POSITIVE THOUGHT FOR TODAY – FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2015

3 Apr

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We’re all trying to figure out the meaning of life – don’t say you’re not because you’re human and somewhere inside of you, you are trying to figure out what your story actually is. You’re just like everyone else – confused and just taking life one day at a time, building your storyline towards your own ending.

Hmmm let’s see. Life doesn’t have just one meaning, the combination of so many things make up the meaning for each of us differently. It’s made up of relationships, people, resolve, determination, inspiration, motivation, encouragement, discouragement, strength, passion, dreams, disappointment, heartbreak, love, laughter, tears, friendship, spontaneity, romance, music, dancing, weathering the storms, getting back up when you’ve been knocked down, prayers – both answered and unanswered, faith, hope, giving, taking, helping, caring and being there for people when you’d rather be somewhere else. Each story is different. You can’t tell from the cover what someone’s story is made up, what their plot is or what their ending will be but you can decide to take a chance and take a deeper look inside.

“My Name is Jennifer and I Am An Addict …”

22 Jan

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My name is Jennifer and I am an addict. Some people are addicted to drugs, some to food, some to love. Me? I’m addicted to music.  The majority of my days involve music … listening to it, telling other people about it, writing about it, researching it and just breathing it in. Music is my drug of choice. It gives me a high that I don’t come crashing down from, it fills my heart with a permanent happiness and takes my mind off whatever madness is going on around me. It drowns out the noise of the world and keeps me in tune with my soul. It’s made a difference in my life, one that I am proud of and one that I feel I can share that can help others dealing with situations in their lives. There’s better therapy for a bad day than putting on a pair of headphones and immersing yourself in a good song.

My world is full of enablers and dealers. The dealers are the songwriters, the musicians, and the singers. They are the ones who give life to the songs that make me feel good, the songs that keep my mind in a positive place and the music that keeps me sane at times when most people would be pulling their hair out. The writers deal in words and thought. They put down in words what most of us feel but either can’t find the words to say or what we emotionally can’t say. They write from personal experience, tragedy, life’s experiences and sometimes just a drunken night. Whatever means they use to come up with the right words is usually something most of us can identify with, they’re just given the gift of translation that most of us weren’t blessed with. They can then take those words and make something beautiful from them once they add the right notes. This is where the musicians and artists come in, the middle men, if you will, between the dealer and the addict. The deal only happens when the musicians come together to play the melodies and join with the artist to sing the words with the necessary emotions. The final product is a drug that is delivered by the artist who cuts the song and presents it to the addict. The addict becomes hooked and can’t stop listening and has to have another song, and another, and another. And so the cycle continues.

Music is a great high, a great way to mentally get away from it all. It’s the kind of high that can literally change your life if you inhale the perfect song at the perfect time. It can take you to a place you never imagined you’d see, take you from a dark place into the light, it can be a key that opens the most tightly closed heart, and it can turn a life around. To quote Bono of the group U2, “Music can change the world because it can change people.” It can and it does, every day.

If you have to find an addiction, find a healthy vice in good music. It’s good for your heart, it’s good for your soul. We should all indulge in good music daily and appreciate its long term effects.

Lessons I Learned from 2014

29 Dec

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2014 was an eye opener and more importantly, a mind opener, for me. It not only reminded me how short 365 days are, it also taught me how important those days are.

2014 taught me quite a few things –

Your circle of friends isn’t as big as you’d like to think. Your Facebook list may be large but how many people do you really talk to? How many take the time to call you just to say hi and how many do you keep in regular touch with? If you look at your phone contacts, how many of those numbers have you called in the past 6 months and how many have called you? When you hit rock bottom, who was really there to pull you up and see you through? Who encourages you, who inspires you, who is THERE and not just “there”? Pay attention to the ones that matter, the ones that define the word “friendship”. They’re the ones you hang on to. Make sure those in your ship are keeping you afloat and not causing you to start sinking.

The relationships and friendships you thought were solid and would last, don’t always do so. I’ve learned to love and let go when it’s needed. Most people are made to simply pass through our lives while only handful were meant to stay. Know the difference. Sometimes it’s those you love the most that are meant to go on their way and those are the ones it’s hardest to let go. Life happens that way. Don’t hold a grudge, wish them well and move on with your life.

Promises, big talk and bullshit may get you into certain circles, but your character is what keeps you there and it speaks louder and says more than anything your mouth ever will. Character is what you do when others aren’t looking but it’s also what you do when they are. You know why you do things, what the agenda is, and what you hope to gain and so does one other person that can ALWAYS see what and why you’re doing something. Honesty, integrity and character are 3 things you can never buy.

No matter how much you care for and love someone, those feelings aren’t always going to be returned and that’s ok. Some people are meant to just reserve a spot in your heart. I’ve learned to just keep loving them and be the same friend I’ve always been. Not everyone you want to be with is everyone you need to be with. I’ve learned if they want to be with you, they’ll make an effort and you won’t have to wonder where you stand. If you have to wonder where you stand with someone, maybe it’s time to stop standing and start walking.

A 13 hour road trip and a week in another state with your 72-year-old father is not only a great idea, that I’m glad I did it. The quality time with the man who shaped me, taught me life lessons, taught me the importance of laughter is something I will cherish until the day I leave this earth. It reminded me of being a kid again, when it was ok to stand between your parents on the hump on the floorboard between the seats and sing along to 70’s radio. It reminded me that while I might not feel like I’m 44 years old and that he’s 72 years old, we are and that time isn’t waiting on either of us. It reminded me that time with those you love is time well spent.

I’ve learned that paying your dues is necessary, having things handed to you is nice, but working for them and getting them is even better. There’s a satisfaction both in what you’ve done and in yourself when you work hard and it pays off.

Be a friend, even when it’s hard to and be there even when you’d rather be somewhere else. People need you when they need you, not on your schedule.

Good music matters.

It taught me that there is always hope. You may feel like giving up, but remember that hope is something that is never out of reach, it’s always there and it can keep you going long after you thought you couldn’t go any farther.

Stop bitching about what doesn’t matter and concern yourself with what does. Who cares if they put pickles on your burger when you asked them not to, take ’em off and eat the damn thing. Long line at the store? Stand in it and be thankful you have the money to purchase whatever it is you’re standing in line for. Think before you bitch.

No matter how bad you think your life is, someone else out there would love to be in your shoes. Life really is pretty good even when you can’t see it at the time.

Be honest with people, don’t tell them what they want to hear, care enough to tell them what they need to hear even when it’s not pretty. Care enough to want the best for people and sometimes the best includes blatant honesty.

People matter. No disclaimers, no conditions, no questions. They matter, all of us, every color, every background, every last one of us. Treat everyone like they are someone because they are.

Do the things you want to do while you can. Wanna travel? Save up what you can and go where it will allow. Just have some fun in your life, do the unexpected and be spontaneous. Life isn’t a day planner, why treat it like one.

Take a long walk outside, look around you and really notice the beauty surrounding you, breathe in the fresh air and listen to the “music” in everyday life. Say hello to the stranger you pass on the street, make eye contact with them and wish them a nice day. Hold the door for someone. Thank a cashier or someone in public service for what they do, it’s not an easy job although you may think so. They deal with some of the worst attitudes and rudest people every day. The public is not easy to deal with.

Just appreciate the time you have left, you don’t know how long that is. It really is a gift that you have a present, that you’ve made it through the past and that we all like to think of the future ahead of us. Right now is all you have, just use it wisely. Make it count. Make your memories worth making, they’re all you’re really taking with you.

Thank you 2014 for the clarity, the confusion, the love and the occasional slap in the face. I’ve taken your lessons to heart and am looking forward to learning more from the year to come.

Jenn

Did You? Have You? If Not, You Should …

15 Sep

Did you say it? Did you say I love you? Did you say thank you to those who have helped you and stood by you because they see something special in you that you can’t always see yourself and that others may not be paying attention to? Find your passion, ignite a fire, make a move, make that call you’ve been too busy or too damn stubborn to make, date someone completely wrong for you because it might be you that’s been wrong about them, say hello because that one word could result in a lifelong friendship and opportunity you might have missed by not speaking, forgive and move forward, listen to good music and whatever you do, take the time to really look around you, to realize that life is pretty good. Appreciate it, it could all be gone tomorrow and you wouldn’t have another chance to do any of these things. #SoapboxMomentOver

Songwriters: Appreciation for Those That Give Music It’s First Breath

29 Aug

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So I’m sitting here listening to my iPod and find myself, once again, really thankful for songwriters. If it weren’t for them, personally, my days would be a lot different. I wouldn’t have songs to sing really bad karaoke to in the car, nothing to sing in the shower, and I wouldn’t have a reason to do what I truly enjoy, promote great artists, because there would be no artists. Writers are artists that paint their personal experiences, thoughts and lives on silence and bring those thoughts and ideas to life for the rest of us. They really are the first breath of a song.

There truly are untold stories behind our favorite songs and thanks to them, the stories within each song make us laugh, cry, think, forgive, move on and accept things that have happened in our lives and learn to deal with them. Music is truly one of the most powerful things we’ve been given. It does have the power to change lives in some cases. I know it changed mine and for that, I am most thankful. So thank you to guys like Jason Matthews, Eric Paslay, Matt Ramsey, Matraca Berg, Joe Leathers, Ben Glover, Brian White, Josh Pruno, Ben Hayslip, Bob DiPiero, Skip Ewing, Ben Glover, Bruce Wallace, Steve Holy, Scott DeCarlo, Josh Charles, Ray Scott, Aimee Mayo, Matraca Berg, John Griffin, Bridgette Tatum, Brian Davis, Scott DeCarlo and all of the many others who share their talent in writing. I truly appreciate what you do and the work that goes into it.

