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Strive to find happiness! 

March is a month for happiness! Winter is wrapping up and spring is the light at the end of the tunnel. 

I have written a new song about the subject of happiness. One day while I was riding in the backseat of my parents car we were discussing the word of a family friend. She was very well off, she had nice cars, a big house, loving family, but still found herself hiding in a closet at night crying. 

I joked that her closet was probably big enough to have a tv, lounge chair and small fridge in it. 

We all laughed at my humorous observation. Then the discussion took a serious turn to what it really means to find happiness. 

When is enough...enough? Is happiness measured by how many things  you have? How many friends? Or how much love you have? 

Then my mother said something profound, “I think happiness is finding the mighty peace of God in your heart” 

This conversation led to a song which will be in my next album, “Grace and Grit”.

Obstacles Are The Cost of Greatness  

I read a saying called "Obstacles are the cost of greatness" by Robin Sharma. I thought about this as I thought about my life, which by no means have I reached "Greatness," but like everyone else, I strive for it often. 

This brings me to current events, I am releasing a new single this month on April 10th, a Grammy award-winning song was written by Julie Gold. It was recorded by powerhouses, such as Bette Midler and Nancy Griffith, called "From a Distance." 

I was very hesitant when the producer (guitarist, dobroist), Mike Pokalsky, invited me to sing the lead on his latest collaborative recording of "From a Distance." The song is a classic and a challenge to pull off live as well as in the studio. To top it off, how would I reach greatness with a tune that has already been iconically performed by an iconic vocalist? 

Mike convinced me that this arrangement would be acoustically treated and that many other artists would be joining in the event, such as Claire Lynch, Irene Kelley, Jim Hurst, Becky Buller, Frank Sullivan, Mike Munford, and more! I decided that I could not miss the opportunity to do this song even with the obstacles that I saw in front of me. 

iPhone in hand, I downloaded as many versions as I could find, learned the song, fought with the range issues. I just was not nailing it! I sent my recordings to Claire and Irene, I was ready to wave the white flag and surrender the lead to Claire or Irene for the better good of the record. The obstacles seemed too high for greatness. 

Claire Lynch nor Irene Kelley gave up on me. They cheered me on, sent me helpful notes, and constructive feedback. I kept trying and fighting when finally I got it! 

Was its greatness? I don't know, it was great for my abilities! I achieved a song that I never thought I would ever perform or record. 

On a side thought, I think through this obstacle of COVID-19, we are going to reach greatness. We are going to find our better selves by finding our not so better people. We are going to learn to love stronger, live healthier, think differently about the world, and be more mindful. 

As in the song "From a Distance." God is watching and guiding us as we fight through this current massive obstacle, COVID-19, to find greatness within ourselves. 

Stay safe, in good spirits, and healthy, my friends! 

Challenges and Setting Goals  

Summer is coming to a close and fall will be at our doorsteps. When I see the first line of geese flying south, and as I dig my favorite sweaters out of the bottom of my drawer, I also reminisce about the wonderful experiences and challenges during the last few months. 

One of my challenges was to improve my songwriting skills, so I moved my pen, paper, and computer in an office away from any distractions. Maggie Vaughn, our famous poet laureate, was kind enough to allow me to write in her hideaway that is filled with art, books and things of inspiration. I had the pleasure of reading and singing my songs with Maggie, she challenged me daily with the rule, "Every word counts, honey, every word counts." She is an amazing mentor and I was able to finish several tunes for my upcoming project, "The Boxcar Journal, The Story of Maggie Brooks." 

My goal has been to write as many songs for this project as possible. So I began to think outside the box for inspiration, I was lucky to run across a post from the award-winning Donna Ulisse and Jerry Salley that they were sponsoring a songwriting workshop. I decided to sign-up and attend the class. No regrets, I learned a great deal from the experience and became hopeful about finishing the "The Boxcar Journal." 

The great news is that a new door has opened and I have since written with Donna. She has been an amazing mentor as well as a co-writer! Challenges and goals, never give up on them, it’s worth the fight and there is always a way to reach them. 

That was my lesson this summer! Can’t imagine what’s to come! 

I will be keeping you posted on "Maggie Journal" information and details are to come soon!