Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I grew up around music.  My parents sang and played piano and guitar (and the accordion!)  My siblings and I all took lessons - piano, violin, guitar - and sang in school.  My Grandma Marge was a pianist.  She conducted imaginary orchestras when she sang.  My dad's dad played the trumpet and directed a choir.  Their music books are scattered around our home.  Grandma D burst into the funniest songs we'd ever heard "If I'da knowed you was comin' I'da baked a cake..." and we encored with giggles.  My grandpa on rare occasion gave in to our pleadings with the two songs he sang: "I'm my own grandpa..." and "I got a gal who's mighty sweet, big blue eyes and tiny feet, her name is Rosabelle McGee, she tips the scales at 303, ohhh gee..." 

As kids, Friday nights were family nights and many of them included my dad with his guitar singing "Squeeze a friend's knee...Scratch a friend's back...Shake a friend's hand...Sing a-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-le-luia..." as we would dance around our black and white tweed couch.  (What can I say; we lived it UP on Friday nights.)

I'm sharin' the love, too; Eden digs music.  Like times a billion.  And she has her own mind about it all.  Driving in the car she lets me know, "Not that song, Mommy."  (Usually she is wanting Brandi Carlile's Dreams or The Weepies Red Red Rose.)  On a trip to Target, she brought me She & Him's latest album.  'Cuz she's my girrrl.  Si's getting in to it, too, now - rockin' and wavin' a pudgy hand in the air to the beat.  And there are dance parties waiting to be had for us everywhere - our kitchen, the car, the aisles at the store. 

Music takes you back.  This Is How We Do It will always remind me of track & field in junior high.  Mazzy Star's Flowers in December always makes me think of my sweet friend Chris.  John Denver and Travis send me back to college bonfires and grassy fields, stretched out on blankets "doing homework" in the sunshine.  Jon and I celebrated our I Do's and "May I present to you Mr. & Mrs." to the Cranberries' Dreams.  We carry on in my parents' tradition and trim our tree every Christmas to Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.  I listened to Antje Duvekot's Lighthouse on repeat when I was praying for a friend's broken marriage. 

Music soothes.  When Eden was little it was Bob Marley's Three Little Birds that quieted her fussy nights.  Pack Up Your Troubles is Si's song of choice.  And I'm tellin' ya - those songs are magic.  They cure almost anything.  When there is a sadness gnawing at my own heart, like in the moments I miss my Grandma Marge, I turn to Diana Krall.  When I doubt my Savior's love, Kari Jobe cradles me with Beloved.

Music inspires.  Nichole Nordeman's Brave empowers me as a momma and Sara Bareilles' Let the Rain (thanks for the introduction, K) makes me want to shed this perpetual timid skin I make myself so at home in.  Wild Horses by Natasha Bedingfield makes me want to love better.

Looking forward, looking back.

I'm almost 30.  The big 3-0.  And as I kiss 29 farewell and greet 30 with open arms, I wonder what the theme music will be for the year ahead.  There's a lot of good comin'.  Like a concert next month to see my favorite, Over the Rhine, with THIS chica:

I cannot wait. 

And then there's a day this spring where Megan becomes my sister and another day this summer when Tysen becomes my brother and the whole big bunch of my in-laws C to the E to the L to the E to the B to the R to the A-T-E.  Sandwiched in between those weddings are the births of two sweet nieces whom I cannot wait to smooch. 

I greet 30 with fine lines and stretch marks, and I'm embracing them.  Okay, I won't lie - I'm still adjusting to that bit.  But I'm looking forward to moving on because, darn it, I earned them and they are all mine.

And there's something about 30, that puffs my heart up with gumption.  Like I don't just want to talk about things anymore.  I want to do them.  I don't just want to dream; I want to realize.  'Cuz life is wild and precious.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

(Winter hats by Momma Metz...and we love them.  But not as much as we love her.)

I greet 30 with resolve for the next year:

  1. Listen for God.
  2. Less fear; more love.
  3. Try; it's okay to fail.
  4. Mess is good.
  5. Give grace.
  6. Use my words to empower.
  7. Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion...(Zech. 7:9).
  8. Treat all equally.  Be intimidated by and look down on no one.  We are all just people, after all.
Direct my feet.  Quiet my noisy heart.  Become.

All for now.  Dinner and One Republic's Good Life calls.


  1. Happy (early) Birthday - Welcome to the 30s!! I might just have to steal your resolves (along with your music :)

  2. "music is what feelings sound like" :)

    i'm with ya sister. loved reading this one and remembering our friday night fun. and even though i might be forever scarred by ms. nicely - i do love that learning to play piano gave me a great appreciation for all kinds of music.

    and i'm so glad edie, si, zai and emery share in the love. here's to more dance parties...