Sunday, May 24, 2009

This Marriage

This Marriage
by Jalal al-Din Rumi

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My favorite Shakespeare Sonnet

Yesterday was the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's wonderful sonnets! Since I was a young girl, I have loved Shakespeare's sonnets and at one time I made it a habit of reading at least one a day. (I think that might be a great habit to get back into, come to think of it.) So in honor of the occasion, I have posted my favorite of Mr. Shakespeare's sonnets.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Memory of Grandma Goss: The aroma of percolating coffee

I've never been much of a coffee drinker. I'm not particularly fond of it, and if I drink too much of it, it gives me a headache. However, I've always been rather partial to the aroma. I love to walk by coffee shops and/or cafes and take in the delicious aroma of all the various brews. I most especially like the smell of coffee when mingled with the aroma of eggs and bacon frying in a skillet. It always triggers something in me that leaves me feeling warm and content. One day I sat down and tried to figure out what it was about these aromas that were so appealing to me and it quickly came to me that they brought back some very pleasant childhood memories.

My maternal grandparents lived on a large farm near Bowden, a small rural community just between Tulsa and Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Their house was a large Victorian, built a few years before statehood, (that was in 1907). It was two storied with a creaky wooden stairway, a front parlor, a dining room, and kitchen in the back, with a squeaky wooden screen door that locked with a metal hook. It had a huge wrap-around porch with a gigantic oak tree in the front. Grandpa hung a tire swing from one of the branches for us to swing on. I'm not sure how many acres he had, but it was quite a lot. He had cattle & chickens, two large ponds that he kept stocked with catfish, a big wooden barn with cats, a huge vegetable garden laden with lettuce, tomatoes, squash, peas, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, and corn, fruit orchards with peaches and pears, red & green peppers of several varieties, blackberry & raspberry bushes, and a flower garden. There were streams and meadows, and lots of places to run and play. It was a childhood dreamland.

One of my fondest memories is waking up early in the mornings to the smells of bacon and eggs frying in Grandma's cast iron skillet, and freshly ground coffee perking in the percolator, (this was before automatic drip coffee makers). I would try to sneak down the creaky wooden stairs in my footie pajamas, down the hallway, through the dining room, past the huge gas stove, to the kitchen doorway. I'd hide for just a second and then I'd jump out, shouting, "BOO!". Grandma would always jump and pretend to be startled. "You SCARED me!", she would exclaim, although I knew she was kidding because there was no way that she couldn't have known I was coming, between the squeaky stairway and creaking floorboards.

Years later, the aromas of bacon frying and coffee brewing always bring these happy memories forward and I am reminded of how very blessed I was to have grown up with such experiences. As a child I didn't understand that it wasn't like this for every child, and that one day I would cherish these memories, and even long for those early mornings at Grandpa and Grandma's farm.

My father just called about an hour ago and informed me that Grandma passed away. She's home now, with Grandpa and Mother. I'm sure that both of them are happy to see her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Somewhere out there

I shudder to think what my life might have become had I not found you on this day, ten years ago. You are the love of my life, my very heart. Ich liebe dich, now and forever.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Eight is enough

I keep getting these great memes from Steph and I'm afraid I've become addicted.

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

1. Moving to a new house that won't cost us an arm and a leg--not being house poor any longer!
2. Having the finances to do other things besides pay the rent.
3. Losing more weight.
4. Selling the Mozartiana.
5. Getting our novel finished--and published.
6. Seeing Nathan on Monday.
7. Mother's Day dinner with my family.
8. Another day to write.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Made a fun post on my other blog.
2. Fed the cat.
3. Got dressed.
4. Went to work.
5. Answered telephones.
6. Went to the gym with Heather.
7. Ate dinner.
8. Goofed around with Steph.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do Right Now:

1. Go get a pedicure.
2. Fly Airbus to Vienna.
3. Get together with some of my old friends.
4. Sing in a performance of Le Nozze di Figaro.
5. Spend the weekend with Steph in a 5-star hotel somewhere, anywhere.
6. Sit in a hot tub and drink Margaritas.
7. Take Steph to Boston to get married.
8. Fit into a size 8 again.

