Advice from Elphaba

This morning, I woke up with this sentence on repeat in my mind:

“Don’t lose sight of who you are.”

That line is from the song “I’m Not That Girl” from the musical Wicked. It’s taken entirely out of context here, but that message was one I needed today.

For the last several weeks I have been bogged down, trudging through the unusual monotonies of life. I have kept up with the demands of eight schedules, school assignments for seven, and various other church and community-related activities. But, I have not been myself.

I know, because last fall, I was not myself. And I have felt that lost feeling again.

At one point this week, I decided I was finished with feeling that way. I broke out my toolbox of coping skills: more diligent scripture study, reaching out to friends, more fervent prayer, yoga, Temple attendance, running, and embracing my love of music (thus the song running through my head this morning). In all these moments, I felt like I was cracking open a window, allowing just a bit of fresh air and sunlight into the tired room of my soul.

But I had practically given up something that is an integral part of who I am. I almost stopped writing.

This morning, as I pondered that singular line from a most-beloved musical, I felt the message resounding in my brain.

“Don’t lose sight of who you are.”

I have to write. It is healing. Supporting. It is my sanity.

I created a poem once that begins with these words, “I was born to write a song.” Not just any song–but a song of words, woven with care. A musical.

So, I’m back to my desktop today, trying to remember, recall, reenvision through my own revisions the novel that is part of who I am.

And I am singing.

It’s that time of year…

(Note:  I have hesitated in posting this, because I am not looking for charity or a hand-out for Christmas. Please do not misinterpret this post. Thank you.)

We’ve had some experiences this year that have stretched our budget beyond normal borders–and yet, I don’t feel a sense of suffering this time of year. (I have, however, been bothered with seemingly unending emails for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and posts on websites for giveaways and contests to win a certain amount of PayPal or gift card cash because, as one boasted this week, “Who couldn’t use an extra $500 this time of year?”). What???

If those who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, or anything else this time of year are focused on cash, spending, getting, and receiving, isn’t something missing? Aren’t several things missing? (Don’t get me wrong–I’m all for a good deal, for living within means, and for smart spending–but this is getting ridiculous.)

Last week, as a family, we decided to draw names so each person in our home could give and receive a little something to celebrate Christmas.  As we spoke, we talked about the many blessings we have received this year, among them the gift of life for a child who might have died and the gift of sight for a husband and father who might have otherwise been blind. Our finances have stretched to pay for such services, and we are grateful for the ability to do so. And, while I will not find myself in a typical posture shopping on Amazon or reading reviews about the best winter boots or Lego sets, I am at peace.

Let me reiterate: I am at peace. Without the shopping, spending, stress of wondering and waiting to see if I got the “just right” present. All of that has been eliminated. And I’ve made room for other things I enjoy about the holidays–like singing. I will be singing tomorrow at a Christmas brunch and in a choir for Christmas services–and I will attend concerts for my children. And we will bake–sugar cookies (if I can find my cookie cutters) and other treats and dip chocolate pretzels and peanut butter balls.

And maybe, just maybe, this will be our best Christmas yet.

 

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

Monday Music

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 Glory of Music

Over break, I needed to connect. I needed to connect with my children, with my husband, with family, with friends, and with my past. I introduced my children to the charming, music-filled drama, Beaches, which was my go-to movie when I needed a good cry at age thirteen (and it still works even though I’m now in my thirties).

I found myself singing along throughout the auditions, the rehearsals, the shows, and I was reminded how much I adore the soundtrack.

About a week later, kiddos had gone back to school, and no one had said much about the film or soundtrack until my little guy walked into our living room belting out, “That’s the glory of love!”

I did a double-take (especially since he fell asleep during the movie and didn’t even hear Bette Midler’s reprise of the song before the credits ran. I asked my older daughter if she had been singing it, but she hadn’t been. It was simply the power of music.

While looking for photos for another blog post, I happened on this article from Scientific American regarding music and training and the brain, which is a long-time interest of mine. Though I received limited piano, violin, bass, and vocal training, I am grateful for the brain connections I have because of music and for the love of music my parents, friends, and family share with me. There is glory in music and in love.

Jessie Ware, Where Have You Been Hiding?

New Year, New Music? I happened upon a twitter post tonight sharing Jessie Ware’s instagram cover photo for V magazine…and, of course, I wondered how I have been missing her great sound. Look her up…or just listen to the tracks below for some fresh soulful flavor.

Happy Listening! Hugs!

And Happy 2015!

Music Within

The notes don’t come as easily as they once did
And yet, in some ways, they are easier

Maybe her fingers are more nimble from the hours of
Hand-holding
Bread-kneading
Math-problem-solving…?

Hours at her disposal are no longer available
For practice
And yet,
When she sits to play, as she once did
Several lifetimes ago
She feels the same.

–Karin Salisbury


photo credit