Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Taste Vs. Others

I have a very particular taste, when it comes to a lot of things.  This can either gain me friends, or make a lot of people angry. I have a really eclectic taste, but at the same time, there are things that I really dislike.
For Instance, let's talk pop music. I actually LOVE pop music! That's probably an oxymoron for a trained opera singer, but I digress!  There are a couple songs that come on the radio often, that I instantly change the channel or turn off!  One of these songs is, "Push" by Matchbox Twenty. I hate this song!  Really! I do!  It makes me really dislike the band too! It ruined the band for me when, they made this song their first single.  The rest of the world seems to love them, and the radio tends to play their music endlessly. 
What makes this even worse is the fact that, a local radio station here, 93.9, changed their format from current pop music, to playing the "Best of the 90's, 2000's, and Today!"  If I wanted to listen to the 90's, I would listen to a light rock station!  So, now, I often change the station off of this channel, even though, I used to listen to it often!
The thing is, I realize things may just be a difference of opinion. I also have a difference in taste when it comes to show choir music and shows.  I hate what my friend Doug calls, "Kitchy."  The way too cute, the way over done costumes, the way over the top: I hate it.  I feel like the group is trying to cover something up when they use these gimmicks.  Some choirs have done this for years.  It's almost formulaic.  If I can say, "Ok, this group is going to come out: First Song is Pretty, Second song is comedy, third song is ballad, next song is men doing something goofy, the next song is the HUGE OVER THE TOP FINALE!"  I probably won't like it! Surprise me!
Some people love it, but Kitchy is not my taste!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Forgiveness: A Talk I Gave in Sacrament April 29th, 2012

