After our rousing Friday morning concert, lunch at The White House diner in Clare, Michigan. They always request a tune or two. This time we sang “Cuddle up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine” and “Side by side.”Good folks who work hard & do it well.
Me, Edna Poore, my Brian. Recording Edna’s song for her upcoming album.
I worked with Edna in 1989-1990. That was a particularly bleak period in my adult life. She asked me if I might like to go to a couple of the folk music events in town while I worked there. I went, and that is where I first found out who my now-husband Brian was.
I am so grateful to stay in contact with Edna, who treated me so well when I was so unhappy. She really wanted us to sing and play this particular song. It was a joy to record her very fine song for her. What a wonderful thing to be able to return a different sort of favor after all these years!
…the sun keeps shining through the driving rain
And I know that we can turn it around.
— Workingman’s Hymn, Josh Davis
I just broke down and bawled. Our friend Josh Davis wrote a song called “The Workingman’s Hymn” and he recorded it last night for NBC’s The Voice.
At noon today, The Workingman’s Hymn was number 9 on the iTunes singles chart! This is not just a song Josh performed, this is a song he WROTE.
I talked to my brother this morning. He is out of work again, a computer professional with current certifications who is highly regarded, but also over 50. (Most computer work is contract now.)
My brother said when he heard The Workingman’s Hymn last night, it gave him goosebumps. He is living the story in that song right now.
When I got off the phone, I went to YouTube and watched the video for the song. And sobbed gut-wrenching tears… for the hope in the song, for the future of Michigan, and for Josh.
As an artist and musician, I have watched this show as a peer. I have learned about performing, staging, costuming… and that truly even the glamor job of musician is a “workingman’s” hard job. You can’t afford an off day on that stage (and all the hours preparing for it).
Please go watch this video. It will surely improve your outlook even if you don’t know Josh.
Watch The Voice tonight, Tuesday May 19, 8-9pm Eastern (followed by a 2-hour special which promises a huge roster of amazing singers… The top 20 from this season and a roster of well-established professionals.
PS Josh’s other solo single, Hallelujah, was #12. Nice job, friend.
I started the day discouraged. Nobody can function when they are down like that. I needed a change.
Just as music can be a drug and determine your mood for the day, so can other things such as videos and reading material.
I needed a better mood. I needed to change my direction. Fortunately, Kid President came to mind. Just the thing!
Watch this. Giggle. Go on recharged. It only takes 3 minutes, less time than getting up for a drink of water.
Today’s Maintenance Monday is brought to you by mysterious items in the freezer.
It is also brought to you by crockpot soup! Sweet potato, crowder peas, 1.5 cups of broth and some greens/ sauteed onion.
Most of the ingredients came from the freezer and were taking up more space than their contents deserved. All of them will taste better together tonight when Brian and I sit down to eat them.
(The items shown actually were two jars of homemade pumpkin butter, and one jar of unsweetened cranberry juice. Those did not go in the soup. Thank goodness for that!)
What is This?
I started naming my days, at least some of them, a few years ago. The more I use the concepts, the more I actually get done when I’m alone and in charge of “what do I do next?”
Maintenance Mondays can be about balancing a checkbook, confirming my schedule for the next 10 days or so, handling backed up laundry or handwash, finally hanging that poster on the wall after months of intending to do it.
Today besides my freezer adventure, I did some computer work and made a few appointments.
What do you think of this idea? Could it help you, too?
Longtime readers here know that I sing with my husband Brian, as The Fabulous Heftones. One of the amazing things about singing professionally is that I get to meet and jam with other musicians who are top notch. It’s a joy!
One band we’ve known for about 15 years is Steppin’ in It. They played weekly (for years) at the Green Door, a music venue on the Eastside… my favorite part of town!
About Joshua Davis
Josh Davis is the front man for Steppin’ in It, and writes many of their songs. Lately he’s been doing more solo work (they all have). Josh got a surprise call from NBC’s show The Voice, and is on the current Season 8.
I don’t watch TV… we literally have no way to watch at home. I’d never heard of The Voice. But with my friend on it, I’ve been finding ways to watch.
