Shining as they are - JJ Landis
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Shining as they are


Photo by Marisa Albrecht


Strumming starts and stops behind her closed door

It’s a common sound

Guitar chords

Experimenting with sounds

Lyrics follow



Digging masterpieces out of her stressed out, overworking teenage brain

I don’t dare touch

I soak in the artistry

and accomplishment

Songs are presented as precious gems


Shining as they are

At 15, she’s supposed to be full of angst. Confused and insecure. That’s what I was expecting anyway. She’s my first, so I have no idea what’s going on or what I’m doing. But, she’s completely confident in herself. She doesn’t wear makeup. She doesn’t fuss over appearance. She knows she’s not The Best at the things she’s good at. She’s realistic (in a fabulous sort of way).


The singing competition (L-S Idol) at her school requires an audition. Five or so from each category (duet, elementary, middle, high) make it to the final performance. She’s been a finalist in the duet division the past two years when she played violin and shared vocals with her friend.


During first semester this year, a teacher played a different inspirational YouTube video for the class each week. She credits him for her motivation to audition as a solo act using a song she wrote.


Even though she was capable of strumming the guitar herself, she asked her daddy if he’d accompany her for her audition.


Her dad couldn’t ask for a higher honor than to be invited onto a stage by his teenage daughter. She’s not embarrassed to have a decent dad (with a bushy beard). She rolls her eyes and grouches at him a few times every day, but in the end, she wants him close. There’s love underneath it all.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens had been in theaters just a few days when friends invited her to see it. She wanted to go, but because she knew her brother and dad wanted to see it too, she told her father she’d wait to see it with them. Not missing the enchanted weight of the moment, he dropped everything and took her and her brother to the theater that very day.


When she makes these family affirming decisions, my mother heart swells. I fear a burst.


Part of me expects everything good to deteriorate. That’s just me being my upbeat and positive self, always expecting the worst. A larger part of me trusts in this kid of mine. She is who she is and she likes her family. What a gift to us.


Like we as people are all different, so are our families. Who are your gifts? What gems do you have in your midst? Artists? Actors? Athletes? Lovers? Fighters? Pushers? Pullers? Dreamers? Realists?  Brainiacs? Humorists? Readers? Thinkers?


Polish them and let them shine.

  • Peg
    Posted at 09:44h, 02 February Reply

    Would love to get to know her at this age!! And YOU at this age, too!! Love you!

  • Steve Austin
    Posted at 20:35h, 31 January Reply

    Fantastic post.

    I have a sensitive fighter and a daredevil.


    Your post gives me hope.

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 07:14h, 01 February Reply

      There’s always hope!

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