Dreams We Left Behind

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Hey everybody! I know y’all thought The Unheard Bird had thrown in the towel, but alas, I’m still here! I hope everyone out there in Unheard Birdland is doing alright. 
I had a very intense week.  Two of our long term, sweet clients died this week.  My great aunt died .  A client called to let us know her mother died, and one of my dear friends lost his daddy too.  So, after a fun filled Friday night of performing at The Deli, Buck and I headed to Florence on Saturday to my sweet Aunt Jeanette’s funeral.  Then Sunday,  we were headed to Kingstree to support friend and family at their father’s memorial service.  And then, I visited another graveside that I had not been able to visit, due to distance and other strains.  A grave that I had to finally say goodbye and close that book for good.  Closing the chapters of failure along with precious memories…tragedy and miracles…heartbreak and unforgiveness.  I asked for forgiveness and gave it in return.  Yes, many of these things I did while they were alive too.  But, accepting that certain questions will never be answered, regarding wounds that still haven’t healed, is a tough pill to swallow.  Just like the day the truth sinks in, that things will never be the same, and the relationship failed.  It sucks.
Please understand:  I am SO grateful to be where I am today.  I have a wonderful husband and loving partner, who loves God and me, and the girls, and his work crew, and the band, and all his friends and family.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am now, if it hadn’t been for my life story that brought me here.  What I did today had much to do with preserving what I have now, and being able to give 100 percent.
  Where did this song come from?  I wrote this song a few years back.  It was the day my heart completely broke.  If you’ve ever been there, then you know exactly what I mean.  I felt like a crumbled shell of who I was, and a complete failure.  I couldn’t save them or me,  or prevent the inevitable.  I was shattered.  It was all shattered.
     I wrote this song in that moment.  I performed it last Friday night for the first time.  It was suddenly time to go there, ya know?
     And I didn’t know then, that I was going to visit the grave today.  I didn’t know my pastor was going to preach on forgiveness this morning (giving and accepting it). 
     Anyway, I am being vulnerable in the hopes that this might help at least one person along the way.  I’m not comfortable with showing my scars and open wounds for public display.   But, it’s my story, and in the end, that’s all we have to offer. So, without further adieu…here is “Dreams We Left Behind”.  Y’all hang in there.  We’ll talk again soon.
Watch “Dreams We Left Behind” on YouTube

 

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The Lucky One

Hey everybody!
        Well, did any of my peeps win the lottery?  If so, I know a sweet, hard working lady that would sing and play music for you all the time!  Ha ha!!!  I wonder how many millions of folks thought their number was the winning ticket?  I hope no one spent their entire paycheck or savings trying to buy useless lottery numbers.  Although, I’m afraid some would’ve done exactly that…waste everything they have on a shot in the dark, stroke of luck, or wishful thinking.

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    I wish I could say I’ve never done that, but I’d be lying.  No, I’ve never cashed in a paycheck on lottery tickets or gambling in Vegas.  But I’ve held onto relationships and people longer than I should,  because I kept thinking that they would change, or somehow the situation would get better, but it never did.  I gave up parts of myself I swore I would never ever let anyone take from me.  But, I did.  I lost innocence I can never get back.  I stayed too long, believed the lie, and accepted the guilt and shame that didn’t even belong to me. The hardest thing ever for me to do was give up on someone and admit failure.  It hurts and it sucks.  And I mean from friends and lovers. It’s awful.  In some cases, I didn’t want to go.  It was only to avoid becoming damaged goods myself, because I wouldn’t let go from the toxicity of the relationship.
Don’t ever stay in a relationship that is one sided.  If you are always the one having to call them or go visit, or initiate a conversation, it’s not healthy.  And girls, please stop choosing guys that need help or need to grow up.  Then you’re trying to be their savior, and getting upset when they’re unable to be the man you want, cause you didn’t want them like they are.  You wanted the man you pictured in your mind after you miraculously changed them.  Well, you ain’t Jesus, and it’s unfair to put a guy in that position and have higher expectations than they can offer.  Now, fellas, this goes for you too.  Don’t be looking for the perfect woman, and then micro managing all her flaws and tasks, trying to turn her into someone she’s not.  She ain’t your piece on the side, or a baby toaster, or a maid, or a second paycheck. And don’t keep a woman around that manipulates or uses you. Sex shouldn’t be used or threatened as a bargaining tool.  You deserve a true mate.   And Lord help, we all need to get out of any relationship where the love isn’t recoprocated.  Real love has no abuse.  Real love wants true joy and happiness for their mate.  Real love doesn’t seek revenge.  Real love is not good luck.  It’s hard work.   But, it’s the most rewarding indeed.  Don’t roll the dice on “maybe he/she will change”.  I want to be the one who changes…for the better.  Now, go out there and get ’em!!  Or in my case, get some rest cause I didn’t win the lottery, and I gotta go to work in the morning.  I love y’all!   Hang in there!  We’ve got this!  Just hold on!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Brrr…brrr…brrrr….uh, he he he heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy everyone!  I. Am. Freezing!!!!!
Last week, I pulled out my flip flops.  This morning, it’s 25 degrees and I had to crank up Big Red early, and let the diesel engine warm up!  I don’t do so well at cold weather…unless it’s snowing or Christmas, and well, it’s neither one now, so WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
SC weather is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.

