Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

The Drums Beat On

Hear the battle roar and rage,
Hear the cannons flare,
Hear the shell-shrap splinters fly,
 Through an empty air.

Together they fought, here they died,
Brothers, young and old;
Bound by common blood that spilled
‘Ore Flanders Fields untold.

There’s thousands standing on the ridge,
A hundred more behind,
Destined for a pauper’s grave,
That none the world will find.

Can you hear their desperate cries?
Can you hear the call?
Of those whose lamps went out before
They’d begun to live at all?

Hear the distant battle drums
Keeping perfect time!
Marching scores of youthful souls
To their predestined shrine.

What cause so grand, what stakes so high
Could reconcile their loss?
Could send the world their young to die
To lie ‘neath grass and moss?

Was it beautiful, fore spacious skies
And amber waves of grain,
That made bleed so many hearts
And drove men to that plain?

Or was it more, a chance at life
That sent men to their deaths,
That we might live in freedom’s wake
When all has gone and left?

Look to the flag, you men at arms!
Raise the Colors high!
And never doubt our gratitude
For those who willed to die.

We shall never forget the sacrifice,
We shall never forget the pain,
And though the fallen sleep in fields,
Their struggle was not in vain.

Their music has gone out of this world,
Their cries are faded with the dawn;
But though their voices sing no more,
The drums will still beat on.
Let freedom ring.

 ©OrchardHouseScribblings 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Super-Shopping Sunday!

I've just been on a shopping splurge! Probably the biggest one this year. ;)

Don't worry, I didn't go crazy...but everyone else around me certainly did. So many people! I think everyone and his brother decided to follow me around today. If you could have only seen the parking lots...typical California. The good news is that I was able to burn some extra calories with all the walking!

Bought my first set of Toms today.

Everyone's been so obsessed with how comfortable they are, that I finally decided to ditch Payless for a change and a treat myself to a little high-end patronage. Nordstroms was PACKED!!! I think everyone was taking advantage of the Memorial Day Sales. $100 bills were changing hands like there was no tomorrow, and all the while, I kept thinking, "Gosh, is this how the movie stars do it?" :D

Between ourselves however, the price of Nordstroms anything on sale is perfectly ridiculous! $100+ for a pair of jeans. Do you know what I could buy with $100???? Let's see...I bet I could manage a pair of jeans, three tops, earrings, and a bracelet for that kinda of money. How 'bout a 1 1/2 tickets to a Broadway show? ;) A week's worth of groceries?
Okay, so I guess I really shouldn't be talking. After all, I just spent a pretty nifty sum on a single pair of shoes. But like I said, I rarely indulge like this. You Toms fans were right about one thing, though: this fancy footwear does feel like slippers! And they're nice because you can dress 'em up or wear 'em casual. So if you think of 'em as two shoes in one the damage ain't so bad! ;)

After that ordeal, I drove to somewhere a little less grand. Target. ;) There, I used a gift certificate to pick up a makeup/travel bag. I think I spent a good 15-20 minutes choosing the "right" one. In the end, I settled for this pink and black beauty...

 LOL, like the reflection in the mirror? :D

Then, it was off to Barnes & Nobles (my FAVORITE place on earth!) to spend a birthday gift card. I got Our Mutual Friend on DVD. No more grainy YouTube videos! Thanks K., K., and M.!!!

So that was my day! And a very fun one it was, too!

Hope you all are enjoying this warm-er weather. I swear this has been the coldest spring that I can remember. So much for global warming, eh? I-I mean climate change. ;) lol

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Surprise, suprise...!!!

So, I've decided to join in the fun and tag a few fellow bloggers. ;) I'm not really familiar with how the whole thing works, but I'll give it a go anyway...

The topic is: 10 Things People Don't Know About You including but not limited to: embarrassing stories, peeves, phobias, odd habits, hilarious antics, dares, scares, and all that jazz! (Explanations are mandatory!)
Since this is a monster of my own creating, I'll start. Muaw-hahahaha! :)

1. I love pumpkin pie to distraction!
Come every Fall, I'm beating down the doors of the grocery store waiting for that delicious goodness in a box! It's one of my favorite desserts, always has been and always will be...and I don't care what you anti-nutmeg people say, harvest pie doesn't even deserve to be put on the same menu...

