Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day!

I've been on the lookout for awesome flag pictures lately (more on that later) so I'm happy that today's holiday gives me the perfect reason to share one of them. Just took this Saturday, and it was at half-mast. On those days I always find myself gazing at the flag a little bit longer and with more gratitude for all that it stands for.

I also started thinking this morning back to patriotic songs I learned as a kid (thanks, Mom!) but haven't heard in years, and certainly haven't remembered to teach to my own children yet. There's something about patriotic music that gets into your heart and stays there. So maybe this summer on those long road trips, you can guess what will be getting into my boys' hearts. Or at least into their ears...

Fifty-Nifty United States
I Love My Land America
This Land is Your Land
God Bless America
God Bless the USA

and of course...
The Star-Spangled Banner
America the Beautiful
My Country, 'Tis of Thee

What are your favorite patriotic songs?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Behind the Scenes: Heartstrings

This weekend we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! Seems a fitting time tell the story behind "our song" and how it came to be the first title on my CD. It's not a predictable plot line by any means!

It all started with a random month-long trip to Scandinavia that I took by myself when I was 23. Not like me at all. That could be an entire blog with daily postings all in itself.

On this random trip, I "happened" to meet two Norwegian women that I clicked with right away. I kept in touch by email with one of them, and long story short, she introduced me to the man of my dreams, and now we refer to her as our "Norwegian Matchmaker." ("Oh Yenta, Yenta...") How we each found our way to Norway and made one friend in common who introduced us to each other via email, only to find out that I was living 10 minutes away from his family, was no small miracle to me!

At our wedding lunch, he surprised me by singing "I've Dreamed of You," a beautiful love song I'd never heard before. It was one of those moments when time stood still, and I can recall it now just as clearly. He'd happened upon the sheet music while looking for just the right song to sing to me on our wedding day. Later we bought Barbra Streisand's CD, "A Love Like Ours," which is a fabulous collection by the way. "I've Dreamed of You" is the very first track.

A couple of years later, my mom sent me another wonderful CD, Rolf Lovland's "Songs from a Secret Garden" for my birthday. I was stunned when I heard the song "Heartstrings," which is the same melody as "I've Dreamed of You," only for the violin! She hadn't known this song was on the CD, and in fact I don't think she had even heard the CD before.

So I had some research to do...

Turns out that Rolf Lovland originally wrote "Heartstrings" for the violin. As the story goes, Barbra Streisand heard it as background music at a restaurant one day while in Ireland, and was so taken by it that she asked Ann Hampton Callaway to write lyrics to it for her to sing to her husband on their wedding day. Hence, "I've Dreamed of You" was born. Suddenly, there was the recording of the original version of our song, sitting in my lap! And written for my instrument, no less.

Wouldn't you know, when we told our Norwegian Matchmaker about it, she casually replied that she and her husband are close friends with Rolf Lovland - and he had actually written a song just for them when they got married! Well of course he did. So the connection for us with this song and each other has come full circle, halfway around the world and back, just like how we met.

That's why this lovely, special melody had to be first on my CD, "A Time to Love".

"For God must know how I love you so; He's blessed us here today as man and wife. Come dream with me as I have dreamed of you... all my life."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's it all about?

I've thought about what Memorial Day means more this year than ever before, partly because my young boys have wanted to know what this "holiday without presents" is all about. ("What, is it like St. Patrick's Day then?")

In an attempt to give them an understanding that this is a holiday celebrating the gifts others have already given us, and honoring those who gave them, I've had a lot to think about. I've reflected on the blessings of freedom we enjoy because of brave servicemen and women.

I've thought about my grandparents and the generations before who lived a much more difficult life at my age than I am now.

I've thought about my dear friend, Lincoln, who at age 97 mailed in his Voter's Registration so he could vote in the next election.

And I've thought about how, like Christmas, if we could keep the spirit of Memorial Day throughout the whole year, maybe we would live more grateful and reverent lives each day.

Last night, after the picnic and pool parts of Memorial Day, I watched a very powerful tribute to our Veterans. It felt right to end the day that way. It feels right to start today the same - and so I share this with you in that same spirit.

This beautiful woman is my Aunt, Andrea Brett, who also composed "Danny Boy" that's on my CD. Her blog posting from yesterday gives the background on the inspiration for her poem. I don't know how she gets through it. Grab a box of tissues! And then keep giving it some thought.