Friday, November 9, 2018

Good Music and An Interview! (7QT)

This past week I have been working on a playlist. Very excited to share it with you, along with my liner notes.  WHEEE..... I can't help my passion when it comes to a few things in life. Where writing and music overlap, you absolutely have my heart.  Below that, we have Foster/ Adoptive Parents The Williams' Reflection on the Drug Culture and working with special needs children in a foster home situation.



 Bob Dylan- Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather
This is definitely a classic, and the tune and lyrics elevate it to rockstar status.  I feel like there are some really good Dylan covers out there, but this needs to be left alone.

Over the Rhine- Ohio
This expertly talented duo brings emotion to a time and place.  I have seen this band perform live more times than anyone else, other than Ben Folds! (And I've seen him live seven times!)

The Old 97's- Designs on You
This song resonated with me when I found it, via recommendations on Spotify.  A classic crush- infatuation scenario.

The Smith's- Frankly Mr. Shankly
Longtime fan of this band and song. Oh the MEMORIES

Fleet Foxes- The Cascades
This is actually an instrumental song, and it's from one of my longtime favorite bands.  I just love it.

M. Ward- Let's Dance
I was fortunate to see M. Ward in concert at a free show in NYC before She and Him even existed.  I knew he was under appreciated at the time, and my hunch proved true!

Blind Pilot- 3 Rounds and a Sound
Funnily enough, I have just discovered this Portland indie band recently, but my admiration has bloomed.  Blind Pilot earns the title of "can't stop thinking about you." So many good songs from this band.i

Darlingside- Singularity
To be brutally honest, the first listen made me think of a pretentious Sufjan Stevens meets Hey Marseilles. I fell hard in love with this song "Singularity" after contemplating the Sci-Fi inspired  lyrics. Honestly, they are very (warning: using this word now),... sexy and I don't know which one of the band members wrote them, but read somewhere they all do. ah, well....  The tune and magnificent and unexpected arrangement just sealed the deal for me. haha.

The Killers- Romeo and Juliet
This cover of an Indigo Girls song came on my Spotify radio at a time when I was really obsessed with reading and the library and nothing else could quell my depressive funk. I had a crush on the library and it was all I wanted to do and I didn't ever want to come home. I was SAD.  This song cured it so much for me.  These lyrics express more in one line than most can express in an entire paragraph.

Mipso- Do You Want Me?
My long over due love letter: I found you on youtube about a year ago,   I fell in love with this video of Bad Penny then saw you were listed in Rolling Stone about the same time you were on my radar. I then saw your sweet UNC Chapel Hill band in concert at the 3 Sister Bluegrass Festival in Chattanooga, and you were all cuter than I expected you to be. You subsequently came out with this video Call Your Girlfriend, and I was hooked! For life! I hope all of my friends, family, and blog readers go forth and buy/stream/download all of your music because now I'm ecstatic. To quote my brother after seeing you live "Libby never misses a note, and every song has more hooks than you expect." I'm especially partial to a hot and sexy bluegrass frontman (who can play the guitar!).  Also, love the mandolin (my Dad plays bluegrass mandolin, guitar, and harmonica- excellent picking).  I get you.  do you get me?

Anna Leone- Into the Cold
I discovered this Scandinavian artist well over a year ago, and I fell in love with a few of her songs. This is a good one.  She is so beautiful as well!  Please check her out if you don't mind.

Regina Spektor- The Sword and the Pen
When I'm feeling absolutely nothing, I turn on anti-folk artist  Regina Spektor, and she gets me.  My heart strings, my dry emotional LANDSCAPE. She is sort of the interpreter of maladies for much of my life. She is especially good to listen to when writing.  Writing fiction, especially. Love her.

Ok Go- Oh Lately It's So Quiet
Again, I got hooked to this song because of the lyrics. "Who's house are you haunting tonight?" So good!        :)

Modest Mouse- Night on the Sun
I love it when, like Passenger, I fall in love with one song from a band, then I am pleasantly surprised that many of their other songs are just as good. That was the case with this song.

