Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lessons From An Unlikely Place

Hello again!

I apologize for being absent for so long. Life got very busy for me. For the most part, things have been good but of course, like everyone else, there were some not great times too! But enough about that.

If you remember a previous blog post that I had written some time ago.....I love bears! Seriously! And I don't mean the Chicago Bears either. I love bears! It has been my dream to see one in the wild.

This past June, I had taken a trip to Wisconsin and while we were driving on the highway, a big beautiful black bear came running out of the woods and ran directly in front of us as it crossed the highway. It wasn't running like it was scared or in a hurry. It was just kind of galloping along happily. It was completely oblivious to the cars which still scares me. I have always been aware of deer or other animals running in front of cars but never a bear. I was so surprised, I just watched it run by and THEN it occurred to me what I had just seen. Of course, what was the first thing I did???? Post it on Facebook and Twitter. Not a picture because it was too fast to get one. Just my pure excitement at what I had just witnessed! It was so cool!!!! Definitely a high point!

In keeping with my Bear theme, I wanted to write about something else that I have enjoyed over the past couple of weeks. If I haven't mentioned it before, I love movies and particularly Blu Rays. I recently saw that a new blu ray was being released by National Geographic called "Bears of the Last Frontier". Naturally, I decided to order it from Amazon. It is FANTASTIC! It takes place in Alaska and the photography is spectacular! Grizzly Bears, Black Bears and Polar Bears are seen in the wild playing, eating, and living their lives. They head to several locations in Alaska and the Arctic and believe me......there are locations that I have never seen before. The beauty is breathtaking and now I would love to visit Alaska! There is even a section that shows (using time-lapse photography) how the ocean freezes over in the arctic. So by now you've gotten the idea that I love this blu ray right?! The host is so great too and not just someone reading their lines either. His name is Chris Morgan and you can hear the sheer delight in his voice with so many of the cool discoveries. So if you get a chance, check it out. If you like bears, you'll love it but even if not, the beauty of Alaska (all parts of it) is worth it on it's own.

Now, one thing that I haven't mentioned is that throughout this blu ray, there are many mother bears and their cubs. Many of the scenes are momma bears playing with their cubs or teaching them some skill. It's so cute to see the cuddling of the cubs with their moms. The momma bears are known to do anything to protect their babies too. They are spectacular moms and their cubs are loved and protected completely. Black Bears, Grizzly Bears and Polar Bears. They are all the same. Motherhood at it's best.

This got me thinking about human mothers. Isn't it sad that so many human mothers are missing the love and mothering skills that are present in bears? Maybe you have been blessed to have a good mom like that. Or maybe you haven't. These bear moms represent the best in motherhood. They guard their cubs, they teach them how to live successful lives, they hug them, they play with them, they feed them and so much more. I couldn't help but think how different many of our lives would be if we all had moms that were that loving.

If you had the misfortune of having a mother that wasn't very good, you already know the loss that it presents in your life. I know many people that weren't blessed with a good mom and have gone on to live great lives. There is hope. It's pretty simple even. It sounds silly but actually, you can be your own mom. You can give yourself the love that you didn't get from your mother. Why is it that we always want to blame ourselves for this. Like somehow it's our fault that they don't love us? Of course we know in our heads that we couldn't have done anything to cause this but our hearts are a different matter. There's always that little voice that says maybe there's something wrong with us. Maybe somehow we really don't deserve their love.

Well let's get rid of that kind of thinking right now. We all deserve to be loved. And for whatever reason, we were given mothers that weren't going to give us the love that we need. Maybe we are somehow stronger and God knew that the children that would be born to these mothers would need to be very strong to survive.

Most of the people that I've know with mothers like this are pretty amazing people in their own right. This loss has somehow made them better people with more compassion and understanding than most. They are also very loving people. So maybe we should just embrace this loss and turn around and give the love that we have been blessed with to other people that are struggling. There are so many out there. Wouldn't we have loved to have someone take us under their wing when we were struggling with the hurts that our mothers caused? Let's be those people. Let's use the wisdom that we've gained and make a difference for others. I have a feeling that it won't take long and that emptiness that we were feeling will disappear.

One other thing that I noticed about the bear moms in my blu ray was that they had the sense to know when to feed and take care of themselves. They could give all of their food to their cubs but, they keep some for themselves. How strong would they be if they needed to defend their cubs without having eaten and rested? They take care of themselves as a priority so that they are ready for all of their responsibilities as moms. And... so that they can happily give the love and play to their cubs.

So wise!

This falls into the same category as putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child when you're in an airplane. How can you take care of your child if you've passed out from putting yours on last? How can you be strong enough to be a good parent if you've given everything away and kept nothing to feed yourself? If you're not getting enough sleep or time for yourself, it will take it's toll on you eventually. If you're a mom or a dad, do you remember to do this? It's so easy to forget. Follow the bear moms and take care of yourself too.

