Sunday, March 29, 2015

Seizing the Day

"Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I love love love this quote.

After going to Real Estate School last summer, and joining a very good Real Estate Company here in my hometown, I discovered that I really don't want to do Real Estate.

I learned a lot in class, and one thing about this business, is that it is constantly changing. I like change. A lot. About every 5 years or so I do something to uproot or disrupt my current state (moving to Scotland and then moving back, for example).

But, keeping the focus of this blog to Living My Passion... this quote is more about saying "Yes!" to stepping out blindly on faith to finally (finally!) Sing for My Supper, so to speak. The two pictures below are almost 25 years apart ~ I graduated from college in December of  1990 - that fall we performed "Oliver!" The picture below is from 2012... still singing & performing.

1990 - Widow Corney Unwigged (Oliver! Pepperdine University)

2012 - Sweet Adeline! Singing at the Afterglow with my Quartet, "Footnotes"

The one constant in my life is singing. Performing. I've taken some breaks, sure - but I'm always singing. I started singing in chorus in 4th grade at Parkview Elementary school - and sang all through my educational years. Then I graduated from college and found Sweet Adelines, and have continued singing barbershop for almost 25 years. I took a 4-year break to do local independent theatre (musicals, of course!), then came back to a cappella singing in 1995 and haven't hardly looked back.

I even sang with Sweet Adelines overseas.

It is now 2015. Why has it taken me 25 years to realize this, for me, is more than a hobby?

A question to be answered in another post.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Music lasts us through life

♪ "Music ... furnishes a delightful recreation for the hours of respite from the cares of the day, and lasts us through life." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Unknown Artist - If you know you deserves credit for this artwork, please comment!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Decorative Storage

I love when storage solutions can be decorative and pretty!  I saw a scrappy gal who made window coverings from strips of fabric... and a friend of mine used her pretty, floaty & decorative fine netting fabric around her bathroom window as a place to put her (barbershop-related) pins and name tag.... and I kinda combined the two for this:


I am de-cluttering... and found the shoe laces in a stash... so used them instead of fabric strips, and Voila!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple Silly (I'm going to use the nicer name in keeping with being kind to myself...)

Short but sweet.

Simplify.
Decrease.
Pare Down.
Create Space.
Stay Hydrated.

I've not been keeping up with my usual water habit.  I'm a huge water drinker, which is good, when you live in the desert... but also good if you live on land.

Water is life. 

If there is magic in this world, it is in water (paraphrased line from "Once Upon A Time").

Drink Lively!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

To Let Go or Not Let Go, that is the question


I just started reading a great blog, theminimalists.com (Joshua & Ryan), whom I found from a blog, "Be More With Less" and came across a post, by Joshua with a line or two of which I strongly disagree. (I bolded in red the lines I take issue with... most everything else I fully agree with.)

Joshua writes:

A few words about sentimental items

"We all have sentimental items like pictures of loved ones, that plate your mom gave you for a special occasion, those little knickknacks that grandma gave us as kids, etc.
This might come as a shock to you, but throw them away.
Think about it. They don’t really have any value or meaning other than the meaning you give those items.
Hold on to your pictures for now, we’ll ask you to scan them and then throw them away in a few days.
But everything else can go. The past does not equal the future. The sentimental items are a reminder of the past and you don’t want to live there.
You want to live in the now.
You want to 'be on the mountain.'
This might sound shocking to you, and you might be terribly afraid to throw out that box of trinkets that you never use, because they have sentimental value. But you are starting a new life, and you don’t need constant reminders of the past to have your new life. It’s counter-intuitive."

I don't think this is true for everyone in regards to the physical photos and albums. I find HUGE pleasure in reminding myself (through photographs and journals) events that I don't remember, places I've been that have become lost in a gray area of memory... but I took photos and wrote down key events or situations or people that made that time 'memorable.' 
Sidethought: Yes, you can look at them digitally, but there is a tactile pleasure in the creation of the memory page, and sitting down later (a few days, a few weeks, a few years, two decades....) to remember the good stuff. If the comet comes close enough to de-magnetize our world, most electronics will quit functioning. I can sit down with a flashlight or a candle or in the sun and look at a trees-were-killed-for-this album in the midst of my world falling apart and remember happy times and loved ones. 'Cuz I'm doomsday like that. 

As I write that, I have conflict - "If something is (truly) memorable, why do I need to write it down or memorialize it via a memory album/scrapbook... won't I just remember it?"

Well, because ~ for most of us mere mortals, the answer is, "No, I won't just remember it." Most of us are not Dr. Spencer Reid from "Criminal Minds", and don't remember lots of details of things we had a great time doing. Especially if you struggle with negative thinking (i.e. if you're on the bi-polar spectrum or if you're depressed). Some might even call the process of recalling positive memories as therapy. I'm just sayin'.

