Monday, July 26, 2010

Precisely the Wrong Time

Did you ever wonder why you don't meet certain people sooner in your life or why your path averts the path of another until a seemingly precise juncture? I do. I wonder all the time. But more expressly when the timing seems to be precisely wrong.

I believe we are given many paths from which to choose and that, while our destiny may be predetermined, the route by which we get there is determined by us. But I also believe that along our journey we are given tools and guides and are presented with relationships that we need to get us through that leg of the journey or through the rest of the adventure. I don't believe in bad timing. We are given exactly what we need and who we need when we need it.

But it's confusing sometimes. Often, I've taken a step back to examine my life and questioned the introduction of a new friend or the reunion with an old friend. I've hesitated to welcome opportunities or the chance at a relationship because life is either going really well or it's too messy to start something different. And I've wasted a lot of time trying to figure it all out instead of just enjoying or enduring the moment.

I've been taught that for everything there is a season. Maybe that season is a week long and maybe it's a lifetime. But we don't have the luxury of knowing when things will start or end. No matter how hard we fight to control it all, we don't decide the seasons. We also don't get to weigh in on the other lives into which we are thrown. When others need us, a request doesn't show up on our doorsteps. It just happens.

So rather than wondering, perhaps we should just be aware and recognize. It may seem wrong or difficult or it may be one big party. But it all happens for a reason in the right season.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Work Isn't Everything

Most people keep pictures in their offices to remind them of WHY they work so hard. I keep mine to remind me of what else there is. Work isn’t everything.


Monday, July 19, 2010

My Ride

The instances in which I allow myself to be selfish are very few and far between. I choose to put others ahead of myself in nearly all things except my music. I did that once and every day when I wake up at the crack of dawn I wonder how famous I would be if I wouldn’t have done that. It’s my one regret in life. So when the opportunity presents itself for me to perform, I carefully select the people that will be by my side in that moment. There are very few people invited to go along for my ride.

My parents, my sister, my nephew and a few of my closest friends are usually among the pool from which I select because they know my routine. They know that I need to arrive at the location very early to acclimate myself to the venue, to adjust to the temperature in the room, to familiarize myself with my surroundings. They know that I prefer to drive myself. They know that I consume almost a whole bottle of water before I sing and that at some point, I stop talking until after I sing. They know I won’t eat until I’m done and that I say a prayer and recite the words out loud just before standing before the crowd. They know that I stay for every event after I sing, at least for a little while, because most often my payment is “in kind” and not in cash and the experience to me is always worth the exchange. I have seen things thanks to my singing that I never would have otherwise, like the NASCAR truck series and the National Dog Show in Philadelphia and the NCAA Wrestling Championships. They respect my routine. And that is why they are chosen.

If I ask you to come along for my ride, it is not because I want to you be in awe of me. I don’t need the applause or even compliments. It is because I want to share my experience with you. I want to let you in to the one aspect of my life that I guard and protect and reserve for a special few. And I know that the event will surprise you or enrich your life in some way and not just because you are spending time with me.

But please remember that this is my ride. Not yours. It’s selfish. Yes. But in this case, I am allowed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let's Get Deep

Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. It's traditionally been a day of crazy sadness and most of the time I don't realize why I feel so off kilter until the end of the day. But today, I recognized the insanity immediately. Coincidentally, the 5 year anniversary of my blog just passed as well. Regular readers know that, normally, I serve up a list of favorite blogs for the anniversary. But, this year, we are going to "celebrate" both occasions with one list. This is going to get a little deeper as my list is not a list of favorites or the best blogs. The entries included here are of my "deepest" blogs. They speak to who I am at my very core and they tell a little bit of my story. Most of them were written in a time when this space served as my journal and the pages laid wide open for you all to share with me.

On this crazy-sad but exciting anniversary, here is a little bit of me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Women Unite: The Pad is Back

Pulling a new shirt out of the bag, I unfolded it gently and laid it on the bed. I hadn't tried the emerald green beauty on before I made the purchase. As I reviewed my fantastic find, I noticed a slight bulge at the shoulder. Slowly, I lifted the shirt closer to examine it. The horror! Hiding in my shirt, one in each arm, were... SHOULDER PADS.

WHY would anyone put shoulder pads in a shirt? We have done this before. Do we not remember what it looked like? Well, THIS is what it looked like:

She looks angry. Doesn't she? I am not sure who introduced shoulder pads to women's clothing the first time but it was wrong. What is attractive about a woman with the shoulders of a linebacker? It is clear that these sneaky designers are doing it again. They are slipping bulky chunks of foam into the sleeves of our shirts, ladies. We cannot let this go on. We must ban together to ban the shoulder pads. WOMEN UNITE!

Reflective & True

I have a short list of legendary musicians who I'd like to see perform live in my lifetime. The list includes Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Madonna, James Taylor, Carole King and many more. Last night I was fortunate to kill two birds with one stone by seeing James Taylor and Carole King in concert together.

Their music is so reflective and true. From the time I was about 12 years old, I loved it. It brought a peacefulness to my world. I like to say that for every season of your life, there is a James Taylor song to provide the tune. And never has that been more true for me than right now.

This video is not from last night but it's a gentle demonstration of what I mean. Some of the lyrics follow.

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone
It won't be long before another day
We gonna have a good time
And no one's gonna take that time away
You can stay as long as you like

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Hiatus Ending

Over the last few months, blogging lost a bit of its luster. When I first started this thing, people questioned the openness with which I wrote but I have long said I live my life like an open book, with nothing to hide and so much to share. So I typed away every month, offering my opinions and beliefs and ideas to the world.

When life is infused with strong emotions or excitement or drama, it's easy to blog. When you can make light of the not-so-great moments or make lemonade from your harvest of lemons, the words seem to flow from your fingertips. And it's fun. It's a release. Often times, it's therapy.

Then there came a time last month when it all suddenly seemed deeply personal. I could not share what was going on in my head and my heart with the people around me, much less blog.

But the hiatus is ending, my faithful readers. Today, I type. And again tomorrow. As I get back in the swing of things, my writing is either going to prove to be brilliant or it will completely suck. But I'm glad you're here and I will do my best to get my blogging tail in gear.