Bluegrass music comes together to honor its best

The International Bluegrass Music Association hosted its annual week-long celebration of the genre in Raleigh recently.
Thousands poured into the city’s clubs, venues and hotels to see countless concerts by established artists such as David Davis and the Warrior River Boys of Alabama, hopefuls such as the Baker Family of Missouri, and Rebekah Long of Nashville, who desire to expand their career success into national and international strides.

I visited with Davis in his band’s booth (https://www.daviddavisandwrb.com/).
“It’s been an amazing week,” Davis said, who is riding high on the success of his latest Rounder release “Didn’t He Ramble : Songs of Charlie Poole.” “We have met with fans, event promoters, disc jockeys and all types of media folks. It’s like a musical family reunion with old friends and new ones.”

I ran across Trustin Baker, the 2018 Grand Master Fiddler Champion, in the hallway of the Marriott. He had traveled from Missouri to perform with his family (thebakerfamilybluegrass.com/).  He actually joined in a jam session playing a tune with my fiddle.
Rebekah Long told me she was having a great time at the event appearing on numerous showcases with her band with her producer Donna Ulisse in tow. Long’s recent CDs include “Run Away” and “Here I Am” (www.rebekahlong.com).
Awards were handed out highlighting the greatest successes of the past year. Some of the winners include: Balsam Range as  entertainer of the year; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver as vocal group; The Travelin’ McCourys as instrumental group; Buddy Melton as male vocalist; Brooke Aldridge as female vocalist; Sierra Hull as mandolin player; Molly Tuttle as guitar player; Michael Cleveland as fiddle player; The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys as emerging artist; Becky Buller brought home gospel recorded performance with “Speakin’ to That Mountain;” “Swept Away” with Missy Raines, Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Hull and Tuttle won recorded event.

Hall of Fame inductees included Ricky Skaggs, Paul Williams and Tom T. and Dixie Hall.
I applaud these additions to the hall. All have contributed amazingly to the genre!

I was privileged to return to direct a portion of the awards welcoming multi-Grammy winner Jerry Douglas to host the Distinguished Achievement Awards and several special awards. The IBMA’s second highest honor went to Curtis McPeake, Walter Saunders, Chris Thile, Christopher Howard-Williams, and George Gruhn. My old friend Jerry Salley was awarded as bluegrass songwriter of the year.

Learn more about the music and the organization at ibma.org.

A sweeping success

Performing on the road has its great moments and even a few that are less great. Needless to say there are often things to laugh at along the way.

One of my devoted readers said that I have been too serious of late and needed to spread some cheer so here is one of my favorite experiences along the way. Maybe it will bring you a smile.

I was introduced to a large hall of about 1,000 folks gathered to see our show. We were in the midst of singing “Little Girl of Mine in Tennessee” when a older feller about six foot tall in tattered blue coveralls and carrying a broom sweeps his way across the stage in front of the band, facing the band, all the time paying no mind to the crowd behind him or the band in front of him.

His slightly slumped appearance, along with his total disregard for his surroundings and his intense concentration on his task, began to draw some scattered giggles from the audience.

I imagined many were wondering what I or he would do next.
As I realized he was not just passing through but had decided to set up housekeeping in front of us, I stopped the tune and said, “Excuse me, were trying to do a show here,” and the feller replied “A show?”

He turned slowly towards the audience and waved as he smiled from ear to ear, saying “Hello, hello,” not hardly missing anyone as he greeted the crowd.