Case in point:
The best job I ever had was singing, dancing and doing improvisational acting with a small touring company called Bravvo Productions! There were four of us in a van, with a trailer, and we sang and danced and improv'd from Key Largo to Boston and everywhere in between. I got to see the East Coast of America with the history and the landmarks and places I'd always wanted to go (and go back to!) I have 3 three-ring binders that are 'scrapbooked'* - pictures and stories, along with promotional items the Country Clubs published about our performances (including the prestigious Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina). *They're not "safe" as far as 'scrapbooking' is concerned on acid-free paper blah blah blah, which is one reason I wanted to see what condition they're in and how I can rescue it without spending too much time....'

This was in 1993. January thru April of '93, to be precise.

Please pause for a moment while I wonder where 20 years has gone...
*cough*
a bit of a shock as I realize that was exactly. like seriously. 20 years ago.

I briefly looked through one of the binders this morning (I took the binders out of the storage bin I had them in to see what I want to do with them....), and there are pictures of people I knew well because we were traveling in a van together, friends I saw while on the trip (and am still in contact with 20 years later!), experiences I treasured, and anecdotal stories from each performance.

Not only does this time remind me that "Yes, I am a professional" when it comes to singing and performing and entertaining, it also shows me how far I've come, or, how far I've drifted off the path I want, or thought I wanted. It causes me to re-evaluate some of the decisions I've made, and helps me make better decisions today. Hindsight and all that.

I think I'm older than both Joshua and Ryan, and I strongly believe that "... constant reminders of the past" are not a hindrance "...to have your new life."  For me, reminders of the past show us how far we've come.

I struggle every single day with self-esteem and good-enough issues, and the little duck that quacks constantly about not "being enough..." My (personal) visual reminders are affirmative stones in the balance scale of my emotional equilibrium, and having them to refer to helps keep me positive and inspired, which is what keeps up my perseverance.

Having a past reminds me of long-held dreams that might have been forgotten because of the side-trips life takes, and maybe I want to find the main road again. Having the reminders gives me that choice.

I was remembering the other day how much I adored (we're talking seriously spent hours and hours and hours) drawing my dream house. I had the paper with the little squares, and I had atriums in the middle of the house, walls of aquariums, round, castle-like adornments... and in one of the binder journals of the Bravvo Tour I found a "more recent" drawing (!)  When did I stop drawing them? When I found out that architecture school had too much math to be fun? That it would be too difficult?

So what is the point?

My past doesn't define me and doesn't define my future. But every journey (hopefully by you know I mean "Life" when I say 'journey') has a starting point, and...
  • Knowing where we started helps us realize how far we've come. 
  • Knowing where we started helps us appreciate the detours that we've taken ~ adventures, opportunities, and learning experiences are all valuable to the future growth we are pursuing. 
  • Knowing where we started helps us see that we might be lost, or if we are on the roundabout and keep seeing the same things over and over. and over. That we've lost our way and it is time to regroup and refocus.
  • Knowing where we started is a reminder of either where we want to be again, or where we never want to be again (as in losing 100 lbs - before, during, and after pictures are priceless!).
Specifically, as I've written this post, I've realized (again) that I don't do things that are difficult or hard.

I must change that.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Perseverance. It isn't a dirty word.

"Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance." - Samuel Johnson

Perseverance. It is the KEY to everything.

My words of wisdom for today.

I will continue to believe that "I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me."

I will continue to try not to say things to myself that I would never, ever-in-a-million-years say to anyone in my outside voice.

I will continue to make lists of "To Do's" that don't get done on the day I hope they will, but they do get done eventually.

I will continue to wake up in the morning and tell myself "I like getting up in the morning." (isn't there something about if you tell a lie long enough that it becomes the truth...?! *wink wink*)

I will continue to believe in myself. That I lost 100 pounds in 2011. That I will lose these 30 that I've gained back. That I did it. I did it. I really, really, really did it.

A Question:
Why don't I (can't I) believe that I did it? Do I not believe it because I did it with help?
Do I not believe it because it happened so fast? Do I not believe it because I listen to the 'the duck?' (another post will explain the duck).

We all have the chance and ability to start over again. Each day (thank God) is a new beginning.

I am a New Creation.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Use What Talents You Possess...

I love [adore, treasure, and hold quite dear] this quote from Henry Van Dyke ~
"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except the very best."

I can say again and again and again how good singing is for you.  I'm not saying that singing the right notes is what is good for you.  I'm not saying that singing "in tune" is what is good for you. I'm not even saying that singing a particular song is what is good for you.

Creating sound with our bodies... making some vibrations within your body... humming your own melody that you're making up as you go along... not having to worry about keeping time with a piano... or following the words on the karaoke machine... THIS... this natural and what-our-bodies-are-designed-to-do-singing is what is good for you.

It is good for your mental health.

It is excellent for your physical health.

It is amazing for your soul.

Sing Your Song. Find the child that used to sing before the child discovered judgement. Relax into the melody your heart wants you to know.