Monday, December 17, 2012

Currently.

Untitled

Watching: Okay is it just me not paying attention or is this the first year that shows are getting a little crazy with these winter finales? What is the point? And don't these television networks know that the dead of winter is precisely when I want to snuggle up on the couch with a mug of something hot, and watch my favorite shows?

Thinking about: This quote: "Your personality is not set in stone. You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit. Thirty days without it, and you would be fine. You think you have a soul mate, but in fact you could have had any number of spouses. You would have evolved differently, but been just as happy. You can change what you want about yourself at any time. You see yourself as someone who can’t write or play an instrument, who gives in to temptation or makes bad decisions, but that’s really not you. It’s not ingrained. It’s not your personality. Your personality is something else, something deeper than just preferences, and these details on the surface, you can change anytime you like. If it is useful to do so, you must abandon your identity and start again. Sometimes, it’s the only way. Set fire to your old self. It’s not needed here. It’s too busy shopping, gossiping about others, and watching days go by and asking why you haven’t gotten as far as you’d like. This old self will die and be forgotten by all but family, and replaced by someone who makes a difference." Wow, right? Pretty amazing. So often I feel like it's easy to get caught up in this idea of "well, this is who I am- it is what it is," and become complacent. But if you really, really take a step back and look at your life it actually is possible to be or do whatever you'd like. I think about Julia Child, who started cooking when she was 32. THIRTY TWO! Amazing, and such a reminder it's never too late to switch gears or focus in on what we already we know we love. I've been thinking about this idea a lot lately- thinking about my identity and what I've told myself I am, or what I can do.

Listening to: Christmas music, of course! I actually wanted to ask all of you if you had any favorite Christmas albums, I'm kind of stuck in a rut with my old favorites and would love some new music to enjoy for the next couple of weeks. Right now (and every year) I listen to the classics: Elvis, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, etc. But do you have any more contemporary favorites?
 
Excited about: BABIES! Last week our good friends Janay and Danny had their baby, little Harper! She's beautiful and I'm so excited to meet her. Then of course my sister is due so soon, and Andy too. And I feel like a million blog friends are all expecting or just having their little ones. I swear, there's just something in the air...

Reading:  I just started a new book called Driving the Saudis, which is subtitled "A Chauffeur's Tales of the World's Richest Princesses." Interesting right? It's a different kind of read for me but I stumbled upon it randomly and had to give it a go. I'll keep you posted!

Also thinking about: I came back to this space tonight hoping I could somehow figure out what to blog about. I type and type, and erase and erase. Everything I write sounds so trivial- it's all so meaningless and I feel ridiculous trying to add my two cents to something that cannot be put into words. I feel like I have no right to even comment on it- I can't even begin to imagine the magnitude of that sadness those families are feeling over the loss of their beautiful children and teachers, and I feel foolish even trying to attempt to do so. I don't know, I just feel like everything up there I wrote last week when I started this post doesn't matter. My heart physically aches for these families, for their loss, for everything they'll never get to experience, and I know that nothing I or anyone else is feeling even compares. But I wish I could help, do something, somehow send love to these grieving people. I wish, I wish. And I don't know how to even put this in words but it's times like this I feel even more strongly about my own non-religious beliefs. I don't want a debate about it, I know some of you believe and some of you don't...but I don't understand how this could happen if there is a god. I just don't. And I'm sorry if that offends anyone, but I try and wrap my brain around it- how if there was a god, how he could "allow" this to happen, and then we are supposed to pray to him about it? I don't understand. I really, really don't. And to be honest, I wish I did.


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So, how about you? What are you up to today? Feel free to do your own "currently" post on your blog and link back in the comments for everyone to check out. And thanks again to my dear friend Megan for providing the original inspiration for these posts.

62 comments:

  1. Do you have A Very She and Him Christmas? It's one of my very favorite Christmas albums.

    I know you asked for Contemporary, but Christmas with Giselle is a vintage favorite of mine.

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    1. I just came here to mention the She & Him Xmas album, love it!

