How We Love

I’ve been stalling, putting it off, but sometime in the next couple of weeks, I need to temporarily shut down the blog for some work that has to be done over at the server. I say “temporarily”, but tech-savvy friends have told me, sadly, that things often go wrong when you change root domains.

Even if I back up my content before I initiate the process, I could lose all of the subscribers I have left and that’s the heartbreaking part. Those of you who still read this and who have stayed with me through bustling bistro days and cyber-hibernation silences are very, very special to me.

If you want to reconnect with me again, I know you’ll find a way; the domain name will stay the same and most of you have my blog email address. But if this is it, if this really is the end of my blogging journey here because I lose what’s left of the blog’s quiet continuity, I’d like to leave you with one of my favourite songs, from my favourite singer-songwriter. It describes how I feel about about life, love, legacy and us.

I believe with all my heart that if you’re still reading this, if you still visit this blog, then you’re a kind, supportive person, a detail lover, a creative who wants to connect with others, with your best self and the world around you.

Some days you feel that who you are and what you do makes a difference, because you do little things with great love and presence.

Some days I can almost hear your creative soul screaming with pain as you wonder why you bother.

But still, you connect, you go online to enjoy the journey home to yourself; you seek out people and places who make you feel like you belong, like you make a difference.

Rightly or wrongly, that’s the you I’ve always written for, the you who makes me feel grateful for the gift of your presence.

Please wish my wee bloggling luck. I feel like I’m about to watch a loved one being wheeled in for elective surgery. ~ Janice

If the YouTube video doesn’t work for you – and I’m sorry, I’ve tried but have NO idea how to fix the UK/rest of the world  problem – then please try it on your version of YouTube or simply buy the track or the album. I promise you, How We Love is worth it.

How We Love ~ by Beth Nielsen Chapman

Life has taught me this
Every day is new
And if anything is true
All that matters when we’re through is how we love

Faced with what we lack
Some things fall apart
But from the ashes new dreams start
All that matters to the heart is how we love

How we love, how we love
With the smallest act of kindness
In a word, a smile, a touch

In spite of our mistakes
Chances come again
If we lose or if we win
All that matters in the end is how we love

How we love, how we love
I will not forget your kindness
When I needed it so much

Sometimes we forget
Trying to be so strong
in this world of right and wrong
All that matters when we’re gone
All that mattered all along
All we have that carries on… is how we love

Every December Sky

The first time I met Beth Nielsen Chapman, I told her Every December Sky is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. I asked if I could have her permission to perform it, and she gave me her blessing. I felt like I’d been trusted with a child.

This song is my response to dormant trees, dark days and nights full of fear, doubt and loss.  It expands me and connects me with heaven, earth, nature and humanity, with those I’ve loved and those I’ve lost. It makes me feel calm, hopeful, trusting, prepared, full of faith and lucky to be loving and living with every fibre of my humanity. It makes me glad I believe in angels.

Every December sky
Must lose its faith in leaves
And dream of the spring inside the trees
How heavy the empty heart
How light the heart that’s full
Sometimes I have to trust what I can’t know
Sometimes I have to trust what I can’t know

We walk into Paradise
The angels lend us shoes
‘Cause all that we own
We’ll come to lose
And Heaven is not so far
Outside this womb of words
With every rose that blooms
My soul is assured
It’s just like a song I’ve known
Yet still unheard

And every leaf of fire lets go
Melting in the arms of earth and snow
And if I could hold you now
You’d enter like a sigh
You’d be the wind that blows
The answer to “why?”
You’d be the spring-filled trees
Of every December sky

Manhattan

Sara Bareilles’ song Manhattan, from the album The Blessed Unrest, reminds me of movie soundtracks and piano bars at midnight. The haunting power of this heartbreakingly beautiful song is heightened by simple city photography. (Sorry about the horrible YouTube/google ads.)

Why am I posting this? Because I love it and because I love sharing music and you may not have come across Sara Bareilles. When I was a teenager, before the days of Walkmans and iPods, we used to listen to each other’s records on vinyl and talk for hours about music, film, books and poetry; when cassettes came out, we made each other mix tapes. Manhattan speaks to me of human resilience, of creating beauty from sadness and of knowing when to let go. The whole album is an anthem to brave authenticity and creative renewal. These are the lines I sing along with most loudly in the car:

“And so it goes, one foot after the other till black and white begin to color in…”

If you like her voice and lyrics, and you sometimes experience bouts of cyber hibernation, inner conflict and creative self doubt, then check out Hercules; there are a couple of discrepancies between the video lyrics and the song that bug me, but with lyrics like hers, it’s still worth pointing you to the song.