Thursday, August 4, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Whole


I am so many parts. Especially this past week, I have struggled with all of my parts. ALl of my roles. Being a daughter, a mother, a sister, a friend, a student (to be!), a performer, a singer, a guitarist (in progress!)... I was tugged in so many different directions that I kind of lost myself. On some levels that was good because I was on auto-pilot- answering questions, asking questions, sleeping, eating, helping, doing... It kept me from thinking of all the horrible things that my wonderful distracted mind was able to keep at bay. 

On the other hand, there were times I was just completely stymied. I had no idea where I should turn, what I should do, who my priority should be, when I should let go, how I should act... I felt selfish and self-less at the same time. I was proud of the juggling and then immediately aggravated that I wasn't able to please everyone. 

But then I would crawl into bed, drag my wretchedly exhaustipated body into that heavenly soft cool sheet world and curl every inch of me around the man who is my counterpart, my best friend and staunchiest advocate- always. And all was well with my world. Because no matter how many roles I played, no matter how many different directions I was being pulled in, no matter how much I questioned or worried or the end of the day, I was warmed by the man who sums up all those parts and keeps me safe in his heart. Whole-ly loved. Whole-ly me. Whole.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Welcome


From the moment I stepped onto the campus, I knew. There was a feeling of "home", a feeling of coming back to a place I'd never been but knowing I was supposed to be there. That all of my life had led me to that moment. 

Sitting in Dr. Reyes' office, discussing music, discerning ministry, the marriage of tradition with contemporary, musical philosophies and faith testimonies, auditions, workshops, concerts and classes...

I sat across from this woman I had never met and a warm feeling overcame me and I knew she was the right person to help guide me over the next four years as I pursue a degree in worship and music ministry. I listened to her tell me about her own background and passions and visions for the future and I knew this welcome was a destiny I could never have imagined on my own. It helped me share my own story and my own piece in this puzzle of my life.

I am grateful for the cheerleaders in my life who have helped me to get to this welcome mat, at this college I didn't know existed a year ago...

I hug myself and laugh with excitement at this new home that I will visit during the week when my monkeys are at their own schools and I revel in the welcome of it all...


June DayBook: A Day Late & A Dollar Short :)

Outside my window... sun is setting, everything is grey with some rays of light peeking through the many clouds, pine trees are framing the picture...
I am thinking... about how very much my life has changed in the last couple of years and how incredible where I've wound up has turned out to be- everything I never knew I always wanted...
I am hearing...  the Disney movie "Tangled" in surround sound and several monkeys in the pool shouting and laughing... Oh, now it's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and I will be easily distracted :) 
I am thankful for... my Gary, who always encourages me, always supports me, always listens to me, always prays for me and always, always loves me...
I am praying for... my monkeys- their paths, their friends, their decisions, their opportunities, their lives... Just celebrated David's 6th & Natalie's 17th birthdays and have Katelyn's 10th & Zacharoo's 8th coming up this summer and then Megan's 16th & Jessi's 19th this fall... Whew!
Toward a healthier me.... drinking more water, strength training, cutting out caffeine, getting enough sleep (that one is hard!)...
Inspiring me this week... several friends who have been both prayer warriors and cheerleaders and have taken the time to give me advice and direction- Todd Bardin, Jonathan Cole, Lenora Rousseau and Karen Janota, I am more grateful than I let you know :)
From the kitchen... Just tried quinoa for the first time in a sparkpeople recipe tonight. It was good but I'd like to see what else I can do with this stuff- love the flavor and texture!
I am wearing... ummm... my orange Third Day "Property of Gomer" t-shirt and (surprise!) black yoga shorts... again...  Wow! I am a creature of habit (and comfort lol) who needs to change it up a bit, perhaps!
I am creating... a new life- settling in to a new normal in this season of change on the road to who I want to be when I grow up...
I am going... back to school! I'm so amazingly excited I can't stand it! 58 days and counting! 
I am reading... just starting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- again. I have to re-read it before the midnight premiere in 13 days! I am going to bawl my eyes out as soon as the music starts and all the way through til I hiccough at the end with a sad sigh... 
Toward a lifelong education... Spent the day at Florida Christian College on Thursday meeting the professor of music, my academic advisor, registering for classes, figuring out my financial aid and getting all my questions answered. I am going to exactly the right school that combines my two passions- music and my Jesus- and I am so at peace with this decision. And so grateful for the opportunity. 
On keeping home... catching up on laundry, the constant sweeping and mopping of the kitchen, sorting out piles of paperwork in our bedroom, picking out pictures to print out for the myriad of frames we've put up with random strangers still smiling at us from every angle :)
One of my favorite things... God showing up in the unlikeliest of places- through folks and events you don't expect to see Him in- and the continuous learning that comes from trying to walk with as much grace towards other folks as you can muster. 
A verse for this week:
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God".
 ~ Micah 6:8                                                                                  
A few plans for the rest of the week:  Practicing guitar for Emmaus team meetings and the October walk, continuing to immerse myself in "Ragtime" for the upcoming August performance, buzzing and singing my JoCo music, applying for scholarships and grants so I can continue this adventure next year :)
Here is a picture for thought I am sharing... 

Friday, May 13, 2011

5 Minute Friday: Deep Breath


I want me a burning bush. Doesn't everyone? I could never deny my God if He deigned to speak to me from a pyre of leaves and branches, lest the fire leap out and devour me whole. I wouldn't argue with Him or try to change His mind or tell Him that He was dead wrong. 

Unfortunately, the whole burning bush thing is a little bit more uncommon these days. 

And so, I have to figure things out all by myself. Well, not completely. The yearning of my soul is apparently leading me in ways I didn't even recognize at first.  I also have some really phenomenal folks in my life that I seem to have collected unwittingly, but no less strategically, who affirm the stirrings of my heart and unpackage the things that are tormenting me. 

And sometimes :::deep breath::: I've got nothing. The hair on my arms doesn't move an inch, I play phone tag to no avail and all I have... is me... and Him. 

And I have to learn to be more still. And I have to listen closer to what is unsaid. And I have to trust the seemingly RIDICULOUS spiritual urgings. And I have to move somewhere in order to get anywhere.

Leaning not on my own understanding.

Burning bush, anyone?


Thanking my beautiful friend & fellow wordsmith, Sam, for another great blog idea.
Every Friday, a new prompt & intentional 5 minute freewrite. 
Awesomeness? I think so!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MayDayBook :)

Outside my window... a hazy, overcast day. There was a really cool sun this morning that I wish I had a good enough camera to capture. It was a beautiful subdued orange-red under a full cloud veil framed by pine trees.
I am thinking... about everything I have to do, the frog that may or not be hiding in my laundry room, windows and doors for God to open and close, music, the many folks who are trying to help me figure out me (lol) and the throbbing feeling in my fingertips from practicing guitar :)
I am hearing... more than anyone thinks I am hearing, which is still less than I would like to hear. I want me a burning bush that I would never dare to disobey but I know my God speaks volumes to me in the silences that are so hard for me. And literally, one of my favorite songs (and so appropriate right now) just came on the radio- "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw.
I am thankful for... the awesome, overwhelming feeling of electricity surrounding me when I don't think I'm praying and the warm sensation in my chest that hums the phrase "consuming fire".
I am praying for... .the courage to keep moving, the faith to change direction and the discernment that goes along with both.
Toward a healthier me.... Went to the doctor, spent the afternoon having some tests done, a referral to a specialist next week and we'll go from there. Also, more consistent strength training, drinking more water and eating more intentionally. Having breakfast every morning is tough for me :~P
Inspiring me this week... the Holy Spirit. It is both ridiculous and redeeming to feel like I am really being led somewhere, however unexpected :)
From the kitchen... Oddly enough, I'm unprepared. I have been cooking for 7 for the past 3 weeks but after a great start last night cooking for 9 again with the meatloaf & mashed potatoes that everyone devours, I am stymied for the rest of the week.
I am wearing... my orange Third Day "Property of Gomer" t-shirt and (surprise!) black yoga shorts. 
I am creating... me- really recreating me, who I want to be when I grow up, and trying not to feel selfish about it. It works sometimes :) but this seems too worth it to give up on me again.
I am going... SOMEWHERE. Can't sit on the sidelines any longer.
I am reading... The Way to Heaven by Steven Harper and Listening to God in Times of Choice by Gordon Smith. Change of Heart will have to wait a little longer :)
Toward a lifelong education... a-HA! I am trying to figure out a way to go back to school and get my BS in Music Ministry :) Exciting and scary! Also, practicing my guitar to get ready to lead music with one of my favorite fellow musicians on a retreat this fall. And sangin' :)
On keeping home... Spent TWO days cleaning the girls' room, put up blinds in the living room, curtains in the bedroom and painted the laundry room. Still organizing those craft shelves. A work in progress- a great little music corner in our bedroom- guitars on the walls, keyboard under the window,  music stand by my cozy chair and my biggest fan on his netbook in our bed. Pure bliss, this :)
One of my favorite things... Moosen & monkeys. A snapshot of life with both: Church- complete with "Swagger Wagon" video (!), an unexpected long nap, Steak & Shake and bowling for Mother's Day. I love my family :)
A verse for this week:
"Be still and know that I am God."
 ~ Psalm 46:10                                                                                  
A few plans for the rest of the week:  Jessi's senior recital, rehearsing for the Central Florida Community Choir's first concert next week, practicing guitar, finally watching Megamind with the kiddos and Date Night!
Here is a picture for thought I am sharing... couldn't do one this time- we didn't get a group shot! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Daybook...or should I call this my Nightbook?

