Saturday, April 23, 2016


Last weekend we had the honor and privilege of seeing our friend's son, Chris, in his senior cabaret as he prepares to graduate from college and enter the big scary world.

Chris focused his cabaret in the style of this is my life told through stories and songs. The night before we went, his show was filled with his college friends. This performance had a fraction of that crowd, and recognizing most of the audience knew him when he was in diapers, was family-friendly. I am publicly applauding Chris for recognizing not all audiences are the same, and tailoring this performance to those of us who love him no matter what, but prefer a fully dressed performance.

While listening to him tell stories and sing songs about his life, and laughing along with those tales, I was struck by how this was just a different format for a memoir. I've thought of memoirs as solely being the written word presented in a book or booklet. This gives me a potential new twist on my memoir business. I could ask people to list the songs that tell the story of their lives. First, though, I need some clients (shameless plug -- help!!).

At one point Chris asked us our "trigger songs," the ones that trigger a memory or emotion. I know I have them. We all have them. But at that moment, I was drawing a blank to every song I have ever heard in my life.

Upon reflection, two came to mind: Piano Man by Billy Joel and Guantanamera. Hearing just the opening notes of those songs instantly transport me to another time and place.

Piano Man reminds me of my 18-year old self living in Belgium, away from home for the first time and meeting people from all over the world (thanks to Facebook, I am back in touch with some of them). That year I developed a major itch to see more of the world, which propelled me to live in France for a semester, and makes sure my passport is always up to date.

Guantanamera doesn't take me back as far in my life, only to last November and the Cafe Parisien in Havana, Cuba. This was my first international trip in a couple of years, and also my first solo trip without my family. It reminded me I love to travel and experience new places. It showed me while that part of me has been hidden for a while, it was time for it to come out again, that there are many places left for me to explore. Every time the song pops up on Pandora I smile and dream about new adventures.

I've been mulling it over for the past week and no other song has popped into my head as a trigger song. I've also been listening to Hamilton a lot, which brings up a two-week old memory, but I wouldn't consider that a trigger song just yet. On the flight home from Iceland I watched When Harry Met Sally, in some ways that is a trigger movie for me as it reminded me of my 20-something year old self dating Don.

These triggers into the past are fun, but triggers can also be launching points into our futures. A couple of weeks ago while walking in the woods I had a thought that someday I'd like to go on a mission trip. I know my limits, I won't build a structure for someone and expect it to survive a storm, but I would love to talk to people and learn about their culture and share my love. The very next day someone asked me if I would like to go on a mission trip someday. Is this is a sign of God working in me? Is God planting seeds for my future so when the opportunity arises again I do it instead of second-guessing it? I want to be the person who sees an opportunity and grabs it rather than staying home and playing it safe.

I continue to pray about my future, and seek your prayers, too. I feel called to record people's histories. On the one hand I admit I don't know how to turn it into a business, on the other hand I know all things are possible through God and if He wants it to happen, it will, but only in His time. Help me to hear his nudging in my life.

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