Soul Music!

I’m a feeling person.  Things move me.  I cry … a lot.  When I’m happy and when I’m sad and when I’m really angry and when I see or feel injustice. I love a good drama show on TV.   I laugh … a lot.  I like to play with words and I admire well written humour.  Sometimes, my heavy feelings get the better of me and I forget the things that make me laugh or make me happy.  Sometimes, I need to remind myself of the things that lift me up and twirl me around.  Music moves me more than anything else I know.

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We are a musical family and have been for a couple of generations.  Adrian was an incredibly talented pianist, who played all over the country in his younger days in talent shows and competitions.  My mother and her only sister, loved to sing and perform at Church concerts and youth gatherings in their younger days.  Of my generation on my mother’s side, many of my cousins sang and played guitar for church and youth nights and for our own enjoyment.  The next generation, however, have taken it to the next level and have been gigging in bands since they were at school – and still are.  They have taken their music to London and Berlin and continue to work towards fulfilling their dreams.  While some of their music is not my thing, the joy I get from seeing them develop and create is definitely my thing.

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Music takes me places.  It transports me to and fro through the years and the memories.  I can be 14 years old going to my very first live concert, the minute that I hear Bennie and the Jets by Elton John.  Or at the local movie theatre at the beach watching Easy Rider when I hear Born To Be Wild!  The Beatles – Hello Goodbye – quickly transports me to a bus trip home from church, where I remember singing that song loudly all the way home!  I must have been about 9 or 10 years old and I thought I was singing out of the window and no none could hear me!  Sorry to all those passengers and thanks to Mum for not stopping me!!  Anything by Nirvana and I’m immediately the mother of an angst ridden 14 year old boy, who only wore black and appeared to not come out of his bedroom for about 3 years.  Sheena Easton takes me to a before kids, holiday in the South Island in New Zealand with Adrian. I could go on and on …..

Too often, I find myself in the grip of sad and heart wrenching songs that trigger memories of my marriage and the subsequent illness and death of my husband.  But as a tribute to him, every year, the Boys and I celebrate music appreciation and a glass or two of Port in his honour.  The music on those nights isn’t sad or morose.  No!  It’s mainly Graceland by Paul Simon or Captain Jack by Billy Joel  or anything by Elton John.

I need to constantly remind myself, that music can lift my soul and should be used for good!  It can make me want to dance, as I was reminded by an old friend the other day.  It helps me to feel alive and keeps me growing.  Many times the background noise of the TV, replaces the sounds of joy and happiness music can bring.  It’s time to switch off the TV and turn up the music.

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It’s time to sing and dance!  It’s time to lift off and twirl!  It’s time to turn those corners up and smile!  It’s time to feed my soul ….. with music!

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A Day That Made My Heart Sing.

What a gorgeous day I had yesterday!  I slept in.  No work on a Monday is great!

I met up with my girlfriend and we went to see the beautiful Cinderella.  Yes, you heard correctly!  Two plus 55-year-old women, with grown children and no grandchildren, went to see the movie Cinderella.  It was gorgeous and lovely and magical and sigh ….. We were taken on a dreamy journey from the very first “When you wish upon a star” – straight back to our childhood Sunday evenings.  Those Sundays and that song, signaled a family viewing of the wonders of Walt Disney’s Disneyland on TV.

Cinderella had us entranced from the very first scene, as we were transported back to our little girl dreams of finding our own Prince Charming.  Now, I’m not really a sparkle and princess kinda girl but I loved it.  Judging by the sighs coming from the seat beside me – so did my mate.  We had a magical  time of glass slippers and fairy godmothers and “Isn’t that Rose from Downton Abbey?” and “There’s the guy from Game of Thrones!”  It was great!  As was the catch up chat over lunch.

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Later that evening, another great friend and her hubby took me to the most stunning church on the top of a hill – yes you guessed right, it was a Catholic church – with the most stunning night-time view, to hear the most stunning music.  It was glorious!

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Old Boys from St Laurence’s played guitars, in a choir of no voices but only strings, that had me entranced for the second time in a day.  Then came a quartet of guitars playing JS Bach, that could only be described as exquisite.  Next, the Community Choir sang with such beauty and spirit, that my friend tells me that we (her & I) will aim to be a part of that group next year ….. and I think I agreed!!!  Lastly, the hour and a half of music ended with the Old Boys Choir!  As the mother of 3 sons, I had completely forgotten how much I love to hear men sing!  It was to die for and the Ave Maria brought tears to my eyes, as it floated back and forth between the divided groups at the front and the group at the back of that gorgeous church.  What a blessing that evening of music was to my heart and spirit – and all for a free will offering that was going to a mission project in Asia.

With my heart overflowing with joy and music and beauty I was transported home where the love and gratefulness continued.  BabyBoy, who has been staying with me for a while, decided to go on a late night Maccas run and we had some of the best fries we had eaten for ages!  Apple pies ….. did I mention apple pies?  Yum!

McDonalds-Apple-PieEnchantment from morning ’til night.  How lucky am I?

The Abi Diaries (part three)

I’m in the middle of a 2 day 1 night stay by Abi.  I woke at 5am this morning and she is still sleeping, so thought I’d get some thoughts down before she wakes.  Have I told you lately, that she’s not a baby any more?  Well, she isn’t and I have to say when she called me last week, to tell me that she hadn’t had a sleepover at my little house these holidays, I very nearly lost it!!  I mean, she’s my baby right and she was asking when it would be “suitable” to come and stay and maybe Friday/Saturday would be best and would I like to stay for dinner when I drive her home?

