Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh SNOW you didn't!

One of my favorite movies is the 1949 version of Louisa May Alcott’s "Little Women". Every year, right around Christmas, I watch this movie with my mom and we laugh and cry as if it's the first tyme we've ever seen it. It isn't a movie filled with a lot of action, humor or mystery, but what it does not have in those aspects, it makes up for in human nature and family values.

The story takes place at Christmas tyme in a New England town during the War Between the States, where the March family, once rich and prestigious, now finds itself dealing with the hardships of war. They used to have coffee every morning, but with the war they had to drink tea. (I'm guessing this was a major sacrifice for them whereas I would prefer the tea, but I digress.) There was no money to buy the things needed to prepare a proper breakfast and certainly no money to buy Christmas presents, in fact, it would suffice to say plainly, there was no money at all.

The father, Rev. March, was off fighting for the Union while the mother, "Marmie" was serving as nursemaid to the town while the doctors were off at the war camp hospitals. Then, there were four girls, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth and if ever there were four sisters who defined the opposites of North, South, East and West, it was the March sisters. From sensible to dramatic, self-absorbed to innocent, they depicted it all. Still, with all their quirks and issues, the four sisters were best friends.

Now, you might be wondering why I happened to think of this movie now, what with Christmas being many weeks ago, but as of late, well, I've had a lot of tyme to think about a lot of things. That aside, lately there has been a sort similarity between the scenes of "Little Women" and the scenes outside my window.

As the movie opens, a fresh falling of snow blankets the ground, serving as a stumbling block for Jo as she attempts to jump the railing in her less than conducive attire. With her sisters laughing at her failed attempt, she picks herself up, brushes the snow off her dress and proceeds to jump the railing again, this tyme with precision. Then, to wipe that smug look off her sisters' faces she throws a snowball against the window out of which they are looking. I laugh at this every tyme.

Throughout the movie there are several scenes shot in or at least showing the outside and in everyone one, for the first half of the movie anyway, there is snow covering everything, including the roads. There were no snow plows to open driveways, clear roadways or hitching post areas. There were no salt trucks spreading chemicals in an effort to melt the ice nor were there any schools closed because of the weather. No, the roads and parking areas stayed snow covered, the schools stayed open and life went on as normal. Instead of a wagon, folks hitched up a sleigh and instead of a bus, kids walked to school. Oh how tymes have changed.

When I think about how life is now, I'm almost saddened, because we, as a society, lack what the March family had. Instead of enjoying the variety of the season, we complain about the mess it makes of our lives. I am so guilty of this that were it considered a crime, I would receive the most severe punishment possible. We fail to see the blessings in the rearrangement of our day. We cannot get passed the fact that we were not able to do what we wanted to do, but if we stopped and considered it, we might actually be able to do some things we never knew we always wanted to do.

Consider the March sisters again. Jo was a playwright and used her talents to create scenes that she and her sisters acted out during the snowy, winter days. They laughed, they played, and they spent a quality of tyme together that, to the overall American society, would seem a foreign concept.

While I realize that it is just a book and a movie, it still stands to reason that the ideals behind the family aspect of "Little Women" had to be real to the author, much like the sitting room scenes of books like Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" were common to the author's day. Good writers, which the noted authors were, write about things they know something about. Louisa May Alcott knew about spending quality tyme with family and friends, a lesson we could all stand to study.

So as I sit here, snowed in and going a bit stir crazy, I am reminded by "Little Women", that God has not all of a sudden changed the weather patterns and disrupted my life, it is my life that has tried to challenge the weather. Let me just tell you that if you are determined to go into battle with God, you better be prepared to lose because, in spite of ourselves, God always gives us what we need 'weather' we like it or not!

So, if the weather or any other variable seems to put a road block in your day, do well to enjoy the journey around said obstacle. Chances are the blessings you find will far outweigh the chore of the detour.

Snowy Smiles and Blessings,


Monday, February 1, 2010

Play it Again Sam!

Okay, so I'm told that if you actually watch the movie Casablanca, the famous line "Play it Again Sam" isn't even in the movie, but rather some form of the same. "Play it Sam", or something to that effect, but for the purpose of my entry, I am going to refer to the popular, non existent version of the catch phrase.

