Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 In Retrospect





2011........

What a Year, where to start, what to remember and what to forget.......

We started the new year the way we ended the last, with my Mom's illness and ultimate Death in February.  Interestingly, I have always said ...Her Passing....but it was a Death......My Mom Died.  The life she lived with so much Zeal, ended with a few years of confusion, frustration and illness but years filled with Defiance, Stubbornness and a Will to Keep on Keeping on.

The next few months were filled with a lifetime of memories rekindled. A house....A Home... was boxed up and sold, the good and bad side of a family were revealed, a chapter in life was closed and another opened. The months were filled with emotions ranging from sadness, to anger, to grief, to depression, to a body and mind aching with pain, to a sigh of relief and loss......to surviving. It became an accumulation of the last six years funneled down into a place where we could finally stop, take a breath and rest a while. Years not forgotten but finally having some closure, some perspective and written in the history books of the minds of each of those who participated with their own twist, circumstances, pride and misgivings.

The year ended with an adventure that had been talked about and longed for, for years, as the final chapter, the closing event, the end of an era and the beginning of a new fork in the road of life. It was an adventure of a lifetime and started a yearning for more and more adventures, a breath of fresh air in a life that had been clouded in darkness way too long.

2011.......

A year I would not want to re live but a year that taught so many life lessons. It was a year that gave life a reality check but showed there is light at the end of the tunnel.  It showed that the mind and body are stronger than we think and truly are a gift from God.  Even though the struggles beat us up, tear us down, drain our strength to the very core and make us fill like we can't go on.......We Keep On Going On.....and On.....and On......

So we say goodbye to 2011 and keep in our hearts and minds what we learned from it.  We cherish the life we have and we cherish those who have come into our lives and make the world a better place. We look to 2012 with anticipation of the wonder and possibilities beyond our dreams and pray for God's Blessing along the way.  We look for the Best in a world where even the small things can bring us Happiness.  We look to a world where sadness and grief can become Victory and Joy, where the Warmth and Love of those around us shines a Light that will overcome any obstacles along the way. We Trust and Hope and Live.........

and the Journey Continues........




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Struggles




A friend asked me this week how I continue to keep pushing with my mind struggling from the last few years of stress. How do I keep going with my body struggling when my cancer wants to try and show it's ugly face, demanding the cancer drugs and maintenance chemo from time to time. How do I push through the days, which are many, that I have to struggle to fight the depression, fight the struggle to get out of bed, and fight to keep going through the day when my body says..No..Not Now.  How could I make it through all the that I did when I was taking my trip, though incredible, a feat that took it's toll on me with a vengeance.

The answer....hmmmmm.......
I've got to keep a good attitude as so many have as they fight any kind of struggle or physical problem.  I know that when I push myself, I will suffer the consequences and I do, but I can't let that stop me from getting the most out of my life, stop me from making as much of a difference in this world that I can.

Some ask why I don't smile as much.......
I would tell them it's because of that struggle that I go through everyday.

Some keep telling me that I'm the strong one, I'm the organized one, I'm the one that can do it when no one else can.  Sometimes it's hard living up to what so many expect when I struggle in so many ways.  Sure I try to work on my music when I can, try to snap some pictures when I can, try to share on this blog when I can, try to smile when I can....but....that in itself can be a struggle....that in itself can wear on my mind and body everyday.

So what do I do.......

I keep pushing on and on and on as long as my mind and body will let me...
I keep trying to find that joy in the small thing as well as the big things....
I keep trying not to let the attitude of others pull me down...

I keep trying not to let My Struggles take away from My Joy of Life, even though that is a struggle in itself.....

I keep on....keeping on.....

and the Journey Continues......

Monday, December 5, 2011

East Coast Adventure: Part 6, Perfect Timing....The Finale





My East Coast Adventure was truly blessed with Perfect Timing even before I left town.

Stopping at a convenience store to pick up some oil for the trip, I opened the back of the pickup bed cover I had gotten the week before and found that it was way of it's axes. I just happened to be right beside the GMC dealership that I purchased it from and the man who put it on just happened to be there and was able to fix the problem in just a couple of turns of a wrench.......Wow....

The timing for my trip out of town could not have been more perfect as the autumn leaves were in full bloom and the weather was beautiful. As I was returning home, the cold front had passed through and all the leaves were gone.....Wow....

Deciding to go to NYC first and let Keith recuperate from his hospital stay allowed me to get there just in time to visit with Lin.  We thought he was leaving Saturday for Haiti but he was leaving the next morning, so the timing was perfect, allowing us time for a special visit.....Wow....

As my GPS took me through NYC, it took me past the Brooklyn Bridge (at least I think it was), the battleship Intrepid as well as other NYC landmarks and gave me the perfect view of the Empire State Building, adding to my excitement with each turn....Wow....

Deciding to head on to Pennsylvania when I did and with Keith having a few good days, allowed us time to have an incredible adventure in DC....Wow.....

The weather could not have been more perfect for the time walking through NYC and DC, day and night.....Wow....

The cold front coming through on my last day there gave me a special moment as the leaves danced around my feet in such a way I had never experienced before....Wow.....

Again, what may seem like simple things and everyday life for some, gave me an adventure I had waited for, for several years, giving me memories to last a lifetime and excitement and hope to return to the East Coast again someday soon. Every time I see NYC and DC now on TV, brings back so many of those memories and experiences and the excitement that they brought to this small town Texas boy who finally made it to the Big Apple.

There is no way I could ever share all the incredible experiences of my East Coast Adventure but as I sought after every new moment, both large and small, it reminded me that I need to look for those adventures everyday, where ever I am and realize that God's Perfect Timing reveals itself in every detail of our lives.  We just have to open our eyes to see.....REALLY SEE.....the Wonder Around Us......

