A Lyrical Nativity

The beauty of classic Holiday hymns are that sometimes there are more than one arrangement to the same lyrics, but both are breathtakingly beautiful. “Away In A Manger” is one of those songs and my all time favorite Christmas story.

Trisha Yearwood does one of my favorite renditions….

Then there’s the one I grew up singing. In fact, it’s one of my sister’s first church solos that I remember in our Christmas pageant. She played a shepherd. Billy Gilman, in his youth, did a great job with it.

Of course my sister and several others have been known to merge the two songs as the melodies are complimentary to one another. Here’s one of those mashups that I found online sung by Martina McBride.

Do you have a favorite Christmas hymn from your childhood? Were you ever in a Christmas pageant as a child? What part did you play? I was both Mary and one of the Three Kings.

Unity

Before I Said "I Do"

Before I Said “I Do”

Our love is not
some
Five & Dime Store
romance;
Hot sizzles that quickly
fizzle.
When trials come,
inevitable in life,
we stand,
back to back,
trusting…
Able to lean
for support,
protection.
Together,
fingers intertwined,
outward demonstration
of our interwoven hearts;
shared strength.

When the world gets crazy,
Everything topsy turvey,
we hold to each other,
find shelter
from the storm.
I am your anchor,
you, my compass.
Together,
never lost.
As waves calm,
we sit,
peacefully,
side by side,
your arm ’round my back,
my head on your shoulder;
silent joy.
Appreciate beauty
in the life we’ve made.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers in the world. Remember-true love doesn’t start or end with just one day. I love you all for the way you’ve welcomed me and included me. Thanks!

Material Girls v. Real Live Women

Women like Madonna and Marilyn Monroe are known at the quintessential “Material Girls”. Heck, Madonna had a hit song with that title….while Marilyn flaunted her love of richness with Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. For those of you who are nostalgic, or maybe are too young to have seen the movie the song was featured it…Here’s the clip from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Oddly enough, they’re not the original. Before these two, the indomitable Eartha Kitt (aka The Original Catwoman) did a song with a similar theme called Just An Old Fashioned Girl. It’s a very charming song, actually, and if you haven’t seen it before, you should watch.

Based on the three above examples, it’s glamourous, a bit fun, even. There’s always a wink and a smile. It’s all tongue in cheek. The sad truth, though, is that there is a reason for this character creeping up. Unfortunately, she’s not just a beautiful myth. There are many women out there who perpetuate that stereotype…and not in the fun, quirky way we see in those songs and it frustrates me.

Women are strong creatures. They’re resilient, intelligent, adaptable. It drives me absolutely crazy when women decide to settle for the strictly material or pretend to be something they’re not… We have all known different versions of these women who show off the lesser versions of themselves…the ones that dumb themselves down, or pretend to be helpless or incapable. It’s so sad.

When we as women portray ourselves as “the weaker sex” for whatever reason, we lessen what we could be. We don’t give ourselves the opportunity to truly love and be loved. We fool good men into thinking that the vision of us we’re choosing to reflect is the true person, someone they can love…only to eventually be disillusioned. The reality is that we can’t keep up that kind of pretense forever. The mask cracks–the true creature beneath shines through…and the person who’s chosen to love they mythical you that you’ve created is left with both shattered heart and damaged trust…more often than not, too late to prevent irreparable harm. Yes, we can also be manipulative like that.

There is a power in showing your true self to the world. You give them the opportunity to love the amazing person you can be. No walls. No gimmicks. No games. The people that choose to love you are there for the right reasons. And yes, there’s always a chance that someone else is hiding who they really are (unfortunately the world is not perfect and women aren’t the only people capable of such machinations), but we’re also resilient. We learn. We grow. We rebuild.

The other benefit? For me, at least…by not hiding my brain, my competitiveness and my drive…I’ve been able to create careers for myself. I have shown myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m perfectly capable of providing for myself…and anyone else who may come along. The men who’ve shared parts of my life have known that I’ve wanted them there strictly for who they are. They’ve never had to wonder if it’s because I’m afraid of being alone or because I can’t live without a man to support me or any of the other wrong reasons people get into relationships. Somehow it’s made the relationships stronger, healthier, less stressful.

I’m not saying that being yourself will make everything perfect…life rarely is. But I think you’ll find it’s worthwhile. Sure, sometimes the phonies do wind up with all the superficial things…but it can’t keep them warm at night. It’s not there to comfort them when they cry, to laugh with them when they succeed. To understand who they are.

Remember, you don’t have to hide who you are at the core… you’re beautiful just the way you are. Don’t allow yourself to be less than the best you that you can be. You deserve to be loved for the person you are. I hope you don’t misunderstand…I don’t presume to judge you if you’ve been one of those people… the ones who’ve hidden who they are for whatever reason. I just hope that you realize how absolutely, beautifully unique you are. I hope that everyone allows their true selves to shine through…because like snow flakes and finger prints, we’re all originals…all precious and unique.

What myths or personas out there drive you crazy or make you sad? Do you think that they make this world better or worse? Why do you think people hide?

And for Valentine’s Day….here’s my message of love….

 

En Musica, Mea

There’s a beauty
in lyrics
that wraps around
my soul,
Soothes away hurts,
Calms raging demons.

Music is
my time machine;
transports me
to my past.
Just a note,
a chord,
a gentle refrain.

When words can’t
come
to grieve,
give comfort,
to reach out a hand…
a melody
can say them
so much more adequately.

Music is my
solace,
my comfort,
my joy.
The harmony in my heart
that lives on
long after
I am gone.

The title is Latin…translating to “In Music, Me”. As many of you know, music is a driving passion for me. It enriches and brings joy to my life. I don’t have the heart to pursue music professionally…for constant practice to attain perfection in this venue kills some of the joy for me. Instead, it is simply a part of my soul that I love to share.

For some people, a certain smell will transport them in time…or maybe something they saw, or something someone says. Maybe a phrase or an expression. For me, it’s always been music. There aren’t many situations, expressions, or experiences that I can’t find lyrics to fit. So here’s my challenge. I’m in a playful mood today…and feeling the need to share music. Why don’t you help me indulge it? You tell me a little bit about your mood or a situation, maybe a memory or whatever…and let’s see if I can’t find a song to match it… Please help soothe my inner musical beast and play along…

In the meantime, here’s a song that expresses how music is my time machine…