Will you dance with me?

Will you dance with me?

While we sit on a plane listening to music – music that was made to move us, will you dance with me?

dancewithmeWill you let the words, the tempo, and energy of the music come forward through dance?

Will you ignore judgment – the fear of what others on the flight will think?

Will you be moved, touched, and inspired by the music you are listening to right now?

Will you go for it, bounce your head to the beat and let your hands dance in their own rhythm?

Will you live in the moment?

Will you dance with me?

Here I go . . .

A Concert, a Flight, and Memories of Aunt Mar

As I sit on an airplane at 20,000 feet above the ground, the song “The Prayer” sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion playing on my iPhone takes me back to the All State Arena in Chicago in November of 2013 where Andrea Bocelli was performing.

That night, my Mom, her sister Janet, my Dad, Karen, and I went to the Bocelli concert together. We had purchased the tickets almost 8 months earlier to take my Aunt Mar, my Mom’s sister, to her favorite singer.

From the time we originally got the tickets to the night of the concert, Aunt Mar’s health had weakened. She was battling cancer and in a struggle for her life. Sadly, she was not able to go with us that night.

Being at the concert without her was surreal and at the same time felt like a way of honoring Aunt Mar – being there on her behalf. While she was not physically able to be with us, her spirit was.

A few songs brought tears to my eyes during that concert, specifically “The Prayer” and “Ave Maria.” Scenes of Aunt Mar in my life came to mind – her life; who she was; and her battle with cancer.

Aunt Mar, My Mom, and Aunt Janet

Aunt Mar, My Mom, and Aunt Janet

Memories included being out on the boat with her and Uncle Mike when I was a young kid. The smile on her face as she’d bask in the joy of being out on the water. Her spaghetti. Her laugh. and her deep love of her family.

When the concert was over, we went back to the nursing home where Aunt Mar was sleeping at the time. A month later Aunt Mar passed on.

Upon death, Aunt Mar did not leave us. Memories never allow a person to “leave.” This morning as I travel across the sky, Aunt Mar is with me – thanks to the beauty of music and the memories each song evokes. As scenes of Aunt Mar came to my mind, her sister (Aunt Kay), and her Mom (Grandma) also came forward. Awesome!

May the power of a memory be evoked in each of us through music.

Do you have a story of music touching or moving you? Please share in the Comments section below.

During the National Anthem

Last night right before my niece played in the biggest game of her high school basketball career (2 undefeated teams playing for the opportunity to advance to Sectionals), the announcer asked those who could to stand. Our family was sitting together. 19 of us cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and children ready to cheer her on.

nationalanthemAs the National Anthem began, my mind started to think about individuals throughout the world who are currently serving each of us for the freedoms the flag represents.

As we were singing, I began thinking about all the active duty military members I was going to be meeting over the next 2 weeks – in locations most Americans would not want to live.

Imagine living for a year on a small military installation where you do not leave the location. What would you miss? Unlimited TV? Fast Food? Surfing on the web whenever you want? Going out for a nice dinner?

For most people, the answer is, “My loved ones” and that is true for our military around the world. When I go on these trips, sometimes I can get a little down about being away from my family for 14 days – when in fact the people I am going to serve can be away from their families for 365 days. 26 times longer.

When I have reflections on being gone for 14 days, I now remind myself how quick of a trip that is compared to those I am going to serve. Being overseas working with our military continually reminds me how special the individuals are who serve on our country’s behalf. Moms and Dads. Sons and Daughters. Partners. Best Friends.

The next time each of us hears the National Anthem, may we each think of and be grateful for those who are serving our country away from their loved ones at that very moment we are celebrating an event with ours.