Cuanto la Gusta

My great grandmother (lovingly dubbed ‘Mer’) sang in a trio with her sisters during the Great Depression through the 1960s. They were three petite brunettes with spunk and gumption.

When my sisters and I were little, Mer was determined we would sing too. We had music in our veins. In our blood! If she and her sisters could do it, we could do it. I remember standing around the piano with Em and Maddy, Mer’s fingers flying over the ivories, my voice struggling to reach the low notes, while simultaneously switching back and forth from melody to harmony, much to my sister’s chagrin.

Mer recorded videos of her favorite trios for us to learn from. We grew up on those tapes, learning those silly ditties by heart. And like anything in your heart, they tend to surface at the most unexpected times and put music to the moment.

“Cuanto la Gusta” was one of those. It roughly translates to “How much you like?”

How much you like? I like. A lot. I would go so far to say if there was a song for the Glasner Girls right now, this is it.

And on that note, the following is an excerpt from Sandpiper Sets Sail, the first book in my trilogy, The Seabirds… inspired by Cuanto la Gusta.”

The frenetic singing to Cuanto la Gusta started up and Edie began to sway. “You and your sisters were singers in a hip underground jazz club. You must have picked up some of the new moves. Why don’t you teach us how to swing a little? Horatio, come here! Peter, you take Piper. Lorelai, you can demonstrate with Frank.”

“He can’t dance!” she snapped.
 
“I can too!” he retorted, taking her in his arms. “Well… I can try.”
 
She rolled her eyes but didn’t pull away. Frank looked triumphant.
 
Edie had Horatio in her arms now and was attempting a two-step. “You girls have got to help me. I really don’t know what I’m doing! But I’ve always wanted to swing with the best of them.”
 
Looking over at my parents, she said, “Nathan, Rosie, you two don’t get off so easy. Up and at ‘em you two. Move the feet.”
 
The Andrew Sisters blared out, “We gotta get goin’, where are we goin’, what are we gonna do? We’re on our way to somewhere, the three of us and you. What’ll we see there, who will be there, what’ll be the big surprise? There may be caballeros with dark and flashing eyes.”
 
Edie laughed, “I think this is our family song!” The trio kept crooning, and we all began to try and dance. Edie had a way about her where you simply could not argue with what she wanted.
 
Grace took over, showing us a modified Balboa. We all tried to follow my cousin’s instructions. It was a little complex, but I started to get it.
 
Anna, Willem, and Raffi moved right along with us. The joy of movement and my Aunt’s crazy antics showed radiant on their little faces. Frank swang Lorelei around like a sack of flour, which remarkably succeeded in producing a tiny smile on Lorelai’s rosebud lips.  
 
He looked knowingly at Peter and me, “Told ya! The ice age is ending!”
 
Edie turned the record over, and we moved on to faster stuff. Peter and I did our best with the West Coast Shag, but Peter was distracted. Sure, he hung in there, but he kept stepping on my feet and forgetting the timing, apologizing that he just wasn’t a good dancer.
 
It wasn’t that though. I knew him too well. He was thinking about something. In the end, he excused himself before the song ended.
 
As I was about to follow Peter, my father caught my hand and pulled me in. “Come on, Agatha, conga line!” The children laughed gleefully, keeping time with the music and nearly screaming with delight.
 
We danced and danced, all of us whirling around that room till the needle fell off the record, and we collapsed on the floor, quite breathless. Before Edie could start another record, I made a quick exit to find Peter.
 
There he was, sitting alone on the stairs in the dark front hall.  
 
Surprised by my presence, he looked up.
 
“Peter? What in the world is on your mind?” What was the point of beating around the bush? Ask straight questions, get straight answers.
 
In a bit angry of an angry tone, he spouted, “Piper, I can’t sit around this house anymore doing nothing. I’m not in school. I’ve no real work now that the fleet and crew are all with the British Navy. I feel useless.”
 
And restless, I thought. Like me. And Frank. Like Grace and Katrine and Lorelei. Like my parents.
 
“It’s late.” He stood up and gave me searching look before heading up the stairs.
 
“Do you want to talk about it?” I called up after him.
 
“There’s nothing to say.”
 
I watched him march up the stairs, feeling sorry for him. Feeling sorry for myself.
 
