21 September 2011

Music Wednesday

At least, I hope it's Wednesday. I've been having trouble with my days of the week lately. They're all starting to blend together, and I just hope every morning that I have the pattern right and remember where I went the day before.

Today's Music Wednesday is devoted to under-appreciated love songs. Songs that may or may not be 'real' love songs, but that I think are.

REM - 'The One I Love'

From the title, this one is obviously at least concerned with love. If you listen to the lyrics, you discover that this song is actually rather bitter-sweet and cynical. Then again, it's REM. What do you expect? 

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

The Get Up Kids - 'Like a Man Possessed'

Nothing about this song says 'love song'. Not the lyrics, not the title. Nothin'. 

But that's the vibe I get from it. Call me crazy.

Finch - 'Ender'

I actually plan to spend an entire Music Wednesday sometime talking about this song. Because it's very interesting.

Until then, it's on this list. 

You said you like to hear the rain sometimes 
And all I can do is tell you the truth

Metallica - 'Unforgiven II'

This song is part of an epic. I'm not really sure if I'm comfortable addressing it without its family, but I'll try to get over it. Maybe later.

Most people consider 'Nothing Else Matters' Metallica's only love song. Not so, my friends.

This song is a love song because it's about connection. About finding someone who can understand where you come from and who you are. And... that's love, isn't it? A big part of it at least.

It's tortured, but it's love. Or it's trying to be.

Metallica - 'Until it Sleeps'

Yeah, I know. Two Metallica songs? Yes. Because that's how I roll.

Basically, take everything I said about 'Unforgiven II' and reapply it.

So tear me open but beware
There's things inside without a care
And the dirt still stains me
So wash me until I'm clean

It grips you so hold me
It stains you so hold me
It hates you so hold me
It holds you so hold me
Until it sleeps

Better Than Ezra - 'Porcelain'

This song is very sad. And actually, it's more of a super-duper-sad-break-up song than a love song. But it still goes on the list. Because I'm the maker of the list, and I say it should. 

Just the other day I felt I had you by a strin
Just the other day I felt we could be everything
VAST - 'Touched'

I can't even tell you how awesome I think this song is. VAST has some pretty great stuff, but this song takes the cake (Is that how the expression goes? If so, why is there cake involved at all with this? Huh. Maybe I'm making it up, because it sounds weird.)

You say that I am too
So much of what you say is true
I'll never find someone
Quite like you again
I'll never find someone quite like you
Like you

The razors and the dying roses plead
I don't leave you alone
The demi-gods and hungry ghosts of God
God knows I'm not at home

I'll never find someone
Quite like you again
I'll never find someone
Quite like you again

I looked into your eyes and saw
A world that does not exist
I looked into your eyes and saw
A world I wish I was in

I'll never find someone
Quite as touched as you
I'll never love someone
Quite the way
That I love you 


And because it can't go anywhere but down from there, we'll stop. With this song:

Love always,

18 September 2011

My Weakness in Mercy He Covers with Power

In the course of last evening, Janice Kapp Perry's 'Holding Hands Around the World' piano accompaniment book came out of the music stash and onto the piano.

Just like every time I hear those songs, I was transported back to the spring/summer of 2004.

If I had to make a quick top-of-the-head-without-quantifying-parameters guess, I'd say that was the happiest period of my childhood.

We got to spend countless hours driving around Utah county with some very awesomely dear friends who were moving back into state (Hi! You remember that? Wasn't that fun?).

We got to watch as hurricane-force winds ripped our back fence up as though it were made of paper. One second it was there, the next it started to buckle, and then it was gone; headed off down the street with the rest of the neighborhood (we never did see our little plastic picnic table again).

(And our house was totally one of the least-damaged houses in the neighborhood. It was a huge storm.)
Clean-up after that was the first time I ever experienced what it feels like when fiberglass gets embedded in your skin. Not cool.

I got to play in a piano ensemble at the county fair.

And lots of other cool things happened. 

Why do I bring this up?

The soundtrack to that summer was 'Holding Hands Around the World'. It was playing almost constantly, through everything we did and everywhere we went.

And playing it tonight brought everything back.

The Lord has blessed me with gospel truth,
I have learned His ways in my early youth.
I will share my light for I know it's right to testify of Him.

The Lord has blessed me with simple faith,
If I pray for help He will give me strength.
I will do His work, I will gladly serve.
I'll follow Him in faith.

The Lord has blessed me to feel His love,
I have heard His promptings and learned to trust.
So in all I do, I'll be faithful to the things I know are true.

The Lord has blessed me in many ways.
With a thankful heart I will sing his praise.
I will raise my voice and proclaim my choice
To follow him in faith.

He has shown the way,
And through all my days
I'll follow Him in faith.
('I'll Follow Him in Faith', by Janice Kapp Perry)

Last night, as I was playing this song, I wondered: 

What happened?

Why are the things that were the easiest then the most difficult now?

Where along the line did I change from the little girl who believed without question to the woman with so many demons to fight?

Mistakes I made years ago come back constantly to haunt me, to taunt me, to remind me that I'm not the person I could be.

The what-ifs are the worst.

What if I had been strong enough?

What if I had been smart enough?

What if, what if, what if.

I know in my head that the what-ifs don't matter; what is does.

I am stronger than I ever thought I could be, more courageous than I ever thought I would be,  and at certain times happier than I ever knew was possible.

Yes, I've made wrong decisions along the way. Decisions that have hurt me. Decisions with consequences that I still work every day to overcome. Yes, I have regrets.

But if I could go back and do everything over again...

I wouldn't change a thing.

Even the worst sins I committed, even the most ridiculous wastes of time, even the opportunities I passed up.

I'd leave it.

