Telling on myself

I am a white middle aged woman. I’m a daughter, sister and mother. I’m an active duty soldier. I’m an animal advocate. I’m a jazz musician. I’m an empath. I’m a recovering Catholic who loves the art and ritual but hates the learned guilt. Continue reading

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“The victim wasn’t wearing a seatbelt”

“The victim wasn’t wearing a seatbelt”

How many times have we read that line at the end of a fatal accident report? When you read it, your lips purse, and the thought goes through your head, “Why didn’t they just buckle up? It would have been so easy.” We put our seatbelts on every single time we get in the car for many reasons. It’s the law! It took a long time and thousands of deaths before people listened to the science and statistical data, and enacted mandatory seatbelt laws. Some of us remember the days when we were freely tossed into cars as youngsters. My sister has a permanent inch-long scar on the side of her face because she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt in the back of our Griswold station wagon. My mom had to slam on the brakes suddenly, and her tiny body was thrown into the back door. I don’t remember why she didn’t have it on, but I don’t think any of us six kids were wearing seatbelts. It wasn’t the norm. It was inconvenient, especially for large families like mine, to make sure everyone was strapped in all the time. And, even with the best made plans, kids sometimes take their seatbelts off for no good reason. But the fact is that seatbelts save lives. We know that now. So why do people still get into cars and skip this step? Continue reading

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Gratitude…It’s Enough

If we all belong to the Infinite, then we need no further justification for our existence. Explaining the miracle of life is impossible for our limited genesis. The spark that lit us up from the moment we came to be has never been recreated from an empty human page. Therefore, we are part of what has always been from the beginning, created by a Power that we are incapable of wrapping our heads around other than knowing It exists. Continue reading

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Diva with Nancy Wilson

It’s hard to believe this is nearly 17 years old.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Forever, a legend, Ms. Nancy Wilson…

The Incomparable Nancy Wilson

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The Rinse Cycle

When I think back upon the misadventures of my life, I have been slow to attach labels to the things that I felt in various stages.  After all, once we attach a label to something, we rob ourselves of the freedom to describe it any other way.  We build a box around the thing to which no other identification shall seep.  Perhaps it’s easier for us to digest truths when we decide to understand them by giving them a name – an example of our very human need to be in control. Continue reading

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The Power of One

I began blogging in 2012 after several exchanges with a newly found friend via email as I toured the country with the Jazz Ambassadors. The correspondence started as friendly banter but quickly developed into a sort of personal discovery as we grew a friendship across the miles. While touring presented opportunities for growth and study, it also created an environment of danger for someone like me: a prisoner of abysmal loneliness in the absence of my family and despite the presence of my peers. My friend, based in New York City, encouraged the daily conversation that I needed at the time. I don’t think he knew what a simple gift he so selflessly provided. To say I was grateful would be a complete understatement, now. Continue reading

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In Full Retreat…

“The worst of life looks beautiful, as it slips away in full retreat.” – Bonnie Raitt

Winding down another tour with the Jazz Ambassadors, I’m reflecting on the roller coaster of emotions we’ve ridden since this trek began. Losing one’s spouse suddenly is not something that anyone ever anticipates, but that’s exactly what happened to one of our musical brothers in the hours after we left Fort Meade for this 37-day tour. Stolen from him in a moment, our dear colleague’s wife and soul mate was gone, and his future, forever altered. How does one recover from that? Continue reading

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29 DEC 2012 – New York City

Liesl Whitaker

I’m sitting in a small, one bedroom apartment on the West Side of Manhattan.  Snow is blowing by the window, giving the room an even cozier vibe.  I’m under blankets, in my jeans, truly just hanging out.  I just finished drying my hair after venturing through the weather in the name of nourishment.  I found a small Irish pub owned by an elderly Irish couple.  I was the first and only customer, as I’m sure this weather has bound many people to their living rooms.  I made a little small talk with the owners, sipped a pint of draught, and dined on her homemade chicken and vegetable soup, all in the glow of a dark room, lit only by the black and white movie coming from the TV behind the bar.  It was a truly cozy hour spent in the company of a lovely couple and Jimmy Stewart.  A real…

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I’m Certain of Nothing…

One of the perks of my jobs is being able to travel around the country, often coming into contact with my extended family along the way. This happened this past week in Mason City, Iowa.

My Mother, Barbara, was the fourth of nine children born to a poor farmer and his wife in Southern Illinois in the 1940s. As one can imagine, attention from the parents would be hard to come by with so many mouths in the house to feed, and young bodies to clothe constantly. I never met my maternal grandfather as he died suddenly when my mother was still a teenager. Coping with the stresses of the day, I’ve learned, was not a forte of my maternal grandmother. But she did so in her way, and all the children grew into responsible, healthy adults. Continue reading

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Loss, Love and Learning…

I have taken a hiatus from writing over the past 6 months, mainly because I have been absorbed in the observation of life.  As a person, I am always amazed at the things that I can observe if my eyes are open.  Now, as I tour with the Jazz Ambassadors, I have decided to put some thoughts down again.  They are a little scattered, perhaps, but they are what’s swirling currently through my mind.  I, like many people, try to find meaning in the events and accounts that take place in and around my life, to try to find the lesson in them – there is always something to learn if you just look for it – always.

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