Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music

This prompt called my name right away. Initially I thought it would be a simple post to write but as I thought through what song and thus what memories I wanted to delve into, I realized it was going to be a challenge. Music has always played a large role in my life, ever since I saw The Little Mermaid as a child and realized I could sing. There are many songs that bring back memories and deciding on one was difficult. I might go back and write about another one eventually, but I decided that since my love of music started in my childhood, I would go back to that time.

One of my earliest memories of music as a child isn’t of a specific song, but of a specific artist. When it was time to clean the house, my mom would put on a Keith Green album – on a turntable! – and proceed to clean our little townhouse while singing along to the music. I doubt I was very helpful, but the experience of “helping” and having fun while doing work has stuck with me. I asked my mom once why her Keith Green albums skipped and she told me it was because I would jump around and dance when they were playing, causing the needle to skip and mar the surface. Over 20 years later, any Keith Green song resurrects echoes of a simpler, more carefree time and makes me feel like it’s time to clean the house!

While childhood chores don’t always leave positive memories, these did. I don’t have positive memories of shoveling the driveway, but to this day vacuuming is something I don’t usually mind (even stairs, most of the time). Music still makes chores more fun. I hope that someday, my children have positive memories like these that pop up at the sound of a familiar tune and someday, when my mom is no longer here, the music will still remind me of fun times spent living together.

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Charms of a New Year

There’s something about a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning. No tainted memories, no bad experiences, and a pristine plain ahead of us, completely untouched. Whether or not it’s tangible, it still feels fresh and new and alive with possibilities. Especially as Americans; our country was founded on the American Dream, the land of opportunity, after all.

Is that what appeals to us about New Year’s resolutions? It’s a brand new year full of promise. An easy starting point to count off, although our calendar is neatly broken into 12 of those, there’s something seductive about starting at one.

I read somewhere (this should be my signature phrase – I read things lots of places and can’t remember where even though I remember what I read) that stating your goals out loud makes you more likely to complete them. Isn’t that the purpose of yesterday’s Writing Challenge? State your goals and aspirations, your New Year’s resolutions. Put them out there for the world to see!

Like everyone else, I have fallen prey to the charms of a fresh new year. Pondering the many things I would like to change or improve in 2013 became my form of entertainment during my holiday travels. Perhaps not the most amusing thing, but it worked for a while. While these may seem prosaic, they are things I’ve been thinking about for a while, even before my airport-enforced thinking time. Below are my top three:

Faith: spend regular time with God, something that has fallen down the list of priorities this fall. Off to a good start with this today.

Fitness: run regularly and eat better, which includes getting back to more of a Real Food diet, a la 100 Days of Real Food. Started well with a run this morning but lacking the diet follow up. There’s some prep involved in that that’s hard to do when you’re out of town!

Blogging: post once a week. This is the first of my posts for 2013. Off to a good start with this too! Haven’t decided on a regular posting date so we’ll see on that.

Along with stating them out loud, I’ve learned that goals are more likely achieved when they include specific and measurable steps instead of just a blanket statement like “lose weight.” Each of my goals for 2013 has two of more concrete steps that can be objectively looked at to determine if they have been achieved. I’m not going to list everything here in detail so they look more like ambiguous statements, but they do have achievable mini-goals built in!

To provide accountability, I’m going to schedule regular goal updates, probably quarterly. Not only does that knock off three more blog posts (who hoo!) but it keeps me accountable for how I’m doing.

If Doompocalypse comes and makes this a short year, I might actually have completed all three of these! And even if it doesn’t, being a track for three months will have created a pretty great routine for the rest of the year, making the likelihood of achievement even better. Bring it!

What are your goals and dreams for 2013?

The Sound of Silence

This week’s Daily Post Challange got me thinking about the sounds all around us, some significant and not, and what it would be like if they were absent. As a ruminated, I remembered something my sister and I asked each other while we were growing up:

If you had to choose between being blind or being deaf, which would you pick?

It’s one of those questions you ask a child when you’ve never experienced living without a sense and this post is by no means a thorough examination of the each disability.

My sister and I are nearly complete opposites so, not surprisingly, our answers were different.

My sister would choose to do without hearing. I can’t remember her reasoning, but I’m sure it was well-thought out based on her passion: visual art. She spends her free time taking photos, creating charcoal drawings and paintings (to see some of her work, you can visit her website). It shapes how she mentally “sees” the world. To her, not being able to see the beauty around her and capture or recreate it in some format would be unfathomable.

I, on the other hand, would rather be blind. Sure, I appreciate nature and the beauty of God’s creation. New ZealandThere is something captivating about the wild, untouched mountains of New Zealand or the endless billows and rolls of clouds as you fly above them.

 

But nothing takes my breath away like that silent moment immediately following a triumphant chord that rings in harmony. Music surrounds me nearly constantly. Well-performed vocal and instrumental music can wrap around me, wiping any other thoughts from my never-ceasing brain and carrying me away with its ebbs and flows. Imagining a world of silence leaves me feeling alone and isolated even when I picture people surrounding me on all sides. But for some reason hearing them without seeing them is not nearly as scary.

Of course there are things to miss about either one. I imagine running without sight would be difficult. Driving would be impossible. Interacting directly with people who aren’t familiar with sign language could be a challenge. All of which are navigated gracefully by people every day who didn’t get a choice in the matter. But it’s an interesting hypothetical exercise to step back and think about how your passions shape your choice.

Think about that one for a minute. Which would you pick?