Here We Go Again

Just typing the title led to a song (have I mentioned that we speak in song around here?), which led to a Google search for a song by the same name, then on to Spotify (do you know how many songs have the title “Here We Go Again” on Spotify?…I don’t either, but the list is long), then back to Google because I could remember a decade. After eight minutes of searching, I found this gem of 90’s video-music-history:

You can thank me later. 🙂

As I have thought about catching up with the blog various times this summer, I chose instead to be engaged in life, in music, in moments. (In fact, the only real writing I’ve been doing for the past several months has been in my journal or on Facebook posts, and even those have been sparse.) I have been singing, though, so I’m going to give you my summer in a few minutes, filled with the songs that have reverberated in my vocal cords while sun has been shining on my face and life has been beautiful and challenging.

Sending all my love into the universe and praying some of it touches your heart and allows you ears to hear and a voice to sing. xoxo

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Driving and Thinking

Driving the speed limit down a main road in the left lane can be dangerous. Someone behind you could flash their lights, and you could switch to the right lane when that lane is clear, and you could feel some sense of “What did I do that was wrong?” or “Why did I need to get out of that driver’s way since we are now both stopped at the same light?” You could even decide to look back at the flashing-lights driver and wonder, or feel angry, or want to pass that driver. You could.

And then you could say a little prayer and ask yourself questions like, “Why do I automatically feel insulted or angry?” or “What could I do to feel differently?”

Then, you could quietly ponder that you have no idea about that driver’s circumstances and that if he or she happened to be a friend or someone you knew well and liked that you would be more understanding. You might find that pride–the kind of pride where you feel like you are better than others–comes from not knowing all their details. Sometimes you don’t even know all your own details, much less all the details of others’ lives. And you could smile and resolve to be more understanding, more loving.

You could do that. And, that experience just might change your life.

Tribute to Love (Songs)

Yep, you know me. I’m a sucker for for love songs.

Well, this year I’ve been in a little panic because I’ve barely had time to breathe, much less formulate a playlist–and even though I have kept a running list of songs throughout the year, nothing was really feeling right to me. I was about to skip this year. I was going to give up (despite the pull toward tradition). And then something happened.

Last night, while driving to a class, I turned on the radio–and a slew of songs old and new flooded my ears. I felt like I was given a gift, a tender mercy, an encouragement, a blessing. Making this playlist is important to me, and what is important to me is important to others–especially those who love me.

I sent a request to a friend for a cover of a song that I love (but it has words that I don’t like to voluntarily listen to), and she sent a text back that she would edit the song for me. It was in my inbox before my class was finished.

And, this morning, I had a little pocket of time to work on it…and, with the help of heaven and the love of sweet friends, I just might make it.

Here are a few songs that made the cut for the official 2014 Love Songs Playlist (in celebration of another year of marriage):


Justin Timberlake – “Not a Bad Thing”


Katy Perry – “Unconditionally”


Tristan Prettyman – “Unconditionally”


Betty Who – “Somebody Loves You”


Goo Goo Dolls – “Come to Me”

Sending love your way…always! ❤

A Salute to Breast Cancer Awareness

I lean her tiny frame against my chest as I see her thin reflection in the bathroom mirror. I know she will not ask for help. Still, she has become so weak, so frail, that even the buttons on her shirt have become difficult for her. I slide my arms around her and begin at the top, pulling, twisting, and releasing each taut button through its stitched hole. As I see her profile in the mirror, I recognize the wear on her face, the shine from the vanity light on her head. I pull her shirt down off her shoulders as the water in the shower streams across the tile, beating rain-like patterns on the glass door. My hands move across her back to unhook her bra, and I slide the straps off her shoulders, remove the prosthesis. I run my hands down her shoulders, across her chest, her collarbone, her space where her breast used to be.

The scar from where she fought like a dragon feels smooth–almost silky–on my fingertips. The new form is different, yes, but beautiful still. Even more beautiful.

I help her climb the small step into the steam of the shower. I look through the glass not yet bathed in water vapor, and I see her again for the first time.

