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Writing Workshop: Our Life in Songs

March 9, 2011

5. A song with significance. A few years back I made a small scrapbook to document all the songs that have special meaning or mirrored our lives to a T.

“Bet you think this song is about you, don’t you?”

We’re not THAT vain… but yes, there have been songs that have defined our lives at the moment. Whether it is a song that was “so totally me” or one that got us through exam week or late night nursing, these are our songs. From our first dance to songs that just described our married life perfectly it does seem that some of these songs are about me—uh, I mean us.

Before “Us”: To the Moon & Back by Savage Garden and Wonder by Natalie Merchant. The first just described a time before I met the love of my life. From that same time though, and in difficult times ahead, Wonder was a defiant anthem that I still love to belt out.

DH cranked Boston to get him through the Academy. His favorites: Can’tcha Say You Believe in Me and To Be a Man. I look at the lyrics of both songs and I look at DH and I think that it is all his good character qualities and the fact even in his early 20s he carried himself like a man are what attracted me to him. He’s a rare find indeed!

Everyone in the sea services is familiar with the hymn Eternal Father. At USMMA, at least in the 90s, it was tradition to have a stanza from the hymn incorporated into the design of the class ring. “Whose arm has bound the restless wave” is engraved on both DH’s rings. **Heave Ho is the official song of the U.S. Maritime Service and the Merchant Marine. http://www.usmm.org/heaveho.html

My favorite hymn growing up was Great is Our God. We sing acappela and truly there is nothing like the four parts during the chorus sung forte! DH, though he says “it really depends”, said his favorite hymn was When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

Dating Days: we wrote letters constantly. DH referenced a couple of country songs by some guy named Garth Brooks in a few of his letters. He later introduced me to what I had been missing with a mixed tape—one side country, one side Boston. If Tomorrow Never Comes always reminds us that with him constantly going to sea, we have to make the most of the time we have together and never waste words. DH wrote to me about Unanswered Prayers in reference to realizing that, like the song, people from our pasts were not the right people for us and we found each other. Later, when we had been hoping and waiting for a promotion, the unanswered prayer allowed him to keep his job.

DH wasn’t all sappy and country ballads but I won’t tell you what steamier songs were on that tape!

Wedding Songs: We asked a friend to sing at our wedding—a woman with the voice of an angel. I told her I didn’t care what she sang, as long as she sang. She chose a song called Make Us One. She had gotten laryngitis a week before the wedding and wasn’t sure she’d be able to sing it soprano. During the rehearsal it was magical even sung alto but I was happy and it brought tears to my eyes to hear her beautiful soprano during the wedding. We asked another friend to lead the congregation in singing Blessed Assurance in his signature way. Having met DH through church I considered him just one of the many blessings from God. This song was also a declaration that God would be the center of our marriage.

A newbie to country music, I wasn’t sure about the song DH picked for our first dance. When I heard the lyrics I knew he felt exactly the same way I did. Our first dance was to Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd.

Married Days and Babies… We had a moderately difficult time starting our family. I would play I Could Not Ask for More when the stress got to be too much. I’m not sure which version I prefer. Edwin McCain’s version is on the soundtrack for one of my favorite movies (Message in a Bottle) but there is something about Sarah Evans’ version that touches me.

While expecting T1 I would play the song With Arms Wide Open by Creed over and over again. The song described the wonder of the news of learning “life is going to change” to the fervent prayer that our child would “take this life, and hold it by the hand and greet the world with arms wide open.”

T1’s song during late nights was Up to the Moon song by Kathie Lee Gifford on the McCaughey Septuplets: Sweet Dreams album. T1 would be just about drifting off to sleep by the time this song would play.

Lonestar released I’m Already There and it was as if they listened in to our late night calls and described our new life with a child. I began to really appreciate the sacrifices DH made for us going to sea and how hard leaving us was.

T2 was not the cuddler T1 was so sleep came faster by track 4 on the same lullaby album: Over and Under sung by Cindy Morgan. Occasionally we’d make it to Oh What Dreams by Chris Rice.

Diamond Rio’s irreverent Stuff with “the delivery truck coming up ‘round the bend” perfectly described all my scrapbooking deliveries, catalog shopping, and my self-admitted “addiction” to collecting collections.

Lonestar peeked in on us again and DH said, “There you go—that’s our life,” when they released My Front Porch Looking In.

Toddler days brought us the rockin’ anthems on Sandra Boynton’s DogTrain album with songs like Tantrum by the Spin Doctors; Pots and Pans by the Bacon Brothers; and screaming I Need A Nap by Kate Winslet and Weird Al Yankovic.

Lately, I’d have to say the song that has significant meaning is Glorious Day by Casting Crowns. Having both T1 and T2 baptized within the last year and feeling so blessed by God, his love for us has me looking forward to the Glorious Day.

Edit: April 20–after last night when I lost my keys for hours on end and T2 managed to misplace her water bottle that she had only minutes before been carrying around the house, my friend sent me the YouTube link to Francesca Battistelli’s This is the Stuff. Sometimes I do forget how big I’m blessed in these crazy moments. Changing one’s perspective was a big message in the new movie Soul Surfer too. Need to take a moment and breathe and trust He knows what He’s doing.

Writing Prompts:
1.) Write about a time a friend left you speechless.
2.) What would it take for you to pick up and move?
3.) A memorable neighbor.
4.) Write a poem about that time you were left behind.
5.) A song with significance.

If you want more information about Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop, just click on that trophy over there…

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7 comments

  1. I love that you chronicled all the songs to your life. It’s amazing how our song choices differ at each stage in our lives. I think my husband is still stuck in the hairband 80’s though 😉


  2. Music is so much a part of our lives and could have such significant meaning to us in the times we are in.

    I always have a song in my head. Not everyone has, but I have taught my son the same thing. “Mommy, what song is in your head right now?” It’s usually something from Dora the Explorer and his is something similar, but it’s fun to find him liking and attempting to sing “Under Pressure” w/Queen and David Bowie!

    I did the same prompt!


    • It’s nice that right now we still enjoy the same music–and such a variety. I haven’t cranked out the Queen for them yet–I will have to do that! You’ve got to try DogTrain though. We still will break into choruses of “I need a nap!” when the tension needs breaking. Enjoy!


  3. I love how you covered so many songs, and gave such a look into your thoughts! Off to download 🙂


    • If the scrapbook didn’t already exist, it would now! I would have had a hard time picking just one song and my entry would have paled in comparison to some of the other Mama Kat entries. Enjoy your new downloads!


  4. […] like that when I visited her page today, Natalie Merchant’s Wonder is playing. That is so my anthem. And third, the description and picture of her Bella reminds me of T2. I even have that exact same […]


  5. […] If I had a theme song, it would be Wonder, by Natalie […]



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