Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mild Techy-Genius

One of the things that I love the most about blogging is that I get to dabble in HTML code. Most of the time, this frustrates me to no end, and this foreign language remains a mystery to me. But every so often, a chance occurrence happens in which I DO figure out a neat bit of coding and I am able to apply it to my blog format. Today was one of those rare days in which I am able to figure out how to make the code work for me and do what I want it to do! Check out my other blog, Ruminations and Reflections to see the tiling of one of my pictures at Whitney State Forest, the new blog color background, and title. I'm currently struggling with the Blog Title Color - I can't quite find a color that I love, but the one I have is sufficient for the moment. And please let me know what you think! I'm thinking of maybe trying to do something similar both at the work blog that I maintain as well at my beloved "The Road Goes Ever On". It's been fun to figure out, though it caused at least a couple of hours of puzzlement and bewilderment to figure out! But, many thanks to the folks over at Blogger Buster for their informative how-to articles on how to make this work!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Heart Bursting Full of Joy

I hope that everyone has these days. There is nothing better than a day in which a good mood envelopes every fiber of your being and you can almost feel the joy shining out of your skin. It is a gift, one that I absolutely relish and cherish because of how quickly this joy can dissipate, especially in this world. I wish I could describe the feeling more accurately, but there are not really any words to express and color in the lines of the space of happiness in my heart. I wish I could let other people into my heart during these times and that they could see the world with eyes of such wonder and become overwhelmed by its simple, yet utterly complex, beauty.

I think this is one of those rare tastes of what heaven has to be like. I believe that God gives us these gifts of opening our jaded eyes to the wonder of His creation - all of His creation, including us, His people. And I can't express enough how wonderful it is to come up out of the darkness of sarcasm, jadedness, and disappointment that I normally live in, and lift my eyes up to the sun, the Son, that literally shines down on me, and be enveloped in the joy and love of my Creator through the touches of His creation.

This is a happiness that sets aside the worries of the world and leaves them by the wayside, as I journey along this path. It's a happiness that makes me silly and child-like and laughter close to my heart, my eyes, and lips. It's a happiness that patiently forbears the pain of sitting enclosed in my cubicle when all I want to do is be outside - in no matter what shape or form - just to be outside. It's a happiness that had to create it's own playlist in order to fully encapsulate the tone of the mood that I'm in. It's a happiness that wants to put 50 dozen smiley emoticons behind every sentence :) :) :) :) and 50 more exclamation points!!!!!

And yet, it's a happiness that also has to deal with the reality, pain, and darkness of this world. An old neighbor committed suicide last week, leaving behind a son and daughter as virtual orphans in this world. How do you processs that? Tonight I travel to the memorial service of another neighbor who lost his brief life in a senseless accident, in which the perpetrator got to walk away, even though he was a multiple offender. My job hangs on a thread daily - any second could be the last one. My sister is off living in Australia and it is a daily pain to be separated from her by such a long distance for who knows how long?

The thing is, tears are always close by. Pain and suffering is only a heartbeat away. This journey takes unimaginable dips, turns, and flips, and if you don't watch out, you can be sucked into the darkness, the lies, the temptations that seek to utterly destroy our lives.

Which is why this happiness is such a blessing and gift. Thank God for the beauty of humanity and nature that He surrounds me with, that gives me the gift of a heart full of joy that is bursting at the seams today. Hallelujah. Amen.

Brilliant (Said with an English Accent)

View the video to understand the post title :)

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On a Lighter Note...

For those of you who read this blog and don't want to read some thoughts on TV shows - please skip this post.

For all the others, keep reading :).

The Bachelorette - Hallelujah and Amen. The Bachelorette is back on!! I enjoy these installments of the The Bachelor franchise so much more than the actual "The Bachelor" series because watching a bunch of guys compete over a girl, who they probably wouldn't even care about if they weren't all thrown together in this scenario, is absolutely hilarious. Though there were no gems like last year's "Lone Wolf", there was just the same amount of hilarity to be had by all. My favorite part of the night had to be watching one of the bachelors try to teach Jillian, the latest Bachelorette, how to break-dance (which, again for regular readers, know that breakers are near and dear to my heart). THEN, as if that wasn't enough, another one of the bachelors had to go and challenge the guy to a DANCE-OFF!! Yes my friends, there was a BREAK-DANCING DANCE-OFF on The Bachelorette. It was the perfect convergence of two loves of my life. Mr. Break-dance master is clearly my favorite and here's hoping that he stinks around for a while. AND if the montage is any indication, there is lots of drama to look forward too! Yay!!

Lost - Are there really words to describe how empty my life now feels with the end of season 5? Probably. But I can't think of them right now. Suffice to say, I wish they made a special hibernation chamber or a deep-9 months effective sleeping pill so that I could just let life fast-forward and pass me by until January 2010 when season 6 debuts and I can find out why in the world they blanked the screen to white! *sigh* At least soul-crushing winter will be alleviated by its return :).

