Cats 🐱

As 2019 waned, I did something I’d never done. I saw the musical, Cats.

I plunked down my change and watched the new movie, out of simple curiosity. I’ve since seen the bad reviews, and talked to purists, who saw Cats on stage, over and over, who have the songs memorized, and who are so upset at what they hear about the movie, they are boycotting.

I understand this Cats ire, and I respect it. One friend’s college roommate ended up becoming an actress who played one of the roles on Broadway. They still stay in touch, so I don’t plan to mention the movie to that person at all. 😬 But I admit I liked it, and perhaps, I simply liked the musical, in general, and particularly, the story.

Apparently, there is also a fresh approach to dance in the movie, performed by some of the best talent in the world. I like dance, especially innovation in movement. And I certainly appreciate expertise.

As I watched, I ended up weeping, experiencing the feels along with different aspects of different characters. Death. Life. Hardship. Grief. New chances.

I know I’m late to the Cats party, but I’m happy I came.

Kudos to Andrew Lloyd Webber for masterfully putting to music the poems of T.S. Eliot, my speech-teacher grandmother’s favorite poet. Such a plus, for me. I have a copy of Eliot’s complete works, and it rests in my bedside drawer, awaiting its turn to be savored.

Today, I end with two of the songs that made my 2020 playlist, from the movie, Cats. I also added Dame Judy Dench’s partly-spoken adaptation of The Ad-dressing of Cats, so true to cats, as any kitty owner knows.

Taylor Swift did a better job, technically, in her version of Beautiful Ghosts, but I like the heart in Francesca Hayward’s rendition.
https://jenniferhudsononline.com
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O Day of Peace 🕊

Peace is a beautiful word.

Many people hope for peace, long for peace, pray for peace. I join them.

Come, Lord Jesus.

“O day of peace that dimly shines, through all our hopes and prayers and dreams, Guide us to justice, truth, and love, Delivered from our selfish schemes.

May the swords of hate fall from our hands, Our hearts from envy find release, Till by God’s grace our warring world, Shall see Christ’s promised reign of peace.

Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb, Nor shall the fierce devour the small; As beasts and cattle calmly graze, A little child shall lead them all.

Then enemies shall learn to love, All creatures find their true accord; The hope of peace shall be fulfilled, For all the earth shall know the Lord.”

https://joshgarrels.com
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Christmastide ✨

I’ve been in a rough patch since Thanksgiving, but it’s Christmas.

Surprisingly, given my past struggle with the holiday season, I’m finding that I love Christmas, which makes no sense. I love the wonder, the light, the sparkle, the giving spirit, the thankfulness, the children and their excitement, and most of all the Jesus part. Just the Jesus part, really, is what makes the rest so marvelous. Jesus is what lights it up. Somehow, He rose up this year, and I don’t understand. I simply celebrate. 🙌🏻

He’s been so close that it catches my breath, and makes me look around in awe. I feel like a child, watching snowflakes floating around me for the first time.

The Year of Light is winding down. I want to close it out with that delightful glow that I love.

So today, on Jesus’ birthday, this song is a hauntingly beautiful tribute. Listen for the sound of hoofbeats. And may you experience the brilliance, and the glory, of the Jesus part of Christmastide this year.

Christmastide comes to let you in, out from the cold. Christmastide comes to comfort you…in your grief.

Christmastide comes to longing hearts, stirring with hope. Christmastide comes to shine a light…in the dark.

Gloria, gloria, gloria.

Gloria, gloria, gloria.

Gloria, gloria, gloria.

Gloria, gloria, gloria.

http://www.emeraldhymns.com

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May You Find a Light 💡

The Christmas Season.

In the past, it weighed me down with its busyness, expense, and frantic pace. Not in 2019, and I can’t explain that, because this year represents the hardest time of my life.

And yet…

The light shines, brightening my way through everything, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

I can’t explain that, either.

What I do each day is continue to wish and hope and pray and love all of the people God’s put in my life, through it all. It makes no sense, but I keep walking forward, one step at a time. Sometimes all that’s illuminated is the next spot to place my foot, but that’s all I really need to see, isn’t it?

My holiday wish for every person, no matter what, is represented in the song below. If you’re a fellow human, I have this crazy love for you that I sometimes don’t understand. But thanks be to Almighty God, for that love. 🙌🏻

🎄 ❤️

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Thankful 🍂

Lessons. My grandfather Cooke used to say that one never graduates from the School of Hard Knocks. I think he was onto something.

My brother Dave’s sudden death in early August taught me things. I try to get memos as correctly as possible, as quickly as possible, so that I don’t have to repeat classes.

My goal for October, and really this entire season of autumn, is to savor every breath, the very air. Prompted by thoughts of how relishing turns what we have into abundance, I wrote the following thoughts down in my planner:

9-23-2019

“This season, I want to savor life…each breath. The air. The very air.

I want to rest in spite of challenges. I want to celebrate every tiny victory.

I want to trust.

I want to enjoy the State Fair, slowly.

I want to hope, and believe in a miracle healing, behind the veil.

I want to matter, properly. I want to feel.

I want to breathe freely, and peacefully, without the tightness.

But most of all, I want to just savor LIFE.”

So, I savored. I took my time. I inhaled and exhaled, for long counts, from my core. And I let it matter.

