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I'm on hiatus (in case you hadn't guessed). Sorry! I miss you guys.

13 April 2010

Red Light, Green Light

So, I went to South Plains three evenings in a row last week.

Church on Wednesday, Ladies' Retreat rehearsal on Thursday, Ladies' Retreat on Friday. This works out really well for me since I happen to like the ladies at South Plains; extra time with my sisters is good! Makes me happy!

You know what doesn't make me happy? Red lights. Wanna guess how many nights in a row I got stopped-- by mere seconds-- by the same red light? If you guessed "three", go get yourself a cookie.


I'll wait.

Are you back yet?

...

Are you making that cookie?

Ah! So, Wednesday night: sigh. Thursday night: Aargh. Friday night: You have got to be kidding me! Not again!

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I practised our songs in the car on the way to South Plains, which is moderately hard to do while driving, because it's unsafe to look down at sheet music while driving 60 mph. Or 40 mph. Or, for that matter, 20 mph. So, after shouting at the red light in frustration, I picked up my music and sang through the song twice before I laid the music down in time for the light to turn green.

And so, what else could I do but say to God: "Thank you for the red light. I'm sorry I complained."

12 April 2010

Retreat!

We don't have a womens' "retreat" as such at South Plains any longer; we went a Friday evening-only format a few years ago & have stuck with it since! But we still call it a retreat, because that was its name already and there's no point in messing with it now.


Anyway! A few months ago a prayer group, Sharlan & I had a conversation about the spring retreat:


Sharlan (S): Hey, do you want to sing alto in my group at the spring retreat?
I: Huh?
S: I need an alto for the retreat.
I: And you want me?
S: Yes.
I: There are lots of altos in this church.
S: Yes.
I: And most of them sing better than me.
S: No, not really. (Sharlan is a gifted liar. Or, more accurately, she chooses to see the best in others.)
I: You're sure you want me?
S: Yes.
I: Well, yeah, I'd love to. What are we singing?
S: I haven't written it yet.

Now if that isn't a promising beginning, I don't know what is. Sharlan wrote three songs for the retreat, all very lovely, all very fun, and all of which struck fear in my heart, especially when she asked me two weeks ago to change from alto to tenor. I have never knowingly sung tenor in my life, so I was a bit out of my depth. But I carried on, doing my best, safe in the knowledge that there were louder singers than I in our little chorale.

Then we had a rehearsal with microphones on Thursday night. I only like microphones if I'm at a Christmas tea. Ruth the Proficient Sound Girl said she didn't hear me at all, which made me pretty happy, but since I had agreed to do this for Sharlan I couldn't justify faking it.

So, I went home and practised. And then I got up on Friday and practised. I put the songs on my iPod and took the sheet music with me to work and sang the tenor part to three songs all day long. (I'm sure my coworkers appreciated the concert.) I came home from work and practised. I drove to South Plains still practising. And then our whole group got together and practised before the whole shebang started, and only then did I feel like I was actually going to make a contribution to the group.

I don't know if my voice was audible; I don't know if I hit the right notes; I don't know how the group sounded because I was doing some serious concentration. I do know that Sharlan was grinning from ear to ear as she conducted, that what I could hear of her solo sounded fabulous, and that the compliments were free-flowing afterwards. I do know that Sharlan is a gifted musician who uses her talents to bless others. I do know the entire evening was absolutely wonderful.

And, I now know that I can sing tenor. Brilliant.

11 April 2010

Words: Safe Passage, Part 2

So, about The Worst Bible Bowl Trip in History:

*First, we had to rent vans, because the church vans were in use.
*At the last minute, I was pulled in as a sponsor because one of the other women wasn't able to go.
*Then, Rebecca had to endure my panic attack at being one of the listed drivers on the rental van, when I had NO intention of getting behind the wheel of that van AT ALL. (That one was quickly resolved.)
*After that, we had about a 10-minute window to leave on time to get to our destination and pulled out of the parking lot of South Plains with approximately .005 nanoseconds to spare.
*We ran into a zero-visibility (not kidding) dust storm halfway between Lubbock & Abilene and had to slow down considerably, which used up every one of our .005 nanoseconds.
*And the final blow: We arrived in Abilene to discover that the only available hotel rooms were, erm, rather low-rent. (Unfortunately, all pics from this trip were lost when our old computer crashed.) So, we slept in smoke-scented hotel rooms in a questionable neighbourhood. (And my bedtime prayer freaked out the girls in my room, because I prayed for our safety. Oops!)