Thanks so much for reading and remember to check out "National Geographic Bears of the Last Frontier"



Saturday, February 19, 2011


"A painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."

Leopold Stokowsky
I came across this beautiful quote the other day and while it may be familiar to many of you, it was new for me.
It's such a visual description of the beauty of music and also the beauty of how music is created.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, creating music or lyrics in any form is not my gift at all. I can do it but, trust me,
I would singlehandedly bring the music business to a grinding halt if it got out.  Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, with some of the music on the radio, maybe I could be the next big thing. LOL 
 Not in the "under the radar" music world where real quality music lives however. That's where the best of music and it's creators are to be found. 

As the manager for "Sleeping At Last" I have had the privilege to meet so many of these beautifully creative people. People that truly love what they do and not just to become famous. Of course they would love that too but not for the reasons that some people do. They would love to see their music enjoyed by others and also to be able to support themselves but, they honestly LOVE what they do. The music and sometimes lyrics, just flow out of them like paint does from an artist's brush. AND, they don't write to impress people or to sell. They write because it's who they are and it's what they see and hear. As a listener, you can feel it too. Even if it's not your particular taste in music, there's a sincerity to it.

I have been to many shows over the past several years and seen various artists and there is a distinct difference between artists that love what they do and artists that are just there to "cash in". Did you ever notice that? When you're at the shows that are sincere, you have more fun. You get enveloped into the music and you experience it fully. When it's a "cash in" artist, the big elaborate sets and stage performances (I think) are there to mask the emptiness that is also there.  I just think that if the music is great and real, there's no need for the diversionary stuff. 

Music is such a personal thing. It touches everyone no matter who you are or where you live. No matter what age you are even. Even people that are deaf respond to it by feeling. Pregnant women report that their babies respond to it while still in the womb. If you think about it, the first few notes of a song can bring back a memory. Music can set the tone for your day. It can take you out of a bad mood and put you in a better one. It can mark your summer or your wedding, or your high school years. Elderly people can hear a song from decades ago and instantly be transported to their lives and feelings all of those decades ago. Certain songs, can make us feel peaceful during a stressful time or bring back our childhood. Some songs can make an entire stadium of people stand up and start singing along.

But the best songs are the ones that reach down into our hearts and souls and help us to feel or to articulate something that we just couldn't feel or describe otherwise. 

There's something about music that can reach a place in all of us that is unlike anything else.

I have been very blessed to have been at the birth of pretty much  every "Sleeping At Last" song that has ever been written. I've had a front row seat to the writing process and I've learned so much over the past several years about how it's done. Of course, everyone writes differently. I saw Elton John interviewed the other day and he writes the music after his lyricist sends him the lyrics for a song. He said that he looks over the lyrics and then comes up with the music for it. As a matter of fact, he says that he has never written a song with the lyricist in the room ever.
 I know that Ryan writes the melodies first and then the lyrics. Some artists write with other people and share both parts of the songwriting. Some get the vocal melody and then write the music and the lyrics from that. And then there's the artists that write music for commercials or movies. They watch the commercial or scene and then write what they feel fits. And some do a little of each of these varieties of writing.

Then there are the artists that don't write whole songs but play their instruments like they are beautiful works of art. I know that we have several friends that are such amazing artists with their instruments that when they play
they take a song to a new place that is all their own. You can feel their passion for their art in each note. I remember when the band was in the studio recording the "Ghosts" album and we were told that it would be too costly to have live string players play and maybe it would be good to consider synthetic strings. That was when we met Susan Voelz who has since become a good friend in addition to playing on each of the albums that Sleeping At Last has recorded so far. We were in the studio for months doing that album. It was a tense time and I can remember when Susan, Inger, Vannia and Alison showed up to record the string sections for the album. 
We were blown away. To watch them perform and hear the beauty of each note mesmerized everyone in the studio as we all came together to watch and listen. To watch their bows flying across the strings on their instruments and all in sync was amazing. I happened to glance over at the guys and saw them each smiling from ear to ear. 

 And then there's the vocalists. The people that open their mouths and effortlessly they are able to put a voice to lyrics that make it seem more meaningful than is possible with the spoken word. I know that as a listener of music, I tend to catch interest in a song and then without realizing it I'm following along with the vocals and in many cases, hoping that the melody will go in a particular direction and often it does and it feels so right. But then there's the times that a singer will take the melody to a new place that I couldn't have even dreamt of and it just takes your breath away. 

