Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
The world might have been crazy this year, but we still have plenty to be thankful for. My own family has gotten this far without a COVID diagnosis, so I'm certainly thankful for that. My father is semi-retired and has been able to provide for us financially during lockdown. We have the technology to continue on with our lives remotely (to an extent, anyway). The delivery trucks are still up and running, so despite all the panic buyers, we still have plenty of food. We have indoor plumbing, so we don't have to worry about running out of water.
And more importantly, we have each other. I spent Thanksgiving Day of 2017 in the hospital with my father, who'd had a heart attack. He's currently downstairs watching football while my mom and sister work on the stuffing and mashed sweet potatoes. (We're still going to have regular mashed potatoes; in fact, I'm in charge of making them.)
I have one set of grandparents left, and they live down the street from us. They'll be coming to our house in about three hours for dinner. My grandmother has dementia, so she doesn't really cook anymore. But I'm thankful that she's on enough supplements and medications that she's still herself, she still knows who we are, and she can carry on a decent conversation.
And my sister? Well...she can be a pain in the butt, but I'm grateful that after fifteen years, we've finally found something we have in common. We both like watching medical dramas. She's been binging House MD, and I've been joining her occasionally.
And my mom. She's awesome. I picked up a sewing machine for the first time in years and made a skirt. She's helping me figure out what to wear with it, since I'm generally terrible at fashion.
What are you thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
It's a strange feeling
When you try to take a drink
And your cup is nearly empty.
You get a single drop
Of lukewarm tap water.
It's a strange feeling
When you try to do something
And your heart is nearly empty.
In five minutes you realize
You have nothing to give.
Yesterday was a good day.
A busy day, but a good one. I play piano on my church's worship team. I don't know if I've mentioned that here before. But it's true; I started playing in youth when I was fifteen or sixteen, and I've since transitioned to jamming out in the grown-up church.
The grown-up portion of the church gets called various things. I call it "big service," but it's known at church as "main service" or simply as "main." Our worship leader used to be the youth pastor. One day, youth was cancelled, so he announced over the microphone, "Next week, we will be in main."
For some reason, I thought he meant Maine, as in the state with lobsters and L.L. Bean. I wondered if the youth was taking a mission trip I hadn't been informed of.
Apparently, I wasn't the only person who thought that, because five minutes later, the youth pastor's voice came over the loudspeakers again. "Main service. Jeez. Not the state."
Anyway, I really like this guy. It's not like we know each other well or consider each other friends. We're siblings in Christ, though, which is a rather unique and hard-to-explain dynamic. So when I found out on Sunday that I was supposed to play on Wednesday--not just for a normal set, but for a set composed entirely of worship--I hesitantly said yes and immediately apologized for not having enough time to practice.
But the service went great.
We didn't even have enough time to practice all the songs together as a band. We got through five songs in forty minutes, which is good considering that we had to reconfigure how many time we were going to play the bridge on one particular song. But then, when service started, and we spent an hour and eight minutes playing and singing and worshiping God...it was great.
You know how refreshed you feel after a good talk with your best friend? How loved you feel after snuggling someone on the couch while watching a movie? How touched you feel when someone gives you a present just because? That's what spending an hour and eight minutes in God's presence is like.
Normally, by the end of the fifth song, I'm just...worshipped out. My imagination is tired of being silenced, my flesh is ready to go home and watch Criminal Minds. But not last night. I enjoyed every minute of it.
I'll have to do it again sometime. And if you've never gone to a worship night, it's a worthwhile experience. Even if you poop out after the first four songs and have to sit in the back for a while. It's okay. You have to start somewhere.
Well, I have to clean the house today. And wash my sheets. And you know...my bedroom is such a disaster area I should probably apply for federal funds to help with the clean-up. So I'd better get busy. List your favorite worship song (or your favorite song to clean to) in the comments, and have a great day, dear readers!
The doorbell rings
at eight thirty
and I start remembering.
I remember New Year's Day
at eight thirty
in the morning
it was paramedics.
They'd tried calling
to tell us
they were taking my grandmother
to the hospital.
(Our phones were turned off.)
