Goodnight, goodnight

I am back home, and boy, does it feel good to be home.

Truly.

Thank you, God and World and Universe, for all of the love in my life, especially for the love in the form of my finding a home here, and especially tonight. Thank you all. πŸ™‚

Now, to conch out and wake up super early for my (possibly) last test proctoring for the semester… to be followed by work training… for four plus hours on the computer… times two. Ugh… haha

Anyway, goodnight!

Post-a-day 2020

Photo surprise

I shared a casual 40-ish photos with a friend from elementary school last week. I had gone by his daughter’s outdoor birthday party to take some photos. I wasn’t hired. I just wanted the practice, and he was open to having photos and to having me around. I was invited as s guest to the party, should I like. The photos were my own intention.

So, I went later than I had hoped to be able to go, and only took a good handful of photos, as I would call it, of the friend, his daughter, and her cousins. They weren’t the greatest I’ve done, but I had fun logging the silliness and fun of those few characters – for they certainly are characters. And the photos represented that fun and silliness quite well, I think. Plus, they were pretty photos.

Today, logging into Facebook, I saw a notification that I had been tagged in a post by that old friend. He had shared all 40-something photos, and said that I had produced them in their entireties. That was not only kind that he would tag me but flattering that he would include all of the photos. Even I would have included only the top ones for my own posting. Perhaps those were his top picks… all 49-something of them.

Whatever the case, it was really cool and was a really great experience for me to see my love and passion being appreciated and shared. Gratitude on both ends of that equation. πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2020

Music in the night

Last night, instead of going to bed at approximately 20:30, which I was genuinely delighted to do and which I genuinely wanted to do, I got pulled into an approximate two-hour sidetracking by a song. Obviously, I ventured into this sidetracking of my own free will. However, it was because a musician acquaintance shared a song alongside a high recommendation…, so I felt a strong desire to check it out before I forgot all about it and the recommendation (via an Instagram story) expired in the morning.

I did not and still do not regret this reasoning of mine. That song was and is a-mazing. And I found a couple others I loved right away, adding the artist to my list of things to pursue in further detail in the near future.

And so, I can strongly recommend a tentative look into the music of Cory Fry, specifically the songs “Photograph”, “Flying”, “Pictures of Mountains” (oh, my goodness in this one…), and “Symphony”. Once I have my full sit-down with him on Spotify, I am likely to have loads more, but those are the three for now!

With that, I bid you a lovely night and restful sleep. πŸ˜‰

P.S. I am listening to some of that Spotify station now…, and I have a hunch that I am seriously going to love his Christmas album… so, there’s that, too. πŸ˜‚

Post-a-day 2020

β€œI Trust In You”

I was at an artist retreat this weekend with my mom, out in the forest North of Houston. I wasn’t in the sessions themselves (my mom was), but was still part of the activities for the families who accompanied the artists on this Catholic outdoor camping and hiking adventure. I listened to what was said, my conscious and sub-conscious absorbed the words and the themes that surrounded us all throughout this retreat, and, yesterday afternoon, I produced this song while sitting on a yoga mat in the grass after a rough and glorious hike. It wasn’t intentional to have such obvious connections – that’s the sub-conscious managing things here – but the irony of it all is that I wrote a song based unintentionally around the phrase β€œI trust in you”, while at The Divine Mercy Retreat Center. (If you don’t get the irony, look up The Divine Mercy painting images.)

Whatever your beliefs and followings, I hope you find love and joy in this song. πŸ˜‰ βœ¨πŸ’—πŸŽ¨βš‘οΈπŸ•‰πŸŒπŸ’«πŸ“ΏπŸ§˜πŸ»β€β™€οΈβ€πŸ€—πŸ™πŸͺ 🀸🌸🌻

πŸŒ‘πŸŒ’πŸŒ“πŸŒ”πŸŒ•πŸŒ–πŸŒ—πŸŒ˜πŸŒ‘

πŸ’ͺπŸ‘ŠπŸ»πŸ‘

P.S. To hear the song, it seems you have to go to the Instagram post, since I can only attach photos in here.

A good day

Today was awesome for the artist retreat out on the woods. My mom attended the sessions and I hung out with nature with my ukulele. I did a crazy hike not through a creek as told to do, but meandering alongside it, practically crawling at times through the filled spaces of branches and spider webs and thorns and growing small plants all blocking the way to anywhere at all. Fortunately, I pulled out my real map that I knew worked, and found where I actually was (as opposed to where I would be, if the map I had been given had been accurate), and I found a way out of the crazy struggle against being 3D and upright in a spiky-foliage-filled forest.