Thank You God for a Trip Blessed With Perfect Timing.......

And The Journey Continues........








Tuesday, November 29, 2011

East Coast Adventure: Part 5, Harrisburg and Beyond

Getting in to Harrisburg PA, it was time to check in on my friend Keith, a Gifted man with a soulful voice that had come to Nashville years ago to make his mark in Gospel Music. Nashville can be a hard place to break and even the best singers can get discouraged here. Keith gave it his best shot then decided to head back home.  The last couple of years he's been dealing with colon cancer and the last few months the struggle has intensified as it has moved to his pelvic bone, so he was the second person on my list I wanted to spend some time with.

The first couple of days in Harrisburg were a bit rough for Keith but his attitude continued to be positive.  The third day he suggested that we go to Washington DC which was only a couple of hours away.  Even though I was worried about the strain of the trip, he seemed to have a had a renewed, strength, energy and attitude, so we headed to DC.

We had made arrangements at the Windsor Inn which was right in the heart of the Embassy District.  It was a great place in a beautiful neighborhood but the only parking was four blocks away, so the miles of walking continued.  After unloading our luggage, we headed to park and then walked a few blocks to the DuPont Circle Area to check out the area, find the subway and grab a bite to eat, then a few blocks back to change cloths and back to the subway.  We had scheduled a three hour evening bus tour to the major memorials and sights of DC.

Going down into the subway was like a amusement park ride as the escalator took us deep and steeply into a massive man made cavern.


The DC subway was a lot more modern than NYC and easier to maneuver. Two stops, a change of subways and the next stop, we were at Pennsylvania Ave. and coming out of the subway, our first view was the Capital Building, straight down the street.



DC is beautiful in the daytime but if you ever get a chance to take the tour at night, it is breath taking.  We went to the Capitol, the Mall, The Washington Monument, the, White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial and Wall, the World War Two Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and sights in between. The evening was beautiful and the lighted memorials were again, breath taking, so many memories, so many pictures, so many experiences more than I could ever share here.



















The highlight for Keith was to stand on the spot at the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have A Dream" speech. That moment made the trip perfect for him.




Finishing up the tour we walked through the streets to check out some of the night life of DC before returning to our Inn, again worn out but with memories and experiences to last a life time.

The second day in DC, we decided just to walk through the neighborhood.  The autumn leaves were still at their peak and the Embassy district was incredible.  We walked beside so many buildings, some of countries we knew and some we had only heard of during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  Blocks after blocks were lined with townhouses, each one so different, from colonial, to modern, to everything in between.  The uniqueness and beauty of this part of town and the beauty of the day could not have been more perfect. We spent the rest of the day just enjoying the area and what the nightlife had to offer.I do have to add that as fast paced as NYC was, the impatience of the DC drivers was unreal. They would honk at the car in front of them even before the light changed green. One city pickup rubbed against me turning as I didn't cross the street fast enough for him....go figure....


Heading home the next day, my GPS took us through the heart of Georgetown.  Again the quaintness and beauty of the area was an experience all it's own.  As we headed out along the canal drive, we were again surrounded by solid blankets of trees in full autumn bloom. Driving through the mist of a cooler, cloudy day, the light rain fall only added to the ambiance of the area.

Getting back to Harrisburg that afternoon, gave us some time to enjoy the history and area of the capital of Pennsylvania and Keith some time to rest.  The next day, being my last day in Harrisburg, the weather changed drastically as the cool front finally hit PA.  Walking to my pickup, wrapped up in full winter clothing, I saw that all the leaves from the day before had finally blown off the trees.  Walking through the mounds of leaves, they swirled around me in the brisk wind as if to have their final dance of the season.  That evening the trip had caught up with Keith, the pain was back with a vengeance but he still kept his positive attitude.  He had heard the song I wrote for my Mom's memorial and decided he would love to record that along with some of my other songs.  Not knowing what the future holds for him, he's still hanging on to life, hope and plans for the future, inspiring all of us to the strength of the human spirit.

Heading home the next day, the perfectness of the trip revealed itself and so continues the adventure .....Part 6....Perfect Timing, the Finale....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

East Coast Adventure: Part 4, Waking Up In NYC

Morning came way too early as I crawled....yes crawled out of bed.  My day of running caught up with me but my excitement had not swayed.  As I was getting ready to leave the B&B for breakfast, the manager there asked if I made it to some of the places he recommended.  With so much to do I hadn't made his to do list.
Uh oh....was I in for a surprise.  He asked if I had a few minutes and we were off and running. He had more energy than Carters Got Pills.  Heading off down the street, I followed like Festus, limping away...yep showing my age.


We went to so many places in the blocks around and he had a complete knowledge of the history of the area, sharing everywhere we went.  I saw some of the hidden, secluded treasures that I wouldn't have found by myself.  His few minutes of my time took us again for miles and miles and even with the sore legs and broken toe, it was so worth it.  We went in the Chelsea Market filled with old shops, mementos from the old rail track, a whole in the wall cut through from one building to the next, a water fall from an old water drainage pipe and on and on.




He showed me where the boats docked, including the special place where the Titanic was to have docked.


                      Boat Dock
      Arch Way where the Titanic was to dock

After all the running, he did finally send me to a place to eat breakfast but not just any place. What looked like a small Greasy Spoon, had one of the most famous chefs, according to him, in the world before he died, way better than Julia Childs and others. It had visitors including so many stars through the years, presidents, the queen of England and on and on. So sitting there eating my breakfast and having the best cup of coffee I've ever had, I became a part of that history.



