Monday, September 30, 2013

No One is Against You

It's easy to feel like the world is out to get us. This is our story, and as its hero, we're supposed to win.  And so, when we don't, well surely it must mean that the antagonist of our story is winning and that we are losing.

The thing is... everyone else is their own hero too, writing their own story, trying to win their own battles.  It's really not that other people are against us.  It's just that they're for themselves, and not necessarily for us.  In fact, it doesn't have much to do with us at all.

Overwhelmingly, we are selfish creatures and, more than anything, we are concerned with ourselves. That's not to say that anyone is bad.  They're not. We just naturally think of ourselves first... our own comfort, our own battles, our own needs, our own wants, our own struggles.  And we're happy to assist others in their battles.... as long as doing so doesn't interfere with accomplishing our own ends.

That's something that we have to address in ourselves individually. Stepping over own needs to help others is something we should do, and it requires conscious choices to do so. I know very few people who can do that selflessly, and it's a quality that I admire a great deal.

But, I think it's important to understand, too, that people aren't against us. They're just for themselves. So, we need to stop thinking that it's us against the world. There's just a bunch of "us"'s all trying to make it, all struggling to do so, all looking out for ourselves, and all forgetting to reach out a hand and help those next to us.

It's just us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Slacker PTA Mom

I'm sorry, Ladies.  I'm that mom. The one you always have to track down.

When my children were born, I really didn't think I'd be that mom.  I thought I would an upstanding member of the my neighborhood school's PTA, ready to help at everything... fighting to volunteer in my kids' classrooms... cutting out hearts and whatever.

But then, we started school.

Please understand we live in a fairly affluent neighborhood.  And when your school doesn't have real problems, the PTA makes them up.  I knew I was going to be a "bad fit" while sitting with the other mothers at a softball game one spring.  The other moms were flipping through a catalog of games you could rent for the school carnival.  They were the kind of games that took a kid a minute or so to play, and then they'd get some kind of candy or trinket at the end as a prize.

"Oh, the kids really like that game... we definitely need to get that one!"....
"Oh, this one is good, too...."

As the conversation went on, all I could think was "No, they don't. All they care about is a bounce house and a cake walk.  The End. This is dumb."  I mean, I didn't speak those words.  But I thought them.

I thought them and I knew that I wasn't a very good fit for a Stepford Wife-ish atmosphere... so I kind of checked out.  Forever.

So, I'm sorry you always have to track me down to do the stuff I'm supposed to do.  I'm not really a terrible mother... I just think most of this stuff is lame.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stand Out!

I'm going to stand out today.

I'm not going to worry about if people will look at me. I'm not going to worry about what they might say. I'm not going to worry about what they might think.

I'm just going to do it.

I'm going to say what I think. I'm going to feel what I feel. And I'm not going to apologize for any of those things. I'm just going to be -- unapologetically.

Today is not a day for living quietly and under the radar. Today is a day for living expectantly and deliberately.

So I'm going out and I'm going to wear bright colors and wear red lipstick and wear stiletto heels. And I'm going to laugh and maybe I'm going to cry and maybe I will say things. And not under the cover of whispers, but with pride and confidence.

Because today... today, I am consciously going to stand out.

Full Disclosure: I am probably not going to wear stiletto heels. Falling down is not the kind of "standing out" I have in mind.

Monday, September 23, 2013

On My Mind

I found you on my mind today.

I thought about picking up the phone and telling you.
but I didn't have anything else to say -- 
and I thought you'd think I was dumb.
so I never dialed your number

I thought about opening an email and telling you
but written words are things you can't get back, stamped there in print for eternity
and I wasn't sure if I wanted you to know you were on my mind if I wasn't on yours.
so I never sent the message

I thought about stopping by your house and bringing you coffee
Like maybe a peace offering of caffeine would somehow alleviate the tension that once was
but I don't even know if you like coffee anymore and I was afraid of what you would do if you saw my face there on your doorstep
So I never came over

but you were still on my mind.

and so I'm telling you here... in this place you probably never read
so that somewhere, it's there. and if you're interested to know... 

You were on my mind today.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Forgiven, but not Forgotten

I've been thinking about the idea of forgiveness again. I struggle with it -- maybe not so much with the idea of forgiveness itself, but with the line that lies between forgiveness and wisdom. I've often walked the side where I have been very open with forgiveness and have let repeat offenders cross line after line. I got burned by that, deeply. And then I cowered back to the other side of the line where I was afraid to let anyone who had hurt me before have the chance to do it again.

It seems that there should be some middle ground there and I'm trying to find it.

I want to be the kind of person who can have the courage to extend grace to those who have been hurtful. But, I also want to be wise and not invite in disaster.  It's like if someone came into your house, totally trashed it, and then left -- without a second thought or a care for what they left you with.  It is a good thing, I think, to be able to forgive them for their actions and their thoughtlessness.  But, would you let them back in to do it a second, third, fourth time?