8 Shows I Watch on Telly:

1. The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC)
2. The OETA Movie Club (PBS)
3. Rick Steves' Europe (PBS)
4. Whose Line is it, Anyway? (ABC Family)
5. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Travel Channel)
6. Top Chef (Bravo)
7. Project Runway (Bravo)
8. The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)

8 Life Lessons I Have Benefited From (or am TRYING to put into practice):

1. Love at first sight can happen.
2. Things (or people) are not always what they appear to be on the outside.
3. What's in the well will come up in the bucket.
4. Love really is all you need.
5. People are people no matter who or where.
6. Thoughts are things. What you dwell on, you will get.
7. Never say never.
8. Children will bring out the best and the worst in you.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Difining, Critical & Pivotal: The road less traveled

I'm home today recovering from this intestinal flu, so I thought it might be interesting to do this meme that Steph created from a section of one of Dr. Phil's books. These are going to take some real thought!

10 Defining Moments:
In every person's life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.

1. Growing up in a devoutly religious, evangelical Christian home - Although in many respects this was extremely positive for me, as it forced me to develop a keen spiritual awareness and a deep sense of morality as well as solid spiritual foundations, it had many negative affects upon my self-esteem, my life choices, and my sense of who I really was/am.

2. Discovering my musical talent as a child - From the time I was a small child I can't remember a day when I didn't love music, when it wasn't a part of my life and who I was. I have always believed that it was directly connected to my purpose in this life.

3. My first trip to Europe - When I graduated from high school, I went on a musical tour of Europe with a choir of young people from Oklahoma. We visited the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It expanded my horizons and awakened me to the understanding that people are people no matter their language or customs, no matter what religion they do or don't follow, and no matter where they call home.

4. Going to College - This was another horizon-expanding time in my life when I learned that the world was a much larger and more complicated place than I had been taught to believe. I began to learn that life was not defined in simple black & white terms. I met people who had different life experiences and who challenged my narrow beliefs of what life was about. The most influential and defining course I took was Western Civilization in which I studied the history and literature of Europe from the Medieval period to the modern age. Studying the development of the Catholic Church, the Crusades, and the Reformation began my questioning of the Christian beliefs that I had been taught from infancy, and led to the eventual rejection of those beliefs years later. Education is the key to everything.

5. Studying and experiencing the music of Mozart - Some will probably laugh when they read this and some of my family members, (if they read this), will continue to worry that I have fallen off of the deep end, but from the time I was a small child, the music of Mozart has touched a place in me that I cannot even name. Every time that I have heard, studied, sung and/or experienced Mozart's music, something deep inside of me glows. As a young voice student, the music of Mozart spoke to me and there was a sense of familiarity about it that I couldn't explain. It has remained a constant force throughout my entire life.

6. Living in several different areas of the country - After I was married we moved to Louisville, KY where we lived for a few months before moving to Cincinnati, and then back again to Kentucky. After my husband graduated from seminary, we moved to Florida and lived on both coasts, for a period of time. My three children were born in St. Petersburg, Florida. Then we moved to Montana where we spent three years in the Billings area and Billings proper. Living in various parts of the country, again, expanded my horizons even further--meeting new people, gaining new cultural experiences, opening me up to new and different ideas and beliefs.

7. Being a mother - The experience of motherhood has been one of the most fulfilling, yet terrifying experiences of my life, but through it I have found in me a deep well of wisdom and a loving, caring, compassionate nurturing aspect of my personality that would otherwise not have been developed.

8. Getting a computer and being hooked up on the internet - Talk about your horizon expanding experiences! All of a sudden the entire world was open to me. I could talk to people all over the world! I could comb the web for more information about Mozart or any other subject that I wanted. I could travel the entire span of the globe in a matter of seconds, see pictures, watch videos, hear music that I'd never heard, go places I'd never been, hear languages spoken that I didn't even know existed. It was probably one of the single most important and defining events of my life.