2. I have a phobia about things other than jewelry touching my (or anyone else's) neck and wrists.
I had the misfortune to read Dracula a couple of years ago. Even though I didn't finish it--too graphic--it still left mental scars to the point where I can't have anyone touch my neck without totally wigging out. ;) And as for my wrists...I saw a movie once where a doctor bled a dying woman. Never been the same since...
3. I can't sleep if the dishes aren't washed and the counters wiped down. 
What can I say? It's just one of those things...I feel like such a slob if I wake up  in the morning and the kitchen's a disaster. The whole day just seems to start off on the wrong foot. It's like waking up to a long laundry list of things to do. Depressing. 

4. I've had more serious sports-related injuries than either of my brothers put together. I've also knocked myself unconscious (for about 15 seconds) and given myself a concussion. :P 
First thing's first. The injuries were all pretty conventional: a split open chin, a broken ankle, fractured fingers (separate incidents), sprained ankles etc. I think I was about 10 years old when I knocked myself out. I was walking on top of monkey bars when I slipped through and smashed my head frontwards AND backwards. I landed on back and opened my eyes to a bunch of people standing over me. ;D The concussion happened a few years later when I bent down to get something in my parents teeny-wincy bathroom. I got up too fast and bashed my head against the doorknob! Took all day for my eyes to dilate correctly. Because I was so sleepy, my dad let me watch I Love Lucy's on the couch. lol
5. I gave a brief speech at a political rally in Colorado Springs. 
We had just flown in to help with the McCain-Palin campaign and...well, there was some extra time and...the Master of Ceremonies asked and...the guy next to me said the deadly words "I dare you" and...*sheepish grin* there you have it! :D

6. I played the barrister munchkin in a Wizard of Oz play.
For those of you who don't know, I was this dude...
 You can't really see him, the guy in purple standing behind the mayor (in green). I first tried implementing an accent at dress rehearsal. Everyone thought I'd inhaled Nope, just raw talent at it's best! lol
7. To decide which meal I wanted at a restaurant, I would play "inny-minny-miney-mo" with my blue and green crayons, only to pick the opposite of whatever it was I had chosen! For example, if I had narrowed down my decision between spaghetti (blue) and pizza (green) and the "very best one" was pizza, I would have a change of heart at the last minute (usually as the waiter was taking our order) and go with the spaghetti instead. This happened without fail until I graduated from the kids menu. ;)
I attribute this to being dropped on my head as an infant...Just kidding. But I WAS dropped. ;)

8. I have no reflexes in my knees. 
They just won't jerk! Every member of my family has tried, but I either have no nerves or I'm just incredibly resistant to "pressure." hehehe

9. I've nearly kissed a sea turtle.
When my family took a vacation to Hawaii several years ago, a snorkeling adventure took a turn for the worse. I was swimming back to shore, turned around to look at my dad, and when I looked back again, there was this huge, hideous, open mouth that looked ready to snap off my face! I screamed so loudly, the entire beach came running in fear of a shark attack. Though I maintain that my fear was perfectly legit, it was still an embarrassing experience nonetheless. ;)

10. I love Thursdays and abhor Sundays!
 This is and open and shut case as far as I'm concerned. Thursdays precede Fridays which is the BEST day of the week, and Sundays precede Mondays which is the WORST day of the week. ;)So how can I enjoy a day when it is poisoned by the anticipation of the next? Mondays are a just plain mean. You can't sleep in, it's the start of the school or work week, and why is it that all the important phone calls and e-mails have to be sent out first thing in the morning? lol

Okay, I tag Johanna, Carreen, Antoinette, and Turner. ;)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Dare NOT to Wait.

I'm so happy. 

Today I completed two of my final exams for school. This means that I am less than one week away from being done, done, DONE with my first two years of college!