The Hills - I'm ashamed to even write those words here on this blog, but alas, I do tune in to this show - though lately I've been questioning my sanity for doing so. It all has to do with LC - she's the only reason I tune in - the show is going to stink when she is gone. But the only reason I mention it is because LC's last two episodes EVER are upcoming. What will I do when I can't watch the unrealistic, scripted lives of C-list MTV-made celebrities?

America's Best Dance Crew - I probably plug this show every time that I get a chance, but the season 1 re-runs were on this weekend and my DVR recorded it again and I got to bask in the awesome-ness of Jabbawockeez, Kaba Modern, and BreakSk8 again and marvel at how Status Quo got to the finals. Seriously, the "Thriller" episode is probably one of the best episodes of all three seasons. Watching Kaba Modern re-interpret the "Thriller" video is a must-see. I just love this show.

There are others that maybe I should mention, but those are the only ones that captured my attention thus far this week. Oh Bachelorette - thank you. Thank you for such a night of awesome hilarity.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trust and Masks

There are two things for a woman that sometimes can be a wilderness to navigate - one is her hair, and the other her face. And sometimes, when one goes through harrowing experiences relating to these features - at the same time you are learning a lot from God - you learn a lesson or two that sticks with you. I recently was the beneficiary of two such lessons, and as such, I felt as if I should share them with the world wide web.

I love my hair - it is one of the few features that I possess that I genuinely like. Most of the time. You could say that my hair is an extension of myself. It has a mind of it's own and can be pretty stubborn. But in the hands of a professional (which I am not), it can look gorgeous, and I can look in the mirror and say, "I LOVE it" and really genuinely mean it. And I will pay what I need to pay to in order for it be chopped and changed by experienced hands. It is an indulgence that I give in to every three or four months, or right about the time that I am ready to shave my head, a la' Britney.

The stylist that I have been going to for the past four years since I've lived in Warrenton is probably the only straight male hairdresser out there that can pull off leather pants and long hair. I love him. He is my hair guru. The moment he cut my hair the first time and I found out that he is one degree away from Nick Arrojo, my hair god from "What Not to Wear", (he used to be Nick's colorist!), I was sold. So I usually just sit in the chair and tell him in general terms to do whatever, and away he goes. He is like a sculptor and it is in the moments that I am sitting the chair and he is looking at my Chia-pet head, that I revel in watching the creative process come alive. He comes up with the vision and then "bam" it is done and beautiful. I love the whole process, my whole time at the salon. It is a wonderful experience. Usually.

This past Friday I went in to get some highlights, which I have done from time to time. But when it comes to color and my hair, I am not bold. I am very, very conservative. I like it to look very, very natural - almost so that you don't notice the highlights. Nothing to rock the boat. But this was not to be on Friday. Nope, when I sat down in the chair, I was given two choices - platinum blonde or really, really red. I was scared and very, very nervous. I was kind of hemming and hawing, but I made mention that at one point he had done some auburn reddish highlights which were cool, and instantly my decision was made for me - "We're going with cool!" - when in fact I was going to say to go with blonde. Too late.

So, I nervously sat there watching my stylist mix the color. One shake, two shakes, three shakes, FOUR shakes, FIVE shakes - mix! I knew that the more color being put into the bowl, the more intense this was going to be. But I sat in my chair, smiling and chatting away, as if I didn't have a care in the world, while inside I was like, "what have I done??"

When it came time to take out the foils, the poor girl who was taking the foils out and washing my head had her hands stained bright pink. I walked back to the chair, looked at the mirror, and my eyes must have gotten wide as a chipmunk because staring back at me was a wet-headed mop of brown and bright pink streaks throughout my entire head of hair. I was shocked. My stylist loved it. In fact, all the stylists there at the salon loved it! And I thought briefly maybe I should just take up residence at the salon and never leave, because I didn't know who else would love it! After drying my hair, I literally said to my stylist, "I feel like a rockstar" to which he was ecstatic. And off to work I had to go.

Needless to say, my new do definitely got some looks and remarks at work. Myself, I didn't know whether to burst into tears or to laugh about it or to love it. The turning point was the remark from my boss who said that he was proud of me for taking such a risk with my hair - to which I thought, "am I really that boring?" And the more that I looked at it, the more I came to embrace it and love it. And over the course of the next couple of days the bright pink faded into some bright deep red highlights which I now absolutely love and adore. Because there is a part of me, that most people don't see, that loves to take a risk and surprise others and myself.

