spirit

 

 

 

Christmas Eve finds my wrapping room looking like this.

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still have presents to wrap

 

Attempted to take my festive yearly weiner-dog tidings of great joy shot, but the pose wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

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JOY!!

I swear that dog gets closer to the ground every year…even flat on my belly is not low enough for this portrait. Geez.

Made a nerdy Christmas shirt for the Grandson.

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Made it with left over fabric from his sister’s Christmas dress. I’m all about matching these days.

He pronounced it ‘comfy’. Success.

Waiting on some loved ones to arrive and make our Christmas celebration complete.

Random Christmas Rant: This Elf on the Shelf business is ridiculous, people. Let me get this straight…there’s an elf in your house the kids are not allowed to touch. He/she is spying on them and reporting straight to police Santa on their naughty/nice behavior. Then the despised beloved snitch-elf flies back to the North Pole after Christmas leaving the tiny tots in tear-puddles of abandonment. This is helpful during the Christmas season? rrriiiight.

May I offer a healthier option? Behold.

wienerinthewindowI’m calling her Weiner in the Window. The little doxy-reindeer never snitches. She greets your return with unbridled excitement. She doesn’t give a royal rip if you’re naughty or nice as long as there are abundant dog treats and a warm booty to curl up in bed with every night. You’re allowed to touch her all you want and she hangs around AFTER Christmas. She serves as a nice plate-licker, as well.

Weiner in the Window. It has a nice ring…..

Enjoy this day. Hope you will be blessed by the presence of the Christ-child’s arrival. Hope you always find something welcoming in your window.

Festive love to all.

 

 

the voice

Did you have me pegged as a Matt McAndrew fan?

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photos courtesy nbc.com

 

I know, I know….I’m way outside the expected demographic of this show

Who do you like? Damien?

damien

Or are you a fan of the 3-namers: Craig Wayne Boyd and Taylor John Williams?

craig

 

taylorEver notice the person with the best voice (technically) never wins these competitions?

As an audience member or a potential itune downloader, with what are we connecting?

Here’s my theory. I think we like and appreciate singers who aren’t technically perfect. We connect with the person comfortable in his own skin. A person who embraces his own imperfections/quirks and bravely bares them for the world to see.

A few seasons ago, I adored the quirky Nicholas David.

The Voice - Season 3

A bearded white guy singing soul music? Nicholas has a nice voice, but it was his interesting interpretation and 100% commitment to his singing that I admired. I’d buy a ticket to his concert. Any chance he’ll come from Minnesota to West Texas??

I’ve mentioned before that I sing on Monday mornings with a group of retired singers who visit retirement/nursing homes. Last Monday, several of our group sang Christmas solos for residents at the local veteran’s nursing home. If you’re not an aging vocalist, you might not fully appreciate how difficult it is to get the rusty pipes warmed up and ready to sing at 9 am.

Scott wowing the crowd with a beautiful solo.

 

singingstars 005aAs the holiday serenades washed over me, I was struck by the interestingly rich quality and warmth of the voices. These were tones of character-voices bespeaking a history. I imagined the laryngeal tapestry required to produce such sounds:  a bride resolutely saying ‘I do’ at the alter, a mom gently singing lullabies to her baby or perhaps vocalizing (loudly!) for her toddler to avoid an unsafe street, a young man calling signals for his team mates in a football game, an officer barking orders at soldiers in his charge, the cries and prayers uttered at the graveside of loved ones. These disparate elements are woven together producing a distinctly unique, imperfectly-golden sound. Perhaps these voices aren’t as nimble flitting up and down a scale as they once were, but they are the grace notes of a full life.

I guess we’ll keep squawking as long as a chair turns.

Imperfections? I’ve got ’em. Funny….they might just be my biggest strength. I’m unfurling the freak flag and running it up the pole. There’s room for your flag, too!

Hope you have a chance to add your voice to the wonder of the unfolding Christmas story.

Fa-la-la-la-laaaah-la-la-la-loooove to all.

 

stable

 

 

The fox must’ve eaten the chickens in the henhouse at the blog. Some of you have been kind enough to notice and you’ve mentioned my absence to me. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

I’ve been in a general blog/life funk.  I’ve been feeling broken and incomplete. How could anyone who gets life so wrong, so often have anything worthwhile to contribute? What leaves me feeling like a smelly gym sock? Here’s a few thoughts:

When the better choice is patience, I choose quick action.

When the better choice is love, I’m judgmental.

When the wise choice is silence, I say too much.

When I should be praying, my hamster-brain paints worst-case scenarios.

I’m writing today, cause I’m remembering this blog isn’t about perfection. That’s right, chicken-wingers…..it’s about the journey! The hot-fudge-sundae-days AND the bug-on-the-windshield days. It’s about days like today when we offer ourselves and our neighbors another spin at the roulette wheel of life. The only required buy-in is a tiny mustard seed of faith.

We’re on a journey to Christmas. Walk with me and we’ll trek to a stable. Aren’t you glad we’re not traveling to a palace? Our comfy, car sweat-pants might not be appropriate attire to meet a child-king, but we look great for entering a stable. Dirty, worn-out boots are welcome. This stable is brimming with the real aromas of cows, horses, pigs, hay and ummm….ummm….animal doo. You won’t inhale the scent of the most fashionable $75 Diptyque ginger-pear candle in this stable.

graham and pnut

No worries about chipping the dried excrement off our shoes before entering. We’ve stepped in piles of it lately but the beauty is….we’re still welcome inside. The only thing is….that overstuffed backpack of regret we’ve struggled under?  It has to stay outside. Along with the stinky gym sock.

Let’s go.

Traveling mercy love to all.

beginning

I could call this post the end, but that perspective seems glass-half-full, doesn’t it?