We are ALL Perishable Items With a Limited Shelf Life

29 Aug

We all need someone or something to motivate us, to inspire us and to make us realize that our time is limited, we don’t know how long we are going to be here and how long we have to make a difference, to go after what we want and build towards our dreams. The reality is that we’re all “perishable items” with a limited shelf life and most of us are just sitting around waiting on our expiration date. What are you going to do before your shelf life expires?

The Lesson Robin Williams Left Behind …

12 Aug

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Watching this Robin Williams story really makes it hit home that you never really know what someone is going through internally, emotionally. They can be the happiest person in the world on the outside and the saddest, most broken person on the inside. Life is about the people around us, the lives we touch, the memories we make and the hearts we help to heal. Pay attention to other people. When it comes down to it, in the end, people are the only thing we have. They’re so important. Tell those closest to you how you feel about them, make sure they know, make the call, forgive transgressions and move on, show them that despite everything going on in your own life that you always have time for them because you really do if you want to. People matter, lives matter, feelings matter. 

It’s heartbreaking that he’s gone, he was one of the finest actors but above that, he was a good person. The world will miss his charisma, his laughter, his good spirit and his giving hear. One thing he did leave us with is a a much more acute awareness of the illness of depression. I hope his loss teaches us to pay more attention, to educate ourselves to recognize the signs of someone with this illness and to open our hearts to help those who come to us with the need to understanding and help. It’s time to come together and help those who need it. 

 

Do You Know Who YOU Are?

30 Jul

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Someone once asked me this question – “Who are you? Who are you as a person?”

My reply: I am Southern grit and Southern grace, outspoken most of the time, funny at least in my own mind, honest to a fault, unapologetically me, sometimes offensive, overly passionate. I am the frosting that turns your boring muffin into a cupcake, the Lucky Charm in your bowl of All Bran … I was born without a filter between my brain and my mouth and I’m ok with that … I cuss like a sailor on weekend pass, I think farts are funny, and I can belch the alphabet (well, ok, only up to C, but you get the idea) … I believe the most bad ass thing you can do is be exactly who you are … I’m a cold beer in a bottle kinda girl surrounded by a bunch of pinky raising wine drinkers … I like life simple and hate complication … I am the motivator of the “non get off their assers” … I just call it like I see it even if it’s not the way you think I should see it … I’m not mean, I am the teller of unpopular truths that other people don’t have the courage to say out loud but are thinking … You will pretty much always find me smiling or laughing because well, it’s my favorite … I still believe in the fairy tale even if it’s not meant for me … I am perfectly imperfect … I suck at life but at least I’m wicked cool while I do it … I don’t believe there is such a thing as being “too busy” for anyone … The time is there, you either make it or you make excuses… I think honesty is a rare thing these days and am doing my best to bring it back, not as a novelty, but as a must have … I’m also a deep thinker, I don’t think people take time to do enough real thinking … I appreciate and believe an “attitude of gratitude” goes a long way … In a world of people who could care less, I prefer to be someone who cares more … I believe if you’re not doing what you love, then you’re not living, you’re merely existing … My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are … I believe in helping the underdog and standing behind him to push him up when he feels like giving up. It’s what I do, it’s who I am. Any other questions?

Now, who are you?

Be That Person …

30 Jul

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Today how about giving someone a piece of your heart instead of a piece of your mind. We’re all struggling with our own battles, why add to someone’s lack of confidence, bad mood, or struggle just to get through the day? Just be nice, be helpful, lend a hand instead of a criticism. Be that person you’d like someone to be towards you, the person that gives you hope, peace of mind and a reason to smile. Life is hard enough without unnecessary drama and negativity. Don’t you just get tired of it? 

You Only Get Each Second Once …

9 Apr

When’s the last time you really slowed down and took a look at where you were, took a look at your life, at yourself, and at those around you? Who you choose to surround yourself with makes such an important impact on your every day life, your attitude, your confidence. People just don’t realize how important people are. We’re all we have, really. Don’t let those who love misery keep you as company. Stop letting the negativity around you affect you so much, haters are gonna hate whether it be you or someone else. Stop giving your time and attention to those who don’t give you a minute of theirs and never let anyone else determine your worth. Get rid of the ones who are there but not really “there”. They probably won’t even notice and when they do, they probably won’t think twice about it. Life is too short for anger, for sadness and for feeling sorry for yourself. Step back and concentrate on the good in your life because I can guarantee you it outweighs the bad. Every day you spend dwelling on the stuff that doesn’t matter, takes away time you can’t get back. Don’t regret not doing something, cross that line, take that risk, give it a shot. Be kind to people, do what you can to help without expecting something in return, say thank you and mean it, say I love you and mean it more. You’re getting one day closer to the end of your life and that’s reality. Make this second and every one after it mean something, make it count, make it meaningful. You only get each second once.