Just trying to catch up on a few items (I’ve even been doing my dishes…), and the blog is one space I have been neglecting.
After some challenging weeks, and weeks, and more weeks, I am feeling the generous peace that I crave and enjoying some (much needed) sleep and a few quiet hours. (Bouncing back and forth between the demands of playing extrovert while craving the life of an introvert has been challenging.) Today I want to share a few songs that make me smile or strengthen me on those hard days (and since today is Monday…well, let’s get to the music).
This first song has been a long-time favorite. Since I was a child, my musically gifted mother exposed me to melodies more diverse than I could list on several blog posts. One of the constants during those years was the three-octave range of Barbara Streisand. This song is one of my favorites from her film Yentl, a story about a woman so devoted to learning that she is willing to sacrifice her womanhood to continue her quest for knowledge after her father’s death.
The next song has been my companion in seeking positivity during these last several weeks. I’ve been trying to count blessings instead of sheep (though this piece is Bernstein instead of Berlin).
This last song is just for fun–a love song that has become a tether to my amazing husband (who, often–almost always–has held me through my crazy-busy moments). I can’t say what I feel better than a couple of cute one-liners by Ed Sheeran in this song.
So, there you have some fun music for this glorious Monday. As always, sending love and light your way. ❤
The first four lines of T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land read:
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
As April has closed and May stands on our doorstep, that first line has been bouncing around my brain for many of the last thirty days.
But this year, for me, April has been a month of amazingness: glorious gratitude, playful positivity, brilliant blessings, vibrant hues, and succulent sunshine. Now, I’m wondering what is to come with this first day of May….
What does this month bring for you?
Today I am feeling overwhelmed with joy…and I wanted to pass some along in your direction.
I have a place to sleep, and it’s filled with people I love.
My kiddos don’t notice if I cut my hair, much less if I “do” it or put on any make-up. They don’t want me airbrushed in photos. They love me for who I am.
My husband is one of the most patient men on the planet. I’m convinced. Don’t try to dissuade me. We’ve stood together, ready to tackle the ups and downs of life for many years–and I’m looking forward to an eternity of more.
I have a cupboard full of food, cabinets overflowing with pans, and a recipe box stuffed with the roadmaps to create our favorite foods. Plus, if I don’t feel like cooking, I have frozen pizza in my freezer or a car with gas to grab take-out.
I have amazing friends. Need I say more?
I can listen to favorite songs on demand. Wow. That is so cool.
(See the Spotify Playlist in the sidebar.)
Clean running water, warm showers, and painting my toe nails rock my day. 🙂
I can smile…anytime. Anywhere.
What are your favorite blessings right now? How do you celebrate gratitude in your everyday living?
Jesse Owens’ words strike a chord of truth. What battles are you fighting within yourself? Maybe you struggle with making ends meet, as Jesse Owens did later in life. (For a brief biography on Jesse Owens, watch here.) Maybe you find you are not living up to your potential. Maybe you feel threatened by someone. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. Maybe you are dealing with loss that others have forgotten.
As you consider the invisible battles you fight, please be aware that others around you are fighting their own invisible battles.
Everyone struggles. Struggling is part of life, and–as we work through our struggles, we become stronger.
Still, the struggles are hard. They can seem never-ending.
I heard recently of a middle school student who chose to take his own life due to the weight of his invisible battles. I was saddened by his decision to take his precious, young life from this world.
This morning, I heard of a dear friend’s passing following a three-year battle with cancer. She was an angel to many–always concerned with strengthening and uplifting others. Personally, she supported me with a listening ear and a loving heart through my busy and exhaustive years of child-bearing. I mourn for the loss of the beauty she brought into the world and am grateful for the joy that I feel because she was part of my life. She seemed to be sensitive to those who were fighting invisible battles themselves, lending a helping hand even when she wasn’t well herself.
Working through our own invisible battles–whatever they may be–allows us to grow from our struggles. Let us remember to have hope, to carry on, and to count our blessings. Though we may struggle, we can find the supporting hand of others to help us. We can reach out to help, which lightens our own loads that we carry. We can be honest with ourselves and others regarding the way we feel.
As we face and work to win our invisible battles, we will be strengthened with a victory more precious than gold medals, more powerful than fame, more valuable than anything monetary.
We will feel whole.
I have a nasty cold. I don’t know how I could get a cold, with all the sunshine and warmth around me, but I have a cold. I didn’t ask for it, I promise. In fact, I didn’t kiss my handsome husband for over a week in pursuit of NOT getting a cold. What a loss. 😦
Anyway, one of the blessings that comes with having a cold is the need (but not always the ability) to rest while recouping. Well, I haven’t had that luxury too much over the past few weeks, but one day not too long ago I did take a few minutes to catch up on some cuddling with my (gasp–almost school-age) little guy while watching some Pride and Prejudice (2005). I was struck this go-round with the scene when Elizabeth is pleading with her father for permission to marry Mr. Darcy. She talks about how she was wrong and how she really does love him (touching, right?). What I loved about this moment was not her tribute to his character or her admission of her own pride but the fact that nothing went as Lizzie planned, yet she still got all she wanted–marriage to a man she loved while maintaining her own identity–with even “more fine carriages than Jane [would have marrying Mr. Bingley].”
