Category Archives: Music

Nature and humanity beautiful together: Croatian Sea Organ

I’m not a “bucket list” person, but I would say that it would make me happy to see this someday:

Organ pipes carved into stone steps on the shore of the Adriatic Sea that respond to the air pushed in by waves that lap against the steps. Shades of South American wood pipes and flute.

Croatian Sea Organ

A little good news about nature and humanity on this Friday the 13th.




Mistakes help us grow: The Effort Effect

best-to-comeDo you think skills are inherent, or do you believe abilities can be developed? 

How you answer that question might determine your level of success, according to Stanford psychology professor, Carol Dweck. Her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Successlooks at why some people achieve their potential while others do not.

Early in her academic career, Dweck studied why some children gave up in the face of failure and why others persevered and went on to overcome obstacles. She discovered that the difference lay in the child’s belief about why they had failed: Those who believed they failed because they lacked an inherent ability gave up, but those who believed they failed simply because they hadn’t tried hard enough became even more motivated to keep trying.

Dweck’s studies apply to education, sports, careers, hobbies and personal relationships, and there’s another layer to this too.

Some students didn’t want to be seen to fail. For them, looking smart was far more important than learning anything, so they only took part in activities in which they knew they would not fail. They avoided any experiences that would require them to stretch and grow. Other students didn’t worry about appearances and took risks because their failures gave them a chance to learn. 

In other words, some people want to showcase abilities they believe to be inherent, and other people want to enhance abilities they believe they to be malleable.

The good news is, Dweck discovered that people could change their beliefs and enjoy the benefits. When they learned to embrace failure and keep trying, they improved performance.

There’s hope for all of us who have ever said, “I can’t do math to save my life,” or “I’m no artist.” Perhaps we just need a few more failures and a little more perseverance.


Read more in Standford Alumni


Not auld, but new time’s sake

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Sometimes, yes, for your new time’s sake. 

At midnight on New Year’s we sing a song about the past instead of the future. For me, for the new time pelting me moment by moment, I prefer to look forward. No point in clinging to unhealthy, damaging relationships for old time’s sake. Choose healthy ones, look forward and go out and have some fun.

For New Time’s Sake

For new time’s sake, my dear,
For new time’s sake,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For new time’s sake.

We two will run about the hillsides,
Amongst the daisies fine,
And we will wander many a mile
For new time’s sake

We two will wade in lapping lakes,
From noon to dinner time
And seas we’ll cross, and lands we’ll see
For new time’s sake

And there’s a hand, my trusty friend,
And give me a hand of yours,
And we’ll take a drink of goodwill ale,
For new time’s sake.

And surely I’ll pay for your pint,
And you will pay for mine
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For new time’s sake.


Liverpool haunts: An ale and crisps birthday

Since my return from our London vacation, I have mined the experience for blog post material. Until today I hadn’t touched on the number one highlight of our trip: Liverpool.

We took an early train and arrived in Liverpool mid-morning. We promptly hired a Fab Four cab and spent two hours with a personal guide who took us to Beatles’ haunts: the house where Ringo was born, Penny Lane, the barber shop, Strawberry Field, and the church hall where John and Paul first met at a church fête. (The British pronounce this word like “fate,” for some strange reason.)


This all served as a fun warm-up for our afternoon activity: the National Trust tours of the childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The National Trust maintains these properties with love and respect and allows wary access to others prepared to give the homes the same love and respect.

In front of Paul's house

In front of Paul’s house

The custodians share heartfelt personal stories of John and Paul, and they walk guests through the rooms where some of the most famous music in the world was born. We sang “Hey Jude” in Paul McCartney’s living room. We stood at his bedroom window and looked at what his view would have been like. We sang “Please, Please Me” in the front porch of John Lennon’s house, the same place he and John went for good acoustics. The doorknobs and light switches were original, so I think every person on our tour reached out to touch the doorknob and light switch of John Lennon’s bedroom. (Wouldn’t you?)

Beside the front porch where we sang.

Beside the front porch where we sang.

The evening found us at the Cavern Club, the music venue where the Beatles (and many others) got their start. We sang and danced under the ancient arches of the historic club—until we had to tear ourselves away to catch our London train.



We happened to be in Liverpool on my birthday, so I can proudly say that for my birthday dinner, I enjoyed pints of ale at the Cavern Club and crisps on the train. (That’s potato chips in North America.)

Do I know how to celebrate 52, or what?

I was born in 1962, so I was too young to be a Beatles fan when their popularity first skyrocketed in the early 1960s. My interest in them came later. But my husband is a few years older than I am, and he had an older brother who was a teenager when the Beatles were prime time, so he is an avid fan and a trivia master of all things Beatles. Even though my passion for them should not even be measured on the same scale as his, I still visited these sacred sites with a sense of awe. I still reached out and touched the doorknobs and light switches. I slipped off my sandals and walked barefoot on the floors that Beatles’ feet touched.