The Voice is a Class Act
I’m really impressed at the respect the contestants receive from the celebrity coaches, and the way they are set up to cooperate and learn to feel connected to each other in spite of the competition. Very refreshing!
Please Support Josh: Vote before Noon Tuesday!
Josh is now in the final 12 people. At this point, the celebrity coaches can not impact if he moves on or not. It’s all up to us, the public. If he is in the top vote-getters, he can complete the competition. If not, he goes home. Please consider helping him out. (There are videos below to show you why he is worthy of your votes.)
Listen to Joshua Sing
Here is a video of the song he sang Monday 4/13. (America by Simon & Garfunkel, a wonderful song.) If you download it from iTunes before noon ($1.29) it will count as one vote and you can listen to Josh serenade you whenever you want!
And besides… Josh’s voice singing Simon and Garfunkel? I must confess I cried.
Here he is singing “Budapest,” a song that was a hit in Europe. I didn’t know it, but I think it’s my new favorite recording.
Thanks for your support and your consideration. Hugs from Michigan’s music heartland.
I could talk about how I was an insecure young person… and think I’m talking about my unique characteristics. For the record, I have never looked insecure on the outside because I talk a lot, which looks like confidence.
Yet a few years ago I got clear that even people who look like they have always belonged… even those people can feel like they don’t fit in. A friend who lives a house she likes, a neighborhood or two from where she grew up, who in her 50’s does the work she trained to do in her teens, who married her high school sweetheart and is still happily married? She commented to me once about “those of us who are creative” (implying that we don’t fit in the norm).
Jonathan Fields of Good Life Project (his podcast is wonderful… check it out) says that in the midst of people we often feel alone and lonely. It can be so very true!
It’s a sad truth that we humans need to belong and yet we feel like we don’t belong more often than not. And when we feel insecure, the first thing we tend do fuss with is our appearance. We worry about our weight, our skin/zits, our weight, our hair cuts, our clothing, where we live, what we drive… and more.
Where We Least Expect It
Even in an environment of general support we can feel off center at times. Once I complained that a group of women in my dance troupe were all expected to wear the same type of costume for a dance.
My intent was to support those who would feel/look more beautiful in a different silhouette. The look on one dancer’s face told me that what she heard was that I thought she wasn’t beautiful enough in the chosen costume. My opinion that another costume would be better means that I didn’t think they looked good in the required costume. Ouch. (I’m still squirming about that misstep.)
I picked up a copy of O magazine (by Oprah Winfrey’s organization) last spring. There was an article on decluttering which interested me. I love some of her regular columnists including Brené Brown. Yet the front cover of that magazine had an article titled “Diet or Exercise: The real key to weight loss, once and for all.” And inside? Advertising all over selling products to slow down or eliminate aging, or cover flaws. Flaws?
My Obvious Flaw that Some Don’t Notice
I tell you what… Once I made friends with a lovely 5-year old on a day-long train ride to Montreal When we said goodbye she asked… “do you have a pink tooth?” I said yes, that it was an “owie” a long time ago but it doesn’t hurt now.
I have a damaged front tooth because of an ill-fitting orthodontic retainer when I was about 16 years old. It shows up on photographs. I figure that some day I’ll get the veneer that would make it less noticeable in photos. I almost did it ten years ago and decided against it for a number of reasons.
However, I smile a full-tooth smile every day. I laugh every day. And the people I’m close to don’t even notice that tooth until I mention it. They see the real me, which comes through very strongly above how my tooth looks.
That tooth is a reminder that things went permanently wrong when I obeyed blindly even when things didn’t feel right (“don’t take off the retainer no matter what…” and thus even when it hurt unmercifully I didn’t take it off and it killed a nerve). So the flaw, if there is any, is in my teen self being a good girl and following orders even when my gut told me that something was wrong.
My Story: Young Adult Insecurity
When I was younger, my tendency to worry about being accepted came out in an impulse to buy things that would make me feel more acceptable. If I was being interviewed for a job, I bought a whole new fancy suit and raincoat rather than perhaps standing tall in something I already owned or that was less pricey but that was just fine. If I was having company over, I would buy new towels and throw pillows and serving dishes, as well as buying food that was more pricey than really fit into my cash flow.