After lunch, I wrote a song.

Then I drive to my aunt and uncle’s house to stay a couple days and visit my grandmother. Now, my eyes burn unbelievably, my body is a mess from exhaustion, and I must sleep.

So, gooodnight!

Post-a-day 2020

Campfire Music

Tonight, around a campfire, a semi-eclectic crowd of Catholic artists listened as I and a lovely younger girl Claudette performed on our ukuleles together. We had never met before this night, and only met because I agreed to bring out my ukulele to ‘give an alternate perspective’ for the typical campfire Christian guitar songs (and we had three guitars working together already), and, as I went up to play, someone mentioned having seen a ukulele with someone else a while ago. The guitar guys convinced her to pull out hers with me, and come play. No one had any idea I was about to play a German song that none of them were likely to know, but I figured we could roll with it – if the girl pulled out her uke so easily (though it wasn’t out of the case yet, and she was carrying a binder, too, so she had some hesitation hat likely was nerves), she must be able to play at least the basic chords, if not a great amount.

So, I showed her the song and we tuned her up and went through it quickly together quietly, and then someone actually made an announcement for everyone to listen to us play. I pointed out that Claudette was reading a language she didn’t understand for this, so please be very proud of how well she plays along, because that is not an easy thing to do…, and then we played. We made mistakes, and it still sounded awesome.

Then, because people just seem to do this, the guitar guys requested Iz’s “Over the Rainbow”, which both of us have but never play. It’s kind of a hassle simply due to the range going so low for the singing…, which we both proved to everyone while we fumbled through it together, laughing kind of often as we went. Afterward, we actually played a couple other songs well, and enjoyed them greatly. The other folks enjoyed them, too.

One of them was the first song in her notebook, “La Vie en Rose”, and, since her version was in English, we had her sing in through once off the paper, and then I sang it through once in French… which totally shocked the listeners, and was a way fun surprise. (By the way, I feel like I am sharing as though I am a middle or high schooler or something… :P) What was extra fun was the part where I suddenly realized that I genuinely have no idea what the very last line is, and so I simply shrugged just before it, and then sang, “Je ne sais pas les mots, mais c’est bon,” which translates to, “I do not know the words, but it’s okay.” Obviously, no one had any idea that I had made up that line. πŸ˜›

And we finished off with two collaborations with the guitar guys. The first was a semi-four chord song, so, since I couldn’t see the paper (remember, there are here guitar guys and then two of us), I just watched Claudette’s fingers to know which of the four chords was happening when out of sequence. It went surprisingly well for me… it was really cool. On the second song, the paper was on our side of the notebook, so I could see it for myself. And it was one of my favorite old songs from Church, about Samuel, who was Hannah’s child. But I liked the song long before I ever learned that connection… like a solid decade beforehand. Anyway, two guys claimed the first two versus, and said we all would sing the bird verse together (and choruses, of course). But, during the second round of the chorus, I was told/offered to sing the third verse myself. So, I did. And, halfway through, because the versus were rather long, I told Claudette to sing with me. And she did.

Singing with her reminds me of elementary school, when I was told that this one girl, Katie C—, and I sounded really great together on a certain song (“The White Cliffs of Dover”). I didn’t entirely understand at the time how anyone would know that, or how someone would sound better singing with one person than with another, except for the fact that he one person must just be a better singer than the other. I have since learned. And I was almost shocked tonight when I heard us singing together. Our voices and styles are quite different from one another, and yet they complement each other beautifully. It made me want to sing and play more with her. I hope I get the opportunity tomorrow and often in the future.

As we were closing up the campfire, it came out that this was my first public “performance” of my ukulele and singing skills, so to speak, and no one could seem to believe it. I guess because I wasn’t shaky, and was able to talk and play and sing like what seemed to them like any other normal day. But that’s training in presenting and self-comfort, not in performing music. In response to their claims of disbelief at this, I ended up sharing how I only just starting playing more and writing songs earlier this summer, so it is still a kind of new idea for me to be playing for other people in the first place. And so, now, they clamoured to hear one of my songs.

So, I accepted the anointed guitar the priest had been playing – because that’s just baller, y’all – and told a quick background to one of my songs, and then played it for everyone. And I think the back story really put a context to the song that kind of blew everyone away just a little bit. It actually made me tear up a bit during the song, as is common for me with this particular song… it’s just really good, and the meaning is spectacular when one knows the context of its writing. Anyway, so, that was a really, really cool mini-adventure tonight. And I am very grateful for it, on many accounts. Now, however, I must sleep.

