Thank you for coming

Our first Monday back at the start of 2019 was a celebration of language and culture, as well as an offering of gratitude for diversity. Sarah brought with her a poem she had written called, “Thank you for coming.”   I had invited a woman I met at a gathering hosted by a refugee friend…

The power to overcome

In my life in Brussels, I try to keep things as simple as possible. This is a tall order for a short person, as my husband reminds me time and again that I always wind up creating situations that are more complicated than need be. Well, I’m only human.   With regard to simplicity and…

The meaning of life

So far as I can tell from my 37 years on this planet, the purpose of my life seems to revolve around creating empathy and understanding. Since I was a child, I wanted to care for beings who needed love and shelter. My parents allowed me to adopt animals whose owners had abandoned them. I…

The birth of a song

It was legitimately cold on Monday when I met Sarah at the refugee center. We posted papers on the wall and invited people to join us. That morning, I had texted Sarah a few lines from a Robert Frost poem, “Fences make good neighbors.” She suggested that we write them at the top of the…

How do you honor a person with no name?

I recently published a piece about the importance of recognizing and honoring individuals whose ideas have inspired your own work in order to ensure they receive acknowledgment for their hard work and innovation. I wrote mainly from the creative and academic perspective, but this concept certainly extends to all realms of innovation and discovery. Since…

The best is yet to come

In January 2016, I began volunteering at a refugee asylum center near the center of Brussels. I did a lot of research and contacted many places and organizations before happening upon one that gave a positive response to my request to offer songwriting from stories. When I participated in an entrepreneur accelerator program in Lowell,…

Sous la pluie

The woman who wrote the song from a couple of Mondays ago was very inspiring. She was reticent to sing, as most people tend to be. I had asked the group already if anyone was feeling brave and the men had shied away entirely. She wasn’t sure what to sing, but as soon I started…

Jingle all the way

I believe that every person is an artist and a musician. I have witnessed people subconsciously tapping their foot along to a song after insisting they had no sense of rhythm or musical ability.   I think responding to music is a natural part of what it means to be human on this earth. Melodies…

I want a peaceful life

March is Women’s History Month. In the past, I participated in Lowell Women’s Week in Lowell, Massachusetts. I offered a songwriting workshop and concert where I performed songs I had been working on from the oral histories of female factory workers. This year, I am composing songs in Brussels, Belgium as a volunteer at one…