Ideas for a Really Great Year, Listed in No Particular Order
“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
– W.T. Purkiser
= Join or initiate a Book Club. I found it enhances your reading to know you will be able to discuss it later with friends. Our group began with Soul Survivor by Phillip Yancey, reading one chapter per month plus any outside reading we could manage by or about the person Mr. Yancey profiled in that chapter.
= Find a massage school where you can receive massage from their students for half price. What a gift this has been in my life, beginning this summer. I may never quit, now that I’ve benefited so much from it. Other discretionary income items may have to go; this one stays!
= Order a copy of the Illustrated Discovery Journal by Sarah Ban Breathnach from amazon.com. (They’re currently available for only $1.00 plus shipping in good used condition.) I had more fun doing this project than I dreamed, and it met needs in me I wasn’t aware I had.
= Break through your resistances (they’re flimsier than you think) and finally do that thing you’ve been talking about doing for years. A friend and I went to the Watkins College of Art & Design and took three evening watercolor classes, something I’d been talking about doing on and off for thirty (gasp!) years. We loved it so much we’re planning to take nine more evening classes starting in February. You might have thought how fun it would be to try a little pottery, or drawing, or a few sewing or riding or dance lessons. Just do it!
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.” – Goethe
= Speaking of dance lessons, I tried one of those too! Two-Stepping is easier than you might think – that is, if you’re a lady and your partner can lead. I’m going to try more lessons next year, but in a slightly less seedy establishment next time. Aesthetics matter to me. : > )
= Turn back the clock. Seek out a way to interact with younger people. I find it so refreshing and stimulating to work with the medical students at Vanderbilt. I think they are youthening me. We don’t always have to act our age.
= Take advantage of iTunes free download of the week. If you are already doing that, you will have found Landon Pigg’s “Sailed On”. He is already experiencing real success in his short time as a professional musician/singer/songwriter. He’s the middle son of my old and dear friends Carol and Gary Pigg. Gary and I used to sing in the contemporary Christian band Fireworks, as well as lots of studio work. Here comes the next generation!
= Gary sang background vocals for Neil Young’s album Prairie Wind and the accompanying movie, Heart of Gold (as well as other concerts including Farm Aid.) I enjoyed my 1.5 seconds of fame as the camera scanned the waiting crowd outside the Ryman Auditorium. The two evenings I spent in the audience so moved me that I wrote an essay about it, and Gary sent it to the director, Jonathan Demme, who wrote back that he enjoyed it. So my words have officially been scanned by the eyes of a Hollywood director, something I certainly never expected! If you’re a Neil Young fan, buy this DVD. It’s a treasure.
= Write a book. No, I really mean it. Yes, you. What’s the computer there for but to listen to your memories as they trickle, and then flow, and then pour out? I posted mine on a blog in ten-page increments so friends could reminisce with me. I found it a therapeutic, integrating experience to tell my story, gathering up so many fragments all in one place. Some said it sparked their own memories, so I provided a community service as well. You can read it in doable doses at http://www.gwenmoore.blogspot.com/
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Blaise Pascal
= If you miss singing in a choir but don’t think you can commit to weekly rehearsal, find a choir that needs seasonal help. I had the blessing of singing in the 100-voice choir for the Michael W. Smith Christmas concert last Sunday, and this Sunday will sing three of Handel’s choruses from The Messiah during worship at church. Not many rehearsals, lots of singing pleasure. Here are dear friends and singers Dave Durham and Gary Pigg with me at the Smitty concert. (Thank you, Gary, for inviting me to participate in the Nashville Choir.)
“Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression.” – Georgia O’Keefe
= Go visit someone you love and miss. I believe that relationships are the only eternal thing we take with us when we leave this life, so they are undeniably worth the investment. I broke my personal record and will have had blessing of three visits with my California loved ones in just one year. What a gift. Sharyn took this picture of my beloved brother Chip near their home in Pacific Palisades. I’ve also been very thankful to renew ties with old friends there.
“Every day is an opportunity to make a new happy ending.” – Anonymous
= Attend someone else’s family reunion. You can be a spectator and visit with anyone you like. I highly recommend the Thomas family for such an adventure. I got to see Elaine and John Harris for the first time since their wedding! And their four beautiful kids. Great to be with Ted and Jane-Anne and their boys Todd (I last saw him when I babysat in Heidelberg) and Terry, their wives and children. Fine talks with Martha and Melody. I said thanks and farewell to patriarch J. Harold, who passed away only two months later. And I got to sing hymns not once but twice a day with this hymn-loving family. Thank you all for welcoming me. It was so delightful!
“Great persons are able to do great kindnesses.” – Miguel de Cervantes