Thursday, May 21, 2015

SING...SING

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”  Maria Augusta von Trapp  


I've been singing most of my life; why not?  I love music...most kinds, not all but different strokes for different folks, right? 

My favorite 'classes' all through school were the musical ones...chorus.  I was always rarin' to be there...had some wonderful choral directors, too!  My mother saw to it that I had voice lessons from early on...even my first crush was lyrical...the son of my voice teacher...oh boy!  Cute, of course.  

Michael and I were in close quarters when we sang for a radio program in Odessa...(pre-marriage) that's when he foolishly stated that I would never be allowed to ride in his car.  Fooled him and am co-owner in everything he has!  That'll teach him.

Music, music, music.  Lots of fun, lots of music!  


Due to constant exposure our boys are also melodious; I always took them along when I had choral practice (couldn't afford a sitter)...they sat and learned.  From operettas to pop...they learned and loved it.  So did I. 

I'm not able to sing these days.  An auto accident took care of my voice...my head cracked the steering wheel, damaged my neck and vocal chords.  I croak along and that's okay...better than nothing.  A wonderful friend of ours, who was very old, chided me after I mentioned I sang like a frog.  He said, "Vasca, every time I hear you sing I think it's an angel."  He was too, too sweet.

I sing in my head...and aloud if no one's around.  Sometimes I even entertain M with songs he's never heard before.  He wonders where I came up w/them but I have an awesome memory!  Melodious?  Not, but I guess it really doesn't matter what one sounds like if the heart is in it. 

For instance, one of our long-time friends lived across the street from us when our boys were little...their daughter would get she and the  four boys 'dressed up' and sashayed around...cute...I have pictures but would prove dangerous for me if they were published.   

Now her mom's gone, her dad is 88 and lives in a cloud; dementia.  He and Michael grew up together, sang together...led singing together...close friends!

She wrote last week about taking her dad to the doctor and what took place in the waiting room...'he began singing loudly and repeatedly..."Jesus, Jesus...Jesus, that's the sweetest name I know".... some of the crowd joined in, some said amen...applauded.'  Everyone was smiling. How touching is that?  Wow!

That reminded me of an employee at the grocery store.  He hasn't worked there too long and I don't even know his name (or else I forgot).

While he's carrying out the groceries he sings all the way; sometimes he sings while he's bagging...at times I can't distinguish what he's singing but most of the time I can.  He doesn't carry on any conversation...just sings, like he's in his own private world.  The one time he did converse w/o singing was when a lady was caught shoplifting while I was there...and forget the singing...he was over the top excited.

The point is he brightens people's lives...with hardly any effort on his part.  It's just 'what he does'.  Like our friend...it's simply 'what he does'.  and it puts a smile on faces...that's like a rainbow.
 
A person might be great because they promote the idea of being happy as they are...what do you think about that?  Our friend lost his partner...but he still sings...there's music in his heart.  I don't know about the grocery man...but he sings...there's music in his heart, too.   
 
Since it's raining almost daily, how about this?
I'm singin' anyplace, just singin' anyplace;
Come on w/the rain I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane with a happy refrain...
I'm singin', just singin' in the rain!

Hopefully I'm forgiven for twisting the lyrics. 

Here's a bit of trivia for you...this song made its debut in one of the first musical sound movies, Hollywood Revue 1929. 

I love the movie "Singin' in the Rain"...went to school with Debbie Reynolds in beautiful, downtown Burbank.  Those were the fun days in the old, very peaceful California.  Oh my! 

Here's my point...
"Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens."

So hey, sing and be happy...in any key!

From my open heart...to yours,
Vasca

 
 
 
 


Friday, May 8, 2015

Tender Loving Care...


 
 
Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles,
a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth.
 Joan Lunden
 
The past couple of weeks have been full of some really bad stuff...in Delaware for starters (demonstrations spread to Seattle & New York).  Anger, hatred, sorrow, arson, theft...emotions were running hot with riots and protests were rampant.  It has been such a hot mess and yet, in the aftermath, people  voluntarily stepped in to physically clean all they could.  But the mental stress lives on...like a powder keg ready to explode at any provocation.  Headaches!
 
It's difficult not to be judgmental...emotions go off the charts, people are hurt...thankfully I've not been in circumstances like those mentioned above!
 
And of course we've the "armchair quarterbacks"...almost everyone has the answer to how things should've been handled.  Hey, what do we know???
 
                                                   
I've had a comparatively easy life; many have not...let's face it, there's an abundance of 'hard row's to hoe out there'. 
 
For a period of ten years Michael was Director of a school/hospital for children w/cerebral palsy and spina bifida.  It provided a respite for the parents and families of those children; lots of wonderful things were accomplished and it gives one a look at special individuals...caregivers!
 