They were simple human beings—not famous people—when they lived there, and tragic things happened. Both Paul and John were just teenagers when they lost their mothers when they were living in those homes. Paul’s stories had a before-and-after, “after Mom died,” theme. Paul’s father did his best, but “after Mom died” the meals weren’t as good, the cleaning not as thorough, and the furniture got a little shabby. Meanwhile, John’s mother was struck by a car—sent flying through they air—and killed instantly on the street where he lived.

Standing in the places where they lived when the world considered them ordinary and where they lived through those tragedies, I felt a “vibe,” a sense of the little pieces of them that still linger there. I felt it in the homes, I felt it when I danced and drank ale at the Cavern Club, I carried it with me to the train, and I remember it now.

Liverpool haunts.


The gates of Strawberry Field


Paul McCartney: lighthouse

paul-mccartney-ottawa-july72013I was blessed enough to attend a Paul McCartney concert here in Ottawa on Sunday night—an evening of many perfect moments. Before he sang “Blackbird,” he told the audience he wrote the song at the time of civil unrest in the southern United States. When he wrote it, he envisioned someone strolling through a store feeling a lift of hope upon hearing the song over the speakers.

Paul McCartney: lighthouse.

A lighthouse stands steady and shines light to those who need help or guidance. The lighthouse doesn’t try to save everyone, everywhere; it shines light in its own corner of the world, leaving other rocky shores to the care of others. A lighthouse doesn’t target its light at a certain area. If it concentrated on one area or boat in distress, it would leave others to perish on the rocks. The light looks different to every receiver, depending on point of view. Some people can’t see the light at all, for they are too far away and don’t need the light. A lighthouse shines steadily, dependably as a source of good.

McCartney asked how many people in the audience had tried to learn “Blackbird” on the guitar. I sizable portion had. (I have. Have you?) When I plucked out those notes on my guitar, I didn’t know the spark that had led to its creation. I just knew it gave me a lift of hope.

McCartney shone the light of “Blackbird.” He didn’t try to save everyone, everywhere; he shone his light in his corner of the world and left other rocky shores to the care of others. He didn’t target his song in a certain area so he wouldn’t leave others to perish on the rocks. The song looked different to every receiver, depending on point of view. Some people didn’t see it at all, for they were far away and didn’t need the light.

The song shone steadily, dependably as a source of good.

Photo courtesy of Shawn M. Kent

Photo courtesy of Shawn M. Kent

A Bolivian musical transporter

bolivian-dancersWe don’t need a time travel machine or a Star Trek transporter to take us to another time and place; we have sounds and music.

(Quickly—what sound does the Star Trek transporter make? Took you back in time, didn’t I?)

Last year in Bolivia, our Habitat for Humanity Global Village group was invited to an evening presentation of traditional Bolivian dances. I arrived on the terrace before the others, just as our host tested the sound system. He put on a song and then left to check on something else. I sat listening to the music in the tropical evening warmth. I looked up at a moon surrounded by feathery clouds. It was a perfect moment. As I sat there, the trip leader joined me. He sensed the quality of the moment and, without speaking, sat beside me to survey the moon. The perfect moment lasted until the song ended and the rest of the group crowded the terrace.

I bought a copy of the music, and when I hear the opening strains of that song, it transports me—boom—back to the tropical warmth of a Bolivian evening.

MJ wrote about this on her blog last week. Paul McCartney transports her to another time.

What are some of your time travel songs?

Plain and Fancy

Marian Longenecker Beaman: Former Plain Girl Meets Fancy World

Spread love not hate

Everything under the sunshine

View Pacific

The View of, from, and around the Pacific

Wire Dog Stories

Imaginary Adventures that Entertain and Inspire

Words By Montgomery

Sharon Montgomery: Author - Playwright - Lyricist


Deep Thoughts and Ideas

Notes Along the Path

A Lighter Way of Being

Ethereal Nature

The interface of the metaphysical, the physical, and the cultural

Ba'slan shev'la

A strategic disappearance, for the purpose of regrouping and recovering from extended engagement with one's quarry.

Capturing God

Finding Spirituality through Photography, Art & Nature

A Small Act Of Kindness Can Bring Smile On Million Faces

Kindness Like a Boomerang Always Comes Back!!


My passions: health & wellness, current events, gardening, wheat allergy, parenting and more...

Hopping Hadrian's Wall

Dispatches from the border of Anglican and Presbyterian

Can Anybody Hear Me?

Uncovered Myself One Pound at a Time; Still Discovering Myself One Day at a Time



Simmer and Boil

Cooking Light


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 870 other followers

%d bloggers like this: