A lesson in life, learned through death

When someone we know leaves this earthly existence and makes that heavenly journey to the afterlife, we tend to reflect on our past and present… evaluate and scrutinize every little thing… Our successes, our failures, our entire lives…  all of the “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. We contemplate what everything is, and the meaning of life. At least, I know I do.

I read a Facebook post Thursday morning that made me suck in my breath and cry. Not just cry, but truly saddened me to my core. To be completely honest, it has been at the forefront of my thoughts ever since… so many emotions… sadness, anger, guilt…  All those emotions for a life lost, for the struggle, for the long fight. And I feel so incredibly bad… so guilty. I should’ve been a much better friend. I should’ve halted my busy life and acted when the impression presented itself to me.

There are valuable lessons to be learned here, aren’t there?  Listen to that inner voice. Cherish life, cherish love, cherish your friendships! In this ever busy world, isn’t it worth it to spend a little time cultivating those relationships with our friends. Some of these friendships have lasted for decades. Some were suspended and frozen in time… graduation happened, and decades went by. A class reunion reunites us and it’s as if no time has passed at all. Sometimes, reuniting with our friends happens through the miracle of cyber space. I am so thankful for it. (I am a horrible letter writer. Go figure!) The memories are sweet, the memories are painful, the memories are precious…. yet we take them all for granted. It isn’t until our friends are gone that we realize how dear all those memorable experiences truly were. All of the regrets set in. “I should’ve took that five minutes and sent an email/text.” “I could’ve, but I ended up getting sidetracked by —.”  “I would’ve, had I known about —.”   So many excuses…

CAN WE PLEASE STOP WITH ALL THE EXCUSES?!

You see, I had this friend in high school. We were in quite a few classes together. I remember the band trips, the marching band, pep band games and how much fun we had. I remember sitting next to her in other classes and laughing about things.  I remember getting stern “talkings to” from several teachers for doing things that shouldn’t have been done. Haha! After we graduated, we lost touch, as so many of us did. We reconnected quite a few years ago thanks to the beauty of Facebook, and my life has been better for it. Ann loved life, loved her family, enjoyed her job, and had a wonderful sense of humor. I looked up to her back in high school, and admired her positive attitude. I was shocked by the news of her ALS diagnosis. We chatted on occasion, and I kept up on how she was doing. Ann was so strong, so transparent, so open about her illness. She was positive, and held onto her sense of humor through it all. I had every intention of going to visit her. Then my anxiety would kick in…. I didn’t want to invade her home. I didn’t know where she lived. I didn’t want to intrude on her family. So many lame excuses… I am seriously the worst friend. Ever. And now… well, she has passed on.

Come on friends, life is too short to push people, or things aside. We all know this. Let’s try putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and envision their needs. Let’s try making a genuine effort. You just don’t know how much you will impact someone else’s life with those “little things” and kind words. Imagine the difference you can make. Remember the difference someone made for you.

Make a difference. Be the difference.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

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No longer in pain… No longer broken. May you rest in peace, Ann. I hope to see you again someday. 💕

 

My life is a game of football

September is finally here! That means school is back in session, the weather will start to cool down, the leaves will be turning and falling soon, and football is back. I AM ELATED.

Many of you probably don’t care about football, or possibly sports in general, but it really has a special place in my heart.

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember watching football with my dad. Monday night football, Sunday games… Sitting with dad, getting rowdy, yelling at the tv, high fiving at the great plays… some of my favorite memories. I hope I never forget them.

You see, I relate to football on so many different levels… It’s a time for friends and family to come together, whether in celebration or disappointment. Either way, the conversation and company is amazing, and so is the food that’s consumed. The thrill of the game is intoxicating. I love the physicality of the players, the passion and attitude, and the strategy involved. (The payday is just a nice bonus!)

Life should be about our family and friends. Hold close to those who support and build you up… the ones that have your back. They celebrate with you in the good times, and are there for you during the hard times. These are the people to cling to. They may even show up with delicious food.

Every minute of your life should be a thrill… appreciated and intoxicating. Living life to the fullest. Is it always that way? No, but is it possible to change your view and make it so? It might be tough, but be happy you get to play the game.

