Its been a long time since I carried my camera around all day and took random photos. Today, I took on the challenge, and here are five of the photos I captured…
I am a pretty confident woman. Actually, I like to think I’m a very confident woman. A positive person. Someone who loves to smile and who loves to see others smile. I like to make other people happy, and I long ago found one of the best ways is through just a smile. And I’ve been told many times over that I have a great smile.
However, when asked what my favorite facial feature is on myself, I would always without hesitation say, “My eyes!” They were hidden for years behind thick glasses until, when in college, I finally got the nerve to get contacts. (I couldn’t, prior to that, fathom putting something IN MY EYE. But now, I can practically do it in my sleep.) Even so, when wearing make-up I’d choose to feature my eyes. I’ve leaned on eye liner for years to make them stand out, and, as always told in make-up rules, I’d leave my lips alone. A little gloss, or a neutral tone now and then, but on a whole I wouldn’t accent them at all.
Strange for someone who loves to smile, right? Strange for someone with confidence.
However, deep, deep down, in a place that I never gave any power, there was an insecurity due to my teeth.
Now, I am dead serious when I say that I never gave it much conscious thought. About the only time I really gave my teeth much power was when taking a self-portrait. Let’s see if you notice what I am talking about…
Yup. In photos, my teeth were my little hidden secret. And it is in THAT action that I admit they were an insecurity. Very few people would ever make a comment on my teeth. I generally felt that anyone who did had issues of their own and were making themselves feel better by pointing out MY major imperfection. But in reality, the few people who would say anything were always very nice about it. Asking with curiosity why I’d not ever had braces. Or, in one case, giving me a high five with a smile of their own to revel their own front gap! But it would never fail… it would take a few minutes to “shake it off” when my insecurity was brought out front to my attention.
All that being said, getting my teeth fixed has been very low on my radar for years. If I hadn’t fixed them by now, what was the point?
I have a great confidence already, and my teeth aren’t exactly on my radar. My family and friends love me as I am. I’ve never been held back in life in general (as far as I know!) due to my teeth. So… what would be the point?
Then last summer, in the midst of getting a lot dental work done, my dentist presented me with an offer/option. One of my front teeth had a cavity in it, and it would need some work soon. What if we put crowns over the front teeth, and he could reshape them to be straighter through those crowns?
For me, my stomach clinched at the thought of the cost. It would be a lot of money! What on earth would I be thinking if I did this!? However, the offer was intriguing. And after some discussion with my parents and my husband, I agreed to do it.
So one day last summer, I went into the dentist for some sedation dentistry, and I came out with temporary crowns on my teeth. That looked just like my old teeth. I had seen the proposed models of what my teeth would look like in the end, and it was nice! A definite improvement.
We will skip the silly reasons why it took almost six months and one visit to re-cast my molds for the crowns, but on Monday morning I headed in for the big reveal.
And I walked out with a perfect smile. My dentist went above and beyond what he’d proposed to do for me. I keep looking in the mirror and being taken aback by my new smile. I keep running my tongue over the back of my teeth, looking for the gap that no longer exists. Occasionally I notice forming words with my lips has changed. And now… I want to wear lipstick. My old teeth-based insecurity replaced by a new smile.
Here I am at 33 with a whole new look… and here’s the funny thing. Now I feel more motivated to shed the 15 lbs I’ve put on in the last 7 years. I want the rest of my body to match the new smile. It’s made me want to care about ME more. It’s given me a boost I never in a million years thought I needed.
I was in the band in high school. I played flute. (Go ahead. Throw out your best American Pie joke. I’ve heard them all.) I was a member of the colorguard. I loved every single second of it. Most of my favorite memories of those years are tied to one band event or another, and I took pride in being a member of the band. I learned so much in my years in band. There are many, many elements of my personality and point of view that were molded through the discipline and leadership band demanded of me.
But I’m going to be brutally honest here. The band was the afterthought when I was in school. My years were spent battling for attention from the community, the rest of the school, and even the state as no matter what we did it wasn’t good enough. Membership dwindled. Those of us that cared surely had our moments of wondering why we even tried at times. But then there were those moments when it was magic. And it was those moments that kept you going.
Fast forward to today. My nephew is a member of the high school band, and its a whole different world for him than it was for me. Membership is swelling. There is a pride that you can FEEL when you are in the band’s presence. It is NOTHING like it was when I was there. It’s a bazillion times better, stronger and respected.
When I was a member of the Yoe High Band, we couldn’t have even dreamed of being acknowledged by the Texas House of Representatives!
They’ve won at the state marching contest. And, as the resolution reads, they were named the State 2A Honor Band.
These kids… they have talent beyond what I could have dreamed of having cultivated when I was in band. Their band director, Steven Moss, clearly is an amazing leader. He works them hard. But he also treats them with respect and rewards their efforts and successes. From the top-down this band is, in a word, amazing.
Last Friday, I traveled with my parents down to San Antonio, TX, to see the band perform for the Texas Music Educators Association conference. I sat in the front row and was moved time and time again by the performance.
One of the pieces they performed was commissioned by the band to be written specifically for them. How many bands can really say that has happened for them!? Sure as heck wasn’t going to happen when I was there!
During the performance, they took a moment to honor the band, band director and to thank certain guests in attendance in the audience.
They asked all Yoe High alumni in attendance to stand and be recognized for setting the foundation on which these kids have built upon. I’ll be honest, I was a little amazed by this, even as I stood up. I joked later that we set the bar low, so they had no where to go but up. But that was purely my being funny. In reality, I think part of the band being where it is today IS due to our fight in our years to be acknowledged and recognized. We had to go through those years to, today, stand up and go, “HEY! PAY ATTENTION! The band is amazing and deserves all the support and recognition and honors it gets.”
