A Memoir in the making…….

Maya AngelouFreedom of speech is just that. Unless you write “malicious, threatening, libel, defamation of character” and all those goodies without getting permission first, then it could be a little sticky.

Believe me; I have spoken with so many journalists, lawyers, people whom have the same views and feelings on subjects as I do. I know that if there is a fear of what is going to be written in an autobiography, then it has been suggested “do not fear. It is not about you. It is about the person writing it”. Or hire an attorney if that paranoid.
People are funny when you are in the midst of writing a memoir. The ones that hide things start to sweat thinking that they will be in the memoir or a family member or a moment in time. The only ones that do that are the ones that have something to hide. But fear not, published writers, whether they have written books or articles are not stupid. They cross their T’s and dot their i’s.

Yes, I do have a full life with many life stories in it and this I plan to share. My first e-book did not sell a lot of copies. But that was not my purpose on earlier non-fiction e-book on Domestic Violence and how to end the cycle. My purpose, through myself and others, was to help anyone that had been in or are presently experiencing the abusive relationship. There are safe ways to get help and ways to help you heal and move forward. In writing that e-book, I have since met many women, men (who do get abused, also) and children, teens that I volunteer with that have shared their stories with me.

That was the golden ticket and worth more than anything else. The bonding I have made since the publication of it, are lifelong. Because we all know the same feelings.
Since then, I have gone back to college, graduated with degree in Psychology and completely turned my life around in a more positive direction. Many people had a part of that journey with me. The ones that were behind me all the way, encouraging and pushing me to do what my heart yearned for and that was family, music and faith. The great teachers I had and what I learned. Searching my roots, where my ancestors came from, how music was our life and still is. It is my journey on paper.

Life may start out rough for anyone but that does not mean that they cannot turn that around and share how they did it. Their achievements and references from others who witnessed the transition. Their journey in finding out who they are and that perfection is not necessary. But loving yourself is.

People can usually tell if another is truly happy by their facial expressions, body language and if they write, what they write about. How often they write about topics. Are they positive or are they just about themselves or some complaint?

The biggest and best part about journalism is that anyone can write their memoir, too.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”~Maya Angelou

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Thank you Robin Williams

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Robin Williams 

July 21 1951-August 11, 2014

 

Earlier I had posted a blog on bipolar depression. It is alive although many that have been diagnosed with it choose to hide it with a joke or a laugh or in acting. Hard times and growing older are two factors that aid in the depression broadening as well as alcohol and drugs. Yesterday we lost an incredible man that brought us years of laughter in comedy roles, sitcoms, movies. And also roles that he portrayed as more solemn but truly enlightening.
Movies like “Dead Poet Society”, “Patch Adams” and “Good Will Hunting” which is one of my all time favorites of actor Robin Williams. In our hearts, you will live forever.

The rest of this blog I will paraphrase from devotion I read by Billy Graham. It is not one on Robin Williams himself but on life.

“The Uncertainty of Life”

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” –Psalm 90:12

“We are not the masters of our fate. We think we can control our lives but we don’t. In an instant life can radically change. ‘The length of our days is seventy years or eighty if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away’

Even your next breath is a gift from God. Don’t take life for granted, but gain a heart of wisdom”

 

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Never Give up on Your Dream—Tyler Ward

Tyler Ward

 

 

Don’t let your failures define you, let them refine you.

This is a quote on musician Tyler Ward’s website. It describes him well. Tyler is from Aurora, CO and I remember very vividly his 1st video in his parent’s basement. His dad had set up a studio/recording room in their home where music was no stranger. His mom is a beautiful pianist, his brother is a dedicated, talented rapper and his dad knows how to build a recording studio.

It was in 2009, at the time, I was an A&R with Arista and J Records/MLS and it was my job to search monthly for new indie artists and submit them hoping that after review was finished each month by my co- A&R’s (200 of them nationally and internationally), my main A&R and his leadership team, that they would score highly. Into the top 20’s of each artist that was submitted by each of us.

I’m proud to say that my five years with the label taught me vast information on what to look for, how the music industry changes all the time and who to follow as mentors in the business for years. How to search for quality content, delivery of song and talent from each artist. I came close to the top voted artist three times and usually ranked in the top 20’s.