Outside my window... less treetops. Gary is trimming trees so we can open the pool back up for all the monkeys this summer. It's kind of a best of both worlds thing- still enough trees to feel like a nature sanctuary but now more sky to gaze out on the longer days and rolling storms...
I am thinking... about the people who make up my very crazy life... How very blessed I am in spite of the  overly fullness and busyness of it... How I need to take more responsibility for my own happiness and not allow others to steal my joy. If they can't find it for themselves, I should just feel sorry for them, instead of giving them my own. Enjoy my joy, instead of trying to please people who refuse to discover happiness for themselves. How truly sad is that?
I am hearing... more music in my head than I know what to do with and that is both overwhelming and awesome :)
I am thankful for... this place I now call home~especially the amazing man who built it~ and how much it has come to mean to me...
I am praying for... the ability to give as much grace as I want to receive... So much harder when I am not getting as much grace as I am giving... Sometimes, being a Christ follower can make you feel like a doormat~ or a failure if you can't seem to muster up that much grace for those who persecute you. I have to constantly remind myself to fix my eyes on His grace for ME in order to turn the focus off of my perceived injustices from others.
Toward a healthier me.... Received a bike for my birthday and went gangbusters on the trail until I learned how to shift(!) and then realized my shifter's shifty. :( Need to figure that whole thing out so I can get back out there. Just discovered the West Orange Trail after living here for a dozen years. I know, I know...
Inspiring me this week... Finally having a (mostly) organized home. There are still a few things that I need to accomplish to make this really good for my OCD self, but for the most part, a huge smiling sigh of relief as I walk from room to room (excluding kid rooms!)...
From the kitchen... A really good new baked ziti recipe that everyone liked! Getting better at writing down dinners so I don't repeat as often :) Tough to remember what we had when with who when the household changes up every other week!
I am wearing... an oversized red shirt of Gary's that almost comes to my knees and black yoga shorts. 
I am creating... a new routine for myself so I can get more stuff done when the kids are in school so I have more time for them afterwards. 
I am going... to try not to beat myself up too badly (or at least less than usual)...
I am reading... I just finished The Kite Runner- what a great book! I am starting Change of Heart by Jodi Piccoult- FINALLY :)
Toward a lifelong education... Practice my music more intentionally and work out a few vocal things that are absolutely driving me crazy. C-R-A-Z-Y.  O_o
On keeping home... Use the Home Depot gift card we got for our wedding to get new blinds for the living room, sew valances for those same windows and put up the rich, red ones we got for our bedroom. Print out pictures for all the frames we finished putting up all over the house. Paint the laundry room. Organize the craft shelves. (I did mention the OCD tendencies already, didn't I?)
One of my favorite things... Singing. Music is such balm for my soul. Voice lessons are humbling and dork-afying (my word, grammatically awful as it is), but also deeply gratifying and freeing. 
A verse for this week:
"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?"
 ~ Matthew 5:46                                                                                  
A few plans for the rest of the week:  Natalie's final lacrosse game of the season, Jessi's last high school musical ever ("Hairspray"!), Megan's softball game,  Candlelight at Warren Willis Camp... Never a dull moment around here :)
Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Requiem for Mama

Theresa "Diane" Rizzo
July 10, 1934 ~ March 13, 1989

It's been 22 years since I wrote this poem after my mom passed away. I read it at her funeral, held steady by my brother's hand on my back. I think it was the first time I remember being so strong in weakness. Not something I enjoy, but good to know I can pull off every now and again. I miss my mom. Still. And sometimes more than I can put into words or sobs or the aching gnaw in your belly that threatens to swallow you up from the inside. 

