Christmas Shopping and Gifts

Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? This year I’m getting creative in my gift giving.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the rushing around and buying things…even easier to forget that some of the most precious gifts are intangible. Maybe that’s why I love this Jim Brickman song sung by Susan Ashton and Collin Raye.

Do you have any gifts you’re especially excited to be giving a loved one this year? What’s the coolest, most personal gift you’ve ever received?

Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men (and Women)

My dear friend Professor Taboo wrote a wonderful tribute to Christmas and peace during the First World War. If you’ve never heard the story and you want to feel the warmth of love during some of the hardest times the world had, click the link. It’s a beautiful story. In fact, the story inspired two of my favorite balladiers, Collin Raye and Garth Brooks, to make two very separate, very beautiful songs that do a fabulous job reminding us about what’s important.

The above is Garth Brooks’ song, “Belleau Wood”. The below is “It Could Happen Again” by Collin Raye with Johnny Cash narrating.

Isn’t it beautiful how a holiday and a familiar song built a bridge to understanding and a cease fire? I actually have both CDs in my collection because they’re wonderful! What are your favorite Christmas albums? Do you have holiday songs that speak peace to your heart?

Completion & The Human Element

I’m working on finishing my super secret project. I should be done in the next day or two… Excitement and nerves are creeping up on me. This means that my focus and energy will be on the project until I’m done. So, I’m going to leave you with a few songs that I think are pretty awesome.

This one touched my heart….

And for everyone who’s ever lost hope….

Or if you’ve ever felt bullied…

And for those of us who needed someone who understood the meaning of true love before we did…and had the foresight to hang on.

I should be back soon… In the meantime, I’d love to know what songs you’ve heard that touch those dark corners of your heart. You all know I’m always looking for new music. Share with me!

 

Love Remains

I talked to my father-in-law yesterday. He’s in good spirits and said that if he didn’t have the history he did, he wouldn’t have even known he was ill. He asked me to convey his thanks for the thoughts and prayers and asked that you keep them coming. He’s certain since everything was caught early, his type of cancer is highly treatable and he’s got faith in his oncologist that he will prevail. I was so relieved to hear that and to get a sense of where he is, mentally.

On the flip side, the friend I mentioned several months ago with cancer is not doing as well. Her last scan has shown that the cancer has grown and that her prognosis doesn’t look very good, but she’s trying to remain optimistic and continue to battle. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts. I thought the Billy Dean said all the right things about life being short and living life to the fullest.

As you all know, I’m a die hard football fan, so I’ll be glued to the TV tomorrow evening. As a Cowboy fan, I’ve got to say….”Go Ravens!” I’m just selfish enough to not want San Fran to get their 6th ring before us. It’s bad enough that Pittsburgh got there first. 😉 So does anyone have Superbowl plans? Which team are you rooting for? Why?

Having said that…I’ll be sharing some of my favorite happy love songs as we count down to Valentine’s day. We’ve got to make sure everyone is in the mood for loving by then…and slow builds are good things. 🙂 This one is from one of my favorite balladiers. There aren’t many who do it as well as Collin Raye.

 

Holiday Challenge

From here until Christmas I’m going to post at least one Christmas song a day.  More than likely it won’t be the only thing I post, but sharing my love of music is one of the ways I enjoy the holiday…so you’re stuck with it!  LOL!

This world is filled with so much potential…really, it is! Unfortunately, we have proved…practically since our inception, that the one thing that we’re most good at is coming up with the most creative and painful ways to destroy each other…both body and spirit. The last few weeks have been proof of that…all over the world.

No, I’m not going to weigh in on the gun control battle, though I do have my own opinion. I will say this…we don’t need guns to kill each other. Proof? China…those kids were killed by a knife.  McVeigh…he learned how to make a bomb online…and took out hundreds. Where there is a will, there is a way. Sad, but true fact…

So if we can be so quick to kill, it stands to reason that we’re probably pretty good at healing, too…but it’s gonna take all of us. One act of kindness at a time. I truly believe every act of selflessness we do is one more step to battling apathy and hate. So my challenge for you? Look around you…find someone who could use an act of kindness…and if it’s within your power, make it happen. The bigger part of that challenge? Do it anonymously! Then share it with us….  See if you can’t be someone’s Christmas miracle.

With that, I leave you with this song… Reminding us…that even in the darkest times, hope can be found….Love Johnny Cash’s narrative in this song.

Were Those Words Worth It?

I’m feeling a bit melancholy today. This election has been tearing at me. I choose not to post about political things. Not on Facebook. Not on Twitter. In fact, I rarely talk about it. People sometimes take my silence to mean I don’t have an opinion. That’s absolutely not true. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have opinions on many things. This is just one of them that I don’t discuss.

Before you go reading anything more into this I need to explain why this election has been tearing at me. Let me clarify…someone once said…hang in there. Whether the person(s) in office is someone you like and respect or not, sooner or later someone else will come along. It’s just a matter of waiting. It’s all cyclical.

But it’s not the politicians that are bothering me. It’s the behavior I’m seeing from people…on both sides…that has been disturbing me. It seems like in the last twelve years people have gotten steadily nastier with their comments, their slogans…and even the memes they choose to use. They have done everything from question people’s intelligence if they chose to vote their way to mocking people as unaware and uneducated and the list goes on and on. (I even know of someone who told a friend of mine who is gay and voted republican that they hoped he got aids and died….really? Another friend voiced her opinion on where she was going to cast her vote and received threats of bodily harm…from a friend of a friend…and they had descriptions of her children, prompting her to call the police and report it. She is a single mom. Her kids safety comes first.)