I guess that's the rub. -- But it's also what I think about on both sides of the coin.  I haven't always been faultless either. I've made choices that I wish I hadn't, said things that I wished I'd kept silent on.  So, when I'm faced with someone else's mistrust, I have to understand that and not be angry over it. I have to understand that maybe they're struggling with forgiveness and the ability to trust, too.

That we're all trying to find that middle ground.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Feel the Rain

Feel the rain.

Don't ignore it. Don't pretend it isn't there.
Walk out in it. Let it seep to your bones.

Don't cover it. Don't hide from it.
Let it be a part of you. Acknowledge it.

Not every day.  Maybe every day doesn't have to be a storm.
But some days? some days, it's okay to feel the rain.

Some days, it's okay to be sad and not sunny.
It's okay to be the rain.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Celtic Thunder Mythology Tour Review

The Boys are Back in Town, and are they ever! Celtic Thunder kicked off their Fall 2013 Mythology tour in British Columbia this weekend, and I was delighted to be there for Opening Night. For those just showing up, Celtic Thunder is an Irish import musical show performed by six accomplished Irish and Scottish vocalists (George Donaldson, Neil Byrne, Ryan Kelly, Keith Harkin, Colm Keegan, and Emmet Cahill). It is filled with both ensemble and solo numbers, and backed by the fantastic Celtic Thunder Band.  They are talented, amazing, handsome, and put on a truly enjoyable show.

The ensemble numbers are fantastic this year. Rocky Road to Dublin, usually my favorite group song, kicked off the second half of the evening with amazing energy. It's fast paced, there's lots of movement, and it's just plain exciting to watch and listen to. The Boys Are Back in Town, performed by Ryan, Keith, Neil and Emmet, was really a lot of fun. The live concert experience gave it a great kick and I enjoyed it tremendously.

Brought in from a previous tour, A Song for the Mira was beautiful.  It had been performed previously with the addition of youngster Daniel Furlong, but this all-grown-up version was amazing. Perfect harmonies, gorgeous phrasing.  It was really well-done and possibly my other favorite of the night. Star of the County Down is one of my favorites to watch (they can all be my favorite, right?). Neil has the best comedic timing and never fails to make me laugh. Rounding out the foursome is George, Emmet, and Colm, and they all do a really great job of making this song cute and fun.

The newest member to the group, Colm Keegan (my crushy favorite), is truly adorable. Quick to smile with a lovely voice, he's a wonderful addition to the cast. My favorite of his solos was Katie, which he plays piano to. It's just the sweetest song and it's beautiful to listen to. Later, his duet with Keith on Sound of Silence is fantastic. They sound so great together on a song that I have loved for years.  Full disclosure... I spent a lot of time "making eyes" at Colm during this song, and possibly less time actually listening to it. (I told you he was adorable!) His sometimes partner-in-crime, Emmet Cahill, has a different but truly gorgeous voice.  Classically trained, his baritone is filled with amazing warmth that is wonderful to listen to. His Isle of Innisfree is a beautiful ballad and the silkiness of his voice just envelops you.  Wonderful.  He performs a lively Spanish Lady which is really a lot of fun to watch. He's energetic and adorably engaging.

Ryan Kelly(my actual favorite)'s Carrickfergus was a lovely poignant song. I loved seeing him sing a song with a gentler emotion. His performance of Hunter's Moon (a song written specifically for him) was passionate, mysterious and powerful, a great one to display his acting prowess. But, his House of the Rising Sun was a-maz-ing. It built steadily into an incredible jaw-dropping finish that I loved and wanted to immediately see again. Neil Byrne is probably the sweetest performer I've ever seen.  Carolina Rua and Perfect are both really peppy fun songs. My favorite of the two is probably Carolina Rua, and Neil sings it with energetic styling. What I really missed from the setlist for this show was Ryan's Dearg Doom and Neil's Summer in Dublin, which he performs with great believability and that I just love. I would have given anything to have those!

Keith Harkin performs a beautiful Tears of Hercules, from his solo album, and it's a lovely song. He sings with great tenderness and is a personal favorite of mine. But, one of the highlights of the night was his Man of Constant Sorrow. This was wonderful! It was so much fun and I tapped my foot so much and so hard that I think I may have worn a hole in the floor!  Don't miss this! George Donaldson was really good. He was so strong on Grand Affaire, both in vocals and in stage presence. He seems like he's really grown a lot as a performer in the last year and I was very happy with his performances all night. Life With You is an older song that fans are familiar with, but George gives it so much fun and energy that I was happy to see and hear it again.

When the rest of the company came out at the end of Emmet's Always There, dressed in the wardrobe that I knew went with the last song, my heart sank. How could a two-hour show be over so quickly?  And yet it was. Two hours spent with my favorite musical group, performances that still make me tremendously happy... even after six years of attending their concerts.  I can't wait to catch the closing show in Seattle at the end of the tour!

For tickets, see Celtic Thunder's website and don't miss a wonderful show!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...