Death Cab for Cutie- Crooked Teeth
Death Cab rocked my world in college. I love many of their songs, and this is a good throwback to a better (ish) time in Pop/Rock/indie (their early stuff) music.  I screamed through a concert of their's in LA because let me tell you Benjamin Gibbard held a candle to Sufjan Stevens

The White Stripes- I Want to Be the Boy to Warm Your Mother
Stephen has been trying to get me into the White Stripes for a long time. I finally fell headlong into love when I heard this! Musicality and arrangement top-notch.

The Airborne Toxic Event- Sometime Around Midnight
Here is an example of a song I thought was coming from some epic famous band like U2 or The Cure.  When I sat down and contemplated it, I couldn't believe I had never heard of this band! So good.

Regina Spektor- Somedays
Phenomenal lyricist.  Delivery is everything. Emotion another level.

Portugal. the Man- So Young
My heart explodes for this song.  I have probably listened to it 1,000 times since the beginning of this Summer.

Anna Leone- My Soul I
This is my favorite song by Anna Leone, Scandanavian, and specifically Swedish, artist extraordinaire.

Belle and Sebastian- Piazza, New York Catcher
This song played on repeat, everyday forever.

Bright Eyes- First Day of My Life
Because, yes.  Always.


Now, I want to include this interview I set up with my parents, to discuss the drug culture in our country today and its effect on recent generations. I was hoping to publish this as a part of the #write31days challenge, but I also think the timing of this is good as well. I loved hearing their answers, and I hope you will find this as interesting as I did.  My parents Wendy and Henry Williams have had over 35 foster children, and they adopted one of them.  They are experts on this topic, as my Dad is also a physician with decades of experience, as well as a Masters in Bioethics.

1. What is is like to adopt a child with special needs?

It offers an entirely new dimension for family life.
It helps family members learn and develop empathy for one who may lack certain things that others take for granted, who requires new kinds of effort in raising the child.
Adopting or fostering is a mission project that a family can do together.
Family members learn ways to care for, spend time with the new child.
Doing interim foster care teaches a family how to celebrate and how to grieve, such as when a child has to leave and is loved.
Bonding is needed and often comes through the family's combined efforts. New experiences come as a result of the child's personality and interests. For example, a 'need for speed' or just movement, might get the family into dirt bikes, jet ski, four wheeling, new sports actives, etc. Family experiences can be shared with other families, especially those who have taken on adopted children of their own; activities are done tighter and everybody learns new perspectives. It is challenging.

A special needs child may take more time and energy than other kids in the family, sometimes at their expense. Special medical care may be needed, anything from heart surgery to cleft palate repair to physical therapy, leg braces, etc.  

Behavior may be a problem- erratic, oppositional-defiant, negativity, problems with bonding, school issues- finding the right school, trying to homeschool, IEP's (individual education plan for kids with learning differences).  A huge factor to consider is that adoption and foster care can help provide alternatives to abortion which is a holocaust in need of remedy.

Our own family has been impacted by nieces and nephews that were adopted for special need situation. We are thankful for the opportunity to see these kids grow up in Christian homes.

2. How have drugs influenced children taken into the home?

This question brings up several possible scenarios.  One is drug exposure in utero, such as alcohol or cocaine. Fetal alcohol syndrome can cause delayed development, mental retardation, or learning differences, behavior issues.  Cocaine can lead to these issues plus irritability, poor impulse control, ADHD, emotional ups and downs. The problems can be lifetime issues.

Prescription drugs are often used to help with some of the above mentioned issues. However they may not work as well, say in a cocaine exposed child as they do in a typical ADHD child. Sometimes multiple drug regimens are used with limited success.  Drugs may have paradoxical effects, as when Benadryl given for allergy or to try to help with sleep or sleepiness caused severe irritability. Seizures may be more likely to occur if certain drug exposures are present.

