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Blog – Sing-Play-Pray-Be Fearless…

Don’t Give Up What You Really Want

Don’t give up what you really want for what you want right now.
Whether it’s losing weight or saving money or buying a house or perfecting a tennis stroke, or singing that song perfectly, your dreams matter. Big and small, they belong to you.
When I was a little girl I wanted more than anything to play the piano. We didn’t have one but I would go to the neighbor’s house and tinker around on theirs.
One day my parents brought home a huge upright grand piano. Their close friends were moving to Panama and couldn’t take it with them.
I don’t remember if it was forest green and gold when we got it or if my mother had it painted that color.
I got to take piano lessons with Mrs. Samuels. Her house was across town and smelled like incense and spices that were unfamiliar and strange to me. She always wore a long blue sari with silver embroidery. Her long brown fingers were gentle and magical as she unlocked mystery of the spots and dots that were sprinkled all over those pages. I loved her immediately!
At home I would play those songs over and over and over. I could never get enough of the sound of that big piano. I don’t think there are any pictures of it or of me playing it (No one carried an iPhone around those days) but I can still imagine my small fingers playing until someone would say “enough now.”
It’s funny to consider that I don’t remember ever thinking “I can’t play this or that song” but would keep on going fearlessly until I could play it.
I also don’t remember feeling insecure or unsure about tennis or swimming either.
My childlike enthusiasm hadn’t been muted by my fear of failure.
If what I want right now is to give up, its time to reclaim that inner child-like mind.
Keep playing the song until I master it, keep practicing the shot until it’s natural, keeping practicing good diet and fitness until it is habit and customary.
Being a grownup is sometimes recognizing that you aren’t going to be a concert pianist or professional tennis player or Olympic swimmer but if you will keep working on it and practicing what you really want comes along in ways that you could never have thought of in all your childhood innocence.
The “right now” is too safe and easy but the thing you really want is waiting for you and for me.
I believe in you.

We’ll talk more later,

Gayle

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“Ya gotta be hardy!”

Life is jam-packed with its sweet little ups and downs. Surprise visits and lousy colds, happy laughter with good friends and car repair bills…
Steps forward & steps back- It’s what life is all about.
You can try to protest against the hard stuff, insulate yourself from the bad things but they are going to happen, so hang on!.
I love the line spoken by Aunt Eller in the Oklahoma musical: “You gotta take all the good in one hand and all the bad in the other and say ‘alright then.’ To both of them”
Life seems like such a quick walk from where I am now. I remember my dad telling me at one of his birthday parties that he’d come farther than he was going. I wondered what that would be like…
So here it is, the dawn of a new day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue. Toast and tea are calling me from the kitchen. A hot shower should help clear away this congestion a little bit. Time to get moving because as Aunt Eller says “Ya gotta be hardy!”
Have a good day- we’ll talk more later.
Gayle

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Christmas Movies

I will confess right here and now that I love Christmas movies. It begins for me on the day after Thanksgiving and will generally continue to New Year’s eve. I am particularly fond of the old ones- Christmas in Connecticut, Holiday Inn, Shop Around the Corner, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (not the newer versions, but the Maureen O’Hara one), It’s a Wonderful Life (cutest, worst singing of Buffalo Gals ever!) and most of the Christmas Carol/Scrooge adaptations. There’s a long list.

My family puts up with my obsession, kinda. They want to kick in their 2 cents worth with their “Christmas classics”- Die Hard,  Lethal Weapon, Edward Scissorhands. Not exactly the warm, fuzzy, sitting in front of the fire with hot cocoa things I think of for family Christmas!
But my absolute favorite Christmas movie (and the family will not watch with me) is …. drum roll please….. Prancer!
Not just because it has Sam Elliot in it, which I will admit is a definite bonus. This movie is about loss & redemption- A mother, a father, a neighbor, a child, a friend, a community. It’s about believing in something bigger and teaching others to believe. It begins with a small child, as most of the best stories do. She’s not self conscious about singing with her whole heart. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like her and she has a ton of faith. She’s keeping hope alive while those around her have lost their ability to see the possibilities.

There’s a moment where the father (Sam Elliot again) realizes the very thing his daughter needs and he begins to read to her:
” You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.” New York Sun, Sept. 21, 1897, Francis Pharcellus Church

The real and abiding things, that’s what I’m looking for this Christmas. My children ask me every year what I want. My standard answer is “a million dollars and a home on the coast!” But what I want most of all is their happiness, to spend a little time with them, and to know that their eyes are turned to a humble manger where the greatest gift to everyone was born.

