"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Celebrate: to observe (a day) or commemorate (an event) with ceremonies or festivities: to celebrate Christmas; to celebrate the success of a new play.

Let the party begin?

One of America's greatest songwriters and writer of Broadway scores is Fran Loesser. During his brilliant career he gave us the Broadway hits "Guys & Dolls" and "How To Succeed In Business Without Trying". He won Tony awards and an Oscar for best song "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

In 1947 he wrote a song that was perfected by voice in 1963 by Ohio native Nancy Wilson, the song was "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve".

Nancy Wilson

 The lyrics are simple, the message is obvious and the feelings are transferable.

Maybe it’s much too early in the game
Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it’s exactly twelve o’clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year
New Year’s Eve

Maybe I’m crazy to suppose
I’d ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You’d receive

Ah, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it’s exactly twelve o’clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year
New Year’s Eve

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

The song is a pure classic.

Even this year the song was revisited by Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt , of 500 Days of Summer fame, with a huge following on youtube. Already this Holiday Season the song has been viewed over 3.5 million times and has over 45,000 likes.

And as classic as that song may be it will never be more popular or familiar as the pain many people feel during this time of year.

The Holiday's can be a lonely business for many.

Many aimlessly search for something to celebrate.

There was time that I didn't enjoy the Holidays at all.

From 1996 to 2006 the Holidays, especially Christmas, was a depressing time for me. I was divorced twice, completely broke and without any real joy in my life. I remember dropping off my children on many different Christmas Eve's contemplating that life has to have more to offer than this. I reasoned that the divorce(s) were good, and best, for the children, and everyone involved, but ultimately observed that there was a better way than this to experience a family; experience life.

At one of the lowest points in my life during a Holiday Season I found myself eating late night on Christmas Eve in a Waffle House feeling sorry for myself, and my stomach - the food was terrible - because deep down I knew I'd blown it and my life was effortlessly moving ever close to consistent moments of meaningless, and too many experiences void of any real satisfaction or joy.


Time was running out on my dreams, and the "potential" that everyone saw in me was no more.

Sadly, I knew it, and so did everyone around me. I was a ship without a map, without a compass. 

To make a very long, and boring to many, story short I will say that those days during those painful holidays weren't the final chapters of my life.

I'm thankful for that.

And I hope you're encouraged by that wonderful fact. 

Today I enjoy the Holidays more than my children and I purchase more Christmas decorations than my wife, mother-in-law and mother combined.

36 individual hooks, 36 individual ornaments... and 36 statements from my wife; "Let me guess, more ornaments" 

I truly love the holidays... and so can you.

When I set out to begin writing in this format it was my goal to write words that inspired, motivated and encouraged. Not because of any perceived wisdom or insight on my part, but because I was willing to use my life, warts and all, as a backdrop for hope; for encouragement. 

If I could do it anyone could do it is the phrase of the day.

I realized that I could enjoy life at its fullest. I didn't have to give up on my dreams, and my life could have meaning and purpose once again. 

But I didn't do it alone.

Yes, I'm very blessed and God has shown me tremendous favor in allowing my wife, Ronnie, to share her life with me and our children.

Yes, having two children eight months apart some six years ago was a painful experience, but it was the catalyst God used to motivate me to seek a better cause; a better purpose in my life.

And yes, many prayers were prayed on my behalf and answered in my favor.

But in the end, I decided to walk with God, not to run from Him and that has made all the difference in the world.

It really has.

So where ever you find yourself this Holiday Season remember God has a specific plan for you and there is no denying that fact. He has a wondrous plan, full of joy, and pain, full of success, and failure, and a path that will have obstacles, treacherous terrain, but that will also have beautiful skylines and ocean breezes.

And through it all God will walk step by step with us, carrying us when we can't walk, hearing us when we can't talk and patiently loving us when we deny His presence and His aid. 

In the end, there is real satisfaction, there is real hope and there is real salvation, and freedom, in Jesus Christ 

If you are believer make sure you embrace that fact, if you're not a believer in Jesus Christ, and have not accepted Him in your life there is still time... He's waiting

Below is a letter that I received that was enlightening and admirable; heartfelt and appreciated and inspired me to write this piece.