The drug culture around us today is ominous and deadly. Opioid drug use has become very prevalent, and every year thousands of young people die of drug overdoses, usually from opioids like heroin and oxycodone.  These drugs are additive and cause desperate drug-seeking behavior in teenagers and adults who have exposure for any length of time to them.

Doctors 10-15 years ago were encouraged to be more liberal in treating pain, drug companies promoted narcotics, and heroin from Mexico was widely distributed and was relatively cheap compared to some prescription narcotics.  The pendulum is swinging back now in term of physician attitudes as reins are being applied to this epidemic.

3. How has the drug culture influenced certain generations?

This would be a fascinating and complex history to explore.  Alcohol was the drug of choice of a previous generation. Overuse and alcoholism have devastated individuals and families. The 1960's saw a new way of drug use and freer attitudes toward illicit drug use, from marijuana to hallucinogens to cocaine, ecstasy, and opioids.  Today the most deadly drugs are opioids (narcotics), and these probably are having the most negative impact on families.  Adopted children and especially those in foster care from various difficult backgrounds may be more susceptible to problems related to these drugs.

4. What are some repercussions of the drug culture?
Families in Crisis
Crime (often related to addiction and drug-seeking) and imprisonment
Drug seeking
Other mental/emotional disorders
Economic ruin
Rebellion, leaving home, homelessness

5. Do you have advice for people interested in fostering children, with reflections on drug issues?

Adoption and foster care are sorely needed.
Many foster home situations are not good, and kids need an alternative
Get informed as well as possible. Go to websites on adoption, foster care, drug issues. is an excellent resource. Know what to expect! 
Look into "Safe Families" concept that Bethany sponsors. 
Government resources like Health and Human Services can be checked. Our local HHS office was very helpful in offering educational classes and opportunities for foster care, and learning what to expect in special needs children.  
Taking in sibling groups as well as individual children was considered. Learning about this can help a family see its own limitations and find the right fit. Talk to your other kids about it. Spouses need to be on the same page before diving in. Join or form a support group.  PRAY!

linking up with Kelly!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Culture Tuesday: The Haunting of Hill House VS Stranger Things

While I enjoy our family's Netflix subscription, I am very much not into the horror genre, therefore it is somewhat odd that I'm "going there" today, but here I go!  I have not seen many of the classics of the 80's and 90's that fall into this category.  I have seen one (count it ONE) zombie movie-- Shaun of the Dead-- and one (count it ONE) episode of The Walking Dead.  To say I'm grossed out easily is an understatement and I really don't like to be scared.

Furthermore, despite his popularity, Stephen King made me shudder so much I swore him off after the movie The Green Mile.  I do not feel safe with him, so leave me to Flannery O'Connor all day for the grotesque, and worldview.  I do not need to read any more of King's novels. I'm goo. HOWEVER, when it comes to entertainment, I have seen and appreciate E.T., The Goonies, and Star Wars, so I can appreciate Stranger Things.

Today I'm going to share why --as probably most people in the world will agree-- Stranger Things is far superior to The Haunting of Hill House.

Read on if a) You don't mind spoilers! or b) You never plan to watch these shows! :)  or c) You've already seen them.

I'm going to make quick commentary of genre, characters, themes, and the conclusion of each respective show.  Here we go!


Thriller vs. Genre-bending Mystery

The Haunting of Hill house creeped me out and made me feel thoroughly unsafe.  I would characterize this scary story as ICKY.  From dead monsters, to creepy eyeless characters, to post-autopsy, there are things I will never be able to unsee, and therefore I would never rewatch this show.  Meanwhile, I have been rewatching Stranger Things-- the whole first season recently-- and somewhat to my surprise, it has been absolutely delightful.  The thing is, (and Stephen helped me put my finger on this) Stranger Things really doesn't fit into the horror genre. It is more of a mystery thriller with elements of horror, by design but not by default.  Ultimately, it crosses over into pop instead of crap!