I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by! Actually these last several years. I mean, it seems like only yesterday I was terrified over taking my CHSPE exam; and now two years later, I'm getting ready to transfer into my four-year! I still have to fill out the "official" application, but if all goes well, I should be studying Victorian Literature and Shakespearian History next term. Don't you pity me? :P My dad is full of "kind" words to say. He was a science major who had the impudence to take Chemistry, Calculus, and Physics all in the same semester, but hey--it's not like he wasn't free to become an artist either! ;)

All my life, my mom has told me and my brothers, "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." Even though I don't plan on being the bread-winner of a future family, I still think there's a significant amount of truth in those words for myself and other single women. 

So many times, I think Christian conservatives are of the mindset that a woman's place is in the home and only in the home. I can't say I agree with that. I believe that a woman's place is, quite simply, wherever God calls her, doing whatever He calls her to. I think it's a mistake to indoctrinate girls with one, broad-sweeping mentality because the consequences are...well, I call it the "wait syndrome." Girls so bent on waiting for their future Prince that they fail to use their God-given talents. And I'm not just talking how to bake better cookies. I'm talking about the reason they were put on this planet! (Of course, if you were born to make delicious cookies that boggle the imagination and so point people to Christ, I will be your #1 customer and fan!) 

I'm sorry, but I refuse to put my life, dreams, and ambitions on hold while I wait for Mr. Right to make his appearance. *dodges bullets*  I've got enough to deal with in this season of my life without wasting time making "lists of qualifications" the length of Long Island. That doesn't stop me from daydreaming sometimes--I play MASH like every other girl ;)--but I really don't think marriage is the end-all that we Christians make it out to be. After all, on the grand scale of things, a courtship only lasts for very small a fraction of time. Your life will go on a good deal longer. My point being, if Mr. Wonderful waltzes into my life, sweeps me off my feet, and carries me off into the sunset kicking and screaming in surprise, so be it! :D 

I think we, as Christian girls, need to stop putting God in a box and asserting what we think is His perfect will for our lives. We need to leave ourselves open to hear His voice, His calling, even if it means defying conventional, Christian "norms." And I think pillars of faith like Amy Carmichael and Elizabeth Elliot would agree with me. These women weren't content to wait like their peers. They weren't content to sit around and dabble in homemaking until God brought them a husband. (Again, not saying that homemaking is a bad thing; just not the reason for life.)They were solely focused on God's work, on living to please Him and Him alone. And for their implicit trust, they lived their lives to the hilt! It's ironic really: on one hand, we praise these women and others like them for their immense contribution to the Kingdom; on the other, we cower in horror of following their example. It's time to step up to the plate. Not every woman is called to the jungles of India and Ecuador, but are we willing to go where no one else dares? To do what no one else dares? These women's faith took them to the deepest, darkest places of our world. To jungles and temples and brothels and poverty and indigenous peoples, places no "good, Christian girl" would dare go and certainly not alone! Humph, if Amy and Elizabeth had listened those guys, we would certainly be the worse off for it, wouldn't we? I think that if they could have looked forward into the future, the parents, pastors, friends, and loved ones who objected the most would have instead given a big grin and said: "You get 'em, Girl!"

May the same be said of us as we look to CHRIST for our fulfillment, not content to wait. ;)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Are You Good?

[I can't believe it.

For the first time in a month, I am surrounded by complete and total silence. No one talking, no one playing, not even the muffled noise of my brothers goofin' around upstairs...nothing. I am sitting alone in my bedroom *celestial choir*, and the only sounds I can hear are those of the birds chirping and the staccato click of my fingers wandering over the keyboard. Wow! Savor this moment...]

So today I've been thinking a lot about a question I get asked quite often. In fact, I think every musician encounters this question at some point in their lives. It usually comes up during an introductory conversation. You know, when you meet someone for the first time. You make small talk, ask them how their day is going, and then when the subject of hobbies comes up, you tell them your interests. For me this includes playing the piano--at which point they will usually respond: "Oh, that's cool. Are you good?"

Am I good? That's a really hard question to answer. I mean, what am I supposed to say? "Um, yeah actually, you know I've been playing for blah-blah-blah years and could probably outshine any pathetic attempt from you." That doesn't sound the least bit conceited, does it? :)

On the other hand, if I say "No, I'm not really that good," I feel like a) I'm lying and b) I'm providing wrong information that will subsequently produce a wrong opinion of me. Besides which, I hate false modesty almost as much as I hate a show-off. If you're good, you're good. No need to pretend otherwise. And no need to flaunt it either...'cause there's no way you'll loose my respect faster. ;)

So what are you supposed to say? I think so? Maybe? Kinda sorta? 

