My New Life

Every time I sit down to write, I lose courage. On the “before” side of achievement you tend to think, “If I could accomplish that, I would be confident.” But it’s a big, fat lie. I’ve written and published a novel, but to sit down and update my blog after nearly a year’s absence seems impossible.

Every transition in life changes you. And I have gone through a humdinger. Marriage does that. Not that I haven’t enjoyed it! I love being married to Jonathon. But I feel changed, nevertheless, and so it’s difficult to know what to say…what to say…

All the same, I have felt a drive to write for a couple months now, so here I am.

This last year and five months, I’ve wrapped myself in a cocoon and sort of observed and rested and basked in what life has become. There have been so many transitions. First, I moved from the North to the South, and not just to the South. I moved to the first state that seceded from the Union. People, I live just a half an hour from the first county in the first state that seceded from the Union. Just in case you wondered, the War of Northern aggression is definitely not over. Second, I went from being a half-hearted voter to being thrown into politics head first. Third, I used to teach music to forty kids. Now, I sit in on legislative sessions and watch politicians bloviate. (Except for Jonathon. He doesn’t bloviate. He says a lot of good stuff. But the bloviaters generally think he talks too much.)

Here’s Jonathon in the House, “bloviating.” It was a mighty good speech.

And fourth, I used to stay happily at home as often as I could. Being the introvert that I am, I love solitude and I’m a consummate homebody. Nevertheless, I have traveled more in this last year and a half than I have in my entire life, and that includes one very long international flight to the Philippines.

I’ve learned a lot. Before, I knew there was a lot of corruption in government and politics. Now, I see it first hand. I have learned that there is very little difference between the two major parties. They spout and fume and fuss, but underneath everything, many of the politicians representing both sides are loathe to depart from the status quo, with rare exceptions. I have also learned that the politicians on both sides are just people with hopes and dreams and faults and sins and sadness. They need accountability, yes, but they also need unconditional love just as much as their constituents who fuss and fume about “those durn, corrupt politicians!” People are people, and there are no innocents among us.

Sometimes I sit with Jonathon on the House floor and “watch the fights.” The gas tax fight was a doozy, let me tell you.

I have learned to love the South. There’s some beautiful country down here. It may be hotter than Hades most of the time, but the mockingbirds sing sweetly just the same. Its people are bull-headed and stubborn. They’re the kind of people who’ve maybe never flown a Confederate flag before, but by George, they’ll fly one just for spite if you tell them not to.  Sometimes, you just have to chuckle in admiration for bull-headed, stubborn people.

I have reaped the blessings of love. Jonathon has loved me so fully and completely, knowing all my faults and my weaknesses, that I feel I’ve grown a foot taller. Not in pride, I hope, but in confidence and freedom. Perhaps you have often wondered, as I used to, whether your friends and acquaintances would still love you and want you if they knew everything about you? If they knew your sins, your struggles, your faults, your fears? Well, it’s simply not possible to expose your inner self to every friend and acquaintance. Not possible or wise, I might add. But when a potential marriage partner comes along, you must not only let that person see you but also see deep down into you. Anything less would be dishonest. It’s terrifying. The threat of rejection is imminent. But early into our friendship, we opened ourselves to each other and saw: past ugliness, future struggles, present pain, and beautiful promise. And we both chose to love the whole person. To this day, it still amazes me. I have always known that God loved me like that, but I so often doubted that any human could. I was right. No human really can. But God can love me through the human He empowers to do so. God has given me a great gift in Jonathon. More than ever, I need the approval of people less today than I did yesterday. I am more free to love and care for people without being shocked by their darkness because I am loved and cared for in spite of mine. The best part is that the love of God is more powerful than any mere human darkness. Not only that, but it’s the only antidote. I have learned that marriage is a picture of the Gospel.

He’s a sweet man.

I have also learned not to make promises I cannot keep. So, as I close this update, I will not promise to write again in another month. The last two promises I made here were dismal failures. But I think it safe to say that I may be writing more in the coming months than I have in the last year and a half now that I’m settled in my new home and feel like marriage isn’t quite as new as it used to be.

God bless, friends.

 

Leave of Absence

I am writing to inform you all that I am taking some time off blogging for at least the month of May. My life has hit the fast forward button and I find myself constantly searching for time to actually sit down and write. Several other writing projects are suffering as a result. Namely, my freelance work, my second novel, my second movie script, and a whole host of other writing projects. So, I’m hoping that by taking some time off, I can refocus my energies and finish at least one of the above-mentioned projects this summer. In the long run, I think you might enjoy reading a novel or watching a movie I wrote more than reading blog posts. Just a thought!

I’ll be taking May off for sure. At the end of May, I will re-evaluate and decide whether I ought to take the entire summer off.

At any rate, you can still keep up with projects I’m working on through Facebook–https://www.facebook.com/authoramandabarber!

Until next time, God bless!

Oh, Rest in the Lord

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It’s good to have Scripture memorized, and even better to have it come back to your mind through song.

