To My Son

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There comes a time in every parent’s life to let go off our children who grow up and start their own family. To my son I wish him, his bride and my grandbaby the very best with words of advice.

1) Treat her well as yourself, also.

2) Never take your new family for granted

3) Keep the love alive. Never let the fire and passion die out.

4) Work together to blend your families. There are many, but I am sure that with time and patience, it will all come together.

5) You will know when your little girl grows up that children do not come with instruction booklets. Follow your heart but please know that you will make mistakes. Just make sure that she knows you love her through it all.

Then, the day will come for you to let her go. To make her own life. You will then know the joy and heartache parents feel. But true love for someone is the wish for their happiness, even if it isn’t with you.

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.

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“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.

Make You feel our love…

There is this young girl who fell so deeply in love with someone that, in his own way, loved her back.

No one that I knew personally but from a distance. He was that kind of ‘beautiful mess” kind of guy. You know the one. Who walks into a room and everything lights up because his charm and talent was such sunshine. For two years, they lived in spontaneous bliss. Taking to the road whenever, wherever and loving it because she was in love and he had her and his music.

His best friend was his son. Another bright, carefree star that lit up many lives around him. Together, the three did everything together and shared many memories. Sadly, a year ago this month, his beloved son took his own life. He felt that he “was a burden” to those around him for his own reasons. It was a devastating decision. A complete shock to not only the young girl, her love (his dad) but to everyone who knew him.

“Suicide is a permanent option for a temporary problem”. It took a huge toll on his dad and the young lady’s relationship as well as their mental being. Alcohol became his replacement for the son he just buried. I can never imagine the loss of a child. I have seen and known many that have. Our children are never supposed to die before we do.

But I do know loss. My heart broke for the couple as well as those that knew them. They struggled to find answers, broke apart..got back together. More fights, more hurt and much more alcohol.

Sadly, it came to an end last September. After severing and distancing himself from those that loved him, even family and the young lady who adored him, he did what his son did. Took his own life.

Since then, many have been concerned for the young lady and how she is coping with not one suicide, but two. I often think of her wishing that I knew her better. Well enough to be her supportive friend and help encourage her for the future. A huge task for her.

This blog is for her. Although she does not know me and I, her, I so would love her to know that my heart is with her every step of the way.

You are never alone. Right now it is painful, I know. But life has a way of healing and making us stronger through the pain. Hold on tight to your faith. Hold on tightly to your future. And I hope you feel all of our love.

Social Media

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Firsthand I have to say that I was born in the generation that if we wanted to socialize with others, we would go outside as children and play with the neighborhood kids. Or pick up the telephone and call each other giggling and whispering way past the time our parents told us our phone call curfew was up.

Communication, back then, was in person and I still believe in that. My dad taught me while growing up that within “10 minutes” of talking to a person, eye-to-eye, he could read the body language (which sometimes speaks volumes) and assess whether the person was true or false.

My first experience with social media was MySpace. Yes, Myspace still lives. Although it has been stagnate and overpowered by other social media sites in the last years, it still has users on it and they loyally post their new music to the new MySpace music player. I have yet to go back to MySpace and check out their new layout and how it works, but I did enjoy watching a live concert of Dierk Bentley in NY on MySpace with no commercials or interruptions on my iPad while waiting to get into a local concert in Denver to see Phillip Phillips. That was so very impressive.

In 2005, I was chosen to be an A&R music scout for Arista and J Records/MLS. I was thrilled that they accepted my application. As an A&R, my job duty consisted of searching “new indie artists, singer-songwriters” each month and submit them along with two of their highly listened  singles, a short bio and wait for the results of the number ratings from the head A&R’s and others and feedback. If they made it into the top 20 by peer voting, that was good. I enjoyed that so much and learned through the label, Berkley Music school and mentors on what to look for. In 2008, I was promoted to one of the Top Super Scouts for my consistent high rankings of the artists I chose to submit. Sadly, in 2010, the label closed down.

Then I went to Facebook. Facebook was exciting because it was an online media that helped you re-connect with old friends from childhood, school, college, work, and most of all relatives that live from the east to the west and in different countries. Catching up on recent pictures, what was new in their life and I quickly became a Facebook addict. I love family, friends that I have always considered family and also meeting new people living close to myself that had the same interests as I did. It brought many opportunities that had it not been made, probably would of never happened. I was one of those that made many Facebook pages; one for my business, one for my Examiner article writing, one for my high school and so on.