Goodnight! πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2020

Some thoughts on sex and marriage

******Warning: potentially uncomfortable content here, though no intention of being offensive in any way. Just giving you a heads up that it talks about sex and some uncommonly publicly discussed topics.********

A friend was talking to me recently about the seeming pointlessness of honeymoons for the average couples nowadays. Typically, they are already having sexual intercourse with one another before marrying, and most have at least some version of living together, be it that one stays over st the other’s place often/regularly, or that they actually do live together. The whole purpose of a honeymoon was for a couple, in many senses, to get to know one another and to grow comfortable being together in an intimate way, that being physically, emotionally, and sexually.

And I tend to wonder with this friend on his particular topic: Is the honeymoon really anything special or valuable most of the time anymore? Is it not merely just a vacation together, and likely not the first?

So, I was thinking about the Fifty Shades books this evening, and a conversation I was having with a different friend last night. We were discussing shaving and laser hair removal at one point, and found ourselves discussing, in a space of somewhat silly comfort, personal preferences of shaving, as well as various cultural theories on pubic hair in terms of sexual intimacy and pleasure. For example, when I did some research on The Vagina Monologues several years ago, I heard a good handful stories from women that really stuck with me, as they were about how physically uncomfortable they women were when they shaved off all of their pubic hair. A few of them had gone to marriage counseling, and the therapist had recommended they shave fully, because their husbands liked it, and that would help their sexual and therefore whole relationship. But these women were in actual pain during intercourse, when they had no pubic hair… and that idea blew my mind.

You see, I grew up with significantly older sisters who were in the category of ‘shave almost everything, but leave a touch for aesthetic purposes’. I also heard about their sexual lives, whether anyone paid attention to that or not. This idea that women would be in physical pain not having their pubic hair was very striking for me. And hat they would have pain during intercourse was even more striking… that’s meant to be one of the most pleasurable experiences in life, yet it had become something of torture for these women… and even with men they loved.

So, we were talking about all of this, gently yet honestly and openly, and something eventually brought up a reference to the Fifty Shades books. So, tonight, the books came back to mind, and I somehow found myself thinking of Fifty Shades’s various sexual activities, and wondering if the average couple every bothered to explore any of those activities, or if they kind of just told each other, ‘I like this,’ and left it at that.

And then I wondered if they even tell each other anything about their likes and dislikes sexually, let alone discussed exploring it all together newly.

And it hit me that that is exactly what could be accomplished on a honeymoon for the average couple nowadays. I fully believe that a relationship works best with continuous effort and intention and communication on all of this – it is not a one-time thing. However, it is often not an easy topic for most people to broach, and a honeymoon just seems like an easy enough in for such a conversation, be it verbal or only physical. A honeymoon was originally established as a means of growing comfortable together. Why can people not still have it be that?: a growing opportunity. Then, hopefully, even of a couple has been together for years, sexually active together for years, perhaps they can explore together sexually, and discover not only new bings they each like and dislike, but also find a new depth to their relationship and intimacy, a further comfort they may or may not have noticed was lacking before.

It’s not a perfect idea, but it is one I think is worth pursuing. Especially for the people who feel that one must have sex with another before marriage, so as not to be stuck with someone where the chemistry is just a mess, or something like that, the honeymoon could be a real opportunity for paying special attention to sexual exploration and comfort for both members of the marriage, in a way they never had before then. It’s not about visiting sights in a foreign land, but about visiting sights and experiences with one another that have been foreign or frightening (in terms of comfort, not safety) thus far, with risk of embarrassment. That, ‘I’ve always wondered about that,’ sexual activity could be a huge part of exploring together on a honeymoon.

Anyway… just my two cents from tonight’s casual thinking. Take it or leave it, as you wish. πŸ˜‰ Though, I’m totally hoping you take it with you and share it. ;D

Post-a-day 2020

Light Painting

Tonight, for the third time this week, I did some light painting. Β However, this time I had some upgraded light fun. I found an awesome resource for some guidance on getting started with light painting of a certain sort, and so combined that with what I was already doing, and got a friend to come do some painting and posing with me. Β The point was mostly just to test out the materials and the “moves”, so to speak, but also to do something fun and satisfying together. Β I feel like the friend wasn’tΒ super into it, but he was a total sport about it all, and I think he enjoyed the experience as a whole, nonetheless, even if it wasn’t his favorite of activities. Β At the very least, he specifically requested – more than once – for me to send him the photos we took, so I take that as a positive sign. πŸ™‚ Β I think he liked it.

