Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Noblest of Arts

"The noblest of arts is that of making other people happy."
P.T. Barnum


Last Tuesday, January 2, was the last day of Christmas vacation
for my kids and my youngest had a gift card to the movie theater.
She had been wanting to see 
The Greatest Showman,
the movie musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum,
the founder of The Greatest Show on Earth...the circus...
I had no idea the connections I would make.
Or the ways it would display
how each person in unique,
yet so much about all of us is the same...

Story does that.
It has the ability to reach 
right into the depths of your core
and tap into your very own story
and create understanding.
It is why we love movies, a television series, our favorite books.
Why children love a bedtime story.
Why the Greatest Story Ever Told was about
the Greatest Storyteller,
who chose to teach us in parables.

This movie
reaches into a heart.
It reaches into
the struggles
of owning who you are.

This powerful video of the anthem of the movie "This Is Me"
says so much.
Take five minutes,
and you can't help but be encouraged.
Watch here:

If you've ever struggled
to be comfortable in your own skin,
you will get it.

If you've ever struggled
to find your voice
and then
to find the courage
to use it,
you will get it.

If you've ever been afraid
of people seeing your weakness,
you will get it.

If you've ever been mocked,
you will get it.

If you have ever had your knees knock
when you had to get up 
and give a speech,
 or sing in a Christmas program,
or try out for a team,
or go for a job interview,
I think
you will get it.

If you ever were afraid to show your face
somewhere, sometime
in your past,
you will get it.

If you've ever had a dream, a goal,
that seemed impossible,
you were afraid to admit
was even a glimmer
in your mind,
you will get it.

Researcher, writer, storyteller, Brene Brown
says that we are hard wired for connection,
this movie taps into that need.

When I started school,
I was painfully shy.
At conferences, my teachers would tell my parents
that I spoke so softly that I couldn't be heard.
They struggled to get me to speak above a whisper
when I read aloud
in class.
On the school bus
I was too afraid to ask
if I could sit with someone,
so I would just stand and look,
until the high schooler in the seat,
would move their duffle bag to make room
for me.
I would hear them whisper to one another,
"She never says anything. She just looks at you."
And still,
I wouldn't speak.
I was scared of older kids.
But they were the ones who had the bus seats
when by the time I stepped up those stairs.
I struggled to say what I wanted.
I struggled to say what I did not want.
I wanted safety.
I wanted security.
I wanted belonging.

I could not find courage.
I could not find words.

Numerous times
I needed to speak for myself,
but I did not.
Many times,
I have identified
with that
cowardly lion
in Oz,
who longed for

It has taken me my lifetime
to find my voice
and use it.
I have feared loss of connection
with the use of my voice.
Yet I am finding that 
real connection,
true connection,
comes from
living in authenticity
with my actions,
my words,
my choices.

I know it will be a process
for the rest of my days.
Using my voice
to speak
is a continual battle

The Greatest Showman
tapped into all of this
within me.
I was encouraged.
To keep being me.
And to continue to encourage
others to
discover the treasure
who they are.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Hello 2018.
2017 has left me tired.
As I read 
social media,
watch programs,
look at book titles,
I see that I must not be alone.

It seems that a bulk of us
are craving slow.
Many of us are on overload.
We need to slow down.
To stop.
To see 
the people
in our own
To look people in the eye.
Especially those we love.
Instead of staring at another screen.

It feels like a world away from where I was
when I started this blog.
My children are in an entire new stage.
So am I.
So is the world.
Our nation...

Hard, hard things happened in 2017.
Things that brought me face-to-face with fear.
I made good decisions and I made some poor choices too.
I sure do not have the energy that I used to have
for doing everything just right.
So I don't.
Some times I just get by.
Some days are wing and a prayer kind of days.

Some of my 
favorite moments
in our Shaw family
lives happened in this

I became an auntie to twins, a boy and a girl.
Our son turned 18 
to the tune of a mariachi band at Casa Bonita's in Denver.
My daughter experienced her first state track meet, 
breaking a school record with her relay team.
Our family just enjoyed being together
at a Colorado Rockies game and the Denver Aquarium.
I realized the depths of my husband's dedication to me 
as he cared for me after knee surgery in September.

I have lots swirling in my mind
about 2017.
But it all feels too vulnerable and tender to share.
So it must not be the time.

But I am ready
for a new year.
I am ready to
embrace imperfection
and give myself
for a life
that is always
a work in progress.