After breakfast, I was invited to visit a friend in Manhattan and go to a concert that night and the NYC Marathon that Sunday but I had been concerned about Keith in Pennsylvania and was unable to get a hold of him.  After two stays in the hospital the week before from the cancer,  I decided to head that way.  There were still many wonders ahead for me in NYC but that would come at another time.

I turned the GPS to Harrisburg PA and was again amazed at the wonders of NYC as I was leaving.  The road took me through the Holland Tunnel, one thing I wasn't sure about but it was a unique experience and one I'm glad I had the chance to to travel through.  On the other side was New Jersey.  As I gassed up before I headed out, I looked back and there was the Empire State Building looming in the distance, as if to say...Thanks For the Visit....Hope You Enjoyed Your Stay....Please Come Again.....
And I will one day.....




So the adventure continued to Harrisburg and beyond.....Part 5...

Friday, November 18, 2011

East Coast Adventure: Part 3 The Amazing Big Apple

Two things that I wanted to accomplish on my adventure was spending time with a great friend and seeing some of the sights of NYC and I wasn't disappointed.

                                              http://lmross-moanerplicities.blogspot.com/

Getting into New York, I went straight to Port Chester to see one of my closest friends. Lin, an incredible poet and author.  He's a writer with an incredible control and understanding of the written word but not only intellectually , he has a unique ability to put his heart, his emotions and his passion into his writing like no one I've come across in a long time.  When he writes something, it's real, nothing held back but so descriptive you feel as thought you are living it, feeling it, seeing it, even tasting it.  The more our friendship has grown, the more respect I've come to feel for him.  He's had his struggles in life but he has overcome them and learned to put what he's gone through and experienced into words of life.  As we sat talking over a plate of spaghetti and lasagna, it was a true highlight up my trip.  He was heading to Haiti the next morning so our time was short but one that made a memory for both of us.

The next morning it was time to head to the Big Apple and thank goodness for the GPS....one of the best inventions in our lifetime.  I was able to head straight through NYC to the B & B that I was to stay at.  With each turn my excitement grew, first seeing the Brooklyn Bridge, then the Intrepid, then there is was, the Empire State Building.  These things I'm sure are just part of life in New York but with each new sighting my enthusiasm  kept building up inside me.  Just about as I was to turn on my street, a city cab honked and cussed me for not turning fast enough....even if it was into on coming traffic but hey, that was a New York thing and I loved it. Getting to the B & B I' learned everything you read about something is not always what it's cut out to be.  The place was old, too expensive and no elevators.  I was on the 5th floor with narrow old steps but again, a memory I won't forget....my feet either.

After a quick bite I headed toward the subway....yes I did.  I got on not sure it was the right direction but it was great, a new experience.  Luckily I went straight to 42nd Street where all the sights were I wanted to see.  I've gotta say I walked for miles and miles and miles and did I mention that I broke the middle toe on my right foot two weeks earlier.  Nothing was going to take away from this moment, this memory.


I've always said that the angle of the camera is everything.  Getting to Time Square I was amazed at all the lights, video screens and buildings....but it was so small.  You see the ball drop on New Years Eve and it looks so massive.  GMA was there as well where they do the morning show....and again small....


But I was there and that was good.  After walking the wrong direction a couple of times and learning to ask the security guards directions, I made it to the Rockefeller Center.  I took the elevator to the Top of the Rock, the observation tower.  Now I was impressed by the size of NYC.  The views from up there were Breathtaking in every direction. To be able to see as far as the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty in one direction and Central Park and buildings as far as the eye could see in every other direction was amazing.  There was no angle of a camera that could take all of this in.


Heading down to the Rockefeller Plaza where the skating rink and Christmas Tree is placed at Christmas, I again realized the angel of the camera because they too seemed so small but again, it didn't matter....I was there taking it all in and making some incredible memories.


There was so much to see and I saw all I could downtown in one day but I had to get to the World Trade Center.  Getting on a subway, again not sure it I was on the right one because the red line was not working, I asked a lady where I was. She was sweet and gave me the directions I needed as on lookers smiled, knowing ...yep...I was a tourist.  I've got to say everyone I came in contact with in NYC were really nice.

Getting off the subway at the WTC, I was in awe. A place filled with so much tragedy, now being reborn.  The buildings of the new World Trade Center were rising from the ashes with it's pinnacle being the Freedom Tower.


The crowds of people coming by to see it were phenomenal and it was a memory I will never forget.

Heading back home or should I say limping back home for the night I had the experience of getting off the subway and walking with the multitudes down the streets of NY.  Hustling and Bustling, all with a mission, a part of the pace that New York has to offer, not one I would choose but the life of millions of people everyday, living their lives in their own way and making the best of what they've been Blessed with.

After a full day in New York City......the Adventure Continues....Part 4

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

East Coast Adventure: Part 2, The Beginning



I've lived in Nashville for about 18 years now and am amazed that I've never ventured to East Tennessee.
As I headed toward Knoxville, it surprised me that it was only 2 hours away.  Heading up into the Smokey Mountains, the view was breathtaking as fall was in full bloom.  The photo bug hit me so hard, urging me to stop every few feet and take a picture but knowing I wouldn't get anywhere that way, I settled for soaking it all in and taking all the mental pictures I could.

The beauty of the mountains was overwhelming with every twist in the road.  I would go around a bend and see a beautiful, peaceful, green valley surrounded by a warm blanket of the deepest red, orange, yellow and rust colors I've ever seen.  Crossing over a hill I could see the shadow of mountains in the distance reaching out, calling me to come to them.  I would cross a bridge and on the left see a calm, serene river cascaded  by a sheer wall of rock reaching to the sky, surrounding it, leading it along the way.

