Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Life Does A 180, Thankfully.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These are my new favorite verses.  I have always believed them to be true but the last few days have made me really understand them much better.  You see, I really wanted to do something that is totally not practical or even possible.

I wanted to attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert featuring David Archuleta in Utah next month.  I have always loved the choir and, of course, I love David, so it was a no-brainer.  I immediately asked my husband about this once in a lifetime concert. He thought I had gone crazy. You see, we are not really financially sound right now.  I haven't had a permanent full time job in a few years and his job is kind of shaky right now too.  We talked about it a lot but he finally told me to try for a ticket and we would figure out the rest.  I signed up for the ticket drawing and of course I did not get chosen for tickets. Ok, I'm not supposed to go.

Then I found out that some people on a fan site I frequent had extra tickets, and I could get one.  Yes!!!!  I could go after all.  This was Friday evening when I got this info.  All I had to do was find affordable plane tickets and someplace to stay.  I had been so up and down about this event over the past two weeks. Now that I had a ticket, I could make plans.

I really want to meet up with some other fans from Texas.  Some have Thursday tickets coming and the others, the group I was included with, have Saturday tickets.  Most are going on Thursday to have time to check out Utah.  Plane tickets are cheaper on Thursday; hotels are not cheaper on Thursday.  I had no one to share a room with; travel on Friday needed.  The more I looked at prices the more disheartened I became.

Now, while all of this is going on in my head, I also caught a really nasty cold.  My head was about to explode but I wasn't sure which thing would be the cause.  I spent all  day Saturday looking at hotel and plane possibilities and then all day Sunday looking at what I could do to raise that much money in a couple of weeks so that I could make this trip happen. And as each minute went by, I became more confused, more depressed, and sicker.  I actually couldn't breath most of the night Sunday but I don't know if the cold was the reason.

I had spent a lot of time praying that I could find a way to go to this concert. Maybe I could sell some stuff that my mom had left me that I never use.  I forgot to pray about if I was supposed to go to the concert at all.  As I sat on the couch Sunday night, so lost in my brain that I really thought I was going to lose it, I asked God to please just give me a sign of what to do. I finally fell asleep.

When I woke up Monday morning, I was able to breath for the first time in two days.  And the first thought that came to my mind was "I am being totally selfish.  I can't go to Utah to this concert no matter how much I think I want to." God had made me realize that trying to spend $500 that we don't have, especially a couple of weeks before Christmas, was not what I should do.  I had finally asked him directly about the concert and He told me.  I was at peace about it.  I was happy that it wouldn't be on my mind anymore. God had answered my prayer with what He knew was right for me not what I wanted to be right for me.

But we all know that God is also very loving and wants us to be happy.  I truly believe this because within the hour of my decision not to go to Utah, I logged onto a fan site that had just posted that David was going to be performing in Dallas on Dec. 3.   My heart about stopped right then and there.  Not only was Dallas much more feasible to get to but I could actually take Amanda with me because the concert is on a Friday and she doesn't have classes on Friday.  And Amanda is the only one in my family that even has a clue why I feel about David the way I do.  She fell in love with David the person, not the teenager that everyone else sees, on Idol just like I did.

So, we now have tickets to see David in Dallas on Dec. 3.  They are not the most expensive tickets or the cheapest. they are middle of the road, just like me.  Not one extreme or the other. And David, well, he is always extreme: extremely talented, extremely humble, extremely David.

 I can't wait.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future

Wow! Where has the time gone?  I thought I would write a lot more on here than I have. I think I have too much to do some days. Time is slipping away from me.

As I start to write this today, I am reminded of the classic song Fly Like An Eagle by The Steve Miller Band.  My husband would be proud to know that I actually remember a rock song that came out the year I graduated from high school.  He is always griping at me because I don't know the rock songs from my teenage years or that I don't know the artist that recorded the song.

Yes, I am guilty.  I didn't listen to that much rock back in the day.  I listened to "country" and more "easy listening" music / pop back then.  Barry Manilow and John Denver were my favorite singers as well as Willie Nelson.  If they sang it, I knew it.

I guess that's explains why I don't follow the norm today either.  I really don't like many of the new, young generation of singers that are present on the radio today.  Katie Perry, Justin Bieber, Usher, Kesha, Lady Gaga, these are the artists(?) that are played on our Top 40 station here.  And I can't stand to listen to any of them.  They have even infiltrated our Adult Contemporary stations.  They all play the same stuff, and it drives me crazy.  Sex, sex, and more sex.  I can't even listen to the radio with my teens without cringing.  The kids have gotten tired of it too and changed over to country music.  That's not much better.  There's a lot of drinking and cheating in those songs but at least most of the country songs aren't just blatant, in-your-face sex.