I spent much of my entertainment hours reading catalogs planning to shop, or meeting friends at a mall for a full day of shopping. The debt wasn’t the core issue. What I bought wasn’t even the issue. The issue was feeling that I wasn’t OK and maybe that one next purchase might make me more acceptable.
I got into unmanageable debt (the numbers mean less than whether I could manage the debt at the time). In 1990 I finally gave up unsecured debt… credit cards, professional services received but not paid immediately, and personal/ signature loans (there were no payday loans back then and I’m grateful).
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that younger me. I call her Cookie, which was a nickname that never stuck but that I liked. She had many of my current good attributes, including loyalty and valuing loved ones. She wore black most of the time to feel sophisticated(yes, really… there are folks in my life now who can vouch for that). The black was a good background for her (important-looking) artsy jewelry. She bought stuff hoping that it would make her belong.
The Song which Brought Me to Tears
I was driving the other day, changing radio stations as I drove. This practice exposes me to musical styles I would not otherwise hear. I heard this song… which has a repeating line “you don’t have to change a single thing.” And I cried. I cried for that young me. For Cookie who felt unacceptable even though her energy attracted friends who appreciated that energy.
Please listen. It may not be your normal style, but it’s worth listening to as a poem of encouragement set to music. One voice and a lean musical accompaniment.
For the record, while looking for the video I found an angry column in ChicagoNow which focuses on the makeup-wearing message in the song (while I responded to “…max your credit card… buy it all, so they like you…“). And the columnist points out that sometimes women choose to wear makeup within the constraints of a real world which expects them to look a certain way. But then she says:
Am I the world’s greatest beauty? Of course not, but I have commandeered survival of the fittest. Brains over brawn. I figured out the rules of society and used them to my advantage…
…What of this lyric, “you don’t have to try” which is possibly even more problematic? Suuuuuure we don’t have to try. This irritates me becauseit places the blame on women for living inside society’s normsinstead of on the media and current attitudesthat put that norm in place.Just love yourself! …You know what the truth is? The more standard a lady looks and the more forgettable her looks are, the easier her life is. There are exceptions for daunting beauties, but the rest of us are just trying to get by….
…It seems girls will be shamed no matter what. If you rock your natural skin and hair, you get called a lesbian/chubby/weird. If you learn the unspoken rules of society and conform to them to give yourself the best advantage in life, you’re just a superficial, poser fake-face who shouldn’t “try so hard”. Only true natural beauties deserve any attention, okay?…
Strong feelings, there. And she’s seeing totally different parts of the song. And her filter through which she’s viewing the lyrics is very different than mine. I’ll be fascinated to hear how it lands on you.
In an article I read about the video on Today.com, I found a link to a place more in sync with my take on things… RAW Beauty Talks. On their page they say:
Every day we are inundated with thousands of messages telling us we aren’t good enough. We size ourselves up against Photoshopped magazine covers, celebrities we don’t even know and the perpetual stream of filtered, edited photos that pass by on our social media pages. The result equals eating disorders, over-spending, anxiety, depression and above all a cap on our own potential happiness!
We are over it. RAW strives to help women everywhere find confidence in their unique beauty so that we are no longer imprisoned by society’s conventional standards of beauty.
In my view, if anyone male or female wants to wear makeup as personal expression or self-decorating I’m behind it 100%. If someone wears makeup on stage or on camera because the lights obscure their features, that is logical. If they choose to dress/present themselves in a certain way to belong to a specific environment… well, cool.
I just hope that you don’t feel you *need* makeup on your days off or with your friends. Once I watched an Oprah show where there were 3 women on a challenge to live without makeup for a week. One of the women’s husbands had never seen her without makeup. When she was pregnant, she’d put on makeup before bed in case she had to go to the hospital quickly.
