Leave It Behind: An Open Letter to Singers, Songwriters and Musicians

11 Jan

As an artist, musician, or songwriter, what you create today, you eventually will leave behind for years to come, for new listeners. Everything you make public remains for someone to enjoy long after you’re gone. Why not leave something that will live on in a positive way? Don’t waste your talent on a ten cent song when your talent is worth more and you’re capable of creating something worth so much more to someone?

Sure, a hit song would be a sign of success but there are a ton of one hit wonders that faded away as soon as the next big thing came along because they didn’t produce a product with substantial staying power. Success isn’t based on a royalty check, a #1 song or a record deal. Your success is how your music affects the listener, how it makes an impact, even how it affects you personally. Your success is the smile on a face, the drunk guy who raises his beer at last call and leads the bar in a loud sing along to your song, the kid who sings along with their mom in the car when she plays your EP. Your success is knowing you’ve written something meaningful to yourself or someone else. Success isn’t measured in chart numbers or record sales, it’s measured in moments.

As a writer, your music and hard work becomes a memory for someone of a time in their lives, a chronological scrapbook. Write music that will leave an imprint, that can be easily remembered and is easy to sing along with. Anyone can put words together and call it a song, but few have the talent to actually write something people care about hearing again and again.

As an artist, perform each show as though it’s your first, for some in the audience it may be their first concert or first time seeing you. Make each fan feel as though you are singing directly to them. It doesn’t matter how many people attend, what matters is how many people leave impressed and want to see you again. You are the person who delivers the music from the stage to their ears. They are there for you, be there for them. Leave them knowing you gave them the very best show you could. Make it worth the time they gave up to spend on you.

As a musician, you’re every bit as important as the person singing into the mic. You’re not simply a fade into the background or a hood ornament. A song doesn’t sound nearly as good without your contribution. You’re not just the drummer, just a bass player or just a fiddle player. You are the backbone of any good show, without you, it’s just not gonna stand as strong. Your notes and chords remain in a room long after the lights go down and the doors are closed. There will always be memories of your performance to someone who comes back to that venue and has seen you play that room before. You have something just as important to leave behind.

People make a conscious choice to listen to your music, to spend their last dollar on your merchandise, to drive hours just to see you. You can never repay these thousands of unknown fans but you can leave them something more important, quality music that will they will carry in their hearts and memories for years.

That’s the success you leave behind. That’s your legacy. That’s your thank you.

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Thank You Holly Butcher for Your “Bit of Life Advice.”

10 Jan

I was reading my usual morning news and stumbled across a story about Holly Butcher, a 27 year old woman who passed away last week but left behind an extraordinary reminder of what really matters when it all comes down to it. We all need a change in our way of thinking, our attitudes, priorities and our outlook. There’s nothing more important than your relationships and your time. Spend it wisely, don’t miss time with those that mean the most to you. I didn’t know Holly but her “bit of life advice” really hit me where it needed to and when I needed a push. I wanted to share in hopes that it might do the same for someone else who needs it. Thank you Holly for leaving behind something that truly matters, something that can help so many people. I hope this continues to go viral and that it continues to make a difference.

Holly Butcher
January 3 at 4:16pm ·

“A bit of life advice from Hol:

It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability.. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us.. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.

You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body.. work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not.. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.

Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

Get amongst nature.

Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females 🤔.

Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

Work to live, don’t live to work.

Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

..’Til we meet again.

Hol

Xoxo ”

Link to original post on Facebook – http://bit.ly/2meMpGm

CHANGE IS ALWAYS HAPPENING

30 Aug

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Your life changes every second of every day. You make friends, you lose friends. You realize that those you thought were your friends really aren’t friends at all. You realize that person you never thought twice about makes a great friend after all. You look for love, you find love maybe with a stranger or maybe with your best friend, you lose love, you make love. Someone makes an effort for you, make an effort for them. You realize that all along, with all of your flaws, you’re loved by somebody. You laugh, you cry, you scream, you wonder, you agonize, you sigh, you laugh some more and shake your head wondering why you were so upset in the first place. You wish you hadn’t done something then you are glad you did. You wonder what if, you take a chance on something or someone, it works out, it doesn’t work out, at least now you’re not wondering what if anymore and you took the chance to find out because it mattered. You have ups and downs, see good movies and count the minutes til bad ones are over. You question yourself, you doubt yourself, you gain confidence, you lose confidence then you realize you’re a pretty awesome person. You wish you were someone else then you see that person for who they really are and thank God you’re you. You love life, you hate life, you struggle, you regain control and love life again. You give and you take. No matter what’s thrown your way, handle it and move on. Your life is waiting and it’s always gonna change, so adapt and change with it instead of letting it change you. Let people in and let people out. If it changes you, let it be for the better.

– Jenn

So Here’s Why I Support Independent Artists … And Why You Should Too

2 Aug

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There is an endless sea of music out there to choose from and my primary choice of music is the independent artist. Don’t misunderstand, I love signed artists and listen to Top 40 too, but there is something special about an independent artist who hasn’t allowed themselves to get lost in the soul sucking vortex of today’s music industry.

I’m not talking the weekend garage band warrior or the guy who occasionally gets up on open mic night to impress the new girl of the week. I’m talking about the serious and determined artist who is out to make their music more than a hobby and don’t mind doing what it takes within reason to get it out there. They don’t have the backing of big bucks, they’re not the ones who pucker up to kiss the ass of an arrogant corporate suit who’s telling them what to sing, what to wear, how to look, to drop some weight, or that it would be best if you didn’t talk too much about the family because it’s not good for the image. They don’t have high paying radio promoters, they do it themselves and realize that their fans are their biggest and most honest promoters and they don’t have to feel the need to compete with the bigger name on their label.

I love the artists who stand by their creativity and aren’t willing to sell it to the highest bidder who’s going to take control of it and turn them into something that doesn’t even start to resemble who they are. They refuse to stand in line on the musical conveyor belt as another corporately packaged, look alike, sound alike, cookie cutter molded artist who won’t be around in 5-10 years. I love the guys who will play the hole in the wall venues barely taking home tips just to be heard. They realize the size of the venue doesn’t matter and neither does the size of the crowd because all it takes is one person to hear what they have to offer and change their lives. They don’t do it for the fame, the money or the attention, they do it because they love it and because it’s who they are. It isn’t always the voices that turn my head, it’s the drive and the willpower to get in the van and hit the road, not knowing what’s ahead, only knowing they have to move forward. They stand on that stage night after night and sing to a crowd of drunks who aren’t even listening to the music. It’s frustrating, but they do it with a smile on their face. They load up their merch tables with stacks of signed self-released CD’s they paid for themselves, cleverly designed t-shirts that they paid for themselves and signed headshots that they paid to have taken, and then stand at that table exhausted after their show shaking every hand, thanking every person for coming and posing for a million pictures. They don’t just bolt off the stage and become a bus hermit. Why? It’s part of the deal and most of them really don’t mind doing it. They seem to connect on a more personal level with their fans than high profile names. They tend to remember your face and your name and talk to you for more than the standard 5 minute shake and go.

The struggle to be heard is one of the most difficult roads to travel but these artists just pile their stuff in the van and head to the next gig, the next city, the next month, the next year and hope that someone will listen and tell someone about them and that the right ears will eventually hear. They don’t give up easily and if they do, then this wasn’t the right road for them anyway. To them it’s not a hobby, it’s their livelihood and puts food on their tables and pays the bills. They aren’t any less talented than someone in the Top 40 and being played on country radio, some are more talented, sound better and their music is better quality. They just haven’t had that break yet to give them the platform to make that life changing impression but they don’t give up. This is why I don’t give up on them.

Give an unheard name a chance, listen to new music, don’t compare it to what the industry tells you is good music. Every big name started in a small venue, every big name was once a local unknown. There’s room on your playlist for both.

#SupporttheUnderdog

The “Right” Time .. What Is That Anyway?

20 Jul

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You hear it on a regular basis, “Well, the timing wasn’t right” or “it’s not the right time”. So when IS the right time and what if you run out of time before the time is right? The right time is now, when it’s weighing on your mind, when you feel so strongly about it that you can’t stop thinking about it. There’s your sign. What do you want God to do? Tap you on the shoulder and yell “yoo hoo” in your ear first?