A long time friend of ours recently relocated to a city not far from here; she and her husband needed to be near family due to health problems.  Her husband has a most serious form of dementia; she's his caregiver.  This week she wrote something that touched me deeply; I asked her permission to write about it, she thought it was a good idea; so here it is as she wrote it.

Random acts of kindness. How a complete stranger can make your day better. Yesterday afternoon about 2 I took my husband out for a late lunch of burger and fries. I have to help him walk and get in his seat (which was a booth this time) and as we walked in it was freezing in there. I got him in his seat and went back to the car and got him a jacket. I put it on him and he wanted it zipped so I zipped it for him. Then I ordered our food and sat with him while we waited for it. When the food came I got his ready for him to eat and put it in front of him. I finished my food and was just sitting there waiting for him to eat (he eats very, very slowly) when the person in the booth next to us got up to leave. He came to me and said "I want to give you my card and thank you for the way you take care of your husband". 

 My heart melted and I fought back tears. This was a nice looking young man that obviously had a very caring heart. What he didn't know was that the night before had been a very difficult one and I had probably had 2-3 hours of sleep. I do believe God placed him there for me and somehow I had more spring in my step and less tiredness in my bones. 

This man, who is a realtor-broker, will be getting a card from me expressing my undying gratitude and I will be asking God to bless him and his kind ways.


Such a nice thing to brighten some one's day...someone who needed it.  It's like "if you could read my mind, you'd be in tears."  There are countless individuals who spend most all their waking hours (which are more than plenty...sleep can be very elusive for them) tenderly caring for others.  Talk about deserving stars in their crowns...awesome!
 
"Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly,
and most underrated agent of human change."
Bob Kerrey

I've been given something to really think and pray about...and it's going to the top of my list.

May God bless each of you wonderful caregivers...you are most awesome!

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

GONNA' BE A GOOD DAY...

 
 
Get up and do a happy coffee dance...
It's gonna' be a good day
 
Good grief...here it is the last week in April!
 
April is an anniversary of sorts for Michael...as well as for me since he and I are...well, we're one!  Five years ago this month our family world suffered a minor earthquake of sorts.  Trust me, it was no April Fool's joke.
 
M was diagnosed with Amyloidosis...we didn't even know what that was; never heard of it.  Few have.  It is pronounced: Amy and Lloyd meet Osis. 
Amyloidosis is rare, incurable and can be deadly...not a good disease to have but it can be treated. 
 

People are confronted with such things and they cope with each one.  I don't know how they handle it but initially I went into a state of temporary insanity.  I went bonkers deluxe!  Every time I looked at M my heart broke and I felt the tears building but no way I wanted him to see that...in the cover of night  I could cry into my pillow.  But only for a couple of days and then my senses shifted to "the only difference between a good day and a bad day is attitude!" Bingo!
 
What a difference a day makes, huh?  A lot, a whole lot.

We are extremely blest; later on we learned that M's Amy (our nickname for the disease) is localized...meaning the specialists' agree that his probably won't move out of her apartment in his throat.  While it affects his voice, swallowing and a few other minor functions it isn't life threatening; we're happy.

Michael is a born leader...however, due to the changes in his life he has taken a 'back seat' in some areas.  Don't misunderstand...he's still the driver in our marriage, our home.  I'd not have it any other way; both of us are flexible and for the most part, congenial.  After all, sixty three years of marriage has a way of molding flexible people, right? 

For one who had never been very ill in his life he has adapted quite well...of course some days are more difficult than others but that's life.  There's a saying that life is hard and not always fair...but hey, makes a person stronger/wiser.  Yes?  Sure! 

 
"It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something
that makes a life worth living."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
 

One of the beneficial things to catch...is...enthusiasm and I do my best to ensure the atmosphere in our home is full of it.  In the past M would tell me I was pessimistic but that's no longer the case.  I do my best to keep it going 24/7 with no intention of letting up.
 
I know one important reason for the enthusiasm is our morning reading time; he does the reading...I do the listening.  Our first book this year was "If You Want To Walk On Water You Have To Get Out The Boat".
 
We've not quite finished our second and current book..."When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box"...both are by James Ortberg.  Okay, we're down to the last chapter...so?  I'm asking him what's going to be our next one; he laughingly said, "We aren't finished with this one yet!  You never give up, do you?"  My reply was "Nope, never...never!"
 
The two of us have a strong faith in God; and we're enthusiastic about it...about God and His purpose for us.
 
And that, my friends...makes life more than worth living. 
 
Say...how 'bout us doin' a little happy dance?  Make it a great day!
 
From my enthusiastic heart...to yours,
Vasca