”

* “I hate living in Chicago. It’s scary and it’s hard. And those men I have to work with? They are crude! They keep trying to scare me off. It’s so hard some days Gramps.”

“But you chose this, remember? You wanted to live in Chicago. You wanted to have a career. You knew you would be the only woman in that group when you accepted the job. You chose this life. The only question that remains now is what choices are you willing to make today? Are you going to step up to the plate and face the challenge you accepted or are you going to run away?”

YOU CHOSE THIS, REMEMBER?

If I remember nothing else from my Grandfather, I hope I never forget those words. You chose this. Own your choices or they will own you.

My Grand Father had an 8th grade education at best, and I swear up and down he was the smartest man I’ve ever known in my life. I miss him beyond measure most days.

The great thing about choices is we get to change our minds and make a different choice, or we get to buckle down and do what needs to be done.

I got a little whiney this week. I didn’t think I was being whiney. I thought I was just stating facts, I’ve been performing all month at various venues and some have been harder than others. I haven’t slept well in I don’t know how long. I’ve been up half the night most nights writing new jokes, practicing my banjo and my guitar, writing stories, talking with friends, working through home work that is due June 15. I have gardens to work, and deadlines looming. I got to feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all and I think part of me was looking for a little bit of sympathy only I didn’t get it.

I’m glad really. Women (and men) don’t need sympathy — especially in light of the fact that we are all living the lives we choose to live. (For the record, sympathy and empathy are not the same thing.)

We may not view our lives as choice. Sometimes we view ourselves as victims of either fate or circumstance or others but nothing can be further from the truth.

I’m choosing to add music lessons, a ministry class, and playing stand up in bars and clubs to my already full schedule of running a home, caring for aging parents, and going green in my gardening (No GMO’s for us thank you) not to mention becoming a full-fledged cyclist. All of these are good choices. Yes, it does mean I get a bit less sleep. I’m not a victim. I’m living my dream. I’m performing comedy. I’m working hard at being the best comic I can become. Every choice I make pushes me a little bit closer to my goals.

I can either accept, appreciate, and value the hard work that goes into that – or I can stay a stuck little girl and whine which leads people and myself to wonder – if it’s really that awful why do you keep doing it?

We choose where we work, where we live, whom we trust, how we eat, how we spend our time and what we think.

When we replace the have to’s with chooses to’s, we step out of the little girl victim mode and become women who own our own lives.

It isn’t always easy. Life is still life. Relationships are hard. Work is hard. And even in the face of hardship we still choose how we respond.

We aren’t beach balls tossed around by a crowd. We are women. We control our steps, our hearts, and our destiny. Only when we live it, breathe it, and own it are we free.

* I went on to earn numerous performance rewards, including but not limited to recognition from the National Associate of Female Executives for being the first women to work in Internal Communications for a National Telecommunications company. When hired, the manager told me “HR says I have to hire a broad, I give you 90 days.” — Today that department has almost as many women working in it as men. I’m proud I chose to rise to the challenge and stick with it.

Finding My Story for 2010

I was going to post a blog today about my new resolutions, until I read Donald Miller’s Post on Living a Good Story. (You have got to read it, seriously. Awesome piece) No one is asking me to endorse it, I just happened to catch the link on Twitter today and thought WOW, this is so it! And that post is why I am changing how I look at both 2009 and 2010.

“When you do tell your story, don’t sound like the victim. If you do, you’ll sound like you’re whining. Just be truthful in telling your story and aim to discover that slice of humanity that others can relate to.”  David Pierce, to me last summer, author of “Don’t Let Me Go.”

Stories can capture the soul or bore you stupid, kind of like my blog some days.   I’m going through midlife puberty and my voice is changing. Some days I nail it, mostly I squeak. My “mom” days are coming to a close. It’s a scary season for me. I’m still needed, but not in the same way.

I do find it interesting , that my top two blog entries in 2009 were on Letting Go and Understanding our Identity in Christ, By: Cj Rapp. Both received hundreds of hits a piece and they were the most commonly searched topics.

I did not begin 2009 with a story in mind and yet looking back, those two pieces nail it. Letting Go of what holds me back and finding my identity in Christ is the story of 2009 at least for me.  Christ loves me, not because of what I do or don’t do, but because I breath in and out.  I can’t do a single thing to make Him love me less, or love me more than he does right now. WOW. 