Do you know the story of the little tone deaf boy?  He wanted to sing with the choir.  He would come to all of the church choir rehearsals, and sing along, but sounded awful!  The other choir members would just look at him bewildered! Doesn’t he know he’s SCREWING UP THEIR BEAUTIFUL MUSIC!?!?!
Honestly, I’m one of those choir members, except, I do this at karaoke.  Here’s the thing, I LOVE to Karaoke.  Now, to give you a little back ground on me, I am a classically trained opera singer.  I started my college career at Indiana State University in the Fall of 1997 with the plans, hopes, and dreams to become a performer.  Well, then, life happened.  I found out in high school that I was going to need a kidney transplant at some point in my lifetime.  It was a matter of fact situation told to me by my doctor at Riley when I was seventeen years old.  Even though I knew this was in my future, I continued on in my life with the course of becoming a Vocal Performer.  I started college actually with a double major in Music Performance/Music Education.  My first three years, I ended up kind of progressing with my planned degrees, but other things were going on.  First, my nephrologist explained to me, I needed to take classes like underwater basket weaving because I would not be able to pass normal college courses. This is because, when you kidneys don’t filter the toxins out of your blood, the toxins float around your body and start clouding your brain.  When you’re a music major at ISU, you don’t get to choose to not take the hard classes, from semester one, the music student must take music theory, music history, and other music classes required to graduate with a music degree.  I basically failed my first semester of college.  My second semester, I got lucky and found awesome friends that were in my major that coached and tutored me in my music classes, and I accomplished a 3.9 GPA that semester.  Thank God for second chances in college!  Before my second year, I started dialysis, and in November of 1999, my third year of college, I received a kidney transplant!  This was truly a miracle!  Since I received a cadaver kidney, someone died to save life!
But life goes on!  I was told during the journey to transplant, I would have to get a “Real Job” with insurance.  Being a performer was not in my future!  A little part of me died that day.  After transplant, I promptly went back to school and changed my double major from Performance/Education to Music Business.  I now have a job in a sheet music store, with insurance, which is a complete blessing, and I perform karaoke. 
Here’s where I become one of the judgmental members of the choir.  I have a hard time listening to bad karaoke performers.  In fact, my friend and I would sit at a table where the performers couldn’t see our faces.  The more horrible the performer, the more faces he and I would make at each other!  We had a good time!  Now, this is where my sister comes in.  She loves to Karaoke also, in fact, all of my siblings can sing.  I believe that if we were born closer in age, we would have been the next Osmond family type group, but that’s another story.  My sister always says to me, “It’s the spirit of karaoke! It doesn’t matter if the singer is good or bad, as long as they’re having fun!”  My sister has the nicest, kindest, non-judgmental attitude when it comes to Karaoke!
Now, you’re probably saying, “WHERE IS SHE GOING WITH THIS TALK!?!?! GET ON WITH IT!”  OK, I will! I need to learn to be more forgiving when it comes to karaoke.  It doesn’t matter how much training I have paid thousands upon thousands of dollars for and how bad these people sing!  I need to be forgiving and let them enjoy themselves!
 How forgiving are you in your life?  There are all sorts of little things and major things that we all can become judgmental about in our lives.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave the talk at conference: The Merciful Obtain Mercy.  In the talk, he gives what he calls a “Self Test.”
President Uchtdorf Says:
My dear brothers and sisters, consider the following questions as a self-test:
Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
Well, do you?  Do you even remember what started that original grudge?  If you do, you must have a really good memory.  A lot of the time, people get so upset with the person, and hold a grudge, that they don’t remember what the original argument was about in the first place!  I on the other hand, tend to have a really good memory when it comes to an argument!  I just have to remember, was it worth fighting about in the first place? 
The next question he asks is: Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
Gossiping is a hard topic.  A friend may come to you in confidence and tell you something.  Sometimes it’s hard to NOT tell someone else.  Sometimes, if you can’t keep something to yourself, you might have to tell that friend, “Please don’t tell me.  I’m not ready to know.”  There other thinking is, If you wouldn’t say it with that person in the room, then, don’t say it.
Then, President Uchtdorf asks: Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
This is an interesting thing for me.  I have a lot of friends out there that live alternative life styles.  I try my hardest to not exclude anyone for anything.  In fact, a lot of them look at me as an oxy-mormon. But I can also remember fights between other groups of friends.  Have you ever received or seen an invite to a party that says, “This guest list is private. Certain people are not on this list, because we don’t want any drama at this shindig!”  Well, then, people’s feelings are hurt that weren’t invited, when they find out about the party from people that were invited.  Then, in the end, you can’t keep straight who is and/or isn’t invited and not who to talk about it to and it becomes a big mess!  Anyway, I’ve seen this happen.  I try never to be this person!  
President Uchtdorf then says:  Do you secretly envy another?