I think that’s where I am.
In my life, with all the plans I could make (though I do continue to set goals and achieve them at times), I’m not prepared for all the twists and turns that have come my way. Still, I am happy. I have more than enough and to spare for myself and my family (& I can say that even while suffering through this heinous cold that woke me up before 5 a.m. in search of cold medicine and VapoRub more than once last week). So, hooray for a crazy cold! Hooray for being able to think for ourselves and choose what we want out of life! Hooray for counting blessings and maintaining positive attitudes! Hooray for being me, today, in a place I could’ve never imagined, but where I have all I need and most everything I could want.
So, I didn’t get to watch any “chick flicks” during Valentine’s week…in fact, I’ve been on a movie-watching hiatus for the last several weeks (except what I end up viewing with my little people)…& so, after my workout this morning, I thought, “I’m going to watch Shall We Dance? before I have to take it back to the library this week.” Then, I remembered the scene when Richard Gere’s character says to his wife (as he’s confessing why he didn’t tell her about his dancing lessons) something about feeling guilty for being too happy.
Have you seen this film? Here is the love song played over a scene toward the end of it….
I have seen the movie several times, not just because I love the dancing (which I do), and not just because I love the love song in it (which I do), but because his words during that scene are meaningful to me.
I have been blessed repeatedly in my life…not that my life has been “perfect” (is anyone’s?)…I’ve had my share of troubles and adversities…but my joys have been sweet and my blessings have been many…and sometimes, I do feel a little guilty for wanting to be a little happier…to change something in my life for the better.
Am I alone?
When I think of all that I’ve been able to accomplish in my (relatively) short life, I wonder if I should be able to want anything more…if wanting more is right…if wanting more is good….
I’m not talking about things, mind you; I’m talking about accomplishing goals–like publishing a novel or taking a certain trip with certain loved ones or raising my children to be well-adjusted, happy, responsible citizens. Sometimes I think I don’t deserve any more happiness…like I’ve had my allotted share and I don’t deserve any more. Maybe I need to take some dancing lessons…?
As I approach the dashboard of my blog to write this Monday morning, my heart is (honestly) a little heavy. I know I can sit here and recount the conversations of the weekend and how we are all really no less safe than we were four days ago…but we may feel like we are. I know I can ignore what I am feeling, as well, and get lost in some editing or fiction writing or a book or movie. I also know that I can take my advice from Friday (which I posted before the news hit) and count my blessings. I think I will choose the last.
(I would be dishonest to say that I didn’t hug my little ones a little tighter before they left my door this morning, though.)
I am so very blessed in my life. Currently, I live in a more-than-ample house with a kitchen I adore using. I have beautiful, insightful children who impart wisdom to me daily. I have a handsome husband who loves me in spite of my multitude of flaws, shortcomings, and occasional sadness over situations I cannot control. I was raised by good parents. I have amazing friends and family members. I can rock heels. (And, last week, I even found brown boots…but that is another story!)
Somehow choosing to focus on the vast blessings before me helps my heart feel a little lighter. I will try to choose happiness instead of feeding the negative feelings bouncing around my head of fear and uncertainty. I will count a few more blessings along my path today…and among them will be you, my dear readers. 🙂
Thanks for listening…and reading. I appreciate you more than you know.
Okay, so before I get back to posting some fiction that is bouncing around my brain (literally–sometimes it hurts until I get it out and down through my little fingers which type the images through words onto a screen)…I just want to take a moment to encourage each of us to look around whatever setting in which we find ourselves.
What do we see?
I see a screen (which is a blessing itself as it allows me to communicate with the world from my tiny little desk). I see windows and sunlight streaming in through them, which produces Vitamin D and boosts endorphin levels. I see a photo of a child that once grew inside me which brings back fond memories. I see Kleenex for when my nose runs. I see Germ-X, which I can use to clean my hands after I use the Kleenex. I see artwork of children I love, a table where people sit to eat together and exchange ideas through conversation. I see a kitchen filled with memories of making sweets, breads, and dinners, and images of my family around the counter making plates of goodies to take to friends and neighbors.
What do you see?
Look a little deeper.
The blessings are all around us, if only we stop, look, and listen.
Hope you have a glorious weekend, my dear blog friends! I’ll catch up with you on Monday!
(photo copyright Sarah Knight Photography)