Then again, decorative things can feel like luxuries at times. You and some friends might go get a manicure together to feel pampered. One of my best friends can’t wear makeup or dress up at work so she rocks the girly stuff on her days off for fun. That all fits in a self-acceptance place.
You Belong! Yes. You belong.
The song says “…when you’re all alone, do you like you?” I like where she’s going with that. I wonder, though, why it’s so lonely finding our way getting to that point.
Why do we all feel alone next to each other? Why do we feel that freckles are awful on us and cute on someone else? Why does everyone like everyone else’s hair but not their own? Why do we think that a blemish makes our heart less whole? Why is it so universal to feel this way and go through such an insecure time?
I’m empathizing with those who are twisting themselves into something they don’t like in order to fit with people they don’t really want to fit with. If you feel (as young Cookie/Lynn did) you need to buy stuff to be accepted/ avoid criticism… to protect yourself against feeling unacceptable to others? Well, that sad insecurity I lived with is what this song touches in me. Because, as I discovered, even people who look comfortable from the outside looking in, on the inside don’t always feel like they belong.
This video has been making the rounds of the internet, and maybe you have already seen it. However, it echos my earlier posts on body acceptance and standing tall. It’s not long, and her attitude is fun and even silly, not preachy.
“People have always said they cannot get my songs out of their heads. I heard that so often, I took responsibility for what I wanted to put in there! The answer is joy. The answer is love. The answer is worthiness and celebration. Thatâ€™s what I want for myself and everyone on this planet.”
–Donna Lou Stevens
“I was a butterfly all along and thought I was a worm. I believe everybody has wings and most everyone has just forgotten like I did. My job as a performer and musician is to remind people of that fact.”
Will you be ours? Come solo and we’ll serenade you… bring a group of friends and we’ll celebrate you… bring the family and we’ll get the kiddos singing and dancing. Everybody can relate to love, no matter what their life situation is.
The Fabulous Heftones are Lynn Hershberger (Hefferanï»¿) (me) and Brian Hefferanï»¿… arguably the most romantic act in Lansing.
The Avenue Cafe is in the former Gone Wired Cafe (same owners, new name). It’s on the 2000 block of Michigan Avenue in Lansing, Michigan… my favorite block in Lansing. (Down the block from Green Door, across the street from Emil’s Italian Restaurant, sharing a wall with Everybody Reads/Triple Goddess Bookstore.)
It’s a family-friendly neighborhood “pub” of sorts… food made in-house and Michigan brews, and good locally-based music. Harmony, followed by more harmony.
I’ve been talking a lot with local friends and some internet friends, about how mean women are to themselves about their bodies. How they really do believe there is a perfect shape and they aren’t it. Unfortunately, some also criticize others as well.
There are magazine articles about “downplaying your flaws” and more nonsense of that sort. How about “show off/be proud of your favorite features!!!” ???? How about that?
Correct Your Flaws?
I heard a radio advertisement this week, offering plastic surgery to “help you correct your faults.” To give you a better shape.
UGH. Big UGH. What a horrible business to be in. Cutting people up to make them look different. (I’m all for plastic surgery to help put people back together after accidents and the like… this is not what I’m upset about.)
I am the same age as Michael Jackson… who looked fine as he was born… and had HOW many surgeries to look different? I ache for him that he couldn’t just be happy as himself… with the amazing talent he had.
Plastic surgery is elective, which means a doctor gets paid directly by the patient rather than going through insurance. It’s a BUSINESS. I’d invest in good therapy to help me develop boundaries and confidence, over surgery, any day! Therapy is cheaper and so helpful!
Go On, Find Something to Love!
Which parts of your body do you like? Have you ever thought about it? If not, it’s time to consider loving that pretty knee or your laugh, your freckles, your curly hair that has a strong personality and which other people envy even on humid days.
My friend J has beautiful, small, tapered fingers. Although she wore a bigger dress size than me, she wore a full size smaller wedding ring, a size I wear on my pinky finger.