“Do you mind, these people paid a lot of money to see our show,” I said.
He walked over to me at the mike and looked out in the audience.
“These people paid money to see you?” he asked.
“Yes, they did,” I said.
“Miracles never cease,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said, before realizing what had passed. “Heyyyy.”
“I use to play in a band, a big band. We worked all over New York, Chicago,” he said.
“Really what did you call your band?” I asked.
“The broom boys,” he replied.
“The broom boys,” I said
“Yeah, we really cleaned up,” he said.
“Did you sing with that group?” I asked. He said, “Yes.”
“Would you like to sing with us?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve got so every time I sing I cry,” he said.
“Then why do you sing?” I asked.
“So I can cry,” he said.
“Why do you cry?” I asked.
“Cause I can’t sing,” he said.
“Do you think I could join your band?” he asked.
“Well I don’t know. All these boys had to go through an interview,” I said.
“I can do that,” he said.
I agreed and started by asking, “What’s your name?”
“I was named after my Ma and Pa,” he said.
“Alright, what was their name?” I said.
“Pa was Ferdinand and Ma was Liza,” he said.
“So, what did they name you?” I asked.
“Ferdiliza,” he said.
“Where were you born?” I asked.
“Kentucky,” he replied.
“What part?” I asked.
“All of me. You didn’t think I came in pieces did you?” he said.
“Why did you leave Kentucky?” I asked.
“Couldn’t bring it with me,” he said.
“Where do you live now?” I asked.
“I live with a friend,” he said.
“Where does you friend live,” I asked.
“He lives with me,” he said.
“Where do you both live?” I asked.
“We live together,” he said.
“Where were your forefathers born?” I asked.
“My what?” he asked.
“Your forefathers. Where were they born?” I asked.
“I ain’t got but one father,” he said.
“Everybody has forefathers,” I said. “Mine came from Scotland, Germany and England.”
“Well if I got four fathers, three of them ain’t never been home,” he said.
“So do I get the job?” he asked.
“Well, I don’t know let me think on it,” I told him.
“OK, but don’t hurt yourself,” he replied.
“Hey, that’s no way to talk to someone if you want a job,” I said.
“Your right, I better get back to work,” he said.
I stopped him and asked one more question.
“When you say things like that, doesn’t a still small voice tell you you’re doing something wrong?”
“No, its usually a big loud voice. Have you met my wife?” he said.
“In the future I hope you are more careful about where you try to clean up,” I told him.
“Oh, I will be next time. I’ll bring a bigger broom,” he commented as he glided off stage.

Comedy has always been a key part of performing in live shows: the antics of clowns in circuses; the banter and quips of comics in medicine shows and vaudeville; to the jokes we hear offered in sitcoms today. Country comedians are a special breed; I am honored to in my life played both the comedian and the straight man roles of the comedy team with many funny people. There is nothing funnier than two people working off each other’s comedic timing in front of an audience. I put together this comedy routine originally for the talented comedic actor Sonny Shroyer. I hope that a couple of the lines brought you a smile. © 1992 Peach Picked Publishing. Used by permission.

Grand Master Fiddler Championship crowns 2018 master

I have been honored for many years to serve as the celebrity host of the Grand Master Fiddle Championship, now held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
I have watched had the honor of watching a new generation of fiddlers come of age as I have watched from the wings or the podium. One such young fiddle from Birch Tree, Mo. has competed for several years, each year becoming a little better. Three times he came in second to other fiddlers but this year he advanced taking the top position becoming the Grand Master Fiddler. His name is Trustin Baker. Trustin took home $1,200 in cash, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry in 2019. He also won the Charlie Bush Traditional Fiddler Performance Award presented in honor of late director Charlie Bush.

Grand Master Fiddler Champion Trustin Baker (second from left) of Birch Tree, Mo. of receives his award, from left, GMFC Director Ed Carnes, GMFC Host Keith Bilbrey, GMFC Host Randall Franks, and GMFC Director Howard Harris. (GMFC Photo: Michelle Mize)

“I can’t hardly believe it,” Baker told me after receiving the title. “It’s been a contest I have wanted to win ever since I started playing the fiddle.”
Among his winning tunes in this competition were “Grey Eagle,” “Gardenia Waltz” and “Black and White Rag.”
“I think maybe I am becoming more consistent with my playing,” he said. “I am looking forward to playing the Grand Ole Opry.”
The two-day 47th annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship is the nation’s premier championship event held on Sept. 1 and 2, 2018.
I am honored to walk in the footsteps of former celebrity hosts Porter Wagoner and Roy Acuff continuing the tradition of the Grand Ole Opry’s fiddle event now coordinated by the founder’s son Howard Harris and fiddler Ed Carnes and a non-profit board.
“It seems with every passing year we surpass the previous one with the level of talented fiddlers who participate and the amazing enthusiasts who fill the seats,” said Howard Harris, GMFC President. “Fiddlers came from coast to coast to add to the legacy of fiddling at our event. The amazing skills shown brought hours of applause and cheers from the audience and yielded some tough decisions for our judges.”
The Grand Master Fiddler Championship, Inc. is a Tennessee non-profit and a U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, formed to educate about and perpetuate fiddling as an art form and cultural treasure.
Fiddlers competed for over $15,000 in prizes.
In honor of its founder, the organization presented the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to Dr. Robert “Roby” Cogswell, retired Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program Director and guitarist.
WSM All Nighter’s Marcia Campbell and Keith Bilbrey of “Larry’s Country Diner” and “Huckabee” joined me in co-hosting the event.
The other top winners included in descending order: Ridge Roberts of Granbury, Texas; Andrew Lin of Lexington, Ky.; Billy Contreras of Nashville. Tenn.; Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro, Tenn.; Matthew Lin of Lexington, Ky.; Wes Westmoreland of Temple, Texas; Joel Whittinghill of Bowling Green, Ky.; Mari Black of Cambridge, Mass.; Karissa Nugent of Fort Worth, Texas; Mark Ralph of Whitesville, Ky.; Kerry Varble of Salem, Ohio; Benjamin Lin of Lexington, Ky.; Bill Jones of Covington, Ga.; Jason Andrew of Whitewright, Texas; Noemi Turner of Otis Orchards, Wash.; Cody Stadelmaier of Fort Collins, Colo.; Blakeley Burger of Louisville, Ky.; and Josiah Colle of Batesville, Ark.
The Grand Master Traditional Champion is Tyler Andal of Nashville, Tenn. who won $300, a $500 gift certificate