(So many applications to that song, by JOHNNYSWIM, shared before on this blog.)

Today, I’m incredibly grateful. I count my 60th year a gift, and I celebrated my birthday just a few days ago, with a bang. Other favors on the gratitude list: Dave’s life, and how it enriched mine. His birthday would have been today. My beautiful sister, Allison, whom we buried on my birthday nineteen years ago. The rest of my family, every last one of them, whether they like me or not. And so much more.

And most of all I’m thankful to be alive, to be drawing in that oxygen, in my favorite season, filled with pumpkins, falling leaves, choice natural color gradients, cinnamon-y spices, woodsmoke, and cooler air.

God’s unspeakable gifts.

This song by Dan Bremnes pretty much nails these thoughts, and has been a favorite jam this month, along with almost the entire Wherever I Go album. Thanks to @laurabpilates on Instagram for the tip. I’m memorizing these upbeat lyrics, while I praise God for the inexpressible gift of Jesus. I certainly don’t know where I’d be without Him.

And that’s for sure.

https://www.danbremnes.com

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When the Lines Are Blurred 🧠

Sometimes it’s not just the physical that needs healing.

I follow several high-profile stories of miraculous improvements following apparently hopeless brain injuries. One of these cases has a connection to our family. The other was linked from that original Instagram account. The first involves a seven year-old girl falling a few feet from a golf cart. The other involves a thirty-six year-old man in a serious car accident.

There exists a universe beyond the concrete. Whether it’s dubbed mental, emotional, or spiritual, it’s known to be there. What I’m finding is that wounds behind those blurred, invisible lines are serious and potentially debilitating, too. For the Christian, this presents a unique challenge.

(I am a Christian.)

What I’m noticing is physically heathy people who claim the name of Jesus Christ, but do not walk in the place of God’s love, and other freeing fruit that He guarantees for His children. The first person like this I met was myself. Now, I see others, where I didn’t, before.

The lovely universe of God’s joy and peace is where I want to live, so there’s the rub. I am not an island. My focus is slowly shifting and merging in ways I struggle to describe.

Still, what I try to take away from any story is personal application. If I see good, I emulate. If not, I don’t. Sometimes, figuring out the difference is difficult. Whatever my progress at the moment, I want more. The benefit is for me, and by extension, hopefully, for others. Trusting and holding to God for dear life is my only hope.

The caretakers in the brain injury stories I follow inspire, because they appear to be successful at living in that fruitful place. Wisdom dictates finding people who are outstanding at what I want to achieve, and taking my cues from them.

One thing I’m learning is that doing the work of healing in hidden areas symbolically parallels the procedures and therapy I see in hospitals and homes from those accounts. These invisible actions count, and can produce astounding results. Unseen effort is worthy, and deserves applause, and recognition. 👏🏻

For a long time, I’ve realized that authentic love does what a person needs, and not necessarily what a person wants. But knowing and doing are two different things.

In the end, life’s hard. Love’s painful. Both are worth the effort. I carry on.

That’s my tidbit for today. Although not called Christian, I enjoyed this song Sunday night in a spiritual way. As is usually the case for me with music meant for other purposes, when I sing along, I’m speaking to the Lover of my soul, my living God.

  • You, You found me.
  • Made into something new
  • Led me through the deepest waters
  • I promise loud to carry on for You.

The official version of Carry On, by Kygo, featuring Rita Ora, is shared below.

If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!

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Let It Matter

The lesson seems to be that I matter, at least as much as the people around me. Although this idea might seem rather basic, it was news to me. I don’t know how I missed that memo, but the fact that I did is troubling. Apparently, the God of Christianity had to shake my world right down to its bedrock to get me to glance at the headlines.

What I’m hearing these days is that come what may, I matter to God. And when I do not matter in a balanced way, whether in my own mind, or in the eyes of others, it displeases Him. In my world, He’s the most important Person. So, although I struggle to process these new thoughts, I’m listening. I’m adjusting.

Thank You, Quiet Spirit, for connecting dots, in my heart, from all over the place.

And Creator God, thanks for the dots. ❤️

But today’s post, or this new lesson, for that matter, is not about me. It’s universal. Everywhere, people experience terrible challenges, and suffering. All around me, humans cower in fear, whether openly, or in private. It’s part of living in our broken world, I believe, but that doesn’t make anything easy, or right. What I hope readers hear me say today is that if you’re one that doesn’t value yourself properly, come what may, you honestly, truly matter to God. This notion is difficult to drag beyond cliche’, but it needs doing. And with God, comfort is available, in His palpable arms, at any time. I’ve learned this part experientially, but don’t trust me. Read all about it in the pages of the Bible, if so inclined. And then, test it. I believe truth withstands anything humans put it through.

Of course, I doubt and struggle in my journey, just like everyone else. I blow it, regularly. And as always, I don’t wish to pressure. I fully support the idea of others making their own decisions.

So, that’s my update for today. Thanks to Joanna Gaines for the tip about this song. It beautifully illustrates my lesson, and it’s been on repeat, lately. I found it on her Spotify playlist back in January, and I noticed JOHNNYSWIM performs live at some of their events at Magnolia in Waco. “Let It Matter,” shared here, is making my 2019 highlight playlist as soon as I hit the publish button.

The best way over is through, my friends. 🙇‍♀️

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

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