As I headed into Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains, the country side was spotted with old barns, worn and weather beaten but just screaming to be photographed.  I began seeing red barns with tall thin silos with the dome tops.  Strangely enough it brought back a memory of my early....early childhood where I had a toy farm house set exactly like what I was seeing. The red barn, the silo, the cows and horses in the fields.  A memory I shouldn't have been able to remember but it was there in living color.

Soaking in all the beauty, I turned a bend in the road and there with an ambulance, fire truck and police, was a small red car turned upside down in the ditch.  The car, so crushed, no one could have survived.  It brought the realization that among all the wonders of the world, the Journey of Live continues beginning and ending.  As beauty came, met by tragedy, it reminded me that we should find the joy where ever we can and hold on to it for we never know what's around the bend.

Virginia and West Virginia brought with it so many names of cities that I only thought of when reading the history of the area.  Then there were signs of the Shenandoah Valley and Mountains which prompted my singing of "Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you. Far away beyond the river"......yep a good memory. The highway through the valley stretched for miles, the mountains rising up on both sides solid in the colors of bright yellow, red, orange and rust giving the most incredible rush of emotions. The area brought with it architecture that was so accustomed to the area but so different from any of my travels before.  Tall two and three story houses that had been there for years, some still lived in and some abandoned a long time ago. One such house was out in the middle of a field and you could almost hear the sounds of laughter in the house and see the children playing in the fields, long gone but still inhabited my those memories of years gone by.

Heading through West Virginia into Pennsylvania and New York, the pace of the area began increasing mile by mile.  Driving down highways of 55 or 65 miles an hour meant no slower than 75 or 80.  You could feel the urgency of the drivers, the pace of life changing from the peacefulness of the mountains to the cities ahead where slow, relaxed and peaceful were not in there vocabulary.

And so the Adventure continues......Part 3


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

East Coast Adventure: Part 1, A Summary




I've been blessed with being able to travel to a lot of places in the USA, from Chicago to Atlanta, to Cincinnati and Dallas, to LA and the west coast and tons of places in between but I've never made it up the East Coast.  The time had finally come.

The interesting part about this trip was that I had no itinerary, no planned schedule, no map at all.  As Captain Kirk of the Star Ship Enterprise would say with the wave of his hand......Just Go......Out There......
For those who know me, this is totally against my nature. Mr I've got to plan everything, make sure everything is organized, every detail examined....went straight out the window.  I had a couple of close friends I wanted to see and wanted to make it to a few of the large cities on the way but that was it.

My adventure took me through Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and a few other places.  I experienced more things than I ever expected in my lifetime.

For some, my experiences are not an adventure, just their everyday life.  Some may not see the special moments of those experiences but I've always felt the need to find the joy where ever I can and in the most unexpected places.  Joy is hard to find these days and when it presents itself in the beauty around us, in massive sky scrapers, in the uniqueness of a true friend, then we need to reach out with both hands and grasp it with everything we've got........

So the Adventure Began........And the Journey Continues.......Part 2

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Good Son



When you hear the words.....You're A Good Son.....You're A Good Man....you know you have been truly blessed.  The struggles you've had to endure may have been unbearable at times but to hear those words softens the load and lifts the heart and soul.

When people take notice, especially a loved one, it's a humbling experience but a much appreciated one.  Life has it's moments and sometimes it calls us do what we have to do because that's part of that experience. Things we do, not for the praise or recognition but because sometimes that's what it takes to make the world a better place, whether it's with family, friends or even strangers.

I've been blessed to hear those words from My Parents, Family Members, Friends and Colleagues along the way.  I may not be rich in monetary things but then again I've never been one to need much.  Even in all my imperfections, I know I've tried to do my best and that best has been rewarded from the kind words of others.

We only get one chance at this life and hopefully all of us are striving for the best, not of this world, but of reaching out to others, family members, friends, colleagues and strangers. I hope all of us can know that what we've done in this world has made a difference and that at the end of the day we can know that we have had the blessings of a good life, maybe not perfect, as we are human but one we can be at peace with.

May your road be easy and your load be lite and may you find the true meaning of Love and Life and feel their warmth and peace touch you and bless you along the way.......

An The Journey Continues.......

Friday, October 14, 2011

Planning Ahead



I've always been one to plan ahead, be there fifteen minutes early, get everything organized before I start a project or take care of business.  My last trip to Texas gave me the chance to really plan ahead.  After taking care of some final business, my Sister and I took care of prepaying our funerals.  Yep, that meant getting our plots, picking out caskets and making sure everything was done and paid for.  I've gotta say it was one thing doing it for my parents but doing it for me was a bit erie and yep the picture above will some day be my final resting place......Hmmmmmmm.
The Good thing was that we were able to get close to my parents resting place and excuse the pencil drawing on the picture but it's just a few steps away from them.



 
It's also just down the row from two uncles, an aunt and a cousin so at least were keeping things close to the family.

Some people tell me I'm a bit of a perfectionist and that's  probably true .  That said, I've just about finished the music, the bulletin, the slide show, the videos.....and on and on concerning my funeral.  Again, a little erie but having it taken care of will take away that burden for someone else and hey.....who can plan it better for me....than me.....