As I sing in life,
So I shall sing in death.
My life, to me,
Has been a song.
Death claims not,
Who sings so strong.
And yet,
My laughing years grow dim.
No longer time holds in its grasp
My life-
For it is past.
Fear not,
For I can fear no more
Knowing now,
My own life's store.
In death,
We only part for now.
When reunited,
Love shall not have been in vain-
An infinity requited.
Frequencized by few,
You find these pages
Torn and creased.
I paid my dues.
Look not for me.
I am deceased.

Nickie Knieriem (Logan)
March 13, 1989

The thing about pictures is that before digital cameras it was so much tougher to catch the essence of a person. This photo of us isn't the best but it says the most. I'm off in my own world, talking to myself, and the look of love in my mom's eyes as she looks at me is unmistakable. I was her baby. I still am. But... did I mention how much I miss my mom?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Daybook - the first of many, I hope. I love these...

Outside my window...lots of stars and treetops.
I am thinking...about music- what it means to me, what I can do with it and how much happier I am when I can sing.
I am hearing...the drone of the ceiling fan, a few middle of the night bi-polar birds and Gary's deep breathing.
I am thankful full my life is- especially this week when everyone is home- and how much joy the people in it (namely my moosen and monkeys) bring me, even in the everyday chaos.
I am praying for...God's plan for our lives. We are doing a Strategic Life bible study to help us live a more intentional life- one that honors and glorifies Him while using our unique talents and teaching our children what it is to be a follower of Christ. No small order, this.
Toward a healthier me....Ran 4 miles with my 9 year old fleetfoot, wanting to make it a habit, both for me because I feel better when I am running regularly and for her because she enjoys it so much and it's nice to have something to share with one another. Trying to remember to drink more water and eat more protein. And get more sleep. Making an appointment with my doctor to figure out why I keep getting so dizzy.
Inspiring me this week...Honestly? Music. Being around other folks who are as passionate as I am about singing  just fills me to bursting with joy.
From the kitchen... Trying to be more intentional about mealtimes also. Writing down what meals have a majority of happy bellies and varying it up, while trying to pare down the grocery bill, have less unusable leftovers and keep it all somewhat nutritious.
I am oversized orange shirt of Gary's that almost comes to my knees and black yoga shorts.
I am creating...a place to write by starting this blog. When I sent out an email blast to my closest compadres about what they thought my unique gifts were, I was surprised that unanimously they listed writing. I knew it but I didn't know that they did. I have missed writing regularly so this might be the best place to wipe the cobwebs from my brain and use my passion for creative communication here :)
I am finish going through our wedding pictures and get them posted on facebook and picassa. There were 16oo photos taken and we've had sick kiddos and out of town friends and random craziness. We just need to get it done. This week.
I am reading...Oddly enough, nothing right now. A couple of devotions but sporadically - hmmm, need to work on that- and nothing else. I think I really need to get my head back into a few books to feed my heart and head a bit.
Toward a lifelong education... Finally taking the voice lessons I have always wanted to take, which thrills me to no end. Would love to go back to school someday, but not just yet.
On keeping home...Need to finish decorating our bedroom and living room. And paint the laundry room. So I can stop stressing about how it's not done. And just enjoy the home we are making together.
One of my favorite things...Hugs. Everyday when Gary leaves for work and when he comes home again and as we drift off to sleep.  Random monkey hugs, especially the rare teen variety. "Just because" hugs. "I missed you" hugs. "I'm home" hugs. "Good-night" hugs. Hugs fuel my soul.
A verse for this week:
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which He has prepared in advance for us to do"
 ~ Ephesians 2:10                                                                                  
A few plans for the rest of the week:  Wedding pictures, running, decorating, voice & choir homework, breathing exercises, bible study homework, grocery shopping, date night. I really need date night :)
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
 Just one of many I really like that I am sorting through :)