Living, Loving and Sharing Life …

Tag Archives: andre rieu

Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music

Music is powerful: it conjures memories, emotions, and people and things of the past. It’s not only a trigger, but an outlet to express who we are. For this challenge, pick one song and write about it — or use it as inspiration for a post.  Or maybe you’re drawn to a song’s lyrics and want to use them as a springboard for a short piece of fiction. Or a poem. Or a free-write.


Hello all

Oh how I love music! It moves the soul, gladdens the heart and soothes the spirit.

Have you ever noticed that when you watch a movie, you take for granted the music that accompanies it and you hardly notice it at all? And yet, if you were to take the music out of the movie, you would then notice that it was missing! Strange isn’t it?

Sometimes, I think my life has been like a movie … there has been music playing in the background right through it … yet I have taken little notice of it at all. Do you have favourite music that has accompanied you through your life?

I think we all do. I remember having my heart broken by my first love and Simon and Garfunkel were playing The Sounds of Silence! Later, whilst  falling in love with my husband, Glen Campbell was singing songs like “Gentle on my Mind” in his easy manner.  Then my daughter was born as ‘A Little Ray of Sunshine’ popped up in the charts. How appropriate!

Now, as Geoff and I grow older together we do things like cook Italian while listening to the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli … our tastes are more sophisticated today!

This feeling of music that accompanies our lives came to my notice some time ago when I heard a program on the radio about the importance of music. Then last week along came The Weekly Writing Challenge from WordPress that challenged us to write about being “Moved by Music.”

Wishbird-cover-for-website-425x649I had commenced a blog post weeks ago after I heard that first interview on the radio but it was never finished; so here I am writing about it at last!

Actually, it was an interview I heard with the author of a book ‘the wishbird’ written and illustrated by Gabrielle Wang, aimed mostly at teenagers. I was so impressed that I promptly went online and bought the book! I wanted it for my granddaughter Alice (12).

Okay … if I am going to be truthful here, I wanted to read the book myself.  Oh, it’s true confessions now dear friends! The book was a fairy tale really, about a Kingdom which was once called Solace, but when the King banned music from the Kingdom, the name was changed to Soulless.

The story is about the wishbird’ who was banished from the Kingdom for singing. Here is a little about the book from Gabrielle’s website.

Imagine a world without music.

Imagine if all the singers and musicians disappeared, never to be seen again. Music is outlawed. Even birds are killed because they sing. And because birds live in forests then the forests all around are burnt to stumps. 

Music is an integral part of human existence. Every culture in the world makes music. Without it, the soul dies.

This is at the heart of The Wishbird.

Oh, it sounded so wonderful. As I listened, I was a child again relishing the story and wondering what a world without music would be like. I longed to read it and I was so sure that Alice would too.

Taken from The Wish Bird website.

Taken from The Wish Bird website.

The thing was, when I gave it to Alice, she did not have the appreciation for the book that I had. While this was disappointing, it turned out there were a lot of hard words in it, so we agreed that we would read a chapter every week when I go and  help out the family overnight.

And so Alice and I have begun reading ‘the wishbird’ together. We make ourselves comfortable on the bed and I read the book … and yes, there are some very hard words and concepts which makes me think it would work better for older teenagers or adults.

However, the beauty of this book is: I am able to explain to Alice what the words and concepts mean. This has led to some wonderful interactions. It is learning really … without the classroom folks! Just a wonderful time for discussing life and sharing deeply. I love it!

And it has made Alice and me more aware of the part music plays in our lives.  I cannot imagine music being banned from MY kingdom.  My life would be so much the poorer for it. In fact, as I have been writing, I have an André Rieu DVD playing and André has his eyes closed and is ‘making love’ to his violin as he plays the instrumental version of ‘You Raise Me Up.’

It moves me almost to tears dear friends! Watch it on YouTube at the end of my blog today and it will inspire you and make you feel wonderful. It will indeed raise you up! It has beautiful scenery accompanying on as well.

Now speaking of André, I think he is the right person to have the last word on music, don’t you? I heard him say this today whilst listening (and sometimes watching) the DVD. He was speaking to his audience in Maastricht (Holland) André’s home town:

“Music is an international language. All musicians of the world can speak to each other without knowing the language. With music you can express all your feelings and say all the words you want.”  ~ André Rieu

‘You Raise Me Up’ is a popular song in the inspirational mould.  The music was written by Secret Garden’s Rolf Løvland  and the lyrics by Brendan Graham.  The song has now been covered more than 125 times. With pictures of the Castle Island Mainau in Lake Constance mit Bildern vom Schloss Insel Mainau im Bodensee.

To read more Weekly Challenges go to:


Daily Prompt: Standstill

For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do?


Hello dear friends

This topic is quite providential today as it relates to my day. I have come home from meeting with a group of lady friends for lunch. We meet every six weeks or so. I have known these women for many years, one as many as thirty-three years, the others for at least twenty-five years. I often think when we are together that I would like time to stand still.

I would like to stop the clock and stay in the company of these amazing women – who are lifelong friends – and enjoy the feeling of comfort and security that they give me.

The sunset over the creek

Stillness …

But if I was not to make time standstill with these friends, the next best thing would be times of waiting. You know, when you are waiting for someone to arrive and there is a feeling of being STILL and enjoying the moment when you would normally be ‘DOING’. Instead you make it a time of ‘STILLNESS.’