I’m going to piss people off with this. And I don’t care. Texas is a football state. Generally, we Texans will eat, breathe, sleep, drink and live the game. Even if its just armchair quarterbacks. Its in my blood, and I won’t deny that. But it also makes me downright ANGRY to see the band programs in so many schools get brushed aside to make more money available for the football programs. To hear people suggest a band director should be payed less than a football coach gets me seething mad.
Studies upon studies have been done that prove music helps learning. I know when I was in school, very, very few band students failed out of being able to participate. Show me a band student in college today who didn’t get there through sweat, tears and hard work both with their instruments as well as in the classroom. Whereas just recently CNN did a report about college athletes who read at a 5th grade level. Think about that for awhile.
I’m not here to point fingers. I’m just here to point out that these students in this band work their fingers off and deserve every bit of attention and respect they’ve gotten… and then some.
I’m so proud of the Yoe High School Band. I’d be proud of them even if my nephew weren’t a member, but its safe to say he’s my favorite member and makes my pride in the band more personal.
Congratulations, band! You have done Cameron, Texas proud. You’ve done yourself proud. You have surpassed everything I could have ever dreamed of doing when I was a member of the band… you amaze me every day and remind me all is NOT lost and there is still a lot of amazing and positive youth in this world. You don’t get to hear about them much, and I’m sorry that is the case. But keep it up, and all the positive accolades will continue to come your way. You deserve it all.
Sending love from your fan and alumni member living in Music City…
Last night, my husband and I invited some friends over for a “wine-and-cheese party.” We had Tillamook Cheese we wanted to share with our friends that we brought back from our recent trip to Oregon, and we figured what goes better with cheese than wine?
My husband and I happen to really love hosting get-togethers at our house, but we haven’t done it much in the last few years. We just felt like our house was too small to adequately host friends. The house we rented prior to the one we are in now was PERFECT for parties, but it was a little ways out of town and hard to get people to come out to visit. We moved into town, but downsized dramatically. We felt like our party hosting fun was still on hold until we moved again.
Boy were we wrong!
So what if we had to haul my desk chair from the office in and another chair up from basement?
So what if we didn’t have room on the table for plates, so we all just picked out our choice of finger foods with our fingers?
So what if there was a line to our one bathroom at one point?
It didn’t diminish the wonderful evening that we had one bit. We put together a spread of cheese, veggies, fruit, bread, sausage, etc. We had Merlot, Moscato, Rosé, sparkling red, vodka, beer, Irish whisky, and water.
We had conversations.
Face-to-face conversations. We told stories, laughed (a lot), high fived over the table, and bounced ideas and thoughts off one another. No one was on Facebook. No one was on Twitter. We were all there, in that moment, together, enjoying each other’s company.
It was amazing.
When the party broke up, we all agreed that THIS was what it was all about. Friends getting together and catching up. And we vowed to do it again. We vowed to do it more often.
When our friends left, my husband and I looked at each other with big grins. I told my husband, “This just proved no house it too small when your heart is this full.”
On January 1st, I listed out my goals for 2014. I thought I’d take a moment to see how I’m doing on a few of goals as of the beginning of February.
1. Write a letter every month of the year. Done for January! I sent out three postcards from Oregon to family in Texas.
2. Get back to what I weighed at my wedding. Well, I don’t think I gained anything, but I didn’t really lose anything either. But then if you ate the food we ate in Oregon, you’d understand. It was worth delaying the weight loss to enjoy!
3. Photography. I did have one mini-photoshoot this last week. I wasn’t really happy with how it turned out at all, but to my defense it was super fast, badly lit and it was my first time using my new external flash. I was destined to have a difficult time. I am, however, as I type this, downloading Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5. Taking advantage of Adobe’s deal right now of getting both for (after taxes) around $10/month for the next year. Can’t wait to try out these updates and see if they open up my abilities even further!
4. Bookkeeping. Well, it took me forever to get my finances for 2013 together to file our tax return this month. I was doing better until the great computer crash of this last weekend. Now I have to pretty much start over from scratch. I have, at least, gotten a great folder together for our tax receipts, etc. And I’m, so far, keeping it up. So I’m going to take that one as a win.
5. Journal. I did great until I got sick last week. Now I’m so far behind, its pitiful. However, I think tomorrow night will be a big catch up writing night. Its time to get this one back in order!
So… tell me. How are your 2014 goals going?
It’s no secret that long before I was a “musician’s widow” to a musician playing country music, I was a huge country music fan. I mean we’re talking rabid fan. We’re talking the girl people came to in high school to ask the scoop on the latest country music gossip because they knew I’d have researched it all thoroughly already. I could name a song and artist on the radio within seconds. Heck in many cases, I could tell you what kind of car they drove, their favorite food, and the name of their first grade teacher. I was obsessed.
Today, I live in Nashville, consider several artists dear friends, and I have a slightly different look on the country music scene as I did back then. But at heart, I am still a huge fan of the genre. So when Country Faith: 56 Reflections from Today’s Leading Country Music Stars came up for review as part of the BookLook (formerly BookSneeze) program, I jumped on the chance to get it. If I could once tell you an artists favorite food, shouldn’t I know their favorite bible verses?
And, that, my dear friends, is exactly who this book is for… the country music fan who wants to know more about their favorite artists and/or songs. The one that wants to know more about the faith driving many today in the music industry.
Personally, I love this book. It’s a great coffee table book or a gift book. It’s a book you can pick up, open to any page, and just start reading. It features new artists (some even I didn’t recognize!) as well as older established artists. The book’s layout is beautiful, and the stories are inspiring.
I highly recommend this book for any country music fan — hard core or casual alike — who wants to know a little more about the people they hear on the radio.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.