I panic in my pajamas
at eight thirty
and I run downstairs.
It's my sister
who's been watching football
with Dad and Papa
calling me names.
(My grandmother is fine.)
Sorry for posting so late. I had two papers due for the same class (marketing) and one of them was eight pages long. Except that it was in APA formatting. So between the title page, reference sheet, and appendixes, the paper ran twenty pages.
My blog is a pretty high priority in my life. I blogged when my father was in the hospital. I scheduled a post to release when I was on my way to meet my biological mother. But there are a few circumstances in which I'll skip a post, and school is one of those things.
In fact, at this point in my life, school is my highest priority. I'm proud to say that I've gotten straight A's so far, and I'm hoping to maintain that until I graduate in 2022. Which might be a lot to ask. But I'm in a competition with one of the pastors at my church, and he got exactly one B in college. So I'm trying to beat him.
Actually, I'm in a competition with two of the pastors from our church. I'm trying to keep ahead of Pastor Duane's book release schedule. So I should probably get back to writing.
But on the other hand, I'm worded out. Those papers took a lot out of me. On Friday, I was so tired from essaying that my dad gave me $10 and told me to get out of the house and buy myself lunch. He's never done that before. And so I left, pretending that I hadn't been in my pajamas half an hour before.
It's so much fun, trying to convince other people that you're a functioning human being. Sometimes it works.
When I wasn't working on my papers or otherwise employed this week (I got to work with the precious kindergarteners again), I've been crocheting. Christmas is going to be here before I know it, and I like to make all my gifts. I have no idea what I'm going to get for my dad, but maybe he can share the blanket I'm crocheting for Mom. Grammy's getting a knitted scarf, and Papa's getting coasters. He's got a thing for coasters.
Also, I'm trying to gain five pounds by Thanksgiving. I donated blood about six weeks ago, and turns out, there's a minimum weight limit for a reason. I was two pounds above that weight limit, with shoes, and I shook the entire time. I'll be eligible to donate again right after Thanksgiving and I hope to make things a bit easier on myself.
I'm sorry for rambling. My brain is scrambled. I had to write three pages about the last online purchase I made, and turns out, it's not easy to fill three pages with why you bought a recipe box.
It's always nice to sit right down
With cozy blankets circled 'round.
My laptop on my lap I set
And all my other cares forget.
I take a breath, my fingers fly,
The words are mine, and yet not mine.
Spirit, muse, say what you will--
Borrowed words from my hands spill.
What a week! Work on Monday--what the heck did I do on Tuesday?--school on Wednesday, class and a test and an essay on Thursday, and now I'm working again.
I'm currently sitting at another teacher's desk, watching her students as she teaches them via Zoom. After lunch, I'll teach another teacher's students. And then, apparently, I'll work in the office. I feel like the school cryptid. I show up unannounced, and no one knows where I'll be. On Monday, I taught math. Last week, I taught science. Today, I'm teaching English.
The teacher couldn't come in because she couldn't find a babysitter for her small daughter. We can hear the toddler screaming at us over Zoom. Everyone's laughing. Not everyone has a phone or a Chromebook to watch the Zoom meeting, so some of them are sharing. Most of them are laughing at the toddler. She sounds like an angry cockatoo.
"Hold on. My computer's about to die," said the teacher. "Give me a minute."
"Die. Die. Die. Die," chanted the two boys in the front row.
I don't know if I have any schoolwork of my own that I need to do. I busted my tail earlier in the week so I could work today. And when today came, I could hardly get out of bed. I feel like I'm going to sleep ten hours tonight.
Anyway, I took a test yesterday (I got a 90 on it) and I wrote two pages of a paper, which I submitted. And I went to class. And I went to my sister's basketball game. I spent all day Wednesday studying for that test. I still don't know what I did on Tuesday. I probably studied and worked on my paper.
Oh, yes. Tuesday was the day I thought I'd failed one of my assignments and spent about two hours freaking out. I ended up getting a hundred on the assignment, though. And yes, I've since brought it up with my therapist.
(Turns out, therapy is awesome, y'all.)
Now, the class is talking about Romeo and Juliet. I haven't read that one yet (I really enjoyed reading The Merchant of Venice and I only half-understood Macbeth, but I've never read Romeo and Juliet). The kids are watching a video about it right now. It sounds pretty good, but my sister (who's sitting in front of me, watching the video) said that it's full of inappropriate jokes.
One of the actresses in the video has a Scottish accent. It's nice to listen to, even if I can't understand everything she's saying because the volume is soft.
I think I have a short story to write for a class. I think it's about police officers. I don't know very much about police officers. I have some research to do.
Northbound 102 was usually packed tight with cars. But not today. It was empty. Not one soul existed for miles, for as far as I could see through the fog. The road and the sky were the same dismal gray, interrupted by the occasional flash of electricity.
I glanced in my rearview mirror, which I'd angled downward so I could see my son Ralph in his car seat. He'd gotten my iPod out of the bag I'd hastily chucked in the seat beside him and was playing with the earbuds.
"Ralph. Stop," I said. He looked at me. With an infant grin, he placed the earbuds in his mouth.
"Ralph! Put those down!"
He didn't listen. So I stopped. I pulled onto the shoulder, my four-ways on out of habit, and wrestled the earbuds from my son's mouth.
Another flash of electricity appeared. And another. Seemingly sneaking closer to the car, as if stalking us. I raced out of there as fast as I could. Ralph screamed in his car seat.
It was an hour and a half before the electricity stopped following us.
Real quick, I want to apologize for the poem that got posted last Monday. I'll be honest with you guys. Most of my Monday stuff is made up while I'm doing my grandparents' laundry, and it's definitely not my best work. I've been writing some flash fiction in class that I'll have to share with you eventually. But recently, it's all been spur-of-the-moment poems.
Last Monday (not three days ago), I wrote a poem, decided it was stupid, and wrote another one that I intended to post. But for some reason, my website decided to post the first poem instead of the second one.
I have no idea what happened, but since that poem got more engagement than most of my other poems, I'll leave it up despite my embarrassment.
I hate politics. I hate conflict. Strange for a writer, I know. I literally invent conflict. It's my job. But real-life conflict is different, in the same way that reading about murder mysteries is much more enjoyable than being a cop and dealing with criminals. I'll debate religion with you all day long, but I absolutely cannot stand politics.
Still, I realize politics are important. Being able to participate in the government is a pretty awesome privilege that most people don't have, and it's important that we take advantage of it. But there's a right way to go about things.
The problem at the moment was actually revealed to me while listening to a college lecture about C.S. Lewis, my favorite author. Lewis was taught growing up that Christianity was 100% right and that all other religions and mythologies were 100% wrong. But after some thought, Lewis realized that other religions and mythologies aren't 100% wrong. And Scripture seems to support his claims--the Apostle Paul quotes a Greek song in praise of Zeus when he's in Athens, and at one point notices an altar dedicated to an unknown god and decides that Jesus is that Unknown God.
We're the same way with politics. The other party is not 100% wrong. And odds are, you're not 100% right in your political beliefs. If there is an objective "good" for humanity, no one person knows what it is. No one political party perfectly embodies goodness and morality.
That's my problem with politics. I just wish everyone could get along. Start realizing that there's good in the other party, and a few problems in your own.
This is the first presidential election I'm eligible to vote in. And I voted. So please. Go out. Vote. Participate in government. And I hope that the best candidate wins.
Come, wee laddie, come, wee lass,
And I will sing a story
Of noble men who ne'er have been,
Of seas and ships and glory.
A soldier fighting for his king
Arose with dawn a-gloaming,
An angel laughed and crossed his path,
After it he went a-roaming.
The angel led him to a door
Where stood a girl so lovely,
A maiden fair with golden hair,
A smile bright and comely.
The soldier asked her for her hand,
His wife he wished to make her.
She sent him away with the dawning day,
For a soldier would forsake her.
The soldier went down to the sea
And crossed with gold a-laden.
He bought some land and earned the hand
Of his lovely maiden.
So hear, wee laddie and wee lass,
The moral of this story:
The noblest men who e'er have been
Found love their greatest glory.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.