Because all those things I've done in my life--they've made me who I am. And I kind of like this version of me. I'm a little mixed up, a little twisted, a little broken-and-pieced-back-together. A little worse for the wear. But holes can be patched, and frayed edges can be hemmed, and duct tape will fix nearly everything prayer can't.

I still battle constantly with the little voices in my head that say things like, You're smarter than that and you know it, and (my favorite), You aren't the person they think you are.

No day is easy. Sometimes it's all I can do to hold on. Sometimes it takes every ounce of self-control I have to stay on the right path.

Sometimes every ounce of my self-control isn't enough.

But I am Ashley.

I backslide sometimes. Sometimes sometimes is more like all the time. I constantly lose things. I have a tendency to be over-bearing when I'm nervous. I can play an unfortunately brilliant game of 'That's What She Said'. I say completely awkward things at inopportune times. I've devised a sort of sick game to see how long I can put things off.

I'm smart. I've got a knack with words, and how they should sound. I have a slightly strange criteria for beauty. I'm kind of a music snob. I give nice-seeming advice. I have an eye for strategy. A little shimmer of idealism comes through the curtain of pragmatics on occasion. 
(This paragraph was supposed to be my good qualities. Heaven help me.)

The Lord has blessed me with simple faith,
If I pray for help He will give me strength.
I will do His work, I will gladly serve.
I'll follow Him in faith.

The Lord has blessed me in many ways.
With a thankful heart I will sing his praise.
I will raise my voice and proclaim my choice
To follow him in faith.
My choice is still to follow in faith.

But faith isn't simple anymore. 

I learned the hard way that the simple faith of a child isn't enough for some situations. There is a power to innocent belief, of course, a purity. And I'll never get that back. What I have now is different. It's a faith born of experience, born of struggle, born of prayer. I have faith now because I know what life is like without it, and it's not worth it. I have faith now because I believe, not because my parents do. The faith I have now is not as shiny as it once was.  But I kind of look at it this way:

Moroni's coat wasn't very shiny, either, after he ripped it up to make the title of liberty. But it was better that way, more useful, more powerful, even if it was distinctly less coat-like.

Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

2 Corinthians 5:7
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Psalms 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Faith requires application. It requires diligence. It requires constant upkeep.

But it's worth it.

It's better this way. More useful, more powerful. Distinctly less like a coat, but why have faith if it's only as good as a coat?

You can't really use coats in the summertime anyway.

And you need faith year-round.

Love always,

P.S. - This is super long. Wow.

12 September 2011


I would post something in remembrance of 9/11; but this post says what I want to say so much better than I could possibly hope to.

Love always,

09 September 2011


Sadly, my biscuits looked nothing like this.
Last night I tried to make biscuits. Tried being the operative word. Instead of actually succeeding, I discovered reason #8 why every human being should live alone before marriage.

Because to subject another person to those biscuits would have been cruel.

I can cook. I can. I'm not awesome, but I can painlessly follow a recipe.

However, following a recipe only works if the recipe is worth following.

As I am now aware (through my studious *research*), there's this little statement included in most biscuit recipes that says something like this: "Keep the dough cold! And handle it as little as possible!" 

When I copied the biscuit recipe out of my mother's cookbook, it didn't say that. (NOTE TO MOM: Your biscuit recipe is faulty. Just a head's up.)

I wish it had, because I'm a kneader. I knead things. It's an enjoyable pastime to me.

But it turns biscuits into rocks. 

Is anyone taking a sea voyage in the next few months? You could take the remaining biscuits with you. They'd make great hardtack. I had to soak (not just dip, soak) them in milk last night to make them edible, and that was only about twenty minutes after cooking them. Imagine the possibilities they'll have in a few weeks, when they have time to petrify.

I could put them in a time capsule for people to dig up in 2564 and they could be all,
"Now [* ahem *], this appears to be some sort of possibly edible substance made from a mixture of overly-processed wheat flour and baking powder and butter. Due to its solid nature, it has likely changed only slightly in the approximate five-and-a-half hundred years since its creation [* ahem *]. They must have had extremely hardy teeth and jaw systems back in those days, would not you agree, Dr. Waltybucket?"
"I do indeed, Dr. McFudge."
My biscuits could be in a museum. How cool would that be?


Love always,

P.S. --If I buried them, at least I wouldn't have to eat them for lunch...

02 September 2011

Life Lately...

...has been very interesting.

 (I have a class down the hall from this sign. Hehe.)

College is cool. It's the only place on Earth where a Randian and a Marxist can have a political conversation without offending each other.

I was in one of those the other day... only somehow we ended up talking about laundry. And about how Locke's social contract related to laundry. And about how laundry connects to Mill's writings on political economy. And about Rousseau's virtuous citizen in relation to laundry.

See? College is cool. Spread the word.

The first college football game of the season was last night.

I don't much care for football, but the marching band was totally spectacular. It takes a serious athlete to be able to dance while wearing a tuba.

They need to make a wearable piano. I wanna be in a marchin' band when I grow up, momma!

And the drunk people... we have to talk about the drunk people.

Dad and I were waiting outside the stadium for my uncle and some other family members. This guy staggers up to us--and I do mean staggered. His friends were holding him up. He was soused. And this was at five-thirty in the afternoon.

Anyway, he staggers up to us and points at my dad and says, "That is a kick-ass beard, man!"

And Dad's like, "Thanks...?"

Then the drunk guy gestures toward me, and he says, "If you grew a kick-ass beard like that, I'd be all over it."

Yeah. I'll get right on that beard-growing right away, buddy.

His friends managed to drag him away from us after that, but... oh, gracious. So funny.

In other news...

I might be developing an addiction to Nineties grunge rock. That's okay.

Love always,

P.S. --Forget politics. I'm going to go work for MUFON.