I personally could have stayed out there probably at least an hour longer than we stayed. Β But I didn’t want to push him too far on the effort when somewhat exhausted front. Β I am quite grateful that he came, as I was able to learn lots from this session of playing with light painting together.

Gratitude, man… Gratitude… πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2020

Back and forth and round and round

Have you ever checked your subconscious for its opinions on things?

My mom introduced me to pendulums years and years ago, and I’ve even had my own for many years now. However, I have very rarely used it in the past. I thought they were spectacular, and, of course, I wanted one. But I think I didn’t really have anything on which I wanted to use it after the initial excitement and enrollment into it. And, over time, it became a passive piece of knowledge: Oh, yes, that is my pendulum. And the thought ended there, no longer calling up the possible practical applications of seen pendulum.

The other day, though – okay, a week ago, now – a friend of mine mentioned a method for discovering and altering our subconscious opinions of things. He relayed loads of details on research behind it and all, but I have found that the best test of such things is just to test it out. No matter what anyone else says, either it works for me or it doesn’t, and I won’t know until I do it.

So, I did it.

And I took on a rather intense idea, one that has lately been at the core and the surface of my life in many ways: I am absolutely worth every bit of all of this effort. There has been a lot of crying and stress for me in recent years and recent months, and each bit has been part of my becoming more myself out of all of it. But that has, of course, not been an easy task. And I have felt that I am needing to convince someone, anyway, that it is all worth the effort. All of these struggles in pursuit of my best self are worth it, right? Yes, of course.

And yet…

So, I asked the pendulum for yes and no and neutral. Then I stated, “I am absolutely worth every bit of all of this effort.” And, without a doubt, it gave me a resounding no.

I actually laughed. I felt relieved, really. So much internal struggle over this exact concept was not for naught. I genuinely was struggling to believe it myself (according to this practice, on a subconscious level), which, in a way, made every stride forward that much more difficult to take.

And so, following the steps of this method for transforming the subconscious opinion, I asked if it was okay and safe and acceptable to change this opinion right now: yes. And then I went to task, meditating in a certain way and being withheld and inviting in anything and everything that might come up as I repeated the statement over and over again, until I felt a shift within myself.

“When it happens, you’ll know,” he told me.

And I did.

And I discovered that it was so much more than I had ever considered. This idea wasn’t just about me and my actions and efforts – it was about everyone around me and their efforts and struggles, too. I believed somewhat that I was worth my own time and effort, but I couldn’t possibly have been worth everyone else’s… and yet…

As I worked through being with every comment and idea and issue and experience and emotion that arose in my repetitions of the statement, I ended up with two shifts. One, quickly, was around myself, and the other, after a much longer time, was about the whole world. And then, after I opened my eyes and rejoined the world around me, I asked the pendulum again.

“I am absolutely worth every bit of all of this effort,” I said with confidence and conviction I had never even considered associating with such a concept.

And it was a resounding yes from the pendulum.

From myself.

And that was really, really cool.

And slightly terrifying, when I considered how powerful this tiny activity was and would be, should I choose to use it going forward with things.

Tonight, one week later, after seeing the very clear results of that one transformation of my opinion on one idea, I sat down with my list of things about my book writing and the mental struggles I have had with getting myself actually to sit down and do it. Part of me was terrified I’d discover that I already believed them all to be true, yet still wasn’t writing. And part of me was terrified to discover that I didn’t actually have faith in myself, this the not writing. But I knew it would be only beneficial to look into it all, and unhelpful not to do so. So, I did it.

And it was amazing to see how things aligned with my actions so perfectly. I do believe that I am a great writer, despite any lack of credentials or ‘the right education background’ or whatever. I can write extremely well, when I want to do so, and I happen to be rather good at story-telling, which transitions easily into writing. That’s part of why I’ve stuck with it over the years, and I’ve kept coming back to books over and over again, despite my failures to make a book. But there were other bits that didn’t quite align with what I wanted, and instead aligned with my lack of sitting down to write those desired books. And I went to work on those, following the simple yet intense steps. In the end, my whole being felt light and excited, and every statement was a solid yes from the pendulum.

It was awesome. And slightly terrifying, too…, but in a good way, and mostly awesome. πŸ˜€

Now that those are transformed in my head, we shall see what happens in the very near future. ;). I am quite curious to find out.

Post-a-day 2020