The words of that song stuck with me all night through my dreams. I was whirling through Europe, wondering, “What’ll we see there, who will be there, what’ll be the big surprise? There may be caballeros with dark and flashing eyes.” But in my dream, the caballeros were actually German Gestapo. And “three of us and you” were my cousins and I. We were lost in the ocean with nowhere to land. No home to go to, just adrift at sea…
https://hopehousepress.co/voyage-of-the-sandpiper/

Resilience

Resilience: An ability to recover from or adjust easily to change or misfortune.

Our family went to Forest Home Family Camp summer after summer as our girls were growing up. The camp was one of our favorite family memories, as we all had incredible times with each other and also with God during communal times of worship, hiking, swimming in the lake, and flying down the zipline. Every summer we came back changed, restored, and ready for the year ahead. But there was one year that had a bigger impact than the others. 

Every family was tasked with creating words to go with each letter of their last name that would help describe their family and also be a “family value memorial.” We labored together under the shade of old pine trees to come up with just the right words to describe who we were.

G (grateful)

L (loving)

A (able to forgive quickly)

S (secure)

N (nurturing)

E (exuberant)

R……. 

R? 

This last letter was a little harder for us to decide. Several ideas were thrown out, but none of them resonated. As we waited and prayed, the word RESILIENT seemed to appear out of thin air.

I wouldn’t exactly say we were resilient at the time, but we all agreed this was a skill we wanted to grow in and be known for. If we could become more resilient, if we could get back up faster when we got knocked down, and be less offendable, we would be a stronger family.

Sometimes the most important part of a healthy family unit is to be able to bounce back after a defeat. When there is a need to forgive or to receive forgiveness, we can lean on resilience. But, it takes practice. You have to grow your resilience muscles. You have to choose to have a good attitude, even when you don’t want to.

Little did we know at the time how developing this skill together would come into play. If the current state of affairs is not a time for reliance, no time is. In other words, if there was ever a time to be resilient, this is it. As a family, community, and nation, we need the ability to bounce back quickly. Bounce back to peace. Bounce back to joy and connection. Bounce back to dreaming and hoping.

It’s true, we could still use more resilience. Who doesn’t? In these times of extra stress and pressure, we need extra mercy and grace. 

But in those moments when the words hurt, hope seems lost, and the dream looks dead, the Lord is there to help us up, brush us off, and whisper, “Yes, you can. You can keep going. You can keep trying. You can keep loving and forgiving. You can keep dreaming.” 

I am 56 and LOVE being a wife and mom. I want to encourage you in whatever battle you may be facing, prayers for sustaining peace and love in your life can come with the amazing help of the Lord and his brilliance infusing his children with what they need every hour. 

RESILIENCE is one of those sweet gifts. 

Bless you today with more of what you need.

Tamara

Unity in the Community

Our little community during much the Covid-19 quarantine consisted of our niece and two of our adult daughters. We were together under one roof for many months and learned a good deal during that time in lockdown.

Stuck in the same house for weeks on end could be a recipe for disaster. Tight quarters. Powerful personalities. Energy trapped with nowhere to go but a long walk around the block… again. Like everyone, we had to restructure our attitudes and daily rhythms to stay in UNITY. And believe it or not, my prayer that we would emerge from this journey closer than before was answered.

So… what did we learned?

Here goes:

LOVE. Not fuzzy, syrupy ‘love.’ But genuine love. LOVE that is sincere. LOVE where there is NO game playing, self-pity or manipulation. LOVE where no one speaks poorly or gossips about others. LOVE that is completely FOR one another. This is the love that diffuses conflict before it happens. Trust me.

SERVICE. Selfishness kills community. The best way to combat selfishness is to be selfless. Thinking more about the needs of the people you live with than your wants and needs destroys the cancer of selfishness. Think: More YOU. Less ME, MY, MINE. And teach your kids to do the same. Remember, every selfless act is a hefty deposit in your relationship account. When this is all over, you will have a surplus of goodwill to spend. Not a stinging deficit of ingratitude and resentment.

RESPECT. We all process stress differently. Know that the people you live and work with might handle this challenging season differently than you. Some may struggle more than others in your house. Some need more space. Others might not do well alone. Respecting others’ social and emotional needs and doing the little things to meet them, breathes life-giving pure oxygen into your community.