But that was my job. Tyler’s was to work hard, like all musicians, study, keep at it all the time, find support, learn how to collaborate with other musicians and step it up each time. And he did it. He still is. From 2009 and his first cover video in his parent’s home to today.

“Four years, 1,100,000 subscribers and 300,000,000+ views later, Tyler Ward is an empire with fans that span the globe. He is currently working on his Sony Records release scheduled for late 2013 while continuing to be a pioneer in the Youtube space with his steady flow of ever-evolving videos.”

In fact, Tyler just had “19,000 people heard Hoopty Hoop today!”  At vid.com in Anaheim, CA.  I do not think I have ever seen Tyler without a huge smile on his face. He loves what he does and myself and Colorado are very proud of his accomplishments in just 4 years. He has toured other countries and continues to.

This is evidence that if you have a goal to reach, go for it all the way. Doors may shut in your face, you may be told “no. You just don’t have what it takes in a very competitive industry. Come back when you do” many times. It is one of the toughest industries to be in and stay in that I have ever worked in as far as scouting and promotion. Seeing artists strive so very hard to do what they love and share that.  Tyler’s videos have not only included many well known artists collaborating with him in videos, but now he has film videos that are directed. Huge kudos to you, Tyler! You’re not only stepping it up all the time, but you are an excellent example to others to never give up on their dreams.

They come true.

Tyler Ward’s Website

 

 

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WordPress…you are the greatest!

I have been blogging for years online. Writing books that never got published except for one, so far.
In all my marketing, promoting experience I have never found such a great blogging source as WordPress.
Through a great friend of mine who helped me learn WordPress from the get go last year and co-authored with me I have come to know that the gadgets in WordPress shows you the stats of your audience for each day. Not only that, but where the audience is located.

That is better than Google Analytics, in my opinion.

Thank you WordPress for all you do.

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Fire and Rain

One thing about life is…..it never promised a rose garden. BUT, and I say this with all of my heart, I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Because the low times make us stronger and the bright times make awesome memories with the people that we love the most. And that…makes it all worth it, believe me.

loveGod

“Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone.
Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you.
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song,
I just can’t remember who to send it to.
I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you again.

Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus, You’ve got to help me make a stand.
You’ve just got to see me through another day.
My body’s aching and my time is at hand and I won’t make it any other way.
Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you again.

Been walking my mind to an easy time, my back turned towards the sun.
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around.
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line to talk about things to come.
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
but I always thought that I’d see you baby, one more time again, now.

Thought I’d see you one more time again.
There’s just a few things coming my way this time around, now.” Continue reading

Through the Eyes of a Child

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“Precious are the children because they know no fear. Only faith, trust and love” That actually is my own quote. Probably something I heard and stuck with me or something I just made up.

But it is true. We have all seen toddlers walk around as if they own the world. Curious, wanting to explore everything using their senses; looking, hearing, feeling, smelling and of course tasting even if it was not what they expected.

I remember the special moments of being a child from 4 years old on up. At the time, my family and I lived in Utah and we were not the same religion as most. My older brother and sister had a more difficult time with that in school than I did. Being young teens there was some alienation from their peers asking why they did not participate in the strongly Mormon faith. My parents then decided to put my siblings in the only Catholic school in town. But for me, I never saw the difference myself. All I saw were kids just like myself and wanted to be their friend. From the neighborhood kids my age, I would hear “my parents say that I can’t play with you because you are not like us”. I couldn’t comprehend that, so I turned to bribing the kids with cookies. “If you play with me, I’ll give you my momma’s great cookies”. That worked sometimes with the girls, but mostly with one boy in my neighborhood who soon became one of my best of friends. Always waiting for me at my home after kindergarten and 1st grade school for more cookies and play. His name was Mikey and he and I were typical kids. We explored places in the wooded areas by our home. Old abandoned homes. At one particular time, for whatever reason, he and I decided that we were going to break into a neighbor’s basement window and take whatever we found. We knew that was wrong, but curiosity got the better of us.

We did get into their basement window one day when they were not home and in their basement were tons of SPAM meat and boxes of sugar cubes. We hit the big time, Mikey and I thought!! So we took as much as we could and while leaving the home, the owners drove up just in time to catch us and take us to our parent’s homes and show them what we did.

