Monday, March 18, 2013


I have always loved musical productions. I suppose I inherited this trait from both of my parents, who also enjoyed this type of entertainment. They were both musically inclined and as a family, we often performed together, singing some of our favorite ditties from productions like "The Sound of Music," "Mary Poppins," "Lost Horizons," etc. "Fiddler on the Roof," has always been one of my favorites. I especially love the song, "Tradition!" My dad would often mimic Tevye, singing that song at the top of his talented lungs.

There is wisdom in the lyrics of that tune. For me it is summed up as follows:

" . . . how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: Tradition!"

I believe that concept with my entire heart. Traditions are sooo important. These are the family beliefs and customs that help us maintain our identity, and pass on important cultural treasures. We celebrated many important events during my formative years, something I have tried to pass on to my own children. One of those yearly milestones took place yesterday: St. Patrick's Day!

It would take me several years to catch on that I have a rich Irish heritage. (Yep, I'm a mutt--I'm also Scottish, English, Danish, and in recent years we learned that we possess Jewish and Native American bloodlines in our leafy family tree.) Before I understood that my mother's paternal line came from Ireland, I grew up thinking that everyone commemorated St. Paddy's Day with the traditional corned beef and cabbage feast, and by wearing that all-important color, green. For the longest time I thought we wore that color to keep from getting pinched. The fun leprechaun doll that an uncle had brought home for me from Ireland was a cool gift and a reminder of the folklore of the little people. I think I was about ten years old when I finally caught on that our Sibbett line was of Irish descent. When that finally clicked for me, this holiday took on a whole new meaning.

I've always loved history and I began devouring books about Ireland. I also began listening more closely when our Sibbett clan gathered together for reunions, weddings, and the like, gleaning important tidbits about our Irish ancestors. They were hardworking, fun-loving people who were passionate about life, loyal to their beliefs, and among the first to offer a hand when help was needed. Those traits were manifested in the way my Grandpa Sibbett lived his life. His example has touched my heart in numerous ways and I have tried to honor his memory by building on the foundation he set for those of us who would follow.

It does my heart good to see those same traits surface in my offspring--and to know that important holiday traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation will continue. Yesterday, after my husband and I had enjoyed a traditional Irish feast, we heard from one of our sons, He called to share what my young granddaughter had to say about the corned beef and cabbage he had prepared for their dinner that day:

"Daddy, I love this cow!" =)

We enjoyed a good laugh over her interpretation of corned beef. It's tradition--we Irish types tend to find humor in things others miss. It's part of our heritage, and something I will always treasure.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Writing--a Healing Balm

I'm an odd duck in the creative writing world. For starters, I had never planned on becoming a writer. I've always been an avid reader and have enjoyed books for years. They are indeed among my treasures.

I was an honor student in high school and enjoyed advanced English courses that made my friends wince. They always thought I was weird for taking classes like that, but it was something I relished. So much so, by the time I became a college student, I majored in English, with plans to teach high school English, French, and drama.

Halfway through my college goals, I met a nice young man named Kennon, and we were married a few months later. Instead of becoming a teacher, I focused on surviving the recent diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, and being a wife, and eventually, a mother. All plans of becoming a teacher faded to the background.

After my husband and I had been married for about a year and a half, my father passed away in a tragic manner. This is when I entered the world of writing. During the nights when I couldn't sleep, I would sit in the kitchen and write out everything I was feeling. Then I would shred those pages . . . and I experienced a bit of peace. I didn't realize I was taking care of my own therapy. ;)  It was one of the ways that I survived the trauma that went along with losing my dad.

I became hooked on writing--I just felt better when I sat down and wrote things out. Eventually I began writing the story of a young woman who was trying to come to terms with her father's death. It was my story, but I changed a lot of the details to make it a lighter version.

I've never forgotten the peace of heart I experienced the night I typed the final sentence in what would become my first manuscript. Writing had helped me find a pathway to healing.

In the years since that time, I have often turned to writing things out when I'm upset. These emotions are usually expressed in poetry, songs, and stories. I find that I do my best writing when something is bothering me. I suspect there are many others out there who can relate to this.

A relative of mine who went into psychology told me years ago that writing out what we're feeling is considered a healing form of therapy. We've always been encouraged to keep a journal, and I suspect that is in part to help us work through the challenges and difficulties that come into our lives. I find that it's good to go back and read past journal entries when life takes a painful twist. I usually find something that gives me a boost and the courage to keep moving forward.

I think writing is something we can all benefit from, whether it's reading someone else's work, or composing our own. And I'm convinced that some of the best writing is contained in what we refer to as the standard works. There are times when an inspiring scripture will bring me peace of mind not found in any other book.

People have been writing since the beginning of time. I think it's something that is instilled within most of our hearts--a desire to somehow translate life experiences into words that not only help us deal with challenging trials, but may offer hope to someone else who is looking for a glimmer of light in a darkened world.