August 31, 2009
My Monumental Effort
My monumental effort
On a daily basis
Waver in effectiveness
Morning’s renewed hope
Depleted by evening
Weary of trying
Every time I offer it up
Every time I give it away
I get back exactly
What I don’t want.
August 25, 2009
Blue Grass Testimony, ME News, Vol 2, Issue 34
The appropriate level of Vitamin D has indeed changed some things.
A lot of people have noticed the difference in me. I notice the difference in me.
I’ve been told I’m more animated, glowing. I know I look healthier. I know I feel more alert. My attitude has rather positively been adjusted. It’s still a little strange to feel general euphoria for no real reason. Nothing has changed, except that my physically being well has given my brain the chance to regroup.
I see vibrant colors. Not that I didn’t see colors before, but there’s an eerie comparative line that can be drawn to allergy medication commercials where the dull film is peeled away, and the life-scene comes in to sharper focus. I’ve driven through Kentucky and Tennessee four times in the last three years, and although I appreciated the beauty of the landscape then, I was completely overwhelmed this time. Awed. And humbled, and scared of where I had been: disturbed that I had been so unaware that I wasn’t seeing things correctly.
I’ve moved beyond the tunnel vision of survival, merely moving one foot in front of the other, purposefully not looking back. Now that I have also regained my peripheral vision, I have found that there are people there -- ones who have been waiting with extraordinary patience. I’m astounded by the three-dimensional colors of love. Not the flowery romantic kind, but the unconditional acceptance kind.
So, what does all this have to do with Bluegrass Music?
From the notes of Marc Pruett’s band at the Fiddlin’ Pig in Asheville, NC to The Holy Mountain Boys gospel quartet at Cole UMC, Yale, MI, I traversed one week and one day, and 692 miles, to receive one repetitive message:
Share your testimony, and pray that it is received with joy.
How can I ensure that when I do share, it is observed as testimony and not as preaching?
I am not equipped to preach, because I cannot teach what I do not know.
My desire is to spark interest, cause investigation, allow self-discovery, and offer support.
Many times, although it may seem like I am writing specifically for you, I am merely offering an experience, seeking feedback, and in a way, very much self-testifying.
So, I hope you understand how important you are to me.
How grateful I am that you allow me to pass on my experiential thoughts, testifying on behalf of GOD’s works, pulling them into focus, and bringing us all together.
In this issue: Testimony, Peripheral Vision, Bluegrass, Religious Experiences & Yoga Breathing.
Now posted: I Cry, Poetry 2009
I cry when I am angry
and when I am mad and
when I am frustrated
but not when I am sad;
Tears of joy have been rare
take a look now
linger just a moment spare
and look again
with sweet surprise
be glad to see them there.
August 18, 2009
Along for the Ride, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 33
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Back, way back, in junior high school, I listened to Casey Kasem every Sunday afternoon on WINE radio in Connecticut. I kept a groovy pink, purple and yellow flowered notebook recording chart positions of songs I thought deserved to be recognized for their greatness – rejoicing happily when they rose in popularity, and becoming dejected if they fell out of favor.
It wasn’t until the late 80’s that I learned people actually got paid to do that exact same thing! In the meantime, though, I tried to cultivate my own musical talents. I wanted to play the flute, but needed braces. I tried to play the sax, but didn’t have enough air in me. I won a Yamaha electric folk guitar from WINE, but, alas, I sliced three consecutive fingertips with a v-shaped linoleum cutter in art class leaving numbed pads. I joined chorus, but was asked to leave because I kept throwing everyone else off key. I did get a part in GODSPELL, though – as a silent mime. I wouldn’t give up despite all those glaring signals. Nope, I would wear headphones and listen to music for hours. One day, I’d been at it a while and my parents reluctantly asked me to stop singing along. I complied, in my own way. Later, my dad asked me to stop humming, as well.
My first official music playing device was a red circle Panasonic tape recorder. I was allowed to tape my records on the stereo, and then was free to play them, over and over and over and over and over, locked in my room. I memorized lyrics, picked out bass patterns, read liner notes, and dreamed of finding my place in the music industry. In high school, my revolutionary dream idea was to invent a machine that would allow people to purchase just the songs they liked, and have them recorded on one cassette tape. So close, and yet so far.