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I realized the other week, that I don’t know any of the words to, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  I’m watching Elf, and they’re singing that song…and I only know the first and last line.  “I really can’t stay…and baby, it’s cold outside”.  I can hum it, I can play the chords…I even know when the girl is supposed to sing her part.  But, after all these years, I don’t know the song.  I know, it’s pretty sad.  A Christmas holiday enthusiast/musician like myself, doesn’t know the actual words to such a familiar song.

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I bet we do the same thing with people in our life.  They may even live with us (or not).  Perhaps you work with them.  Do you know what they like to eat for lunch?  What’s their favorite color?  Do they collect anything in particular?   Do they like polka dots?  Do they prefer the beach or the mountains?  Favorite team? Nascar driver?  Favorite author? If you can’t answer these questions, I don’t think you know them very well.  Sometimes,  I think we go around assuming we already know a person.  But, if we stop to think about it, perhaps we don’t.  Take someone you care about, even better if they don’t live with you, and see what you can write down about them.  See how much you know.  Try to write down their address, phone number, what car they drive, number of siblings, number of children, etc.  Are they the oldest child?  Are there parents still alive?  I have done this process before, using a long term client at work.  I soon discovered I didn’t know them hardly at all.  I knew their occupation, number of kids and where they went to church.  Didn’t know who did their taxes, who their attorney was, or where they liked to travel.  I knew I needed to know them better…but now I know why…cause I only thought I knew them.  Just another loving reminder to smell the roses, and don’t assume you already know everything you need to know.   Chances are, you really don’t.  I will always be learning new stuff about Buck.  I’m married to him, but it will take a lifetime to truly scratch the surface of who he is.  That’s why we always have date night!!

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I always have the same New Year’s resolution.  It’s my daily resolution. Be a better woman, daughter, co-worker, bandmate, employee, friend, wife and stepmom than I was the day before. The little stuff is truly the important stuff.  If we care about little things, the big things will take care of themselves.
Let’s do this!! 
Y’all are awesome.  But, you already knew that.  Take care everybody!!  Love y’all!!!!

Joy to the World

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Hey everybody!  This is a picture of Whoville.  You know…where the love and magic of Christmas still abounds, even after the Grinch steals all the fiod, gifts and toys.  There’s something so whimsical and innocent about this picture.  It makes me feel five years old and excited about Christmas!
I don’t know how you feel, but me and most of my friends are fighting sinus infections, and feeling the strain of normal life/work obligations, and trying to make Christmas special for everyone…which is a labor intensive feat.  Many of us have also lost an unusual amount of loved ones and fur babies this year.  That adds a grief component on top of everything else.  Seems like most folks I know we’re doing fine until about middle of last week.  Maybe the sinus infections are unavoidable between the bad weather and the Christmas school plays and office parties.  Perhaps the stress of trying to be Wonder Woman or Santa Claus is too much.  Every year I ponder these same ideas, with no real solution. 
So, what do I know?  Ok, here’s what I know:
For one, I’m alive.  Two, I’m still employed.  Three, I’m grateful for the loved ones that are still here this Christmas.  Four, I am grateful for all the new friendships this year and for further closeness with the ones I already had.  Five, I still love to stand up through a moon roof or hang out of a car window to look at Christmas lights.  Six, it breaks my heart to see families going through heartache, and I can’t do anything about it.  Seven, online ordering has definitely made shopping a lot easier.  Eight, we can make Christmas memorable in a good way or a bad way.  The choice is up to us. 

I do not care if I buy a gift for someone, whether or not I get one.  I chose to give them a present.  I chose what to spend on it, and it is not a contest!!!!  I only care about making them smile.  We should do the important things to make Christmas be about LOVE!!!!!!!!!  Hug necks like you may never see them again. 
You may be right.

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  Give them a gift that doesn’t look like you raced down a Walmart aisle and picked up a stocking stuffer out of the closest bargain bin, within arms length of the checkout counter!!!!  Give them a Christmas card where you underline the important parts, and write a handwritten note about how much they mean to you.  Cook dinner for your family and friends.  Wash the dishes for them if you didn’t have to cook.  Play on the floor with your kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews.  They won’t remember what you gave them.  They will remember if you spent time with them.
  Love is the spirit of Christmas and the holiday season.  Let’s quit arguing over what to call it, whether it needs a tree or a fat guy in a red suit.  Just let me enjoy the nativity scenes AND the trees AND the lights AND the food AND the Christmas cartoons AND all the hugs I can get…all while I still debate what to take to fight this cold.  Make the most of what you have now. 
Kaaaay?  Okay!! 

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I’m gonna spend some time with my hubby and nurse this cold, while watching Christmas movies!  I am so glad for each one of you, that take the time to read and support The Unheard Bird.   And thank you for the love and friendship you share with me throughout the year.  I love you all. 
Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!!!!

Christmastime is Here

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Hey everybody!
      Well, it’s that time of year again, my favorite holiday, Christmas!  And yes, my Charlie Brown Christmas tree is decorated, wrapped in a real baby blue blanket on my desk at work…right beside the other tiny tree, which is also fully decorated and on my desk.  There’s a jingle bell door decoration on my office door….loud and annoying, like me, ha ha!!
       Our home looks like this:
First there’s, the REAL Frazier Fir decorated in C9 LED lights and sentimental ornaments.

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I even have flashing LED lights in the bathroom.   I’ll probably keep those up after Christmas,  cause I like them and I’m crazy enough to do what I want in my own home, lol!

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Then we have some more decorations in the living room.

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Finally, there’s the outside lights.  These are my personal favorite.   I’ve already watched a couple of cars slow down to check them out, just like I do when I see homes all lit up and “purty”!!

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I’ve always loved looking at Christmas lights.  I usually spent every year begging to drive around and look at them all around town.  Growing up in Sumter, there was one house in particular on Hwy 521 South.  It was a Christmas light masterpiece!   The front yard, back yard, basketball goal, the house, the trees….EVERYTHING was strung in lights!!  These huge trees in the front were strung with vertical strings of lights that hung like wisteria!  They had a horseshoe driveway, and entrance/exit signs lit up to direct traffic.   And they surely needed it too.  I’ve waited in line many a time in my day to drive around their yard and be mezmerized and overjoyed by their labor of love.  It was such a gift to the community for many years.
Today, there are lights at Riverbanks Zoo, Saluda Shoals, Swan Lake Iris Gardens, and James Island County Park.  I love those too!  In West Columbia, off of Oak Dr., there is an entire neighborhood that decorates.  I’ve already driven through once this year, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  I’m the adult who still hangs out of the truck, or stands up through the moon roof, to take pictures,  all while blaring Christmas music.  Bless Buck’s heart.  I could have worse habits than a love for Christmas lights.  
At least I’m not a musician…oh wait……

