Tag Archives: SINGING

The December Rush

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I hate Christmas shopping. Don’t get me wrong. I honestly like the Christmas season and look forward to spending time with family and friends. However, being in a crowded store with maniac shoppers is enough to throw me into a crazy lupus flare. And yet, somehow I found myself in one of the big box stores the day after Thanksgiving, with my son, looking at flat screen televisions. And the stupid thing about that was knowing he wasn’t going to buy anything. However, the other nine million people in the store were going nuts with their credit cards. I hope their retail therapy experience made them happy, bless their hearts.

Nothing is worth standing in line outside, in the dark.

Yeah, let's all stand in line outside and wait for the store to open!

The December Rush is upon us.

Black Friday.

Cyber Monday.

Panic shopping at the last minute for gifts we weren’t going to buy but now feel we must.

Some of us (not me) are compelled to bake enough cookies to feed a small country.

Are you suffering from the symptoms of The December Rush? If so keep reading, because during this time of the year, I’m all about slapping some common sense into your head in BEFORE you get carried away.

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#1 Do you really want to stand in line to buy stuff? Of course you don’t! Standing in line only makes you more tired. Pay somebody 5 bucks to shop for you. It’s worth it. Better yet, shop on line.

#2 Does old Aunt Myrtle really need your homemade peanut brittle? Not if she wants to keep her teeth. Buy her something soft … like warm, fuzzy socks … from the drug store, where the checkout lines are short.

#3 Don’t be afraid to give people The Gift of Disappointment. It’s free and they will get over it.

#4 You know what else is free? Driving around and looking at Christmas lights. It’s fun and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that YOUR electric bill won’t be as high as the guy whose house looks like it’s on fire.

#5 Wash your hands. Sleep 8 hours a night. Drink plenty of water. It’s easy to get sick when you’re stressed out and heaven knows you don’t have time to be sick in December.

#6 Try to not get sucked into the vortex of buying a Lexus with a big bow on it. Or a puppy with a big bow on it. Who does that? Really?

#7 Wine is a good thing. Not to be confused with whine, which is terribly overrated.

#8 Sing Christmas songs. And if you can’t sing well, sing anyway. Singing lowers your blood pressure.

#9 Remember that you are not perfect, the world is not perfect, your family and friends are not perfect, and there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas.

10. If you think you’re going to lose your mind over the holiday pressure, go right ahead. Everybody is entitled to a meltdown now and then.

#11 December lasts only 31 days. Eventually spring will come, which is what I really look forward to enjoying.

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The 5 Question Interview

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Dear, sweet Joan over at Whatever I Think recently gave me five questions to answer.  Thanks Joan!  I love to be interviewed.  And some of these were hard questions!  Thank God I’m not getting graded on this  🙂

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1.  We know you have had lupus for a long time, yet you still manage to stay strong.  How have you managed to keep up the fight against such a disease?

Sometimes I honestly don’t know why I haven’t lost my sanity.  I have a wonderful support system.  That helps a lot.   Mostly it’s because I have hope for a cure, and faith to keep on believing … as in stubborn.  I’ve also learned (the hard way) how to take care of myself and understand my limitations and strengths.  For those of us with lupus, or any chronic incurable disease, research and medicine has enabled us to live  fairly normal lives.  50 years ago, I probably would have died from some complication of lupus.  A sense of humor always helps.  And a good therapist!

itwaslupusmotivational

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2.  You like to cook.  What is your signature dish?  (I sound like Gordon Ramsey.)  In other words, what does your son say is the best dish you cook?

Gordon Ramsey would chase me out of his kitchen!  My son, on the other hand, is less critical.  Actually, he eats just about anything.  I make pretty good chili.  At least nobody’s has gotten sick after eating it!

beef_chili_serving

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3.  If you had to pick a reality show to be on what would it be and why?

Wow!  How cool would THAT be!!!  First thing that came to mind would be X-Treme Home Makeover – Home Edition.  A dream home would be fantastic.  I could have all the windows UVA/UVB treated, a laundry room off the kitchen, temperature controlled screened in porch … a veritable Lupus Survivor paradise!

