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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Story That Breaks Your Heart & Puts You Back Together Again

"Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale."
~Hans Christian Andersen~

There were times as a child, when I was read aloud to or read quietly alone, a story that broke my heart and remains with me always. The Velveteen Rabbit still brings me to tears.  But before I had even heard of the bunny who became real, I heard the tale of the Emperor and the Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen. Today we remember Andersen on his birthday.

Read the tale in its entirety HERE.

Painting by Heinrich Lefler: Image Source

""The nightingale? I know him well. Yes, indeed he can sing. Every evening I get leave to carry scraps from table to my sick mother. She lives down by the shore. When I start back I am tired, and rest in the woods. Then I hear the nightingale sing. It brings tears to my eyes. It's as if my mother were kissing me.""

The Nightingale is often dismissed as a story about Hans' love for the famous singer Jenny Lind. The reader cannot help but see so much more in the profound story. The story is about what is artificial and what is real. The story is about what should be valued. The reader explores mortality and the human experience both good and bad. The story champions those who are overlooked by society in raising a poor girl and a plain, little songbird as the heroes of the story. Andersen reminds us of our commonality as people whether we are poor or rich, talented and beautiful or very ordinary. The nightingale song is a treasure offered as equally to peasants as to nobles and to a young girl just as generously to even the emperor himself. The Nightingale is an affirmation of life. We all need these reminders.

The Nightingale has inspired the arts all around the world from Stravinsky's opera to illustrators in many times and different places. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lisbeth Zwerger

Quentin Gréban

Perhaps even popstars?

Demi Lovato's The Nightingale:

"Where words fail, music speaks."

~Hans Christian Andersen~


Are you happy that it's April? Me too.


the Local Gal

Monday, December 28, 2015

Local Lady: Making Friends, Google Searching for Sisters

Do you have trouble making friends with ladies? I know a lot of women who try to select their friends from the opposite gender, believing that their lives will be less drama ridden by friending exclusively the opposite sex. Whether or not this is effective depends. I've found personally that it does not work for me. I can't help but feel that if you want to be friends only with men you are nixing half the population from the globe! This is sad!

Women having women friends is such a wonderful, meaningful part of life. It's crucial, especially for people who do not have ready made familial "sisterly" ties. I am so grateful for my women "besties", my sisters.  In fact, if it weren't for these ladies in my life, I know I couldn't process the natural drama of life on my own. Their listening ears, sage advice or simple comforting presence enhances and lifts my spirits every day.

I know some ladies have trouble meshing well with other ladies, and as an adult it doesn't seem easy to forge real connections with others. You are not forced into structures and common ground outside of educational institutions or religious institutions and in the workplace you may find special people- and you may not. Some people are more comfortable remaining business acquaintances, never moving beyond the coworker or employee/employer relationship model.

It isn't always easy to move past our own insecurities and the tangle of the others'. Maintaining close relations isn't easy in a busy life style, but I think real friendship is necessary to live a healthy life.

Now technology gets a lot of flack for modern isolation. People sometimes feel like islands attached to a phone or screen, missing "real" human interaction. But it doesn't have to always be or feel this way.

I have three four lady friends who don't even know me! I met the first three several years ago via Netflix around the New Year. You know you want to get fit and get a brand new start- and it's hard to get that motivation. I abhor workouts in public and have zero, zip desire to see the inside of a gym. On Netflix I discovered "Bikini Ready Fast" a Vogue workout (don't laugh or do, I am!) with Ellen Barrett. Working out with the three ladies of Bikini Ready made me feel instantly fabulous- the exact opposite of how I used to feel in PE or during workout videos.

Ellen felt like a friend and her back up girls were so encouraging. One named Marie had such a sparkle about her that I would find myself smiling back at the screen while doing the cardio and weight lifting segments. For months I was able to consecutively exercise daily for the first time in my life. When I got sick and too weak, "Low Impact Deborah" helped me to keep going, leading me to rebuild my lost strength. She ought to be called High Impact Deborah for encouraging me to resume! When you fall off the exercise train, it is not easy to get back on.

Now the funny thing is that I rediscovered each one of these gals on-line completely by accident this year! It turns out sparkly Marie is the woman dynamo behind MarieForleo.com! Marie is famous for helping people to create a business and a life that they will love. I love her videos! Check her out!

Image Source

Ellen has her own on-line workout/health business too! And when I tried her Yogini workout for free, I was delighted to see my friend "Low Impact" Deborah! Thank goodness! Because to be honest, I hadn't exercised in weeks. 

Ellen Barrett: Image Source

The fourth friend I found through one of my nearest and dearest. The fourth friend's website was given to me in an e-mail. Jen is the founder of Wild Sister, an on-line magazine by women and for women, all around the world. I'm a frequent buyer and I can't tell you how refreshing it is to get a women's magazine that isn't telling me to lose weight and obsessively bake at the same time. The topics are wide and varied. While their articles encourage you to reach for and make goals, they never do so in a guilt inducing "Pursue an unattainable, goose chase perfection" sort of way. The perspectives are helpful. And the messages of positive encouragement, even if it's just the bright colors and affirming words radiating from my computer screen have always been a sincere, much needed boost.

Image Source

Jen, Ellen, Deborah and Marie, who I'll probably never meet in person are there for me on-line, cheering me on and making me smile. Thank you internet!

So, even if you aren't ready to go out there and find some gal pals in the flesh, maybe you could look for some female role models or on-line sisters to support you in some way? Let me introduce you to a few resources that have boosted my morale:

Meet Ellen (and Deborah!) HERE

Meet Marie HERE

Find a Wild Sister HERE

Image Source
<3 the Local Gal


Ready to reach out? Say hello to a neighbor. Be brave and ask them over for coffee or even just offer an open smile and friendly wave. Don't be disappointed too much if they don't reciprocate. Who knows what they have on their plate! Just remain consistently open. Some people need time to come around. In the meantime, do something for yourself! Go to a salon and get chatty with the gal doing up your do! Are you more extroverted than I am? Take a dance class or a spinning class! Who knows where it might take you and who is waiting out there waiting to bump into you, to become friends.

Can you think of a woman you admire? Tell her in person or in writing today! We could all use some friendly acknowledgement from time to time.