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Most of my decorations I’ve accumated in small inexpensive bits over time.  It amazes me the amount of money some folks spend at the holidays.  I spend enough as it is, but it seems like people certainly get overstressed, overwhelmed and budget overspent for a time of year that should be about making memories.
My grandparents had all of us together every Christmas Eve.  I spent the night on the 23rd.  Many times, my brother or cousin Becky was there too.  But, my life’s purpose as a kid was to stay with Grandma and help get the house and food ready for the big Christmas Eve shindig.  I’d help pull out al the presents from under the beds and out of the closets, and place them under the tree.  Grandma had some back issues, so this saved her a little trouble.  She’d cook a feast too.  Bbq Boston butt,  Ward’s Bbq hash and rice, sweet potato souffle (my personal favorite ), punch, cakes, pies, chocolate covered pretzels and peanut butter Ritz cracker sandwiches…you name it!!  She had a stack of Reader’s Digest Christmas albums that we’d pile up high and play all day.  That is, until Granddaddy remembered his Marty Robbins albums.  Ha ha ha ha!!!  Then, we were “down in El Paso” until the family started showing up for the festivities!  There were food and gifts galore, and the infamous paper fights and bonking all the cousins in the head with the wrapping paper tubes!!  But, of all the commotion and fanfare, it was the time spent with each other that I recall the most.  I was safe from bullying, spending precious time with those I loved.  And taking home presents too!! 
One year in particular,  I recall when my Grandma Hanniford (my mama’s mama) was diagnosed with cancer.  We went to Timmonsville to hang out with her and more of my sweet cousins!!! I’m blessed with awesome cousins on both sides.  I have the best ever, and can never ever be convinced otherwise.
This particular year, one of them got a Foreigner album with “Hot Blooded” on it.  I swear, we were all in the living room at Aunt Dot and Uncle Odell’s.  The freestanding stove was cranked up with a toasty fire.  I had gotten a Donald Duck Scrooge board game of some kind that we were playing, while blasting that Foreigner album wide open on the stereo.  I bet we played Hot Blooded like a zillion times!!!!  I danced my butt off  and laughed and played games,  and had a good ole time!!
Another time when I was 12 years old, my parents fell on hard times.  I remember several instances where we fixed a tomato sandwich and drank Kool-aid,  because it was all that was in the house.  This particular Christmas was fairly lean.  We were wanting to shoot fireworks really bad.  We were begging just to buy one small pack of bottle rockets…anything just to be able to play with some fireworks.  They simply didn’t have it.  My mama said, “Honey, if you  find some money somewhere, I promise you, we will drive you up there and buy you some.  But, we simply don’t have it.”  We understood and with heads hung low, decided to go for a ride on our old bikes.  It was cold and drizzling rain. My brother and I ride down the street.  I cannot make this up, I promise.  In the middle of the street, is a $20 bill.  We look around and there is NO one else around.  The street is deserted.  We are in shock and amazement.  We leave it in the road, and race back in a fury.  We tell our parents,  “We found 20 dollars in the road!!  There’s no wallet.  There’s no one walking or riding bikes but us!!  Can we keep it?!”  They said yes.  So guess what happened next?  Yes, indeed!!!!!  We trekked our happy butts in the car up to the fireworks stand, giving thanks for the Christmas miracle!!!!  We bought all the whistling sky rockets, bottle rockets, rose spinning, color chasing, Roman candle, smoke bomb, snap throwing,  black cat firecrackers 20 bucks could buy!!!!  That was SUCH a wonderful Christmas night.  Our friends came over in the back yard, and we blew stuff up ALL NIGHT!!!!!  I do believe in miracles.  I’m so thankful for the gift of Jesus, the love of family and friends, and for all the memories being made.  Those moments are what I cling to and reflect on when times get rough.  I’ve lost 3 family members, a dear friend and my sweet Abby dog this year.  I miss them so.  But, the tears I shed are tears of gratitude for the time spent, not regret. Make this time count for something meaningful.  I’m feeling sentimental.   Think I’ll go play my favorite Christmas song.   I love you all.  God bless us, everyone!!!! 

Bathroom Sink

Hey everybody!
    How are we all doing the week before Thanksgiving?  It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’ll soon be watching Charlie Brown and blasting Trans-Siberian Orchestra songs!  Buck will get stuck helping me get a real tree in the tree stand, followed by his giddy wife (me) hanging old ornaments and drinking hot tea, and crap like that! Lol!!!  I know.  But, none of this will occur until we’ve completed Thanksgiving.  Gotta do that first.  But, I LOVE Christmas!!!  I love lights, music, food and presents!!!!  Woooooooooo hooooooo!!!!!
    But let me tell you one thing that I DO NOT love.  (Wait for it…)  I don’t love cleaning the bathroom sink. 

