I’ve been Vlogging!

2016-06-25 09.07.13

It’s been over a year since my last blog entry. Really? What’s up with that? I do have a lot on my plate but still… Anyhow, just started video blogging as part of a 30 Days of Vlogging event. I am posting the vlogs on vimeo. I realize I need to link them to this site, but I’m not sure how.  In the meantime, I’ll include the links here. These are basic — no artifice, no special effects — just me.  Back at it tomorrow! By then I may even figure out how to link them to this site.

Vlog 2

Vlog 3




The Courage to Speak Your Truth


This is the most vulnerable I have been in print. I wrote this piece more than 20 years ago. This is the first time I’m brave enough to share it.  But, eventually, for wholeness, we must be able to speak and live our truth. There are many women still too afraid of the judgement, cruelty, and scrutiny which often accompany their speaking, and it keeps them silent. But there is community in truth. Here’s another truth: Stats say one in three women will experience this in their lifetimes. One in Three. Closing our eyes and plugging our ears, or blaming those who tell the truth will not change that. That’s all I’ll say. Except this: I will not respond to trolls and will delete them immediately.


            The District Attorney’s office has been looking for me. They sent two detectives to my parent’s house to find out where I was and to see if, perhaps, I would be willing to come to court down in DeKalb County, Georgia, and tell the people there what I remember. Well, I’ve spent eight years of my life trying not to remember. Tried hard, too, though I’ve not been too successful. Barring forgetfulness I’ve tried nonchalance: yeah, it’s happened to me but hey, I’ve gotten on with my life. See how easily I speak of it? My face and voice composed, the words dropped like small hard stones amidst crumbs.

The District Attorney thinks that my testimony, along with that of others, could help put a man away who should have been locked up a long time ago. And so I agree to go and to speak. I spend a little time thinking of my courtroom wardrobe. What would be most appropriate: the business look? The artist? Maybe the straight-laced missionary? But that is only a distraction because the jury, the judge, the District Attorney, even the defendant himself will be more interested in what I remember than in what I wear.

The Assistant DA says it happened on December 12th. I don’t remember. And I don’t remember the time, though I stood and stared at the clock for what seemed like hours after he left. I don’t remember what the doctor at the hospital looked like or even which hospital it was, though I remember that the doctor was a woman and that she didn’t laugh at my jokes though I continued to make them. I remember that she took my underpants and that I was a little ashamed because I’d slept in them the night before and hadn’t bothered to change them that day. I don’t remember what they looked like though. I remember my red velour sweatshirt and red sweat pants that I wore as a set but could not wear anymore after that night. My stepmother gave them away I think. I think I was barefoot. I’m not sure. I don’t remember my feet being cold.

But the floor was cold. That I remember. The floor was hard and cold and white and I stared at the kitchen light fixture just past his head and tried not to think about what he was doing. I remember that the floor was hard and white and cold and so was I and for a moment I was curious about what was happening, but I pushed the curiosity aside and returned to the contemplation of the light overhead. I have never forgiven myself for that moment. I remember that he murmured or muttered as though words of love or endearment but I don’t remember what he said then. Or perhaps I just don’t want to. I remember sitting up on the cold white floor and pulling up my pants. I was very calm and I gave him fifty cents for the bus and I walked him to the door and I kissed him goodbye because he told me to. I remember his lips were very wet and full and slippery and I told him I would call because he asked me to and I closed the door behind him and saw him standing on the porch facing the stairs with his hands in his pockets. The snow was falling thickly.

I remember staring at the clock in the living room. Staring and staring at the clock as though to remember the time. But I didn’t. And I can’t. I don’t know what time it was. They held that against me in court. But I can’t remember.
I remember wiping bright red drops of blood off the kitchen floor. With a paper towel, I guess. And I guess I threw it away. And I picked up the broken chair on the dining room floor and I tried to put it back together again. Probably hung the dangling phone back on its hook. I don’t remember that. I do remember screaming and trying to reach the phone from the floor and his weight holding me back. I remember the receiver in my hand, the impulse to beat at him with it, but at the same time another smaller, colder voice that said, “stop – you won’t be able to hurt him much with that – all you’ll do is enrage him further and then he will kill you.” And I wanted to live. That I remember. I remember that as the dining room chair went over and the slats thrust into my back and I grappled with him and screamed to Jesus as loud as I could that that same cold voice said, “so this is how I’ll die. I never thought I’d die like this. Gloria and Daddy will come home and find me. I never thought.” And my voice kept screaming and my eyes and ears kept looking for deliverance because it couldn’t be real. I remember the calmness with which I finally lay on that cold white floor and stared at the kitchen fixture. But I don’t remember what it looked like. Even now. And I lived in that house for many years before December 12, 1982. And I didn’t even remember the date before the DA told me. Just that it was Sunday and dark and cold, the night was muffled by a snowstorm, and I thought I would die. But I didn’t.

