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Be like a tree 

This winter season here in TN has been most interesting. I've been especially interested in the severe wind storms that we've had. Some of the winds have been as strong as tornadoes and have caused almost as much damage. In watching weather reports and driving through neighborhoods I'm always amazed at how some trees remain standing while everything else around them has been blown to bits. I know that some trees fall because they are old and rotten; but there are many trees that are seemingly healthy and yet they topple beneath the wind's mighty force. It seems that the trees left standing are those that have strong roots that stay firm in the foundation yet pliable branches that know just how far to bend without breaking

In my own life, I have faced and am sure to face some rough storms. I hope I can be like the trees left standing. How do I do this? I think I've got to know who I am and have a firm belief system that grounds me. But I must also be flexible enough to roll with the punches or sway in the wind, if you will, without losing my hold on what's most important. 

We're all going to face some storms and we'll all have an opportunity to fall over causing damage to ourselves and others; but the question is will we fall or will we hold fast to our roots knowing that soon the storm will pass over?

Feeling Accomplished! 

Today, March 1st! It's easy to get a little worried that the year is slipping away too fast and truthfully it feels that way sometimes. I think of all the things I want to accomplish and start measuring myself by what someone else is doing and quickly feel depressed. It's not the way to go my friend! So, I've decided to not relax my standards but instead celebrate each little victory knowing that persistence is the name of the game.

This February, I once again participated in February Album Writing Month. It's a songwriting challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days. I'm not a hired gun songwriter churning out songs every day/week. I admire those folks but that's not me. Over the years that I've taken the challenge, I've found myself faced with many obstacles including deaths in the family, illness, being out of the country etc... Yet, somehow I manage to meet the goal. This year I actually finished a few days early and realized that I am able to do this because I really want it. No one is judging me or checking up to see whether I get it done. It's me! I want it, I go after it. I get up early and stay up late.I keep my mind and my notebook open. I try new chords, new progressions and even new styles and instruments all in the quest to be able to say: I DID IT!!!!!   As I face the rest of the year, I'm determined to follow every goal that way! Fueled by a personal passion that drives me to sacrifice with the end result being a good pat on my own back. Everything else is gravy as they say.

Two months into this new year, what are you working toward? It's not too late to set a goal and then make it happen. I'm a realistic dreamer. Enough of a realist to know there will be challenges; but enough of a dreamer to believe in the possibilities. Happy dreaming! Go out and make it happen!


Let's Do Something 

The new year is well underway and some folks have already given up on their resolutions. Ten days in and our resolve has faltered.  The lofty goal that we aspired to has now been relegated to the "it's too hard" pile. I know, I know because I've been there. Made myself a promise and promptly broke it in favor of my personal comfort. Wanted a different result with the same "comfortable" actions taken previously.  INSANITY!!!!

I believe part of the problem is that we don't prepare for the difficulties. Everyone sets their eyes on the glory of the accomplishments without really honing in on the work required. . Most of the big stuff is just a brief flash in the pan. The big radio hit lasts for a moment; but the everyday act of writing and perfecting your skill is what leads to the success. You can't go and win Olympic goal without endless hours of practice, nutrition,and  mental and physical conditioning.  You get the idea!

So what are you doing? Not dreaming or thinking about; but doing?  I don't want to reach the end of 2014 and have nothing to show for it so I've got to work every month, every week, every day. Pick a goal and make an action plan that requires commitment and allows a little grace for your human capacity to falter and fail. But should you fall don't stay there. Get up and go chase after what you want. Don't let laziness,fear, pride, lack of knowledge/skills or finances stand in your way. You are a wonderfully created being with gifts waiting to be revealed from you. WHAT R U WAITING 4?

Breakfast Lessons 

 Well, I just returned from a 10 day tour up in the Northeast. We were in NY, NH, MA, PA & MD. It was great fun, making music, friends and fans. Still, my favorite memory from the entire trip was a breakfast date with my five year old nephew. I'd promised him the night before that we'd go to breakfast; but had to wake him up to stay on schedule because "Tia" , as he calls me, should not have told him and gotten too him excited to go to bed. We get in the car armed with my GPS and I ask where he wanted to go. Like most kids his age, he said Mickey D's so off we went.

He didn't know it; but I was enraptured by his trust, and enjoyment of the moment. Unlike me, he was not thinking about, where he had to be next. The only thing he knew was that Tia was letting him ride in her car and taking him to breakfast. He took my hand as we walked in and his face lit up when I told him he could have whatever he wanted (it was too early for happy meals). We sat at a table and talked. I listened as he told me about getting ready for kindergarten and going fishing with his dad. We saw a garbage truck pass by on the street and he explained to me that they picked up the trash and took it to a dumpster. Of course, I knew this; but still it sounded fresh and new coming from him. We laughed and made funny faces over our hotcakes and sausage.

Our breakfast was over too soon and all too soon I had to say goodbye; but those few precious moments were amazing! His innocence and inquisitive nature, made me stop my hectic pace and just enjoy!

Maybe I'm biased but I think I have the most amazing niece and nephew in the world. Every time I have a chance to spend some time with them, I'm proud of the people they are becoming and overwhelmed with enormity of their innocence in this complicated world. I learn from them about trust, love and simple enjoyment. May we all take a step back from the crazy pace and see the world through the eyes of a child.

A Dreamer's Dilemma 

 I'm a dreamer. I always have been and always will be to a certain extent. I have big ideas that come to me at random moments and I gaze off into the sunset imagining how they are going to change my life and often the lives of those around me. While there's nothing wrong with dreaming, a dream cannot be realized without work. HARD WORK!!!  ......and that's where the problem lies.

It's so easy to imagine and suppose and theorize; but when it's time to put your hand to the task can I really come out of the dream into a reality that is often challenging and sometimes not very pleasant.  In itself, life is constantly calling us to do this or that and we have to comply on the most basic level just to survive. But survival is not what I want,. I want to THRIVE and I believe I can but it involves work that a lot of the time is not comfortable. Soooo, in my case that means, I can make phone calls or I can wait by the phone for people who don't know me to call. I can go out and network or I can sit at home "waiting" to be discovered. I can practice and perfect my performance craft or I can rub a magic genie lamp and play like Clapton. NOT! It just won't happen that way. I must make the investment to reap the benefit. 

I challenge you and myself, to dream and dream BIG but to then get up and make those dreams reality by working hard and doing the diligent things to be, do and have what we want!
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