These moments catch me off guard.

I feel like I am the one who should fight this monster for her, but she has had to walk a path through darkness and pain I may never know.

My eyes begin to well, but the tears are not full of loss for her breast, her hair; instead a soft smile covers my face as a tiny drop streams down my cheek. I still have the most important thing to me in the entire world.

I still have her.

(This piece was originally posted here. It remains one of my favorite short pieces that I have written, and the images I see when I read it still touch me. I hope you enjoyed it.)

Love Changes Everything

This morning, when the house was quiet and I was doing some research online, my husband switched on the white-noised vacuum. It interrupted my thoughts. As he approached our computer area, he asked me to move. I pulled my chair away, and the vacuum sucked up the dirt, dust, and crumbs under the computer desk. In an instant, he kissed my forehead as I scooted my chair back into its home…and I beamed. (I think I am still smiling.)

A young boy, a little hesitant, entered a classroom with walls plastered in bright colors. He didn’t know what he would find inside the doors. A teacher greeted him with outstretched arms and a welcoming smile, an opposite experience from his past year. Happiness followed.

A little girl looked up at her mother with uneasy eyes. She knew she had made another mistake to add to her already-too-long-to-enumerate list of mistakes. Instead of a forming a frown, her mother swept the girl into her long arms, encompassing a little body filled with worry and a little heart filled with sorrow. Her mother whispered into her ear, “I love everything about you.” The little girl’s furrowed brow released its hold as if her brain and heart were releasing fear, worry, and regret. Vector-Valentine-Heart-of-Hearts-10-by-DragonArt

photo credit

Love changes everything.

These Are All Just Nice Words Unless…

A friend of mine posted Ashley Judd’s 2012 comments and defense of her “puffiness” today on Facebook. Though I adore Judd’s sentiment, they are only words unless we act.

We’ve had more than two years since she spoke out against misogyny–and what have we done about it?

This may seem like a sidestep, but please bear with me.

My son adores Batman. He has two different Batman costumes, Batman pajamas, and for the last year, he has really, really, really wanted a Batman hoodie.

Well, I found a Batman hoodie about a week ago in a local store. It was his size, and in our price range. Even though I knew he would love it, I hesitated. The hoodie outlined a six-pack abdomen, and I knew it carried a message.

Batman Boys' Fleece Hoodie with Mask-Black
photo credit

 

Do I really want my less-than-eight-year-old walking around thinking he needs to have amazing abs to be a valuable person?

(Hopefully you already know the answer to that question.)

What we might find even more remarkable is that my son is on the high end of the sizes carried. I think the store had them as small as 2T (that’s 2-Toddler…).

And so I begin, on my little corner of the blogosphere, to raise a voice. A voice of action. A voice of love–for ourselves and for future generations. What will you do today to #ShareGoodness? To promote a positive body image–no matter the shape or size? To share acceptance?

Recently, I was assisting a local choir director with sizing choir members for costumes. As I placed a measuring tape around each of their bodies, I felt a tension equalling a sadness in many.

Though the numbers attached to each body varied, they were all beautiful. Each one has a gift to share with the world. Each one is valued and cherished. Each one is important.

I wanted to scream to them from a housetop: YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE VALUED. YOU ARE LOVED–JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

I hope you feel my love for you. I respect you as a fellow human–no matter how you look or what you wear or where you live. I love you.

We don’t need a six-pack (real or through a hoodie) to be someone’s superhero. We do that each day by simply living the lives we are born to live. (No, I’m not going to break out in “Climb Every Mountain“…I’ll let you do that yourself.) 🙂

I hope we can love ourselves and others enough to share this message of acceptance, in whatever sphere we may be. We are amazing, and now is the time to raise our voices. Now is the time to shine.

Weekend Love Songs

I’m ready to celebrate the weekend! (Yes, I know I’m a little early…but I’d appreciate your help with this matter…!)

Here are some love songs for the weekend to get you ready for date night. (What? You haven’t scheduled a sitter? You don’t have plans yet? Get to work!) 🙂