I have friends who are blocking other friends posts in an effort to be able to simply retain friendships after the election is over. Families have stopped speaking to each other because they’re on opposite sides of a political fence and the comments made were hurtful enough to cause some of the more mature members to back away and stop talkin in the hopes that maybe these fences can be mended once the election is over. It seems in the last twelve years this kind of nastiness during election years has gotten steadily worse…driving stakes into friendships, families…and ultimately into this country I love so much. The taunting and gloating and mud slinging that’s still going on post election…isn’t helping. The end of the election isn’t the end of the world…but it very well may be the end of some relationships, because even now, it hasn’t stopped.

Does any of this behavior change anyone’s minds? Rarely. Unless you’re someone who was undecided and became repeatedly victimized by the bashing that’s happened because of some questions you may have had. The negative behavior might have sealed your vote for the opposition of the basher. One of my friends had a meme that said, “I don’t post my comments to change your mind. I post them to speak mine.” Ok. So regardless of whether you voted for either candidate…when you say that if you vote a certain way, you must be stupid…that’s your opinion of your friends? Got it. Good to know.

The thing is…these words…these sayings…these things….they can’t be taken back! Once they’re out of your mouth (or in many cases blasted all over facebook and twitter to assault every person on your friends list), the damage is done. We talk about bullying and how terrible it is. We all agree that it’s a huge epidemic in this country. Where do you think our children learn that behavior from? All this nastiness and insults? Guess what, people! That’s bullying, too.

I had no issue with any post on either side that chose to discuss or debate the election based on salient points pertaining to the actual election. The rest was garbage…and sad. We spout off about family values… From what I’ve seen, it’s important as long as everyone agrees. Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree? Or rational discussion? Yeah…our country is being torn apart from the inside…and we have no one but ourselves and our superiority complexes to blame.

This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s a people issue. People should always come first. Respect. Love. Value. When a cause becomes more important than people…it’s time to think long and hard. I hope we can get past these rifts we’ve managed to create for ourselves.

And for you folks that aren’t in the US…I hope, if you live in a country where you have not only the honor, but the obligation to vote that you remember to love and respect those around you…regardless of who you are voting for. I value my freedoms. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just wish people valued their friends and family with the same fervor they give their politicians.

So here’s my melancholy music for today….

Beauty In Ballads

Ok, so I have two big ways of expressing myself. Music and poetry. Most of you who stop here regularly have already figured that out. Thanks for stopping and commenting, by the way…your welcome has been amazingly warm and I’m beginning to feel right at home.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve decided to look into ballads a little bit. First, I’m a sucker for a slow song, but more importantly, I love songs that tell stories. In fact, I remember being in 4th or 5th grade when our music teacher told us about ballads. Oddly enough, we were also learning about ballads in English class. She told us that ballads were songs that told a story. Today I decided to look up the definition. This is what I found.

Ballad:

1.
narrative song: a song or poem, especially a traditional one or one in a traditional style, telling a story in a number of short regular stanzas, often with a refrain

“The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde”
2.
slow romantic song: a slow romantic popular song

“two up-tempo numbers followed by a ballad”
Definition #2 is what most of us know ballads to be these days, right? A slow song that allows you the opportunity to get all close and cozy with the one you’re with…also one of the only songs almost any man is comfortable dancing to because he doesn’t have to do more than hang on and sway. (No, not all men…there are a few out there who can really dazzle a woman or man with his footwork..but generally speaking I’ve found this to be the case.)
Now the first ballad poem I remember reading was Casey At The Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. I really liked it! Between poems like this and my ties to music, me writing poetry was practically a given.
The first musical ballad I remember learning to sing was…and don’t laugh…Don’t Fence Me In. My music teacher at the time was in her 70’s, so I’m guessing she learned it being sung by guys like Gene Autrey or Roy Rodgers. Me, I prefer Ella…Love her voice!
Anyone have any idea what a cayuse is? I don’t…but I still like the song. Go figure.
There’s something about the story you can picture in your mind when you hear a ballad the way it was defined to me as a child. Take The Gambler by Kenny Rogers…people love it because they can see the story unfold! Oddly enough, that’s not my favorite Kenny ballad, though he’s done many, including songs like Lucille, Reuben James & Long Arm Of The Law. I’m a sucker for heroes, which may explain why this one is my favorite…which is saying something because Kenny has done a ton of amazing ballads. (BTW, this one has the Supernatural hotties in it)
If I consider Kenny to be the reigning king of ballads, and I do, Reba would have to be the queen. With songs like Bobby, Is There Life Out There and The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia, how could I not? She’s not only a vocal powerhouse, but she made those songs huge hits! Of course, Fancy is my all time favorite one. The story blew me away and left me in tears…proud for the woman she became, sad for the things she had to go through to get there.
There’s something about a ballad that draws me in and touches my soul. Not only do they tell a story, but usually, if you listen hard enough, there’s a message. Now I know there are more ballads than just in country music, but these are the ones that stand out to me. I love music, and especially discovering new ones, so if you have some ballads that you’d like to share or any of these songs touched you in any way, please share! I’d love to hear them and from you. I’ll leave you with a few more that are guaranteed to touch the heart strings….Such amazing poetry and artistry. Is it any wonder I’m fascinated with ballads?
Tragic and destructive…filled with regret.
The video says it all!
This is committment!
And this is how I feel about my guy…:-)