9. Questioning the religious teachings of my youth - As my world expanded, so did my worldview and the old doctrines and dogmas no longer fit my vision and/or concept of my expanding universe and/or god. As painful as it was, I began to separate from the conservative Christian teachings with which I had been raised and in which I was nurtured for my entire life.

10. My divorce - For the first time in my life, I was free to make my own choices, to live my life as I saw fit, and free of the ties that held me back. I had lived my entire life for someone else. I made choices to please others. I said and did all the right things so that everyone else would be happy. Finally I did something for me, for my own personal well-being.

7 Critical Choices:
There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.

1. Choosing to marry instead of pursuing a career in music - This choice defined the direction of my life for nearly twenty years and eventually brought me into such despair that after 18 years, I nearly committed suicide. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of my children coming home from school and finding me dead on the floor. I had come to a place in my life where I felt I was good for no one, but I believed that my children were better off with a broken mother than a dead one.

2. Marrying into the ministry - This is one of the choices I made to please others. I did this out of the desperate need for my parents' approval. They were so proud of my missionary brother but always criticized my desires to be a singer/actress as vain and ungodly. I thought if I became a minister's wife that they would be as proud of me as they were my brother.

3. The decision to go to graduate school - When my children were all old enough to be in school on a full time basis, I decided that I wanted to go back to school and get a master's degree in vocal performance and pedagogy. I ran up against the resistance of my husband and the church where he was pastor. It was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

4. Asking for a divorce - I was the one who wanted the divorce despite the fact that no one, not even my family supported me. I had no money, no lawyer, nothing to my name to speak of, but I was at the brink of such desperation that I would have done anything to get out of that marriage. I didn't care at that point where I went. I just wanted out.

5. Falling in love with and living in an open relationship with Steph - Some call this choice courageous, others rebellious, and yet others sinful, but it was one of the best choices of my entire life.

6. Gaining custody of my three children and raising them with my same-sex partner - Talk about a bold choice! A former Southern Baptist minister's wife moves back to her home town in Oklahoma with her lesbian partner and then gets custody of her three children and defiantly raises them in the same town where she grew up and where her parents were active and well-known members of the community! I don't know if that was stupidity or guts.

7. Choosing to be featured in Mozartballs thus coming out about my beliefs in reincarnation and about who I was in a past life - As if things weren't complicated enough by the fact that I left my husband for a woman, left my Christian beliefs altogether, but then I came out about my beliefs of who I was in a previous life. It's a choice I will never regret, however, for the making of the documentary turned out to be a vision quest, a spiritual journey the likes of which I will probably never experience again.

5 Pivotal People:
These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.

1. My parents - for good or for ill, they tried to mold me into the person they thought I should be.
2. Mary Beth Treat - my sixth grade teacher who saw more potential in me than anyone else.
3. Steve Maison - my high school vocal music teacher who encouraged me to follow my dreams.
4. My brother, Monte, who still loves me despite his fear of the direction in which my life has taken me.
5. Steph, who is the love of my life, my twin soul, and who handed me the keys to unlock my cage.

Another day to rest

Although I started feeling much better yesterday, I am still experiencing some of the more unpleasant symptoms of this intestinal flu that Steph and I have have both had. Poor Steph has been suffering with it since Wednesday and I since Friday night. It doesn't shake easily! And in it's aftermath, one is left with an awful headache and a "rumbly in the tumbly" that is very unsettling. I'm staying in from work today hoping that just one more day's rest will shake it for good.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Not the Swine Flu, but feel like crap just the same

I've picked up this intestinal flu that has been going around. Steph has had it for the last four days and now I have it too. YUK!

Friday, May 1, 2009

My handsome son

This blog is not and never will be a "Mommy Blog", but I just got this yesterday, and couldn't resist sharing it. This is my son Nathan, who is seventeen and a junior in high school. He lives with his dad in another city and I don't get to see him nearly often enough. He plays baseball and football, and is the apple of his mother's eye. This is a picture from his junior prom, last weekend.