We miss so many opportunities because we were so busy paying attention to other things that we miss the “right time” and the right people. God’s done His part, now it’s up to you to act on it. You’ll know when that time is right, He’ll make sure of it so don’t be so quick to write timing off when it comes to circumstances or people. They’re both placed in your path when they need to be.

Start embracing right now and stop using the excuse to do something later. You might not have later. Opportunities present themselves ALL the time, not just at the time that’s right in your mind, but at times that are right in God’s mind for you. Right now is all you DO have.

Why Support Independent Artists, Songwriters and Musicians?

19 Apr

Actually it’s pretty simple, they’re the ones that write and perform the songs that get stuck in your head, that cause you to tap your foot, make you sing in the shower and provide the words for karaoke on a Saturday night. They’re the reason we have good music to listen to and to save us from the monotonous sounds of the same old manufactured “music” over and over again. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have that first song that meant something to us, music to dance that first dance to, or that song that brings up memories you’d long forgotten. They breathe life into every day, give us reasons to smile, reasons to cry and reasons to feel. They are the creators of something that every one of us can relate to and something that makes us all the same for at least 3.5 minutes. It’s because of them we can forget the world around us and immerse ourselves in a world of harmony and melody.

Independent artists are more likely to be in it for the love of the music, not just the money.  They take pride in their talent and they stand up for their creativity and don’t want the major labels to mold them into something they’re not and take away their ability to do THEIR thing.  Music is a way of life and a means of support for these artists, not just a hobby or something to pass the time. It puts food on the table and keeps the lights on. I believe if they believe in the music that much and I am able to take part in the result of that love the next time I turn on my iPod, then I can support them in any way I can. I thank them for what they do and what they give to those that love good, honest, heartfelt music.

I started promoting independent artists almost 10 years ago because of one song, “The Key”, by one country writer, John Griffin, who wasn’t getting any attention for his wonderful writing. I learned to take a minute and not simply hear, but actually listen to the words and music these independent songwriters have written and chances are it applies to some situation that has occured in the pages of your mind and in your life. I know they have in mine. I also promote signed artists, but mostly those you aren’t hearing regularly (if at all) on radio and those veteran artists who have “aged out” of today’s younger demographic but continue to sell out night after night and release amazing music.

If you listen to a song and you like what you hear, please let them know, talk about it on your websites and social media pages, and talk to your friends and family about their talent. People don’t know unless you say something. Go to their official websites or social media pages and let them know how you heard about them and what you think of their music. Every artist appreciates support and loves to get feedback on their music. Thanks so much for your support. Buy their merchandise, attend their shows, and most importantly, BUY the music.

Check out my country music promotions page, www.lovinlyrics.com and connect with me on Twitter at @lovinlyrics, Facebook and Instagram.

Go For the Win … #WinAtLife

13 Apr

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Positive mindsets create positive outcomes. Stop holding yourself back from doing amazing things. You’re just as capable as the next guy, maybe even more so. Forget what society thinks, forget what your friends think, stick by what YOU think. So many people settle for mediocre when they were created for so much more and they settle because of fear and no confidence in themselves. You have to want it more than you’re scared of it and if you can’t believe in you why should anyone else. You get ONE shot at making your life the best it can be, ONE. Go out knowing you gave it all you had, that you tried your best and being able to tell yourself that honestly is success in itself. #WINATLIFE