No matter how they do it, it's a beautiful and amazing process from my point of view. 
Because I've gotten to be behind the scenes of this world of music, I can honestly say that it really is just like someone creating a work of art. Little by little, all of the pieces come together to create these amazing "musical paintings" that touch us so deeply. 

Thanks so much to all of you musical painters for all of the great times that you've given us, the listeners. 
Thanks for sharing our deepest feelings and secrets. Thanks for the great memories. Thanks for being there when no one else was.Thanks for the fun times. And thanks for sharing every day of our lives with each of us.  

We LOVE what you do so please keep it coming. We can't wait to hear what you'll be creating for us next.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How To "Hear" Quotes on Happiness

"There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you."
David Burns (I have more to say about this below)

Lately, I've been noticing a surge in facebook and twitter messages filled with quotes about happiness, how to be happy, loving ourselves, etc. This leads me to the conclusion that there are a lot of us feeling pretty bad.

Now, I know that it's winter and most of us have been deep in bad weather and therefore probably some amount of boredom along with the winter blues have set in. But, I think it's maybe more than that.
Or maybe that is exactly what has made us more aware of how unhappy we feel. We have nothing to do but think about how we feel and unfortunately for so many of us....that's not a good thing. Or maybe it is.......

Bottom line......we're already pretty unhappy and maybe NOW in the dead of winter is the perfect time to get to the bottom of it once and for all and to promise ourselves not to avoid it this time!!!!!!!!!

When we feel bad, our primary goal is to NOT FEEL BAD! Not necessarily to get to the bottom of WHY, but instead to just stop the sad feelings. Unfortunately this works as a road block to finding the real reason that we're sad.
We'll do almost anything to avoid it and avoiding is exactly what we do for survival (an inner setting that we automatically go to).
Be honest with yourself. Isn't that the truth? Don't we notice as soon as we start to feel bad and immediately go into avoidance mode? Maybe for some it's through food. Others it may be by getting busy in our lives so that we don't have the time or energy to feel it. Or maybe you medicate with drugs or liquor. Maybe you go on a spending spree. Maybe you go to work and stay there as long as possible every day. We'll do almost anything to avoid the feelings!

At this point you're probably feeling a little uncomfortable with this message and with your feelings. As I've mentioned before, I'm the same. I know because I would be too. I'd be curious to see what will be said but then also I'd feel a little uneasy with the same old message......

I started this post with a quote that I saw today on facebook. The reason that I chose this was because it made me think about something that is rarely mentioned and should be. There are loads of "it could be worse"
"only you can make yourself happy" "you deserve to be happy" messages thrown around and they are all truthful and good except for one thing. We still feel bad!

Most of us know that these messages are true but for various reasons we've been knocked off of our self esteem foundation.
When we read things like this or they are said to us, it only makes us feel less understood, more like our feelings aren't worthy and what's wrong with us that we're so sad when things could be worse? And more like failures because we can't seem to make ourselves happy OR we feel like giving up because we just can't even imagine doing more work to make ourselves happy. We're usually already exhausted from feeling bad in the first place.

In one of my earlier posts I referred to a quote that I hope is a bit different. It requires nothing......but opening your heart.

"You yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection" Buddha

I love this one because all we have to do is stop and think about it and then absorb it. Love feels good. It's the comfort that we're yearning for.

Ask yourself this.....do YOU believe that you deserve love? Not what have you been told, not what have you accepted, not what you have weighed yourself down with........
It's simple really. Think of yourself as a child. Picture you at about 7 years old. Does that little boy or girl deserve to be loved? Each of us is still a little kid inside. Does that little boy or girl deserve YOUR LOVE?
Deep in your heart and soul, you know that they do. Would you just let them stand there feeling like that and tell them that they don't deserve to be loved? So why do we tell ourselves that we don't deserve it?

I know that if you're feeling bad inside, it's probably there for a reason. And you know (be honest with yourself) what the reason is. You had your self esteem stolen by someone or someones. You are probably thinking that other people deserve that love but not you. Maybe you wonder if you really are a bad person. Maybe you wonder if you are all the things that they have said (or not said) about you. Maybe they're right. WELL THAT"S WRONG!

Here's some evidence of that....... If you were a bad person, you wouldn't care what others say about you. You wouldn't care if you were right or wrong. You wouldn't listen to what is said because you would think that you're better than everyone else already. AND YOU WOULD NOT EVEN CONSIDER FEELING BAD ABOUT YOURSELF. The simple truth is that you feel bad because YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON!

You have been so wounded and hurt that you have turned on yourself and now it's time to turn that around.

Whatever you are sad or unhappy about (I am sure) has a foundation of feeling bad about yourself in some form.