Abi starts Prep this year and she is ready … leaving me dragging behind on the preparedness stakes.  So this will be my last sleepover with her before school begins to mould her.  Our conversations, have been at times, deep and meaningful and  I am listening closely and learning much.  She is a patient teacher!

This is how our weekend has gone so far.

They arrived, Abi and her family, just after 9:30 am, for morning cuppa and a chat.  The kids, Abi has 2 brothers, went in search of Fev, my furbaby, then settled in my only spare room that, apparently turns into Abi’s Room the moment she arrives.  Her mum and I sat down for a catch up but it was only a matter of moments before we could hear her calling for help because in her words “T is messing up my room and he won’t share my things!”  Secretly, my heart skipped a beat – she knows she belong in my home!2015-01-16 07.29.26

After, coffee and donuts and an hour of chat, Abi’s Mum and brothers were on their way home, leaving Abi and I cheering on my doorstep!  Hurrah! They are gone.  Girl time …. but not for long!  Her overnight bag had been left in the car, so back they came!  Thank goodness!  That bag contained important things like Zelfs and My Little Ponies as well as clothes and toothbrush etc.

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The day continued with playing, watching a movie, shopping, eating and swimming.  Each activity had its life lesson for me!  Each activity showed me both glimpses of my special baby girl and the independent school girl that is developing within.  She chose to watch a movie that had been too scary the last time she was here, Alice In Wonderland, only this time she knew the story and the characters.  She coped really well but crawled to lie on top of me during several scary bits “because she felt safe on top of me and my body felt like a squishy, comfortable mattress but it did have some big lumpy bits!”

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She wondered why I had bought her some Shopkins to collect rather than more Zelfs?  I told Abi that I thought her mummy would love the fact that I had introduced a whole new collecting world that she previously didn’t know about! (I got this idea from one of my favourite blogs Enjoying the Small Things by Kelle Hampton).  Of course when we went shopping I accidently bought some more and the seed was well and truly planted “I really, really like Shopkins and I can show Mummy where to find them in Coles!”  You’re welcome, Abi’s Mum!

As we drove out of my unit complex, Abi asked why it was that there were so many little houses where I lived.  I told her that there were lots of people, like me, who needed somewhere small to live because they didn’t have family close by or their family had moved away. Tears sprang to my eyes, as she replied “But Mandy, you have us – we are your family!  You could come and live with us!”  Bless her heart and bless her family for giving her such a heart.

We went swimming at my friends house and I was so proud of this little poppet for the love and friendliness that she so easily shares with my friends.  We ate chips until they came out of her ears because I knew dinner would be a little later than she was used to but that didn’t stop her from informing me that she was starving the minute we got home and every 5 minutes there after!  It also, didn’t stop her from being full up 5 minutes after she started eating dinner!  She did, however have room for some yoghurt!

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Abi has been asleep for 11 hours now.  That is one of the wonderful things about her.  She goes to bed and sleeps.  But any minute she will be up and out and our second day together will begin.  We have more adventures to have, questions to ask, places to go and I have so much stuff to learn.

I can’t wait!

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Christmas Thoughts.

I am struggling!

I so want to write about the wonderful anticipation and joy I am feeling about the approaching season of Christmas but I am just not there.  My thoughts are crowded by all the pain and hurt that the world keeps doing to each other and the distance from my extended family seems greater than ever this year.

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I am a Christmas fan.  I love everything about it.  I love the music.  I love the food.  I love the decorations.  I love the mail.  I love the gift buying and wrapping.  But most of all I love the gift giving.  Gift giving is my thing.  I find it so hard to describe the utter joy I get from finding exactly the right thing for the right person and then seeing the joy on the face of the recipient when they open the gift.  Don’t get me wrong – I love to receive gifts too but nothing gives me joy like giving!

Can you imagine, then, how suffering from extreme anxiety has played havoc with my Christmas preparations?  Gone is the ability to wander aimlessly around the shopping centres and malls, waiting for the right gift to jump out at me, shouting “Pick me! Pick me!”  Gone is the joy of last minute late night  shopping excursions for food.  No more do I have the “gay abandon” to play my Carols loud and long.

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I am plagued by what if’s and maybe’s and almost’s!  I may have found the right gift for the right person but it is yet to be wrapped – in case I find something better!  The CD may be in the player but it is not playing, in case I offend my neighbours.  My fridge is full of homemade goodies but what if they are not tasty enough to share?  Alternatively, some gifts have not yet been bought because the drive to the shop seems too hard.  Or posting the cards and parcels will probably be to late now – so why bother at all?  And church – where do I begin?

All my life, Christmas has stemmed from my belief that Jesus is the reason for the season!  I know that the babe in a manger  and the love freely given that day is and should be the focus.  But when your concentration is so shot to pieces that you have trouble walking the 100 metres down the drive to get your mail from your letterbox – it is sometimes too hard to get to church and sing his praises.  It doesn’t mean I love Him any less!

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So, as I stand in my almost completely, decorated home, next to my almost completely trimmed Christmas tree, with many gifts waiting to be wrapped and some still waiting to be bought.  I try to focus on the things I have completed and not that my house needs a clean or Mt Washmore is once again threatening to have a landslide or my yard is not a pretty sight!  I try to celebrate my have done’s not my still to do’s!

And if I do make it to church during the Christmas season, try not to think poorly of those Christmas & Easter worshippers!  Stop for a moment and consider what it may have taken for them to actually get there! And if you do receive a gift from me this year – know what it has taken to get it for you.  You are one of my special ones that have forced me out of my safe place – to take the risk because I think you are worth it!

Christmas is about how God Gave

Kind of like how God sent that tiny babe at Christmas.