I am writing this nostalgic little piece while burning 20+ hours of music loaded into my home computer onto CD’s for a road trip to North Carolina. If you want to come along for the ride, you can visit: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/~jaselin/archives/2009/08/road_sic.html#more for the complete play list.
In this issue: Steve Gillman - Music Entrainment, itunes, Road Food
Now posted: Poetry for Motion, Poetry, 2009
Poetry for Motion
Road Music, North Carolina 2009.
Sort of poetry in near constant motion.
Alphabetically. (According to itunes.)
4Lyn, Aaron Neville, Aaron Shust, Al Hill & The Love Butlers, Al Jolson, Alison Krauss, Andy Kim, Augustana, Avril Lavigne, The Band, Billy Joe Shaver, Blue October, Blue Rodeo, Bob Woodruff, Bon Jovi, Boston, Bowling for Soup, Boys Like Girls, Brad Paisley, Brandon Heath, Breaking Benjamin, Brother Phelps, Bryan White, Camouflage, Carrie Underwood, Casting Crowns, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Chris Sligh, Chris Tomlin, The Church, Clay Walker, Clueless, Colbie Callat, Counting Crows, Crowded House, Daniel Bedingfield, Daniel Doss Band, Daughtry, Del Amitri, The Delevantes, Dierks Bentley, Difford & Tilbrook, Dillon Dixon, Dolly Parton, Duran Duran, The Eagles, Elvis Costello, Evanescence, Fabolous, The Fat Lady Sings, Finger Eleven, Fish, Foo Fighters, George Strait, Goo Goo Dolls, Good Charlotte, Guster, Guy Clark, Hanson, The Higher, Hoobastank, Incubus, James Blunt, James House, Jamie Hartford, Jeremy Camp, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Joan Armatrading, John Butler Trio, John Waite, John Wesley Harding, Jordin Sparks, Josh Groban, Josh Turner, Joss Stone, Journey, Junior Senior, Keane, Keith Anderson, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Chesney, Klaxons, Lee Ann Womack, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Live, Los Lonely Boys, Louis Armstrong, Mandy Barnett, Marillion, Marion Raven, Maroon 5, Marshall Crenshaw, Martina McBride, Marty Wilson-Piper, Mary J. Blige, Matchbox 20, Mercy Me, Metallica, Michael Buble, Michael Kroll, MidSouth, Miley Cyrus, Modest Mouse, Montgomery Gentry, Motion City Soundtrack, Muse, Mute Math, Newsboys, Nichole Nordeman, Nickleback, O.A.R., Ok Go, Paramore, Pat Green, Paul Westerberg, Perry Farrell, Pink, Point of Grace, Powderfinger, The Pretenders, Randy Travis, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, REM, REO Speedwagon, Rhianna, Rob Thomas, Robbie Robertson, The Rocket Summer, Rodney Atkins, Rolling Stones, Ronan Keating, Ruben Studdard, Rush of Fools, Sailcat, Sanctus Real, Sara Bareilles, Savage Garden, Sheryl Crow, Silversun Pickups, Simon & Garfunkle, Sister Hazel, Smash Mouth, The Smithereens, Snow Patrol, Squeeze, Steve Winwood, Steven Curtis Chapman, Steven Kilbey, Sugarland, Test Your Reflex, Then Jericho, Third Day, Three Days Grace, Toby Keith, tobyMac, Train, U2, Van Morrison, The View, Wet Wet Wet, Wilson Phillips, The Wreckers, Yo-Yo Ma, Zac Brown Band.
August 11, 2009
The Right To Laugh, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 32
I joke about my downfalls a lot, but I do take them seriously too.
Knowing your own quirks is a GOOD thing.
Having a strong inner compass is a GOD thing.
It’s very hard sometimes to not let tangled, disappointed roots sprout into full grown mangled bushes.
It’s that much harder to cut them down in maturity, even knowing that the far stretching, familiarly comforting arms of shading leaves will only produce more bitter fruit.
The best way to dismantle a thicket of thorns is to grasp them firmly, wearing steel mesh gloves of humor.
Losing someone you love does not mean you lose the right to laugh. Some of you who have been on this journey with me for the past few years, understand where this is leading. I hope the memories and humorous revelations have helped you to realize how important it is to hold on to the good stuff; to look for the moments that may only be memories in your future.
I hope I’ve helped you handle the loss, as well.
Because as you've come to know, I’m all for the gravitational pull of laughter, strong inner compasses, and the chance to stand on soap boxes.
In this issue: Federal Law, Finding Your Inner Compass, Soap Boxing, and chainmaille.
Now posted: Fall Out Girl, Faith, Current & truth serum, Humor, That's Random
Fall Out Girl
It sucks to be unpopular.
Sadly, though, I’m obsessed with doing what is right, following rules, and complying with federal regulations.
It’s an unusual quirk, for sure. Especially since so many are not only willing to disregard rules, but insist on making up their own.
So, it comes down to self preservation. When audits are revealed, it will be me who will be deemed un-compliant if I let these problems continue. And since I have recently discovered the need and the art of self preservation, I am not willing to take the fall for folks who are supposed to be smarter. At least that’s what their comparative compensation indicates. They could go a lot longer than I can without pay, or at least they should be able to.
I do not begrudge living within my means, I just will not let anyone subterfuge my meager means. It is this stance which has put me into the precarious position of unpopularity.
I’m not happy that others are angry.
I’m not pleased that they feel betrayed.
I’m not comfortable being labeled an instigator.
I’m not looking forward to the resentment.
But I also do not intend to apologize for doing what is proper, and retaining my integrity (if only with myself).
If I could sleep, I would do so with a clear conscience, despite my unsettled heart.
Fully relying on GOD means acknowledging my obvious inner compass.
And, blessedly, my inner compass just steers that way.
You want me to be brutally honest?
All it takes is a'cuppa shots of espresso, some foamy milk, and caramel.
I’ll tell you anything you want to know.
Sort of like an 8-Ball gone haywire.
Only don’t be expectin’ no yes or nope answers.
I’m not about to tell you “maybe,” either.
Neither one of us is gonna get off that easy.
Believe me: it will be as painful for me, as it will be brain searing for you.
Don’t ask me a question if you don’t want it answered.
You’re playing roulette with over-caffeinated quiet person.
I’m one of those ones they’ve always told ya to watch out for.
Could get messy.
Now you tell me:
You sure you still wanna play this game?
August 07, 2009
If I were to spew all my random thoughts...
wouldn't I eventually be thoughtless?
August 05, 2009
Karaoke, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 31
It isn’t often I get to show my silly side at work. It isn't often that I want to, either. Too much of the time, I submit to strained niceties, even when they are especially not warranted.
So, the 100th year Anniversary Celebration Picnic wasn’t something I was looking forward to, in general. I was especially not looking forward to it this week, with so many recent serious office conflicts circulating through our ranks. It only made the dreading worse when I received the notice of “forced fun.” Truthfully, the notice didn’t really say “forced fun.” It really said “Karaoke.”
Luckily, I was reminded of an incident where my parents and my brother’s in-laws got around the mandatory sing-for-fun problem by choosing a minimally lyric-ed little ditty. Following in their footsteps, I brilliantly checked to see if perhaps this karaoke company had “Tequila!” The song, that is. The liquid would have been very helpful, but quite frowned upon, for sure. Sadly, they didn’t have it.
I tried to convince my closest co-worker to just pick something from the book with me. She wasn’t cooperating, and her reasons were understandable. However, realizing that at some point everyone would be probably be severely pressured into warbling, I came up with a contingent plan. I decided to prepare for disaster rather than allow myself to be blindsided by it. I got together with a buddy from another department, and here is how we decided to play it.
Perusing the huge and intimidating list of potential ways to embarrass ourselves, we found ourselves faced with about a fifteen-year age-gap problem. Finally, we briefly settled on Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, but kept looking just in case we found something way better. A few pages later, we found our true songbird calling under Children’s Tunes, and locked it down with a knuckle tap.
The forced-to-be-silly-in-front-of-your-co-workers side of me was temporarily placated with the absolute ease of the lyrics. Then the regular semi-evil side took over.
I tracked down the Karaoke Maven, and shared with her this plan:
Before our song began, I wanted to have ample time to ask everyone to please stand, remove their hats, and raise their right hand. The intention was to make it appear as if we were going to sing the National Anthem or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. My cohort would stand there with his hand over his heart, appropriately looking nervous.