In fact, this very thing happened to me last week! While I was waiting for friends to arrive I wrote in my Poppy Journal. Those who know me know I write in this beautiful journal with poppies on the front, in moments of leisure and stillness. I think it fitting to share with you the entry I wrote that day:

Wed 18th September 2013

Waiting! Time to sit and write whilst waiting for our luncheon guests. I love it when one is so efficient, everything is prepared and ready to go, but the guests have not arrived as yet.

Music is playing. In fact, beautiful orchestral music from Andre Rieu is playing; it soothes the soul and help us to relax. I recognise the tune. It is one I played on the piano as a child. ‘The Last Night at the Ball’ comes to mind, but I’m not really sure. However, I AM sure it was played at end of year school balls as us girls waltzed around the hall with our lovely long ball dresses swirling around us and our hair curled for the occasion.

How exciting these school balls were! It was the fifties after all. Life was different then: children were so innocent too. No Barbie Dolls then. No sexualisation of children either. It was a time that we will never know again.

The thing is, we can never go back to what was before; we can only go forward.  Sometimes, I wish that time could stand still, but that is impossible. I believe that we have to take everything we learned from our past and take its lessons into the future with us.

I remember when I retired from the workforce four years ago, how lost I felt. All my structures and routines that I knew so well, had been dismantled. What was I to do NOW? Who was I without my job? Would life ever be the same again? So many questions were ‘out there’ hanging in mid-air, unanswered. How was I to answer them?

I was impatient, anxious to get on with my life in retirement. The only problem was I could not while the questions hung like cobwebs tormenting me with their stickiness! TIME was the only answer to the questions and I had plenty of that. So, I began to LIVE THE QUESTIONS and not wait for them to be answered.

In the living of the questions, the answers came … one by one … over time. Now, four years later, I wonder how I ever despaired about my life. As I sit here waiting for our friends to come for lunch, I am reminded I now have the time to do things such as this.

I am reminded that my life is so much richer now than it was before I retired. You see, my past work life has come with me into my retirement. It is not forgotten. It has made me who I am today; the friends I made then I am in touch with on Facebook  or in person. The skills I learned then have not been wasted.

I am so glad that time did NOT stop still and that I continue to grow and evolve as a human being. Dear friends, all my questions have been answered … but I do not regret asking them, for with the answers came peace … and acceptance … and understanding of who I really am.

Welcome to my blog!

It wasn’t the best sunrise I have ever witnessed but at least I saw it!

Whenever I get the chance I love to watch the sunrise. Over the ocean would have to be the best way to view a sunrise, but for today the backyard did just fine.

The fact that I was actually awake at that time was the first miracle! The second one was that I  took those steps out the door into my backyard, despite obstacles to view it.

I stood still, breathing in the fresh morning air and revelling in the beauty which surrounded me on an almost 180 degree angle. I thought of a scripture from the bible that often comes to me when I see a sunrise. “The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning as sure as the sunrise.” (Lamentations 3;22-23). It always gives me peace. The sunrise cannot be stopped and I am in God’s hands.

It’s a bit like the New Life/New Year thing, the freshness of the sunrise holds a promise for a new day; it’s a new beginning. I lingered for some time while the cat watched me. Perhaps she thought I had gone raving mad as I am very rarely up and about at that hour! But alas! I was perfectly sane. I stayed to enjoy it and the cat, sensing something happening, stayed with me.

Now, as luck would have it, I happened to be testing an Andre Rieu DVD (due to some DVD problems) and saw an emotional Tribute to Michael Jackson of his Earth Song sung by soloist Carmen Monarcha. This would have to be one of the best versions of Michael Jackson’s song I have ever heard. I highly recommend you watch it on this link:

You will be surprised at how it stirs your heart! And get a look at the amazing gown and jewellery Carmen is wearing while you’re at it! Ok so I am a huge Andre Rieu fan but trust me, it IS beautiful and Carmen is joined by a whole heap of children singing. My granddaughters love this particular song and ask to watch it. They love to do the gestures with the children. But… I digress, back to the sunrise.

The opening words of this song struck me:

What about sunrise?
What about rain?
What about all the things?
That you said we were to gain

Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we’ve shared before?
Did you ever stop to notice
The crying earth the weeping shores? etc.

Yes, what about sunrise? Michael Jackson challenges us to think about the earth, the crying earth.  Have we become disconnected from the earth? Did you think the things we ‘were to gain’ could be material things? Obviously, this doesn’t work! If you start viewing sunrises (and sunsets), you will probably become an earth lover and like Michael Jackson, you may even want to write about it!  And so here I am bringing everyone’s attention to it and to what I am experiencing today.

I am aware that watching a sunset changes how you view the day. It draws you to the earth. It draws you inwards as well. And there you find a grounding and a joy that is not found in shopping centres or watching TV or in any other place. 

In fact, Emma, the fictional character of my book Last Chance Cafe (I’ve finished it!) who was a shopaholic (remember the What does the Queen have in her handbag? Jan 11 blog) actually ended up finding she was shopping to plug up the hole within herself and sought help. She learnt to bake cakes with her child and watch sunsets and find enjoyment in the simple things of life.

Don’t you just love books where all the main characters, with all their flaws, end up discovering themselves and making the necessary changes? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life was like that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was THAT easy?

But no, life is real and much harder than that so we have to do our bit. We have to: take the time to watch a sunrise. It happened to me quite by accident when I got up to have a drink of water but I felt in it a promise, a reassurance that ALL WAS WELL within myself and with the outer world. It felt damn good!

So, at this point, I will come back down to earth, get up and go and make lunch!

    Enjoy those sunrises…

(This sunset was taken at Cabarita Beach in Nov. 2011 and was no accident)

%d bloggers like this: