Dedicated to my mom, her resilience in life and her grace I didn’t know until now.
About six weeks ago while my mom visited me, she excitedly gave me a pamphlet announcing a dance class that she was in. ” Could you go to this, Mary?” she sweetly asked me and of course I said I would. I thought at first that she wanted me to participate in the dance class and I wasn’t sure how I would do, but then I discovered that it was a dance recital and that I would be in the audience. Phew! What a relief that I didn’t have to bust a move!
My mom and niece on Cookie Day
The dance class, Body in Motion, was for women over 65 and was held in a function room at the Horsemeadow Senior Center in North Haverhill, New Hampshire. Instructor Jeanne Limmer taught this class highlighting confidence and joy. The women journaled during the class and performed simple dance movements. It was a reflective and emotional discovery for all of the ladies. The dance class instructor drove a two-hour trip to teach the class, with reservations at first. But as the class went on and she got to know these amazing women, she was happy to do the drive.
Upon entering the building, I noticed happy positive people with teeming smiles and an energy I wanted to bottle up for myself! My mom stood there proudly when I arrived. I knew that I HAD to be there for her and that it was definitely a special event.
The presentation was graceful and inspiring. The women took turns saying profound words to describe themselves using words such as strength, kindness, love and peace. Each woman performed a quick fluid movement with her word, either reaching her arms to the sky or hugging herself.
At one point in the program all the spectators were invited to dance on the floor and celebrate movement while focusing on the positive aspects of life. Swinging my hips and whole body among all these happy graceful souls, I felt alive! It was a few beautiful moments of sheer pleasure and peace, ones that I would love to reenact again. I didn’t care what people thought and no one else did either. We all celebrated life through dance and movement while practicing it in a forgiving space with no holds barred.
The closing of the recital was when all the women stood in a semi-circle and a joyous song, Bird Song by Heather Masse played. This angelic voice floated across the room singing , ” I hear a bird chirping up in the sky, I like to be free like that and spread my wings so high.”
As this beautiful tune played I watched my mom. She danced with peace and love, with a beaming smile that lit up the room. I was so proud of her that day, of her courage to participate in the recital, her grace to spread her wings and fly and not care what people thought. It was one of the best moments I’ve shared with my mother in a long time and I thank God for this chance to connect with her. I love her so and don’t tell her enough.
Check out this song, Bird Song by Heather Masse on Spotify or iTunes. It’s a lovely expression of peace, a song that can be danced to or a great background for creating art or writing. Let me know what you think if you listen to it.❤
As a young child I remember hearing the church bells ringing as entering church. It was peaceful and magnificent, something that evoked sentimental feelings within me. Back then I knew that it was a signal for worshippers that church was about to commence and that it was a bold celebration of God.
Do you know the history of church bell chimes and what the ringing meant? Upon reading Eric Sloane’s American Yesterday, I learned that long ago church bells communicated community events such as births and deaths. Every time a male died the bells chimed three times three and for women, three times two. Shortly after moments of silence the bells would ring the number of years the person lived. I wish I lived back then to witness this…a true ceremony and tribute that would send goosebumps up my spine.
All church bells were rung three times a day, in the morning, at noon and at 9 o’ clock for a curfew. In later times the bells were ringing every hour and that tradition continues today.
When I took my boys to a local Congregational church in a nearby town, I learned that the bell ringing was the children’s responsibility. Besides being that, it was a special treat for them to take turns pulling on the thick hemp rope up and down. Each child had to pull with all his might and sometimes a younger one would need an adult’s strength to help. It would pull their little bodies up towards the low ceiling, like an exciting carnival ride, as they chimed the ringer after church services. My boys did it a few times, and as they performed the special Sunday ritual, their faces lit up with a joy that I wish I could’ve bottled up. The beautiful jingle filled the church yard with heavenly music, bringing a thrill to many who heard it.
I’ve had a special experience with church bells during a neighbor’s funeral. This woman, Esther Heath, was very involved in the town and played the organ at the local Methodist church at one time. She was a farmer’s wife who raised two children and stayed active in our small town. I remember a few of our visits when she would crack a funny joke and we both would laugh uncontrollably. She had quite a sense of humor.
After the little funeral ceremony, all the people who paid their respects, either walked up the country road or drove to the nearby church. As we talked quietly, the air felt still. I solemnly started pondering over my life and how precious time is . While I thought of how blessed I am, the church bells called to the whole town. Amazing! I choked back tears as I walked and listened to the chimes, one after another. I didn’t count how many times it wailed and it didn’t matter to me, just that it rang in honor of this woman. I’ll never forget it or probably experience that again.
Long ago church bells jangled for fire warnings and if war had begun. It was a widespread communicator, tolling to spread the town message. Today the bells still toll in celebration of marriages and in honor of the deceased. They announce a church service in honor of God. Church bells, in all their long history, represent community, God and bring people together in ceremony. Thank goodness for them and all that they represent!
Another year has come and gone and here I am reflecting upon its passing. I find the older I become, the more sentimental I feel of a passing year. It’s a great time to reminisce of special happy moments and to accept not so happy times. No life story is perfect and an acceptance of your situation can accelerate well needed healing. Learning from your past mistakes of the year can help you grow and reflecting upon them can bring peace and resolution. After all, don’t you want to begin a new year without carrying around negative baggage?
A good way to put the past year to rest is jot down your triumphs as well as disappointments. Elizabeth Gilbert suggests creating your own New Year ceremony. My sister-in-law Bev has mentioned this idea before as well. Take your lists of hurtful situations, resentments and disappointments and burn them. With this sacred act you are sending the negative away and welcoming healing and positive things.
I’ve decided that I will do this ceremony tomorrow night and welcome my husband and son to do so if they wish. My list includes getting rid of jealousy, ( really an indicator of lack of confidence) fear and a lack of confidence. With sending these negatives into smoke and ashes, I intend to stay in prayer for help overcoming them. Life is so much more pleasant when you let go of your battles.
Another New Year tradition our family practiced in the past is the grateful jar. I took a glittery vase I had and encouraged my family members to jot down what they were grateful for and place in the jar. Then we shared them after and I kept them to look back upon. Some of the penned thoughts touched my heart, ” I’m grateful for my family.” ” For my family who pretty much supports me most of the time.” ” I’m thankful for food and our house.” This practice can be a Thanksgiving activity as well.
What New Year traditions do you practice? Do you notice the older you get the more special the gift of a new year is? I do…and I thank God for my health, my family and my job.
Happy New Year!🎉🎉🎉🎉
Wishing you all peace and prosperity in the new year, 2018!
All My Best,
Heart and Soul 🎉
I took a quiz last January and received these words for 2017,
Harmony, Freedom and Happiness
I think we had harmony in our marriage, I wished for freedom of jealousy that’s always haunted me and happiness with myself as well as in my life.
If I chose three words to focus on in 2018 they would be,
Confidence, Love and Peace
Confidence in my abilities, Love in my son’s upcoming wedding and marriage and Peace in my heart and my corner of the world.
Tom and I were watching a silly movie last night, Surviving Christmas with Ben Affleck. Affleck’s character hired the family who lived in his childhood house to spend Christmas with him and recreate holiday memories. It was crazy but kind of cute. Check it out if you wish to take in a zany Christmas flick.
One scene that inspired this post was when Affleck and the daughter Christina Applegate were talking intimately about their favorite moment or memory. Afflict asked Applegate if she could relive a favorite memory, what would it be? She answered the magical moment of finding a sparkling ice-covered tree.
I’ve been thinking of this and it’s not easy narrowing it down to one moment to relive nor can I focus on just one. I have numerous memories I wish I could recreate. There were times growing up with my family when there was peace on Christmas and then later when my sons were small and we opened the tree and seeing their face light up with excitement. These moments filled my heart with joy. Maybe if I could wrap all those precious moments up with seeing my grandparents alive for a few minutes, that would be something I would want to relive. To be aware of that special moment and talk again with Nan and Gramp and introduce them to my sons. That would be my favorite moment, if I could intertwine the three.
Do you notice that every year the Christmas card pile gets smaller? Just a few years ago the card deluge would commence the last week of November and every day after you could expect cards in the mailbox. It was always fun hearing from family and friends that you aren’t in constant contact with. Sometimes pictures or annual newsletters would accompany the colorful cards.
I think the Internet craze and messaging has threatened snail mail and the urge to send cards. Many people decide to use Facebook or email to send Christmas wishes. This way it’s instant, easy and free. But I have a problem with this. I enjoy going to the mailbox and being showered with stacks of colorful envelopes! After the cards are opened and read, then comes the display.
I have a little card carrier that I housed my cards in a few years but the problem was that you couldn’t see them. I saw on Pinterest a couple of years ago where someone placed thick felt ribbon down the cupboard doors with the cards stapled to them. This year I draped thick red ribbon across our doorway and stapled the cards to it. It’s simple and easy and looks good.
I admit that my Christmas card list is condensed and always changing! Many relatives and friends have passed away and new friends reappear and are added. This year I almost skipped the tradition due to a lack of time. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t want to send my holiday greetings on Facebook. This morning I worked on six cards and sent them and each day will do a few more.
Another Christmas card tradition of mine is to save my favorite. I strung groups together with shiny ribbon and put them in my basket. The basket is in the livingroom and now and again I browse through them. I still have some from loved ones who have passed away and so their words are preserved.
Do you still send Christmas cards or do you use social media?
I’m wishing many blessings for you all and your families. Hug your loved ones today!