Taking a deep breath and planning ahead has been a good thing for me.  I've taken care of all the things of the past that needed my attention and taken care of some future events that will ease someone else's burden.
The next step is a few days away.  In a couple of weeks I'm finally going to take that long awaited vacation up the east cost.  It will give me the chance to visit a friend who's health due to cancer is getting worse.  It will also give me the chance to see a Great Friend and Writer in NYC.   My first trip up the east coast will be a time of playing tourist, letting my photography bug go crazy and letting myself go to enjoy.....really enjoy.  Wow....I might even learn to smile again. And by the Grace of God I will return home safely, will have made special memories and had some quality time with a couple of  good friends .

My next plans are even more exciting for me as I will finally get to finish my Songbook.  Those last couple of songs have been waiting too long and now I hope to have it finished and published soon.  I'm also looking to expand my publishing some....Hmmmmmmm.....

Yep......
I've really enjoyed the time I've had here expressing my thoughts and events on My Journey of Life.  I'm looking at publishing a book as well of some of my journal entries......who could have thought.......

And yep.....
I've had so many comments about my photography and especially my cats, I'm going to work on publishing some calendars of them as well.....again....who could have thought.

So, again....by the Grace of God, as long as my future keeps giving me breath, I'm finally going to start enjoying the things I do and exploring new horizons that I never expected to see in my lifetime.  My journey now has some new purpose, new energy, new goals and new joy......

And The Journey Continues..........

 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Messages Of Encouragement

I'm lucky to have some friends that are always sending me messages of encouragement.  Here are a couple that really hit home when I needed them.....





Strength is built through action. It is also built with restraint.
Strength is confident. And it is, at the same time, humble.
Strength is ambitious, and patient too. Strength is focused, and it is honest.
Strength is persistent, continuing forward through the difficult challenges.
Strength is flexible, adjusting to a changing environment without compromising its original intent.
Strength has no need to be showy or boastful. For true strength is quiet, calm, and intensely effective.
Strength is balance, and love and truth. Strength is when you choose to live as the authentic person you are.

And a couple from me.......


Respect and Honor mean more than all the Silver and Gold in the world. To get Respect is to give Respect. 

As long as you can close your eyes at the end of the day with peace of mind you know........
It Was A Good Day

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Resolutions




It's interesting how we always make New Years Resolutions that seem to last for a few weeks, if that long, then we're back to the same routine, attitude, habits and way of life that we had before the Big Ball Dropped.  Once in a while we revisit some of those changes we wanted to make but find they only last a few days as well.

Hmmmmmmm

Something about my last Birthday brought about a resurgence of those feelings again.  Hopefully these desires will last more than a few days....but...we will see.

August 31, started off with a little more hair growing on my face, not sure how long that will last but we will see.  Look for more pictures in the future.
My list continues with exercise and yep for me that means getting back to at least 3 times a week.  Hey I've been there before...it's just been a while.
Next, a couple of letters to express some long and deep thoughts to some that wouldn't listen before but just maybe....maybe they'll take the time to listen this time.
My Music has been neglected too long so it's back to finishing my songbook, continuing to work on my Christmas Musical, getting the voice back in shape and finding that joy of music that has been collecting dust in the corner way too long.
Last but not least, it's time to get back out in the world, to find the uniqueness of a heart, the joy of a creek bank, the beauty of art, the diversity of humanity, the closeness of a few good friends, a deeper relationship with God and just a Breath of Fresh Air........

Hopefully this will be a Journey Into Joy......

And the Journey Continues.........

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Chicken Has Hatched




The Chicken Has Hatched, not a perfect chicken, part hard boiled and maybe a little rotten but this egg had been sat on too long and it was time to break it open and let it go. 

There are no true winners with what could have been a great celebration.  Sadly, this egg had too many flaws that didn't allow this chicken to fly, walk freely among other chickens and grow into one great Hen.  It's been said that the choices we make are what makes us who we are, makes up our character, our life.  Sadly everyone that had their turn sitting on this egg didn't live up to their responsibility.  Some sat diligently, keeping the egg warm, nurturing it in every way, loving it, giving it all the care and tenderness of a mother.  Others ignored the time that was theirs to sit on the egg, letting it feel unloved, cold, lifeless. 

So the chicken has hatched but with mixed emotions.  Some claim hold of the chicken saying, hey I didn't have to do my part but I am part of the chicken coop, so the chicken is mine.  Others who diligently sat on the egg and nurtured it in every way, celebrate the life of the chicken, grieve at the process of it's time in the nest, but let it go to make it's way into the future and be the best chicken it can, not being distracted by its flaws but giving it all the love it deserves.

The moral of this special event......Hmmmmmm........Maybe.....

Our choices do show our character....

We do reap what we sow, maybe not at the birth of this chicken...but...somewhere down the road......

Those who know the truth, KNOW the truth and the truth will set us free.........

and

Sometimes we just have to let go.......


And The Journey Continues..........

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Looking Outside The Box




We humans are all a unique and special people and the world turns with our thoughts, memories, experiences, circumstances and surroundings.  We judge the world and everyone in it by who and what we are.  The world is Our Little Box.  Because of that we forget that We....I....Me are not the the world, just a part of it.

I've always been a people watcher but lately my observations have become more refined with a deeper concern for each individual.  When we take time to look Outside Our Box and see others with their own story, their own desires, problems, situations, backgrounds, religions, emotions and attitudes, we see how unique we are but how we are just a small part of this world.

We see the man begging on the street, the lady with her load of groceries catching the bus, the guy in the fancy SUV that sped past us and cut us off, the child in Africa struggling for a place to live, a meal to eat, the person who because of his religion, blows himself up for His God, the Asian women walking the streets with thousands of others, living in her world, with her thoughts, problems, desires and situations.  The list goes on and on.  When we take a deeper look, we realize the world doesn't revolve around us, it revolves around mankind.  When we look out of our Box, we see a world of diversity, of joy, of tragedy, of pain, of dying, and yes, living.  When I hear of a 15 year old getting shot by another 15 year old, my heart goes out to the tragedy of the situation, two lives lost.  When we see bombs going off in the war against terrorist we see soldiers, civilians, innocent lives, individuals loosing a life that is special, unique and is gone forever.