I had a glass, pink piggy bank that I was saving money in and my punishment was to not only apologize but give them all the money in my piggy bank. Mikey’s parents and mine were not too happy with us.

In kindergarten, I had a little African American girl friend that I met and liked her right away. I did not see the difference in her skin color than mine. I just saw a great potential friend. Which we continued to be. But not without being bullied by classmates that did not like 1) people of different color 2) people that were not their religious faith. Two huge strikes against my friend, Leetha.

I soon started protecting her from the bullies. I was the kind of little girl that my mom would dress in dresses and matching coats, but underneath, I always put on shorts so that I could play sports or climb trees in. Always half girl half tomboy. One day during recess Leetha and I were sitting at the top of the school playground ladder as the bullies started to circle around below and heckling both of us.

An older boy picked up a heavy metal bolt he had found on the ground and threw it at Leetha. Instead, I moved into the path of the bolt and it hit my left eyebrow leaving a bruise and bleeding. My momma was on her way to school to pick us up any way and saw what had happened. The boy was taken inside the school and punished by the principle. The school nurse took care of my eye and my momma took care of both my friend Leetha and myself by telling us that there were some people in the world that would do that to others. Make fun of, outcast you or try to belittle you. But to not let them get away with that. To not fight them back but instead show them that they too could have meaningful friendships with others that were “different” than us and all that it took was to get to know them first and then make their decision on whether or not they were friend -worthy.

That was the best lesson I learned in life early on. To not look at the world like others did because of the unknown, fear or not understanding. But to instead look at the world through their eyes and feel what they are feeling when ever many were against them. Because hidden gems are found in places and in people’s hearts in all colors, religions and beliefs. To this day I still remember that and have no problem meeting people that are different than I am and just liking them for who they are unconditionally.

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Two Things in Life are certain

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Actually 3 things in life that are certain; life, death and taxes. But, this blog is about the first  two (and most important…unless you have to pay taxes after you leave this temporary home. However I don’t think God is a tax collector).

When born we come into this life by ourselves. We have our parents and/or loved ones with us cheering us on and supporting the delivery and are totally elated when we are welcomed to this world. Likewise, when we die, with our loved ones hopefully around us, we leave here alone.

In my lifetime thus far, I as well as many others, have lost loved ones. When we’re young, it’s rare to hear of a death of a close friend or a family member. But, with age, more than not, we hear of them more and more.

I have been truly blessed to have known and loved the special people in my life that have passed on. Shared many memories with them and am forever grateful for the time we had. Two of those people were both my parents. It does not matter how old we are when both parents die, we suddenly feel as orphans do. Not having the option of going to visit or picking up the phone to ask them of their sage advice and loving comforting words.

My dad died in 1997 after an 18 month battle with colon cancer. He was 76 years old when diagnosed with it and was a very strong-willed man. He was in the Navy as a highly ranked officer in both WWII and the Korean War, graduated from Colgate University in engineering all the while in the 50 loving years he was married to my mom. He did that for his country and his family. My mom was a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids. Me, being the youngest and was alone much of their early years because of his hard work, but that never drove them apart. They were a team and it brought them closer together

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my family (two siblings and mom) were scared. With good reason. His tumor had grown largely in a short amount of time. The surgeons expected to do a 2 hour surgery to remove what they thought was a medium sized one, but what they found was a lot more than that. All in all his surgery lasted many hours. The minute they opened him up, the cancer had spread all over. Even to his brain stem and all important organs. They removed all that they could including a large part of his intestines, his pancreas, and part of liver and left the rest for him to have a 50/50 fighting chance to beat the cancer.

For 18 months, he went through chemo and radiation treatments that made him very sick and weak. I would visit him and mom often and Dad and I shared the best 18 months of his life together. We’d hold hands, he called me his “sunshine” and the once stern man I knew while growing up had become the real man that he was inside. A very deeply loving man who was always proud of us and taught us all how to be fighters. We’d laugh while sitting on their back porch and tell each other “I love you” often.

He went into remission in January of 1997 and we were all so hopeful. He even told the nurses that he was going to be back up on the ski slopes in no time. He was. Skiing was one of his favorite things to do in life.