Ya'll stop by for a visit!

Ya'll stop by for a visit!


However, if they’re recruiting for Ghost Hunters, count me in!  🙂

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4.  You are an X-Files fan.  Do you believe there are sentient beings (besides us) somewhere in the universe?

I would like to think there are.  The universe is so vast, it’s seems a bit naive to assume that we’re the only evolved life form inhabiting it.  And whoever else might be “out there” I hope they’re peaceful and intelligent!

i_want_to_believe

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5.  Singing is very important to you.  What type of music do you enjoy the most and who is your favorite singer?

I’m pretty much a classic rock fan.  Having said that, I also have a broad range of musical tastes, from Chopin to Steely Dan to Lyle Lovett, to Gershwin to Coldplay, Bonnie Raitt, CSNY, Winston Marcellas, Bela Fleck and Nickel Creek. And that’s just for starters.

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I honestly can’t choose just ONE.

As for singers, there are thousands of great vocalists that never make the big time.  They’re in our citys, our nightclubs and choruses.  They sing at church and do freelance pickup studio work.  The amount of talent out there is staggering.  As a vocalist, a guitarist and a small-time producer, the singing talent that has influenced me throughout my life are from this group of fine musicians.  They are not famous but they inspired me.  Their music is on the sideline of their lives because they have to pay the bills.  But their talent is honest and true.  So go out there and support your local musicians!  Go to their gigs and buy their CD’s.

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If you would like ME to interview YOU, here’s the  drill:

1.     Leave me a comment saying “interview me.”

2.     I will email you five questions.

3.     You will answer the questions on your blog.

Thanks for taking the time to read my interview!!!

Letting Go

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I was blessed this past Sunday with the ability to sing for Mass at my church.  Music and singing is a big part of my life.  I started playing guitar and singing as a  teenager and over time, music became a strong avocation.  I’ve been singing ever since.

Having a little bit of talent does come with some modest benefits.  I’ve been invited to sing for parties, weddings and funerals for friends, family and my church community, and consider it an honor to be asked.  I’ve also been paid to sing for commercials, demo tapes, weddings and funerals for people I don’t know and appreciate the extra money.

I sing.  It’s a heaven-sent gift and I know it.

Right around the time my body was ramping up for a particularly nasty lupus flare in 2002, I got involved in a  music project to raise money for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, a non-profit pediatric health center.

A friend of mine (I won’t mention his name but his initials are F.R.A.N.) and I bribed and cajoled a talented group of musicians, composers, engineers, singers, and volunteers to bring this project to life.  In the insuing three years, we successfully produced two CD’s of contemporary Christian music, with proceeds all going to the hospital’s expanded emergency room center.  Our little project, called GlennonSongs, was a labor of love that financially benefited the hospital.  It was also a creative outlet that was extremely rewarding for us.

Of course, working full time and spending all my spare time on this music project didn’t sit well with my immune system.  I got really sick with a lupus flare and was drugged up on prednisone and methotrexate.  Trust me when I say prednisone allowed me to work late seven days a week.  I was moody and anemic,  constantly in pain. But I was wide awake.  For three years.

I refused to give in to lupus.  I would not let go.

My road back to singing has been very slow.  I was too weak to stand and sing in church for a long time.  I couldn’t hold a guitar, look at music and sing into a microphone because I would get terribly dizzy.  Steroids made my voice reed-thin and without strength.  If that didn’t do me in, I’d get those awful steroid sweats, accompanied with chest pain and heart palpitations.  I couldn’t tolerate the loud noises and bright lights.  My eyes would hurt and my head would ache.   Why try to get back to the music when the road is so long and difficult?

Last Sunday I looked at the stained glass window in my church. I thought of my mother.  I asked Mary to give me the strength to sing my song.  I was blessed.

I found my voice, my prayer, and my music.

This time, I had the strength to let go.