I watch a lot of SciFi and yep have always been one for blood and guts movies but lately as I see so many getting killed left and right without a thought of who that person was and the life lived, I see how cold we have become, how we've forgotten the importance of life, of humanity, of each individual soul for the sake of entertainment.  I see the lifestyles of so many that give the examples that life is all about the money, the sex, the gangs, the drugs....each raised in a different lifestyle, a different past, a different set of circumstances.

Sometimes if we look too hard out of our box, we can see the world as a hopeless and tragic place...but.......sometimes when we take that look, we can be reminded that this world is not just about us...it's about each one of us.  Sometimes it takes that to realize that our problems, our desires, our pain, our tragedies are not as bad, as tragic as we thought, that we've been blessed, that we have a purpose, a journey, a calling far beyond our own little box.

So we can keep ourselves locked in our Box.......or.....open the door to the world around us, take a deeper look, make a bigger impact, touch a soul, one person at a time. We can find the joy in giving instead of taking, in loving instead of of hating, being sympathetic instead of judging and learning to live instead of just existing, locking ourselves up, blind to the world. We can show our compassionate side, our empathy our understanding and our Humanness......

Hmmmmmmmmm........what a concept...........

And The Journey Continues......

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moving On



For the first time in a long time I woke up this morning feeling like it was time to Move On.  After another week of craziness, trying to put out more fires and making things right...at least what I felt was right..., I finally feel comfortable with letting go and letting things happen the way they will.

It's time to let go of the anger, the frustration, the pride, the sadness and no longer let the situations, the greed of others, the wrongs of the world and the past few years dictate my life.  What ever happens with the situations I've been putting so much worry, work, time and effort into will work out one way or another.  God knows the situations and God is in control so again I have to stop and put my trust in Him........

So today it's time to Smile....time to Live....time to Find the Joy again. 

It's interesting how I've talked about this in so many blogs but I can say today it's finally not just in my head but in my Heart and Spirit as well.  It's time to follow my heart and not let the demands of others dictate who I am.

So today is a New Day.....today is My Time.....today I Choose Joy.......

And the Journey Continues.......

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Private Thoughts





PREFACE:

I questioned whether to make this blog public or keep it private.  I know I've gone on and on about the struggles of the last few years and I know you're ready to hear something good and joyful to come out of my blogs. I promise brighter days and blogs ahead but this is one last attempt to share, to write in words, to search for answers. By no means do I mean to complain or to boast, to talk about me, to show what I've done.  I wrote this for me, to find some answers, to search for some of the joy and peace that I've been looking for.



MY PRIVATE THOUGHTS:

Grieving.....Showing Emotion.....Letting Go.....Shedding Badly Needed Tears.......

My counselor asked me why can't I grieve, why can't I just let go, why can't I cry, why can't I express the pain in my heart.  My answer....I don't know......

I've built my walls of stone so hard and so deep around my heart that I'm not sure they will ever be broken down.  I've had to put on the face of strength, joy, control, responsibility, patience and endurance for so long....maybe too long.

I've always been the caretaker in my family, even from my childhood, always trying to make things better, always trying to get everyone on the same page, always the one to make the world think we were a normal family, not knowing that we had our problems and dysfunctional moments just like every other family, maybe a little worse at times, maybe a lot worse at times......

From the time my parents went into the nursing home the struggles increased.  Mama and Daddy could not care for themselves, could not care for each other, could not live at home.  They cried, they argued, they complained, they fought all the way that they could make it on their own at home but they couldn't.  Their minds saw the young man and women that they felt but their bodies had long grown old and weak.  So the battle was a daily struggle, constantly talking, arguing, reminding them, telling the same thing over and over and feeling their pain and heartbreak all the way deep in my soul.  But I had to be the strong one, the adult in the family, the one with all the answers.

Daddy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed quickly, painfully.  I was there for Him and for Mama trying to keep the strength, ease the pain and give as much love and help as I could.
I was there to take care of the funeral.  Some thought I was a bit cold but I knew the task at hand and with my list of things to do and notes and phone numbers, I closed off my heart and emotions even more.

Mama was diagnosed with liver cancer the same week so again the emotions were cut off, the caretaker was in full mode and again I had no time to grieve, to take it in, just do what was needed.  As Mama's dementia got increasingly worse it was again a constant battle against the confusion, the forgetting, the wanting to go home, the anger, the cancer.  Again I had to sit silently and say, I know you want to go home, to repeat the same things over and over, to remind of the cancer and confusion and keep the emotions in check and the face of control, of leadership, of support, of love and understanding, all the while building up more stones around my heart.  As Mama's time grew short I was there to hold her hand, give her love, ease her confusion, feel her pain, cope with the dementia, the cancer, the passing, the funeral.

The struggle didn't stop there as we had to go through the memories of a lifetime, box them up and store them away and prepare the house, my sister and I, struggling on our own through so much.  I still had to do what had to be done, had to be strong, all the time building up more walls.  Every time I felt like things were getting better there would always be another hill to climb.  Every time I felt a little joy and relief, more hills had to be climbed and thus more stones were built.

I know one day, the work will be accomplished and that part of my life will end.  Maybe I'll be able to let go, grieve, have a good cry and maybe find the joy again....just maybe.  One day maybe the stones will slowly tumble down, the warmth will finally fill my heart, the love and joy will be able to be shared freely but for the time being and again answering my counselor.......