J also has a beautiful back… smooth, pale skin and a straight posture. She never knew her back was an asset. Once when we were in our young 20’s, I sewed her two dresses that showed off her back and pretty hands (back “cleavage” and tapered sleeves)… one pink crepe satin for dress and one blue knit for work. She looked SO beautiful in those dresses. She didn’t think of herself as beautiful, but I surely did.
I know I have beautiful long hair. I have had this hair since I was a teenager, except for 9 years while I was a young businesswoman trying to look old enough to work. No matter what my weight, my hair is pretty. My legs have always been lovely. Mom says I have the “Carvey calves” which come down many generations of my matriarchy.
My weight has fluctuated from a little high in high school, to a member of Weight Watchers (I weighed more than my man who was 8 inches taller than me), to a healthy normal weight, to a too-thin person for whom most food caused me uncomfortable reactions such as hives, to a menopausal woman for whom food is finally friendly but whose body is now trying to protect her inner organs by making a small tummy fortress around her abdomen.
Take a good look at the photos here. The women I dance with have a rainbow of differing features. They are all BEAUTIFUL. Beautiful. So are you.
Keep Lovin’… or Find Lovin’ for the First Time
It’s important as we see our bodies change while we live our lives, to see that we have those pretty hands, eyes, hair, feet… at least let someone else tell us how beautiful our back is (in J’s case), or to let my friend A tell me how beautiful my curves are while she’s helping me pick out clothing for my slowly-rounding 55-year-old figure.
You may have an amazing smile, a soothing voice, expressive eyebrows, the best tush the world ever saw (my friend W), the loveliest round female tummy of all (my friend M, here she is below… gorgeous and confident, with roundness that some women would wish to dissolve… yet my, she is pretty).
Curves mean we are mature. The Hollywood ideal is very close to pre-puberty, and I see this as hurtful to each of us as well as our society. We can look good at all ages.
Your Differences are your Good Parts
The very things that make it hard for you to fit into “normal” clothing may be your best asset! Those are the things where you are different and noticeable.
Don’t cover up… instead find a way to celebrate. Delicate hands deserve bracelets. Eyebrows want lovely eyeglasses over which to peek, or perhaps bangs that let them take center stage. Strong shoulders are queenly and elegant, and beautiful in a halter top or drapey shawl.
Beautiful “grrl” curves beg for a scooped neck or v-neck. Hips love a good shirred wrap to make them more shapely and alive. Don’t hide your special features!
Take a Deep Breath of Kindness for Yourself
It is the holiday season. We can spend it enjoying company of friends or worrying about our weight and whether it’s OK to eat that hand-made gingerbread cookie. Balance and proper portions will make us feel healthier, but guilt for enjoying special treats need not be part of our six-week holiday experience. Be kind to yourself, OK?
ALL OF US ARE BEAUTIFUL. I love you. Consider loving yourself, too. Please.
Homage to My Hips
these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top
Tonight Brian and I will be singing as The Fabulous Heftones on the steps of the old courthouse in Charlotte, Michigan (100 W. Lawrence). We are sharing a show with our friend Wally Pleasant. We’ll go on at 6:30pm and Wally will take stage about 7:30.
It’s a great place for a concert… there is green grass and a few trees, where folks set up chairs and sometimes eat picnic meals while they enjoy the music.
Even better? The Yarn Garden, the local yarn shop, is across the street. We can see the door of the shop while we sing. If you knit in the Lansing area, it’s definitely worth the half-hour drive to come on down tonight.
My sis-in-love Diana / Otterwise clued me in to a delightful video I want to share with you. It’s a Muppet show tune from a PBS ratings week. Ratings weeks are the best of the best, and this is no exception.
They sure put in some extra great production work into this catchy, bluesy song. It also cameos a large complement of non-muppet celebrities including Danny DeVito, Paul Simon, Madelyn Kahn, Wynton Marsalis, Pete Seeger and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
If you can find 6 minutes to make your day better, I recommend this piece.
LynnH is Lynn DT Hershberger of Lansing, Michigan, USA. She considers her artistic medium to be color, whether it
be knitting, printmaking, polymer clay or embellishing with paints. She also creates recipes with allergy-friendly,
gluten-free, and vegan-friendly ingredients.