Then, we’d cued the songstress to hit it. Seriously, how can you not do the Hokey Pokey if you’re already standing?
Hey, if I’m gonna be forced to have fun, I’m gonna do my best to take everyone else along on that joy ride with me!
To our credit, we also scoped out the lyrics for Folsom Prison Blues, changing the part where Johnny laments, “I’m stuck in Folsom Prison,” to the name of our division. It’s always good to have a back-up plan… for an encore, of course.
Two more brave people join our hokey little hoaxy group at the last minute.
Most everyone stood up; a good number sat down when they realized what our gig was.
To sum it up, about 50% of our coworkers ended up compellingly engaged, putting their whole self in – and wasn’t that what it was all about, anyway?
In this issue: Karaoke, Portmanteau, Viewing the World Through Another's Eyes.
Now Posted: Quiet, and Quietly, Faith, Current & value, Poetry 2009.
August 04, 2009
Quiet, and Quietly
Sometimes, relaxation music stresses me out.
Come to think of it, sometimes Reggae makes me angry.
Yet, angry heavy metal music can make me very, very happy.
That last revelation probably has something to do with the “Don’t tell ME how to feel, what to do or when to do it!” attitude I’ve always seemed to have. I’ve been working on curbing that for a long time now.
There are some people who have never had the pleasure of seeing that side of me. Then, there are the unfortunate folks who have. Usually, it’s associated with extreme anger; with feelings that have built up inside of me, and then are invalidated by someone. Saying, “Don’t cry,” or “Don’t be upset,” isn’t the best way to handle me. When I make it all the way to the point of crying, it’s usually at least little justified. And I usually do cry when I’m angry, which as you might imagine, usually makes me angrier.
I truly don’t yell. In fact, it wasn’t until after we adopted a 4 month old Jack Russell puppy, that my husband looked at me strangely one day and calmly said, “You know what? I don’t think I’d ever heard you yell until we got a dog.”
Then there was the time, my neighbor asked me to open up my front door and yell across to her house to quickly get her son’s attention. The look on her face was pretty priceless when I told her I don’t yell. I didn’t yell that day, either.
Last night, listening to my Mom and her husband discussing the trials of hooking of their truck and trailer on a sloped campsite, I had to laugh. Mom’s all of 5’2”, speaks very softly, and never yells, either. So, interpreting her petite backing-up directions was a little difficult for him.
She’s got her breaking point, too. And it’s not my favorite thing to experience. Mostly, because I know where she’s at and what she’s had to go through to get to that point. I had a boss like that once, too. Never heard him yell, or raise his voice for any reason. One day, it happened; in a very big way. And even though he wasn’t yelling at me, even though he was behind closed doors, I still cried. Why? Because I was angry that someone could have pushed him to that point, and a bit disappointed that my hero was human, after all.
Listening to GOD is something like that. HE never yells. Yes, I’m often resistant to what I’m hearing. After a while, through patient repeating and gentle steering, whatever the message, it always seems to end-up making so much sense that I don’t know why I struggled so hard to deny it. When the message is disappointing, isn't logical, or isn’t what I want, is when I know I’m about to challenged again. I still drag my feet, sometimes. I still refuse to easily wander where I'm lead, sometimes. And, still, I’ve never yelled at GOD. I’ve cried many angry tears, but I have no angry questions. There is no tortured, “Why?” I am grounded in the reasons I see now. It’s about the paths I’ve been led down, what they all were for, and where I’ve yet to go.
I hope I’m headed towards a maturity of faith. I’m not sure when it will arrive. I’m not readily going to admit I’m desperately open for deeper spiritual challenges. I’ll just keep quietly saying “no” to GOD’s subtle coaxing, until I am sure I can say “yes” with no doubts.
I shouldn’t have been
so easily convinced
that I could not
place a true value
on myself based on
a notion that none are
So, it’s my fault
the anger hangs on
and it’s my fault
I cannot push it away,
I do not want release it,
I will not go on
Above or beyond.
I’ll carry the lesson
for at least a year
until I have the chance
to expose my true impression
the value of contributions
documented, real, exemplary,