I felt bone-tired on Saturday evening. I’d been going great guns all day. Truth be told, I’d been going great guns all week and I was tired in every sense of the word. My mind was tired. There are, at present, many responsibilities crowding in on me, and so many things to think about. There are details to iron out and decisions to be made. There are questions I have no answers for. There is an endless pile of work that I can never seem to get done. There is fatigue that comes on after my mind has been working away to come up with solutions to problems and not solving any of them. There are the many cries for help I send up to God at all hours of the day, and the many worries underneath everything that threaten to reach up, grab me by the ankle and pull me under. Resting in the Lord. It’s such a phrase of beauty, such an attractive prospect. Saturday night, I was wondering why it was so hard to actually do it.

Instead of caving to my weariness that day, I had filled my mind with God’s word while I went about my household projects and chores. Thank God for sermonaudio.com! Every sermon is like an hourly meditation on God’s word. Then I sat down to write, that evening, and my load of care came back with a rush. I shook my head to myself, wondering if it was because I was such a rotten Christian, overly-tired, a female, or all of the above. Just about then, a song that I’ve taught to a couple of voice students came to my mind. It’s from the oratorio, Elijah, by Felix Mendelssohn and features Psalm 37:7. I’m sure the words are familiar to you, “Oh, rest in the Lord. Wait patiently for him, and he shall give thee thy heart’s desires.”

There was a wealth of things to learn from that small handful of words. Things like: rest only comes when I stop trying to control everything. Or that answers to prayer don’t always come right away and waiting on Him is required–specifically, patient waiting. That my heart’s desires may need an overhaul if its desires are not something God can righteously give. But I think the most encouraging thing about the incident was that those particular words attached to that tune spontaneously came to my mind when I most needed them. The wisdom behind God’s commands to hide His word in our hearts was evident to me.

So, I thought that today, I would share the song with you in the hopes that it would prove to be a blessing now and perhaps in the future.

Blue Skies, Bright Sun

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Friday and Saturday surprised me in the most pleasant way possible. It was warm. It was sunny. So warm and sunny, in fact, that I had the immense privilege of wandering out into the back yard in my short sleeves to dig in the dirt. Last fall, I covered a garden spot with all of the leaves that floated down from the trees. And there were a whole bunch. It took me and Justin several days to clean them all up. Well, now is the time when they must all come off. So yesterday and today I raked and hoed and shoveled until I was quite tired and warmed by the sun. I have a crop of blisters to prove it, but I really don’t mind. After the long, long winter, I was only too pleased to be outside for a change. Continue reading

Housekeeping

I’m writing first, to apologize for being so tardy with my blog posts. (I missed last week altogether!)

Secondly, did you notice this lovely new design? My dear friend, Jonathon Hill, spent an entire evening searching for new design ideas for my blog, figuring out why Google Analytics stopped working, getting Akismet working again so I don’t have thousands of spam comments to delete every week, and generally taking pity on a technologically inept girl who really just wants to write and…not deal with computers. It looks lovely.

Continue reading

Yonder

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This Saturday, I’ll join my fellow Kalamazoo “Philharmonians” on stage at Dalton Theater to play a concert of unknowns. Our conductor, Andrew Koehler, has in fact titled the concert, “Toward the Unkown Region.” I am sure he will elaborate more on that title in the program notes, but for me, this music was all unknown until I began learning it in January. In other words, I’d never heard of or listened to any of it. We’ll be playing a symphony by Charles Atterberg and the Turandot Suite by Busoni, not to be confused with the opera, Turandot. Wondering what this music is all about? Well, you’ll just have to come to the concert and see. (Laughs wickedly into her sleeve.) Continue reading

50 Shades of Smut: It’s Not a Grey Area

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If nothing else, the wild popularity of the 50 Shades books and the up coming movie should prove, once and for all, that lust is not a male problem. It’s a human problem. I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing about both books and the movie. I hate the fact that I’m sitting here, typing up an article about it. When I first thought of this as a potential topic, I almost chickened out. Continue reading

In Which I Donate My Hair

Ever since I was eleven years old, I’ve had an absolute bush of hair. I tend to joke that all the nutrients in my body go directly to my hair and nowhere else. So, it didn’t matter how skinny or scrawny my limbs were. I always had hair and lots of it. Over the last several years, I’ve been of the mind that since God has seen fit to give me a thick mane, it would be nice to share the love around. So many organizations have cropped up over the years to help people like me do just that–donate hair so cancer patients and those with alopecia can have high-quality wigs at a reasonable price or for free. Continue reading

Movies

As you probably know, I have a number of friends who have busied themselves with the work of movie making over the past several years. Well, their hard work is paying off. Several of them have recently released official trailers. I’m going to share three of them here. First up is Beyond the Mask. This shows a lot of promise, and I look forward to seeing it in the theater. Speaking of theaters, Burns Family Studios has started a grassroots campaign to get this film into theaters. But they need your help. To find out how you can see this film at a theater near you, visit www.beyondthemaskmove.com. Next up is a film from Henline Productions in which my brother plays the small role of greasy, grimy, horrible slave driver in Polycarp.

Last but not least, Stacey Bradshaw, our leading lady from The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club, plays in a short film featuring the topic of adoption in Wanted.  You can watch the trailer for this film by clinking this link: Post by Wanted – The Movie.