Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Catching Up is Hard to Do

I feel like I should apologize to all my readers for not updating in so long. Of course, I may not actually have readers anymore after such a long absence from the blogosphere. I guess I shall start a bit of an explanation for my long absence. Changes at work and stuff going on in my personal life have left me exhausted and overwhelmed these last six weeks. As I did not want this blog to become a place where I complained all the time and because much of what I was thinking about was sensitive in nature, I felt that nothing I had to say that was appropriate for the blog format. So I’ve been out of touch and have missed writing these past weeks.

Although nothing concrete has actually changed in my work or personal situations I do feel that God has helped me come to grips with a few things and while my life is still quite chaotic and uncertain in many areas, I am feeling more confident of my role in God’s plan and more willing to let Him work things out in His time. While it has taken me a few weeks to get my equilibrium back I do feel much more joyful and hopeful of all that God will do through the pain and uncertainty I have faced in several areas these last few weeks. I believe God wastes nothing He allows us to suffer and I glory in seeing His handiwork in the difficult situations of my life.

So there’s a semi-apology and a vague explanation about why I haven’t been writing, and now we’ll move on to more interesting things. I have lots of unconnected thoughts to write about so today’s update will be long and disjointed. You’ve been warned…

Currently Ipodding:
Nichole Nordeman’s “Brave”; Newsong’s “Rescue-Live Worship”; Joy Williams’ “Genesis”; Jaci Velasquez’s “Beauty Has Grace”; and Jars of Clay’s “Redemption Songs.”

I love “Brave” – both the song itself and the entire CD. It has wonderful lyrics and beautiful melodies. It is a bit softer than I imagined it would be from the reviews I read but I think it’s a great CD and one I’d recommend without hesitation.

Newsong’s Live Worship CD is good. I especially like the first few songs, “Blessed Be,” “Psalm 40,” and “You Are Holy.” Those are my favorites. I also like the song “Before the Day.” I’m thinking of putting that one in my CD alarm to wake up to in the morning. The only thing I don’t like about this one is the talking parts. They don’t add anything to the cd and in fact, sound immature to me, like a high school band talking between songs because they think they should but don’t really have anything worth saying. But I don’t really listen to the talking parts of live CD’s anyway. I buy them for the tunes not the commentary.

I’ve only listened to “Genesis” one time but I liked it from the first song. I love Joy Williams voice and the cd has a very happy, infectious sound. I didn’t catch a lot of the lyrics on the first listen, though, so I need to listen more before I decide what I think overall.

I was very disappointed with “Beauty Has Grace.” I was unhappy with Jaci V’s previous CD and was happy when I realized that she was taking this new one in a different direction. I just don’t think she took the right new direction. She probably should have turned left instead of right. Or something. I just think the music was chaotic and not very compelling. The lyrics didn’t impress me and overall the cd was just not interesting. I’m disappointed because she used to be an auto-buy for me, but I think from here on it I’ll pass on her future cd’s.

Lastly, Jars of Clay’s “Redemption Songs” is an awesome album. It’s a bit different from what we’ve come to expect from Jars of Clay but is nonetheless one of the best albums I’ve heard all year. It is a mostly hymns project with some very interested restylings of some common and a few obscure church hymns. It would be hard to pick a favorite. I love their version of “Nothing But the Blood,” as well as the “God Will Lift Up.” There isn’t really a weak song on the CD and while the southern rock type sound is a bit different for them, it’s a great fit.

What I’m Tivo-ing:
The television season is over and I want to run down a list of favorites from the 2004-2005 TV Season.

Best New Show: Lost Why?This show has everything: great drama, interesting characters, a big mystery, and never enough answers. It also delves into family issues, romance, friendship, courage, the past, the future, and loss. It is the best first season of any show I can ever remember watching. The Season 1 DVD’s will be a treasure I cannot wait to own.

Best Female Character: Bree, Desparate Housewives. Why? She is someone who has so much simmering beneath the surface. She wants the outside to look perfect and knows the inside never will. I think she’s a fascinating study of what happens when image matters more than substance and there’s so much more of her inner mind to learn. With the death of her husband and her reputation lost through his indiscretions, it will be interesting to see how her character evolves next season.

Best Male Character: Sawyer, Lost Why?There is so much of his story that we have yet to learn. He is a fascinating mix of big meanie and old softie that intrigues me

Best CSI:
CSI Miami Why? This year’s plot with Horatio’s brother was a great one and sets up some interesting things for the next year. I like the fact that the team seems to genuinely like each other and work well together, even when there are differences. The crimes are also less bizarre and horrific than the other CSI shows, although they all take a turn at the unusual.

Best Returning Character:
Spy Mama Lena Olin on “Alias.” Why?“Alias” becomes a much more intriguing show with her presence. She adds a dimension to the show that cannot be duplicated. Not only is she an amazing actress, but she’s crafted such a believable character in Irina Derevko that you can’t take your eyes off of her. Watching her interact with daughter Sydney and husband Jack is pure magic. My request to J.J. Abrams would be pay what it takes to get her back for next season. Surely Sidney will need her mom as she deals with the next trauma sure to be ahead.

Best Show No One Watched:
Eyes Why? Tim Daly was born to play this character and the show was such a cool show. Why did you not watch this. I think the ratings for this was something like five people and three of them I know. To the other two out there I don’t know, that’s for your support. It was fun while it lasted.