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  2. Thank you, Danielle, for being so honest about your own non-religious grappling for answers and mentioning the horrific, absolutely horrific tragedy in Newtown.

    Not that it matters so much, but I'm somewhere in between agnosticism/atheism and a basic non-religious theism...I cringe when solace and comfort are offered so simply and matter-of-factly, to these surviving family members.

    Anyway, I imagine (perhaps) that this is not what you want your blog comments to be about, but thank you, again, for being honest, as we all struggle to wrap our minds around the atrocity, and wonder what we can do, how we can take action.

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  3. PS Also, it just seems like such a large price to pay for unnecessary, superflous "freedoms".

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  4. Love that quote, inspirational! Need to print a copy of that to look at.

    For Christmas, I like the same as you but this year I really got into Michael Buble's album.

    As for the tragedy in CT. I have no words. I found out a friend of mine was a friend of one of the victims that lost her life. My heart is broken. And, it's hard not to think about. I don't have children but I'm an aunt, and I see them everyday, and I just can't imagine. And I too, asked the same question about God, why was it okay for this to happen then we pray to him after? Just so sad.

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  5. God didn't let this happen, we let this happen. A simplistic answer, yes, but I think it's true. The God that (most) people believe in (the Judeo-Christian one that I follow) allows us to have free will. Some people say it's the "sin" in the world, and that's part of it, but that has such a negative connotation. I just like to think of it as God does not want His followers to be robots. He doesn't want us to HAVE to pray to Him, He wants us to want to.

    He does not control every action of His people. He allows us to make mistakes. He allows us to hurt others. He allows us to learn and to grow from those mistakes, and He allows us to suffer the consequences of our mistakes. It also means that we have to suffer the consequences of other's mistakes. As for diseases and other things that just "happen," there might be some of God's will or direction involved in those things. But I try to remember that I am just a human, and that I'm not God and that I know that God -- if He's real, which I believe He is -- has a much greater understanding of things. And so I trust Him. Just like your son trusts you when you say no and he thinks you're being unfair. You know better. And I believe God knows better.

    It is a terrible tragedy what happened, and it's a terrible tragedy of what goes on in the world. But it's part of the world because we are not God and we aren't perfect and we have so much influence on the world we live in. Did God "let" it happen? I suppose yes, you could say that. The other option is to have God fully control everything that ever happened, and in that sense, you would never be able to question or doubt or explore or have *faith* because you wouldn't need it. Maybe some people think that's a better option. Maybe it is. But that's not how it is, at least not right now.

    That's the best possible explanation I can think of. It isn't perfect but... it's what I believe.

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    Replies
    1. I think that you stated that beautifully :)

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    2. Really wonderful response. Thank you.

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    3. I think it is (obviously, to most academics, philosophers, scientists, thinkers, etc) much more complicated than this.

      I'm glad it gives you some sort of solace, but the case is far from closed.

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    4. Well said. God gives us free will because he loves us and wants us to choose our own path, but even the Bible talks about how tragedies like this break his heart.

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  6. I love Michael Buble's album, it's lovely. I also like Blake Shelton's new Christmas album. The She & Him one is cute too. :)

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  7. Wow, such a good quote! That's actually something I think about quite a lot...like "oh, we'll that's just who I am and it's so hard to change that's it not even worth trying." But we are totally able to change!

    For Christmas albums I'll have to echo the She & Him album and Michael Buble (I'm not usually a fan, but it's great).

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  8. N*sync's Christmas album!! I found it this year in a discount cd bin and I'm obsessed all over again! Haha:)
    Alyssa
    http://headoverheelsnv.blogspot.com

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  9. I love your "thinking about' quote today. Sometimes I have a moment of positive clarity where that idea seems real, but most of the time I get bogged down with everyday life, the bigger problems of the world, my 'responsibilities'. I'll be thinking about these ideas for the next little while as I try to make some positive changes to my work situation :)

    It's made all the more poignant when we sit back and think how lucky we are to have this life at all, regardless of it's challenges.
    Shell
    x
    Kitty & Buck

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  10. Dani, I typed and re-typed and re-typed a comment here. Wish we could commiserate in person about your 'also thinking about' part . No need to write much but lets just say that trying to explain my 'lack' of religion, my thoughts on spirituality and my definition of 'God' to my Indian friends/coworkers is like saying I don't have a name. Religion is so much part of the definition of oneself here!

    Love ya girl and wishing we lived closer so we could hang out when I am stateside later this week!!

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  11. I love that quote! I agree with all of it except for the soul mate part. Yes, you can adapt to any relationship, but real deep love is not something I believe can come from adaptation.

    The classics (and Micheal Buble's classic voice) are all my favorite Christmas music to listen to. I have one recomendation though, I randomly discovered this a capella group on itunes and they have a Christmas album that is just wonderful. I'm such a sucker for a capella! And they have an awesome name. They're called Straight Up No Chaser :)

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    Replies
    1. Ashley, funny you should mention the soul mate part of that quote because I took pause there, too. I think people's willingness to adapt or settle for just "anyone" is what leads to so much divorce. I would say you should never change yourself to fit into a relationship. That's just plain ridiculous.

      The other examples, sure.

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  12. I love that quote too. Thanks for sharing it!

    Schuyler Fisk's 'Sounds of the Holiday' and don't laugh but I still love Hanson's 'Snowed In'! HA!

    Thank you for being so honest about your non-religious beliefs. I have to say I agree with you completely. It's so nice to see someone in the blog world not believe. Your blog is the only one I follow on a regular basis that has this thinking. It's so nice because I can relate.

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  13. I completely relate to and love everything you wrote here. I am not usually a big commenter, but felt compelled to let you know how important your honesty is regarding religion is. I am also not religious and when confronted with loss and tragedies such as this horrific shooting in Connecticut, I am left with so many questions and find it very hard to deal with death. I lost a very dear friend this year and not believing in god meant I had no comfort in her passing. She was no longer in pain, but I felt robbed, and still haven't fully grieved the way others have who are comforted by the idea and belief in heaven. And after such great loss of life as last week's shooting, I also find it hard to understand how god would play a role in such a horrific event. It almost makes me wish I was religious so I would believe there were answers to all my unanswered questions about why terrible things happen in our world. The above commenter wrote so eloquently about her beliefs and I think that is wonderful and thank you to both of you for your honesty. Unfortunately, conversations about religion often become heated and full of aggression instead of accepting and understanding the beauty in the diversity that exists in our world.

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  14. True...so hard to think about anything else right now. (and hello my friend Ashley above me, small world!) Also, we clearly have one more thing in common in regards to religion. I feel the same-just one more example of why I don't believe there is one. Thank you for having the courage to say so in this forum!

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  15. Love this!!!! My heart is heavy and your words are so refreshing. XO

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  16. Thank you for your honesty! I know you love to read so I immediately thought of 'Conversations with God' by Neale Donald Walsh. Hopefully it will help with your spark of curiosity regarding the spiritual "figure" we call "GOD". It's a fascinating read that will help you to remember the TRUTH. Merry Christmas!!

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  17. I struggle with these same questions about religion and god - especially in times of tragedy like this. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one. I really appreciate your honesty with this kind of stuff!

    As far as Christmas music goes - not really an album (although there might be one) but I have my Pandora radio set to a "Glee" holiday station that I love! Drives my husband batty, but it's so fun! I'm also a sucker for old Bing Crosby holiday music, but mostly because that's what we always listened to when I was a kid!

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  18. Hi Dani. I don't comment often, but I wanted to say thanks for addressing what happened in CT, and talking once again about how it relates to your religious (or rather lack thereof) beliefs. I am an atheist, and seeing people blaming modern treatment of religion for a tragedy like this just... shocks me. It makes me want to shake people by their shoulders, yell at them to wake up and think, really think about what the issue is. The shooting in CT has overshadowed a similar incident (which I believe still has no fatalities, thankfully) in China, where a man slashed 22 school children and one older woman with a knife. With the dominant religions in China being Buddhism and Taoism, neither of which have a god figure, how could we say that the removal of god from schools is the cause? When a man wielded a knife, how can we say that gun control is the complete answer?
    People suffer from mental illness feeling little hope that they will be well, or be accepted. They avoid treatment out of fear. Without treatment, some mental illnesses can result in violent, unpredictable behaviour. We will never be able to completely stop these tragedies from happening, and I cannot ever understand the grief of those affected. But this is a bigger issue than government policy. It is about more than access to weapons (and I say this as someone who firmly believes in gun control laws). It is about more than morality. It is about the ability to make the conscious decision between right and wrong. Without that ability, we'd all be hopelessly lost.

    Sorry for the intense rant there, you just gave me a bit of a springboard!
    I also wrote my own "currently" post, where I did not touch on the recent happenings worldwide.
    Currently...

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    1. I don't think anyone is saying gun control is the "complete" answer. As long as we're here, I'm sure there won't be one.

      However, you are aware that the incident in China produced no fatalities. I'm not sure why we, as Americans, believe we deserve access to certain types of guns, including those used in military combat. That is a big problem.

      As far as the mental illness rant goes, many (if not most) men who commit these crimes (including the two male students at Columbine) were receiving psychiatric counseling and were on pharmaceutical drugs to help treat their mental instability. Drugs, counseling, it's all helpful, very much so, I'm sure, but it's not a magic trick. We don't need access to these weapons. Terrible things will still happen, but the fatalities (clearly) will not be as many.

      Delete
  19. this http://noisetrade.com/sleepingatlast
    and there are others you can download on the same website

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  20. I love that quote! So very true and good to remember. I posted my own currently post, if you'd like to see: http://witandspice.blogspot.com/2012/12/currently_18.html

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  21. I love Michael Buble's Christmas album as well as Josh Groban's "Noel." And I can only stand Mariah Carey around Christmastime. :)

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  22. Your blog is always such a joy to read. I always appreciate your openness with your views, opinions, hopes, and dreams. You can tell your writing is, of course, personal, but still we readers can relate to it somehow.

    Here is my most recent currently post. http://ampnabi.blogspot.com/2012/12/currently.html

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  23. I'll be honest and say that as a Christian, it does give me doubts...
    I don't doubt that God is real, really...(This is odd, but I feel like I can't not believe.)
    But, I get these feelings of, God is a jerk.
    It sounds terrible, but it's the truth.
    These things are so hard for me to wrap my mind around! I can't.

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  24. Lovely blog post, per usual! I wrote a little "currently" post of my own =]

    http://www.existation.com/2012/12/currently.html

    Love you blog!

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  25. Hi Danielle. Love the quote and completely agree about winter Ronald's. I guess Tv people assume we'll be watching Holiday movies instead of our regular shows.
    Thanks for your thoughts on CT. I live not far from the tradgedy and I can say that our lives will never be the same. In many ways for the better though. As a community we have come together and as individuals we have been reminded of what is truly important in life.

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  26. My own "Currently" post. I agree- so many people are having babies! Most of them are on their 2nd, it seems!

    http://www.thisloveblog.com/2012/12/currently.html

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  27. So happy to read another great Currently post.
    I just posted my first one yesterday!

    http://livingbittersweetly.blogspot.com/2012/12/currently1.html

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  28. My first time- I wrote a currently this week. Lots to be grateful for this week, that's for sure.

    http://mamamandolin.blogspot.com/2012/12/currently.html

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  29. I'm just getting all set for Arizona! Sad we aren't going to be able to hang out this time!

    http://www.freckleditalian.com/2012/12/currently.html

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  30. I agree with you on your last point Dani, I did exactly the same, wrote something and then erased. I just don't have the words for something so tragic. It's beyond words.
    X

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. That quote is inspiring - thanks for sharing!

    I also don't have the words to talk about what happened, and don't feel it's my place to do so; I just wanted to acknowledge that you'd found a way to mention it with sensitivity.

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  33. Is there maybe something in your air too ;) ????