Merry Christmas grievers

I'm seriously putting myself out there for this note, being the "Debbie Downer" for the "Happ, Happiest Season of All", but I'd like to put a shout out for all of those who are struggling, wanting to close their eyes and run from all of this candy coated happiness. 

I'm not turning atheist or anything; I don't use the word "X-mas". 

I know this is the time of year that we, as born again believers in Jesus Christ, celebrate the season of our Savior's birth.  He has come to set the captives free, the light of the world that once lived (and still some do) in darkness will see the glorious light of our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 42:7)  That alone is great cause for rejoicing. When I think of God sending his son to die for what I've done so that I could live forever in glorious celebration of the creator, I want to do more than a happy dance.

However, (this is the downer part) in my realm of living, people seem to hide the feelings of depression when it comes to the holidays.  They are forced to put on their happy faces and pretend that everything is okay with their world.  The people around them don't want to mention the pain to spoil the season.

Cooler temperatures, shorter days, leaves are falling.  Halloween comes and goes, then the Christmas decorations come out.  Before you know it, Thanksgiving.  Blink and the Christmas season is here.  The season brings on a wave of memories.  I have personally seen a Hallmark, Lifetime Christmas.  I've heard people talk about the memories and traditions their family experience.  Old time ornaments from years gone by are hung on the tree. 

That's such a wonderful blessing to have as a reality.

But (insert the Christmas carol screech to a halt), this isn't reality for a lot of people.  Christmas brings on hurt, loss, and painful memories.  The holidays trigger them multiplied.  I know, I'm one of them.  Struggling through the holidays every year for a very long time, I go on a search for what I can find of Christmas that will balance out the riot going on in my head.  The loss of dreams, hopes, desires, what you thought would transpire in this season isn't exactly what you dreamed of for you.  

How do you get through the season?

Let me inform you at this point, I am not a scrooge. 

I like Christmas carols, I rejoice at hearing of how families spend the holidays and put up the lights together.  Just this year, as part of my "make a new memory" campaign, my daughter who was once totally estranged from me, came over and helped me wrap presents and ate Thanksgiving dinner at my house.  Don't take for granted the things that happen in your life every day.  Some have no family at all. 

How would you get through the season with no family at all?  (Insert prayer)

For me, this is how I'm trying to change my attitude.  First, it is what it is.  I've got family who love me the way they know how.  I love those around me the way I know how.  I'm not experiencing my totally longed for dreams-yet.  But I'm making new ones.  Putting the past behind me, most of it in boxes so I can pull it out as a testimony of what the Lord has brought me through. 

I'm putting up new memories starting this year. 

Looking for things in my world to fill the void, the loneliness that comes with grieving. Like the time I experienced peace on earth goodwill to men at the Goodwill store when an Iraqi and an Iranian met and smiled.  New memories, being intentional on finding them and not letting the past ruin yet another year.  

Learn from me, if you spend time looking behind you, you will totally miss what's right in front of your nose. 

Look in the present and forgive the past.  

Heal your lost memories, make new ones.  Grieve, heal, gain strength from God our Father and trust He will give you new memories.  I know it's easier said than done because I'm going through it myself.

What I'm asking is this: Think of the ones who are grieving in any area of their lives during this holiday season.  Not everyone has the perfect holiday.  I have spoken to people who are not having a good time right now and I feel so sorry for them.  They're trapped in their emotions for fear of wrecking the spirit of the season. 

Please pray for them, that the things that cause them pain be replaced with love.  That healing comes and they can experience peace and strength.  

For those who grieve from a death this year, I am so sorry for your loss.  I'm so sorry for the pain you must be experiencing.  For those who grieve a loss of memories and dreams of what you thought your life was going to be, I'm so sorry.  It may be a long road, but healing is there for you through Christ.  He makes all things new, heals painful scars of hurt, rebuilds new dreams, and if it is His will restores old ones. 

Try to look for things God puts in your life today, He wants you to smile. 

He wants you to have a hope and a future, not a longing for something that's in the past you can't redo.  That's what I'm trying to do, find healing.  And I will find it.  My prayer is that other grievers find it too. 

Merry Christmas grievers, you're not alone. 

 sbb 31.12.11

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