I am passionate about a lot of things. When I’m pumped, I yell, dance, and celebrate. When I’m angry, I tend to lash out, with attitude. (Throat punch Thursday anyone?) Our lives are full of highs and lows. It requires strategy and poise. It’s okay to celebrate your successes,  but not to the detriment of others. It’s okay to be disappointed when things don’t go our way, but don’t be a sore loser. Reevaluate and make adjustments as needed.

Football

Strategize and succeed

Put a positive spin on your game of life. Prepare for the unknown. Have a game plan. Dance when you succeed. Keep your composure when you fail. Come back stronger when you try again. Unite with the players on your team and aim for the prize.

YOU’VE GOT THIS.

 

 

Everyone needs a little Jazz in their life.🎵

I am happy to announce that things in my life have slowed down to a fairly normal pace after the hectic wedding week. Work is back to normal, home is back to normal, and my weekly meetings with my music girls are back to normal as well! WHEW! I was beginning to think that the chaos was going to stick around forever.

Last week, my girls and I went to a favorite restaurant for foodies and live entertainment. One of our friends was performing. He was playing his acoustic guitar, accompanied by the upright bass. Heaven! As we were sitting there eating, our guitar playing friend gave us a shout out as a music group. He saw our video in the park, and thought it was quite humorous. It was suggested that maybe we should come up and do a number with them. Seriously, the coolest. How flattering is that? A song was picked, and off we went. Our lead vocalist sang, while our lyricist (who also has a BEAUTIFUL voice, I might add) and I sang backup… with guitar and bass. Mind you, I didn’t know the song, so I was faking my way through it, BUT WOW… It was one of the best feelings! This has reignited the passion of musical creativity… just one of the many reasons that we started our group in the first place!

One of the things that has come up from all of this is jazz… To be more specific, jazz piano. Sure, I played a little bit in the swing choir in high school… (For those of you keeping track… that would be 30+ years ago!) There wasn’t any theory involved. It was just playing what was on paper, or playing a tune by ear. I love jazz. I find it fascinating, entertaining, and exciting. Why is it I have never learned jazz piano? That’s about to change.

Here’s something you didn’t know about me…Most things music related seem to be pretty easy for me. Yeah, I might need to practice a bit to be actually good at it, but I catch on quick. I started watching YouTube videos earlier this week. This is so much fun! Yes, there will be MUCH practicing needed, but I can do this. I WILL do this! I’m starting to figure it out.

Notes working together create beautiful harmony

As I’ve been laying in bed every night this week, attempting to fall asleep, my brain has been contemplating the entire jazz genre as a whole. I had an epiphany…  If I were to describe myself in a music style, I think jazz just might be it. (I originally thought that classical was it, and maybe, because it secretly mirrors several of the same characteristics, it is also a part of me). Honestly, jazz would probably describe most of us, but, humor me here!

Melodic improvisation – Every minute I’m awake is one big improvisation. I want my day to be harmonious, but I love the thought of not knowing what is going to come next until it reveals itself to me. The chaos that happens throughout my day might be initially a bit displeasing, but I try to embrace it and put a positive spin on it.

Scat singing – Made up words that make no sense. Haha! If you’ve spent any time with me, you know that I don’t make sense a lot of the time.

Walking bass – The bass keeps it all together. It’s methodical… Reliable. I keep my cool. I keep myself in check. I am one of the most reliable, punctual people you will ever meet. I try, ever so hard, to do what I say I’m going to do, and on time.

Varied tempos – Most of us have our high and low points throughout the day, but what you do with it is totally up to you! Like the improvisation, embrace it and own it!

Inventive and creative – Um, yes! I think this one pretty much speaks for itself.

Have you ever really thought about what style of music really defines you? Are you an eighties big hair rock band? Hard hitting, screaming guitar, with a bit of ballad in you? Or maybe you’re a country, boot wearing, dirt road driving, horseback riding, kind of person…  Or are you an angry music, fly off the handle, everyone gets on your last nerve, in your face, leave nothing to the imagination kind of person…

Music is in my blood. I am always humming, singing, playing “air” piano, drumming, “air” guitar-ing… I might have a problem.

Think about it. What defines you?

Invite a little jazz into your life. Be proud of your ability to roll with the varied tempos of your day. Feed your creativity. Take time to be spontaneous. Sometimes it’s fun to make no sense at all… do something out of the ordinary!