Two Small Words … One Big Meaning

30 Nov

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I guess when you hit your 40’s, you start to reflect and see life a little differently. I’ve always been a deep thinker, an observer and a “payer of attention”. I think it’s taught me to see what I need out of life. It seems to have become a lot more evident that not only do I need to live life, I should focus on learning to LOVE LIFE.
Life’s full of ups, downs, disappointments, achievements, surprises and obstacles. Those are things that are always going to be here, they’re not gonna change but I can change the way I handle them. Complaining is just that, complaining. Wasting breath trying to change things that are most of the time out of our control and truth be told, it just makes us look like whiny, ungrateful, entitled jerks. If it’s something you can change, then stop bitching and start working on a change. If it’s something you can’t change, then start figuring out a way to work around it and adapt. Life was here long before we were, situations were here long before we got in the middle of them. Life wasn’t meant to adapt to our needs and our wants, so we have to learn to adapt to what it throws at us even if it’s not the easiest thing to do.
Since hitting my 40’s, I’ve learned to pay closer attention to life’s details, to work on self improvement, to love more and listen a little closer to what my heart tells me instead of always listening to my head. For me, I think the cliche is true, “Life really does begin at 40.” I’m 45 and it’s really starting to make more sense to me and to mean more now that I see things happening around me. I see my parents aging, I’ve lost both sets of grandparents, I see high school classmates who have passed away, I’ve had friends take their own lives, I’ve seen marriages crumble that I thought were made in Heaven, I’ve seen spouses cheat on their partners, I’ve seen relationships end and then start right back up with someone new before the person broken up with has even had time to process the break up, I see friends that were once sitting on top of the world wondering why life now has them scraping rock bottom and wondering how they’re gonna make it to the next day, I’ve taken a gun out of a crying suicidal friend’s hand in the middle of the night and let them fall asleep mentally exhausted on my lap, I’ve left my house in the middle of the night and driven 3 hours just to be with a friend who’s self esteem was shattered because her husband called her and told her he was leaving her because she was too fat, he couldn’t stand to look at her anymore and wasn’t someone he could love. I’ve seen those struggling to make ends meet lose their jobs, having gone through unemployment myself for 4 years. Every day I see the world around me changing in a not so good way and putting us in situation that create self-doubt and turn us from fun loving people into negative shells of who we once were. Life creeps up on you while you’re busy partying, complaining, working, and while we’re not realizing just how fast it’s happening.
Don’t let life turn you into someone that would make you uncomfortable to be around, someone that people shy away from, or someone that isn’t who you know you are. Don’t become the same kind of person that you personally can’t stand to be around, you know, the kind that you complain to other people about. That’s the great thing about the human spirit, it’s adaptable and changeable if you teach yourself what’s more important to you and what matters. Get out of the house, get off the computer, go enjoy your life. Go spend time with friends. If you’re single, get out and meet people. If you are already interested in someone and want to see where it goes, ask them out and see what happens. Travel, do something different, step out of your comfort zone, stop being such a tightwad and spend some money on experiences that create great memories.

You were put here to do more than simply take up space and exist, you were meant to LOVE LIFE.

The Real Strength of a Man 

30 Sep

Ladies, the guys in your life do more for you everyday than you realize. Remember to thank them for the small things they do, the gestures, the smiles they put on your faces, the hours they work, the weight that’s on their shoulders to make sure you have a roof over your head and that you’re taken care of without you having to be the one to do the worrying. It’s in the way they love your kids. It’s so much more than just material things that the men in your lives provide. It’s security, love, friendship, confidence and stablity. Let them know that you appreciate them. They need to hear it just as much as we do and have just as many insecurities about themselves as we do. To the guys in my life, I love y’all and am so appreciative of each of you for who you are and what you bring to my life every day whether you realize those things or not. Thank you. 

The Strength of a Man 

  The strength of a man isn’t seen in the width of his shoulders. It’s seen in the width of his arms that circle you.

 The strength of a man isn’t in the deep tone of his voice. It’s in the gentle words he whispers.

 The strength of a man isn’t how many buddies he has. It’s how good a buddy he is with his kids.

 The strength of a man isn’t in how respected he is at work. It’s in how respected he is at home.

 The strength of a man isn’t in how hard he hits. It’s in how tender he touches.

 The strength of a man isn’t in the hair on his chest. It’s in his Heart … that lies within his chest.

 The strength of a man isn’t how many women he’s loved. It’s in how he can be true to one woman.

 The strength of a man isn’t in the weight he can lift. It’s in the burdens he can carry.

The Perfect Shell – The Second Best Conversation I’ve Ever Had

28 Sep

“The Perfect Shell” – The Second Best Conversation I’ve Ever Had …
Originally Posted on Facebook on October 23, 2011 at 2:09am

Author: Me

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I posted back in 2009 about the best conversation I’d ever had with an elderly man on the bus from Downtown Disney to the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World. What is it about some people that make a conversation so fascinating and insightful, thoughtful, emotional? It’s their experience and the fact that they’re speaking realistically, from the heart.