 Children vs. Tweens

The characters in Stranger Things are a DELIGHTFUL (there's that word again) throw-back to The Goonies and I dearly love them for it.  The Duffer brothers really nailed a time and place - and instead of making you feel cheated, or underwhelmed, you feel SO WARMLY NOSTALGIC for another time.  All of the hallmarks of that era of pre-cell-phone comes back and you leave feeling enchanted. The only way to describe the feeling is to remember vividly this scene from E.T. Eleven (played so brilliantly by Millie Bobbie Brown) that elevates the show from clever to classic. Meanwhile The Haunting of HH goes between the main characters as young children and adults. They play on the trope typical in horror of innocent children doing STUPID things in effort to be brave and then totally creeping the viewer out.


Icky tactics vs.  Fighting Evil

While The Haunting of HH is full of icky scare tactics like dead bodies and creepy monsters and over-the-top haunted-mansion tropes, Stranger Things has a definable evil, and it is the thing we are all fighting against. The shadow monster, the demagorgon: together the kids have to figure out what the Upside Down is and who/what/where/why the monster is trying to destroy them. There is a camaraderie as the kids -often cheerfully and with a tremendously kind demeanor toward one another- rescue their friend and fight against it, using ingenuity and their sweet, complicated plans.

Conclusion of the shows

Fear baggage vs. Fighting a real threat together

I love how the ST characters work together and are slowly but simultaneously figuring out what the Upside Down is all about.  While the characters in The Haunting are fighting their own baggage, in seemingly lost and sinful ways, the kids in ST fight a real threat together and find unity. I love how well the Duffer brothers have mined the gold of this age grouP!!  Scars vs. courageous acts.

My Conclusion

Dread vs. Delight

As I said I am purely enchanted by the music, the pal-feeling you get, and the genuine script of ST. The difference, ultimately, is the memory of a time and place, rather than the trauma of a time and place. I felt dread and disdain from The Haunting of HH.  As I wrap up and close, may you find the courage of the children to be something that ultimately takes you to a higher place.  Rather than pity, may you yourself be elevated by the kindness, to go forth and make your own magical creative piece.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Project October Recap~ in case you missed it {7QT}

Hey friends!

The month of October has been intense! As we have been preparing for the fun festivities of Halloween, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day for a well-rounded Hallowtide, I have also been trying to fit in my monthly reading, as well as a rigorous blogging schedule.  My reading hasn't been as flourishific as I would have hoped, but I have been checking in on Goodreads.  I am still clocking in for my book-a-week challenge over there, so check out my 2018 Reading Challenge, and come be a Goodreads friend!!
Novemeber reads

From last month's stack, I got through and was able to enjoy Homegoing by Yya Ngasi, Into the Water,  and some of The Book Thief- about 200 pgs. worth so I will count it on GR.  I ultimately decided it wasn't for me, but if you liked it, please tell me why.

If you missed it, I have been writing a blog post everyday for the past moth!   In the event that you were unable to read any of my posts which I put together in effort to support and participate the #write31days challenge (which I learned is in its last year!),  I wanted to share the seven most popular posts from my #write31days challenge.  Here they are, in order of least popular to most popular.

TV review: The Good Place

Church Scandal and Theological Awareness

Book Review: Born a Crime

Finding Vulnerability in Podcast Form

3 Books I Loved and 1 I Disliked

A Little Bit About Me

Becoming an Influencer and Reader

And bonus: A very popular post but also my favorite post of this month
How Faith is Like a Garden

Thanks for taking this incredible journey with me! I appreciate you more and more each day.  Most of my posts had around 30 hits, but the ones above had at least 75-100.


You know me and my love for all things fried and spicy.  After some thinking, I have decided that in the future, Tuesdays will be culture, Fridays will be a check-in with the world and Kelly, and Sundays will be quotations. Thanks for sticking around thus far.

linking up with Kelly