Sunday, November 7, 2010


This afternoon / evening, I went to a concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. I wrote a review of it here, but I wanted to add a personal note about it.

Assuming you haven't looked at the review, I went to see Idina Menzel in concert. Let me first say was awesome!!!! Of course I love her work in Rent, Wicked and her recent appearance on GLEE like everyone else. But I also have 3 solo albums of her. On the newest of those albums, I Stand, is a song called "Brave." The whole album, but this song in particular literally got me through the red eye I took home when my grandmother got sick. It became a particularly appropriate song when I received the letter she left for me after she died (she left letters for many of us specifically to be read when she was gone). In it - several times - she told me to be a brave girl.

So tonight I went fully prepared to have to deal with hearing this live and keeping myself composed. And I do listen to this song regularly - I just frequently cry when I hear it. However, as the concert was drawing near to the end I was beginning to guess that she wasn't going to perform "Brave" and I was kind of glad given that I figured fighting off tears would give me a headache & I've had quite a few of those lately.

What I was not prepared for was what she did with part of a song from Wicked. Now, Wicked is absolutely one of my most favorite musicals ever (although I have tragically never been able to see it live). I listen to the soundtrack almost weekly. If you are not familiar with the musical, there's a song near the end called "For Good" and it's a duet sung by Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch) and Glinda (the Good Witch) at the end of the show...well you can probably guess what's going on at the end of the show... Anyway the chorus of the song says "I don't know if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you I have been changed for good."

So, I love this and have for some time, but during my grandmother's illness it became particularly important to me. I listened to it all the time - often when I needed a good cry due to the emotional stress of the situation. It seemed so appropriate to me in part because I knew the experience I was in the midst of was changing me as a person. That when it was all over I would fly back to Los Angeles and be a different person in some way from the one who'd left what turned out to be two months earlier. But I didn't know what sort of change that would be or how to express it and listening to "For Good" seemed to somehow express exactly what my heart was feeling at the time.

It's been a little over 3 months since my grandmother left this world and of course I am still listening to Wicked, but for a while I skipped that song because I knew I just wasn't ready. In fact I only listened to it for the first time since then this past week & honestly that was by accident (or maybe divine intervention) because it was on before I realized it.

So tonight when she was performing, Idina did a really amazing thing actually - she sang one thing with no microphone and a silent (like hear-a-pin-drop silent) orchestra in this big theater and sounded incredible!!! And what she sang was part of "For Good." And it was so beautiful to hear her voice singing that song against the vast silence. And I was in no way prepared for that. Thankfully I didn't "lose it" but I did cry. Just a little. Because truthfully - for my heart - nothing could have been more perfect than to have those words against the kind of silence you can actually hear.

Just wanted to share. Oh! And as I said in my "review" of the concert, if you have a chance to go see her live - GO!!!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


It's been just over a month since my grandmother passed away. She's been on my mind a lot lately - as has the entire concept of losing someone you love. She was very much like my second parent since it was always just the three of us (me, my mom & my grandmother).

Loss of this kind is different from anything I've experienced. It is deeper disrupting my sleep by keeping my spirit in a state of undefinable unrest. Yet it also sneaks up on me when I least expect it. When I'm enjoying a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning or trying on pretty dresses for an event later this week.

In a funny way she is always with me, but also so painfully far away. Sometimes it bothers me that I cannot simply drive to the cemetery and visit her (so to speak).

Everyone tells me it will simply take time and that I have to be patient with myself giving my spirit the time it needs to heal, allowing it to hurt when it does and to feel joy in other moments too. All without any extra thought.

Why am I sharing this on my blog? Well, loss is something everyone experiences sometime in their lives and it can be a strange and often lonely road to walk down. Sometimes it's just good to know you're not alone.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back at Home

I've been back in LA for just over a week now. It's good to be home. I'm back to the job hunt - like many other people in America (not to mention specifically here) - and I find it can be a bit...well...depressing to say the least.

So for anyone who reads this and who is also on the hunt for a job, I thought I'd share a few things I've found helpful:

1) Make an actual planned out schedule just like you'd have if you were working. This is something I just started and I must say it makes a world of difference. For me it helped to actually lay out set times for job hunting, answering emails and looking at freelance stuff online.

2) Remember to hang out with your friends. You know how during a long day at work you begin to mentally plan an outing with your friends? Do that. Make sure you still see / hang out with your friends at different times throughout the week when you can. It'll lift your spirits.

3) Remember the small stuff can make you happy. Go for a hike or to the beach (if you're near one). Take time for a relaxing cup of coffee / tea or to read a good book or watching a movie are all fun, free (mostly) activities that can take you away from the stress of your search.

4) Consider that we're all in a tight spot right now & lots of people are applying for jobs. While that may sound more stressful, it might also explain why it's taking longer for that person to respond to your emailed resume.

5) Designate one week day for something you love. The "week" day part is important because we all know fun is much better when it's on an unexpected day and not a weekend. Personally I designated Friday to be "Creative Day." How do I justify this? Well, I have a BlackBerry that will *ding* and let me know if someone did email me back and if I've just spent a minimum 12 hours job hunting during the preceding days, it's probably safe to take a small breather.

That's my list. Five relatively small things to help keep you sane during your search.

Good Luck!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For Nanny

My grandmother passed away on Sunday, July 25, 2010. We are remembering her life this week & I wanted to post her obit to honor her here. I may post a real bio later on.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strength & Weakness

The past few days I've been filled with a kind of anxiety that I can't really explain to anyone, but it's waking me up in the middle of the night with a jolt.