After such an eventful Friday, one of our girls lost her glasses Saturday morning. And the hotel had no breakfast on offer, so we packed into a McDonald's. When we arrived at the church for competition, Rebecca ordered me to come to the coaches' meeting while the rest of the adults did crowd control with our kids. (Okay, this was a low point only for me.)

Boring meeting... boring meeting... boring meeting... and then the gentleman leading the prayer wound up by asking that God would grant us all "safe passage" home. Now to my half-crazed brain, one uses the word "passage" only when sailing.

So after the "Amen", I turned to Rebecca and asked, "Are we going home by ship?"

She laughed for five minutes, then said, "Thank you, I needed that."

So, Safe Passage. Great phrase. Memories of weekend plans gone awry. Good friends to share them with.

10 April 2010

Words: Safe Passage, Part 1

Thought I forgot about this little diversion, didn't you?

Safe Passage

In my mind, there are two reasons to use the word "passage": 1) You are on a ship. or 2) You have a sneaky way of getting out of your house.

Okay, this phrase has never changed my life. Probably never will, until I take that Atlantic crossing to England that I've been promising myself for years and that will have to wait until retirement. But I heard it at the ladies' retreat on Friday, when the closing prayer specifically mentioned "safe passage" home. And this little phrase conjured up a memory...

... Of what some would say was the Worst Bible Bowl Trip in History.

In the course of which, the little phrase "safe passage" lifted the spirits of two otherwise-frazzled women, one of whom, naturally, was me.

Come back later for the rest of the story, and in the meantime, I hope the South Plains Bible Bowlers are having the Best Bible Bowl Trip in History this weekend.

09 April 2010

Easter

Any holiday that falls in the spring is bound to be a good one for me. And therefore, I love Easter.

I celebrated Lent as usual this year. I started celebrating Lent when I was 12 & haven't missed a year since (19 years I've been doing this now! 19!!), but for the years that I was still in my parents' house, it was very hush-hush. You see, my parents are not Catholic, they don't belong to a high church, and therefore they are not into hearing about stuff that seems "Catholic" to them. It freaked them out that I had so many Catholic friends, truth be told. So, I kept Lent a secret from my family when I was a teenager. And then from pretty much everyone (except Keely, since we spent too much time together for her to not notice) when I was an aim student.

But never mind me; let's talk about everyone else. In the past few years, I've heard (or seen, for those that I communicate with only via internet) many friends and acquaintances talking about Lent. Apparently, everyone is doing it all of a sudden. Or, we've just all decided to come out of hiding at once.

So, it was cool to know that there were others doing this at the same time as me. It was amusing to see so many people post their Lenten fasts on Facebook; to me, that does miss one of the finer points of fasting by quite a large margin.

As for me, I struggled. And I think that's how it should be; after all, what's the point of an "easy" sacrifice? I don't think I'm setting the bar too high for myself; I do think that my self-control and self-discipline are not what they once were. And it would seem that devoting something to God is not enough of a motivator.

Good thing we have Jesus.

03 April 2010

Breaking the silence.

So, in the two weeks since I last posted...

We moved to another apartment, because we are crazy people.

The number of people who we care about who had an urgent, pressing need has been crazy. (I hate to think that God allowed all this to happen to convince me to spend more time praying, but if that's what happened, then I'm here to say it worked.)

The deadline for application to my university of choice came and went (finally!) and I am now completely tied up in knots about my application, which is "currently being reviewed by the admissions committee". I am thankful that my adrenal glands have a limited capacity, because I have already done "slight buzz of nervousness", "hands-are-shaking nervousness" (that was the day I applied; got that one out of the way in a hurry!), and "slight but nagging nervousness", and I am currently into "have finished all other kinds of nervous and now have the empty inside, mind-numbing, must-do-something-else-besides-think-about-this anxiety" that is usually the last stage of nervous for me. Unfortunately, this stage can stick around for weeks, and probably will, unless the admission committee decides that I'm an amazingly-good candidate and sends me a letter first thing Monday morning. If only.

My thoughts on Lent, Easter and winter weather sticking around past its sell-by date coming soon.

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