Most times, in an effort to be both gracious and honest, I'll just answer, "Well, I've been playing since I was 5 years old, so I guess you'll have to tell me."

[Random note: forget about 'sheer and utter silence.' *sighs* The noise is back. ;)]

If you think about it, no true musician would ever think to ask that question. The person obviously plays, how well they play is a matter of opinion. I know of a lot of people who think they can play and can't, and I know a few who genuinely think they can't play and can. ;) You're only as good as people tell you you are. (And even that doesn't mean much these days. Just watch the new season of Britain's Got Talent--you'll see what I mean. lol!)

Anyway, not a brilliant blog post, just somethin' that's been rattling around in my mind for the last few days...I need to get these things out, otherwise they encroach on the genius that really exists up in this here grey matter. ;)

Hope you're all enjoying this beautiful Sunday evening. I'm so relaxed from the spa day my mom and I had yesterday, I'm as limp as noodle and useless to anyone. ;) [By the way, does anyone know what it's like to be boiled, broiled, cooked, and/or saturated in mineral baths and Jacuzzis for six hours?...let me tell ya--HEAVEN ON EARTH!!!! But I won't make you jealous. Only this: that mud baths work absolute wonders on your skin. I don't know why I can't take one every day. My skin feels like silk!]

Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kindred Spirits...

There are few things in life that are sweeter than friendship.

That voice on the other line that puts a smile on your face
When you thought the day just couldn't get worse...
Who makes a joke about Kate Middleton's ring
And agrees that Justin Beiber's not worth the fuss...
Who's willing to share personal things...
To dream big and embrace the here and now...
Who listens hard to your hopes and fears
And tells you it's okay not to know the answers...
Or agree...
That familiar laugh which ushers in the sunshine
When it seems the fog is closing in...
The one who sends birthday gifts two months late
Because it wasn't just right for your review...
Who racks up a 108 minute call
And still has one more thing left to say..
Who "watches over ya" in thought and prayer
No matter where you are or where you are going...
Your number one fan...
Your bosom friend...
A gift...

Thanks, Molls, for being the incredibly person that you are! I'm so thankful that God brought you into my life when He did, and that together we've been able to share in His abundant blessings. ;)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Grad Night

Well, it has been quite a while since I've posted--a whole FIVE days! :) I've missed blogging. lol But more than that, I've missed clear, purposeful blogging. Most days, I feel like I'm just poking away at a keyboard failing to compartmentalize the swirling ideas in my head.

But it's Sunday afternoon, and as luck would have it, everyone's preoccupied in a vicinity other than the one I'm in! (yay!) So now I have a chance to "jot down" what's been happening lately.

Had my high school graduation ceremony on Friday. It was nice. The banquet dinner was phenominal, and we had two servers who waited on us hand and foot. "Would you like more water, maam?" "Can I take your plate for you?" "Is there anything else I can get for you?" I felt like a princess...
 Such an elegant table!
My cuddly, fellow classmate was valedictorian. LOL
Four generations of girls: Me, my Nonna, mom, and Mia (who, by the way, nearly upset our table half a dozen times!)
 My gorgeous brother and Nonna
My other gorgeous brother who looked like a model in that vest!     
Graduating Class of 2011.
There are actually 12 seniors (11 girls--lol), but only 4 attended the banquet due to a drama performance that same night. Found out later the theatre company was not affiliated with the school...

Altogether it was a great evening. My parents gave a really sweet, embarassing speech. And it's funny, because even though both choked up at different times, my dad was the one who almost lost it. I kept thinking, "Gosh, if this is how bad he is on grad night, what is he going to be like at my wedding?"