And this is what was revealed to me through this whole experience. I went into my salon that morning fully trusting whatever my stylist was going to do, because he can rarely do any wrong in my eyes (at least when it comes to my hair). In the midst of the process, when he gave me my two options, my trust was shaken. At the end of my time at the salon, highlights in and done, I was shaken to my core and doubting everything that had been done. But as I continued through the process, gauging my own reactions to the mirror, as well as people's encouraging comments, I came to realize that I had nothing to fear. My hair looked awesome and my trust was rewarded.

How often do I doubt God when He asks me to trust Him? Very often. I sit in that chair, looking at Him, wondering what in the flippin' world I have allowed Him to do. I get up, questioning myself, my entire identity, wondering what I have done. But if I continue to journey on, how much more often do I find that all along, I was right in trusting my Lord, that He has worked an amazing thing in my life, and I find that I know and love Him that much more? What other things are there that I am too scared to experience because I don't want to rock the boat; I don't want to take the risk? I think I have hit a vein, a theme for this year. If last year was "Change" in all shapes and sizes, I believe that this year is "Risk and Trust".

The other thing that happened was that I was so out of it the other morning (actually because I was thinking about my hair and trust issues), that I literally walked out of my house, got in my car, was ten minutes into my commute, on the highway ramp when I suddenly realized that I had not put on a single bit of makeup. I was horrified. My brain raced for what my solution was going to be - do I spend $40+ on a new set of makeup?? Do I have time to go to a drugstore and do that (that would have been no, as I was running late)?? Do I/Can I turn around and go home?? Again, no dice - already on the highway, with no where to turn around. So I had to resolve myself to facing the day with all my facial flaws exposed to the world.

The thing is, I really came into the makeup game late, and I am by no means a master of it. I went years without wearing any makeup and I was fine. But I have found that now that I put it on everyday, I can't go out of my house without it on my face. Even if it's just the basic essentials of mascara and blush, I can't go without it. I need it to mask my flaws!

So, to go to work, without any makeup on to mask those flaws, was extremely hard and horrifying - and yet liberating. I had forgotten my mask, so all I could do was smile and laugh. That was the only thing I had for my face. There was a lot of power in realizing that my flaws were exposed for the whole world to see, and there was nothing I could about it.

Because, how often do we put on masks to find our flaws? And how much harder is it when those masks are revealed for the falsehoods that they are? For me, I see masks up everywhere. Masks and walls that people can't let go, can't let down, and thus miss out on what real and fulfilling life is like. A couple of posts ago, I wrote about what success means to me. I think the way that my Enemy wants me to think about success is just another mask that I would put on to the whole world - just another lie, to hide all the flaws and turmoil of my real life and heart. If I was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company that would certainly make me look good and cool and smart in the eyes of a lot of people. But behind that appearance, what would really be there? Would that really be a real and fulfilling life for me? No, not really - not for this chick. And I would say that's probably the truth for a lot of other people as well - especially those that have achieved their success, and once there, they find that this appearance, this success was a lie the entire time.

I don't want to live my life hiding behind masks. And I love how God used me forgetting to hide my facial flaws as a way to reaffirm and remind me of what really matters - that smile on my face. That's real.

Interesting Article

This was an interesting article that I happened to run across, and thought I would share on this blog. You can click on the Title of this post to get to the article. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

{Insert a Title Here}

The title of this post pretty much sums it all up in terms of blogging lately. I am finding that it can be a frustrating process, because with a blog, you have to be mindful of what you are putting out there for the whole world wide web to see. Sometimes it doesn't matter, but there are other times that I will be writing a post and then stop because as I am writing, I find that this or that thought is really not something that I indeed want to share with the world wide web.

This why so often my posts are just boring thoughts about tv shows or books or nonsensical issues, because to really express yourself is something that you must be careful with, lest it be taken or interpreted the wrong way by whoever might be out there reading what you write.

Thus, that is all to say that I find it hard to think up of creative thoughts to write about, mainly because that takes a little bit of work on my part, and I am one of the laziest persons that live on this planet and would rather not have to put in the creative thought for the blog. If I have to really think about something, I will put off the thinking aspect of it and work on or do something else that will not require me to think. Some might call that procrastination, and they would be correct to a degree. But I think it also has to do with the fact that I can be too analytical for my own good, weighing all sides and options of the issue or problem, before coming to a conclusion. I can be a quick thinker if need be, but that quick thinking only comes under times of intense pressure. And as I am writing, I am discovering that it is focused thinking that I put off, because my mind often wanders in tangential thoughts.

And, I am resisting the impulse right now to delete that entire paragraph, because I am not sure whether or not all these thoughts should be shared!

So, I am going to try an experiment this month to see if I can be creative and post stuff up here and not delete half of it. We shall see how that goes.

And for a daily dose of fresh content, check out Ruminations and Reflections, where it is much easier for me to post daily, since it is all other people's thoughts that I find interesting!