A couple of days ago, I decided to do something I NEVER do, wake up early and walk on the beach just after sun up. Those of you that know me know that morning and I are not friends, we are mortal enemies. Morning to me, should come around 3pm. Whoever came up with this whole morning concept just sucks or at least they did until last Wednesday morning. I dragged myself out of my nice warm covers, threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt, walked out into the crisp cold fall air and drove to Ft. Macon, my favorite spot for shelling and solitude. There are high sand dunes, a historic military fort, crashing waves, sand and the sound of seagulls and rarely any people on the beach this early in the off season. I got out of the car and started my long morning walk and time alone with my thoughts. I was absorbed in my thoughts about finding a job, missing my friends, wishing I had someone to share this kind of time with and hating the loneliness of being a 41 year old single woman when someone walked up behind me and scared the hooey out of me. I turned around and there was this smiling woman, with skin that was starting to show it’s age and her expressions of years past, and there a friendly light in her eyes. She was maybe around 70. She apologized for making me jump out of my skin, grabbed my hand, introduced herself as “Barbara” and asked me if I’d found any good shells yet. I showed her the two, one that was an angel wing that had a few barnacles attached to it. She took the shell and told me how to get them off of the shell without harming the surface. She said she had been coming to Ft. Macon shelling every day for years. You know how some people just tell you their stories whether you want to hear them or not? This was one I wanted to hear and she obviously wanted to tell it so I asked her to walk with me. As we searched the sand for treasures washed up from the ocean, she would tell me that “Ron”, her husband, used to walk this same path with her, doing the same thing. It was their “morning togetherness routine”, not to find shells, but to find each other. I asked her to tell me more about Ron, he seemed like a wonderful man from the glimmer in her eyes at the mere mention of his name and the excitement that was obviously in her heart that someone would express interest in her memories of her longtime love.

Barbara told me that they met on the beach years ago. She had been out doing just this very thing, collecting shells, when he came walking from the other direction. He smiled at her and introduced himself and asked to see what she’d found. He’d just moved here and wanted to know where the best place to look for shells was, his sister was an avid shell collector and would be visiting soon. She told me they parted ways on the beach and when she looked back over her shoulder to see where he was, he was turned around looking back at her. He walked back, got her contact information and said he would be in touch, maybe they could spend some time getting to know each other a little more. Little did she know that a year later, they’d be married in a small Beaufort, NC church and having a family a year later with the birth of a daughter, Mary. It was a wonderful romantic story, one that I was surprised she was telling a perfect stranger, but it made her happy to recall the good times so I let her continue with the story. She told me she never expected to meet someone here, she had moved here to start over and put some bad things behind her. She didn’t specify what those things were and I didn’t ask. She asked if I was married or dating anyone and you know me, I rolled my eyes and said no, haven’t been that lucky and went on to explain how when it comes to love and that kinda thing, I’m not really good at it and can’t seem to have good luck and have pretty much resigned myself to being the single crazy old lady with her dog. She told me she felt the same way when she met Ron in a totally random unexpected way. She said she certainly wasn’t ready to get married, or so she thought. She had written romance out of the picture, felt she was “past her time”. Apparently time found her and she said it would find me too. She used the analogy of shell collecting, said when I am least expecting it, I will look down and find my perfect shell, the one I’ve been looking for, one that’s perfect in my eyes and is exactly what I was hoping to find, that one of a kind shell that washes up once in a rare while. It really made me see things alot differently. I guess most single women my age probably think the same things – what’s wrong with me? Why am I always good enough to be someone’s best friend but no more than that? Why can’t someone see what’s so great about me? Am I not pretty enough? You know, the same questions we all ask ourselves at one time or another. Blah blah blah. She’s right, it’s not me, it’s just not the right time. The ocean decides when it’s the right time to push that perfect shell onto the shore and it’s God’s decision as to when it’s the right time to push the perfect person into my path just as Ron had walked across her path at the right time. He passed away from pancreatic cancer. She told him before he passed that she would still walk the beach everyday and thank God for letting her find her “perfect shell”. We reached the pavillion and parking area and Barbara said this is where she was parked and it was time for her to meet Mary for breakfast, that she enjoyed our talk and hoped to meet again on the beach. I thanked her for giving me something to think about and we waved goodbye. Will I ever see her again, probably not. The more I think about it, was she even a real person or was she possibly an angel? The Lord works in some mighty mysterious ways and you can’t help but wonder … we’ll see. Until then, I’ll keep going out and looking for that elusive, perfect shell.