Friday, November 22, 2013

Trying Something New

Prompt 8- Write down 40 things that happened to you this month (embarrassing, funny, sad, happy, infuriating) and pick one to write about...

40 Things that Happened to Me this Month:

So I'm going to hide full list I made, but feel free to check it out if you want.

Trying Something New

If you're introvert, you'll understand what I say when I tell you that I can think of nothing more wonderful that a quiet night at home with my hubby, a book or movie, and nothing else going on. That being said, I also like to try new things like when I got free tickets to the symphony or discounted tickets to a hockey game. Growing up in a small rural town-ok, that's a lie. Growing up on a farm 20 minutes from the nearest Walmart, aka the social hub of everything in rural Tennessee, left me with a rather repetitive experience. Great for my introversion, not so great for my love of trying and learning new things. So when a friend in our church small group said, "Hey, anyone interested in free tickets to the CMA Country Christmas?" my thoughts went something like this:

Free tickets?
I like free.
Country music?
My hubby likes country music and I do as well.
It's the day after your big benefit dinner?
So what, it's free and we've never done this before!
Let's do it!

Out loud, I probably just said, "We are interested." Since the hubs was out of town for work I made an executive couple decision and then told him about it when he came home. Fortunately, after eight years of marriage, I still know this man pretty well. He was game.

Over the week details were worked out with the couple and some others to carpool. We met up and headed to downtown Nashville. We were all dressed up, because this was a taping for a TV special.

We arrived grab some concession that doubled as dinner. It was certainly amusing to be in my cute sweater dress, tights, and boots while eating a concession stand hot dog. Needless to say, the hot dog delighted my taste buds in the way only something from a concession stand can.

Once the group finished eating, one of the members realized she had misplaced her ticket! Oh, no. However, not to worry, we had a couple extras because two people backed out of our outing at the last minute. We made our way into the arena to find that our seats were on the main floor right next to this:
The center stage from which the introductions of the acts would be made was directly behind our seats. This allowed me to grab a couple of amazing shots of the beautiful Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

Because it was a taping for a TV. Some of the acts would perform twice in order to get a better take. We got to hear the amazing vocals of Mary J Blige alongside Ms. Nettles singing Do you hear what I hear? twice, because Ms. Blige's first wardrobe choice of a strapless gown would not stay in a position which she was comfortable with. She came back with a different dress and rocked it out for a second time.

Lucy Hale, one of the lead actress of Pretty Little Liars and a Memphis, TN native, sang a song and was super cute as she walked off the stage. She shared, "This is the biggest crowd, I've ever sang in front of!" If you can't tell from the pictures, the Bridgestone Arena was packed to the gills that night. She did a wonderful job and looked beautiful as well.

It was an amazing experience! And since we were on the main floor so close to the stage, we even had a moment where the cameras were filming us from about two feet away! If I'm on TV, I might freak out a little. But to be honest, it was incredibly difficult not to focus on the camera and keep my eyes on the stage.

The night was long and after four hours of no bathroom breaks, we had to make a pit stop before heading home. Of course,  the women's line was outrageous as it always is at events. However, it was worth risking the explosion of my bladder to not miss a moment of the show.

All I can say after all that is that it was an experience that I would love to repeat even if it means giving up my quiet night at home with the hubby.

And here are a few other shots from the night...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Just a bit of science-fiction I wrote based on these thoughts:What is evil? How do you forgive when you have a wound that just won't heal? Would you save the life of the person or lives of the people who were responsible for the death of your child?

Although we think we remember those epic moments of shared history when everything we thought we knew came tumbling down, research into memory taught us that we create a narrative about those moments, a story we tell ourselves and others that doesn't always coincide with the truth. Regardless of whether it happened like this, this is how I remember the moment that we learned we weren't alone in the universe. They came from the stars in ships, a people who'd destroyed their own world in much the way we feared we would destroy our own. These Travelers consumed until their was nothing left to consume and then with little other choice some took to the stars to find a new home, a new world to consume.