Tyler Andal won the Grand Master Traditional Fiddler Championship at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Sept. 1. From left, GMFC Celebrity Host Randall Franks, GMFC Director Ed Carnes, Andal, and GMFC Director Howard Harris. (GMFC photo)

courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque.
Andal, who has been playing 18 years, said it is one of his favorite competitions and divisions. He said the most impactful tune that he presented was “Lost Child.”
“It’s really exciting to me to get to play with people that know what is going on,” he said.
“It’s a lot of fun to do it with friends like Mr. Rob Pearcy that back you up in the competition and make some groovy dance music.”
Other winners in descending order are Giri Peters of Nashville, Tenn.; Tessa Dillon of St. Albans, W.V.; Clelia Stefanini of Nashville, Tenn.; Henry Barnes of Washington Court House, Ohio; Andrew Magill of Asheville, N.C.; and Hillary Klug of Shelbyville, Tenn.
The Grand Master Youth Champion is Leah Bowen of Sparks, Nev.
She won $300, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, and a Grand Master Fiddler plaque. She has been playing for four years. Her winning tunes included the Tennessee Wagoner and Rose of Avenmore Waltz and Black and White Rag.
“It’s not really about the winning,” she said. “Winning is great, but it’s about being with the people and the guitarists.:

GMFC Directors Ed Carnes (left) and Howard Harris (right) presents Grand Master Youth Champion Leah Bowen of Sparks, Nev. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Other winners in descending order are Miles Quale of Alameda, Calif.; Emilie Miller of Otis Orchards, Wash.; David Lin of Lexington, Ky. Teo Quale of Alameda, Calif., Jane Eby of Whitehouse, Ohio; Kate Ward of Kuttawa, Ky., Devon Waite of Goodlettsville, Tenn.; Christiana Nugent of Fort Worth, Texas; and Nathan Pedneault of Fort Worth, Texas.
Winning guitar accompanists are Drew Miller of Otis Orchards, Wash., Rob Pearcy of Smyrna, Tenn.; Jonathan Trawick of Portland, Ore.; Elijah Baker of Birch Tree, Mo.; Jim Reina of Conroe, Texas; and Todd Varble of Salem, Ohio. Miller who took first, won $200 and a certificate.
As a fiddler since the age of eight, whose instrument has taken me places I could never imagine the music it played would open doors from coast to coast, from backstages to board rooms allowing me to become known around the world. It is exciting for me to see their youthful dreams coming to fruition and watch the dream grow even bigger for their futures. I am honored to be watching  these talents from the wings!
Like https://www.facebook.com/grandmasterfiddler or watch on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/GrandMasterFiddle or Livestream https://www.grandmasterfiddler.com/videos/ For more information, visit www.grandmasterfiddler.com.

