I spent the afternoon with an old friend…

I had a wonderful afternoon today. I spent it with an old friend.

The old friend was music…but not just any music. It was one of my favorite CDs that I hadn’t heard in a couple of years. It’s by Carolyn Arends and the album is called, “this much i understand”.

I think Carolyn is a balladeer. She is a Christian who sings wonderful songs about our lives. One song is called Happy and in it, she asks if she annoys us by her optimism and tells us she is going to dare to be happy. What a great message!

She goes on to sing Life is Long, which talks about some tough times in a woman’s life and she tells them to hang in there, that life is long, and tomorrow’s another day, that she believes they’re gonna make it. Who hasn’t had days when they needed to hear that?

I love them all but another particular fave of mine is called Life and Death, where she says that we are all just too busy, that we need to take the time to do what’s important and we forget that, “It’s a matter of life and death, all the choices we’re gonna get, to use our voices, make our choices happen here and now. What’s the matter with all of us? Chase the wind and we miss the bus. We get distracted from what matters and then somehow, we forget…it’s life and death.” It’s a real eye opener. ; )

An amazing love song is called The Day Will Never Come. In it, she tells her husband that the day will never come that she doesn’t love him, even if she can’t guarantee that she will always be the things he wants and needs from her. Now, THAT’S TRUE LOVE!

In a song called Surprised by Joy, Carolyn shares how she is astounded by God’s love and the wonderful things in her life, including God’s grace and the “little” things, like her son’s toothless grin. It is a song of gratitude and love…and we all need to be reminded of that!

One-Syllable Words talks about how instead of all the psychobabble, legalese, big words and craziness in our world, we need to get back to using some one-syllable words like “faith and hope and love, truth and peace and trust, dream and pay and watch and play”…stuff like that. Who can’t agree with that?

An absolute favorite that will often bring me to tears is her song, Even the Wallflowers, where she speaks to her infant/toddler, telling him that ever since he was born, she has been utterly amazed, astonished at his level of perfection and although she can’t imagine how anyone could hurt him, she knows they will. She wishes she can protect him from all the bad things of life but if she does, she knows he may never learn that even the wallflowers do survive, in fact, they can thrive, even in the shadows…and that there is a power in finding that out for himself. In fact, someday, he will even tell it to his own kid.

A sad and beautiful song was written to her grandmother, who died sooner than Carolyn expected. She says that if she had known her grandmother would be leaving here so soon, she would have done a lot of things differently. She sings, “If you were here right now, I would Love You Out Loud“, and explains what that means by saying she would listen to more of her stories and laugh at her jokes, pray with her, tell her she loves her more often and other such wonderful things.  It is a touching and beautiful ode to her grandmother!

She ends the album with another favorite of mine. It is a song to her newly born son, where she tells him she knows how frightened he must have been to have been taken from his warm world inside her “to this delivery room”. She tells him that even though he doesn’t understand it now, he belongs and that they’ve been waiting for him, looking forward to showing him the place. It’s called We’ve Been Waiting For You and she tells him that he’s going to like it here and that there are wonderful things in store like the taste of ice cream and his first kiss.

Then, she gets more serious, saying she now realizes that she is on her own journey and that when it’s her turn to leave, she’s pretty sure she’ll be frightened. She tells him that even if she cries, she won’t be alone and when her room is ready and she arrives at the gates of Heaven, she knows she will hear them say the words that she said to him as he arrived here, “We’ve been waiting for you. We’re so glad you came. We’ve been looking forward to showing you the place. There’s so much in store and we’ve been waiting for you.”

What a great note to leave us with! There is such tenderness and hope in her songs and my heart was full and soaring by the time the last note was played. Throughout the afternoon, even though I tried to be productive, I discovered that I couldn’t bear to be distracted, to miss a word, and I had such fun singing along to all the words that came rushing back to me!

I had almost forgotten how important music is! It ministers to my spirit, my mind, my soul! Oh, the time I’ve wasted listening to so many other things! Do YOU have a favorite album or singer you haven’t heard in awhile? Even if it is just a favorite era or a style of music you used to love, I encourage you to play it…and let your mind experience the emotions that come along with it. Another thing…if you love to sing, sing along…even if you don’t think you sing well…sing…because that act will take you deeper into those places you’ve kept closed off, the places you loved, exposing parts of you that you thought were dead and you’ve missed.

Music IS the stuff of life! Viva la musica! Hahaha! What a wonderful gift music is! What a blessing Carolyn Arends is to me! I think I’m gonna have to go visit her web site so I can tell her and thank her for it!

So, what are you waiting for? Your old friend is waiting!  Go turn on the radio or put in an album, tape or CD! Turn on your satellite and go to the CD stations! Get out the MP3 Player! Just start humming! Whatever you do, go for it!

Have you hugged your husband today?

I sure wish I could! Mine is 1500 miles away and I sure miss him! Oh, I know lots of you don’t have husbands and in some cases, that’s a good thing but more often than not, it’s a sad thing. As my friends and family know, my husband is “a definite keeper”! As I write this, he has just “hit the road” in CA, bringing back some of our stuff from storage. Did you catch that word “some”? Yep, he’s got the truck loaded and has discovered that he’ll have to go back for the rest. What a bummer! Besides all the extra cost and hassle to HIM, that means that I will have to miss him again! Hahaha! Okay, okay…I know the world doesn’t revolve around ME, which is what it sounds like. I’m just blogging about missing him today so I’m keeping with the theme of my topic. Hahaha!