The District Attorney is a short sandy man. He meets with me in his office a few minutes before I am to go on the witness stand. He asks me for some history — how, what, when. He says, “Don’t say that the defendant said this thing or that thing in court. It isn’t admissible.” I tell him that I won’t. He says that he’s glad that I came. That the most recent victim is grateful and that he’s sure my testimony will be important.

“I’m glad I can help,” I say. My voice barely shakes.

The District Attorney tells me that I will have to walk right past the Defendant when I walk in to take the stand. I will have to be able to identify him from the box. “Do you think you will have difficulty identifying him?” he asks. I don’t think I will.

In the corridor outside of the courtroom I sit and wait for the uniformed bailiff to come for me and I listen to the investigator and a detective talk about the office Christmas party to be held that night. Then they call my name.

The walk from the door to the stand isn’t as long as I thought it would be. I am wearing a taupe dress and jacket set and high taupe heels. The business look I guess. When I turn and face the courtroom my legs are steady. So is my voice as I repeat the words of the bailiff. But my uplifted right hand shakes as though with tremors or as if I am waving, with a small frantic motion, at my rapist sitting there large, coiled and still in his blue striped suit.

The District Attorney stands before me; his small hands holding a folder, his beige lashes sparse over his beige eyes. “What happened on the night of December 12, 1982?” he asks. And I tell him what I remember.

It’s Not Over

March On Washington 1963

Last night I went to Bible Study. (That’s not my norm, I’m more of a magazine on the couch Wednesday night kind of gal, but my husband has been leading it and he really wanted me to come.) We were reading about Elijah. He’d stood up to Ahab and Jezebel and proved the power of God. In a feat of faith and courage he had put the followers of false gods to shame. He’d won! He’d defeated the false priests! He was full of strength and power!  And then Jezebel threatened to kill him, and in a moment he was filled with terror and he ran and ran and ran, looking for a place to hide. But God was with him, even in his flight. And when Elijah had rested and eaten and come to himself God told him 2 things: there was more work to be done and that he was not alone. There were thousands of people who shared his beliefs. There was more to do. And he was not alone.

This week there are funerals in Charleston and memorials throughout the state. We have cried and marched and held hands.  We are weary with grief and work and solidarity and we’d really like it to be over now. There is talk of the confederate flag coming down. I mean, isn’t this a win? Not yet. Despite the beauty of the symbolism there is more work to be done. We are tired. But we are not alone. Let’s catch our breath, take care of ourselves, celebrate the lives of those we’ve loved and lost as well as the lives of those who we love and still have with us. Let’s look for beauty and strive for joy. Practice gratitude for the sunrise and bird songs and good meals. But let’s not forget: this week’s memorials are not the end. They are monuments to the work we must continue to do. Together.

2015-06-18 06.14.46

There is no Fear in Love. Lessons From Harriet

As some of you may know, me and Harriet Tubman have a thing going on. As a matter of fact we’re like this. crossed_fingers  Or this. HtubmanRToo.  We’re tight. It doesn’t matter that she was buried 101 years ago, her spirit stays with me and, in times of difficulty, her example provides me with guidance. Like today.

Before I begin, let me make this clear: This is not an invitation for anyone who is made uncomfortable by my expressing myself to attempt to justify their discomfort or the mistreatment of others. Please don’t do so here.

So — today I found myself frustrated and hurt by the attitudes and actions of those who feel that brown people have to justify our right and desire to be treated with respect; or who believe that brown people shouldn’t receive the same consideration given to folk who aren’t brown.  Often we are challenged with conditions: Are we “good” brown people? Did we behave perfectly in said situation? Did we say or do anything to make someone else uncomfortable? Did we fail to smile widely enough or keep our voice to a soft enough tone? Did we dress in a way that was different? Were there too many of us in one place? Did our presence or our voice or our facial expression or our youthful arrogance or … make someone else so uncomfortable that they felt threatened? So often we must PROVE that we deserve considerations that so many others simply assume will be given to them.

(Sometimes, watching police procedurals on television, I laugh. On TV the character, when questioned by the police, will respond arrogantly, “if you’re not charging me with anything, I’m leaving!” And they’ll get up and march out. I know that that is just TV. I know that it is often dangerous for disenfranchised people  — poor or brown or under-educated or gender-different — to behave that way or assume that they will be treated as innocent until proven guilty. I know that.)

So what has this got to do with Harriet Tubman? Well, a lot. Harriet, (named Araminta at birth) was born enslaved. She was physically and emotionally abused from childhood. She suffered from narcolepsy as a result of a traumatic head injury. She never learned to read or write. But this in no way lessened her faith in God or her commitment to do what God directed her to do. Her faith in Someone/Something bigger than herself provided her with strength when things seemed hopeless. When she prayed for freedom she said God told her — “clear, like I’m talkin’ to you”– to free herself.  And so she did. When God told her to act, she acted. If she hadn’t, if she’d waited around and thought about it or waited for somebody else, she might have died on a slave plantation in Eastern Maryland instead of becoming the iconic heroine she is. She never embraced hate. She did not waste her time raging and ranting. Instead she got on her knees and when she received her guidance, she got off her knees and did what she was guided to do. She did not act before she sought guidance. And she did not waste time when she got it. She knew that friends and allies came in all shapes, colors and genders and she embraced those who, like her, were following a higher guidance. Even when she found herself in situations that I doubt I could stand. And she maintained a belief that she could carry out her directives despite everything she endured, and she was not afraid, because she believed that Someone or Something bigger than herself had her back.

Harriet is my hero. On days like today she reminds me to follow her example.  I want to make the world better in any small way I can. I want to be light in darkness. I want to be a catalyst for positive change. I want to be strength for someone who is faltering. I cannot do this alone. I believe that Someone/Something bigger than I, has my back. And daily I get on my knees, even when I am afraid or frustrated or angry — especially when I am afraid or frustrated or angry — and I ask for guidance. I ask to operate from love and light and not fear and hate. I ask God what to do and when to do it.

I know that not everybody believes in a Higher Power. But when I look around, I am HORRIFIED to think that humans are the ultimate authority in the universe. So I pray. And then, when directed, I act. Today I am writing this blog. It’s different than most of my posts and different than what I had planned, but I am following in the steps of my hero and doing what I’m told.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” – 1 John 4:18

Seeing What I’m Looking For

Good morning. It’s a holiday weekend and it’s busy at the beach. I woke up in time to catch the sunrise over the ocean. Sometimes I’m all by myself, but today there were several others there with me to watch it lift over the horizon and into the sky with surprising speed. I am always amazed at how quickly it moves from bright edge to full red globe low in the sky.

2015-05-25 06.03.50

2015-05-25 06.13.06

There was a woman out intently focused on the sand, not the sky, which is unusual at sunrise. She stopped to chat. “I’m looking for shark’s teeth,” she said, “look how many I found!” And she held out a zip-locked bag full of shiny sharp treasures, dark and smooth. “My daughter likes to pick shells,” she continued, “so when I’m with her shells are all I see. But if you want shark’s teeth you have to look for shark’s teeth.” I admired her finds and admitted that I’d never seen any shark’s teeth along the ocean’s edge. But then, again, I hadn’t been looking for them. It makes me wonder how many things I miss seeing because I’m not looking for them. It makes me want to change my focus and look for what I want to see.

Anyhow. It’s a beautiful day. There’s a breeze through the open patio door and I’m enjoying this time. The birds are making such joyous sounds that it’s like an avian orchestra. (The geese haven’t shown up yet to honk it up.)  2015-05-25 07.10.50

I have a lot to do. I’ve rented a booth at a local Artisan’s gallery and am supposed to be moving in today. (I’m not ready.) I haven’t thought of a name for my gallery spot (Gullahmama’s Art & Textiles by Natalie Daise is a consideration). And I need to get hopping. But for just a few more minutes I’ll sit here with my laptop and enjoy my many blessings — and share them with you! Other things I’m grateful for today —

My yellow tea kettle, 2015-05-25 08.52.41

mint from my front yard for tea, 2015-05-25 08.42.16

and the Great Big Mama Oak Tree at the start of the route I take to the beach. 2015-05-25 06.56.22

Happy Monday!

Snow White and the Pre-Tack Take

2015-05-14 19.32.45

Okay. Silly title, but we were pretty silly this past weekend. My sweetie and I were in a Savannah, GA recording studio working with a couple of extremely talented young men. We were recording a song that my husband wrote for Brookgreen Gardens, the beautiful place where he works.