Now is the perfect time to look at that and just feel it. You know the reason/reasons that it's there. You know the truth deep inside. Instead of avoiding the bad feelings and rushing to have good ones......
just feel the hurt as long as you need to. It's ok. You can cry or yell or pray or (if you haven't already) tell someone. Most importantly, YOU need to just feel the pain. If you let yourself feel it, it will go away faster. You will be taking it's power away and that's a great feeling. YOU will have the power over it.

That little 7 year old (You) deserves to have you defend him/her. Whatever happened to you that has brought you to this place.....tell yourself that story only this time put that little girl or boy in the role of you. Did he/she deserve whatever happened? Do you understand why he/she feels bad? Does he/she deserve to feel the way that you do? Sometimes when you picture yourself as a child it can give you so much clarity about the situation.

You need to let yourself feel the hurt and without squelching it. It may take 10 minutes or it may take an evening, or it may take a week. Just feel the hurt and anger and it's ok to feel bad for yourself as well. I would recommend that you not sit in the hurt indefinitely. You'll know when you've had enough. Just don't allow yourself to push it down or rush it. This is not about what other people think or their approval. This is your first act of love for yourself and it opens the road to happiness and the restoring of your inner self.

It's a lot like when a little child falls down and gets hurt. We don't let them limp around and tell them to ignore the deep injury which would eventually cause them to get an infection etc. If you're a good loving parent you take care of the child and fix the wound. This is a good analogy maybe. The first thing we do is....

1. take care of checking out the child's injury (acknowledge the real story that has caused your wound in the first place and be honest about how bad it is)

2. we let the child cry and we comfort them until they feel better (let ourselves feel the pain and comfort ourselves while we do)

3. we clean the injury up and then bandage it ( clean out the hurt and lies that others have caused and begin to fill our hearts and minds with kind thoughts about ourselves. Also let's do something loving for ourselves. Maybe that would be a pedicure, a haircut, a movie, a night at the gym, a book, a show. Something that is a kindness to yourself and make this a regular routine)

4. We give them a big hug and a kiss and send them back to play (happily give yourself the love that you deserve
and let the wounds heal without going back to them. Head back to the life you were meant to live with a smile on your face)

Loving yourself does not mean that you will become selfish or conceited. I was worried about that because these 2 personality issues were present in all of the people that wounded me. I didn't want to be anything like them.
Loving yourself is different. It doesn't mean that you can do no wrong. It means that you are real and that love is your primary goal in life for yourself as well as others. It also makes you feel safer about showing love to others because you know that your own loving foundation is secure.

So in closing, all of the quotes about making ourselves happy are true but before we can hear them, we have to stop and feel the hurt. After that, making ourselves happy is pretty easy.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Dog The Bounty Hunter"

