Happy Anniversary!…& a few random thoughts

So, I’ve been working on this blog for a year. This weekend, WordPress sent me a cute little Happy Anniversary notification (which I loved…it’s the little things, right?)

My mind has been scattered all over the place since my little walk/run early this morning. The air was cool, so I pulled a stocking cap down over my ears to discourage the frosty air from creeping into my personal space. I tucked my ear buds into their accustomed spaces–L and R, stretched, kissed goodbye, and was on my way. I found a new compilation album on my iPod that I purchased on a sale from iTunes several weeks ago, picked a familiar song, and lengthened my stride along the sidewalk stripe en route to a familiar walking path.

As I hummed along to the tune, echoing intimately in my tender ear drums, keeping breath and step in line with the beat of the music, I began to mourn over the content of the lyrics. The singer, certainly popular in our society, and young, and whose voice I have heard over and over through my children’s Spotify playlists, iPod favorites, and even on exercise/dance video games, sang a tune of so-called empowerment, while speaking words that rang falsely to my heart.

I puzzled through the remaining steps, up a hill, and leveled out as the song changed…and my app announced my time and distance stats over another familiar voice. This song, too, disturbed my soul. On and on, around the path, listening and skipping songs, I was somewhat upset by what I heard. I wondered–exhaustedly–if I could find something to uplift and inspire as I continued to walk through this experience. I got to another song, one with a catchy beat, and began to run, and run, and run.

Then I stopped.

The song couldn’t be talking about what I thought it was talking about (oral sex), could it?

I think maybe it was. And I was even more disturbed that children–even my own–had listened to it and invariably sang along with it from time to time.

Pressing the skip button once again, I found myself in the throws of another relationship break-up song (I had already heard at least two in my twenty-minute walk), where the singer said that he couldn’t control himself around his lover…that he was a victim of sorts…and that he didn’t have the strength or resolve to get himself out of a (potentially dangerous or self-deprecating) situation.

I finally skipped that one, too.

As I continued to skip more songs as I walked and ran, I decided with a renewed determination not to let the words slip by me again. These messages that I sing along with and share with my children can be destructive to their tender hearts.  I want them to be empowered through kindness, love, and socially responsible and upright behavior.

In closing, I am posting a link to this article, which cites some of the dangers of exposing our younger generations to porn. Though I have yet to finish reading it, the pages I have read thus far were enlightening as well as disturbing. What prompted this article was work on a documentary, part of the UK’s “Campaign for Real Sex” (part of which appears to be a call for better sex ed in the UK along with exposing the dangers of pornography). Here is the trailer for the documentary.

I post them as a voice of warning (and a conversation starter) if you find yourself in the company of children, teens, or even young adults.  I encourage you to talk to another generation about the dangers of porn and the power of music/lyrics.  If someone doesn’t talk to them, the loud voice of popular media–or even the detached version of communication found in social media–will teach them…and I’m not certain parents, societies, or future generations be happy with what they are taught.

I learned that difficult lesson on a short walk this morning.

photo credit

A Gift of Light

The feeling of overwhelm hit the same time I slid a tired finger across the snooze button of my alarm. The project my middle-schooler didn’t finish last night (because a. he waited till the last minute; & b. the batteries died on the camera he was using to video) needed to be not only filmed again but also downloaded and transferred onto a thumb drive…all within the next few minutes…along with breakfast, scriptures, prayer, and dressing all my little people to get out the door around the same time.

With the mission accomplished, I opened the door again to a quiet house and attempted to attack the sink filled with breakfast bowls and spoons (that hasn’t stayed consistently empty for at least the past week) when a feeling came over me to go for a run. I dismissed it as I shoveled silverware from one side of the sink to the other, rinsing the Rubbermaid container that held who knows what, and the feeling came again.

Go for a run now.

(I’ve learned not to discount feelings like that.)

I dropped the half-rinsed silverware into the sink and headed to my room to change into clothing appropriate for exercise. I prepped my iPod and ear buds, stretched, and I was on my way.

(Now, I haven’t been running regularly for quite a while. That’s probably an understated understatement….)

I warmed up walking, greeting a neighbor with her beautiful Golden Retriever, and headed to the path around the lake. I set my phone to track my distance and pace, and turned to the left (to avoid getting wet by the morning sprinklers). I rounded several corners as I made my way around the path that followed the not-so-oval-shaped lake. I felt all the feelings of relief, of time to think, of jamming to music that I haven’t heard in several weeks, and, seemingly suddenly, the path took me around to face east.

Guess what I saw?

One of the most beautiful sun-rising moments of my life. The sun was about half-way up its eastern path through the sky, and just a few clouds danced around the glowing sphere–enough to filter through multiple rays streaming down and kissing the surface of the lake.

(I didn’t take a picture, but this photo might give you a little bit of an idea of what I saw.)

photo credit

It looked like a piece of heaven.

I felt like I was in heaven, in that moment.

And, I knew that I wouldn’t have seen that exact scene in the sky if I had waited to load the dishes, if I had let my own agenda take over my life, if I had been to busy or too discouraged to look up toward the light.

But I did go run.

And I did look up, and I was given a gift.

A gift of light.