I walk behind the mower, therefore I am

When I began my working experience, I always looked forward to the arrival of warm weather.
I could hear my wallet growing exponentially with each inch rise of the green, green grass of home.
Well, maybe more like the neighbors’ grass since I didn’t get paid for mowing our yard.
When I was about 10, I saved enough money from my allowance to buy a second hand push mower and then set out to find willing partners in my desire to become a millionaire before age 11. Well, that is a slight exaggeration, I was mainly hoping for a few neighbors who would give me $10 every couple of weeks to mow their yards.
I amassed a pretty good list of clients which kept me busy as long as my allergies didn’t get the best of me.  Al Weidenmuller was the first I think agreeing to my business proposal, but I had to learn how to deal with raking magnolia leaves prior to each mowing; next was Ed Mikell – with more Magnolia leaves.
Then as I progressed down the street, I picked up the Neils, occasionally the Reeds, who had Zoysia and I learned to hate that type of grass because it was so hard to push. Also sometimes the Grosses.
The list grew overtime and eventually I had to enlist my father to help get me to and from in his truck as I press on beyond walking distance.
I found the time behind the push mower a time to think, dream, write songs along to the rhythm of the engine in harmony with hits hum.
As I look back, sometimes I wonder where that youthful exuberance went for the activity. I kept up the business until I finished college, even adding other landscaping tasks and working sometimes miles from my home. Eventually though, I slowly weened my customers off my services as I wanted to focus on finding my fit in the professional world after earning my degree.  Leaving me with just the task of mowing my own yard.
Through the years, I have liked the task less and less, giving me the understanding of why so many were willing to accept my eagerness to mow. My late mother use to draw great joy from hopping upon the riding mower and going full speed around the task as I weeded and pushed. She looked forward to it, possibly because it was something she could accomplish with her failing health and see a positive outcome.
Sometimes now I am even blessed by the kindness of a neighbor who will knock mine out with his. I am so happy when I see his kindness and as happy when I return the favor to him.
Sometimes I miss that young boy and young man who looked forward to the inch by inch progress of the green growth, as I sit on my back porch, I look more forward to the end of the growing season and often quip, I should do like Hollywood – just kill it and paint it green so it stays the same.
No matter where you are in your synergy with the mower and the grass, I hope you find your bliss with the endeavor and make joy in the fact that I walk behind (or ride upon) the mower, therefore I am.

Are you the player or the pawn?

Through out history people have often enjoyed classic games of thought and strategy such as chess.
It was one of the many games that fascinated me as a youth and how many hours were enjoyed with fellow enthusiasts in competition with each other.
It was a good training ground for many of the experiences which we face in life. These may include strategizing for success in life, business, relationships and of course in battles.
Prior to the presence of the internet, there were only a handful of players in most people’s lives – family, co-workers, bosses, and friends. On average the close circle for most were less that 20 with another 30 folks who might float in and out. This allowed most of us to keep a good handle upon the interactions and impact others might have upon us and on those we might affect.
With the advent of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others we now extend our circle. The sky is the limit. However, many folks follow or friend us get the opportunity to cross our welcome mat and sit down with us metaphorically in our living room. They see what we want them to and we see what they want us to. We build relationships without ever actually shaking hands or being in the same room.
I want to pose a question for you. When looking at those that you regularly allow to engage with you in social media, are they folks you would bring into your home? Introduce to your family? Trust them to watch your children, or anything that you value in life?
Does your presence in social media allow you to be a pawn for others or is it allowing you to be the player using others as pawns? Neither situation is ultimately a good one. If other’s postings make you depressed or move you to an action or an emotion which you would have not otherwise experienced, you may be acting like a pawn in someone else’s game.
Do you spend your time creating posts with an attempt to move people to do something, react or say something outside their character? Then you may be a player helping move people on the social media board in a way that fuels the negative abyss often seen scrolling past in one’s feed.
There are people out there who gain joy by pitting other people against each other and simply watching the outcome. These are the players which we are inviting into our lives. Sadly, I know some of these people and often see through the cloaked attempts claiming good which ultimately creates something bad. So, sometimes I have fell victim becoming someone else’s pawn in a battle against someone I would have not otherwise impacted.
Don’t let yourself be a pawn for a person, a cause, or a debate without taking your blinders off. Choose carefully who you allow to become the players in your life and temper your choices on your movings in other’s lives. Don’t treat other as pawns in some mind game you are playing. The game of life is so much more fun when everyone knows that a game is underway and we are all playing knowing the rules.  So, shake hands, make the first move, hit the timer and love life.

The seeds of wisdom spit forth

As I sat on the back porch watching the grass die, I could not help but find myself in my mind’s eye sitting similarly on my grandmother’s porch. It was a summer where I spent a lot of time with my Grandma Kitty and Aunt Norma Jean. Flossie, the milk cow, was meandering through the yard headed for a shade tree where she laid down and tried to create a bit of a breeze using her tail to move an almost non-existent breeze.

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Low, I will be with you always

God is so good to Christians. All we have to do is just ask and there it is.

I’m not talkin’ about things we want. I am talkin’ about things we need — like pontoon boats and big screen TVs.
I prayed and I prayed for God to give me those and sure ’nuff he did. Of course, I have to keep them at my neighbor’s house.