You know that guy next to you in the office, whose life is perfect?  Well, honestly, his life isn’t. Or the woman next to you at the traffic light that’s driving your dream car?  Well, you don’t know how hard she’s worked to EARN that dream car.
He finally finishes his questions with: Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
Let’s all hope that the answer to this is NO.  But if it is yes, you should probably speak to Bishop Alcorn and/or turn yourself in to the police!  I’m only a little kidding on the second part of that…
President Uchtdorf then goes on to say:  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two-word sermon from earlier: stop it!
In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”12
Brothers and sisters, let us put down our stones.
Let us be kind.
Let us forgive.
Let us talk peacefully with each other.
Let the love of God fill our hearts.
“Let us do good unto all men.”13
The Savior promised: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. … For with the same measure that [you use] it shall be measured to you again.”14
Shouldn’t this promise be enough to always focus our efforts on acts of kindness, forgiveness, and charity instead of on any negative behavior?
Let us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, return good for evil.15 Let us not seek revenge or allow our wrath to overcome us.
“For it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. …
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”16
Remember: in the end, it is the merciful who obtain mercy.17
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherever we may be, let us be known as a people who “have love one to another.”18
I love the line, Brothers and Sisters, let us put down our stones!
Think about that.  You could be holding a stone and not even realize it!  When you find out a person has committed a sin, do you turn your backs on them or do you show them kindness and love.  When you find out a follow member of the ward has committed a sin, do you judge them immediately?  Do you just sit there in shock in awe thinking, “There’s no way! They could never do that!”  Or do you turn to them with love and hugs? Doing this is showing these people, friends, fellow members is showing them the Love of Christ. 
Prophet Gordin B. Hinkley gave an address at the October 2005 General Conference called “Be More Forgiving.” 
In this talk, he reads the article of the incident of a woman who has a frozen turkey thrown through the windshield of her car.  A teenager did this.  After the incident, she endured six hours of surgery and had hardware put in her face to reconstruct it. 
 “… The victim, Victoria Ruvolo, … was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant [attacker], Ryan Cushing, than in … revenge. … She insisted on offering him a plea deal. Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for five years if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.
As the 19 year old was leaving the court room, he leaned over and said, “I’m sorry for what I did to you.”
The victim said to him, as they hugged and wept, “It’s OK, I just want you to make your life the best it can be.”
Prophet Hinkley says: “The great Atonement was the supreme act of forgiveness. The suffering was so great, the agony so intense, that none of us can understand it when the Savior offered Himself as a ransom for the sins of all mankind. I know only that it happened and that it was for me and for you. It is through Him that we gain forgiveness. It is through Him that all mankind will be granted resurrection from the dead. It is through Him and His great sacrifice that we are offered the opportunity through obedience of eternal life.
May God help us to be a little kinder, to be more forgiving, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more.”
Think about this for a moment. This woman forgave a 19 year old man for what he had done to her.  Could you do this? 
What about the little things that happen in life?  One of the Primary lessons I read while preparing this talk gave this simple example. 
You are carrying a huge load of books and paper in your arms.  Some one hurrying by, bumps you and knocks the things out of your hands.  How do you react?   Do you instantly start screaming at that person?  HEY, WHY DID YOU DO THAT?
Do you pick everything up off the ground, grumbly and thinking, JERK, and keep thinking about that for the rest of the day, and just know, that person has completely ruined your DAY! 
Or do you just think, Oh, that person must really need to be somewhere.  They didn’t realize they knocked these out of my hands. That’s ok. I’ll just pick them up. 
Sometimes it’s hard to choose that last reaction.  I especially have a hard time with customer service professionals, because I am one.  Why don’t these people treat others with respect!?! But I have to constantly remember how I feel when I help customers, and I need to remember to treat them with respect.
There’s a Primary Hymn called “Help Me Dear Father.”
Help Me Dear Father To Freely Forgive
All who may seem unkind to me.
Help Me Each Day, Father I Pray.
Help Me Live Nearer, Nearer to thee.
Help me dear Father to Truly Repent.
Making things right,
and changing my ways.
Help Me Each Day, Father I Pray.
Help Me Live Nearer, Nearer to thee.
Spencer W. Kimball, Says in the Book The Miracle of Forgiveness,
“What Relief! What Comfort! What Joy! Those Laden with transgressions and sorrow and sin may be forgiven and cleansed and purified if they will return to their Lord, Learn of him, and keep his commandments.  And all of us needing to repent of day-to-day follies and weaknesses can likewise share this miracle!”  
I know that Christ has suffered and died for our sins.  He has given you and me that complete forgiveness.  Christ has made it so we can return to our Heavenly Father and be with our family members again.
Remember the little tone deaf boy that sang with the church choir? The story is, something happened to him and he died. Well, when he died, he came to heaven to sing with the angels!  And in the end, he sounded beautiful!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Craftiness, I have it!

I try to be craft ever now and then.  Most of the time my craftiness goes into mindless projects, like knitting and crocheting.  Last weekend, I actually finished a project I had bought the beginnings for in 2007! YES, that long ago!  My friend had a couple Uppercase Living parties, and I bought stuff both times I went.  Last Saturday, I woke up and said to myself, "I'm going to finish those rub on projects today if it kills me!"
Welcome Pineapple Tile
I bought the tile for this at Lowes for a whole 75 cents!!!

 Love never Fails Plaque
I bought the wooden plaque at Michaels and then, painted it.

I bought a pre-painted shelf at Lowes.  I then, put the Faith/Hope/Love rub on, on it.  I realized, there was way too much space left on the sides. So, I bought a stencil and paint at Michaels and added the trees with the little blue birds.  (Sorry for the messy table!)
I do a lot of crafty projects! This one just happened to have sat around for years and years!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

That Song, the One that's Stuck in my Head!

You know that moment, you know, the one when you realize, you have a song stuck in your head!  Well, for more than 24hrs, I've had the Gotye Song, "Somebody that I used to Know" stuck permanently in my brain!
I have two choices when it comes to these moments.
Choice 1. Ignore it. Play other songs to get rid of it.  Make it go away!
Choice 2. Embrace it. Play the song on repeat until I have it memorized!
When I was in the 6th grade, I moved from one middle school to another.  I remember Mariah Carey's Debut Album had come out, and I was obsessed with one song: "Someday!"  Here's the thing: I could not stop singing this song! I also wanted to emulate Mariah's voice!  She had what I wanted! She sang like I wanted to sing!  I spent every waking moment I had singing and memorizing "Someday."  By the time I had that accomplished, I begged my parents to buy me the cassette.  Well, they did! Then, I spent every waking moment memorizing every song on that Cassette!  Within weeks or maybe even days, I had that thing memorized! From every note she sang, to what key the next song started in (with general pitch memory, not the actual key), to the point where I was making sure I could mimic her!

I do this, choice two, now too, if the music is worth while.  I just can't decide if "Somebody that I Used to Know" is one of those songs.

Gotye's Somebody that I Used to Know
*Just a warning, bodies are scantily clad, but they are being painted.  Nothing is ever shown.
Pentatonix Version
I like this version better!!! This group won the last Sing Off show with Ben Folds, Sarah Barielles, and Shawn Stockman.

Knowing me, I'll put it on repeat on my Vevo Playlist until I have it memorized!

Also, if I get too attached, my choir will end up singing it as soon as an arrangement is available!

Does anyone else have this problem?  I even woke up singing it! Maybe I need to start an obsessed with songs anonymous group.!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Craving Sugar and Carbs

I'll be honest. I crave carbs. I crave them 24 hours a day.  Why you may ask?  Well, I'm trying to figure that out.  Do I have a sugar addiction?  Is it because of the medicine I take?  Do I just let my cravings control my mind and body?  I have so many things rolling around in my head about this topic.  I've given up Fast Food on the most part, but can I give up the carbs and the sugary substances will be the next question.
When did the issues with sugar and carbs start?  I was very young. I don't even remember how young. But I do know it's causing me problems. I'm trying to get healthier, and in the process, learn how to control my cravings.
One issue was the medicine I was taking for my Type 2 Diabetes.  It's called Avandamet, which is the combination of two drugs, Avandia and Metformin.  Well, many studies have been done on Avandia, and basically how it kills people.
Here is the information on Avandia (It redirects to the actual drug name instead of brand name):
Now, when you get to about the middle of the page, it starts talking about the drugs links to heart disease and other issues.
Other issues caused by this drug are craving Carbohydrates and severe weight gain.

Here is the information on Metformin:
Most of the side effects of Metformin include Diarrhea and digestion issues.  I suffer from a lot of that, but most of the drugs I am on have those side effects.  (Yeah, me!!!)

For me, the main issue is the Avandia.  On the Avandia, I craved carbs constantly.  With in the first year and a half of being on the drug, I gained 30 pounds.  This was very upsetting, because in the previous year before Avandia, I had lost weight and gotten it down to 140 pounds.  That is the lowest weight I had been since high school. So, to gain it all back within the year, and to feel out of control with it was what angered me.
While on Avandamet, I've been on other drugs to assist it.  I was on Byetta.  
The first two weeks on that drug, I was sick constantly.
I can't go back on a drug to loose weight, when it does it by making me sick for two weeks straight!
I finally talked my doctor into taking me off the Avandia! I am now on a drug called Actos Plus.  It's a drug that combines Actos with Metformin. (That's the plus.)
So, currently I'm working on lessening the carve cravings, or if I eat them, either eat a controlled amount (Think 100calorie snacks) or eat the kind that are protein.
I am really working to become a healthier person. I just am having a lot of problems getting my cravings in line with what I need! I'm sick of yo-yo-ing!