Twitter has always been a very close competitor of Facebook. They seem to “one-up” each other with new apps, new ways to advertise businesses, new ways to communicate and all the updates on all the new technology that is surely paving the way for our future. I tend to talk a lot, so Twitter was not my number one choice with only being able to type in so many characters in a tweet. Facebook, over the years, I used it regularly, I posted pictures galore. So many that when I bought a new computer or moved, all of my old photos of family and places, people were still all in my photo albums on both MySpace and Facebook.

Technology is our future. That is a fact. It has its pros and cons as does everything. My experience on Myspace was a very positive one and so was Facebook up until 2013. Many new relationships developed on facebook and many ended. The words “they un-friended me on Facebook” became a personal negative for many. The rants and frustrations in postings became more and more about the changes in life, the world or their own personal world. All of a sudden it became a long feed of strong feelings and that not-so-shiny private place any longer.  The saying “what is put on the internet, stays on the internet” is so true. Facebook has Graph search to where you can look into anyone’s personal life through their pictures and comments posted on them going years back. For some, that doesn’t bother them at all. For others, it’s a feeling of violation of privacy. And many fake profiles made as the MTV show “Catfish” had shown how easy it was to make a fake profile and develop relationships with others under that pseudo profile. It becomes to where anyone can be anyone they want to be behind a tech gadget and an online site. The mix between reality and fantasy.

Although I still do network daily, business now, more than social, I have learned that any online site profile does not define who we are. We do that. And the old adage “actions speak louder than words” is so true. I am now a more private person because I am getting older and my need for social networking online is no longer a priority for me. I don’t post my own pictures online and my rants I save for my workouts on the dance floor or at work. I do, however, still love seeing my closest friends’ pictures and how they are doing, that will never change.

What changed for me was who I am offline and the people in my life there as well.

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Truth, Life and Other Quotes

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One major thing that I have consistently come to know in life is the…truth. We can dodge it, run from it, hide it but truth is much easier to face head on.

I have done all of the above and more. And as I get older, I have learned to listen more than speak, learn more than thinking I already know enough, being patient and letting go of the things that are not worth trying so hard for , savor every small ounce of life’s little things, savoring all the time we have with loved ones because tomorrow may be that last day.

These things I have learned to know the hard way, to come to love, laugh with and savor so far:

Addictions

“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your a** the result is the same: addiction.”

― William S. Burroughs

Alcoholism, drug addiction, obsession of any kind that takes up most of your time and thoughts keeps a person stuck. Emotionally, psychologically, reaching your goals. The sad thing about addictions is people that are addicted live in a world of their own being a victim who is always “right” when everyone, everything else is “wrong”.

 Humor:

 “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”

Mark Twain

Humor is the best medicine prescribed for any one. Dry, silly, sarcastic and downright falling on the floor laughing makes the happiest memories.

Creativity:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

― Scott Adams

Creativity is a healthy outlet of what is in your heart. Without it, life would be mundane.

Music:

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.

Jimi Hendrix

Music is universal. No matter where a person is from, what type of music they listen to it soothes the soul, makes you dance, connects people.

 Self-respect:

“Walk tall, or baby don’t walk at all.”

― Bruce Springsteen

Self-respect is something that is hard to attain and can sometimes take years to achieve. But when it is finally reached, no longer do the criticisms hurt, no need to hold on to something or someone that does not want to be in your life for whatever reason. It just does not matter any longer. That is a great place to get to.

 Wealth:

“The wealthy are always surrounded by hangers-on; science and art are as well.”

Anton Chekhov

I have been with money and all that goes with and I have been poor. Right now I’m in between and enjoy it. More is not necessarily happier. The wealthiest can sometimes be the unhappiest because the need for more is always there.  “Wealth” lies within our souls and not in fancy homes, vacations and material things.

Being humble:

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

John Wooden

I once put a person so high on a pedestal that when that person fell off face first on the ground,  had to leave in embarrassment and humiliation, I then knew that to be human we all need to remain humble.

Life:

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

George Washington Carver

At some point in life, we always think “that will never happen to me”. Just when you say that—it does.

Family:

“I’ve given it my all. I’ve done my best. Now, I’m ready with my family to begin the next phase of our lives.”

Richard M. Daley

Family does not have to be blood. Family are the ones that believe in each other, support one another through good and bad. Those that don’t are called relatives. Love the ones that love you and boost you up. As we do for them. If not, do not look back but move forward holding closely to those that do.

And finally a quote from a man I always truly admired, Mr. Fred Rogers

“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. ”

― Fred Rogers

He was a smart man. And I have so much more to learn.

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