I can use them anytime I want to day or night, but I think they are starting to see through the sleepwalking routine.
One thing He does bless us with is travel mercies, especially preachers and singers, maybe it’s because we ask for them more often.

Now I have traveled every way possible except dog sled. I have always traveled in the finest cars money can buy — Ford Pinto, Fairmont Stationwagon, Chevy S-10.
I have never been much for heights — this really came to me on my first plane flight. It’s not the heights that bother me so much — it’s the fall followed by the splat.
I was working for Bill Monroe and had to change planes four times on a trip across country. Each time I changed, the plane got smaller and smaller and smaller. They folded me into that last one.

I’m glad I didn’t have to go any further on that trip. My next step would have been flapping my arms with red birthday balloons tied to my back.

On another fateful flight, I was on what I call a puddle jumper — when you first see those planes you’re not sure if it will get across a puddle before falling. I was returning from the Michael Jordan Celebrity Golf Tournament in North Carolina. The plane seated about 16 people and we could not have squeezed in one more. We had wall-to-wall soap opera stars, prime-time actors, comedians, football and basketball players and their folks.

What none of us knew was a series of tornadoes was about to welcome us to the not so friendly skies.

It was a few minutes into the flight when we suddenly fell. After collecting everything that was once below our belts from around our ears, everyone released their held breath.
One friend, Chris Castile, from the sit-com “Step by Step” seemed unscathed by the sudden change. Flying fascinated him, and he was watching closely as the pilot compensated for the problem.

The wind whipped us every which way right, left, up and down. I looked around, saying a silent prayer through my gritted teeth as I held the arms of my seat for dear life.
I have never heard screams like that in my life.
After I stopped yelling I realized I wasn’t the only one. You would never imagine football players could make that much noise.

I believe with the Lord’s intervention through the pilot’s skill we sailed on through the bad weather. The Lord blessed us and we all made it to the ground safely. We could not have had a better ride at Disney. That is probably why we were all smiling when we set our feet on the ground.

That is one reason I am not that fond of flying. Besides, it says right in the Bible we should keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. It says “Lo(w), I will be with you always.” It does not say a thing about high.
From the comedy routine “Travel Mercies,” by Randall Franks, used by permission of Peach Picked Publishing.

Cleaning out the goop

I walked to the top of the ladder, climbed up on the roof, turn around and sat down looking down. I pulled another scoop of goop out of the gutter and placed it within the bucket I had hanging on the hook below me.

The long row of gutter ahead was scoop by scoop being cleaned out and the bucket was filling up.

With every couple of scoops, I looked out upon the neighborhood seeing it from a totally different vantage point. On one look up, I could see one neighbor cutting hedges with clippers wearing a large triangle hat often seen in films of the far east. I watched a moment as she carefully sculpted the shape she desired. The care she placed in the task was evident.

I returned to my scooping and soon my attention was grabbed as a lawn mower engine roared in another direction. Another neighbor in a t-shirt and a pair of overalls was riding his lawnmower carefully creating diagonal lines, which shined in an amazing coordination from my view.

Far in the corner away from his work, his wife stood by the fence talking with a blonde lady in red exercise clothes who had stopped her walk.

I returned to my scooping as I inched foot by foot around the house until I spied two kids crossing the street, across their shoulders were fishing poles, and in one of their hands was a string of fish they had pulled from the creek.

I returned to my scooping and soon I realized I had matched my rhythm of work to a beating pattern which was coming from down the street.  I looked closely to see what it was and I saw a group of kids were playing a game of basketball on a nearby driveway.

Once again, I returned to my scooping, and as I ended of my task, I cleaned off the tools and disposed of the goop in the bucket in the trash can. As I prepared to shut the lid, a loud noise with no specific purpose except the deafening of those that could hear the sound of a bass that bounced from a car passed by.

I thought how the hour or so spent doing something productive allowed me clear my mind of thoughts of everyday problems as I saw some of the best moments in my neighbors lives. Did they see them as the best? Probably not. But within those moments, I saw people, living side by side, in all facets of everyday life from pure sport, intense horticulture hobbies, passing the time of day to the victory of achieving one’s goals. And like the departure of the raucous bass line as the vehicle cleared the neighborhood and the goop was tightly shut away in the waste bin, all was well in our world. And that is really what is important, how we are with one another in our neighborhood and our town. That is where we can make things better for all of us.

 

 

Carefree days of youth

I opened the door and the thickly painted white screen door slammed behind me. I seldom noticed the sound it made as I bounded down the three steps from our front stoop. Once down on the sidewalk, I was hidden from the street behind the huge green box hedges fronted by azaleas.