That was God’s gift to me last year.  That knowing that I wanted so desperately in January. Remember my verse for the year? – Ephesians 3:17-19. “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

I “get” it today.

 My goals for 2009 were pretty vague – memorize 24 scripture verses, survive graduation and my son leaving for college, lose 60 lbs (didn’t happen) — I was also going to quit smoking, but I copped a resentment last summer and well, that didn’t happen either. — And yes, I am self destructive when I’m feeling resentful. Even so, stopping smoking is a requirement for the story I want to live in 2010.

 

I’m back at square one today. I’m throwing away my resoltions and I’m looking for the story of 2010. What story do I want to live? I’m not sure yet. That will take some thought.

I’m going to take the advice from a teacher again- my story for 2010won’t involve being a victim, no whining might take some work, and it will be truthful. Truthful to God, to my family, and to myself.

How about you? What story do you want to live in 2010? I’d love to hear from you.

EDITED TO ADD:  _– a neurotic note to say  How quickly I forget,  — Donald Miller wrote Blue Like Jazz, one of my favorite books of all time – no wonder his piece on stories not resolutions spoke to me so well. 

Read this guy.. I’m glad I found him again.. I feel a bookstore afternoon coming up.

What a Year it has been

Dear Heavens, I turned 44 this week and I still haven’t won an academy award. Not that I haven’t tried. Being a redhead and all – you’d think I would have. Sadly no academy’s for me. And I guess that’s a good thing really.

My life is not what I would have expected 20 years ago. I’m not an award winning novelist, or actress, or circus clown (Mom breathes a silent prayer of relief over that one.) for that matter I don’t have a career to speak of at all like I once thought I would. I’m a married mother of two really neat teenagers and my life consists of helping out with our Mission Start, teaching Sunday School for Women, going to my son’s soccer games, planting my gardens, cooking meals, cleaning my house, loving my husband and becoming a stand up comic. I think that is a good life.

I like to take an inventory every year on my birthday. Just an honest look and where I’ve been and where I want to be. I set new goals and strive for them each year.  Last year my goals included learning new things, being more brave, and walking closer with God.

Did you know that if you set the goal of “not being so afraid” it doesn’t mean the fear goes away, it means you get to feel the fear and do it anyway?

So what big scary things did I get to do this year? – I didn’t die by the way, which I’m sure you figured out because you are reading this post.

My scary things that turned out to be still scary but didn’t kill me.

  • Drove to the Children’s Medical Hospital in Fort Worth with Dillon for three days to find answers. – we did and he’s seizure free today.
  • Drove to Nashville with other Turbo Sisters to be there at Chonda Pierce’s new video taping.
  • Flew to Nashville to be in Ken Davis’s Professional Communicator’s Summit. — I shook to my bones, but did it anyway.
  • Drove to Nashville (Yes, I’m in love with Nashville this year) for the Christian Comedy Association Conference, found “home” and joined the association.
  • Performed a LIVE three minute comedy set in front of Kenn Kington, Nazareth, Thor Ramsey, Bone Hampton, LeLand and a bunch of other profession Christian comics – okay so I almost wet myself over that, but hey, I did it! And I made them laugh. Not bad.
  • Drove to Nashville with Jeff to spend 48 hours at the Cove with Randy and Chris Elrod for some retreat and mentoring time.
  • Did another live stand up set – this one about seven minutes at the Ablaze Fall Festival and did well enough that people told me I’ve found my right path. 😉 and I was nervous, but not scared.

While looking for God in the midst of fear, I found his path for me. Interesting. He picked the one thing that would seem to scare me most, being myself in front of other people.

Things I don’t do well

  • Taking care of myself.
  • Managing my time.
  • Speaking up without acting out – I still have my temper when I’m tired.

So I have some new goals for this coming year.

  1. Improve this new path by taking one new class, Dynamic Communicator’s Workshop, with Jeff.
  2. Walking two miles a day with my boarder collie Rocky. I tried to do three, but my ankle won’t tolerate it.
  3. Call my mom more than once every other month. I’m really bad at keeping in touch with her.
  4. Take some healthy cooking classes from Whole Foods.
  5. Learn how to say no to the things that get in the way of what God wants me to say yes to.

Simple stuff really. But worthy of noting. I’m a caretaker who needs to learn how to take better care of myself. So that is what I plan on focusing on this year. I want to celebrate more birthdays and set more goals for my life.

Do you set goals every year? Would you share on with me?