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I hate it.  It just something I do OVER and OVER again.  There’s no project completion date.  And if I don’t do it, then I have to stare at soap scum and loose hair, along with a hazy mirror every single day, until I ONCE AGAIN realize that the “Bathroom Sink Cleaning Fairy” isn’t going to show up again today either…and that I’ve got to break down and git-r-done.  I hate the chemicals in the cleaning products too.   Ammonia makes me wanna puke.  Bleach makes me wanna hurl.  Tile cleaner is the devil.  Do you see a pattern?  Yeah, well I still get it done.  Just with an exhaust fan, loud music and a lot of grumbling.
But, the bathroom sink is a very real place.  What I mean is this:  I am the most “my true self” there than anywhere else.  It’s tangled hair, no makeup, blemish city, stanky breath central.  It’s also where I go to pray, talk to myself, cry, and reevaluate my thoughts and feelings.  It’s where I have the most unorganized junk drawers and zippy pockets full of God only knows what.  Yet, I do know where most everything is. I guess it’s where I’m best at hiding the clutter.  This same place that I look at myself “for real”, is the same place I put on my “pretty face” to hide the real issues going on…on the inside.  I can use eye drops to remove the red eye, concealer to hide my red nose where I’ve been crying, moisturizer to look like I’m not getting older, and contact lens solution to get my lenses in, so no one knows that I was “four eyes” growing up.  I never thought about how much of our life takes place at the bathroom sink, until Miranda Lambert wrote a song about it.  She nailed it, in my opinion.  Here’s the chorus lyrics:

“It’s amazing the amount of rejection that I see
In my reflection, and I can’t get out of the way
I’m looking forward to the girl I wanna be
But regret has got a way of staring me right in the face
So I try not to waste too much time at the bathroom sink”

That song gets me everytime.  She even prays and takes her meds like a champ.  I sure can’t point any fingers, cause most days I am that girl.  But, the beautiful thing about all this is that we can just all love one another and decide to be broken TOGETHER!  We can’t change what happened in Paris, France or Charleston, SC.  Evil lives and dwells among us.  But I choose to live and die proving that Love never fails.  I love you all dearly, who take time to read my silly stories, or call me friends.  I indeed consider you all dear loved ones.  Be strong even when it’s hard, and love even harder. 
Next time you’re at your bathroom sink, do some reflection on who you are now, and who you wanna be…then make a plan and get there!
Have a great night everyone!!  We’ll talk again soon.  Love you all.

Act Naturally

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Hey everybody!
        The Unheard Bird has been up to all kinds of craziness.  Like freaking out, when I saw the sun shine this week!!  Woooooooooo!!  My vitamin D deficiency is probably through the roof!!
Anywho, I’m glad to feel the warmth of some sun rays.  It does a body good, ha ha!!
Last Saturday, Sanctuary had the privilege of performing for the Carolina Band Stand tv show!!  The show is featured in SC, NC and GA.  Thomas is the proud owner of the locally owned studio and producer of the show.  You won’t find a nicer guy!  He worked hard to give us what we needed, and made sure we were fed too!!  So, we gave him and the audience our best, and just threw down!!!!!

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The studio was full of nostalgia and a crowd of warm, friendly music enthusiasts!!  That’s my kinda place!!!
I was a little nervous, but I realized that no matter how many awkward, funny faces I made, the best thing I could do is just stay myself and act naturally!!  It’s not like I can change into Wonder Woman at the snap of my fingers anyway…so I might as well just beat my pink drums and sing my little heart out!!  That’s exactly what I did!!  It’s what all of us did!!  Once we get the video from Carolina Band Stand, I’ll share a video clip with you all, my friends, to share in the experience!!!!  It’s going to be interesting to see how it turns out.  I’m grateful for the experience and the warm accommodating atmosphere at the studio!!  If we ever quit learning…we might as well give up.  I’ll learn something new everyday til I’m dead and gone!!  It’s a great day to be alive!!

If any of you crazy folks can get to Chapin this Friday, we’re gonna be playing at The Frayed Knot!   Music will crank up around 8:30pm.  Come hang out if you get a chance!!!  I promise to “act naturally” there too!!!  Y’all hang in there on hump day!!!  Love you all!!!!