What Is Your Song?

Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

Do you have a song? One particular song that represents the beginning or flowering of your romance. How did it become your song? Do you play it on special occasions? Or do you just remember vividly when you chance to hear it?

What is it about music that speaks to us so powerfully?

I don’t understand it, but that power isn’t new. Archeologists have found flutes made of bones and mammoth ivory that are over 40,000 years old. But instruments and song may be older than that. Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man, suggested that our language abilities may have started with singing–a long and deep foundation for our pleasure in music.

Scientist say that making music aids in the development of reasoning and language, improves coordination and creative thinking among other things. And most of us began learning reading skills by singing the ABCs. We tend to remember what we learn through song.

Who hasn’t experienced that vivid, sensual (in the context of senses) memory brought through music? Do you remember tastes, colors, smells associated with certain music?

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

So, Christmas carols, dance/exercise music, hymns, your writing or study playlist may remind us and motivate us? But they also change us.

I ask again. Do you have a song? What is it? How did it become your song? What happens to you when you hear it?

A Handmade Gift

What do you give your family for their birthdays?

Alysen’s Quilt

A few years ago, my husband and I attended the funeral for the mother of a good friend of his. He had spent a lot of time in their home, and she had made him feel a part of their family. The funeral was a sweet tribute to her and a celebration of her life.

Gideon’s Quilt

I was touched me by the stories that her grandchildren told of letters she sent to them on their birthdays every year. In those once a year birthday letters she would reminisce about what she did and how she felt when she was their age. What a precious gift this woman left to her children and grandchildren.

I would like to say that I started right then to write birthday letters to my grandchildren. I didn’t. First, I’m not sure I could remember enough about my childhood to accurately describe what I did and how I felt. And I felt a little like I was starting too late (which looking back I realize is ridiculous). Regardless, I didn’t do it.

What special, personal, intimate gifts you give to your loved ones-your family, your dear friends? I’d love to hear from you.

Luciana’s Quilt

One thing I have done is make a quilt for each of my grandbabies. I haven’t always been timely with this gift, but before they turn two, they have a quilt from Mimi.

Taze’s Quilt
Juniper’s Quilt

In my family, this has been an exercise in quilt binging because the babies seem to come in batches. So a few years ago and again this last two months, I made five baby quilts.

I hope you enjoy seeing what I do when I’m not writing, researching, or reading.

Would you like to experiment with time?

Photo by Chris Liu-Beers on Unsplash

Recently Fiddler on the Roof came up in a conversation with my granddaughter. The chorus of this song has been running through my mind ever since:

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laiden with happiness and tears

SUNRISE, SUNSET Composed By Jerry Bock, Lyrics By Sheldon Harnick

As the evening air begins to cool and the trees change colors in the mountains, I’ve been looking back. It’s been a full summer. Many of you have posted your hikes, vacations, family reunions, milestones. Some have shared struggles or illness, sadness or doubts. I’ve had a little of both happiness and tears this summer too.

As the season changes, take a moment with me and measure how far you’ve come. Did you try something new this summer or take a next step on our planned journey? Or have you experienced one of those surprising twists that changed your direction and forced you to make new plans? What have you learned? How have you changed? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below.

And I invite you to write about it. Amazing insights and even more growth happen when I write my thoughts and experiences.

Now look forward with me. More than January, September always feels like the beginning of a new year. What do you want to happen this Fall/Winter? What do you want to learn? What habits to establish? What relationships to build, heal, or improve? What do you want to accomplish spiritually, socially, physically, intellectually/mentally? I’d love to hear about this too.

Swiftly flow the days
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laiden with happiness and tears

SUNRISE, SUNSET By Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick

Maybe–I hope–if we take a few moments to think about, write about, talk about the past season and the one coming, the passage of time won’t seem such a blur. We can make time slow down. We can twist it and turn it, look at it from all sides and from the inside out.

It might only be for a few moments and then time will speed up again and we’ll be right in the middle of the movement and sound and demands of our lives, but maybe it will all look just a little different after our step out of time.

Take a breath. Maybe another.

Okay. Back to life. I look forward to a new season of growth with you.

How Do You Remember the Good Stuff?

Last Weekend was EXCITING! Really it was wonderful. I published the second novel in my Illusions series.

We also had a family reunion. Health kept my father from attending, but all my siblings were there. Most of their children (and ours) were there. Most of their grandchildren (and ours) were there. We have not been together for–well, I can’t remember the last time. We talked, we reminisced, we played games, we took family pictures in a cow pasture. It was so much fun.

Photo by Chris Boese on Unsplash

But, and I hate that so often there is a but.

While we were gone, our basement flooded–a lot! Two of our sons pulled back the carpet, vacuumed the water, and started the fans. Then they came down to the reunion.

Then on the way home, another son had car trouble. So, we stopped at the cabin and spent the night. The next day we loaded his car on the trailer and started home together.

The story isn’t finished. On the way home, our pick-up threw a rod. I hate that I know what this is. I hope you never find out. I will tell you this: The pick-up is dead. The only way to fix it is to rebuild the engine or replace it. (And it is an older, high mileage truck. It’s not worth doing).

Photo by Jo Van de kerkhove on Unsplash

This meant that another of our sons had to come to the little town about 40 miles from home and hook the trailer up to his vehicle and tow it home.

We got home and the basement had flooded again. And today, with the help of one of our sons, we get to go and pick up the useless pick-up.

And I haven’t even mentioned the cost of this little weekend. Nor the fact that I somehow left my phone at the cabin, nor the complaint of one neighbor that caused the city to send us a notice about parking our trailer, when it’s not at the cabin, by the side of our house.

Two paragraphs about some really great things. Seven about some really awful things. But the good things were amazing, and look at how lucky we are to have four of our five living sons available and so willing to give us a hand. That has to be added to the good things, doesn’t it?

Still, I find myself thinking more about how to work through and recover from all the bad luck, and not nearly enough time remembering the good stuff.

How do you do it? Because, let’s be honest. Somehow this bad stuff will pass. We’ll fix the basement. We’ll live without a pick-up for awhile until we can save some money and find one we can afford. (We gotta have one while we’re renovating the cabin). Life will go on, and mostly our life is pretty wonderful. So how do we remember that? How do we think more on the connections with our family, and our achievements, and the kindness of friends and neighbors (who offer to help and loan us their chains and come-alongs)?

I’m sitting in my very comfortable living room in my really beautiful house, with a computer on my lap, and I’m writing. That needs to go in the good column. I am pretty healthy. In a few minutes I’ll go into the kitchen and eat. There is food in my kitchen–plenty really. We have a car. We have work we enjoy, mostly. We have family and friends. We have a lifetime of rich experiences and joyful memories.

Bad stuff happens, sure. And this isn’t anywhere near the worst we’ve experienced. But we have so much good in our life. I want to remember that, even in the midst of the difficult times. How do you do it?

What Month is Your Family Month?

Always family! But for us, July has become a month of increased family togetherness. This means food and talk and a hundred, okay up to 23, kids running around.

We celebrate our country’s birth with games, fireworks, and more food.

Jordan and Natalie for the Corn; Trevor is the man on the smoker.
Savannah made the rolls
Lexy made the salad;

And for most of the month, I will only write in small pockets of time when things are quiet, or I can sit in a corner (often in the middle of confusion) and ignore the present world and go to Regency England in my mind. The last novel in my Illusions series will inch along through the month of July, but I’ll enjoy my family.

I wish you a happy fourth of July! I hope you’re with people you love, in a comfortable place, with good food to eat.