Wanted to write this missive to my chicken-wingers today. We can cackle about the happenings around the coop in 2013.

Can’t blame you if you complain of vertigo while reading this blog. For the life of me, I can’t discover my bloggy niche. You’ve read about my bad clothes (and my obsessive-compulsive photography of all my ‘outfits’), you kept me on-key as I sang in Candide and waxed rhapsodic about Bernstein, you witnessed bears taking a bath in a stock tank at the ranch, you appropriately ohhhed and ahhhed over the new grand baby girl, and you’ve lent a non-judgmental ear as I’ve blogged about alcoholism and drug addiction.

My favorite post of the year? Really? Thanks for asking! I suppose my favorite post….because I love to laugh, would have to be…….

CRAP SHOOT!

Christmas 2013 was a blessed affair for my family, although we can have a zany, non-traditional approach to the holiday.

Image
Thought this was the most festive and colorful sweater for big Sprout #1…..until I realized the activity of the deer. Fun times.
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Does it surprise you that Sprout #1 would give this Christmas sweater as a gift to his BIL? It shouldn’t.
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Fun with photo props Sprout #2 gave me. Me and the girls.
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Sprout #2 with the hubby
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The Texan and moi. Looking good!

After Christmas, we kept this rug-rat for a couple of days.

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A tough job, but SOMEBODY’S gotta do it.

Does the end of the year have you looking like this?

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Sleeping on your feet.

This final day of the year has me preparing to attend a funeral. Even though this year has been good to our family, I don’t have to look far to see those dealing with illness, death, financial difficulties, depression…..you name it. The holidays can magnify our trials. I’m grateful for our blessings, but I mourn with those who mourn.

On this last day of 2013, I leave you with this:  the Creator of the Universe passionately adores you. He thinks you are grand, and He pats himself on the back every time He thinks of you. You can’t do a thing to undo this fact. He wants you to know Him and He wants to walk with you through 2014.

I’m grabbing that outstretched hand.

I’m lifting my champagne and toasting you. ****throwing the glass in the fireplace****

Bubbly love to all.

browns

Are you up to your eyebrows in Christmas busy-ness? Have you checked your list? You baking your guts out and then snicky-snacking your guts out?

With the assistance of bad cell phone photos, I’ll bring you up to speed on my Christmas preparations. Here goes:

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Over-achieved one evening and made Christmas cookies. This was the easy part. Looked like a multicolored tornado raged through my kitchen when I decorated them. Can you say ‘backache’?
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Sunday found me in the choir ready to sing John Rutter’s ‘Gloria’.
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We had a full house, though you can’t tell it from this photo. Started to take a selfie in front of the big Christmas tree. I resisted.
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Took a walk today. 60 degrees and perfectly calm. I was struck by the winter browns. Gray, beige and brown rule the winter-time around here. Saw a lovely herd of deer.
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Dead tree. Victim of too many years of drought. It does provide a nice home for a barn owl, though. Don’t look too hard-the owl is NOT in this pic! Sorry.
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More browns surround the lonely little country house.
barn
Was Jesus born in a barn like this?
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I doubt there was a mini-horse at the manger.
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Was there a big animal close by who sniffed the head of the newborn king? A donkey? A sheep?
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Did the animals sense the importance of the star?
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My side-kick. On our walks, she manages the security on the ground. She savors the scent of every deer, jackrabbit and snake. She resents it terribly when I tell her there was no dachshund present at Jesus’ birth.

I feel incredibly blessed this Christmas season. I know so many others though, who are hurting and suffering. This time of year can be a trial for people. I try to remember to give thanks for my blessings and pray for those who are struggling, realizing we all have our trials. God bless us.

Here’s a couple of fun pics I took with the good camera. They make me smile. You’ve already seen them if you follow me on Facebook.

reindeer Dressing dogs in Christmas costumes. It’s a sickness, I know. It’s just that the doxy loves it soooo much!

hannah
My vote for December picture of the month.

Did I mention blessings? I’m grateful.

Is your heart ready for the hope and wonder of the Savior’s birth? He’s coming.

Here’s hoping the browns aren’t getting you down.

Green, shiny tinsel-y love to all.

memory bingo

Working on a very small chorus part in Amarillo Opera’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Although the part is tiny, the chorus is challenged to learn a couple of long laundry lists. While coming onstage we call out about 3,051 names in rapid succession. These names are spinning in my brain like bingo balls.

bingo hopper Does anyone know anyone named Babila? I’m asking for a friend.

Once the names are spunkily sung with rapid-fire precision, the chorus begins enthusiastically listing the foods we are bringing as gifts to the Kings. There are exactly 3,052 of those. Anyone heard of a mignonette? A medlar? Anyone?? I haven’t either, but I’m singing and emoting like I love ’em. I love Opera. It drives me to the dictionary.

I’m such a poor shepherdess, I’m simply carrying a lame head of lettuce to present to the Kings. The 3 Kings are excellent actors. They act as if I’m presenting them with a new, monogrammed ipad! They are pros; each and every one of them.

amahlAmahl is a sparkling and tasty Christmas aperitif. It sets the mood for the coming season and it leaves us wanting to know more about the amazing child.

Short, sweet and to the point. There’s some glorious singing that will raise the little hairs on the nape of your neck. It’s a perfect night out. I think it would be a fun event for grandparents to take their grandchildren (older children who are able to sit still for one hour) to see and introduce them to the magic of theater.

Here’s the link to the Amarillo Globe News article:

http://amarillo.com/lifestyle/arts/2013-11-01/local-take-amahl-cozy

Here’s hoping for a BINGO! this weekend.

Christmas-y tidbit love to all.