Life Rules and a Father's Response
Recently, my 9 year old daughter handed me a list of rules. Her life rules. Rules that say she's not a little kid anymore (at least in her eyes). Rules that are less about what can or can't happen, but more about what growing up looks like to her.
1. That's just good advice. As a matter of fact, I am so supportive of that rule I'm going to reinforce it with every single boy who happens to come within a 100 foot radius of my daughter.
2. See #1
Now we're entering into some very sensitive dad territory. You see, all evenings and fair number of mornings have been our time. Just Ella and I....talking, laughing, sometimes sneaking treats, usually me pleading to hurry up as we've already missed bedtime or I'm running late to get to work.
3. I'll miss putting her to bed. She's told me before she's getting old enough where she doesn't want me too, but has always come running to me in the last moment to tuck her in. A lot of good things have happened during that time. She'll tell you she learned the Lord's Prayer the RIGHT way at nighttime, and not the crazy version she hears on Sunday now.
4. The good morning song is a Bart Kesner original. Sort of a mashup of scat, rock, and rap - Kid Rock meets Ella Fitzgerald. It was then she learned the stuffed animals not only talked, but would sing.
5. And the stuffed animals.......many good times were had with the stuffed animals. Sometimes they would try to eat each other (and get into A LOT of trouble) or play hide and seek. My hope is Ella remembers the stuffed animals don't stop talking, people just stop listening.
6. Think cheekers. You know, the back of your front. Sometimes they mock you and have to be pinched!
Bart’s Rule 7 - Remind myself growing up doesn't mean growing apart.
Why This Site
Make no mistake, the primary reason I started this site is for me. I hold no illusion people will come clamouring to visit in order to see what words of wisdom, or otherwise, I might post. Still, the effort exerted to start and maintain this means I place some degree of value in it. While the answer itself isn't entirely clear even to me, I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about it.
I suppose the reason, or at least some of it, is twofold.
First, I firmly believe everyone has a voice and the freedom to use it. One day while looking at my facebook feed it struck me I didn't always want to read thoughts or ideas of others at that particular moment. Maybe I just wanted to quickly check-in to see photos for instance. I'm certainly glad people express what they feel a need to, but I prefer to have more control over when or if I see it. My hope is if people want to explore a bit deeper with what is going on with me, they have the option to visit this site rather than me filling up their news feed.
Perhaps more importantly though is something that struck me at church recently. As happens from time to time, my mind wandered (or perhaps was inspired) during the sermon and I started thinking about accountability. Professionally I'm held accountable by performance standards and goals. Even when it comes to exercising I track miles run and food eaten all in hopes of improving the quality and quantity of life. In both those areas, I have tangible information in which to review and see how I am doing. But, how am I keeping track of ensuring I am living in such a way that is important to me? Trying to live that kind of meaningful existence everyday is great, but unless there is context around the effort, how do we know how we're really doing? Now, don't get me wrong. This is not some sort of scorecard or spiritual tally sheet. This is not a replacement for Grace. But if I share, reflect and evaluate here, it may just provide insight I might not otherwise have. Making it public just puts pressure on me to actually do it.
Or then again, maybe it's just a place to make fun of KU football. I can go either way.
The Story Behind my Songs
If The Morning Never Came
This was officially the first song I ever wrote including both the music and lyrics. I had dabbled a bit prior to this with lyrics, but had not yet tried my hand at putting together an original tune. Then, as luck would have it, one late night after having been out with friends I was flipping through the TV channels and came across a very bad Rick Springfield movie. As if mentioning him doesn't date me enough, naming the movie will - "Hard to Hold" I don't even remember the story line, but I do remember thinking about his onscreen relationship I was watching. I think it was the story of he and the girl being from different worlds and struggling to remain together. I couldn't help but think, if the morning never came they would never breakup. About 20 minutes later I had written all the lyrics and soon after finished the music.