It's not about the job thing - rather the lack of a job thing - for better or worse, I feel really peaceful about that actually. I think I know this source. You see roughly 1,500 miles from me, my grandmother is having some pretty serious health stuff going on, scary stuff. And we are not sure what's going to happen.

My grandmother and I are very close. Growing up it was just her, me, & my Mom She taught me to ride a bike and later how to drive a car - her car, which to be fair was really more like a small boat than an actual car. She taught me the song "I love you, a bushell and a peck, a bushell and a peck and a hug around the neck..." Sometimes we'd butt heads, but I knew she'd always be there for me when I needed her - even if I just needed a hug.

So, being this far away & knowing how much she's hurting I've been facing a lot of feelings over the past few days that I would rather leaved shoved in the back of a dark corner somewhere. Anxiety. Or so I thought until this morning.

This morning as I was getting my first cup of coffee and checking messages / Facebook / Twitter on my BlackBerry, I saw a tweet one of my friends posted (@azureantoinette - follow her, she's great) she tweeted a Bible verse this morning. 2nd Corithians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (according to the NIV translation I have). The rest of the passage goes on to say "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I really needed to read that this morning. And I had no idea. I think it is weakness and not anxiety that I've been feeling after all. Being in LA with my mom and grandmother in Texas, while she is so sick and being told not to fly home, it's okay; wait to see what the doctor says; wait to see if they admit her to the hospital; wait; wait; wait - I found myself literally walking the floor of my apartment last night waiting for an update, a phone call, a text message - something.

I don't do well with waiting. I'm a planner and something of a fixer - if there's an issue I (generally) believe in analyzing it and taking some course of action. But that isn't always possible. And that can leave a person feeling helpless.

A friend and I went to the movies today; and I ran a couple of errands after that - errands relating to the possibility of flying home at a moments notice. And I realized, as I told my friend, on some "Murphy's Law" level I was doing all of this - all my planning because if I'm prepared, then nothing will happen.

And nothing can happen yet because ... I don't know how to make her banana pudding or chicken and dumplings the way she makes them, which is the only way I like them. And I don't remember all of the stuff she's told me my whole life that I have to remember if anything happens to her. And I know there is at least one story left that I don't know - that only she can tell me. So you see, she just has to be okay.

So at this moment, I am weak. And that I need strength that could only come from God. Because I know I can't fix it. I can't make everything all better. I can't make whatever time I am blessed to have with her last a lifetime. And I know a lifetime would not be long enough.

Have you ever read the poem "Footprints?" It may be "Footprints in the Sand", I'm not sure to tell you the truth. The gist of the story is that a man looked back on his life and saw 2 sets of footprints throughout it - one belonged to him and on to God. And yet several times - time he identified as being of great hardship in his life - there was only one set. He got very upset with God and asked why God would leave him in those moments. God explains, of course, that He did not leave, but was simply carrying the man.

As a child I always wondered what those times were. I imagined them to be of great disaster. But, at the moment I wonder if they weren't times that were like what I'm feeling now. Because I assure you I am having more moments per day where I feel less of the 29 year old that I am and more like the 5 year old little girl that I was the first time I remember my grandmother being sick and us having to take her to the hospital. I remember setting in the hallway outside her room with my cousin who's older than me while our moms were inside the room with her. And being aware enough to know my mom and my aunt were scared. And feeling something then in that moment I didn't know how to identify. Maybe it was weak.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Around the Bend

Today is officially 19 days from Graduation Day.

I have my last final on May 7 and I find myself feeling a mix of wishing the days would pass quickly because I'm a little burned out and ready for the next phase of my life; but also trying to enjoy the remaining days of grad school because (having done this once already) I know this is time I will never get back.

Still I have the type of personality that easily lends itself to rushing ahead of ... well, life. Always trying to plan and anticipate what is coming.

Right now I feel like I'm coming around a blind corner and that although the future is just ahead of me I cannot see it, nor anticipate what it will hold. It's a strange feeling. One I haven't had since just before grad school began. It is exciting and scary, but it is good.

Time to step out of the boat once more.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blessed Assurance

Ever notice that doubts kind of creep up on you when you're really busy or pretty stressed about other things and all of a sudden you find yourself in the middle of a meltdown and you aren't quite sure how you got there?

I've been grappling with a little of that lately. Just about different things. What ifs and why nots I call them. I really figured this was brought on largely by the start of my last semester in grad school and the impending job search.

And actually, I thought I'd just about sorted everything out. I was feeling much better about things or at least I wasn't feeling noticeably "blue". Still...there was that little kind of "eh" feeling that I couldn't quite put my finger on that just didn't feel right.

I appear to be coming down with a slight cold so I stayed home today (all day) and dosed myself with Vitamin C & Zinc and otc meds. Since I'd decided to stay home I live-streamed this morning's message at the church I usually go to ( and watched.

The series they've been doing is called I Heart LA. Today's message was I Heart LA City of Creativity.

Somewhere in the midst of this message the "eh" feeling broke. I realized that as thankful as I am for being in LA and as much as I try to focus on the positive...somewhere deep in the back of my mind there's a little part of me that's waiting for it to disappear.

I'm not sure why that is and I haven't the energy or mental space at the moment to begin to analyze such things. But this morning's message reminded me that God put me where I am for a reason - regardless of the surrounding circumstances. And that is something I can rest assured in.

Funny how sometimes God can send you a message you didn't even know you needed.

Just a thought.