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  34. I always love your "currently" posts! They always inspire me to do my own "Currently" posts ;)
    http://www.withmycamera.com/2012/12/currently.html

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  35. I know it's not much, but I'm getting together with my family and friends to make snowflakes for the children at Sandy Hook Elementary.
    943thepoint.com/make-snowflakes-for-the-kids-from-sandy-hook-elementary/

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  36. Danielle,
    a)Like many others, I am quite fond of the She & Him Christmas album. However, the cheeseball lyrics of Christmas ditties get so me sometimes and I yearn for solely instrumental arrangements. I found some awesome cd's aat Dollar Tree last year---Hawaiian Christmas, Christmas with Hand Bells, The Best Jazz Christmas Album of All Time (lol! the title is a bit presumptuous, but it is rather good), Spanish Guitar Christmas---and all my favorite Christmas songs sans words puts me in a festive and relaxed mood. As a child my dad always played an acoustic guitar record and I absolutely loved it; I'm searching for the perfect acoustic guitar Christmas album still to this day. *le sigh*
    b)Just yesterday I finished a novella by actor Steve Martin called Shopgirl---I really enjoyed it! It was a quick and easy read, but poignant and relatable. I had always heard that Steve Martin was a published author but hadn't gotten around to searching for his books till now. I'm anxious to head to our local library and pick up his other 2 books!
    c) I had always questioned there being a god, even as a young person, and the three things that solidified my atheism were the following: 1. my grandmother having an almost-fatal aneurysm the day I was born, thereby only knowing with limited speech, partial paralysis, a hole in the side of her head, and without the ability to sing and dance and create the way she used to 2. the Oklahoma City bombing, which just so happened to be on my 11th birthday 3. the Santana High School shooting, which was in my hometown of Santee, California, just 3 miles down the road from the high school I attended; my neighbor was shot just above his heart, his best friend was killed, and so many of my friends had to be first-hand witnesses to that terror. I just could NOT understand how an oh-so-loving god could allow such evil things to happen to good, innocent people. What did they do to deserve it? The contradiction of "Him" giving us free will, but all the while having a "plan," just didn't sit with me, and so often I heard that bad things happen to teach us lessons and I thought, "That's totally effed up." I'm all for scientific proof, but I'm also okay with there not being an answer to all the why's and how's we have. I'm constantly annoyed by how religious zealots offer biblical reasoning to everything that should otherwise be unexplained. I cannot accept that those 20 children and 6 teachers were shot because Heaven needed more angels; because God has a plan. And I really don't think praying can do anything to fix the hurt or confusion. Why was Adam Lanza's mind plagued with illness, I wonder? Was that all part of God's plan, too??? :o/

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  37. Like many others, I've been listening to a very She and Him Christmas. Plus, Bob Dylan's 'Christmas in the Heart' (a reviewer on NPR said 'Bob Dylan makes 'I'll be home for Christmas' sound more like a threat than a promise'. haha). Beautiful words on the Sandy Hook tragedy. Even in my strong belief that God is good and gracious, even in a scary world, I have struggled alot in the past week with understanding how such atrocities could happen. My father passed away after an ugly battle with cancer when I was 12 and I never found comfort in simple 'faith' answers that people tried to comfort me with (no lesson was worth it, I don't believe that my dad's 'work on earth was finished' and I don't understand what good could come out of me living without a father and my children never knowing their papaw). C.S. Lewis said, “Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself." I think even in my faith, I think I'll always struggle with wanting to understand why.

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  38. Thanks for the inspiration gf - your post has inspired one of my own. Love your blog! Have a great and relaxing holiday! http://www.kaylinlydia.com/2012/12/currently.html

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  39. Hi Danielle!
    Long time reader first time commenter >.<
    I've been an admirer of your writing for the longest time and I really love these 'currently' posts.
    My boyfriend has been playing the My Morning Jacket Christmas album on repeat the last week and I think you'd love it ^^
    I also posted a vintage twang playlist on my blog today you might enjoy.

    Merry christmas to you and your adorable family!
    Louise

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  40. Hi Danielle! I love your blog and your Currently posts. I finally posted one of my own. :) http://sewcupcakecouture.blogspot.de/2013/01/currently-010613.html

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