Anyway, I hope to remind all of you to be grateful for your loved ones and give them a hug today. They’ll appreciate hearing it as well as getting the hug! ; ) It’s only been five days since I’ve been hugged or even touched and I’m suddenly reminded of my single friends who rarely get a hug…and it makes me sad. I’m going to make a point of hugging my friends more often…especially my single friends! We need that. As a matter of fact, maybe we need an official Hug Day! Hahaha! I like that! Wanna start a petition? ; D

On second thought, maybe we need to make EVERY DAY A HUG DAY!!! Our spouses, children, family and friends will all benefit…as will we…if we hug each other more! Don’t you agree? I know there are people who aren’t very “huggy” and even whole families who don’t hug but I’m grateful that’s not the case with my family. Oh, don’t get me wrong…we don’t always LIKE each other but we DO HUG each other…cause even if we don’t always LIKE each other, we DO LOVE each other! Whew! I’m sure glad that’s in writing cause I don’t think I could repeat that!!!

I think most people forget to be thankful. Hmmm…are thankful and grateful the same thing? I think so. Anyway, I think we can get so caught up in the little nitty-gritty of life that we forget to be grateful for what we do have. Even if what we do have is just less problems or pain than another has. It helps to put that perspective on things. Those of us who have a relationship with God have another benefit…we are not ALONE with our problems. He is always with us, helping us and working things out to our good…and to His glory! And that’s a VERY GOOD THING! ; )

Someday, we’ll know how it feels to be actually HUGGED BY GOD but until then, I think He uses others to hug us…and gives us the opportunity to hug others. Which brings me to another thought. Have you ever noticed that there are hugs and then there are HUGS???

One of our pastors, John Walton, shared once that when he hugs people, he tries to pay attention to the fact that he is imparting something to others. That really struck a chord in me and even now, reminds me to do the same. I think we have all been given and have even given some sort of perfunctory hugs in the past. You know, it’s what everyone does…but we just kind of go through the motions without thinking of what we’re doing. However, during your next hug, I challenge you to pay attention and think about what you would like to impart to the other person. I guarantee you, you’ll feel the difference…and what’s more, they will, too!

I’m excited about being given the opportunity to share either my love or God’s love with another person, in the simple and physical act of hugging! What an honor! And they say A PICTURE is worth a thousand words!!! Wow! A hug can say so much more! And don’t forget about the added benefit of being hugged back! Granted, some people will need to learn HOW to hug but your example will probably be all that’s necessary although I do remember having to tell one of my grandchildren once that when I hug them, they’re supposed to use their arms to hug me back. ; ) As I think about it, I get some of my best hugs back from that grandchild these days! ; )

So, how ’bout it? Have I convinced you of the value of a hug? It makes others know they are valued and I think it is the-hug-that-keeps-on-giving. You’ll see that hugs benefit both “hug-ees” in ways you haven’t imagined. I’m not an expert so I can’t quite articulate all the benefits but I know that if you begin to hug people in a way that says how much you love and value them, you will see the results for yourself.

Now, get out there and start hugging!!! {{{ ( :]><[: ) }}} And while you’re at it…consider yourself virtually hugged! ; ) Granted, it doesn’t produce the same results but in some small way, it tells you how important you are to ME! And I can tell you that I don’t just invite anyone to visit my blog site. To be honest, I fear rejection too much to do that! So, know that I trust you and that’s a rare thing these days so thanks for being someone I can trust! ; )

Taking Memories

“What?” you say? “Taking memories? Don’t you mean, ‘MAKING memories'”?

Nope. Believe it or not, I meant what I said. I have been busy “taking memories”. I just love taking them and putting them on film…which enables me to take them everywhere! Get it? I knew you would! ; )

Digital cameras are one of my favorite inventions! Don’t you agree? They go along perfectly with another of my favorites…the computer! Now, I’m not a real tech head so I may be wrong…but don’tcha kind of NEED a computer if you have a digital camera? Someone told me recently that they were thinking of buying a digital camera but they do not own a computer and have never used one. Now, tell me if I was wrong to tell her not to buy it. Was I?

But I digress…

As I get older…ahem…I find myself wanting to capture the present for the future. I guess I am somewhat influenced by my new hobby of genealogy. I wish I had more of so many things from the past…and photos of people…and things…are on top of my list!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I think they may just be onto something! ; D You see, how could I ever describe a beautiful sunset…or capture a special moment in time with one of my grandchildren…in mere words? Yes, you heard me say, “mere words”. I will admit to being quite loquacious and I’m not ashamed to say it…but a picture is so much easier…and faster, don’t you think? Oh, and the places we can GO! (Isn’t that a Dr. Seuss line or something?) I can take a picture, put it online and send it around the world in under FIVE MINUTES! In doing so, I can touch the emotions of someone in another country that doesn’t even speak my language!

And talk about IMMORTAL!!! As Joan Rivers used to say, “Can we talk?!” Once that photo is “out there” in the world wide web, it can be downloaded, saved, printed, emailed and shared over and over again…without costing me a cent!!! How frugal is THAT???!!! ; )

Now, all I’ve got to do is master my CAMCORDER!!! Yikes! Now, that is a “horse of a different color”! One of these days, I’m going to sit down and master that thing…until then, I’m just gonna sit here and admire it! Hahaha!

P.S. If you’d like to know more about that BIG WORD: LOQUACIOUS, follow this link: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=loquacious