GNO with Denise Dolan: Being the Neck, Doubting, and Music

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I was born in Perryville, MO and grew up in St. Louis.
I’ve been married for thirty-three years to my best friend, and have been teaching music for thirty-two years. I’m Mom to three remarkable girls.
I got my first guitar when I was eight and haven’t stopped playing yet. I’m a Girl Scout leader, I love to garden, cook, and volunteer. I love life!
I thank the good Lord every day for being so good to me!

What is your favorite quote about being a woman? 

My favorite quote in the world comes from the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when the daughter is talking to the mother about the wedding and she is worried that her father won’t like something. The daughter says to her mom, “…but Father is the head of the household.”

Her mother replies….

“Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.”

Of course… other favorite is: “If you haven’t grown up by fifty–you don’t have to.”

I am living proof of that. 🙂

What has God taught you about trusting Him?
I read this quote once that said: “Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is the essence of faith.” It’s one of my favorites.
In my wiser years, I have come to realize that this pretty much covers it! Mostly, because I have probably spent more time in ‘doubt’ than in ‘faith’.  I can even name the biggies….parents getting divorced-losing a child, burying some good friends–etc etc. The bewildering part is that this doubt always brings me back to my faith. It is the one thing you can rely on. It gives you an answer although sometimes ambiguous in nature. It’s an answer. It’s an answer most people can live with.
I remember losing our oldest daughter, Molly, and doubting everything about God
and his plan for me. My true understanding did not come until one of my subsequent 
daughters asked me, “Why did Molly have to die? I wish she was here.”

When I answer them now, I always say, “…but then I may not have you because things could have turned out differently. For you see it was God’s plan and he gave me an answer. It just wasn’t on my timeline. It was on his.”

So, with the doubt came acceptance and then faith. It was always there, just hiding behind my questions. I am sure before I get there to ask God the questions that there will be several more opportunities for doubt. And I will battle each one with uncertainty, but in time, faith will come. It kinda makes you wonder if he doesn’t do it on purpose to make us stronger… which is rather smart of him don’t ya think?!

What is the best cleaning tip that you can offer? 

I get teased a lot about my zealousness for cleaning. Yes, I do vacuum a lot, but…..

The best cleaning tip I ever have heard was to wipe your bathrooms down once a day because people are always in there. And keep your kitchen sink clean because everyone always gathers in your kitchen.

What is the best beauty tip that you can offer?

I am a very simple woman. I don’t do manicures since I play the guitar almost daily and they would be a big waste of money–although I do enjoy a nice pedicure once in a while. I don’t wear much make up,  don’t know much about fashion, and I would live my life in blue jeans and t-shirt if I could. So, I am probably not the best gal to go to for fashion tips.

But, I do know as we age, the lines get deeper and the age spots do show. I look at each one of them as a symbol of a learned lesson or maybe even a turning point some where in my life. Each and every flaw that people may see is earned, fought for, and relished.

If I am going out with a few lines on my face, they’re gonna be smile lines and not frown lines!

So, the best fashion tips that I have are: eat right, exercise at will, and find the glory and humor in all that you do. Because a smile can make you the most beautiful woman in the world.

What would you share with a younger woman about motherhood?

I have worked hard to teach my girls a few things about life–sometimes a hard lesson for them and often times a harder lesson for me. Because they certainly don’t hand you that proverbial instruction book when you walk out of the hospital with a newborn. But I have worked hard to teach them a few things…..

1. Pay cash whenever you can and save for a rainy day.

2. Nobody is gonna give anything to you–you do have to work for it–and those few times that it is given–drop to your knees and thank the good Lord.

3. Always have a ‘pay it forward’ sense about you–be an ‘unsung hero’. That, in my mind, is what life is all about.

4. One of my biggies is: Before you explode on someone because you think that you are in the right or they are on your last nerve–make sure you step back and get the whole picture. There is always a reason that people do what they do, and it could definitely influence your reaction.

5. Have no regrets–they can weigh heavily on you.

6. Get up every morning and do what you are supposed to do to be productive. Take care of those around you and face life’s obstacles head on. Those are true character builders.

7. Keep your girlfriends! They are your sounding board, your therapy, your shoulder. your drinking buddy, and they will always tell you if you have toilet paper on your shoe.

8. Marry a nerd. They make the most money. 🙂

You know–it’s crazy for me to write all this down–my normal reaction is to put my thoughts into a song–and let me tell you–I have a notebook full of songs that I have written over the years–I call it my $10,000 worth of therapy!

Your friend,

Hi everyone, it’s me, Karen. I couldn’t leave you wondering about Denise’s songs and how they help her to process life. Below are three songs that she has written and recorded. I begged her to allow me to share them with you. Listen and be blessed by her gift and courage to share it.
“Innocent age” is about teaching. 
“Fantasy” is a song about marriage. 
“The Letter” is about a letter that her husband wrote to her about 35 years ago when they were dating. He snuck it under her pillow at her mom’s house. She still carries it in her wallet to this day. 

Click HERE to listen to Denise’s songs. (Once you get to that website, the black box in the top right corner is where you can play the songs.) I tried to load them in mp3 form, but couldn’t figure it out. I hope this works… 
Wanna go back in time to earlier GNO posts? Click HERE

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