Now don't get me wrong. I love to listen to and sing romantic songs.  The Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody and John Denver's Annie's Song are two of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Both of these songs imply the love between two people without screaming "let's have sex, right here, right now."  Unlike Kesha's Take it Off, a truly passionate love song can simply imply an action or feeling.

I keep hoping that enough people will revolt and get sick and tired of the trash music being promoted to our kids today and replace it with music that is positive.  I use to listen to a "Family Friendly" station that played some better contemporary music and some Christian music but they were downgraded to a lower scale station and then sold and replaced by a completely Christian station.  Now, I love Christian music but I liked the Family Friendly concept better because it played a variety of music that appealed to many people. (So many people are immediately turned off if the station is only "Christian.")  And the Christian station does not play any artist that is not strictly Christian.  That leaves no place for some of my favorite artists' music to be played.

My favorite singer/songwriter is David Archuleta.  He is probably the most positive person that I have ever seen and his music is always uplifting and positive yet very few stations have played his new album or will even consider playing it.  Why is this?  Isn't it okay to sing about loving someone without saying that you are making love to them?  Isn't it acceptable to "spot a silver lining hiding in the gray" instead of think that everything in the world s****(is bad)?  Don't other people besides me want to hear that "things are gonna get better, life is gonna get better?" Doesn't the world need to hear that life can be difficult but if you "hang on, hang in, for the ride of your life, it's gunna be alright?" Isn't that a better message than the world is a mess and so is your life, too bad for you?  Most radio station people think that David is too straight, too moral for them.  He should be on Christian stations.

Of course, David's music isn't played on the Christian stations either because he is a pop singer and not a "Christian artist." He is a Christian by faith, a Mormon.  Many Christians don't acknowledge that Mormons are also Christians because of differences in their religious practices. These "Mormon haters" are sadly mistaken if they think that these people are not good Christians.  They are probably better Christians than most of the "Christians" I know.

I was raised in the Catholic faith in a highly Hispanic city that took their religion very seriously.  I remember when I was a teenager and Mormon's would come by the house to leave info about their faith.  I was instructed to tell them, in no uncertain terms, that "I am Catholic" and then slam the door in their faces.  What a loving Christian thing to do. As an adult, I chose to leave the Catholic faith and married into a Baptist family.  (I know, one extreme to the other.)   My husband and I became disenfranchised with Baptists after the ugliest power struggle we had ever seen between factions in the church that we attended.  We now attend a "Community Church" that is Bible based and has members that were raised in many different branches of Christianity.

Maybe that is why I look at Mormons differently now.  I have seen that there are many different Christian groups but most have the same basic premise, love of God and salvation through Christ.  Of course, the biggest reason is that I have become a serious fan of one particular Mormon and decided to research why he is the way he is.  What makes David Archuleta tick?  Why does he react the way he does?  Why does he say the things he does the way he does?  What influence does his religion have on him?  The more research I did the more I grew to understand all of the good points of the Mormon religion and all of the "dumb" misconceptions that people outside of the church have about them.  (No, the men don't have 10 wives each.) Even my own husband falls into this last category with the "dumb" ideas.  Just yesterday he referenced something that Mormons believe and I had to tell him "No, honey, that's the Amish who do that."  My in-law's are huge Baptists so when my father in law and I were talking one day about the music that I listen to (I gave him a copy of David's Christmas for the Heart album for his birthday last November) he asked if I still "followed that Mormon boy". He told me that if he is ever in town we should have him over for dinner and "talk some sense into him." It seems that Baptists are the worst when it comes to criticizing others religious practices yet they have a history of doing things "differently" also.  I mean, weren't they the ones who said" no dancing, whatsoever" not too many years ago?

Religious tolerance, I think that is one of the things that I find most interesting about David.  Although he is strongly effected by his religious beliefs and appears to strictly follow them, he also shows a great deal of tolerance.  I can't think of any situation where he has shown disrespect for anyone else's religion or personal preferences in lifestyle.  He also has never suggested that people should follow his religious practices.  He is just an example to everyone of how to be a positive, caring, compassionate human being. Everyone in the world matters to God and to him, and they should matter to us also.  He puts God and his family before all other things in his life, even before his music and work.  Not many people can say that God is more important than their work or their personal life.  If He was, than stores would not be open on Sunday and more people would be at church services than watching pro football games.
David shows love in all that he says and does, choosing to smile during difficult times and finding the good in all situations.  How many others would find a traffic jam in LA a positive time to "think" or an extremely long plane flight as a good time to "ponder life and read."  I wish that I could be positive like that.  I wish that I could first and foremost ask"what does God want us to do" about a situation instead of "what will my husband want me to do" or "what will other people think of me if I do that." I totally admire David for the fact that, even though he is just about to turn 20 yrs old, he has already discovered the most important things in life, and his top priority is not making money for himself but spreading happiness and positivity throughout the world.

Okay, I have finished my rant for the day.