Kim and Sara, the Language of Music

Like Mother Like Daughter was my first collaboration with Kim Blanchard Souch and her daughter Sara Sobey. This mother-daughter duo began performing together when Sara was just a young teen. Kim was a touring singer/songwriter while pregnant with Sara, so it was not a surprise that Sara could sing before she could speak! What Kim could not have known was that music would be more than a bridge between them. For a long time, it would be their only shared language.

Diagnosed on the autism spectrum, Sara had a very limited vocabulary. It was when she sang that Sara could communicate with an extensive vocabulary, discovering a joy that was both physical and emotional. Her body would almost hum as her voice resonated!

This is just where this duo’s story begins. Tours, fundraisers in support of the Autism Society, recordings and appearances brought much attention to their beautiful harmonies and storytelling.  Original songs penned by Kim have told the stories of mothers and daughters, family, life, love and loss.

Now, something extraordinary is happening. Along this life journey Kim and Sara have developed their own unique voices. They perform together – and always will! But now there is room for self-expression. Kim’s path is returning to her roots as a touring artist with songwriting for herself and others as a renewed focus. Sara’s dream has been to perform with a Symphony, which happened for the first time this year.

There is more, much more, to come from both these artists and I can’t wait be a part of this next chapter! Over the coming months, their music journeys are diverging and yet we know they will always be entwined. For as they find new strength with their own voices, that beautiful harmony they create will only deepen.

Enjoy this link, to Kim Blanchard Souch and Sara Sobey singing:

Like Mother, Like Daughter

The Summer of Dunking

The ALS fundraising craze is more of a tsunami than a bucket! I have clicked on  videos of friends, celebrities, the occasional pet, dunking themselves in bracing cold water to support the ALS fight. These clips are hilarious and this is likely the most successful online campaign for funding and awareness ever created. So why haven’t I dunked myself?

setMy dear friend Danielle would have loved the Ice Bucket Challenge – I am pretty sure she would have participated whole heartedly. That was just her style. Diving right in to the thick of it. Danielle died two summers ago from ALS. Much too young, much too vibrant, leaving behind family and friends to cope. (I wrote about Danielle shortly after her funeral – Fields of Gold).Danielle’s Mom and Dad, sister and brothers had the hardest time of course. She moved in with her parents, her brother quit his job and moved back to the family home to assist with her care, their lives taken on a path from which there was no diverging.

Last summer, Danielle’s Mom Suzanne sent an email announcing she was participating in the Walk for ALS Please support me in my Walk for ALS…” Not in the best health herself, a woman who had aged from caring for her daughter, Suzanne was going to walk 5km to raise money to support ALS research while honouring the life of Danielle. And so she did. I’ve been thinking a lot about Danielle this summer as the Ice Bucket craze swept Facebook, knowing she would have sent me the challenge yet just not able to do the dunk. And I haven’t been sure why. Then last week I received an email from Suzanne that began “Please support me in my Walk for ALS…” In the midst of the social media fun, came a heart felt request. A whisper in contrast to the squeals and laughter of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I burst into tears. Without video, fanfare, not looking for accolades or attention, Suzanne would again embark on a 5 km walk with each step dedicated to Danielle. Just like she did last year and if her health allows, will next year too. Ice Bucket Challenge or not.

If you, like me, are looking for a way to participate but without ice water, then perhaps you would like to learn more about Suzanne’s participation in the Walk for ALS. If you go to her fundraising page on the ALS site, you will note that Suzanne humbly hopes to raise $300. You will see  beautiful pictures of Danielle, including one in her RCMP uniform (yup, she was amazing!), and you will read, in true quiet Suzanne fashion, a loving short statement about losing her daughter.

Here’s to a summer of fantastic attention to ALS, to unprecedented amounts of money being raised, and to one Mother who will walk in memory of my wonderful friend Danielle.

http://my.e2rm.com/PersonalPage.aspx?SID=4999776&LangPref=en-CA

 

 

 

 

Arianna & Oprah prompt The Mother of All Soups!

On this Mother’s Day, Oprah interviews media mogul Arianna Huffington on her extraordinary successes, revealing a personal realization on what it really is to be successful. Funny how these SuperSoulSunday moments  often come down to relationships. For Arianna, her renewed version of success surrounds her children, what it is to be a good mother to her daughters and ultimately the gifts her mother gave her that she will now pass along.

Regardless of the positive or negative relationships we  had with our mothers,  they left us with lessons. For some who feel abandoned and carry a life of heartbreak, the lesson is ‘I know what I will never do to my children’; for those of us fortunate enough to look back on our childhoods with fondness for the efforts made, we will try to carry some of that wisdom with us. Mother relationships are complicated and complex in an equally complex world.

What I know about mothering is that it has gotten easier as my children (and I!) have grown. Those early baby and toddler busy years led to young school aged lives outside the home – lots of driving and weekends filled with their extra-curricular activities! Teenage years were equally active as our home was the centre of sleep-overs, video game marathons and a fridge that could never hold enough food all with an extra emotional punch! But now as my son and daughter are into their early twenties working and going to school, our relationship has blossomed again. There is an ease to our conversations as I have transitioned from the ever watchful Mother keeping vigil for ‘teachable moments’ to a Mother that shares and relates on a more equitable, reciprocal level.

Because it is Mother’s Day, and because Arianna and Oprah inspired this personal reflection, I am going to share my Mother’s favourite soup recipe. This was one of her last minute, easy to make soups when making dinner for a family of seven (!!!) overwhelmed. And today I am christening it the Mother of All Soups!

The Mother of All Soups

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to cover bottom of soup pot)

1 Onion chopped

2 Celery stalks sliced

2 Potatoes cubed

2 Tomatoes diced

3 large Carrots sliced

Handful of pasta (macaroni, penne or rotini)

1 can tomato soup

Water

Bay leaf

celery salt, thyme, any other kind of seasoning you would like!

salt & pepper

The Details:

1. Add olive oil to soup pot and turn on medium

2. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent ( 5 minutes)

3. Add celery, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and stir

4. Add the tomato soup, bay leaf, any other seasonings you have chosen and enough water to cover the vegetables. Stir.

5. Cook on medium-high heat until vegetables are tender – could take 15 minutes.

6. Let simmer and add the pasta.

7. Continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked. This will also thicken the soup.

8. Salt & pepper to taste.

Enjoy! This Mother of All Soups is hearty enough to be a meal. Don’t take my word for it, just ask my Father – he loves when my Mother makes this recipe!

Grandma and the Grown kids!

Grandma and the Grown kids!

 Check out all the SuperSoulSunday inspired Soup Recipes https://louisefagan.wordpress.com/soup-for-supersoulsunday/

See Oprah & Arianna here: http://www.oprah.com/app/super-soul-sunday.html