Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 149 Story behind "Portraits of White"

Listen in as Frances tells you the stories behind the completion of this new Christmas/Winter project "Portraits of White".  You'll hear samples of some of the music and hear the journey of how it all came to be.

Check out this episode!

Monday, November 18, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 148 Why do you do what you do?

Now that everything is approved and on its way to being released, I am practicing the music.  I was able to book 4 gigs for this December where I can flesh out my ideas on smaller stages for the big stage next year.  This helps to motivate me to put together a whole new concert.

It's taken me years to find a groove with the music I have on the past CDs as it relates to sharing it with audiences, capturing special moments within each song and capitalizing on them so that audiences experience the music with me.

A new project means a new concert template.  I start all over again, but with much more experience behind me.

I'm looking for special rhythmic, musical, message moments (among others) and pulling them out of the songs and making a bigger deal over them.  That involves a lot of planning, experimenting and practicing.  If the idea ends up not working, I have to start all over again or adjust some things.  I think through what I really want to communicate to people in each song and through the concert itself.

Last week I came upon a verse that really summed up my desire for these Christmas concerts.  Heb. 10:24 "Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out."  (The Message).

That's what I do.  I come up with creative ways to encourage love and help others in their journey through life, by way of music, rhythm and lyrics.

I met someone last week who does the same thing but in a whole different arena.

Last Thursday night I went to the home where my mother lives and got to see (and hear) first-hand why I've always liked one of the nurse's aides who cares for my mother.  She's always so kind and I can tell she really cares about the residents.

Once a week my mother gets a luxurious bath in a whirl pool tub with bubbles and all.  When I asked if I could see how it's done, the aide was more than welcoming.  She warned me that she keeps the room very warm!  I confidently declared that we have a wood stove at home so I am used to a very warm home.

When she said she keeps it at 83-85 degrees I had to brace myself because we don't keep it quite THAT warm.  Too bad I don't carry my swimsuit with me in November.  I was thinking I might need it.

We had some time to talk while my mother soaked in the warmth and so I began to ask the aide how she came to be in this position.

Turns out she had been a hair dresser for over 20 years until her mother got ill and needed dialysis treatment and then got cancer.  For years, she spent all day with her mother taking care of her and getting her to and from the treatments, hospitals and Doctors.  When her mother passed away a few years ago, she found herself wishing she had someone else to take care of and felt rather empty doing the 'hair thing'.  One day a patron of her's recommended she get a job at a local retirement home where she could continue taking care of others like her mother who needed that extra loving touch.

She applied at the home where my mother lives and got a job right away.

I eagerly listened and when she finished, I told her that I could see now why she seemed to always work with compassion.  She keeps the room toasty warm for residents (in spite of her own discomfort) when other aides think it's way too hot. She puts lotion on their legs and backs.  "I train others to do this but the residents complain when I'm not here because the other aides don't do it."  She goes the extra mile it seems.  She is finding inventive ways to encourage love and to help others.

I thanked her for her kindness toward my mother and wished that there were more like her in the medical field.  She's there because she loves people and wants to make a difference and it shows.

Everyone's work is different, but we can all find inventive ways to use our work to touch others.

For this reason, I continue working away at my elephant diet.  I practice the guitar, piano, drums, accordion and singing and I listen for interesting things in the music that I can draw attention to that will help drive the message home.

After my mother's bath, she got her hair dried, combed and made pretty just in time for bed.  I tucked my mother in bed and noticed she still had her socks on.  When I asked if she wanted me to take them off, she said, "no, I like to leave them on until I'm warm enough and then I take them off".  I smiled.

I do the EXACT same thing.  I never knew that my mother did that.

She saves the last bite of toast for jelly. I do the same thing!

I cried as I left her room that night.  Not sure if they were tears of sadness because she continues to become more disoriented these days, or tears of joy because I have the privilege of finding out the little things about my mother that we share in common.

Either way, I left thankful to have that little window into someone else's story and how they work to touch other people, especially when that 'other people' is my mother.

It must be the why that makes all the difference!