August, 2008

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Shimmering tidbits

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Last night marked the first of 5 shows at the Bluebird that I am attending in a 2-week span. I saw one of my heroes, Lori McKenna – and among others, she performed this song. The bridge gets me every single time. She has such an economy with words – how can someone write so devastatingly?

I have missed every single speech of the Democratic National Convention thus far, and have some catching up to do via the internet. In the meantime, I think that Greta has some amazingly insightful words about the upcoming election. But in case you’re wondering: no, I don’t really want to talk about politics. Not today. Thanks for asking, though.

It’s hard to believe that the time has come, but Micah started preschool this week. If you’re ready to see some of the most achingly adorable pictures of your life, look at my nephews. I am a proud auntie, and can’t wait to see them again when I head to Kansas City in October.

If you want to laugh (of course you do!), please watch this, and this, and this (why does this one never get old?).

My long weekend will be spent in Nashville, but surprisingly, it is filled to capacity. I wish that I was driving to Hilton Head, or flying to Seattle, but instead, I’m making a little extra money hanging out with the German Shepherds again. Maybe I’ll blog over the weekend. Maybe not. One thing is for sure: even though there’s no work, I still have to blog on Monday, because F is for…?

True transformation

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

When people ask me what it was that brought me to Nashville – how I got here – the story sounds very bohemian and romantic. I was following a dream, I sold everything that I owned, I lived a nomadic existence for 4 months, I drove all over the country, I landed here without a penny to my name, armed with nothing but a broken heart and a Martin guitar.

I’ll admit that even I bought into the rosy mystique of it all, and I could not wait to arrive here in Nashville completely anonymously. I had the rare chance to reinvent myself, and to become whoever I wanted to be. No longer would I need to be known as “Annie Parsons – pastor’s daughter,” or “Annie Parsons – worship leader at UPC,” or “Annie Parsons – awkward girl who says really embarrassing things,” or “Annie Parsons – used to date so-and-so,” or “Annie Parsons – didn’t she drink too much at that wedding?”

I could change my name. I could be “Annie Parsons – songwriter,” or “Annie Parsons – callously courageous,” or “Annie Parsons – never deals with insecurity,” or “Annie Parsons – sparkly wonder child that everyone loves and adores, and we TOTALLY need to invite her to our party!” I could wriggle out of that old skin that was feeling so heavy and ugly, and emerge something new and exciting and different. I could be like Cinderella, and magically transform into the beautiful soul I’ve always hoped I might be – and won’t they all be amazed?

The truth is far from glamorous. The truth is that I arrived in a puddle of tears. The truth is that it’s been lonely and hard. The truth is that even as I watch my Facebook friend-count grow with every new person I encounter, I am so tired of meeting new people. The truth is that I wonder if I’d be better off back in Seattle. The truth is that I’m still just as introverted as I ever was. The truth is that I deal with all the same stuff: insecurity, regretful words, body image issues, pessimism, awkward moments, selfishness and pride, lack of discipline, empty bank account.

Different town, same girl.

On my own, I am stuck in the same old patterns that I’ve always dealt with. I am facing the familiar struggles with no real hope of anything changing. I am just me, just Annie, and what could I possibly do to tear down the heavy, solid walls of “what has always been” and start over – become something new?

Different town, same girl. But luckily, different town, same God.

And lately, I have been learning that God can take anything – loaves and fish, two coins given by a destitute widow, a barren womb in Sarah, a swindling tax collector named Zacchaeus, a rugged cross, and yes, even me – and transform it into something worthwhile, something big, something of consequence.

All I have to say is “yes.”

Prescription sleep aid commercials: a review

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Lunesta:
A gigantic glowing moth flies through your open bedroom window and hovers over your face, its gently-beating wings sprinkling sparkly, magical moth-dust and lulling you into a peaceful slumber. “A great tomorrow starts tonight.”

Rozerem:
During a sleepless night, you wander out to find Abraham Lincoln and a fork-wielding beaver sitting at your kitchen table. They want to play chess and talk about your stress at work. An astronaut is fixing food at the counter. “Your dreams miss you.”

Ambien CR:
A shrill midnight phone call rouses you from your bed, but no one is on the other end. When you silently and suspiciously pull back the curtains and look out your window to the dark, deserted street below, you see the culprit: bathed in the glow of a street lamp, a rooster at a pay phone. “Silence your rooster.”

Basic items I am grateful someone invented:

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Fingernail clippers
Coat hangers
Antihistamines
Scissors
Vaseline
Colanders
Tweezers
Calculators
Floss
Ice cube trays
Band-Aids
Kleenex
Cups

E is for eHarmony

Monday, August 25th, 2008

This is a risky topic. It makes me want to throw up just thinking of you all reading about this subject in association with my name – especially since now you can probably google “is Annie Parsons on eHarmony?” Nevertheless, I want to talk about internet dating.

Not necessarily FOR ME. Just IN GENERAL.

Thoughts? Comments? Good idea? Bad idea? Worthwhile? Desperate? Genius?

And JUST FOR THE RECORD, I am not thinking about signing up, so don’t go looking for my profile on Match.com – although, let’s be honest, I could probably throw together a riveting profile [*rolleyes*, for all of you literalists out there]. I’m just curious to know what you, my esteemed readers, think of the concept. I’m intrigued by your thoughts, in the same way I might be if I asked about, say, the best way to barbecue a pork chop. Not something I’m looking to do anytime in the foreseeable future, but who knows, WHAT ABOUT SOMEDAY?