So today is a big day for fans of "Dog The Bounty Hunter." Yes, I am
a big fan! Today is the celebration of their 200th episode on A&E TV.
The network is running an all day marathon of episodes so I'm having a
great day while I work on
Sleeping At Last business in my office. I'm blessed to have a great TV
in my office so I get to see them all (or at least listen).
Let me tell you how my love for this show (and soon the family and
their message) began.
About 5 years ago or so I was laying awake in bed the night before we
were leaving for a tour (I tour as the band's tour manager). For some
reason, we often leave for our tours on Thursday mornings so I am
normally wide awake the night before, running through everything that
I need to remember to bring with or do before we leave. So on these
nights (Wednesdays), I would flip through the channels on TV looking
for something to watch and to settle my stress a bit. I absolutely
LOVE HAWAII and have had the blessing of being able to visit there a
number of times. It's probably my favorite place in the world. So as
I'm flipping through the channels what do I see but a show about
Hawaii That should be pretty calming right? The show was "Dog The
Bounty Hunter."
At first I was watching to see the parts of Hawaii that I love but
very shortly after that, I was watching the people on the show as they
would hunt for convicts (after not appearing at court and jumping
bail) until they found them. They would go down in a hail of yelling
and cussing and loads of action. But the best part was
after they would catch the person. They would talk to these people and
find out about their lives and what happened that made them spiral
into where they were now. These lost people who were struggling
through life. Drug addicts, alcoholics, car thieves, burglars, wife
beaters, drug dealers, animal abusers, hookers, and many violent
offenders. They showed compassion and understanding and would
seriously try to help these people to get back to a good life. Many of
these people (while getting their lives straightened out) would go on
to find jobs with this family so that they could make an honest try at
getting off of the criminal path. AND the most amazing part was that
they would often pray for these convicts either before they would
begin to look for them or after they had caught them and they were
delivered to jail (and many times they would pray with the convict).
What a contradiction that was.
I became fascinated with this contradiction and so I started to watch
the show whenever it was on and I started to look forward to it. I
never told any of the guys about it until maybe a few months later.
While we were driving to the first show on the tour a few months
later....I mentioned that I really liked this show. Well it turned out
that I was not the only one that had watched it.
After watching it regularly, I became convinced that these people were
living the christian life more than most people. It was obvious that
they really cared and tried to help these" throwaway" people. Episode
after episode I learned more about them and saw them in action. More
and more I got to know them and could see how they were as a family
and how many people they welcomed into their family when they had none
of their own. They had gentle and loving hearts under all of the tough
exteriors. Well, of course it's TV so I knew that it could all be
fake. But I was sooooooo hoping not.
I was also inspired by Beth (Dog's wife) as she worked with all guys
(as I do) and yet remained feminine in her very masculine and tough
About 4 years ago, we (the Sleeping At Last family) all got the
pleasure of going to Hawaii for my birthday.
Of course, all of our group knew how much I loved the show so they
suggested that maybe we should go and check out their office while
we're there and maybe we would meet them. (I had already searched the
location on maps but I didn't let anyone know that of course) I told
them no but they thought it would be fun and after all it was my
birthday. So after days of saying no....I finally agreed and we went
to their offices and took pictures outside. That was great because as
I've mentioned in other posts, I don't like to have attention on me so
there was no way that I wanted to meet these people and look stupid.
Just being there was enough for me. I also secretly was worried that
they would not be the real thing and I didn't want to be disappointed.
Each year that we were there, we would head over to the office hoping
to see them but we never did. They opened a store around the corner
from the office and we went there a couple of years ago.
During that time, Dog (Duane Chapman) wrote a book about his life and
it made me respect and admire him more. He became an inspiration to
me. He had a very difficult father and he was able to make it past all
of that which gave me so much hope for myself. So obviously, I didn't
want him to turn out to be a fake.
Well, as you may know, last March (2010) Ryan (for those of you that
don't know, Ryan is my son) and Cayt got married in Hawaii. We had
gone over to get their marriage license and I thought...why don't we
just drive by and see if the store is open since we're pretty close.
When we arrived we found out that Dog and the family were on their way
to the office and were doing some filming with a crew from a french TV
station. We were told that they might be coming to the store as a part
of the filming schedule so we should wait and maybe we could meet them.
I said it was ok to get going and we didn't need to wait but Ryan and
Cayt insisted that we stay. They knew how much it would mean to me and
they were right!!! We waited about an hour and during that time, they
bought me a pink hat just in case we could get something signed.
We also found out that Dog's new book was being released and they were
starting a book tour in Honolulu while we were there so, if they
didn't show up at the store that day, I could go and meet them at the
signing in a week.
Well, they showed up at the office and heard that there were some
people (more than just the 4 of us) waiting for them at the store so
they stopped filming just to come out and meet all of us. Well, that
was sweet I thought. That's a good sign. Remember...I was still
worried that I would be disappointed. So we waited about 5 minutes and
they (Dog, Duane Lee and Leland) showed up to meet us. They were the
sweetest, most humble people and they were even better than I had
hoped. They took the time to talk to us (without being distracted) and
not the typical stuff. Dog really seemed to be interested in each
person there and took as much time as anyone needed while the film
crew waited. Cayt and Ryan even got interviewed for the french TV
station. Come to think of it....we should try and find that online. We
forgot because we had a wedding to get ready for. : )
So... I am happy to report that yes, I do believe that they are the
real thing.
A few days later, word got out at the wedding that we had met Dog and
it turns out that there were more wedding guests that watch the show
than we knew. My nieces were particularly interested in hearing about
Leland and Duane Lee however. Turns out that they are the new hot
guys. So they were really interested in seeing the pictures we had.
About a week later, we were heading around the island with Dan and
Therese and Jeremy and Elsie and they graciously waited for me to go
to the book signing. I got to once again meet Dog and the family and
this time Beth was there. The line was enormous and would probably
have been hours of waiting but the sweet woman that worked in the
"Dog" store saw us and she pulled me out of the line and moved me to
the front. I got my new book signed (and yes, they were sweet all over
again) and off we went to head around the most beautiful place in the
The signed pink hat and the signed books are on my shelf first... as a
reminder that Ryan and Cayt loved me enough to give up part of their
afternoon a few days before their wedding to let me meet these people
that have inspired me to keep going on days that I was wondering if I
could. Second.... as a reminder that even when you have been hurt and
damaged by your family....you can get through it and thrive! In fact,
maybe that's why they are making a difference. Because they've been
there and they do care!
So today on this anniversary of the shows 200th episode.....I just
wanted to wish them CONGRATULATIONS on the show and on the real
success which is their lives!
I have always imagined that when we die, and we are facing
judgement....maybe we will see all of the people that we made a
difference for in our lives. For some, that will be good and for some
it will be bad. Can you imagine the sea of faces that will be there
for these people? How many thousands of people (criminals and fans)
whose lives they impacted with love and hope.
If you want to see some of what I'm talking about....check out the
show tonight on A&E (#45 in Chicago). I think there's a "best of" hour
and then the 200th episode. It also repeats about an hour or two later.
Or read the books (they're a little rough but loaded with lessons and
hope and well worth the read).
You Can Run But You Can't Hide
Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given
Both are by Duane "Dog" Chapman