I Don't Know..........

Monday, August 8, 2011

Today



Today......
What shall I do....

Should I suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or should I lift my head high.....
Should I curse those that betray me or learn to forgive and forget.....
Should I let my woes lead me into depression or rise up and shout I will not be defeated.....
Should I let my mind run amok, to and fro, confused and frustrated or take it one step, one day at a time....
Should I squander in the worry over the trivial, the critical, the heartbreak or Let Go and Let God....

Will I lift my head up high....
Will I forgive and forget....
Will I not be defeated....
Will I take it one moment at a time....
Will I trust in God's control.....

What I do today determines my character, my being, my strength, and will take the path that leads to two different roads.....
What I do today will show I have conquered or given in....
What I do today will show the depth of my heart or the shallowness of my spirit....
What I do today will impact this Journey of Life for me as well as those around me.....

The Choices that confront us everyday....
What shall we do......
What will I do.....

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's Fair Is Fair





Over the course of my life I've always tried to be a fair person and treat everyone with respect and hoped that fairness and respect would be returned.  Through the past few weeks I'm finding what I hoped for and reality can be two different things.

I've remembered the old saying, "Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch" and boy is that the truth.
Every time I begin to feel comfortable about the situation of the fairness of the task at hand I hit a major speed bump in the road.  Every time I get happy about the circumstances I tell myself......wait and see....things may change and lately they have been.

So what do you do when you try to make all the right decisions not really knowing the right answers but you do your best. What do you do when it's a constant battle and you think....finally....finally that hard work, that struggle, that battle will end with a happy ending....and ending that is fair........Hmmmmmm.

I know God works in mysterious ways and I know that sometimes those bumps in the road are there to remind us that we don't and can't do it all....that we have to rely on Him.  I know I forget that at times especially when I'm thinking Fair Should Be Fair.  That's the times I have to remind myself once again that God has all the answers, God knows the outcome, God knows the struggles and God knows what the future holds.
So I catch myself saying one more time....Let it go and Let God take control....put it in His Hands and trust that He will do what is Fair.  Yep we're human and that's a hard thing to do especially when we feel like we've been wronged and want some justice, want what is fair.

So God, here I am again, help me to let go and not try to work it out on my own but know that YOU will make it Fair.....Your Way......

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

We Sing Holy





For those who asked....
The song from my Mom's Memorial Service

"We Sing Holy"
(for Mama)

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound to The Old Rugged Cross
The words we sing that bring us to the loving heart of God
The hymns of old the songs of praise we lift in one accord
And with each song we know they hold the promise of God's word

When the road seems dark and weary and the pain's too much to bare
When the heart is way too heavy from the load that we must share
We know that God has promised us His comfort from above
We know He fills us with His strength and surrounds us with His love

So we sing Holy...Holy...Holy are You Lord
We sing in one accord
Yes we sing Holy and we lift our songs of praise
And You surround us with Your love and You fill us with Your grace

You give us strength to make it through the day when we feel there's nothing left
You give us hope for tomorrow and Your sweet peace and rest
You give us light to shine along the way the path that we must trod
And give us love to feel the emptiness and the loneliness inside

So we sing Holy...Holy...Holy are You Lord
We sing in one accord
Yes we sing Holy and we lift our songs of praise
And You surround us with Your love and You fill us with Your Grace

So we'll sing Amazing Grace and The Old Rugged Cross
We'll sing the songs that bring us to the loving heart of God
And as Mama taught us long ago in the hymns She loved to sing
The truth of God still holds the key to Life and Eternity
So we sing Holy, We sing Holy
Holy Lord
We sing Holy, Holy are You Lord
Holy are You Lord

copyright 2010 WynnSong Publishing



excuse the performance quality.....
two months of sinus congestion and a couple of missed chords
and the somberness of the occasion



video


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Turning Pain To Joy

As I go through the boxes I've brought from home, I look forward to the day when the Pain of Memories Past turn into Memories of Joy Remembered.........




Though they are faded, tattered and blurred, they tug at the heartstrings and haunt the mind
but  
  someday......someday

They will bring the Peace and Joy of the Memories of a Lifetime


And the Journey Continues.............

Living In The Real World




Someone asked me this week if I Live In The Real World...........Hehehe........
I know, some people think I live in LaLa Land most of the time but I can say that the way life has thrown me against the wall over and over and over lately has given me a pretty good perspective of the Real World.

Living In The Real World consist of looking at the world as it really is.  There is a lot of good in our world but there is also a lot of things that are messed up.  We see the joy and the beauty around us through God's incredible creations, the change of the seasons, the smell of morning dew, the complexity of the human body and the harmony of Life.  We also see the pain, the hunger, the anger, the greed, the selfishness, the poverty, the wars, the distrust, the illness and the list goes on and on.

Living in the Real World means we understand that the world has its problems but we make a decisive choice to help change the world and make it a better place, one step, one action, one person at a time.  We learn from those Hard Knocks that Life has thrown our way and turn those bumps and bruises into smiles and laughter.

Those who live in the real world are the ones that are picking themselves up, dusting themselves off and starting all over again to make this world a better place.  Those people living in LaLa Land are the ones who live life for themselves, for their own greed, that feel the world revolves just for them without any consideration of others.  Sadly I've met too many of those people since I've moved to Nashville.

So do I live in the Real World? 
I would say yes......even though I have my moments where I get sidetracked, I think life has kept me in a pretty Real place.  Now that life is taking a new course for me, I find myself wanting to reach out even more to make a difference, through my music, through my writing, through just being me.  Will I slip into LaLa Land sometimes, probably, but I hope that what time I have left in this world.......is Real..........