So. Opinions?

By the way, I have it on good authority – mine – that I have some of the coolest, smartest, most date-worthy blog readers in the land, so just think: your thoughts and comments could help contribute to what might become the internet’s PREMIER source of wisdom about internet dating (i.e. the comment section of this blog entry). Together, we can change the world… wide web.

Who I’m hanging out with this weekend

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008


Vicious? from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

And this is AFTER we’ve become “friends.”

I won’t lie: this is a little bit frightening. But I’m a PARSONS, damn it. I’m from a long line of dog wranglers, and I’m going to make good Christians out of these German Shepherds if it’s the last thing I do.

But it very well might be the last thing I do.

Publicizing my goals

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

I woke up late again. Therefore, it is a “lick my palms and smooth my hair in my reflection in the microwave door” kind of morning. I suspect that whenever I think back and remember working an 8-5 desk job in Nashville, the words “not” and “cute” will be associated with my appearance. It’s just too early.

I’m taking a wee break from playing writer’s nights in order to work on my guitar skills. Being self-taught up to this point, I decided that lessons would be a worthy investment, so I had my first guitar lesson last night. I had visions of walking in, telling my teacher exactly what I wanted to learn, and walking out Slash – but of course, it doesn’t work that way. I have been doing music long enough to know that you have to start with the basics in order to have the capacity to improvise or extemporize or appear effortlessly versatile – and never having gotten the basics in the beginning, I have a lot of back-tracking to do.

But mixed in with the C-scales and proper posture and music theory, there is a bright and shining light. At some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future, I will be flawlessly playing the opening lick to “Pretty Woman.”

Can you say party trick?

I spent two hours practicing last night, reminded of the hopeful, burgeoning feeling that used to occur for me at the beginning of each school year. A fresh start! A new resolve! The possibilities! I’m going to master this! Nothing can stop me! I am disciplined! I am capable! “This is my nooooooow…!”

I wish that I could bottle that feeling. Eventually, it always fades, and I fall back into the darkness of passivity and lethargy. It’s why I have never yet run a half-marathon – a long-time goal of mine – it just seems too hard. Too far. Too much. I honestly do not believe that I can do it.

Which is why I have to do it.

Consider this my formal announcement that on April 25, 2009, I will be running the Country Music Half-Marathon. If I say it on the blog, then I have to do it, right? And this gives me plenty of time to, you know, become a runner.

And hopefully before that, a “Pretty Woman” guitar player.

Perfect fit

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

In her memoir “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert succinctly defines the human condition as simply “the heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment.”

Any attempt that I throw at happiness will eventually fade. No amount of money, power, fame, clout, success, wit, possessions, or H-O-double-T hottness is going to be enough to fulfill that eternally aching place in my spirit. I know that on my own, I cannot make and keep myself content – it’s impossible.

But I thought I would try, anyway.

Behold! My new shoes!

The picture shows the color to be greyish, but trust me, these babies are teal. As soon as I set eyes on these gems, I thought, “Now, those are Annie Shoes if I’ve ever seen them.” And since I had a gift card given to me on my birthday, they were free (thanks, Becca!).

Whoever said that you can’t buy happiness has obviously never been to Target.

Again: "Distract me from myself"

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

I recently ran across Paul Bradshaw’s 2006 interview with Rick Warren, the best-selling author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and a pastor at Saddleback Church in Orange County. Typically, I’m very suspicious of the Christian “it” celebrities and their latest-and-greatest books – or, as my dad calls it, “pablum” (fantastic word – if you don’t know it, look it up… and then use it in a sentence). But I have to admit that I have a hard time finding a whole lot of fault with Rick Warren. There is much to respect about the man, including his role as facilitator for last weekend’s interviews with Barack Obama and John McCain.

Much of what Warren said in this interview from 2 years ago jumped out at me. I think you should read it – I think everyone should read it. Here’s an excerpt:

Life is a series of problems: either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than he is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life: the goal is to grow in character, in Christ-likeness.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you got to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is “my problem, my issues, my pain.”

But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. (For the entire interview, go here.)

We live in a self-centered culture, and my eyes are being opened more and more every day to my own glaring obsession with myself. I look out for my own well-being, and think about my own needs, and have a journal and a calendar and a prayer life and a thought life and conversations related solely to myself. But if I see the meaning and purpose of life simply “to be happy” or “to enjoy myself,” then I am missing the point.

Life gains significance only when we give ourselves away.

And for a beautiful illustration of this, rent “Bella” and watch it tonight.

By the way…

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

… D is also for decisions, discernment, and distraction.

Any of you who have been following this blog for awhile know that I struggle with “knowing” if I am making the right decisions in my life. I continually question whether or not I’m in the right place, moving in the right direction, meeting the right people, pursuing the right things, giving my attention to the right goals, and generally, being the right version of Annie.

These are all good questions, and hard questions, and questions worth asking. But. I tend to stress and spiral out of control with these concerns, rather than doing what it is that I should do from the very beginning, which is asking God for discernment. And so in recent weeks, I have devoted myself to the discipline of opening myself up through prayer, and presenting these questions to God. It’s as uncomplicated as that. I tell God exactly what is on my mind, and ask him for direction.

And through a sermon that I recently heard in Kansas City, I was challenged to include the simple prayer, “God, distract me from myself.”

I suspect that the answers to my quest for meaning and purpose lie somewhere within that simple prayer, and that the path might look very different than what I have imagined.