He wrote the song and Travis did the music. Vern, an excellent and talented vocalist and musician, was there to direct and produce. At one point Vern said, “You sound like Snow White.” Ha!! After I got up off the floor from laughing so hard I continued to sing but Snow White was in my head for the rest of the session and I could just imagine the little blue birds flitting in to sit on my shoulder! Okay. I’m laughing again, but that was the first time I have EVER been compared to Snow White! Any how – the Pre-Tack Take came from my husband who I’d asked to get me a tack so that I could put the lyric sheet up in front of me. I’d done a take of the song before the request and then sang it again. They all agreed that the pre-tack take was the best so…. A lot of laughing in that studio!

2015-05-15 18.01.562015-05-14 19.30.40

These guys are amazing. They used to watch Ron and me on television when they were little. And now, completely grown and talented and brilliant, they are assisting us with this project. Wow. I love it.

To make things even better, the Telfair had a print exhibit, including these famous prints by Andy Warhol. (I take terrible selfies, but at least you can see the prints.)

2015-05-15 12.42.20 2015-05-15 12.46.01

It’s got me excited about screen printing, so I’m exploring. I’m on my back porch watching the egret fish in the pond and playing with textile printing today. There is a cardinal couple in the bush just 6 feet from my shoulder. I am so grateful for this day!

Of Flags, Friendship and Feeeeelings


Below is one of the essays I discovered in my lost cache of writing. I wrote it in 2002. My children were 12 and 8. There was a big battle in South Carolina regarding the Confederate flag and it’s place on the State Capitol grounds. As a mother, I was looking for a way to address this that was open and honest. I had raised my children to accept and honor the differences of others. Of course, not everyone raises their children the same way. Anyhow… I feel myself attempting to explain the following piece. I’ll stop and let it stand for itself. It’s long-ish, by the way. 

The Flag in My Neighbor’s Yard (2002)

There is a huge Confederate Flag waving from my neighbor’s front yard. I mean huge. Must-have-special-ordered-it huge. Gigantic. You can see it the second you turn at the corner by the city ballpark and soccer field. The lush, green field is teeming with little children in bright red and blue and orange uniforms. They kick a black and white ball across the wide expanse of grass while their parents yell encouragement and billowing behind them – glowing red like the backdrop of a Radio City Music Hall show – is the flag on a hand constructed wooden structure. The stars and stripes used to hang in the place of honor from a pole by their front door; but it’s overshadowed now, by its radical cousin, rising insistently from the middle of the front yard. It demands to be seen. It is making a statement. I just don’t know what it is.

You see these are more than just neighbors. We’ve known each other for years. These are the folk I’ve shared day-to-day banalities with and the quirky twists of daily living. Mrs. Waring, severely arthritic and barely able to catch her breath from her front door to the mail box, hand crocheted queen-sized blankets for each of my children when they were born. When she could no longer walk across the street, we’d stop in to visit her. Once, when she’d burned her feet, insensitive due to diabetes, in a hot bath, my grandmother went over to help dress and bandage them. The burns wouldn’t heal and she went back to the hospital. She didn’t come back. We missed her.

Two of the grandchildren are the same age as our children. My husband and I commiserated when the second granddaughter was born with a congenital heart defect. And we prayed for her recovery when the surgeons opened her tiny chest. She’s fine now, though small for her age.

Mr. Waring is an old WWII vet. Every morning around 6:00 a.m. before he retired from his job, I would hear his old station wagon beeping as he backed out of the driveway. Once he retired, I’d still see him daily, patrolling the neighborhood, his suspenders determinately anchoring his pants under his low, large belly “How you doin’ today, Mr. Waring?” I’d ask whenever I saw him. “If I was any better, I’d be dancin’ a jig!” he’d say every time. Even when he buried his eldest daughter. Even when his wife died. Even when his own health began to fail. “See you later, Mr. Waring,” “Have a great day today and a better tomorrow!” he’d reply. Each time. He was a cheerful man.

His son resembles a big bear. I’d see him sometimes down on the waterfront with a shrimp net, his dingy tee stretched to the limit of its cotton fibers, playing hide and reveal with the hairy mountain of his stomach. Grime on his hands and on his bearded face. He was friendly whenever we met. His wife was straight out of a Flannery O’Connor novel — bland, blond, a little blank –but neighborly all the same. We loaned them our Chevette for a while when their car was stolen from a local parking lot. They’d stop by our porch and we’d talk about our kids.

The daughter, Karen, was the one my kids really loved. They even called her Aunt Karen like her nieces did. And talk about affectionate. Whenever Karen saw one of us in public she would stop what she was doing and wrap us in a big hug, whether we wanted one or not. We could count on Karen being happy to see us, even in the checkout line at K-Mart where she worked in the plant and yard care department. Karen was the one who brought over birthday cards and walked Grandma’s dog when she was ill and who watered the garden when we were away. She told me once that they’d never lived close to colored people before but we were the nicest neighbors she could ever have. I accepted that in the spirit in which it was offered. We thought they were pretty nice too. When we moved to a nearby neighborhood we maintained our friendliness. We still owned the house across the street and they still looked out for it. And no matter what and no matter where, Karen still greeted us with a hug.

We were good neighbors. We respected each other and looked out for each other the way good neighbors do. So I did not know what to feel when I turned the corner and saw the flag, so big and bright it could not be missed.

In South Carolina that flag has many meanings. As the battle to remove it from the State Capitol heated up, the flags began to proliferate: on bumper stickers, lapels, flag poles. For some it represents slavery, oppressions, racism and intolerance. For others it is the heritage of their ancestors, states rights, old family tales. And for some, I assume, just a reason for a battle. Any old reason would do. All I can say clearly is what it means to me. What it feels like. My breath always catches when I see it. My pulse jumps. It is visceral. It feels like fear. I have to make a conscious effort not to recoil. I’ve heard the slogans, “Heritage, not Hate.” And when my 12-year-old daughter asked me what the battle was about I tried to be even-handed in my explanations. To talk about history from both perspectives. But my body knows differently and will not succumb to my logic. I am wary of approaching homes and businesses with the flag flying or drivers whose cars boldly bear it. I am wary of those who own those homes, businesses and cars. I do not know what they intend by the flags presentation. I do not know what they see when they look at me. My experience has taught me to brace for rejection, antagonism or worse and I must foster my energy to hide my reaction. When I can, I avoid such situations. I try to live Confederate Flag free as much as possible.

But this is the Waring’s House. This is my neighbor’s flag. I’m not sure what to do, because I know these people. Did they become different people when they hoisted the banner over their yard? Did I become a different person when I saw it?

I hadn’t seen any of the Warings for a few months before the flag went up and more time passed in which I didn’t encounter them. The flag on their lawn still occupied a corner of my mind, though, like a prod from an aching tooth or a dull headache. One day I decided to pick up some new plants for my flowerbeds. As I was heading out the back gate of K-Mart’s gardening section, my cart heaped high with potting soil and geraniums, I ran into Karen. My heart skipped. “Hi Karen, how are you?” I asked. I always do.

“I’m good,” she said. “How are you and Ron and the kids?”
“We’re fine,” I answered.
“Well, tell them hello for me.”
“I will, “ I responded. “And give your Dad my regards.”

She didn’t hug me. For the first time in years she didn’t hug me. I moved past her to the parking lot, pushing my cart into the hot Carolina sun. The thing is, I don’t know who held back. Did she? Or did I?

Space For Me

Self Portrait with Collards

“My voice is small as it asks, What will it matter to them if I make a book? I am one poet. Isn’t there space for me?” – from Silhouette by Ladan Osman

There are many reasons I stopped blogging. For one, I began to doubt that what I wanted to say had any significance. There are so many voices, so many stories. Why should mine matter? And then, my life was changing. When I started Gullahmama I was still actively parenting teenagers. I still identified myself as “mother” first, than artist and performer. And also — parenting was kicking my butt. My offspring were making choices that I didn’t understand. They were having and creating experiences that worried me, but that I could do little about. I began to doubt my skills in the parenting arena. Who was I to share my experience, or the experiences of my children with others? Unlike my persona on Gullah Gullah Island, much of what I was facing could not be fixed with a song and a smile in 22 minutes time.  So I stopped. I shut this part of my life down. I continued to perform, to tell stories, to paint. But I didn’t blog. And in that time (almost 2 years now) things happened: I earned a MA degree and have begun painting portraits. My marriage has blossomed and grown in wondrous ways, and my children — my amazing, brilliant and beautiful children — have also blossomed into adults that I stand in awe of. And yes, I have a smidgen of self-congratulatory pride, that they’ve turned out so well.  (So, it is true what my second mother, Gloria Jean, always said to me: “This too, shall pass.”),