Once I was big enough to roam outside on my own, this is how most summer days began. Once I hit the sidewalk, I was making my way around to the utility room to pull out my green bike to open up the doors of freedom. Sometimes, my mom would be standing there by the washing machine loading in a load of clothes that she would later take out and hang upon the line for drying.

As I stepped up on the pedals, rested myself on the banana seat, and from behind me, I would hear “Be back by lunch, we are going to town for ‘looking and feeling’ this afternoon.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied as I gained speed going down the driveway and turned to the left headed for adventure.

You might ask what is ‘looking and feeling?’ That is what ladies from our area called shopping when they were aiming to get out and not buy but enjoy the air conditioning in the stores in the hot summer months.

We did a lot of that which could seem to be a terminal situation when you had something else on your mind to do as a kid.

But for the morning, I was off to create some adventure, so, my first stop would be banging on a couple of doors to raise some other kids to play. Before you could say Hank Aaron, there would be about five or six of us on our bikes riding down suicide hill.

Soon we would move on to the woods where we had built a series of forts fully stocked with pinecones.

We would pick sides and we were battling the other team to ensure the survival of our clan over the other. Sometimes we were Yankees and Confederates, sometimes Cowboys and Indians, sometimes Germans and Americans, British and Colonists, it really depended upon what movie we recently saw or what history lesson was near at hand.

Either way, and no matter who we were representing the battles took form until we ran out of ammunition and the other team overran our stronghold. We would then restock the forts for the next battle day then we would be off for maybe wading in the creek and then back home in time for lunch.

Usually a bologna sandwich with a slice of tomato from the garden, a wedge of cucumber, some barbeque Charlie’s chips and a big glass of cherry Kool-Aid. Then I would go was off the and change from my play clothes and be ready to climb into the passenger side of our Chevy Malibu to head to the stores.

Often, I would be moved to the back seat, if we picked up another mom and kids. The children were sent to the back seat and we made our way to Woolworths, J.C. Penney, Sears or even Rich’s. Of course, in those days there were no special youth seats, we didn’t even use the seat belts. We sat still though or we would feel the long arm of the law from the ladies in the front seat.

We were expected to behave no matter how many hours the excursion was. Especially when we were in public – in the stores. If we ever forgot ourselves, which I did on a couple occasions and turned the women’s and men’s department into a playground and the underneath areas of the hanging clothes and good places with hide and seek with whichever other kids were on the outing. We soon felt the sting of our mistakes upon our posteriors, and it would come sooner than later if we disturbed other folks.

As I hear kids screaming at their parents and see them acting out in public today, I fondly remember the tough lessons my parents gave me. I remember those days of imagination, the hours of fun and I wish that children today could have those experiences, rather than a childhood attached to screens of various types and parents who look the other way when they act out.

 

 

 

 

 

When life hurts

When life hurts, how do you find your way to around the pain?
I have communicated with numerous friends of late who have expressed that they were going through some painful moments in their life.
Some moments were personal emotional issues, some were related to career elements, some were relationship connected, and some were rooted in medical problems. No matter the source of the pain, it is very real to those who are experiencing it. Thus, we should never try to minimize to the speaker what one tells us about their own issues.
What do we do? How do we share comfort? Often times all we can do is just be there. We can hold a hand, lend an ear, share a word of encouragement.
Pain is sometimes a way of tempering our internal steel in hopes we can stand against the storms that are yet to come. We can only pray that when it hits us, we have the ability to weather the gale force winds of pain upon our soul or body.
It is those who share our lives, whether in passing or day-to-day who often provide the extra measure of hope needed to overcome the darkness that rise from within in various circumstances that confront us.
I would say most of us, no matter how much we have been blessed to do in following life’s dreams have thoughts and concerns that can cause us pain.
I know I do. The pain of what if’s can swallow time, happiness, and hope when we should be focusing on what will …
The only thing that gets beyond the bending of that weight is redirecting my thoughts: What will I do today to encourage some one? What will I do to find my path?
Obviously, we all have the same basic needs. Once we have the path in place that meets those needs then we can spend the rest of our time fulfilling the promise of the dreams that God provides us.
However, pursuing dreams does not equal achieving dreams. That is not in our hands, we simply must draw our satisfaction in the pursuit. Thus, the wisdom of our founders giving us the ability to live in a country where the pursuit of happiness is possible.
Use some hours to make the world a better place, if you are in pain, find someone who is suffering also and help uplift them and you will find your pain less severe.