FORGIVENESS. FORGIVE QUICKLY AND OFTEN! How? A quick ‘I’m sorry, will you forgive me?” followed by a quick, “You bet, I know you love me and didn’t mean it.” Don’t let offense root and fester. Don’t fake being happy when you’re angry. Deal with offense now! The time is over for half-hearted, ‘if I feel like it’ forgiveness. From now on, we apologize quickly and forgive just as fast. (Or at least, we try 7X70!) Humility is the key to take you where you want to be here. Giving and accepting forgiveness takes a humble spirit. It means admitting you hurt someone or someone offended you and immediately making things right. Forgiveness is gold. Forgiving heals and binds us together. It is the agent ensuring that when we go back to ‘normal’ each person will know they are loved and valued.

Love, Service, Respect, and Forgiveness are POTENT ways of keeping your personal peace and joy. And you can take responsibility and make your community a pleasant and thriving place to live; especially during this crisis.

Let me encourage the people in your home to buy into the “Fab Four” (Love, Service, Respect, and Forgiveness). Embrace these values to bring unity in the community whether you are forced into lockdown or not.

We hope and pray you join the fight for unity in your home. It’s a daily battle! And the fruit of victory will remain long after quarantine passes.

By Tamara and Lawrence Glasner

History

“One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.” 

― Golda Meir, My Life

When we first set out to write a WWII history and writing curriculum to go with The Seabirds Trilogy, we had no idea that its release would come at such a dramatic or serious time in our nation’s history. (I never thought I would see the things I’ve seen over the last few months. At times, the parallels to the past were awe-inspiring. But in the word’s of Solomon, nothing is new under the sun!)

What began as a way to teach students about the importance of the Second World War and its aftermath is now a remarkably timely foundation for understanding current events, for students and parents alike.

Remember this, the further we move away from the Holocaust and other atrocities of the twentieth century, the greater we run the risk of forgetting the 20 million Jews, disabled, Eastern Europeans, Soviet prisoners of war, and political prisoners who died at the hand of Nazis. It is imperative that we teach the next generation what is at stake when we turn a blind eye to the oppressed, the disenfranchised, and the disabled. 

But, at a time when journalists, mobs, politicians, and educators would prefer to re-write, ignore, or diminish the events of the past through “new histories” and alternative facts, or silencing those who speak the truth, the closer we step to the precipice of repeating those exact same atrocities.

Consider the following: according to Newsweek, in 2018, one-third of Americans didn’t believe that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, nearly half of Americans could not name a single concentration camp, and two-thirds of millennials could not explain what ‘Auschwitz’ was. White supremacist groups in the United States are on the rise. Neo-Nazi groups have increased by 20% from 2015 to 2018, and 11% of Americans polled have claimed that it is ‘acceptable’ to hold Neo-Nazi views.

Learning history matters. An understanding of the events of the past and their ramification for the present has the power to de-escalate tension and open the door to real communication and positive change. 

We are confident that The Seabirds Companion Curriculum will, in an age-appropriate learning environment, enlighten, inform, and prepare your student for adulthood, specifically in regards to the current challenges posed by the political and social climate. Maturity and wisdom are the product of diligent teaching, careful study, and real-life application in a faith-based environment. 

The 36-week long curriculum is designed to learn about the greatest conflict in human history through story, the testimony of those who survived, and award-winning films and documentaries. Along the way, students will sharpen their critical thinking skills, grow spiritually, and learn how to write a college-level historical research paper.  It covers all the high school humanities, so all you need to add is math and science and you are good to go for the year. 

The Seminar, a live zoom-class, is a wonderful opportunity to go through the curriculum in a group context with live-lectures, discussions, and personal TAs.

We believe that learning is most successful in a family environment. Your student will be covering heavy subjects, such as the Holocaust and the development of nuclear weapons. Keep the door open for any questions that might arise that provide an opportunity for growth emotionally and spiritually. As Christian educators, we do not shy away from hard questions. We believe that any opportunity to go to the Word and discover God’s best is an opportunity worth taking.

We hope that The Seabirds Companion Curriculum opens your student’s heart and mind to what God is doing in the world today and what He has done in recent history. We hope that through learning about the past, your high schooler will think about what God is calling him or her to do in the present and the future. 

*Our content is carefully curated to be what we consider age-appropriate and family-friendly. Nevertheless, we recommend parents review all material before their child to ensure it fits their maturity and educational needs. 

To order the Companion Curriculum, click here.