In a universe as large as ours, with the number of stars and astral bodies revolving around them, it came as no surprise to some that we were not alone. They came from the stars and it gave them the advantage. With no locations to fortify, no unmovable fortress they had us at the advantage. Their technology surpassed us. I wonder now if they thought we'd be an easy target. We proved tenacious, our long history of fighting amongst ourselves prepared us for to fight others. Lives were lost and even as we lost ground to the invaders we developed new ways to fight them. Mankind would not go silently into that good night.

I lost my reason for existence in the first attack. Their smiles and laughter haunt my dreams both waking and sleeping. A husband who loved me with all his heart, more than just a lover and partner, but my best friend. And, my sun & stars, my gift from God. I'd been unable to have children biologically and the journey to adopt my precious little girl had resulted in own share of tears and laughter. What more could I ask for? Did I not have all that a woman could want and more?

And then in a blink of eye, every breath, every memory became a painful gasping of air. Where once I was filled, now I was emptied? Why had God allowed this? Why had he given me them only to steal them back? How did I not hate these invaders that had come to take all that I had? I joined the fight like many others trying to salvage something out of my fractured existence. Desperate to find some meaning, some purpose in the loss I endured.

It would not be some great technology that would save us, but their own arrogance. Our biologies were so similar, the same number of chromosomes…our invaders could be our biological cousins. And their great enemy turned out to be what H.G. Wells in the War of the Worlds so aptly predicted. Germs, viruses, bacterias. The very smallest things of our world became the weapons they could not fight. The Europeans nearly wiped out the Native Americans when they came to North America, but we nearly wiped out the Travelers with the flu. Our enemies sued for peace with us as they lacked the resources to care for a species wide epidemic. The armistice began a week ago and the military leader of the Travelers is making his way to the neutral territory to negotiate a lasting peace treaty.

I had made a name for myself among the resistance, because I treated the prisoners we captured during the war with respect. I did not tolerate cruelty or acts of revenge. For those who knew my story of loss, it garnered strange looks. Even broken without my human anchors, I tried to rest in the one who never failed. My faith sustained me even when I yelled in anger and sorrow at God. I was one of the first to notice that the prisoners were becoming ill. It was the quick response that I and the medical staff attached to my unit had that saved the lives of hundreds of Travelers. I had saved my enemy. Was that not enough?

Today, I knew God was testing me as the leaders of the Earth called on me to join the negotiations to sit across the table from the man who'd ordered that first attack that had stolen my every peace and joy. He would only negotiate this truce with me, because I had set aside differences in the midst of war to save my enemies. It was unlikely that he knew my story in entirety, but there were few if any people on Earth who had not lost some loved one in the war. Could I forgive this man for murdering my child and help forge a future of peace? Or would the rage I fought against, the anger, pain that threatened to become bitterness and hate, consume me and use this opportunity to take my revenge? A test. Would I chose forgiveness? Would I choose obedience to the God who I claimed to serve? Or would I choose my own way?

…Her laughter echoed in my ears. Tiny arms wrapped around my neck. Whispered I love you's and a heart that overflowed…Could I forgive? Would I forgive?

In the end, it was my choice. I could drink from the cup of bitterness. Or not.

The ship opened and he emerged. A striking man even if he was an alien. My hand squeezed around the knife I'd tucked in my jacket pocket. I would get close enough to use it when we greeted each other. As he approached, I struggled in a battle for my soul.

God, I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to forgive this man. How did you forgive us for the murder of your son? 

And …I knew that forgiveness was also a choice. A choice I'd have to make again and again until it stuck. Only I could release this man from the debt I felt he owed me for what had been taken. My fingers unwrapped from the knife as the translators introduced us. I choose to stick my hand out and take his. I choose to no longer dwell on the moments I would never have with my husband, with my daughter, and be grateful for all the moments that I had been given.

And I would have to choose that many times again and again over the days and weeks, months, years to come. Choose to forgive until one day I no longer had to choose forgiveness, because somewhere along the way I had learned to love my enemy, to call them friend.