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Take A Little Time To Live



The work is done, the house is empty and all of the things to be done have finally been marked off the to do list.  The house that we called home for 46 years is now empty and waiting for the next family to come in and turn it from a house into Their Home.  I can say my emotions have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride as that part of the Journey has ended and the future looms ahead with open arms.

As I look back at the last few years and how it seemed that so much of my time and energy was not mine.  Interestingly enough as I say that, I realize that all of our time is our own and how we choose to deal with the circumstances that come our way is up to us.  I know life throws it's punches at times and it can be overwhelming, bringing with it the frustration, depression and hopelessness that can really zap our energy completely......yep....speaking from experience.

In the world we live in, it seems like our lives have become filled with so much activity, family affairs, drama, and sometimes just stuff that doesn't amount to a hill of beans. We've forgotten what it's like to stop and smell the roses, sit under a tree and watch a beautiful sunset and just Take A Little Time To Live.   And yep....I'm just as guilty. 

Driving into town this morning I looked up into the sky and saw one long, dark, gloomy cloud surrounded by beautiful blue skies on both sides.  It's presence was almost forewarning as if to show a darkness or change was coming our way.  It seemed to symbolize how life can be going so well and then out of know where things can change completely.  The life that we've been living, running to and fro, ending each day exhausted and wandering what it was all for can be changed in a second and never be the same again.

Maybe it's time to really take stock in what we do each day, focus on the important parts and weed out the junk and yes.......Take A Little Time To Live.....
We only have one life to call our own.  Make a decisive decision to make some changes and Remember to Live, Love and Laugh Often and Never Forget To Dance......

and the Journey Continues............

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things To Remember




In times of struggle, Scriptures come to some to give them peace and assurance.
For me.....it's always been a song

"Everyday Is A Victory"

Every day is a victory, everyday is a victory,
Everyday is a victory when you put it in the hands of the Lord.

Everyday is a song of joy, everyday is as song of joy,
Everyday is a song of joy when you put it in the hands of the Lord.

"The Joy of the Lord"

The joy of the Lord is my strength, the joy of the Lord is my strength,
The joy of the Lord is my strength, the joy of the Lord is my strength.

"Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God"

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Allelu Alleluia.

"Praise The Lord"

When you're up against a struggle
That shatters all your dreams
And your hope has been cruelly crushed
By Satan's manifesting scheme
And you feel the urge within you
To submit to earthly fears
Don't let the faith you're standing in, seem to disappear

(Chorus)

Praise the Lord
He can work with those who praise Him ,
Praise the Lord
For our God inhabits praise,
Praise the Lord
For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise him

and the List Goes On and On as Does the Journey.......

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Word



If you were asked to come up with one Word that describes you and your life.......


What Would It Be?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So Much

A small tragedy hit our household tonight as one of our new kittens was accidentally crushed.  We thought he would go quickly but as I checked on him several times tonight he was still fighting, still struggling to breath, to kick....to be ok.  As I caressed his body I caught myself saying....it's ok....it's ok....just relax....it's ok.
That brought back a recent and real memory of the last couple of days I spent with my Mom.  As she struggled to breath, cried out in pain, fought the fight as long as she could I caught myself  caressing her hand and saying....it's ok...it's ok...just relax....it's ok.

Since I returned from my last trip to Texas I haven't been able to write here and wasn't quite sure why.  It hit me tonight that I was still in caretaker mode, I was still trying to make things better, I was still trying to comfort.  With So Much that has happened the last couple of months I realized I still haven't let go.  We were so busy packing things up and getting ready for the estate sale, we didn't have much time to grieve, to say goodbye to the belongings, the memories.....So Much.  We worked and worked to get it done.  Where most people have the privilege of taking their time going through their parents belongings, we had to work fast and furious to get it done and had to keep the emotions and grieving in check....So Much.

A friend of mine ask me what I was going to do with myself when it was all finished, when things were finally taken care of.  I thought....maybe get back to normal whatever that is....back to living my life....but it seems that's still a long time off, but it's getting closer.  Sadly there are a few more bumps in the road.  Even with So Much to deal with.....some still want to cause more frustration.....out of greed and guilt with no knowledge, concern or care as to what a struggle the last few years have been.  They always seem to show up at the doorstep when they think there is something in it for them but never.....Never...lent a helping hand, a kind word or monetary support.....but I guess that's another story in itself and I'm digressing.

Back to my kitten.  A beautiful life, whether animal or human can change in an instant.  So many are reaching out for that love, that feeling of self worth, that knowing that someone cares.  For some of us it may seem easy to reach out and be the caretaker, the one that says.....it's ok....relax....it's ok.  For others it may seem easy to turn away, let someone else take the responsibility.  I guess we all have our place in this world, our gifts and demons to deal with.  So many times we build up stone walls around our heart to deal with the pain so we can be the caretaker.  Other times we build up stone walls so we don't have to take the responsibility, to feel the guilt.

One of my college friends that I recently reconnected with on facebook said your pictures are great but you don't smile much.......Hmmmmmm......and he's right.

So I'm looking to my passion, my music, my photography and my writing here to help me get through the pain, the bumps ahead and by the Grace and Strength of God I know there will be light at the end of this tunnel and my Journey will see brighter days ahead.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Breath of Heaven






As the struggles continue my way, I have to take a little time to sit back and listen to this original version of "Breath of Heaven" by Chris Eaton.
Listen to the words as I have so often lately and let them Heal the Soul and Fill the Heart With Hope...................
video