And from me personally to Dog and Beth......Thank you for giving me
hope and renewing my faith. Thank you too for giving me faith in
people when I had lost it and inspiring me to keep going. I'm so very
happy that I came across this show so many years ago. You are truly a
blessing. : )
So....tonight you'll find me in front of my TV watching this 200th
Episode and thanking God that He brought these people and their
message into my life!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Difference for 2011

I wanted to wait a little while before I wrote another blog post
because I knew that we're all swamped with bills from the holidays,
offers for health club specials to take off the holiday pounds and
loads of stories about New Years resolutions. So why would we need one
more. It all tends to blur together I think. I wanted to wait and when
the dust had settled.....start to go over some ideas for ways to start
the year that are actually doable and fun.
So I have waited and in that time, so many other things have come up
to talk about. Unfortunately, many of these things have a sad edge to
them. It's left me disappointed with people and the world. I wonder
what happened to honor and decency? What about caring about other
people and animals and not just yourself? Why is nothing "off limits"?
Why does it seem that things are getting worse in the world? I'm sure
that I'm not the only one thinking this but what can be done?
If it's true that one person can make all the difference in the world
(and I believe it is),
then I want to be one of them! I want to make a difference.
I want to stand for what is right and against what is wrong. I want to
speak up when someone needs to and to take action when that is
necessary. I want to make a difference for good in this world!
I'm sure that you are aware of the shooting that took place in Arizona
with a congresswoman and multiple others being shot and some killed. I
am in no way wanting to speak about the politics that may or may not
be involved in this. Instead, I want to speak to the fact... that it
happened.. (for whatever reason). How very sad for everyone involved
including the shooter and his family and friends. What a
disappointment that all of the political maniacs have come out of the
woodwork to blame each other for this. Why haven't they learned that
we (the voters) have had enough of it?! Both sides need to step back
and see that they are acting just as crazy and poorly informed as the
But what I also wonder about... is the family and friends of this
shooter. Where were they when this thinking started? I'm not blaming
them in any way but I wonder if anyone noticed and tried to befriend
I know of someone that I think could fall into this kind of category
and it's obvious when you are around this person that he is reflecting
what he was taught by people around him. He's a sweet guy with some
not sweet ideas. I know that we (the SAL family) are very aware of it
and whenever we have contact with him, we make a point of showing him
love and another side of the negative issues that he has had pored
into him. You can see that he really thinks about it and comes back
for more. There has been a noticeable difference in him over the past
year or so that is for the positive. The things that he talks about
now are filled with compassion and less negativity. I would like to
think that there must be people in his town that are showing him love
and teaching him that compassion as Christians is the most important
responsibility that we have and the rest is up to God to take care
of. I hope that I can be of some help (to the people that I encounter
along the way) in showing that love is all we are called to do (even
if we don't understand or agree).
I do feel that we should hold people accountable too. I know that
it's not always easy but maybe that would make a difference. There are
so many peoples lives ruined or forever changed because of this one
act and maybe someone around him could have helped before this
happened. These people were children once and maybe we could have
helped them to feel loved back then. We all know kids that are lost in
bad families or other situations and why not help? Every child should
feel loved and that they can accomplish anything if they believe it
and work for it. I think that this alone would make a huge difference
in the world. Maybe we can make a difference before they become
adults. We just need to get involved.
GROSS ALERT (this is a disturbing section so read with caution)
Another very disturbing thing that happened this weekend (and I have
not been able to get off of my mind) was a facebook post from someone
that I follow. As I mentioned in an earlier post...we are all big
animal lovers. Consequently, I follow many authors of books about dogs
and also rescue organizations. I was looking at my facebook ap on my
iphone and there it was. A photo that I don't think I will ever
forget. It was from one of the organizations that I follow and it had
to do with China skinning dogs while they are alive. There was a photo
of a dog and next to it, the arms of two of the men that had done this
holding up the fur. I will never forget this for the rest of my life.
This was also not a small dog. The dogs sweet little face, eyes and
big tongue hanging to it's side were what identified it as a dog at
all or it would have been hard to tell. I have to admit (I told you
that I would always be honest) that absolute hatred filled me
immediately. That sweet little face having gone through such horror.
What would possess anyone to do this with no heart at all? What evil
runs through them? And to take a picture of it like they have done
something that they are proud of. I have not been able to get this off
of my mind. This is a time that action is required. I have been
working on getting this evil noticed ever since. I felt helpless with
something like this happening half way around the world. But....there
has to be a way and I will work to find it. If you can help with
suggestions.....please let me know. This is something that can not
Yes, I am aware that there is a lot of evil out there and this is not
the only thing. Let's all find something that we are passionate about
and do something about it.
We were also notified and saddened that a friend of SAL that we had
all gotten to spend a little time with a year ago had passed away
after a year long fight with cancer.
About a year ago, we were on tour and happened to be in Orlando for a
couple of shows with a couple of days off between them. Of course, we
were delighted to have some time at our favorite place Walt Disney
World. Some friends of ours that live in Orlando arranged to get us
into WDW with one of their dads who worked there. We were elated!!!
We planned to meet Damon at the Hollywood Studios park in the morning
and had never met him before. He decided to come along with us for
some rides and spent a good part of the day with us. We had such a
great time with him. He had worked at WDW since its opening and had
many great stories that of course, I ate up because I love anything
Disney! There we were...the 6 of us little kids giddy on all the
rides. He and the guys went on some of the stuff that I don't do (ex:
Tower of Terror) and we did some of the rides together. I was amazed
that he wanted to go on the rides and seemed to be having as much fun
as we did. He works there everyday and so I figured that he must spend
time there. So I asked if he comes to the parks very often. He told me
so many things that day but the one that stood out was that he loved
to go to the parks with guests (like us) because he loved to see our
reactions to all of the things that he and the other cast members
created on a daily basis for our enjoyment. It was like seeing the
parks with a new set of eyes for him and believe me....you could tell
that he was having a great time.
We went to the Toy Story Ride and we shared a car. This ride is so
cute and involves shooting a laser toy gun (kind of like a nerf gun)
for points while being spun around and moved through various scenes.
Of course, the guys were all competing for the highest points. I was
too but knew that it was unlikely that I would do better than any of
them. Damon was clearly having the time of his life. He was like all
the guys and competing like they were. He was really having a great
time and it showed. We had a great time with him and learned so much
about his job. He was in the building department and they made all
kinds of fun things through the years. He had worked there since it
opened back in the 70"s. He was also excited because he was about to
become a grandfather. I imagined him with all of the fun ahead of them
at the Happiest Place on Earth with a new grandchild. We split off
later in the day and we headed off to the Animal Kingdom Park. We
thanked Damon and he took a picture of us because he liked to do that
and then to keep them. We said good bye and figured that we would see
him again the next time we were in Orlando.
Then last year, I got a text from a good friend that Damon was very
sick and not expected to make it through. This came as quite a shock
as we didn't even know that he had gotten sick. Apparently he had
gotten sick not long after we had seen him and had been battling it
over the year. Thankfully soon after that, we had gotten word that
Damon was better and doing well. We were so relieved. That was
several months ago.
Unfortunately, over the weekend, we got word that Damon had taken a
bad turn and wasn't expected to make it much longer. We were so
saddened. The next morning he passed away. Such a great man and gone
too soon. I am very thankful that we had the pleasure of meeting him
and spending a day with him. We will always remember him and think of
him and how much he clearly loved to have fun at the Disney parks that
he was so much a part of. We had such a short time with him but he
left a lasting impression on us that will go on forever. Thank you
Damon for showing us how to have fun and enjoy every day! We will miss
So, off we go into another year and there is so much to do. Will you
join me in trying to make a difference in this world? And let's try to
make a difference in our own world as well. Let's get involved and
care about other people and particularly kids. Let's be kind to
animals and report or stop others that aren't. Let's give love where
it's needed and for others, if necessary, hold them accountable for
their actions. Let's find something that we are passionate about and
get involved. This year, let's all care and let's believe that we can
make a difference.
Believing is the beginning of everything!
And finally.....let's make a point to have fun in our everyday
lives which can be a contagious thing if we share it with others
around us. You never know who you are affecting. Just like in the
movie "It's a Wonderful Life"........you make a difference in more
ways than you can imagine.

Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31st, 2010

Happy Last Day Of 2010!

I hope that you each had a wonderful Christmas. It's hard to believe that it's already been a week. 

So here we are....facing the end of one year and the beginning of another. I don't know about you but I always feel a bit down on New Year's Eve. It's something to do with the ending of one year I think. And maybe a little apprehension about the start of a new one. I was even considering going to bed before the clock tolls midnight which for me is early. I'm normally up until 2-3AM so this would not be easy. But I considered it today. I think it has something to do with change and you know how I feel about that from my previous post. 

I've been reading so many comments on facebook and twitter and it seems that I'm not the only one that feels this way. As a matter of fact, probably 80% of the comments I've seen are like that. Maybe we're all bummed that the holiday celebrating is almost over and it's back to "normal life."
Or maybe it's that feeling of dread about the new year. Or maybe it's the feeling of being alone tonight while it seems like the whole world is celebrating. Or maybe it's something to do with reviewing our lives over the past year and realizing that things are not how we hoped they would be. Any of the above or even all of the above apply to so many of us. 



I know that we have all had our struggles over the past year but tonight is an opportunity to turn the calendar page over and open a brand new book for our lives! 

And.... this time, we have a say in writing it.

When you have a minute (or right now) take the time to imagine exactly how YOU would like this new year in your life to look.  DREAM BIG (yes, take the risk)!!!!!!!   Maybe even write it down (this is a good idea and is proven to be valuable in making these dreams happen).

Ask yourself the following questions today (or tonight) and be VERY SPECIFIC. Really think about each of these and imagine.... without holding back anything)

1. what do i want my career to look like over the next year? what would an average day look like for me in my career? what kind of financial success am i looking for or am i looking for that at all? 
2. what do i want my personal thought life to look like this year? how would that impact each day for me?
3. what is the most important goal (a goal is different than a wish) that i would like to accomplish this year? don't be general on this one either. be specific.  
4. are there any relationships that i need to move away from for any reason at all? what steps do i need to take to achieve this?
5. is there anything that i would like to do to change my physical living space? moving, organizing, decorating. how would that change my life day to day?
6.  what would i want my relationships to look like? what is needed to make this happen?
7. if i could have one wish that i knew would be granted this year....what would that wish be? often this question shows you what you REALLY want so you can aim for that. what steps can you take to make this attainable?

Take the time to think about this today before the clock strikes midnight and the new year begins and you'll already be starting 2011 in a better place than you were last year at this time. : )

It's an exciting time to start over! Don't procrastinate......START NOW!


pick only one thing...what's the first thing that pops into your mind?

One important ingredient to having a good life is feeling like you have some amount of control in the way it's going. Often things start to tumble out of happiness at the same speed that things are tumbling out of control in our lives. 

So...if you answered the questions above.....you now have a much clearer picture of what you want for yourself in 2011. What better way than this to start the new year off right?! 

The new year is a time to boldly take the first steps toward your best future and we can start now!

Happy Happy New Life in the New Year to each of US!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Must See Video

Merry Christmas Eve to all of you!

As you know, I've been away from posting due to a very busy schedule between "Yearbook" and holiday shopping etc.  I plan to tell you more about all of that soon. 

But for now.......

I wanted to post a video that I saw on Facebook about a month ago. It is so touching and maybe it will make you think.

If you don't already know...we, the Sleeping At Last family are all very big animal lovers! Every one of us!
We have so many stories of the guys or girls saving various wild animals that we have come across while on our travels or at home. It would not be unlike us to run through a crowded highway to help a lost goose or bunny that has gotten caught in the traffic. This is a passion for all of us. 

For some reason, lately we've been hearing more stories about animal abuse and cruelty. I will NEVER understand how anyone could engage in something like this. And another disturbing part of this is that for every animal that is being abused or hurt....there is at least one person that knows about it and does nothing. To me, those people are an accomplices. There is NO EXCUSE for either. If you know of a situation like this....don't be afraid to get involved. Do something. There are laws in most states against abuse. You might be asking what constitutes abuse. Well, you know in your heart if it is or not. If you're even asking yourself about it....then it most likely is! 

I plan to write more about this at a later date but thought that maybe for this Christmas.....maybe this video will inspire you to help an unwanted animal. Maybe adopt one or maybe donate to a good rescue. There are countless stories of people like us that decided to do the right thing and love an unwanted animal and this has turned out to be a gift for both.  

A few years ago, Chad adopted a yellow lab (Chandler) from a kill shelter. Chandler became the most loved dog to all of us. A few months later, each of us had adopted a puppy (Maile, Wilco and Oskar). Since then we have met so many people in the music business that have adopted from shelters or rescues. Every one of these stories has been the best thing that they felt they had ever done.

If you know of any animals that aren't being treated right....do something about it. Your conscience will be glad that you did and so will the animal. There's a great book called "Oogy"  by Larry Levin that is about just that.
I won't go into the gross details about dog fighting but I will say that it horrified me and I already thought that people (and I use that term grudgingly) that were involved in dog fighting are heartless losers. The story behind this book will enrage you. 

So, take a look at this video and I hope that it will touch you like it did all of us and maybe you'll think about helping in whatever way that you can. Thanks so much for letting me go on and on about this.