At 30,000 feet I was looking out the window from my airplane seat thinking about the weekend I had just spent visiting a friend living in Houston. Just prior, I had missed my flight and found myself stuck at the Intercontinental airport. Not being able to reach my friend, I called the girl I met the night before and had exchanged phone numbers with. Having a few hours to kill before the next flight, she picked me up and gave me a tour of Houston before heading home. I had so much fun it inspired me to write the song about our embellished relationship on my flight home.
I had just finished graduate school getting my MBA, and was working retail while looking for my "real" job. I had a fun group of friends from the high end department store we were all working at and often (meaning always) would go out after work. All knew I was involved in the local music scene a bit, and one in particular challenged me to write a song using her favorite adjective at the time "crazy". That incentive, plus some imagination, led to the hook "I want to spend another crazy night with you".
What really brought the song to life is the vocal by Charles Waltz who also played with Shooting Star.
No one specific event led to writing this song. It was probably just a culmination of previous relationships and wanting to write a power ballad which was very popular at the time. I remember the studio engineer commenting while recording, he could just imagine Nancy Wilson of Heart kicking up her leg and cranking out the bass line in the chorus!
Signs you are getting older:
As I sit here enjoying a cup of coffee (thank you Starbucks) and ponder growing older, I can't help but wonder why the old saying of getting wiser along with the growing years doesn’t always seem to hold true. I mean at least shouldn’t the two be proportionate? Could it be all the old sayings are leading us astray?
Go ahead and run with that stick in your hand, your eye is going to be just fine.
Maybe I'm just one of the few where the age old axioms don't seem to apply. As I look back over this blog (hey, I can spare the 30 seconds) I realize I typed my first word about a year ago. In addition to the sheer disappointment of not having written more, I also wonder if I have learned anything over that time? The honest answer is I don't know. About the wisdom I mean...the fact I just had to put on my readers to type this confirmed the aging part. I would like to think something snuck into the crevices of my mind and is just laying there ready to jump into action when needed. That could be, but just as one of those other old sayings put it....you better use it or lose it.
Perhaps wisdom can be more than just the acquisition of new knowledge. Maybe it can be the reaffirmation of things long forgotten or ignored. "Love your neighbor as yourself, listen twice as much as you speak, stop and smell the roses". Learning, applying then remembering so you can do it again....maybe that is true wisdom.
Now, where did I put my coffee...
"To Just Do It"
I recall reading, or hearing about an interview with Richard Marx (you remember him...80's singer/songwriter, big hair - yes I know, that doesn't particularly narrow the field). But the question posed to him was essentially how do you write songs? What is the most important part of the songwriting experience? He simply responded in so many words “to just do it". The most important part is the act of doing it - over and over again. It doesn't matter if they all aren't good (or maybe even any of them) but just keep going. Write, write write.....keep the wheels of the mind turning and in time, there will be something there to hold on to.
Now that I think about it, that can be applied to so many areas of life. Sports certainly. We have all heard the phrase "don't give up" when trying to hit the baseball or make the free throw. Love and relationships in general are improved upon if we keep going. Granted, sometimes we have to be willing to trade in the pain of loneliness for the pain of heartbreak, but just like that big haired guy said....just keep trying because one day there will be something there that is good.
So here I sit just typing, typing, typing....
In the Beginning
I have found my own little corner of the web. Now, the question of course becomes.....why? It's a valid one alright - one that should be answered. Now, don't get me wrong. There are plenty of other questions too, but first things first I suppose.
Why? Maybe this is a journal of my hopes, dreams, fears or otherwise random thoughts. Maybe this is a piece of me left behind for my kids to discover when they are older. "What was dad like when he was younger?" they might say. "What was he thinking about when we were little?". "Why did he wear that shirt with those pants?". Ok, maybe not the last one. Or maybe this isn't a journal of answers at all, but rather one of questions. Sometimes I think the questions themselves are more important than the answers. You can learn a lot from asking why.
Well, whatever this is it's mine. Yes, I do realize the irony of saying something is mine when it resides on the web. It doesn't start with words world wide for nothing. But at least for now, I only see me, this keyboard, and my words. A place where a journal becomes a journey of sorts.
Let's see where it leads.