Wishing you some peace in the next few weeks as you prepare for the celebrations ahead.
We’ll talk more later, Gayle
jesus

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Just the Important Stuff

As I was driving down the road yesterday, I reached for my lip balm in the center console. I knew exactly where it was so I didn’t take my eyes off the road (you hear me, kids?) but I got to thinking about the essentials I keep in the traveling suitcase called my car.
Here’s the current list in the console, in case you’re interested:
Yes- the lip balm/ lip gloss. If I put it on when I do the rest of my extensive, complicated & costly morning ritual of face prep. for the day, it all comes off when I take the requisite vitamins & gallon of water that follows. So, logically I have to keep this in my car! Duh!

Tweezers. Women- you know what this is about! That wire growing out of your face was not there when you got up, but grew in the 20 or so minutes between home & first red light where you looked in the mirror to check said lip gloss and saw that offending beacon of menopause.

Microfiber lens cleaner thingy.
That little square of fabric with no actual name but completely necessary if you’re going to see beyond the cosmically smeared lenses that keep you from hitting the lady on the three-wheeled bicycle decorated with plastic flowers as you drive at a hell-bent pace down the street ’cause you’re late again. Tried to buy one of those “thingys” in the store recently and the Target clerk looked at me like I was from planet Alderaan or something!
Pen and Pencil.
Like I write anything with these archaic tools anymore. The pen does have a stylus on the other end, so that seems useful. Oh, and for signing that permission slip that should have been turned in a week ago but was forgotten in the bottom of the backpack and must be signed RIGHT NOW in front of the high school while some nine-year- old who just got her license yesterday lays on her horn ’cause I have the nerve to stop my car in the parking lot and she’s late for school (my fault).
Gift cards, punch cards, and the like.
I once kept these in my wallet but couldn’t close it anymore. I can forget them just as easily in the car as in my wallet.
Pepper spray.
Honestly, I’m not sure this little canister even works any more and by the time I got it out of the center console to spray at someone we’d be halfway to Bakersfield.
Mints.
Every time I have lunch with this one friend he gives me his mint (He has the best teeth). He purposefully doesn’t eat them to, as he says, “keep people away.”
Kazoo.
Perhaps the most essential of all car tools. We’re not talking about the plastic nickel prize Cracker Jack one either. This is the “professional” metal (kinda) deluxe instrument. Got road rage? Kazoo solution. Got a bad day? Kazoo solution. Want to annoy your children? Kazoo solution. ‘Cause you never know when you might be inspired to toot the entire Stephen Foster songbook!

That’s just the center console. Don’t even get me started on the glove compartment or the basket in the back. We’ll leave that for next time.
My oldest kid says “do what you do” which I think means make yourself happy by making your own decisions in your life. I’m thinking that I need to get that kazoo out more often these days. We’ll talk more later….
Blessings,
Gayle

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I Know Who I Am

In Honor of Mother’s Day- a gift to all of you!

I know who I am
On my left arm I wear six slim silver bracelets. A gift from my mother.
They belonged to her sisters and to her. One for each of them.
I know who I am because of who they are.
I am the product of women who rode many miles in wagons and in boats to get here.
Who washed and scrubbed and fed and sewed by hand.
Women who dug outhouses and milked cows.
I know who I am because of who they are.
Women who persevered through hardship and loss,
who believed that you stand with your face into the wind
and move forward because laying down never occurred to them.
And I know who I am because of who they are.
They were tagged with names that were meant for insult but only made them stronger:
Mule! Dragon lady!
And I know who I am because of who they are.
They are the ones of quiet faith, who proclaim God’s grace through acts of mercy:
taking in the homeless mother and child, raking the leaves of the “old” lady down the street,
teaching the girl with the absent mother to sew the perfect stitch.
Their bible on the coffee table with the creased pages.
And I know who I am because of who they are.
When I look in the mirror, I see the lines that have formed around my eyes & mouth.
They look familiar- I am familiar because I have seen this face before.
It is the face of the women who have been my stronghold. I am them…
And I know who I am because of who they are.

We’ll talk later.
Blessings,
Gayle
old hands

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