So, what is your "it" in the "Play it Again Sam" line? If we're honest with ourselves, whether we are big music buffs or not, we all have that song that no matter how we are feeling makes everything seem better. If we're depressed, "it" will cheer us up. If we're nervous, "it" will calm us down. If we're grouchy, "it" will change our disposition with just a few opening notes.

Now, for those of you that know me, you're probably wondering how I can pick just one "it" to relate to this entry. You're right, there are so many songs running through my head on a daily basis that to settle on just one would be near to impossible, but I've decided that I will have an "it" of the day.

I woke up today, my first day that I did not have to go to a job that I didn't like. Now, if you think I woke up happy you would be sorely mistaken. In truth, I did not think that my depression over my lack of direction would set in so quickly, but alas it did and I found myself in a fog of despair. The fog was so thick that I didn't want to do anything, especially pick up my Bible and read it. Yes, that mean and horrible devil made himself at home and the more he tried to move in, the foggier everything got.

Luckily for me, or really by the grace of God, I had to go to class today so I could not stay home and wallow in my self-pity. I had to force myself to get ready and walk out the door, but trust me, I didn't want to. All I wanted to do was sit and pout over the lack of direction in my life and all the doors that seemed to be closing around me now that I decided to take my leap of faith. Still, I forced myself to get going and I even decided to go the gym before class; this gave me the slightest inkling that there is hope for me yet!

I got to the gym, fired up the MP3 player and set out around the track, trying to lunge myself out of my ill attitude. After a few laps I decided to run on the Elliptical machine, determined to run ahead of my disagreeable disposition.

The wonderful thing about MP3 players is that the music on them, if you set up your own, should be a mixture of songs that you like, but even better still is the random feature that mixes up the play list making each song one surprise after the next. Those that know me will not be shocked to learn that my MP3 player is filled mainly with songs by IIIrd Tyme Out, Jim and Jesse and Pam Tillis, with the occasional 90s country hit and even some instrumentals by Blue Rose :)

As I listened to my favorite artists and groups I have to say that my disposition did start to brighten, but it wasn't until my "it" (of the day) came on that I realized how depressed I'd really been and how crazy it was to be so. While this song is not a gospel song, it does mention God in it and how prayers actually do work. As I listened and sang along, I couldn't help but think that God was sending me a message through the song, in more ways than one.

The song (drum roll please) is a one by Pam Tillis called "I said a Prayer". I've always really enjoyed the song, but today it held a whole new meaning for me. Since I was 13 years old, (suffice it to type that such was quite a few years ago) Pam Tillis has been my favorite singer. It was always my dream to meet her and, dared I even think it, to sing with her. (I can see the heads of you that know me nodding fervently in agreement)

Well, back in 2003 my dream of meeting Pam came true. She was very nice and I, shockingly enough, was very calm and down to Earth, at least until after I was out of her earshot! Then, in August of 2008 I got to sing with her in Shcaefferstown, Pennsylvania and the song I got to sing..."I said a Prayer".

When I heard that song today it was like an encouraging nudge from God, reminding me that He DOES answer my prayers and that He WILL be there for me every step, or leap, along the way. In my "it" there's a line that says,

"I heard you get what you're praying for, but I got more"

Isn't that so true of our Heavenly Father? He answers our prayers in one way or another. Either He says yes or no, but no matter which answer we receive, the outcome always turns out to be better than we ever imagined. Some tymes getting the answer 'no' can seem like the end of the world, the same with getting the door shut right in front of us, but no matter what, God is there to take us by the hand and lead us through the door that is meant for us.

Now, I'd be typing falsehoods if I wrote that I was 100% happy the rest of the day. I still had my moments of doubt and concern, fear and uncertainty, but, because if God's message in my "it", they didn't last long. I sang my song (mostly in my head because seriously, I was in class and I wanted to stay there :) and knew that no matter what, my prayers would be answered.

So, have you thought of your "it" yet? If so, try to see what message is in it for you. If you have yet to think of what "it" might be, just be patient and when "it" hits you, be sure to listen to what God is trying to tell you!

Smiles and Blessings!