Answer: one huge mess. ;)

Things got even worse when my parents surprised me with my graduation ring (which apparently had been purchased three years ago! Makes me wonder what other "secrets" they're keeping from me--hahaha!)
 The rubies represent Proverbs 31:10. "Who can find a virtuous woman for her worth is far beyond rubies." It's in the shape of a flower because my name, in Greek, means blooming...
And while there's no question it's a stunning ring, what means more to me is the thought and symbolism that goes behind it. Thanks, mom and dad for being the best teachers, principals, counsellors, mentors, and friends a girl could ever wish for. I love you to infinity and beyond! ;)

So that was ring #1. ;)

Ring #2 was given to me last year by my wonderful Nonna...because she "couldn't wait any longer." ;) 
Isn't it gorgeous? It reminds me of the London Bridge...My dad has a field day with it. "Oh, Jane," he'll say, quoting Anne of Avonlea, "Stop showing off your ring. I can see it glittering through the trees." ;) No kidding. I told my mom, "I'm going to have to hide this monstrosity of a rock or else my poor future fiance is going to feel some major competition." Poor guy. :P But I promise, that's all the lying and deception he'll have to endure...I think. ;)

Anyway, speaking of deception, I want to tell you all about another period drama that I recently discovered called Our Mutual Friend. It's based off of the book by Charles Dickens, but for some reason, I'd never heard of it before. It's really good, full of that typical dark, Dickens-y intrigue. The main plot centers on two couples who both defy the conventions of social class to discover true love. Not all that original, I know. But the circumstances involving these pairs are definitely worth the five hour wait. ;) Also worth mentioning is that the girl who plays one the main roles is Keeley Hawes, or Cynthia from the better-known Wives and Daughters. For those of you who know the story, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by her performance. ;) Just be mindful of a pretty intense scene with the school teacher. He starts yelling pretty violently at one point. There's also a part where he goes bathing. I just skipped that part. ;) Like I said, it's Dickens, so don't watch it with the intention of feeling warm and fuzzy inside. But for me, who likes altogether morbid and sad stories, it's definitely my cup of tea.

Hope you're all enjoying this blustery Sunday weather.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Balancing Act

As a Christian, I often feel torn between two conflicting ideas; namely, living by faith and living according to the practical standards of this day and age.

I was having this converastion with a friend last night over dinner. We were talking about some things that are going on in our lives, and at one point in the conversation, I said: "Hey, I'm a woman of faith, but let me tell you something--I got insurance!"

That line ended up being her new face book status. ;)

But all joking aside, at what point do we, as Christians, stop simply "believing" and start using the brains that God has given us?

Case and point: Do we as Christian women trust God to open and close our wombs? Or do we resort to contraceptives like birth control because our brains tell us we can only handle so much? Do we simply surrendur all and cross our fingers and hope we don't end up with a million kids? Or do we do we plan our lives within the boundaries of ordinary, common sense?

Maybe that issue's too controversial. Scratch that. How 'bout regular doctor's visits? Do we trust that God will supernaturally heal our sicknesses? Or do we take meds because we know He's also  given men insight into the intricate workings of our bodies? Do we take out insurance on our cars? Or do we trust that God will provide if we get in an accident? Where do you draw the line?

I honestly have no idea. How much is faith and how much is pure stupidity?

All my life I have heard pastors exhort their congregations to "trust the in the Lord. He will guide you." Until recently, I always interpretted that as some sort of mystical revelation. A voice in my ear. A prophetic encounter. Some news flash that would blink "encounter with God" in bright, neon lights. Unfortunately, it never happens that way.

Quite the opposite. When God speaks, He does so during the strangest times; times when I least expect it, or when I'm not necessarily looking (or listening). Like how 'bout smack-dead in the middle of washing dishes or taking out the trash?!?!

But the coincedences of my life, I'm learning, are not realy coincidental at all. They all have purpose. They all have meaning. And the few times I've been able to look back and have an "ah-hah" moment, it makes all my worrying (as verbalized in blog posts like this one) seem really--unintelligent. lol

Yet, I don't seem able to stop. My brain is just one complex network of tangled wires and sparks that go off without a mechanism to switch it off. ;)

For now, I feel like every Christian is walking a tight rope over an abyss of uncertainty. Or maybe that's just hormonal me mentally self-destructing. Either way, I think I need a nice cup of tea and some ice cream to settle this deep, theological query. ;) Sorry for the abrupt ending. But when you ask questions that you yourself can't end up like me! *twitch* *twitch*

Laughing out loud, :)