A few months ago, while cleaning out storage sheds and such, I came across a box full of stories and essays I had written. I sat down and read them all. And something in me re-awakened. The first thing I ever wanted to be (besides a candy striper, like Cherry Ames or Trixie Belden — who was also a girl detective) was a writer. There was magic in the written word and I lost myself in the pages of a good book. I learned about the world from the well-written words of others. I browsed library stacks looking for experiences, discovering C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Chaim Potok, James Baldwin and myriad others.  I love the written word.  So I’m back. I may share some of those old essays and stories here, for folk who have the time for a long read. I may just write what comes to mind. I don’t know for certain. But I’m operating on the belief that there is space for me out here. And I’m stepping into it.

I am a storyteller

Photo by Lisa Rentz

Photo by Lisa Rentz

This is my declaration of purpose. I am a storyteller.

Last week while walking along the beach near my home I had an epiphany.  The time has sped by so quickly.  I remember 22 like it was yesterday. But it wasn’t. There are most likely less years ahead of me than behind me. What am I going to do with them? What will I focus on in the years ahead? Now, most likely I’ll have a long life. My grandmother is 97 and up until her early 90’s was still making new friends, playing the piano and writing poetry. I’ve got good genes. What do I want to be doing with myself when I’m her age?

Post & Courier photo

Post & Courier photo

I want to be telling stories. I want to walk onstage at 93 and tell a story that changes the perspective of those who hear me tell it. I want to share a story that means something. I want to entertain. I want to educate. I want to empower. I want to inspire. And I want to do it with stories. The stories may be historic, or personal and true, or folk tales, or epic stories of heroes journeys. They may be for adults, or students, or children, or corporate groups. It doesn’t matter. Stories changes lives. Stories help us make connections. Stories teach us and inspire us and open windows into experiences the way nothing else does. I plan to be the master storyteller with (maybe) gray hairs and a million stories to back them up.

Photo by Lisa Rentz

Photo by Lisa Rentz

There are so many things I am interested in. I’m currently earning my M.A. in the study of creativity. Fascinating stuff. I paint. I’ve recently fallen in love with block printing. I love doing my one-woman show on Harriet Tubman. I love public speaking and facilitating workshops. I love singing. I will do more of all of these things, and some stuff I haven’t even considered yet. But whether painting or printing or singing or teaching, it is all about the story. I am a storyteller.

Photo by Lisa Rentz

Photo by Lisa Rentz

And as my son says after making any strong declarative statement: amen.

Lesson from Candice: Dreaming Big Enough


Watching Candice Glover win American Idol last night was like watching one of my own kids. Like Sara and Simeon, Candice is Gullah Geechee, born and bred. I don’t know her. Though she went to school with my daughter and was born and raised on the same island that my husband calls home, the American Idol stage was my introduction to her amazing talent.  Even with the standard speakers on my television, her voice sends chills up and and down my back. When she sings my husband acts like he’s in church, complete with the occasional “Hallelujah” and praise dance. She’s that good. I’m proud of her. But even more than her fabulous voice, I’m proud of her commitment. This was her 3rd time. Each time she was rejected, she gathered herself and went back again. I’m not sure I would have had the guts to do that. But she did.  She would not give up. Last night we saw the results of that belief in her dream, herself and her God.

It’s been on my mind all day. What if after the first try she hadn’t been willing to risk it again? What if after the second she had convinced herself that she didn’t have what it takes? That maybe this wasn’t God’s plan for her. After all, if this was what she was supposed to do wouldn’t it have been easier? Even more than her amazing voice, THIS is the example I want to hold up, not just to my own children, but to all the children I encounter. If you have a big dream, go for it. And don’t give up.

So okay — I thought that was the lesson. After all, it’s a good one. But just as I was starting to feel all smug and sermon-y, another question popped into my head.  Was I dreaming big enough for myself? This thought startled me. I mean, I’m a middle-aged woman, for goodness sakes. I’ve had some success and I know what failure feels like. I’ve done my gig. I’ve raised my kids. Sure, I have some dreams and expectations, but, at this point they should be reasonable. Right? Right? But what if that’s NOT right? Have I stopped having Big Enough Dreams for myself?  This scares me a little. I want to push it away, but it won’t let me alone.

And once again I find that my kids, even the ones I’ve only met through the TV screen, have something to teach me, if I’m willing to learn: There’s no statute of limitations on Big Dreams.

What’s yours?