Best New-To-Me Show:
Gilmore Girls Why? I am sorry to say I have missed this show for the first four years of it’s run. I came late to the party and boy-howdy what I missed! I love this show and it’s characters and it has become one of my favorite television shows of all time. I have spent all year catching up on the previous seasons and I have purchased seasons 1-3 on DVD. I’m seriously annoyed with Rory Gilmore at the moment and can’t wait till next season to see how it all works out.

Best Guilty Pleasure: Desperate Housewives Why? I realize this show does show people with horrible morals, but for the most part they are all paying for their poor choices. Gabrielle lost her money, her pride and now her husband. Lynette has lost her chance to be home with her children (which she will miss regardless of how much she might have thought otherwise) and has destroyed the trust in her marriage. Bree has lost her husband and her reputation. And while I think the producers will never do as they hint at, Susan may lose either her life or the man of her dreams. While this show does often celebrate the idea of making selfish and immoral choices, it doesn’t shy away from showing the consequences for such choices are often not the ones we’d anticipated when we made them. Plus it’s a fun show, although it hasn’t quite lived up to the hype of it’s first few weeks.

Best Spoken Line of the Season: “I’m trying to have more fun in life.” Why? Spoken by Spy Daddy himself, Jack Bristow, this line is not only the antithesis of something you’d expect to hear from his mouth, but he said it with a smile! Spy Daddy is so cool!

Best Woman You Feel Sorry For but Would Still Like to Throw Through a Window: Emily Gilmore Why? She wants a relationship with her daughter and Lorelai has hurt her many times, BUT she wants it on her terms in her way. So while I feel for her I think she’s brought so much of the pain she feels onto herself. Her confrontations with her daughter are often hard to watch but she just seems to never understand her role in the situation.

Best Couple: Sun and Jin from “Lost” Why? Their relationship has been one of the highlights of show for me. The idea of using her ablity to speak English to be the final wedge that separated them is brilliant as much of their problem is the inability to really communicate in any language. They both truly love each other deeply and both have sacrificed for the other. It’s just sad that we know how much and they haven’t managed to communicate that to each other. Their kiss before the raft left was heart-wrenching and I look forward to seeing more of their relationship. If Jin survives the destruction of the raft and his mad dash to rescue Sawyer, that is.

Best Odd Character: Kirk from “Gilmore Girls” Why? Who knew he had so much money stored away? And if so, why does he sleep in other people’s garages and in the gazebo in town? His night terrors and his odd quirks are never overdone and always arrive at the perfect time for a moment of humor and I’ve lost track of how many jobs he has had in Stars Hollow. I plan on watching the DVD’s over again this summer, though and starting to keep track.

Best Season Finale: Alias. Why? To be honest, I thought the end of the Rambali Prophecy to be rather lame and the finale was looking to be a bit too boring and predictable. I also think the “resolution” to the prophecy was really weak – I mean all that nonsense and all Sidney had to do to stop world wide destruction was to cut the red wire? Talk about promising something you didn’t deliver. And I think the prophecy was never about Sidney, but about Irina all along. She’s the one who killed her sister to prevent the the world’s destruction, not Sidney. Now having said all of that, it’s still the best season finale because I still haven’t caught my breath from the last ninety-seconds of the show. I almost had a heart attack when their car was hit not to mention the words said just before the crash. What? Vaughn is not Vaughn? Who is he? What does her mother know? Does her father know about this? Who else knows the truth? What in the world is going on? Now I’m hearing rumors that due to the “supposed” pregnancy of Jennifer Garner we might have to wait for January for new episodes. Please don’t make me wait that long!!!

Worst Guest Star: Susan’s Mom on Desperate Housewives. Why? Tell me honestly, didn’t you just want to smack her? When Bob Newhart came back and swept her off the show I was so happy I could kiss him! I think hands down she was the most annoying person on television all year.

Person Most In Need of a Wake-Up Call: Rory Gilmore. Why? Her melt-down this past year has shown her to be selfish and self-centered. As my mother pointed out to me, Rory is missing the important parts of her mother’s life and it’s only going to get worse if she doesn’t straighten out. She’s also ruining her future by giving up on her dreams too easily. She’s smart enough to know that the best things in life don’t come cheaply. She’s drawn to the life her mother left behind and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, she seems to be in a pattern of self-destruction that is sure to leave scars.

Least Favorite Plot: Splitting Up The Team on CSI. Why? I understand that they had to do something the shake things up after so many seasons, but it really did nothing other than to make Catherine obnoxious and further muddy the relationships. I am finding the original CSI is dropping in my ranking a bit each year.

What I’m Reading: Naked Fruit by Eliza Morgan, Visioneering by Andy Stanley, and the Harry Potter novels.

I am reserving my comments for the non-fiction books until they are done. I began reading Harry Potter earlier this spring and am now about a quarter through Goblet of Fire. I am getting very eager for Half Blood Prince due in about a month or so. My only regret is that I have such a busy weekend planned the day that book is released I will have to wait a day or two to begin it.

I am currently reading the book of James, although it’s going slowly. There’s a lot of punch packed into those first few verses. I am also reading some of the Psalms as I study our Sunday School book.

God has been using so much that’s going on in my life right now to teach me some lessons and clear up some things in my mind. I wish I could write about it here, but some things are too sentitive to publish. One day I hope to share with the world all that God has done in my life these past few months. For now, I’ll continue to share the mundane parts of life and keep you up-to-date on the fun stuff as it happens.

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