One month later, his Dr. had told him that he needed another heart valve bypass which he had done in 1983. We all knew what that meant. Another tough, long battle and more serious surgery. He had gone through enough and we all didn’t want to see him go through any more pain. So after accepting the outcome, we let Dad know that it was okay. He had fought a long battle and we loved him enough to say that it was okay for him not to go through any more.

Once he knew that, he gave in and within one month, grew very weak and was in the dying process. I had bought him a picture of Jesus hugging a man that came Home. I held his hand and asked him if we could pray together. He shook his head yes as I prayed out loud the Lord’s Prayer. We all were in tears but good tears because we knew he would soon be at peace.

On March 5th, 1997 on a Wednesday morning, my mom called me early and told me she thought it was time and I knew what she meant. So I drove over there as quickly as I could. I had been in nursing in the 80’s and saw the signs that dad was indeed leaving us that day.

I will never forget him laying in bed, looking out the window and asking me “what day is it today?” and I answered “March 5th, Daddy” and he shook his head as if to say this was as good a day to go Home as any other. He kept looking at the picture I bought him and I could tell he knew that that man in the picture with Jesus was going to be him very soon. It gave him peace. He waited until I left the room for a minute and it was just he and my mom together as he passed.

My brother and my dad were very close. He had got the call that morning, too, that dad was not in good shape. My brother lives up in the mountains so it took him awhile to drive down to see him. By the time my brother had gotten to my parent’s home, dad was already gone. The funeral home people were putting him in the hearse and I told them “Oh! Please wait. That’s my brother and he may want to say his own good-bye”. So they did and my brother got to see my dad and all that time that morning, I did not cry because I knew my dad’s pain was over. But when my brother saw my dad, he looked up into the sky with tears and I broke down then as I watched through the front window. I felt and saw my brother’s pain.

I remembered watching people driving to work, doing their daily routines and wondering why. It didn’t seem fair that everyone still lived on as normal after our world had just stopped.

My mom was so strong. Myself or my brother were with her for the next 5 years as was her companion, Dee Dee, who would come and take mom to the store and Dr’s appointments when we couldn’t. She overcame breast cancer, tuberculosis and finally wanted her own life. She wanted to move out of the house she shared with dad and into a really nice assisted living home. She was excited for the first time to meet new people and socialize as she always did. Mom had always prayed that God would take her quickly when it was time and 3 months after she had moved into her new place and liking it, she died of a sudden heart attack while in the shower. I got the phone call from her companion Dee Dee telling me that we had just lost mom. At first I said “No! There’s no way mom died, Dee Dee. I just talked to her on the phone yesterday for 2 hours and had thee greatest talk in years as if I was 16 all over again. So, you’re wrong,. She’s fine”. But, Dee Dee explained to me what had happened and as she did, I dropped to my knees with the phone in my hand listening but not comprehending a word she said. NOT MY MOM, God…..please. Not my Mom. She was the glue that kept us all together. She radiated around people and loved big family gatherings. She taught us love and how to love one another, help others in need and her (and my dad’s) love in music. She had a beautiful voice, as my dad who taught me how to dance at a young age of 4 by putting me on his feet and shoes and dancing with me. My dad made my first skis out of an ugly, grey wood with old cables on them and would put me between his legs and we’d snow plow down the bunny hill together.

They have been gone for years now but their words remain in my heart and what they taught me. Since then, I’ve lost a great friend to cancer who was a giant in most people’s eyes and little by little, more friends join them all.

In the movie “Captain Phillips” played by Tom Hanks, based on a true story, he played an awesome role as a captain of a fishing boat that got taken over by pirates. In the end of the movie, he was sure that this was his end and he cried out loud to his wife, his kids, his parents telling him that he loved them so much and he was sorry for everything he had ever done. Thankfully, he was allowed to survive, but in those tense, very emotional last moments, it was real and we could all relate.. All of those that have lost.

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.”–Hubert Humphrey

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”—John Lennon

The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”
~Brian Tracy

“I know the cancer has not affected his heart or feelings for others. No matter who wins this particular bout, he is still and will always be the great Steve Williams to me”—Coach Barry Switzer University of Oklahoma.

“Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”  -Hope Floats
― Steven RogersHope Floats: The Screenplay

 

Life is short. Be kind to all because we never know when it is our last moment here.

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